In My Kitchen ~ October 2017

My new kitchen mat

In My Kitchen… good things are afoot… or under foot. I’m a firm believer in making life comfortable, especially when I’m on my feet. Pictured above is the new floor mat by my “prep” area; the one below resides in front of my stove. (The third one by the sink is “basic brown” and I didn’t want to bore you to tears.)

Some day

In My Kitchen… is this silverware caddy. Flatware caddy? Utensil tray? Whatever you call it, it’s an indispensable part of our daily dining (for lack of a drawer). I found it at a yard sale awhile back, and as they say: “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

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In My Kitchen… things aren’t always so utilitarian. I break out the cloth napkins every now and then and treat folks to a “dolled up” dinner — me, included. Although “ironing” may sound utilitarian, it’s anything but with these aprons cheering up my laundry room. (Thanks, Ally, xo.)

I Love To Iron

In My Kitchen… I felt myself slowing down in September (seasonal lethargy… zzzzz), but now that October’s finally here, the cooler mornings and hints of color are teasing me to go outside and play. Or play In My Kitchen! I recently played around with this recipe… Three Ingredient Flourless Almond Cake. (Originally Walnut Cake… you know me.)

Almond Cake

For more In My Kitchen posts from around the world — as colorful and varied as the Autumn foliage (or Springtime “Down Under”) — please visit our cordial hostess Sherry Mackay at Sherry’s Pickings. Feel free to join in by the 10th of each month, or simply read and revel.

Enjoying playing again,

~ Kim

Potato and Manchego Mini-Quiches with Greens

Mini Quiches

Spending time with loved ones and friends is on everybody’s priority list these days, or at least I hope it is. (So is taking care of yourself as best you can when life’s “busy.”)

Thumbing through a back issue of Eating Well, their Muffin Tin Quiches caught my eye. Not only were those smoky, cheesy, potato-and-spinach-filled gems screaming my name, make-ahead suggestions were offered. But, how to avoid the milk and smoked Cheddar? Culinary creativity ensued. (Original recipe notes in parentheses below.)

I can have my quiche and eat it, too, yay!

Potato and Manchego Mini-Quiches with Greens (adapted from Eating Well January/February 2017)

4 slices of hickory smoked bacon (the recipe didn’t call for bacon, but ya know…)

1 Tbsp. bacon drippings (or EVOO)

3/4 c. diced red-skinned potatoes (skin on), 1/4″ diced

1/2 c. red onion, finely diced

1/4 tsp. salt

1 (5 oz.) container Green Girl Organic Super Greens: red and green Swiss chard, arugula, spinach, and tat soi (or 3/4 c. fresh baby spinach)

4 large eggs

1/4 c. chicken stock (or milk)

1/2 c. shredded Manchego (or smoked Cheddar) cheese

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (omit if using smoked Cheddar)

Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt

Preheat oven to 325º F. Coat a six-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Fry bacon in a large skillet until crisp. (Reserve drippings.) Transfer slices to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Crumble and set aside for garnish.

Return 1 tablespoon bacon drippings to same skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, onions, and salt. Stir frequently until potatoes are softened, about 5 minutes. Add greens (or spinach); drizzle with an additional tablespoon bacon drippings (or EVOO) if needed to prevent sticking. Toss with tongs until the greens are slightly wilted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, grated cheese (whichever), chicken stock (or milk), and smoked paprika (omit if using smoked Cheddar) ’til combined. Stir in potato mixture. Season with freshly ground pepper and sea salt. Divide evenly into prepared muffin tin. Bake 25 minutes or until set; cool 5 minutes. Remove quiches from muffin cups and garnish each with crumbled bacon before serving.

Per Eating Well these can be made ahead. Wrap (individually) in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to three days or freeze up to one month. To reheat: remove the plastic, wrap in a paper towel, and microwave on high 30-60 seconds.

I haven’t tried the frozen option yet. (I ate them in three days!) They “nuked” just fine. I’m looking forward to serving a big batch to our loved ones and friends — forgot to mention this adaptation was a “half batch” — TMOFW doesn’t eat “greens”, lol! (Double the recipe at will.) Most likely I’ll reheat larger batches in the oven on low heat covered with tinfoil. Ingredients aren’t the only things I adapt!

Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Brunch is Served

Enjoying brunch three days in a row,

~ Kim

 

In My Kitchen ~ August 2017

I’m delighted to be In My Kitchen again. After three cross-country and out-of-state-trips in two months, I came home with lots of memories. And a few goodies, too!

Utensils 2

In My Kitchen… is a set of Acacia wood cooking utensils, a gift from my cousin Barb. They’re beautifully crafted and a joy to use! She also surprised me with Coconut Infused Black Sea Salt and Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt.

 

Last weekend I grilled shrimp marinated in Champagne Orange Balsamic glaze with coconut-infused salt, and a pork loin seasoned with the smoked salt. Goodness!Grilled Goodness.JPG

In My Kitchen… are a pair of potholders crocheted by my cousin Jeanne. Their diagonal design is appealing and the thick layers protect my hands and counter tops. I admire folks who do needlework and I can never have too many potholders — especially ones made with love.Potholders

In My Kitchen… are a set of plates for smaller servings, found at a thrift store for a mere pittance. The bubbles in them inspired me to pick up a bottle of bubbly, too. (Prosecco in this case.) Homecomings and thrift store finds are meant to be celebrated!

 

In My Kitchen… are a few things I made between sojourns. A girl’s gotta eat, ya know! (So does The Man Of Few Words.) He doesn’t mind me cooking separate meals. If Mama ain’t happy… :) Take care of yourself while you take care of others.

Blue plate special on a white plate

“Blue Plate Special” for him

Lime Chicken

Pan-Seared Chicken with Makrut (dehydrated lime leaves) for me

Cookies

Cookies for him

Gluten free Dairy free chocolate cake

GF/DF Chocolate Cake for me

Salad

Heirloom Tomato and Romaine Salad (for both of us!)

This post is linked to Sherry’s Pickings. Once a month Sherry features fun reads and cooking ideas from around the world. Click on the link to see for yourself! (You can add your own kitchen antics by the 10th, too.) I’m blessed by ’em all.

Enjoying being In My Kitchen again,

~ Kim

Sushi Break

 

Tom's sushi.jpeg

(Sushi & Saki photographed by my son)

Some folks love Sushi and others can’t stand the thought of it. How do you feel?

I was skeptical at first.

In The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes where I grew up (Minnesota), the “catch of the day” was generally fried in butter with a mound of sliced potatoes (sizzling in butter) served with toast on the side (slathered in butter.) Goodness, I miss lake breakfasts! (And butter.)

Maybe it’s the buttery texture of Sushi that I love? I haven’t tried making it at home yet — and I don’t recommend that you do — unless you have top-grade fresh fish, razor sharp knives, and your kitchen is as antiseptic as a surgical suite. Sushi is not only an art, it’s a matter of strictest hygiene. I admire well-trained chefs who inspire confidence in both.

My first taste of that delicacy was at a sales convention in Baltimore many moons ago. I wanted to appear hip with my “foodie notions” — plus, I really wanted to try it! It was love at first bite.

Ironically, my son & I never did get to take a Sushi break on my last trip home. We had bigger fish to fry — so to speak. :) More on that in a subsequent post.

 

In the meantime, I enjoy making and eating “wanna be” Sushi-style seafood. The fresher, the better. Gotta love the fishermen in my life. :)

I still love every bite.

Wishing you a flavorful summer. Try somethin’ new! And, let me know your thoughts on Sushi.

Enjoying buttery recollections,

~ Kim

Why Life Is Like A Sandwich

sammich-close-up

Life’s been a tad squishy lately. Ever feel that way? Just when you think things are set in stone, black ‘n’ white, and/or definite, fate throws you a curve ball. I tend to compensate for the chaos by constructing sandwiches.

Sandwiches are solid, dependable, infinite in variety, and as creative as your imagination and fridge contents (immediate, too, not counting toaster time) and things feel slightly more “predictable” with a self-made Dagwood in hand. You may not be able to control your circumstances, but you’re in charge of what goes into your mouth.

Pictured above is a flavor combo I fabricated awhile back: sun-dried-tomato turkey with avocado, Dijon mustard, and martini olives on gluten-free toast with sweet pickles. The Pastrami was an afterthought. (Who says you need bread to enjoy a slice of Pastrami?)

The appeal of avocado slices paired with savory turkey felt apropos. Spontaneity won. Take charge of your life — and your food — when things don’t go as planned.backwards-olives

Why is life like a sandwich? Because there are more choices than you realize at times. Make decisions (and sandwiches) that make YOU happy. Even when they’re squishy.

I’m gonna be off the grid again (second trip to Minnesota in two weeks) and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with you a lil’ more regularly when I get back. In the meantime, go make yourself a sandwich. :) Let me know what you come up with, too!

Enjoying the unexpected,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ February 2017

gather

In My Kitchen is the bamboo cutting board featured in this post. (This is the Full Monty, tee hee.) It’s turned out to be quite indispensable, for everything from last-minute herb chopping to slicing & zesting citrus, and more. Functional and FUN — and easy clean-up. Thanks again, Ally, xo!

Truthfully, I thought my kitchen was “stocked”. Or, maybe that’s the mindset I adopted out of necessity these past several years? I’m open to surprises! You never know when one gadget might make your life easier or cooking more inspired.

Thanks, IMK friends and dear friends for SO many innovations and ideas, xo.

funnel-2

In My Kitchen… is a Farberware funnel that matches my “accent” color.

Although I’m not entirely wild about plastic (I miss the beat-up metal funnel I had), the head space indicator has been convenient for measuring homemade stock… beef, pork, chicken, veggie, and shrimp… whatever’s simmering or freezer-bound for future meals. Plus, it’s dish-washer safe. Ditto on easy clean-up.

BTW, I love these “quilted” half-pint jars, too — an ongoing gift from my sister.

rolling-pin-art

In My Kitchen… is a marvelous marble rolling pin with an assortment of table linens (another gift from my aforementioned friend, Ally.) After trying to roll out holiday pie crusts with my wimpy wooden rolling pin, acquired in a hurry (“big box” store shall remain nameless), I informed The Man Of Few Words that I REALLY needed a more substantial one. Frankly, the other one couldn’t put a dent in a ping pong ball! His reply? “Get what you need.” (Gotta love that man.)

Hold out for what you NEED. Be patient, no need to rush things! (You’re clever enough to make do in the meantime.) The right tool will come along when it’s supposed to, and it’ll bless you — and others — if you don’t settle. (Go with your gut… you’ll know “when .”)

Lo and behold TMOFW’s sister & I visited an antique shop a few days afterwards. The first thing I spied when we walked in the door was this green and white marble beauty — with a “stand” no less — for a mere pittance, I might add. Some things are meant to be. YAY!

crystal-contrast-2

In My Kitchen… are two pieces of pressed-glassware with 100+ years of history.

The one in the front held many a pickle, deviled egg, and/or piece of Divinity or Penuche; the one behind housed myriad side dishes. Grandma’s, then Mom’s, now mine.

The “snowflake” design is reminiscent of my home state of Minnesota, but honestly I enjoy serving from them much more In My Kitchen in sunny, WARM Oklahoma. ;)

In My Kitchen… are a few dishes I tried during my “neck problem” phase. (Almost over.)

Great news! Went to the neurosurgeon on Monday; no surgery or injections needed, just continued chiropractic care and EXERCISE…. here’s to a buff 2017. (Hallelujah!)

Working out carefully is worth the effort, especially when there’s a good meal at the end o’ the day — or another spectacular sunset. Worth the wait! (As are the right tools.)

sunset-silhouettes

The glimpses above into my world and kitchen are courtesy of Liz Posmik as she resumes hostessing In My Kitchen following a hiatus during the “busy” season.

Check out the worldwide posts on her sidebar for further inspiration — or add your own by the 10th. Good times!

Enjoying every blessing In My Kitchen and otherwise — YOURS especially,

~ Kim

Life vs. Art (or vice versa)

lobster-2

 

 

Aristotle, Plato, Coleridge, and Freud (et al.) theorized that art imitates life. (Mimesis.) In contrast, Oscar Wilde asserted that life imitates art. (Anti-mimesis.) Whichever view you ascribe to, I’m tickled  when the two converge unexpectedly.

(Or, I may have way too much time to “think” in between, lol.)

Take lobster for breakfast and the ensuing sunset later that day.

 

sunset-2

 

lobster-1

No matter in which order they appeared (truthfully lobster did first; it was on my proposed holiday menu), both were delights. Later as the subsequent color schemes became apparent, I was astounded for obvious reasons. I love when that happens!

Earlier I posted that I was enjoying New Year’s food ideas “after the fact” for necessary reasons. Hooray for recipes with no expiration date! Incredibly — not to mention tastily — I was blessed to make this repast a few days hence for breakfast, followed by a skyline that echoed my JOY at the end o’ the day. No coincidence, I “think”.

Many thanks to Buffalo Gals Antiques for the blue-speckled cornbread baker you blessed me with earlier this year; it’s been versatile beyond that and then some! And, to Ally (Boho gal pal) for the plethora of personal and kitchen playthings you bestowed upon moi, xo.

sunset-1
God has been (IS) so good to me this New Year, on my stove and on my plate. Talk about Comfort Food. (Click on the link for more.) I’m blessed to make dinner — or breakfast — and look out our windows at His grandeur. Tickled to share it with YOU too,  xo.

Enjoying life, lobster at whim, art (food or otherwise), philosophy, and sunsets,

~ Kim