In My Kitchen ~ November 2018

In My Kitchen… this Hungarian paprika trio was an unexpected gift from a friend who toted them from Budapest to Oklahoma. (Thanks, Louise!) My family hails from the “Old Country” and I’m thinking goulash.
In My Kitchen… these antique “butter knife rests” (think Downton Abbey‘s table) were an unexpected find at the church store. Another friend pointed them out to me and all I could say was “sold!” — and thank you. The Man Of Few Words and I are celebrating our anniversary this weekend and it’ll be fun to surprise him with an elegant dinner. Speaking of which…

In My Kitchen… he surprised me with two bouquets!

This post is part of Sherry MacKay’s monthly In My Kitchen series, where there’s always something unexpected. Go take a look for yourself! Enjoying roots and wings, ~ Kim

Peaceful Places

Autumn brings out the playful side of me. Although I could easily become a hermit sequestered on our scenic slice o’ the planet (understandably so), Lake Eufaula has many scenic wonders to behold.

One peaceful place on my bucket “must-see” list is Carlton Landing — Oklahoma’s newest town. Not only does the drive offer a lovely meander through the woods with amusing Burma Shave-style signs along the way, their view from Ridgeline Park is spectacular. So is their ongoing expansion. (Click the link above for more details.)

Several phrases that come to mind are: “family-friendly”, artists’ and architects’ dream, and nice folks.

Did I mention pizza?

Carlton Landing is also home to Mama Tig’s Wood Fired Pizza. Oh my! Their gluten-free crusts are totally worth the drive, not to mention their extensive variety of gourmet and traditional toppings. And whenever I’m feeling “hermit-like”, their food truck (with a pizza kiln) is conveniently parked in downtown Eufaula on Friday night five minutes away. Pinch me…

Or, pull up a chair and enjoy!

Enjoying nearby peaceful places,

~ Kim

Arancini Adventures

Arancini (pronounced arrrr-un-cheeni — roll that “r” like a pirate!) are cheese-stuffed rice croquettes from Italy. A friend from In My Kitchen recently chronicled her escapades in the Mediterranean — thanks, Debi — including a photo of Arancini and I couldn’t resist their allure any longer. Game on!

Speaking of games, I love to play Scrabble. It was time to combine that old favorite with a potential new one, and after researching a few recipes I set out on my Arancini Adventures.

The first challenge was a lack of Mozzarella in our fridge, but I had a bag of Italian five-cheese blend left from an ‘Italian’ dish I’d made for The Man Of Few Words the other night. Out of necessity (and/or desperation) I squeezed that shredded cheese into stuffable-size “balls.” Not quite as authentic as Mozzarella cubes, but I’ve been known to do things the hard way.

The next obstacle was Italian bread crumbs. All I had in the pantry were plain, and gluten-free to boot. I wondered if they’d yield the golden, deep-fried results I hoped to achieve? FYI, folks in the South aren’t squeamish about dunking food in hot oil and there’s a first time for everything — plus, I’m blessed with low cholesterol. A sprinkle of garlic powder and a tablespoon of Italian seasoning transformed them into “Italian” bread crumbs in no time at all.

As for leftover rice, I keep it on hand in the fridge at all times. I could very happily live on beans and rice for the rest of my life! But, today’s stash was destined to become Arancini. However, there’s no need to go to as much trouble as I did; see the recipe below. 

Arancini

(recipe adapted from Just A Taste — grazie!)

1 cup cooked sticky white rice (Uncle Ben’s was specified; I used “plain white”)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 large eggs

4 cubes fresh Mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Italian-style bread crumbs

Oil for frying

Marinara sauce for dipping

  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan or deep fat fryer to 375 F.
  2. Meanwhile combine rice, Parmesan, and 1 egg. Use your hands to mix.
  3. Form the Arancini by squeezing 1/4 portion of the rice mixture around each Mozzarella cube.
  4. Whisk remaining egg in a bowl, dip the Arancini into it, then roll in Italian breadcrumbs. Shake off excess and set aside.
  5. When oil reaches 375 F, fry two Arancini at a time, turning frequently until golden brown.
  6. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining Arancini.
  7. Serve with warmed marinara sauce. (Or, a glass of Prosecco… heavenly!)

Loving appetizer adventures — authentic or not,

~ Kim

Chocolate Musings

Emergency Chocolate

Writing is chocolate for the soul.

I penned those words nearly ten years ago and I still abide by them.

(Hope you can zoom in on the instructions on my Emergency stash — now an empty box — but hey, some things are worth keeping, including decade old words.)

Lakegirl mug

Now that I’m officially a Lakegirl (woohoo!) I’ve had time to reflect on life and how I’m living it.

Make every day count. Do what makes you happy!

But, serve others with JOY — even if it’s via a random post — or chocolate. ;)

Enjoying LIFE at the lake,

~ Kim

My Ideal Day II

Boy Bouquet

It’s been nearly six years since I posted “My Ideal Day” (for a glimpse of my former frolics click here) — maybe because every day has been close to ideal? Not that life has been all fun and games since then, but I’ve done my best to prevail with a SMILE. Do what makes you happy. Pictured above is the “Boy Bouquet” I gave my beloved. :)

A kiss good morning and a cup of coffee are all I need to ignite my day. 

Make that three kisses. That’s been our tradition ever since TMOFW & I got married 17 years ago and the same applies to “goodbye.” Establish your comfort level for affection early on and don’t settle for less. Take care of yourself!

I’ve been doing just that since I arrived home again after two weeks in Minnesota. (Thank you all for your condolences.) The other night I made “Giada’s” Asparagus & Tomato Fritatta; the next day it was a wilted Chef’s Salad ala “moi.” Healthy eatin’, one day at a time.

I’m grateful for such a peaceful place to regroup, too. Every time I look out our front door, I smile. Ahhh…

Deck sitting has been mandatory. View Out Our Front Door

Getting back to my recent Ideal Day… it involved time to write, think, coffee, and a glass of wine or two.

(And a cute sun dress.)

I also promised TMOFW that I wouldn’t pluck his two prized early blooming beauties below to make Fried Green Tomatoes. :) Patience…TMOFW's tomato plants

Life’s been good at the lake lately.

Actually, it’s been dang near ideal every day. (Thank you, God!)

Enjoying re-booting once again,

~ Kim

The Bluebird of Happiness

Bluebird of Happiness.JPG

I recently spent hours online — okay, minutes because I’m blessed with the gift of reading extremely fast — researching the term: “the bluebird of happiness.” We have bluebirds here and most of the definitions I found applied. (Feel free to Google it or “ask Alexa.”) The one above may be an indigo bunting indigenous to our area or a Mountain or Eastern Bluebird, depending on your reference materials and/or knowledge of all things Audubon. It still made me happy seeing it!

The Man Of Few Words snapped that pic while I was gone on another unexpected  extended stay in Minnesota. (By now you probably know that my Mom passed away.)  Thank you for your sympathy. I’m moving forward in spite of that loss — life is short and we only have one “go round” on the planet — make the most of yours!

A few other snaps TMOFW took of “wild life” at the lake while I was gone…

The bathing beauties on the paddle board were courtesy of our lake neighbors :) — the rest were provided by Mother Nature.

Enjoying re-acclimating to the Life at the Lake at last,

~ Kim

What makes YOU smile? Do tell!

Friends

Court Bouillon

The Court Bouillon pictured above was a mix of several recipes and what I had on hand. Thank you, Alton Brown, Epicurious, and Genius Kitchen! Revisiting a recipe (and variations thereof) is a lot like visiting with old and new friends. Everyone contributes to the conversation with flavorful, memorable results.

My goal — besides feeding myself — was to use up some of the fish in our freezer. Thanks to TMOFW’s prowess with a fishing rod and patience with our fickle lake, the poached bass fillet that resulted was near nirvana. (Sorry, no photo.) As Forrest Gump once quipped: “You never know what you’re gonna get.”

The same applies to thrift store treasures.

Old friends

I arrived at The Mission yesterday intent on serving others and ended up coming home blessed with two “old friends.” I love it when the Universe smiles!

This stainless steel skillet features a copper clad bottom (also not pictured, nor its handle, ha!) and it was a favorite saute’ pan in my previous life. Diminutive in size — 7″ or so — it delivered BIG flavor in small batches and clean up was a breeze. What a JOY to rekindle an old friendship.

The cake stand behind it was another “find.” I don’t bake very often these days due to my allergies (dang it!), but when I do I like to present my oven lovin’ with a lil’ flair.  Serving pieces are like a spectacular pair of earrings adorning an outfit. Go for the BLING! Speaking of which…

Hummer feeder

Our hummingbirds are due back soon and our weather-worn, faded plastic feeder was in sore need of replacing. Bling! I call our new one “The Jewel of the Lake.” :)

Do what makes you happy.

Last, but not least…

New friends and old continue to make my world go ’round. I love you all!

Enjoying treasures,

~ Kim