In My Kitchen ~ April 2018

Seared salmon with lime lemon & dill

In My Kitchen…  Spring is in the air with vibrant colors, flavors, and lighter fare. (Pictured above: salmon en papillote with citrus and dill.) Served with fresh rosemary and garlic baby red potatoes and steamed haricot vert, it tasted like Spring on a plate!

In My Kitchen… is a wine-themed towel (a gift from my “Sis”, Candy, xo) that echoes my accent color. Next to it is another “fish dish” (non-edible) that doubles as a cache for The Man Of Few Words’ pocket change and keys, and below it is basket of towels (with fairy lights glowing :) to transform my daily duties into a delight. 

Speaking of which…

Wine tea towel

Tea towel from my choir director (aka “boss”), Louise, xo!

In My Kitchen… (and office… my “second home”) I added a few whimsical touches to personalize my life. Lighthearted attitudes — and surroundings — are contagious. (Another reason to love IMK!)

The candle holder was an “op shop” bargain that mirrored my accent color and matched my office lamp shade. (I love when that happens!) The 18K coffee tin belonged to my Dad and houses his marble collection — family treasures! — and the bluebird of happiness was another gift from Louise. :) No dull  “corners” in my house — or my kitchen!

The wine-colored valance above my kitchen sink was a church store (“op shop”) bargain, too. Its loopy loveliness allows me to see the LAKE through it without obstructing my view. Win/win!

In My Kitchen… are a multitude of cookbooks. One day a lovely elderly lady came to the church store during my volunteer stint, wanting to donate her lifetime collection. She also said she was undergoing cancer treatments and hoped that “someone” would appreciate her cookbooks and use them. How could I NOT respond? I took down her number and drove to her house 45 minutes away a few weeks later. 15 tote boxes to sort through! Mark Bittman? Bon Appetit? Giada? JULIA? Swoon…

What an honor to pass along her love of cooking to benefit those in need. I could only take three totes home with me (there are two more in my trunk!) but her gift will help fund our food shelf for months to come.

In My Kitchen is hosted by Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings. (Thanks, my congenial friend!) Treat yourself to other kitchens worldwide by clicking on her link.

Enjoying the prospect of some mighty tasty cooking — and Spring!

~ Kim

Think Warm Thoughts

Frost 1

When The Man Of Few Words ‘n’ I moved here a decade ago (during the summer), I was looking forward to a respite from the bone-chilling winters I’d previously experienced in Minnesota. New terrain, new seasons to assimilate.

Plus, I knew how to dress warmly.

Surprise, surprise… that winter Oklahoma had record-breaking lows.

Fast forward to 2018. I’ve officially become a weather wimp. Whenever our temps dip below 60º (15.5º C for my Southern hemisphere pals) I’m cold! I’m talkin’: put on a heavy sweater and socks — possibly a pair of ear muffs or a stocking hat (inside) — and throw on two more blankets at night.

Oklahoma hypothermia!

My hardier ancestors would be chagrined.

Frost 2 Lake View

Above is a photo out our frozen front door, but I still find frost beautiful. 

Every season has highs and lows, no matter what the temperature is (inside or out) and/or how many blankets you have to pile on.

Think warm thoughts and experience the JOY of transition.

Enjoying the unprecedented cold front… and hopefully 70º on Sunday, 

~ Kim

New Years Reasons To Smile

Armadillo Risotta with Oven Baked Shrimp Scampi

Recently The Man Of Few Words tripped on his way to work (at 5:00 a.m. in the dark) when his foot caught on an immovable object on our patio. After ascertaining the source of his unexpected imbalance, he cordially offered a greeting: “Hello, armadillo!” It didn’t budge. He finally had to step over it and they both skittered down the drive on their separate ways.

I recounted that story to my son when he arrived in early December and we both chuckled over the odds. Gotta love Okie “critters.” Fast forward to my grocery list.

My son said he’d never tried risotto so I added Arborio rice to my “must haves” intent on making him that wonderfully creamy side dish. Come grocery shopping day, he glanced at the list and asked: “Mom, what’s armadillo rice?”

Frame of reference is everything.

During the past year, I’ve experienced a number of highs and lows in my kitchen and elsewhere (aka: life), but food — really good food — has been a constant source of amusement and solace, not to mention an equalizer in the unexpected chaos. (Sort of like encountering an armadillo in the dark — you never know what to expect — or when.) Have FUN with it!

Enter a newly discovered “online” cookbook… Eating Heart. Goodness gracious, how it spoke my language — family, heart, and SOUL! (With fabulous risotto-making tips, among other things.) My son was pleased with the outcome. I added Shrimp Scampi, for FUN.

To round out the year, I offer a brief glimpse into my tasty existence as of late:

There’s SO much more, but that’s what the New Year is for… Hope. Truth. Inspiration! Will catch up with y’all soon, xo.

Sunset by Tom

Enjoying one or two last sunsets (and really good food) at the lake before 2018,

~ Kim

Sporadic, But Still Inspired

View 2

I never imagined there’d be so many interruptions when I first set out to “blog.” Back in 2011 my plan was to scope out tasty things to cook (and eat!) and share them regularly —  with scenic photos and miscellaneous thoughts to distract you in between lapses. So far I seem to be doing pretty well on the lapses. But, I’m still inspired!

Adapting has become a way of life. Living. Cooking. Eating. Every day is different, and today has been nothing short of glorious.

I feel blessed to state that.

It was “too cold” (for those of you who live in my former home State, 50º — I’ve officially become an Okie, lol)  to open windows and finish painting the kitchen, so I concentrated on stove-top pursuits instead. Beef Stew. Polenta made with homemade chicken stock and a whole lotta love. 50 minutes of stirring beats 50º in my book any day.

I also practiced piano, cleaned the bathroom, started a letter to my pen pal (that’s the beauty of letter-writing; an immediate response isn’t required and interruptions are par for the course), and took photos of my progress. (Distraction is my middle name, lol.)

The light in the next photo knocked my socks off. I love California Olive Ranch EVOO! California Olive Ranch EVOO

Mid-afternoon I treated myself to a heart-warming glass of Australian Cabernet — a gift from a friend — and thought how wonderfully it’ll go with tonight’s dinner. (Thank you.) Sneak peak of my kitchen paint color, too — aptly named: “Autumn Fog.”

Coonawarra Cabernet

Nothing else much to report from the lake, other than wind and waves typical for this time of year. As I said, glorious.

Enjoying what’s left of October,

~ Kim

Rhapsody In Blue VIII

There are two kinds of fishermen on the lake. (Three, counting vicarious photographers.) Not only do we rely on serendipity, we thrive on hope. Here’s to the souls anticipating the “catch of the day” by whatever means.

A few years back, I’d climb down the thirty-foot drop to shore over uneven rocks and toss in my “hook, line, and sinker”. These days I have to be cautious about my balance — particularly my inner balance. While I may not be able to do what I “used to”, it doesn’t deter me from having fun.

Life is a series of compromises.

Figuring out the best one for you — sometimes daily — requires a knack similar to fishing, a small dose of humility, a huge dose of gratitude, and a heapin’ helpin’ of self-awareness and self-acceptance. For now, “watching” suits me just fine.

South side

Ever had to give up an integral part of yourself (temporarily or permanently) to deal with “life”? How did you cope? Did you have fun? Do tell.

Enjoying uncompromising pleasure,

~ 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

 

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