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

In My Kitchen ~ November 2016

peach-roses-2

In My Kitchen are these peach roses, the third “spontaneous bouquet” to grace our dining room table in a month. The Man Of Few Words surprised me with the first two, and somehow this bundle of JOY ended up in my shopping cart…

I’m thankful to be in my kitchen again.

Celebrate your life!

nuts-com-stash

In My Kitchen is a crazy good assortment from Nuts.com.

The Veggie Chips (front and center) were entirely addictive; so were the Dark Chocolate Turbinado Sea Salt Almonds (movie treat), Ugandan coffee beans (morning treat), Polenta (dinnertime treat), and Dried Sour Cherries (anytime treat). As for their Thai Pineapple Sprouted Trail Mix, it was the perfect combo of “sweet and heat.” Treat yourself!

Thanks to Chef Mimi for sharing her enthusiasm for Nuts.com. I’m glad you did!

loveras-goat-cheese

In My Kitchen… is soft goat cheese from Lovera’s, just down the road in Krebs, Oklahoma. It’s my new “butter!” After trying to no avail to add dairy (the bovine kind) back into my diet, I finally found something to slather on everything from baked potatoes to Bruschetta. Or make this delectable spread.

Although I miss cream cheese, ice cream, heavy cream (basically anything with the word cream in it!) I’m ecstatic to have this to satisfy my creamy cravings.

Sometimes you outgrow old favorites only to discover new ones.

butter-colored-candle-plate

In My Kitchen… is a pale yellow antique plate that’s been in my family for nearly a century. (Sequestered in the back of a cupboard for almost as long…)

Canapés will be pretty served on it when it isn’t serving as a candle holder.

Get out your treasures and use ’em while you can!

lemon-honey-quince-paste

In My Kitchen… are creamed honey with lemon juice (for stirring into tea or making vinaigrette) and quince paste (aka membrillo). A recent issue of Bon Appétit said quince paste was a “trendy” ingredient, not that I follow trends. I discovered these at a Ross Dress For Less store in Muskogee!

You never know when the Universe will smile. :)

Thank you, Liz Posmyk of Good Things for hostessing In My Kitchen. For a fun tour of kitchens around the world visit Liz’s blog for the links or add your own by the 10th.

Enjoying Autumn-hued blessings,

~ Kim

Simple Shrimp Boil

Old Bay mug

Most shrimp boil recipes include corn and potatoes (and sometimes sausage), plus they make enough to feed an army. But, I was cooking for one (that’d be me) and I just wanted the “flavor.” The simpler, the better.

Recently I acquired this Old Bay mug (don’t ya love finds like that?) and I knew all I wanted to fill it with were shrimp and rice. (I’ll save the corn and potatoes for company dinner.)

In the time it took to cook the rice, the shrimp were prepped, simmered, and done — nothin’ else to do except spoon a dollop of each into my mug and eat!

Simple Shrimp Boil

(adapted from recipe #262 in 365 Ways to Cook Fish & Seafood by Charles Pierce… and Old Bay, of course)

3 sprigs fresh parsley (save some for garnish)

2 bay leaves

2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half

2 strips lemon peel

1/2 tsp. black peppercorns

1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning

1 cup water

1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)

1/2 tsp. salt

1 lb. large shrimp in the shell, deveined with tails intact

1 cup cooked jasmine rice (prepared per package directions)

1-2 green onions, including tops, thinly sliced

Place parsley, bay leaves, garlic, lemon peel, peppercorns, and Old Bay seasoning in a piece of cheesecloth (hint: I used a coffee filter) and tie with kitchen twine.

Bring water, wine, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add seasoning “bag”; reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.

Add shrimp; cook until pink and just beginning to “bend.” (Beware of cooking them until they curl into an “O” — it stands for overdone!) Drain well and discard seasoning bag.

Serve shrimp atop cooked rice. Garnish with green onions and parsley. Feel free to add a salad or steamed veggies and warm French bread for a complete meal.

Old Bay seasoning

FYI, I peeled the shrimp before serving and shared half with my hubby. (They made a flavorful shrimp fettuccine Alfredo, but he ate the evidence!)

‘Twas the least I could do after he constructed this to make my life easier.

Simplicity reigns at the lake. Ahhhhh…

Ramp.JPG

Enjoying shortcuts to happiness,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ January 2016

Tea kettle

In My Kitchen… is the cutest lil’ tea kettle. (Makes me happy just looking at it!)

Normally I’m a coffee drinker, but I just can’t do java like I used to past 2:00 p.m. (or a.m.) and believe me, I’ve tried. This recent acquisition was prompted by a boatload of tea (a Christmas gift from a musical friend — thank you, Karen, xo) which I’ve been enjoying ever since…. especially since I got this.

Boiling water “ala saucepan” is no trouble (really), but tea-making and drinking just aren’t the same without a tea kettle. (Plus, I’ve missed “the whistle”… anybody?)

Stash of Tea

In My Kitchen… is an assortment of Stash Tea.

Simply wonderful flavorsherbal, caffeine-free, and/or otherwise — and great for mid-afternoon (or midnight) lulls. Ebeneezer Scrooge wasn’t the only one who suffered from whenever awakenings… but thankfully mine come without ghosts.

Nurture your creative “Spirit” — past, present, or future (or middle of the night) — and Happy 2016 everybody, xo!

Red platter with chocolates

In My Kitchen… is this cranberry-colored platter.

Most of my serving dishes are “basic” white, but every now and then a girl’s gotta play. As for the chocolates, they’re part of a future post (provided I don’t eat the evidence before then, ha!)

Good things come to those who wait, including cranberry-colored platters.

Cooling racks

In My Kitchen… are THREE professional grade cooling racks, woohoo! (Apologies… only two fit in the photo.)

I’ve been using one discount store cooling rack for over a year, juggling TMOFW’s baked goodies (and sometimes having to pry them from the aforementioned), but now I’m thrilled to be able to give his oven treats (and moi) a lil’ SPACE between batches. Repeat after me: NO stress ‘In My Kitchen’… NO stress ‘In My Kitchen’!

Sometimes even the most mundane item can be taken for granted, but please do me a favor and take a quick inventory — then thank God — and hug yourself  for every amenable blessing. Make it a point to INVEST in your cooking efforts in 2016 if you haven’t already — totally worth it — and YOU. (Get what you NEED!)

Red or Green Chili Cookbook

In My Kitchen… is yet another cookbook “gift.” (Thanks, Linda, xo!)

I LOVE spicy food (or perhaps the more apt term is HOT food?!) and I learned loads about what to look for in peppers, how to handle/prep/cook ’em, etc., from this gem of a cookbook. (Fantastic recipes as well!)

Remind me to head for New Mexico again soon, too… I love the landscape there.

In My Kitchen… is/was tangible evidence of the first time I could play “IMK” since the 1st of December (musical obligations, ‘n’ all)prompted by my friend Ally — plus a lil’ reciprocal lovin’ from TMOFW.

Gotta love friends and loved ones who cheer you on!

I don’t know who was more tickled… me with two dozen of each (red and yellow), or my hubby over Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes. Somehow I think it was a win/win situation!

Pen holders

In My Kitchen… (and probably totally inconsequential, but it’s part of “who I am”) are these recently discovered/acquired pen holders.

I can never have enough pens (let alone storage for ’em) and these tickled my soul!

In the foreground is a “handmade in Greece with 24 karat gold etchings vessel” (purchased at our church thrift store for a dime — I love that place!) The other is an obscure (unknown origin) jade green pottery/pattern/piece reminiscent of ancient China. (Don’t care if its “authentic” or not — loved the shape and color — $2 at a local antique shop!) The better to write to you, my dears.

Forget Me Not Dove

Last, but not least, In My Kitchen… is my wish for you for the New Year: PEACE!

The dove (above) arrived in the mail with Christmas greetings infused with Forget Me Not seeds to replant later — an unexpected gift from Carol, a Pampered Chef consultant whom I’ve only “met” online (like many of you) who’s been instrumental and entirely helpful in re-stocking my my kitchen during the past year. (Again, like many of YOU!)  How nice, xo.

I feel so blessed… hopeful… thankful… and peaceful as we start 2016. Things are finally starting to look, feel, and COOK “normal” around here. (Yay!) Thanks, too, to Fiona (Tiffin) for the 2016 IMK calendar (LOVED IT!) and to Celia for the gorgeous Swarovski “angel” bookmark. (DITTO.) Hugs back!

This month’s In My Kitchen adventures are brought to you by Maureen at The Orgasmic Chef (same great fun, new hostess), with many thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for getting the proverbial ball rolling (and to Maureen for stepping up to the PLATE, literally.) Thanks, ALL … and Happy New Year!!!

Enjoying worldwide blessings and IMK always,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ December 2015

It's A Wonderful Life

In My Kitchen… it’s time to CELEBRATE!

This was our Thanksgiving dinner “for two” — lemon & herb roast turkey breast, smoked ham slices, and his ‘n’ hers dressing. His was “Stove Top” — by request — but I always throw in sautéed onions, celery, and homemade stock. (What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him!) Mine was homemade with gluten-free croutons, the aforementioned additions, “Craisins” and pecans. The Man Of Few Words isn’t real wild about cranberries, but I simply must include a few in “my” holiday menu.

I also dolled up some sides (can’t help myself!) — mashed Yukon gold potatoes with cream gravy, sweet potatoes laced with maple syrup, and pumpkin pie topped with whipped white chocolate ganache and orange-glazed pecans. I love combining flavors! I’m also looking forward to “thinking up” something special for Christmas dinner.

In My Kitchen… things are crystal clear. (Most days, ha!)

My sweet friend, Marla, gave me this set of faceted glassware (originally from Canada) and I feel compelled to bless others with her gift of graciousness.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your thoughtfulness, Marla, xo.

In My Kitchen… is an assortment of table linens — from practical to whimsical to sentimental — courtesy of my lovely friend, Ally.

Life (and dinner) are SO much more fun with this colorful selection to PLAY with. :)

They were tucked between another “Ally gift”… a 48-pound box full of cookbooks!

Cookbooks

In My Kitchen… are dinner ideas for days and months to come!

(Truthfully, there were so many cookbooks they didn’t all fit in the picture.)

Thank you very much, my friend, xo. This gift will last all year, and then some.

Coffee Trivet

In My Kitchen… there’s always coffee. (And recently, a coffee-inspired trivet.)

It adds a lil’ pizzazz to our coffee counter, don’t you think?

Whether you’re a java junkie or tea aficionado, a “cuppa” offered with a smile is the perfect warm welcome for impromptu celebrations.

Pecans & Pasta

In My Kitchen… (in the background of the previous photo)  are white chocolate chip pecan cookies — made with Oklahoma-grown pecans.

The cookies are long gone, but I don’t think I’ll run out of pecans any time soon…

I brought home five pounds. (Let the holiday baking begin!)

Stockpot

In My Kitchen… is an 11-quart stockpot. (Yay!)

I’ve been making do with a 6-quart, but it just wasn’t “roomy” enough. This one is suitable for stewing a whole chicken or mega-batches of veggie broth — and, its arrival was most timely — it’s getting chilly here!

Come to think of it, a good-sized batch of chili would simmer nicely in it, too.

Potato Salad in the making

In My Kitchen… (in the aforementioned 6-quart stockpot) some spuds are simmering for another batch of potato salad.

Although potato salad is considered a “summer” food here, TMOFW loves it year-round. (Me, too!)

Potato salad = PARTY!

Recipe Box 2

Last, but not least, In My Kitchen… is a “recipe box” … of sorts!

I was looking for something to house my printed-off recipes and this was the perfect size for file folders — plus, the beautiful carving and patina caught my eye — yes, another thrift store find. Do you have a recipe box? (Or remember writing recipe cards?) Whether you use old-fashioned means or the latest technology, cooking for your loved ones (or YOU) is cause to celebrate!

Please pop in and visit other kitchens around the world (or add your own festivity by the 10th) at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, hostessed by the ever-welcoming Celia.

Enjoying hearth and home… and holiday dinners,

~ Kim

P.S. The next two weeks are “musically crazy” for moi… 3+ evening rehearsals, dress rehearsal, the performance, and a side gig. If  I don’t respond immediately (or in a timely fashion) I WILL get back to you after that! Thanks ever so much for visiting my kitchen… I’m looking forward to visiting yours. Happy Holidays!

Evidence That I Still Cook (and Hugs to Paris)

In the wake of hearts grieving around the world, I have no words — only pictures to prove that I still cook. Sometimes the kitchen is the best place to be to care for loved ones (and yourself), and a satisfying meal at the end of the day — lovingly prepared and shared, is what it’s all about — whether it appears online or not.

During the past year I’ve come to understand life’s disruptions (although certainly not to that extent) and how much “living life” in the present with precious loved ones precludes posting.

If you’re interested in a particular recipe, please ask. (Hover over the photos for descriptions.) Thanks, xo

Praying for Paris,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ October 2015

Good things come in small packages (1)

In My Kitchen… is the sweetest lil’care package. My friend Jeanne Raffetto Tentis (a culinary instructor in Wisconsin and author of Queen Jeanne’s Cuisine) surprised me with this bundle of delights — an antique ramekin, snazzy kitchen towels, and a colorful array of tea light candles. Thank you, xo. Good things really do come in small packages!

Mexican vanilla

In My Kitchen… is a tiny bottle of Mexican vanilla that packs a BIG punch! The aroma is SO heady I’m tempted to unscrew the cap and take a whiff every time I walk by my pantry… ahhhh. (Mostly I save it for baking The Man Of Few Words goodies.) Hooray for cooler mornings! Below are a mini peach & blueberry cobbler (pie?) and a small batch of sugar cookies I made for that man o’ mine. I loooooove Autumn!!! (And obviously him.)

But, part of me wasn’t ready to give up Summer quite yet…

In My Kitchen… are these bold-colored bargains. The swizzle sticks (a parrot, palm tree, cactus, and an owl) are made from the most delicate glass — 25 cents for all four, yay! The beverage napkins were from the “dollar store” and the slice of lime in my ice water was in honor of Celia. ;) It’s fun to change up things In My Kitchen with a lil’ color and flavor — even plain ol’ water.

Speaking of color…

Color Scheme

In My Kitchen (next to it)… are paint swatches. These are the potential candidates for my Garden Room bench. Remember the vote? Tangerine won! (Now to figure out which shade of tangerine.) The colors are more vibrant than they appear (Oklahoma’s summery sunshine ‘n’ all) and their names are as appealing as their hues: Baby Carrot, Savory, Autumn Harvest…

To see other colorful, flavorful kitchen goodies (from small to large) ’round the world please visit Celia’s blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. The links are in her sidebar.

Enjoying seasonal shifts and year-round friendships,

~ Kim