Gray Areas

 

Just when I think life is black & white, gray catches me by surprise. An unexpected mix. A pause.

However, pauses provide perspective.

In lieu of this month’s In My Kitchen post, I’m pausing to pray for those who lost everything during the recent tropical cyclone in Australia. When you have nothing, every prayer helps. Please join me. (For more info, click on the link above.)

Pondering gray areas,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ March 2017

In My Kitchen… my cookware collection grows one “find” or treasure at a time. Most of ’em pre-date me by 50 years, but I’m partial to oldies but goodies. ;)

The Guernsey Cooking Ware casserole above (circa 1900’s) was a fixture in my Grandma’s kitchen for baked beans or side dishes, plus it transferred easily from oven-to-table with its wooden-handled, woven-metal trivet. I made a Tater Tot “Hot Dish” in it recently (a Minnesota thang) and my hubby loved it. I loved using it.

In My Kitchen… is a Savory Jr. Roaster — spied and swiftly acquired. With its recessed underside providing indirect heat (thus avoiding the dreaded “dry” roast), Savory Roasters of every size were hailed by housewives from Maine to California circa 1910 as the preferred roaster. History here.

In My Kitchen… is another blessed find. A Descoware Dutch oven made in Belgium. Its sunny yellow color and size appealed to me immediately, so I brought it home and started researching.

Wonder of wonders, their company was subsequently bought by Le Creuset (swoon) and Julia Child featured Descoware on her show The French Chef. (Double swoon.)

In My Kitchen… is this marvelous copper-lid All Clad saucepan rescued at a local thrift shop. It took a bit o’ elbow grease to restore it to its former glory, but it was a steal for less than $10. (They retail for over $200 at Williams & Sonoma.) The copper core keeps finicky foods and sauces from sticking or scorching and it’s an absolute JOY to use. Plus, it “cleaned up nice” (a Southern thang).

Speaking of oldies but goodies, my blog is celebrating a birthday in March. Me, too. Can it really be six years? Going on sixty… next year?! Thanks for witnessing both. Truthfully, neither of us feels old…er.

As for good things, please stop by Liz Posmik ‘s blog for more In My Kitchen inspirations, or add your own culinary frolics by the 10th.

Enjoying oldies but goodies,

~ 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

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

In My Kitchen ~ October 2016

ramekins-and-grater

In My Kitchen (at last) I’m HOME. (Hopefully for longer than I’ve been this year.)

My sister used to tease me that I liked anything “shiny, sparkly, pretty, ooooh, ahhhhh.” Guilty as charged. She and I amused many a shopkeeper with our audible admiration. “Shiny, sparkly, pretty, ooooh, ahhhhh” is FUN to say out loud… try it!

I do like baubles… In My Kitchen and otherwise. Especially when they combine form and function. Take this mini-grater (above) to zest citrus, shave grated cheese atop pasta & salads, and/or sliver garlic when I’m not in a “smashing” mood. (I’m soooo in need of TLC… so is my garlic.) You already know how I feel about ramekins., lol. :)  The more, the merrier!

antique-treasires

In My Kitchen… are antique treasures. (Grandma’s flour sifter, scoop, and the cutest lil’ salt & pepper shakers with their matching toothpick holder… not quite as “shiny” but I love their patina and memories.) Grandma had a mega-flour bin — a pull-out, tin-lined cupboard that accommodated a 50-pound bag of flour!

I loved watching her scoop “just the right amount” of flour (without measuring) and shaking her sifter to make homemade kolaches, cinnamon rolls, and bread.

As for the S & P shakers and toothpick holder, they were fixtures on her stove-top. Now, they’re fixtures on mine.

replacements

In My Kitchen are replacements… or rather, a flatware pattern that I liked so much thanks to a church friend who gifted us with a set of four after our fire (hate to bring that up again, but it’s been a reality I’m dealing with til 11/11/2016 when our insurance claim runs out.) Two years… can it be?! Basic utensils are overlooked.

I love ’em! (And my stove and fridge, thanks to YOU… gratitude and hugs.)

My culinary life, health, and HOPE wouldn’t be what it is without ’em!

In My Kitchen… are these aprons. Rick-racked trimmed ala Grandma. You have no idea how much these recent additions mean to me. (Or maybe you do.)

I’m SO grateful for replacements — “treasures” — IMK friends, xo! Hopin’ to get around to everybody’s posts in the next few days as time & unpacking allows.

Many thanks to Celia and Maureen (former hostesses of this monthly forum) and Liz, author of Good Things (our new hostess with the most-est) for sharing your immutable, affable IMK spirits as you adapt to LIFE. (Goodness, aren’t we all?) I love that about this place! Thanks for being “real.” If you’d like to read more IMK posts or share your own kitchen frolics, please contact Liz at the link above by the 10th.

Enjoying being In My Kitchen once again….

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ September 2016

In My Kitchen… I’m not in my kitchen.

Three weeks ago I was catapulted into care-taker mode again, and it’s likely I’ll be here equally as long or longer. (Sorry I can’t give any details, but I can tell you about the food.) Unfortunately I left in such an all-fired hurry that I forgot my camera!

Oh well… you know me and words. ;)

Today I made Wolfgang Puck’s Chicken Pot Pie. Imagine the slow-simmered aroma of chicken and veggies with a hint of thyme, graced with a glug of velvety heavy cream, topped with a butter-laden, Cheddar-studded crust that baked up SO golden King Midas would covet it. Oh my!

Then there was homemade pizza night. Pizza 1: Canadian bacon with diced fresh pineapple under a thick blanket of melted Mozzarella atop artisan herb flatbread. Pizza 2: Italian sausage, sliced Soppressata and grape tomatoes, torn fresh basil, and grated Pecorino Romano with garlic-herb goat cheese on a gluten-free crust. (That’d be mine, swoon…) BTW, I used Muir Glen Organic Tomato Herb Sauce on both (win/win) for lack of time to make my own.

Other tasty contenders were homemade sweet & sour pork with fried rice and “potato pancake” egg foo yung; whiskey & black pepper pork tenderloin with smashed Yukon gold potatoes; Gouda grilled cheese sandwiches; Windsor pork chops with mashed potatoes and creamed peas; cheese boards with fresh fruit, crackers & charcuterie, and repeated requests for poached eggs on toast.

Cooking has been therapeutic for all concerned. ;)

I’m looking forward to perusing more IMK escapades with photos on our hostess Maureen’s website following the summer hiatus. Come visit or join us by the 10th to discover a planet-full of kitchen fun! Home is where the heart (or stove) is, xo.

Enjoying cooking in temporary surroundings… again,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ June 2016

Smoked Salmon Mousse and Wilton replacements

Sometimes all it takes is one photo to encapsulate my state of mind (and everything else) In My Kitchen… a combo of the old and new. But then, isn’t that what life (and IMK) are all about? Integrating your past with your present.

Pictured above: Smoked Salmon Mousse (recipe coming soon) on cucumber slices with dill from my fledgling herb garden (!) served on a mid-1950’s tray after my recent foray to Minnesota, plus a Wilton tip (or two) to pipe the filling.

2-4-1 bonus!

The point of this brief essay (bearing in mind that our hostess, Maureen, is still recovering from back surgery and our next IMK isn’t slated ’til September) is this:

Live life to the fullest and tastiest to the best of your ability. Get what you need (or can afford) to make it happen, or throw a few relics into the mix just for fun. And never, ever look back. Forward momentum people!

Make each day and meal your own, even if it only consists of appetizers. (Make ’em just for you!) Eat what YOU WANT to keep you happy and forward moving.

If you’d like to join (or peruse) this world-wide gathering of Kitchen-philes, please see Maureen’s In My Kitchen side bar (or post your link) by June 10th.

Enjoying eating smoked salmon by the pound ;),

~ Kim