In My Kitchen ~ Spring 2019

In My Kitchen… this salad was SO tasty I want to eat it again soon. A new restaurant opened nearby and everybody raved about their food. Of course I had to go see for myself to “read their menu” (aka: I was hungry and ready for someone else to cook for me) but lately my dining out adventures have been limited by my food allergies. (Hold the croutons and cheese, please!)

Imagine my surprise and delight to find a perfectly grilled salmon filet atop a bed of crisp greens, red pepper strips, grape tomatoes, and black beans accompanied by a wonderful lime vinaigrette. The first thing I said after I got home was: “They sure know how to make a vinaigrette!” (So does Chef Mimi — more below.)

In the meantime I was thrilled to find a local eatery that respects my limitations. (More on that below, too.)

In My Kitchen… I’m ready to dive into Spring and yet another salad: Chef Mimi’s “favorite.” Yes, I realize that favorite recipes are subjective and oft relegated to the dubious best-ever category, but her sense of flavor and texture are spot on in my experience. Her recipe also included ingredients I had on hand, except for the red cabbage. I sorted that out of a “coleslaw kit” before I served it to The Man Of Few Words for supper. (Call it hands-on cooking — I’ve resorted to it more times than I can count when our local grocery store was out of a particular ingredient — and two meals out of one ain’t bad.)

FYI, I also substituted brown rice for the barley. Mimi said that was okay — use whatever combination works for you. DO try her vinaigrette though. It was tantalizing! Still enjoying the rest on spinach salads and such.

Click on the link above for her recipe.

In My Kitchen… my cousin Jeanne and her husband Ken (who’ve hosted me on my many treks to Minnesota) arrived for an overnight stay. She presented me with some “bowl cozies” to keep our soup and cereal  warm (or cold) courtesy of her quilting scraps, and a crocheted potholder, too. What a treat to be the recipient of such handmade love! We enjoyed catching up on the deck and munching on appetizers in front of the lake before I served supper. Thank you, xo!

In My Kitchen… is an Irish Apple Cake I’ve made many times. NOTE: the original recipe may have included a lil’ Irish (whisky instead of vanilla) but it’s just as good without the “heritage.” The crunchy top layer is a lovely prelude to the moist, spice-laden cake below and it keeps well and freezes well, too.

Irish Apple Cake (recipe courtesy of my friend, Denise W.)

1/4 c. butter, softened

1 c. sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla (or whisky…)

2 c. diced peeled Granny Smith apples

1/4 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (I used less because mine was freshly grated)

1 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease an 8″ square baking pan. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat again. Add apples and nuts.

Combine dry ingredients; mix in with a wooden spoon. Mixture will be thick. Spread evenly into prepared pan and bake 45 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.

Remove from oven, cool on a wire rack, and cut into squares.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. (TMOFW says it’s “just right” plain. :)

Sherry MacKay of Sherry’s Pickings has more In My Kitchen adventures to connect your global hearts and kitchens ever since she took over from her predecessors — Celia, Maureen, and Liz. I’m grateful to all of them for the FUN and friendship — not to mention helping re-establish my kitchen four years ago — but, having said that…

I’ve finally decided that IMK fits best into my life quarterly rather than monthly. Welcome to the Spring edition! For now I have everything I need. It’s also Autumn “Down Under” (where Sherry hails from, as do many of the participants), but Spring has sprung here — and in my heart. I’ve put off too many writing deadlines during the past five years and hopefully you can see how colorful my life has become now. It’s time to make that leap of faith…

Whether you’re looking for food, flavor inspirations, or the latest kitchen gadgets, IMK is a reliable source. Thank you all! As for me, I’ll be back with more thoughts soon. Maybe in a letter? Meanwhile enjoy this glimpse of my surroundings, xo.

Enjoying salads, writing, and possibilities,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ March 2019

In My Kitchen… I’m desperately trying to get used to a new computer. (Apologies for my lack of reply on previous posts — it’s been a long three weeks.) Despite not being able to find photos where they once were,  volumes of writing relegated to “obsolete” files and general mayhem, I’m still having FUN. Isn’t that what life is all about? If I can do it, anyone can! Here’s to learning something new.

Meanwhile I acquired a few more kitchen essentials — never mind stating I’ve almost reached my limit. Along came this Aroma multi-purpose vessel in pristine condition. Cook, steam, bake, fry, woohoo! Although it isn’t their latest digital version, it works. I also added two salad bowls, a trio of stainless steel ramekins, and a few more meals for The Man Of Few Words and moi.

In My Kitchen… is a quintet of California Olive Oils. To me, they’re like good wine. Their flavor only improves with age. My hubby has also gotten used to my “experimenting.” :)

In My Kitchen… another dear friend asked when I was going to finish my story about Minneapolis. Here ya go, Stan!

Minneapolis is special to me because of so many “firsts” there: First symphony concert. First taste of good wine. (Gotta love those wine-tasting parties in the ’80’s.) Dedicating the plaza at Orchestra Hall to the strains of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man.” (Yes, I actually went to band camp three times; I was also privileged to perform onstage there and shake Hubert Humphrey’s hand.) First walkabout with my son in Minneapolis’s one-of-a-kind skyline (a big thrill for this small town girl) — Brit’s Pub was our favorite haunt with its rooftop seating, lawn bowling, and stellar menu –food or otherwise. (Mary Tyler Moore’s nearby statue was also a mandatory stop — life is so much better when you throw your hat in the air and do the “twirl!”) First dueling piano performance. First train ride from the Mall Of America to “downtown.” First of many late-night airport pickups when I was in caretaker mode and winter was in full swing (-50 below zero) and our only thought was how to survive the two-hour trip back home. (Walking about was not an option!) I soooo don’t miss the snow and cold. I could go on, but you get it. Great city. Great memories.

Please feel free to click on or join Sherry’s monthly frolics to peruse posts from around the world for more In My Kitchen adventures. Next up…  Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup with Fresh Rosemary, Thyme, and Granny Smith Apples. (Will let y’all know how that turns out with a few tweaks.) Be adventurous. Learn something new!

Enjoying old memories and new recipes,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ February 2019

In My Kitchen… things have been more verbal than visual these days. My camera is always at the ready, but I tend to eat the evidence (winter survival mode?) or talk about food rather than take photos. One day I felt artsy and compelled to snap a picture of the vintage serving plate I recently acquired at the church thrift store. (Loved the light and shadow!) Truthfully, I’ve nearly reached my limit for kitchen paraphernalia to “show and tell” but one can always use another serving plate. :)

In My Kitchen… I’m blessed to eat good food. What constitutes “good food?” Flavors that make your soul smile. Dishes you want to share. Recipe requests!

Most days I cook on a wing and prayer, depending on what’s in my fridge, freezer, or pantry, and/or how “artsy” I feel. (Generally they defy description, but feel free to ask.) Above are a few of my flavor inspirations. Be sure to click on the link to Sherry’s Pickings to peruse other kitchens around the world or add your own adventures. Always something new thing to learn there! Make your soul smile.

BTW, my intention to “write” more than once a month (recently announced on FB) is still in force. More to follow,  xo.

Enjoying artsy moments and good food,
~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ January 2019

This month our In My Kitchen hostess — Sherry Mackay of Sherry’s Pickings — deemed January as IMK Lite, so I’m cutting to the chase…

In My Kitchen… these five-bladed scissors (above) are a delight for snipping herbs. Downsizing dill has never been so speedy!

In My Kitchen… is a long-waited dishwasher. The one that came with our house was twenty years old. It quit in October. A repairman was called and the earliest he could come was November. Parts were ordered, but one was out of stock and Thanksgiving came and went. By early December I was frustrated, although I didn’t mind washing dishes by hand and the old dishwasher served nicely as “the world’s largest dish draining rack.” The week before Christmas I cancelled the service order, bought this one, and The Man Of Few Words installed it in less than two hours — including replacing the floor under it. (Apparently the old girl had been leaking for awhile.) Long story short: I’m blessed by my hubby’s ability to fix anything and the new dishwasher works great.

In My Kitchen… are two ceramic-coated skillets to match a lil’ one I got last year. Scrambled eggs slid right out of it and my other non-stick pans needed replacing. There you have it!

For more global gadgets and ingredients, click on the link to Sherry’s blog (top o’ the page) and discover a world of FUN and flavor.

Enjoying brevity,

~ Kim

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

In My Kitchen ~ October 2018

Thanks to the International Dateline, it’s October in Australia when it’s still September in Oklahoma. Since October is my favorite month I thought, “Why not revel in it ahead of schedule?” I love having an extra day to play.

In My Kitchen… chocolate covered espresso beans from Nuts.com keep me happy — and peppy. (Limit 2-3 per day.) I often joke that my blood type is “C” for chocolate and caffeine.

In My Kitchen… heartwarming side dishes such as German Potato Salad have begun to grace our table now that the weather has finally turned cooler. The oval baking dish once belonged to my Grandma. Never mind that it’s still in the upper 80’s yet — in Oklahoma, that is cooler weather.

Orange Marmalde Toast

In My Kitchen… this Orange Marmalade from France (discovered at a local grocer’s of all places!) is not too tart, not too sweet. “Juuust right” as Goldilocks once declared. I love it on toast or straight out of the jar — especially with a good cup of coffee.

In My Kitchen… is another Grandma treasure. I brought her antique coffee grinder home with me over two years ago, but it’s been languishing in a cupboard ever since for lack of a sturdy place to mount it. (Such are the joys of living in a house with paper-thin walls…)

The other night while I was at choir rehearsal, The Man Of Few Words decided to surprise me by fashioning an “adapter” for it: a rustic-looking chunk of wood from one of his many projects. Imagine my gratitude — and huge wave of sentimentality — for his thoughtfulness.

Coffee has never tasted so sublime.

In My Kitchen… October is officially here and I’m ready to celebrate every moment… ahead of time.

In My Kitchen is a monthly gathering hostessed by Sherry Mackay of  Sherry’s Pickings, who happens to live in Australia and who cordially invites kitchen-lovers around the world to share their food, frolics, and finds. Click on her website above to access the link-up whether you wish to participate or just take a look-see!

Enjoying slightly cooler weather,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ August 2018

Oklahoma rocks

Greetings from Oklahoma, at long last. It’s been awhile since I’ve played in this forum and I’m tickled to be here. I’m also looking forward to catching up with you!

In My Kitchen… I’m celebrating the continuity of daily life. Simple things like setting up the coffeemaker for The Man of Few Words’ 4:15 a.m. wake-up call or planning meals for his return at the end of the day bring me profound JOY. Some may consider that mundane, but I’m reveling in the “routine-ness” of it all after being at the mercy of my phone for the past five years and/or living out of a suitcase for months on end. I’m finally home.

Canister set

In My Kitchen… a few essentials found their way into my repertoire, such as this stainless steel canister set — another thrift store bargain — brand new in the box! Previously I would’ve filled them with flour and sugar, etc., but these are destined to store rice: arborio, basmati, brown, and jasmine. (I keep my coveted wild rice stash in the freezer to preserve its “nuttiness.” You can take the girl out of Minnesota, lol…)

I also invested in a lethal-looking vegetable cleaver in hopes of bringing my knife skills up to “chef speed” someday, but right now preserving my piano playin’ fingers is a higher priority. I love looking at it though. Gorgeous! (Michael Symon, please help?)

In My Kitchen… healthy food is also a priority. I came home packing extra pounds (argh) and I’m determined to shed them a.s.a.p! Thank goodness for the generous gardeners willing to share their produce. Next year I hope to be among the givers instead of receivers, but I’m grateful for the thoughtful folks who do. (Thanks, Rosie!) In the meantime, I enjoyed every bite of this Tuna Salad Stuffed Tomato.

Tuna Salad Stuffed Tomato.JPG

Earlier on FB (during an infrequent attempt to let y’all know I was still alive & kickin’) I mentioned my “Crunchy Chicken Salad.” I promise to post that recipe soon! This was just your basic tuna, mayo, celery, and onion concoction — but oh, soooo good in a homegrown red ripe tomato.

Butterfly butter dish_01.JPG

In My Kitchen… is this beautiful butterfly butter dish — a surprise gift from my son. Tom drove me home from Minnesota and stayed for a few weeks, during which time we attended a grand opening of a friend’s store. (Sparkle & Rust in Stigler, Oklahoma — YAY, Cyanne!) What a delightful venue. I’ll be back…

Speaking of being back, I’m thrilled to be In My Kitchen again, in more ways than one. Many thanks to Sherry’s Pickings for hostessing this world-wide roundup. Always a pleasure to join you, my dear! If you’d like to see more or post your own adventures, please click on the link above.

Enjoying being home and being “me”,

~ Kim