In My Kitchen ~ March 2021

In My Kitchen… the only new thing I’ve acquired lately is a potholder. I liked it’s cheerful colors — and more importantly, its message. Hope it brings joy to you, too!

Gratitude is up to us. Blessings, not so much. Wherever and however they’re dispensed is beyond our control, but I’m thankful for each and every one of them — even something as unexpected as a potholder at the Dollar General store in their clearance aisle section. Kitchen “cheerleaders” are welcome anytime. Bonus points for the bargain price.

If you’re in need of a lil’ cheering up too, please visit my friend Sherry MacKay at http://sherryspickings.blogspot.com/2021/03/in-my-kitchen-march-2021.html for more blessings from around the world. Her In My Kitchen posts and those from her participants (via easy access links) continue to tickle my fancy, even when I don’t participate regularly. Plus, they’re just plain fun! Lots of good ideas, great writing, photos, recipes, and more. Just click on her link above. Thanks, Sherry and all y’all!

In My Kitchen… I haven’t been very “vocal” lately — not because I don’t have anything to say, but because my simple lifestyle seems almost too good to believe mid-pandemic. (That, or it’s incredibly boring!) Still, I’m grateful for blessings like the ones above — Jammy Eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Apparently, they were a foodie phenomenon a few years back, but I only recently discovered them. Faster than poached eggs with less clean up, they live up to their name in ten minutes or less. The recipe? Bring an inch of water to a boil in a saucepan, carefully add eggs in the shell, cover, and simmer for seven minutes. (More or less, depending on your yolk preference.) Cool under cold running water, peel, and eat. Easy, peasy.

And then there’s this…

In My Kitchen… is Pasta with Broccoli and Goat Cheese. (Pine nuts, too — oh my!) During the past few months (year?!) of my pandemic hibernation, I’ve been reading through my cookbook collection again. What a blessing to see how many recipes I’d tagged, flagged, or Post-It noted for future reference, intending to make them “some day.” Why not now? Here ’tis…

Pasta with Broccoli and Goat Cheese (adapted from Wolfgang Puck’s recipe)

1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. pine nuts

1-1/2 cups good quality chicken stock, store-bought or homemade (I used homemade)

1/2 lb. tiny broccoli florets, cut from the crowns (frozen “steamer” style works in a pinch)

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, plus sprigs for garnish (dried ground thyme works, too)

Freshly ground black pepper (always in stock…)

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (which I left it out due to dairy allergies… but have at it!)

4 oz. goat cheese such as Chevre’, crumbled (all our grocery store had was crumbled)

Kosher salt

12 oz. spaghetinni, angel hair, or other thin dried pasta strands (I used rice noodles)

  1. Fill a large pot with water and add 1 tsp. EVOO. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in a skillet over low heat, stirring constantly until light golden (2-3 minutes); transfer to a bowl to cool.
  2. Bring stock to a boil. Reduce by half (12-15 minutes); set aside.
  3. Heat a large saute’ pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add remaining Tbsp. of EVOO, and broccoli florets. (If using the “steamable” kind, nuke as directed, cool, and drain before adding to skillet — I’ve used both with equal success.) Saute’ for a minute until bright green and crispy. Add reduced stock and bring to a boil. Add thyme, pepper to taste, butter, and goat cheese. Whisk or stir until cheese melts. Taste and salt to taste. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.
  4. Add a Tbsp. of Kosher salt to the boiling water before adding the pasta. Cook until al dente per package directions. Drain and add to the pan of sauce. Toss with a pair of tongs to distribute sauce and broccoli evenly. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Plate, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, garnish with fresh thyme (if using), and ENJOY!

Seriously, it was soooo good I’ve made it three times so far...

In My Kitchen… or just outside, we had an ice storm — typical of Oklahoma this time of year — followed by 10-inches of snow. (NOT typical for Oklahoma.) While I enjoyed the winter wonderland, it meant not being able to drive up “The Hill” for another two weeks. Thank goodness for the blessings of being prepared and being content to be stuck at the bottom once again. I really didn’t mind — especially with such good food.

Make the most of your pantry when life presents obstacles. Re-read a cookbook or two, and/or get creative in your kitchen. Above all, be grateful for your many blessings. They’re everywhere you look.

Even on clearance sale racks.

In My Kitchen… is another potholder I couldn’t resist buying. (It matched my kitchen.) But, ’nuff said. Have a good day — no, a GREAT day! Praying you’re safe and well, xo.

Enjoying unexpected blessings,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ December 2020

In My Kitchen… this fish trio ended up on top of our freezer to make room for the Christmas tree. (I couldn’t help but dress them up a bit to include them in the festivity.) Although the freezer isn’t located In My Kitchen per se, it’s an integral part of our daily meals, faithfully storing stock, vegetables, meat, and more at sub-freezing temperatures. I’m so grateful for its silent, stalwart convenience.

The hostess of In My Kitchen (Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings) encouraged us to include curveballs now and then — things beyond the usual cooking goodies and gadgets. My contribution is “O Fish-mas Tree…” :) For more holiday kitchen fun around the world, please click on her link (in bold) above.

Merry is as merry does.

In My Kitchen… it’s out with the old and in with the new… coffee-maker, that is. Our “modern” one quit on Thanksgiving Day, and my ol’ stovetop percolater came to the rescue until a replacement could be acquired. (It also comes in handy when the power goes out.) Yay for coffee-making alternatives!

In My Kitchen (or nearby)… is my lil’ Charlie Brown Christmas tree. This year I added lights and set it in a window to brighten up the world. Hope it did yours.

We could all do with a lil’ more merry!

Enjoying holidays at The Lake,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ November 2020

In My Kitchen… are two Mickey & Minnie Mouse stemless wine glasses from a favorite friend. How timely! This month our In My Kitchen hostess, Sherry MacKay of Sherry’s Pickings, invited us to include “curve balls” in our posts besides the usual kitchen paraphernalia. Don’t you just love lighthearted, good-humored people? FUN!

In My Kitchen… my “best-ie” also sent two Mickey & Minnie shaped silicone trivets. Ditto on fun and lighthearted! Thank you, xo.

In My Kitchen… is an Oklahoma-shaped cutting board that illustrates our State’s unique shape. It’s also handy for charcuterie on the rare occasions our lake neighbors show up. Covid-19 has impacted our “socializing” and our State has been on the news a LOT lately with its rising numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths. Hold your loved ones close — or as close as you can — and celebrate every unique moment.

In My Kitchen… is a Noritake tea cup and saucer I acquired for tea-drinking. Somehow it just didn’t feel right to drink tea out of a coffee mug! Bearing in mind that most of you are entering your hot season, the cooler days here begged for special treatment… a hug in a cup.

In My Kitchen… are bay leaves I ordered from Nuts.com — more than I anticipated! But, they’ll add a lovely flavor to soups, stews, shrimp boils, and whatever else I figure out to use them in, don’t you think?

In My Kitchen … (or just up The Hill…) Autumn has arrived. It’s always been a Season of introspection for me — this year particularly so — and goes to show that some things still remain “the same” amidst change. How lovely to revel in that constant.

In My Kitchen… is one last “curve ball” pic of Life At The Lake — taken after one of my walkabouts. As Yeats wrote: “I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” Be gentle with folks (yourself, especially) during these tumultuous times. Keep following your dreams. Every day is a new adventure!

Enjoying Autumn and wishing you well,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ September 2020

Hello, dear ones. I haven’t participated In My Kitchen for almost a year — not for lack of interest, but for lack of “new” things to show and tell. At this stage of the game I don’t need much, but every once in awhile I run across something interesting. Thank you to Sherry’s Pickings for another opportunity to join in the fun. If you have culinary interests — or if you’re curious — please click on her link above for a global tour of ingredients, storytelling, and delightful folks who love to cook. I discover something new every time I tune in.

In My Kitchen… is/was today’s repast: a Fried Egg Florentine with Crispy Shallots and Goat Cheese. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt inspired to fix something “fancy” for myself, but today was the day. (SO good…) Don’t neglect to nurture you.

In My Kitchen… is a new set of cookware. I wasn’t planning on replacing the old set, but I was frustrated by their strainer-style lids and pour-spout pan edges. A good seal is tantamount to great flavor. One day while I was watching a TV talk show (a rare occurrence) they featured a “deal of the day” — a set of professional-grade Cuisinart pans for a ridiculously low price. Who am I to argue with signs? Did I hit the order button immediately? Nope. I did a lot of research and read the reviews. Hundreds of them.

It’s funny what folks complain about. “Everything sticks.” (Heat up those induction-bottomed pans gradually.) “Too many spots.” (Ever tried a cotton dish towel?) “I only hand wash them.” (It’s doubtful professional chefs take the time — the pans are stainless steel and they clean up just fine in the dishwasher.) “Wish they had clear lids.” Seeing isn’t believing. Trust your instincts — or practice some more. Frankly, I was thrilled with their flat restauant-style lids. Long live the diner days…

Now if I only had more folks to cook for besides The Man Of Few Words ‘n’ me — hello, lake neighbors!

In My Kitchen… is a bottle of Jalapeno Honey. Not only is it great for glazing grilled chicken or pork chops, it also makes for a lovely salad dressing. A splash of white balsamic vinegar and EVOO followed by a drizzle of that golden nectar results in some mighty fine eatin’ without the fuss of making a vinaigrette. Heavenly indeed!

In My Kitchenare other “new” or rediscovered recipes: Kasbah Chicken Skewers (courtesy of Ally’s Kitchen cookbook), fresh-caught Gulf shrimp (before Hurricane Laura hit), and the Best Fluffy, Flakey, Buttery Biscuits Ever thanks to a previous IMK hostess, Maureen Shaw, who said “no need to acknowledge me for the recipe.” Thank you kindly, ma’am, but I like to give credit where it’s due.

Best Fluffy, Flakey, Buttery Biscuits Ever — thanks, Maureen!

(My recipe is for a half-batch; double and cut ’em into whatever shape suits you.)

1 cup all purpose flour

1-1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) cold butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes, plus extra to melt and brush on top before or after baking (see below)

1/3 cup milk

1-1/2 tsp. honey

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender until mixture is pea-sized.

Stir in milk and honey until dough comes together. (Don’t overmix.)

Dump onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times. (I just kneaded it in the bowl — no counters to clean)

Pat with your fingers to about 3/4-inch high. (I saved a step — and more counter cleaning — doing that on the parchment-lined sheet pan.)

Cut with a biscuit cutter, tin can, or glass, but don’t use a seesaw motion as the biscuits won’t be as high — or use a chef’s knife and cut into squares. Optionally, let them rest twenty minutes before baking or not. (I opted for the second option in both cases.)

Separate biscuits 2-inches apart, or 1-inch apart if you like softer edges. (I did and do.) Brush with melted butter if desired. (I waited until the end.)

Bake 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven to a cooling rack and brush tops with melted butter. Serve immediately or cool completely and freeze the rest. Bring on the sausage gravy or breakfast biscuits!

In My Kitchenthings are pretty much status quo since the last time I touched base (thank heavens) — making the most of what I have and whatever we’ve been blessed with — an integral part of IMK. I feel blessed to state that, considering hunger is a huge problem here and worldwide. Feed your family — yourself — and a few other folks while you’re at it. (Please contribute to your local food pantry, too.) Every lil’ bit helps.

Enjoying “new” blessings,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ December 2019

Happy Holidays everybody! Welcome to In My Kitchen (winter edition.) Couldn’t help but festoon my baker’s rack to celebrate the Season and the fabulous bunch of friends I’ve met from all over the world thanks to “IMK.” For a glimpse of their gadgets, goodies, and global adventures, click on our congeinal hostess’s link: Sherry’s PickingsWhether you peek or participate you’ll find a warm welcome.

In My Kitchen… I’m pretty set with cooking implements, other than a serving plate or two. (The better to entertain with, my dears.) Lately I’ve been focusing on ingredients — some for me, some to share with friends — and some The Man Of Few Words keeps sneaking! He’s been very polite about asking (and asking) until I finally told him to “have at it.” Let’s just say I’m a good sport about sharing my chocolate and/or blueberry fig bars, plus the fact he prefers them over his usual snacks is a testament to how good they are, not to mention good for him. Shhh…

It’s doubtful he’ll tuck into my Decaf Ginger Peach Tea, Pad Thai Rice Noodles, Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, or Sriracha sauce (heaven forbid!) but I recently noticed that “my” Sicilian Orange Marmalade has disappeared by the spoonful every time I hear the toaster pop up. Good thing I have jars of Fig Tangerine and Wild Berry (not pictured) on reserve. True love comes in new flavors and sharing is part of the plan. What a blessing to inadvertently introduce someone to a “new” way of enjoying life simply by restocking the pantry to suit me.

And sharing.

In My Kitchen… is the sweetest lil’ teapot. Okay, it probably qualifies as a gadget, but I knew I had to have it the minute I saw it. No more running to the big tea kettle on the stove to refill another cuppa while reading or watching TV. (Some days I feel more ambitious than others.) Nestled in the cute polka dot “bowl cozy” — a gift from my cousin Jeanne, previously pictured — it offers immediate recliner-side relief from the cares of this world. Is there anything more soothing than a cup o’ tea? (And homemade, hand-made love?)

In My Kitchen… is one of my favorite plates. I’m sure I’ve shown it to you before, but it bears repeating: Promise. Peace. Possibilities. Patience. Words to live by.

Words I LOVE and have lived by most of my adult life — even when somebody is sneaking my snacks. :) Happy Holidays!

Enjoying The Reason For The Season,

~ Kim