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

Comfort Food IV

History repeats itself, or so it’s said.

On this particular Autumn day I was thinking Comfort Food. Apparently, my mind was on food more than photography. The plated version turned out to be a rather monochromatic affair — further aided and abetted by Oklahoma’s sunshine — but The Man Of Few Words was happy with his supper: breaded pork cutlets, mashed potatoes with Kerry Gold butter, deviled eggs, corn, and coleslaw. He’s also color blind. ;)

My ulterior motive was to eat while it was still hot (foodies everywhere know from whence I speak ) so I snapped a quick photo. While this one may not be worthy of the history books, it sure tasted good.

In researching my vast archives (I’m not exaggerating…), one dish I rediscovered was Neapolitan Meatballs with Ragu. The first time I made it was before the pandemonium… er… pandemic began, in a post entitled An Ode To 2020 and Beyond. Ironically (or prophetically?) I concluded by saying: Enjoying “2020” vision at the lake. I guess we all know how that — and the rest of 2020 — turned out.

Recently I recreated Round Two of that sublime dish over Soft Polenta (instead of pasta) and smiled recalling my previous post’s admonition to “Live life well.” That advice still stands. It also helps to be adaptable when history repeats itself.

Getting back to the pork cutlets, apologies for lack of an “official” recipe… basically I patted the cutlets dry, seasoned them with salt & pepper (S & P), dredged ’em in a mixture of flour, Lawry’s seasoning salt, dry mustard, onion powder, and S & P, dipped ’em in an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1/4 cup water), dunked ’em in bread crumbs seasoned with paprika, and fried ’em for 3-5 minutes per side until golden brown.

For more fun and frolics, feel free to click on the bold “greenish” links within this post. You never know when an actual recipe might show up.

As they say, the rest is history.

Enjoying ongoing Comfort Food,

~ Kim

Pizza Playgrounds

Pizza is a veritable playground.

Just when I think I can’t come up with another flavor combo, voila!

Sometimes I outdo myself…

Here ’tis before it became a “hot mess” (to quote a Southern phrase) — artichoke hearts, olives, toasted pine nuts, and mini-pepperoni slices. Basically, I was cleaning out my fridge, freezer, and pantry, and this is what went into the oven.

Hmmm. What sounds good together?

Better yet, what tastes good together?!

With a lil’ goat cheese for added interest atop a gluten-free crust, my taste buds were intrigued for two days. (Anyone else like leftover pizza for breakfast?) The pine nuts took it over the top… crunchy pizza… YUM.

No matter what life presents, there’s a flavor combo awaiting YOUR ingenuity.

Be creative!

Oh my, YES…

Enjoying pizza playgrounds,

~ Kim

Another Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Sometimes life can become so cluttered we don’t see the beauty in front of us — or we neglect to look for it.

(See that orange leaf on the left? A promise of more colorful days to come.)

After a recent 7″ inch rainfall and the ensuing runoff from the Canadian River, which feeds into the lake and deposits an assortment of driftwood and such onshore, this lone forerunner of Fall — a harbinger, if you will (love that word) — reminded me that my favorite Season is almost here. Yay!

Here’s another couple of looks courtesy of our neighbors’ yards.

Thanks for the peace, y’all!

Ahhhhh….

Then there’s the tree below. What an interesting life it must have led to leave such scars… wish I knew its story. I have plenty of scars of my own — we all do. Do tell! Someday I may even write about my own.

On the homefront, two trees in our front yard perished in the fire five years ago (going on six), but they’re such bird sanctuaries we haven’t had the heart to cut them down. (Mother Nature seems to take care of that one branch at a time.) Pictured below is a resting place for woodpeckers, warblers, chickadees, bluebirds, blue jays, cardinals, hummingbirds, thrashers — even turkey vultures — and more.

Wherever you are (in the big city or a rural retreat) notice the BEAUTY around you. Ignore any ongoing “clutter” and appreciate your life.

Most of all, “Keep On The Sunny Side.” If you’ve never listened to that song or read the lyrics, please click on the link above. Beauty and the promise of more colorful days ahead keep me goin’. Hope they do you, too, xo.

Enjoying an unexpectedly beautiful day in the neighborhood,

~ 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