Thursday, February 9, 2017

In My Kitchen - Jan-February 2017



2017 arrived with a mixed bag of weather; welcome days of glorious sunshine, several heavy rainstorms with strong winds, occasional days of dense fog... and then a dump of wet, heavy snow. I love the local fairyland appearance after a fresh snowfall, but not so much the associated challenge of negotiating Seattle's hilly terrain. So my old Mustang convertible never left the garage and I didn't break out the crosscountry skiis to ski around the neighborhood. I DID reorganize some cabinets and continue to weed through the bookshelves in between bouts of drinking therapeutic hot toddies and gazing at the world outside. 

In my kitchen...
how is it that frequently used items always migrate to the front of any storage space while the odd bits and pieces eventually disappear from sight. That was the case with a long-forgotten antique pickle server. The quantity of tarnish indicates it has been a long time since this piece appeared at a dinner party. Now comes the decision whether to discard or repurpose... I'm still considering. 


Purchased on a whim for a kitchen sushi class with Hilary (link), this plastic hand roll (temaki) stand needs a new home. The two of us had great fun playing with different sushi devices and presentations, but this item hasn't been used again. It landed in the donation box, along with several other "treasures".




In my kitchen...
RL swears the kitchen tilts southward due to the weight of my cookbook collection. He's teasing, but I have run out of convenient storage space. Years ago a Food Blogger Cookbook Swap (link) sent me wandering through the stacks of books then filling up cabinets and shelves, rediscovering scads of forgotten treasures along the way. The challenge continues; I'll never cook my way through the existing collection, yet it is hard to resist the lure of a new cookbook. Solution: we delivered three large cartons of books, cookbooks and some other non-fiction, to the local library, a donation for their annual booksale fundraiser. I'm still working to reorganize the remaining 200+ books by topic, cuisine and/or chef and continue to find new recipes to try.

We enjoy food with a flavor bite, so Southwest, Tex-Mex, Mexican dishes frequently top the favorites list. Storebought tortillas are plentiful locally in various sizes, weights and ingredients. Availability and  laziness on my part meant the tortilla press, comal and tortilla warmer had migrated to out-of-sight storage locations. It's decision time again - put them to use in the next month or two, or send them off to a new home. Omigosh, sudden memory flashback to a wonderful weekend of cooking classes with Jane Butel in New Mexico eons ago with BFF Betsy. 









In my kitchen...
Yes, I've done some actual cooking lately. Big pots of hearty soups and stews kept us fueled during winter-weather lunches, comfort food for body and soul. A new-to-me recipe for feijoada was the latest winner, but how could it miss with smokey Basque chorizo and black beans in a fragrant and flavorful sauce? Recipe to follow soon. 



In my kitchen...
Alaska dreaming and cruise planning fills many hours every winter, with RL handling boat prep items and me considering itinerary and dining issues. Inevitably we drift to reminiscing and skimming our ginormous collection of images from nearly 17 years of Alaska cruising. Recently a 3-pound package of frozen, store-bought blueberries recalled memories of floating up against a steep bank at high tide to harvest some fat, ripe huckleberries. (link) RL held onto some overhanging branches to keep the skiff in place while I picked berries... until we heard crashing foliage and noticed movement on the far side of the berry patch. Grizzly bear? Mmmmm, maybe. At home this month commercial blueberries made scrumptious blueberry syrup and filling for Swedish pancakes, but I'm looking forward to picking wild berries once again in SE Alaska... with a scout and without animal company. OK, maybe a worm or two.



What's happening in your kitchen lately? Multi-talented Liz (writer, cook & traveller) hosts a monthly gathering of cooks from around the world who share thoughts and views into their kitchens. Click over to her blog, Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things, and enjoy... or join in the IMK fun.



11 comments:

  1. Hi there lovely, happy new year and happy February. Oh, that snow photo, delicious! We're expecting 41 deg C here today... and in some parts it has been 48!! Love all the goodies in your kitchen... the pickle jar is amazing... though I don't like polishing things either. Thank you for the lovely shout out. xx

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    1. Your 41 C weather sounds too much of a good thing! Our west coast, meanwhile, has cool rain to spare. Mother Nature needs an attitude adjustment.

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  2. OOO Alaska sounds enticing. I could do with a bit of that cold view out your window, our incessant heat and humidity is wearing me down, and I'd keep that gorgeous pickle server, much too good to pass on

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  3. We love SE Alaska from Spring till Fall, but my inner California girl would miss the long hours of sunlight during Winter.

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  4. that pickle jar is new on me. i have never seen anything like it. quite an interesting piece. alaska!? how marvellous. definitely on my bucket list. everyone seems to be culling esp. books lately. i know i am:) always so hard tho to throw away treasured items. phew we are sweltering here!

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    1. After spending decades collecting cookbooks and household "stuff", it's time to declutter and simplify... again. So many treasures, so many memories. I hope you do make it to Alaska; if possible consider a mall-boat cruise rather than a giant cruise ship tour - the best wildlife and scenic viewing happens in small coves and inlets.

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    2. Oops, that should have read "small-boat ", not mall-boat.

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  5. Wow, 200 cookbooks- I thought I was a 'cookbook fiend'! Everytime I browse online at Amazon, I seem to order 2-3 new cookbooks!I admire your ability to cruise the Alaska coastline in your boat!

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    1. Fran, I have a headstart with collecting cookbooks since I am probably a generation older than you.cookbooks are also my favorite souvenir when traveling.

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  6. It is so hot here that the snow would be welcome! I would repurpose the antique pickle server. It is gorgeous!

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    1. I should at least polish it up, and consider my options. Suggestions?

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