IN MY KITCHEN – APRIL 2014

My dear virtual friend and blogger extraordinaire Celia started the series In My Kitchen years ago, and I try to participate as often as possible, because it’s so much fun!  Due to the increasing popularity of the event, participants now have to publish their posts before the 10th day of each month, so I hope I can still squeeze this post in her April’s round-up…

In our kitchen…

GIFTS!

CindyJars

From my friend Cindy, who evidently knows me very well, a collection of gifts in one of my favorite colors, shocking red!  Aren’t these containers super cool?  And how about the baking paper cups?

SauceDressing11The containers in action…  on top, yogurt-saffron sauce for some Pomegranate Gelee, and on the lower jar, a Cilantro-vinaigrette ready and waiting…  Life is good!

If that was not red enough, Cindy also gave me a bag of French-style flour, with a bright red label on it!  I am going to use it in some very special bread, still trying to choose the perfect recipe to showcase my gift!

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From Phil, a surprise gift he managed to sneak in the luggage while we were in Paris.  A cookbook from Christian Constant, the chef behind several great restaurants in the 7th arrondisement of Paris, including Les Cocottes de Constant, literally three steps from our hotel. He gave me the book after we arrived home, it was nice to have a souvenir from our short week in the City of Lights.  I might as well include a couple of photos of our dinner at Les Cocottes.

compositeWe both ordered the “cocotte du jour“, which happened to be a chicken with potatoes.  Delicious! But the best was probably the dessert we shared, “La Fabuleuse Tarte au Chocolat de Constant“. Outstanding. We learned from the waiter that one of Constant’s cookbooks for sale at the restaurant (and that I would later receive as a gift) has a recipe for tarte au chocolat, but guess what? The recipe in the book is NOT the same used for “La Fabuleuse” we enjoyed that evening. Constant tweaked that recipe up.  Oh, well…  better know the truth than be disappointed. Non?   :-)
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In our kitchen….

A gift from last Christmas that somehow escaped my previous IMK post.

Coffee

This is a container to hold the waste from espresso machines.  It works very well, you just bang the espresso thingie holder against the central bar, and the used coffee drops in the container.  Plus, the fact that it is black makes it look less messy. Before having it,  we accumulated our coffee waste in an empty yogurt plastic tub until we had enough to dispose in the compost pile.  Let’s say it was not a beautiful sight.  ;-)    If you are interested, amazon.com carries it.   Ours was a gift from one of Phil’s sons.

 In our kitchen..

A few things we brought from Paris…

CompositeMac

(click to enlarge)

Macarons… I fell hopelessly in love with the caramel fleur de sel… oh, my…  but we brought a small assortment of flavors like coffee, chocolate, blackberries, pistachios, raspberries… I am now obsessed with making macarons at home.  Seems like a very brave project to attempt.  Not sure I am up to the challenge, especially after reading a recent post  from Joanne, in which she mentions that her first batch didn’t meet the expectations.  She is an amazing baker, so… doing my own personal math, I am not optimistic (sigh).

Terrine

Terrine of duck with green peppercorns… no, not foie gras, we went a little more wallet-friendly.  This is waiting for a good opportunity to come out and play, possibly in a future dinner party.

 

Chestnut
A bag of chestnut flour, bought near our hotel in France, following the suggestion of Farine, the Bread Baking Queen of All Queens…  As a sneak preview to my readers, my first adventure with this unique flour.  Stay tuned for a full blog about it.

CompositeProof

Free advice: when you place the proofed loaves in the oven, avoid turning the empty banneton over your countertop.  It can get a little messy, and you might need some help cleaning it up…   ;-)

 

Napkins

Some paper napkins from Paris with a drawing of our beloved Eiffel Tower… a bit cheesy, maybe, but I love it! Look at all those red dots, I could not leave them behind…

 

 In our kitchen….

StretchTite

No, I am not completely crazy and obsessed with plastic wraps, but this is it.  No more.  This dispenser is so cool that I probably wasted a couple of meters just rolling out, cutting and aahhing and ooohing… Awesome. If you want to order it, click here. Best gadget ever.  Ever. I am naming it Neo. You know, The One.

 

Because life is not only about food, allow me to share two passions of mine…

Nail polish…

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and bar soaps…

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Love them. Cannot resist trying – daring?  ;-) – a new color of nail polish, or bringing a new bar soap home.  Every time we go to Brazil I get some of my favorites,  nothing fancy, stuff that you can buy at the grocery store. But, they have so many fragrances available: passion fruit, mint, lemon, honey, orchid, jasmine… In the US, I often get scented soaps at stores like Ross.

Back to nail polish for a second, a tip for the ladies who do their own manicure: get a product called “Seche Vite“.  I like to do my nails mid-week very early in the morning, right before leaving to work. Plus, once in the lab I often have to put gloves on, so Seche Vite is a life saver.  The nail polish dries in 5 minutes tops. If you cannot find it in a beauty store in your town,  amazon.com is your best friend.  ;-)

As usual, I close this post with messages from our pets. They are always anxious to share some of what is happening in their lives…

Chief was a bit unsure about cleaning the mess Mom made in the kitchen while preparing her chestnut sourdough bread… his short-term memory is a bit shot, but he still remembers the scalding he and his late brother got in the past….

ChiefFlour

 

Oscar won’t have anything to do with flour, he rather steal kisses from his Mom. She better move fast, or else a dog French kiss will be on its way!

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Oscar and Buck react to some of their favorite words in the English language…
Buck’s ear goes as high as it can possibly go before he goes crazy running in circles…

 

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ShamelessWell, my friends, I am pooped. That walk with Mom did it.  I am chillin’ out, and saying goodbye for now….  Hope you enjoyed Mom’s tour of our kitchen!

ONE YEAR AGO: Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lemony Tomatoes and Spinach

TWO YEARS AGO: Blood Orange Duck: A work in progress

THREE YEARS AGO: Grilled Mahi-mahi with citrus marinade

FOUR YEARS AGO: Memories of Pastéis (and my Dad)

39 thoughts on “IN MY KITCHEN – APRIL 2014

  1. Hey! you found the wrapMaster dispenser! Was it you who I talked to about it? A thing of wonder, I have two, one for cling film and one for foil. And I keep my sourdough starters in the same French jars with red lids in the fridge and I first saw one at Dan’s class all those years ago, how cool that you have them too. I put my coffee ground waste on the compost, in fact I know some places offer it to people to take away for just that purpose. I didn’t know you collected soap but they look beautiful all lined up in your drawers and the doggies all so happy and bomny too, what s lovely kitchen post! xx

    • You mentioned a dispenser, but not specifics – I learned about this one in a cooking forum and as soon as I read the reviews at amazon,com,I was sold! Truly an amazing product!

  2. Hi Sally! I found you via Ceilia’s page and have really enjoyed your IMK post. Love those glass jars and those muffin cups are stunning! Also love the little look at your varnishes and soaps – thanks for the tip on Seche Vite – I am going to look out for something similar here in London. I used to always have manicured nails but that was before I had my son – now that he is so much older it’s time to start looking after me again! The coffee grounds container is genius!

  3. What a wonderful post, this the the 2nd time I’ve seen chestnut flour in less than 24 hours, I’m thinking that it is amazing. Love your in my kitchen line-up.

  4. I love hearing about all the goodies you brought back from France!! There’s a laduree a few blocks from my apartment…I think it’s probably the only one in the US? But I’m not sure. It’s amazing, and yes – the salted caramel is the best. Good news is that I think I figured out the macaron! After…an absurd amount of batches. But I hope to be posting the recipe this week, so then you can try it at home. :P

  5. LOL I love the dog photos. John bought Charlie a necktie the other day. Yes, he looks stupid in it. :)

    I didn’t know about the soap fetish but in every photo that shows your fingers, you’ve got on a different color, so yes, I knew about that one.

    The coffee thingie is very cool. It’s cool that you call it a thingie. It would be a thingo in Australia. My mother-in-law calls them thingamies.

    Wonderful post.

    Now, go to youtube, search for Jill Colonna’s mad about macarons and she’s got a video showing how to make macarons. She wrote a book that’s done multiple printings so it’s pretty good. The video is excellent. I posted my macarons on my site last year – picture perfect following her instructions. I wasn’t bashing them enough. Easy fix.

  6. Well you know, every time you throw your furry animals into the mix, that’s where my eyeballs will go :) SO cute!! Loving the expansion beyond the kitchen into the polishes and the soap drawer — classic! (L’occitane products are a favorite). p.s. is Cindy looking for a new friend? ;-) such a great assortment of goodies.

  7. I love red as well. You have so many nifty things in your kitchen. Even the discard container for coffee grounds looks interesting. The pet roundup is fun as always.

  8. okay first of all you are too cute! Love the pics of you and your dog. Secondly, I NEED THOSE CONTAINERS! I am always losing or giving mine away and I need some good ones that I just will keep to myself. i love them. Glad to have a glimpse into your kitchen:)

  9. Wonderful IMK post, Sally. loved that you included the pupsters. Any of us that shares our home with one knows that they’re permanent fixtures in the kitchen. Now, what’s this about not “being up to the challenge” of making macarons? Are you kidding me? You’re too skilled in the kitchen to let a cookie get the best of you. Get in there and bake! :D

  10. It’s so lovely to see bits of treasure brought back from your trip. It brings good memories home with you and right into the kitchen where you can be reminded every day:) I love macarons and am scared to death of making those too! If you try.. then I will too!! But my favorite.. are the photos of your pups today. Esp Chief’s expression.. what a love! xx

    • Chief is very expressive, even now at his old age, he still makes expressions that tell a lot of what goes inside his mind… an amazing dog. Not easy to see him going down and getting weaker but… he is still hanging in there, and for the most part very happy

  11. Sally, what a gorgeous post, full of treasure! I love all the red, and that cookbook that The Stud (my new name for him) bought you from Paris looks very interesting! I’ve never tried making macarons, but I believe there’s quite an art to them. And chestnut flour! Can I offer you one of the most popular recipes from my blog – gluten-free chestnut flour brownies? They’re Pete’s favourite!

    http://figjamandlimecordial.com/2011/02/16/gluten-free-chestnut-brownies/

    • Yes, those dogs are something! We just came back from a trip, they were in the kennel for 9 days, and you can imagine the reception we got…. tails about to fly off with the wagging…

  12. Loved this! And I’m a big bar soap gal too. Your drawer had me drooling! And I love those containers too! I’m such a container girl. We have so many…of so many shapes and sizes! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  13. Yep – those little jars are fab! I liked your photos of the macarons but the thing that caught my eye was the blue manicure so I laughed when I saw the nail polish bottles a few clicks down. Thanks for the tour.

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