IN MY KITCHEN: JUNE 2014

It is now time to join Celia’s great blog party, her In My Kitchen series, in which bloggers all over the world offer a little peek into their favorite room in the house.  I like to start with gifts, so here they are.

From our dear friend SL, two bags of paprika brought from Slovakia.  You cannot imagine how strong they smell, they put any of the stuff we can buy here in the US into shame.  He gave me two kinds, one sweet, one hot.  Oh, yeah….

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Same friend, another super special gift brought from his recent visit to Saudi Arabia (yes, he got me saffron too).  Vacuum-packed dates, absolutely amazing! He also offered a very nice recipe to put these dates to good use. I’ve been very protective of this bag, so that I don’t find it almost empty when I’m ready to bake.

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From friends back in Oklahoma, a nice ceramic bottle to “freeze” vodka.  A gift they brought all the way from Ukraine for us. It lives in the freezer, holding your favorite brand of vodka.  When you feel like having a shot, grab the bottle and bring it to play.  I don’t do the vodka shot thing, but vodka lovers will appreciate how long this bottle keeps it at the proper temperature.

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From Cindy, who has given me countless cooking-related gifts, one more for the collection: chestnut flour!  She found it at a market in Dallas, and was super kind to grab a bag for me. The order of the universe is now restored. No more shortage of this unique ingredient. Thank you, Cindy!

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Finally, from Phil, two bottles of beautiful pearls of sugar, I guess that means he would like to have some cupcakes in the near future?   ;-)

Pearls

In our kitchen….

A small colander I bought on impulse at the grocery store, in a sale special with each item for a buck or so.  I fell in love with the vibrant coral color, so I brought it home.  Now I cannot live without it, it is perfect to drain cans of beans, chickpeas, rinse berries, that sort of stuff.

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In our kitchen…

Something I’ve been craving for ages!  I wanted to have salt and ground pepper ready to grab with a teaspoon or my fingers.  Searched left and right for the perfect size, but nothing seemed to fit my dreams, until I found these on Paula’s shop at Etsy (Paulova Ceramics).  You can custom order them in several different colors.  Paula shipped them from Portland quite quickly, by the way.  Just keep in mind that the base doesn’t come with it, mine was a support for some plastic containers. I am still amazed at how well they matched those bowls.   As if they were made for that purpose!

SaltPepperEtsy

In our kitchen…

A spoon rest, found at Bed Bath and Beyond… I think it is a good match for the salt and pepper bowls…  It works double duty as a place to rest a couple of eggs waiting to be scrambled, avoiding the dangers of them falling off the countertop cliff.  Yes, that happened in a distant past. The experience was traumatic, to put it mildly.

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In our kitchen….

A huge plastic box to finally add some sense of organization to the flours I bring home. It lives in our freezer in the garage.The list of flours go not only on the top of the box, but is also stored in my iPhone.  The goal? To prevent me from buying yet another bag of spelt flour, when two are sitting at home.  (sigh)

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In our kitchen…

The pantry received some more special attention, it is not easy to see in the photo, but some clear plastic boxes are now holding items that belong together (baking stuff, dried fruits, extracts, etc).

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Still on the pantry subject, you win some, you lose some.  I saw a tip on Food Network and jumped on the idea like Buck jumps on a snake (side note: last year he killed 8 snakes in our backyard, this year the first casualty happened a few days ago, he is incredibly fast!).  Anyway, the tip was to buy plastic magazine holders like you see in the photo, and use them to store canned stuff, laying on their sides.  Unable to find them anywhere, I went to amazon.com, but the ones I got were too narrow for that purpose. Bummer!  At least they were very cheap, and are now holding…. cooking magazines!   ;-)

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I was forced to put Plan B in action: soda can containers for the fridge from Bed Bath & Beyond.  More expensive than the magazine holders, but at least they sort of worked.  Not ideal, though. I would like some type of storage in which the cans would be easier to see. Of course, I am vertically challenged, and that adds complexity to this crucial issue.

PantryCans

 

 In our kitchen….

We love these crackers, from Doctor Kracker.  One of our former graduate students got us hooked on them (thanks, Chuck!).  They are crunchy, with the right amount of seeds and nuts without making you feel like an oversized parrot.  Truly delicious with cheese, with hummus, or naked. The crackers. Don’t be naughty…

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In our kitchen….

Another impulse buy from Bed Bath and Beyond.  In my defense, it was on sale. Again in my defense, it had a photo of Ming Tsai on the box.  He endorsed this knife, saying it never needs sharpening, and no food will stick to it. Perfect for tomatoes and cheese.  Passed my test.  Ming would never lie to one of his most loyal admirers. HA!

MingTsaiKnife

In our kitchen….

Saved the best for last…. drum roll please…. intense drum roll….

A sous-vide gadget from ANOVA!!!!

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This is the new toy in its inaugural use…  All you need is a tall saucepan that can hold the gadget on its side.  Anova will keep the water in constant circulation, at the perfect temperature you set it to.  Of course, the size of your pan limits the amount of stuff you can cook under sous-vide.  But any container that is heat-safe and food-safe will work.  I have a huge plastic bin that can be used for larger cuts of meat.  Stay tuned for my first recipe using Anova… Anova, Supernova, our kitchen is at the cutting edge!

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Because I do my nails on the kitchen island, I feel it’s totally appropriate to talk manicure, and introduce a new kid on the block, a holographic nail polish (you cannot go wrong with that, obviously).  Anyway, the color changes quite dramatically depending on the ambient light, pretty cool.  I might have to investigate other colors, you know, just for the sake of scientific experimentation.

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(click to enlarge)

I almost closed this post without canine appearances, but the pups threatened to go on a good-behavior strike.  So I reconsidered my decision, and invited them in…

Chief has been very tired these past weeks…
He says hello from his dreams, his ball keeping him company…

ChiefSleeping

 

Buck playing his favorite game: You eat, I stare. 
I won’t move. I won’t blink.  

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A small dog with a hearty appetite, he shares another one of his many 
food obsessions…

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Oscar’s ego is a bit inflated since he was featured all by himself in a recent post. Maybe that’s why he took a few liberties and jumped on the sofa as I was trying to take his picture. The superstar is partial to close-ups now.

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Oscar might think he is a superstar, but “I” am the only one who goes running with Mom & Dad. Whenever she sits down to put those funny looking shoes, I glue to her.
Ready, Mom? Let’s GO!

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I don’ t run. I get pampered. Only special dogs get the Kansas-Summer-Shave.

Are we jealous already?

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Jealous?  You must be kidding me!  You go ahead and stay laying on comfy carpets, I rather go golfing with Mom and Dad.  Who is special now?

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Ok, let’s admit it. We are both equally spoiled. 

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Hope to see you soon, folks! Until next time we leave you with Mom’s regular blogging…

 

ONE YEAR AGO:  Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

TWO YEARS AGO: Baked Coconut and “The Brazilian Kitchen”

THREE YEARS AGO: Honey-Glazed Chicken Legs

FOUR YEARS AGO: French-Style Rolls

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…

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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.

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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….

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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)

IN MY KITCHEN – MARCH 2014

Once again I am joining the fun virtual party initiated by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, and sharing with my readers what is going on in our kitchen.  Normally I like to start with gifts, and this month won’t be an exception, although these are gifts I gave Phil. Two beautiful wood cutting boards, real works of art made by Michael’s Woodcraft.  I only ordered one, but Michael included the round one for free. Every month he picks one order to receive a freebie, and what can I say? I was the lucky customer in January 2014.

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We put them to use right away, to enjoy some nice cheeses in style! Now, would you believe that he made this exact cutting board for Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa?  So our kitchen and Ina’s have a special something in common…

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What I love the most about these boards is how I learned about them. One day I noticed that a blogger from WordPress liked one of my posts, and decided to follow the link to his site.  This was the first thing I read when I landed there:

My name is Michael and I live in the remote upstate mountains of South Carolina. I love working with wood but I also enjoy cooking, grilling, baking, hiking, camping, gardening, mountain wildlife and bird watching. On my site you will find my woodwork and my blog. I hope you find my blog interesting and will visit often.

Well, not only his blog is interesting, but he is an AMAZING woodworker! I was thrilled to find his site, and immediately decided that a cutting board would make a nice surprise for Phil as a Valentine’s gift. He loved them! One of Phil’s hobbies is woodworking, and he even made a cutting board for us a few years ago, so he understands very well the skills needed to come up with pieces of such quality.  Michael also includes a sample of his wood conditioner so that his masterpieces can stay beautiful for a long, long time.  You can read all about that product here.

In our kitchen…

A couple of gifts from my sister-in-law who lives in Michigan…
vinegarsProducts from il Fustino. One is a pomegranate vinegar, which I have not yet tried, and the other a fig balsamic, absolutely wonderful!  Thank you, Kathy!

In our kitchen…

photo(4)The only plastic wrap we like is Kirkland, however the box always gets messed up and let’s say it is a source of boring lectures from Sally concerning how one should properly use the built-in metal blade so that the plastic roll is kept in perfect shape.  This colorful box, from ChicWrap originally comes with a lousy type of wrap inside, but I use it to store the Kirkland instead.  Glad to report that our marriage is getting happier and happier.

In our kitchen…

stocksPretty nice quality stocks sold by “The Spice House”. Last month they had a free shipping special for orders over $25. and I decided it was a good idea to profit from it. I know that a food blogger should be making her/his own beef and chicken stocks, but I must pick my battles these days.  Having this type of store-bought item available is a great help. When I open the box,  either I make the full amount of stock and freeze in portions, or I make what I need, and portion small teaspoons that can be frozen and used later.  Labeling is a must, or you will be very puzzled one day staring at a marble-sized copper-colored thingie and trying to guess how it landed in your freezer. Advice is free, and I just gave you a good one…   ;-)

In our kitchen…

BakedA nice little roasting pan with an insert inside, perfect to bake meatballs or anything that profits from heat circulating around all sides.  I got it at Bed Bath and Beyond, one of my favorite spots to find these gems. Recipe for meatballs coming soon, by the way. They do have an unusual ingredient that made them quite special.

In our kitchen…

cookieYou win some, you lose some. I thought this little cookie scoop would be a nice gadget to have, as it grabs a defined amount of dough and then you simply release it on the baking sheet by pressing the flexible purple part.  Good in theory, messy and cumbersome in practice.  I ended up using a normal spoon and my hands, like in the good old times.

In our kitchen….

ricethinsA favorite cracker these days.  Rice and sesame, they are light, and have this interesting smoky flavor, not quite sure where it comes from, maybe the sesame seeds when they get baked? They pair with hummus as well as Romeo did with Juliet.

In our kitchen…

tequila1Casamigos, a special tequila, endorsed by the one and only George Clooney.  That puts him and my beloved in the same special category:  very attractive men who appreciate a good tequila.  Phil says it’s very smooth, with excellent, clean flavor.

In our kitchen…

pankoA nice twist on Panko bread crumbs, with chipotle-lime flavor.

porkchopsIt made some mighty flavorful pork chops.  The chipotle level is just right, and the lime seals the deal for me, although I still squirted some fresh lemon juice all over them.  

In our kitchen…

Pizza1A nice pizza made with my default pizza dough, and with a slightly Greek-oriented flavor: sautéed spinach and leeks, over a simple tomato sauce, some fresh mozzarella and a little crowning with feta cheese…  Perfect!

Not exactly in my kitchen, but in my office, a special photo for Celia, who loves umbrellas. Here is mine, perfect antidote for a gray and rainy day… ;-)

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and now, time for a message from our four-legged friends…

I know I melt Mom’s heart when I twist my head as she asks:
“Would you like a cookie?”

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We actually tried to trick Buck, giving him something we never expected a dog to be interested in. We were wrong.  He grabbed it and would not let it go… I was holding a raw sugar snap pea. He thought he had died and gone to canine heaven! Ate the whole thing and came back searching for more.

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Oscar says he is clearly Mom and Dad’s favorite.  Not only he’s got plenty of style and elegance…
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But no other dog has a nose that matches Mom’s favorite color so well. A purple nose, that’s not something to sniff at… ;-)

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Buck will have nothing to do with it.  In fact, the only thing he wants to do with his brother’s purple nose is to photobomb it.

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Chief is tired of so much silliness, his sight is not that great, his hearing even worse,  but his sniffer works like that of a basset hound.  He knows there’s something up in the island that absolutely needs to come down… and it usually does…

IMG_3754And life goes on in the Bewitching Kitchen…

I hope you enjoyed this little virtual tour, and stop by Celia’s site to visit other kitchens around the blogosphere.

ONE YEAR AGO: The Blogger and the Shrink

TWO YEARS AGO: The Wheat-Berry Transmogrification

THREE YEARS AGO: Curried Zucchini Soup

FOUR YEARS AGO: Roasted Onion and Asiago Cheese Miche

IN MY KITCHEN: JANUARY 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! 

May 2014 bring a ton of happiness for you and all your loved ones!
If you like to set goals for yourself, try to make them realistic, so they won’t turn into a personal ordeal. Remember to enjoy the ride!

I thought a great way to start 2014 would be by joining the virtual party initiated by Celia many moons ago: her “In My Kitchen” series.  Stop by her site to see what other bloggers are sharing from their own kitchens.

In our kitchen….

Many gifts to start this virtual tour…

FoodProcessorA Cuisinart mini-food processor, great gift from a couple of colleagues at  KSU.  Works like a charm, and is powerful enough to grind nuts and spices into a nice paste.  Love it!

PepperGrinderA new pepper grinder, gift from one of my stepsons, I’ve been struggling with our old pepper grinder for 14 years, it’s one very temperamental gadget! This one, from Williams-Sonoma is stylish and functional,  I can change the coarseness with a simple twist.

AmericanCupA special cup for hot or cold liquids that my stepson gave me to celebrate my 20 years away from Brazil. Love it! Oscar takes a nap in the background, dreaming with chubby squirrels.
PearsIn our kitchen… A box of ultra special pears from Harry & David, sent from our dear friends and former neighbors from Oklahoma. They are by far the best pears I’ve ever had, juicy, and sweet.   I even used them in a special salad, a recipe that will be on the blog soon.  Stay tuned!
BrevilleIn our kitchen…. My gift to Phil for Christmas and his Birthday (12/27)… a sexy-red Breville espresso maker. Of course, it matches our Supernova stove, and brightens up our mornings!

In our kitchen.. a labor of love from my super-skillful partner…  It all started with these: a box of wine corks saved for years and years + a sheet of plywood.

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For our home in Oklahoma, Phil made a wine cork board many years ago. He was just waiting for the kitchen hellnovation to be over to build a new one here,  bringing to our new kitchen something we missed from the old home.   My stepson was visiting us and  helped with the final installation.

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Can you figure out what his design represents?  I can tell you it is very clever…
Cork Board


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In our kitchen…. Black Volcanic Salt from Hawaii…  ever since I bought the new book by Anne Burrell and saw a recipe using this salt, I wanted to try it.  It has a smoky taste on top of the salty flavor.  Love it!  Plus it looks gorgeous sprinkled over certain foods like asparagus and sea scallops.

CitrusOlivesIn our kitchen... Citrus-Stuffed Olives.  These are amazing!  I almost passed them by at the grocery store, but one thing I’ve learned living here is that the products labeled as ‘Private Selection” from Krogers are not to be ignored.

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In our kitchen… Little glass vials that are perfect to store those loose spices sold in bags.  Like the gift from my friend Gabi, a spice mix from Brazil… and some other goodies I had laying around the pantry in a less than ideal “living situation”.

compositechipsIn our kitchen… tapioca chips, something I had never heard of, found them in the great Asian market in town.  They are less greasy than potato chips, with a  slightly harder texture.  They are made from cassava (manioc) flour.  A product from India. I wonder if they are available in Brazil, since manioc products are so popular back home.

compositeCopcoIn our kitchen…  a great find by yours truly, on ebay.  Have you heard of a Le Creuset-like product from Denmark called Copco?  Well, these are not made anymore, they are vintage items that you can only find in auctions like ebay, or garage sales.  Their design is super-stylish and the quality of the enamel cast iron supposed to be superior to Le Creuset.  After patiently stalking many of these babies on ebay and watching them sell for small fortunes, I managed to snag this little baby for less than 40 bucks.   I was happy, happy, happy….

OatNoodlesCan you detect an impulse buy when you see it? I have no idea how to cook them (no instructions in the bag or online), or what they taste like. But they were too interesting to leave behind. Another fascinating product found at the Asian Market. They are packaged like soba noodles, but are made from oat flour. I am intrigued.

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And now, it’s time for a message from our four-legged friends….

ChiefBedChief is very happy with his new bed. It is fluffy, a lot more comfortable to rest his tired bones. Two paws up! Well, four paws down, actually. Blissfully down.

LordBuck2Buck believes that elegance and poise will bring good fortune. He is also versed in Geometry & Statistics, and knows how to position his body on the spot with the highest probability of “food-fall”.

compositeOskyOscar was completely in love with his new friend, and wishes he would still be around to play with him. It’s ok, Osky, we all miss him! Let’s hope he will come back soon…  In the meantime, Oscar will have to settle for another of his favorite activities: making sure Mom is ok after her workouts. That Tony Horton guy is one mean master!

OskyGym
I hope you enjoyed this little tour around our kitchen and home! Make sure to stop by Celia’s spot – Fig Jam and Lime Cordial - to visit other kitchens around the blogosphere.

I would like to close this post with a message for the New Year, a text written by Neil Gaiman. I love it, and thank Rosa for sharing it on Facebook.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

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ONE YEAR AGO: Tacos with Pork in Green Sauce

TWO YEARS AGO:  Maui New Year!

THREE YEARS AGO: Natural Beauty

FOUR YEARS AGO: Sunflower Seed Rye

IN MY KITCHEN: DECEMBER 2013

I am excited to join my friend Celia in her super-fun series “In My Kitchen“.  Stop by her site to look at what’s happening on kitchens out there in the blogosphere.

I start my virtual tour with gifts. As usual, I am the lucky recipient of wonderful gifts from special friends… At our last dinner party, we were surprised with a beautiful package!

Gift

composite1Inside, a set of two beautiful Le Creuset baking dishes, to match the sexy-red atmosphere of our Supernova!  Such a thoughtful gift, thank you V & K!

But, they did not stop there!  Just a few hours before this post was supposed to go live our friend V. surprised us with another red-hot gift to color our kitchen! The most beautiful Poinsettia ever… The photo doesn’t do it justice, it is a bit too dark already,   but I wanted to include it in this post. Too beautiful to pass…

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From France, a very interesting ingredient found by the same friend who provided me with saffron, Ras-el-Hanout and vanilla beans. What can I say? I have a special talent to pick generous friends.  Powdered cepes mushrooms.  He had the opportunity of enjoying a dish prepared by a French chef using this delicacy, and went into an expedition to get some, then shared it with me.  I can hardly wait to put it to use, it smells AMAZING.
CepesPoudre

From Phil, two cute bottles of sprinkles.  He felt sorry for me because I saw some sprinkles that would be perfect for a recipe I wanted to make, but did not buy them.  When I went back to Marshalls a couple of days later,  they were gone.  These are different, but will work just fine… stay tuned…

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In our kitchen…. Just in time for holiday season, 6 pounds of a favorite coffee, Peet’s…   Our day doesn’t start until we sit down to enjoy an early morning cappuccino!

Coffee

In our kitchen…  a beautiful pasta bowl that I found on ebay.  A little larger than I anticipated, but it should come in handy in case we serve pasta for 22 guests and their pets.  ;-)

pastabowl

In our kitchen… a stainless steel rack for small appliances and special baking dishes.  After searching for options that would not make us go broke, we ordered the same type of racks we have in the lab, from Global Industrial.  The shelves can be customized according to our needs.  Perfect to lodge the microwave.
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In our kitchen… from Bed Bath and Beyond, napkins that are stain-resistant and don’t need to be ironed.  I was skeptical when I bought a set of two just to try. I went back and got a few more. They have a soft, nice texture, and do wash very well.
Napkins

In our kitchen… a delicious tea. I featured this brand before at IMK with their chamomile saffron blend. This one also contains pomegranate. I am addicted. Caffeine-free, soothing, I go through at least three cups during the day.
SaffronPomTea

In our kitchen… a product I haven’t tried yet. I was intrigued by this Mexican canned yuca root, and decided to buy one can.  In Brazil we can find frozen, cooked manioc root, but here in the US it is not common.  Maybe this canned version could work as a starting point for “madioca frita” which we love so much!

Note added in January 2014:  I just tested it, and unfortunately it doesn’t work well for “mandioca frita”.  The canned product has too much moisture and I made a fantastic mess on the stove trying to fry it.  The best way to enjoy this is by simply warming them with a little butter, salt and pepper.  If you want “mandioca frita”, better cook the root from scratch… 
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In our kitchen…  one of Phil’s favorite lunch items: an Ak-Mak cracker spread with a small amount of almond butter, and loaded – and I mean LOADED – with whole walnuts.  That might explain why the bag of walnuts I bought at Trader Joe’s and was hoping to use in a special recipe is almost empty.  ;-)
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In our kitchen… some racks to organize our cabinets a little better. Also bought at Bed Bath and Beyond, you can imagine that those folks at the store are starting to address me by my first name…   “Hi, Sally, nice to see you AGAIN!”   ;-)

cabinet1cabinet2 Not to worry, the cabinets won’t be this empty for too long.  We still have a few boxes in the basement with dishes and baking stuff stored during the hellnovation.  One step at a time, we move on…

And now, a message from our faithful canine friends, obviously a very important part of our kitchen!

Buck says that the allegations of him sticking the nose into a bag of peanuts are preposterous.  What on Earth could possibly have caused such unfair treatment?
BuckPeanuts

Osky says he loves his Mom more than any  bag of peanuts.  In fact, while she is watching TV, he turns his back to the tube so he can watch her instead…   Too sweet for words!

OskyTV

Chief wants to set the record straight. He expects peanuts handed to him, and thinks his brother’s sappy demeanor is a shame. The senior Jack Russell’s main mission in life is to find a sunny spot in the house to lay down and snooze. Two months shy of his 15th Birthday, we believe he’d owned that right.  ;-)

Chief

I hope you enjoyed this month’s walk through our kitchen… 

ONE YEAR AGO: Sourdough Mini-Rolls

TWO YEARS AGO: Do you eat your books?

THREE YEARS AGO: Mediterranean Skewers

FOUR YEARS AGO Fettuccine with Shrimp, Swiss Chard, and Tomatoes

IN MY (NEW!) KITCHEN: NOVEMBER 2013

Remember our old kitchen?  Well, we barely recognize the place now! Weeks of renovation struggles are over, and we could not be happier with the outcome!  So I join Celia, from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial in her series In My Kitchen revealing our new space…

In our kitchen…

Supernova1supernova2We now have a 6-burner Blue Star range, powered by gas, with a convection oven,
and a gorgeous coral-front panel… We named it Supernova ;-)

In our kitchen…

cabinetsA new look for our tired cabinets, with new front doors and a green, antique treatment to the frames.  We love the hardware too. It matches the stainless steel look of the appliances.

In our kitchen (and dining room)….

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A new hardwood floor, light, bright, and comfy on our feet.  It has a light semi-gloss finish.  That alone made our kitchen into a completely different space, joining smoothly with the dining room next to it.

In our kitchen…

fridgeA new fridge that actually makes ice! Isn’t that something? (when this photo was taken, the new granite countertop had not been delivered yet).  But, just a couple of days later…..

countertop1A gorgeous piece of Yukon White granite, born and raised in Brazil,  found its permanent home in the center stage of our favorite place in the house. The cabinet underneath was enlarged to accommodate the bigger stone. We absolutely love this addition, it makes cooking and hanging out in the kitchen so much nicer!

In our kitchen…

IMG_3103A colorful light fixture on top of the sink…   With a window frame painted in antique yellow.
No, we are not afraid of color!  ;-)

In our kitchen…

dishrackA dish drying rack from Simple Human.  I’ve flirted with this piece for 8 years, decided it was time to get one.   Very functional, very stylish. You can change the orientation around to fit your space, and the dripping spout works like a charm…

In our kitchen…
compositetrashcanA trash can also from Simple Human, perfect size to fit in the space between the fridge and the little hall that leads to the garage.

In our kitchen…
Bosch1A Bosch dishwasher that actually cleans the dishes!  Can you imagine that?  ;-)

In our kitchen….

knivesA drawer to hold our knives, with cleverly designed inserts sold by Bed Bath and Beyond.  The storage is completely flexible, you can customize to the size of your knives and drawers.
Three inserts did the perfect job for us.

In our kitchen…

IMG_3004A drawer with wooden dividers (also from Bed Bath and Beyond) to make storage a little more organized. Don’t you love the light yellow frame that we chose for the central island cabinet?   Brought even more light to the place!

In our kitchen…

newpotA little ceramic pot that is oven-friendly, and makes me smile every time I look at it. One of those happy little containers… found it at Marshalls.

To wrap up the post, a before and after short series…

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A completely new look, that matches our mood, our style, our personalities.

Now, a final message from a four-legged friend who probably struggled the most with the ordeals of the hellnovation: Chief. He stayed inside with the workers all the time, but sometimes searched for peaceful places to sleep, as far away from the noise as possible.  A laundry basket (with freshly washed garage towels), or an empty luggage seemed perfect to rest his tired body… ;-)

Chief2

Chief

I hope you enjoyed the tour through the New and Revamped Bewitching Kitchen!

ONE YEAR AGO: The Lab Move and New Beginnings

TWO YEARS AGO: Honey-Oat Pain de Mie

THREE YEARS AGO: Carrot and Leek Soup

FOUR YEARS AGO: Chicken Parmigiana 101