For the past 14 years I’ve bought a page-a-day dog calendar. I keep it over my desk, and rip the pages as the days go by without ever peeking at what comes next. Arriving at the lab this morning, I was thrilled to finally see the photo we submitted back in 2010.   It is bitter-sweet, we wish Pits was still around, but it’s been almost exactly one year we had to say goodbye to our friend.

PK and SN explain that these goofballs bundle up together as soon as the weather gets a bit chilly. On the ground level is PITS, a Dalamatian, and on the second story is CHIEF, a Jack Russell.


Inspired by Celia, and her monthly edition of “In My Kitchen”,  I join this  virtual party once again with this post.

In my kitchen lives a rice cooker (working on quinoa in this photo)…

When we were in Los Angeles, cooking in the nano-house had a few challenges. One of the things we bought to help us out was a small rice cooker. At first, I did not want to bring it back to our regular home, thinking there would be no need for it. But, the truth is, this little gem of an appliance makes life so easy! I don’t remember last time I cooked rice on the stove top. I rinse the rice in the insert of the cooker, fill it with the appropriate amount of water, season with salt, and flip the switch on. Farro? No problem… Quinoa? Perfect every time. I am so glad Phil twisted my arm to bring it with us! ;-

… and speaking of quinoa,  I must show you one of my favorite gadgets ever!  I bought it many years ago, a simple serving utensil labeled as a couscous server. It is perfect for couscous, but I also use it to fluff rice, quinoa, and other grains.  Here it is, sitting next to two very recent acquisitions: an ice cream scoop on the far right (also great to portion muffin and cupcake batters), and a cookie dough dispenser in the center.  The cookie scoop will be highlighted in a post in the near future, Nutella drop cookies…  (nothing like a little self-advertising!).

Cookies… I’ve been on a cookie mood lately.   Even got a couple of special molds, to make one of my favorite types of cookie – spicy, sweet, crisp, addictive. Stay tuned!  😉

From cookies, let’s talk tea…   While having lunch with my dear friend Cindy at Couscous Cafe, we were both blown away by how good their hot Moroccan tea was.  I am not too wild about sweetened tea, but at some point I stopped paying attention to how much tea I was pouring for myself. I probably drank 90% of the teapot, leaving Cindy to watch, certainly a bit frustrated  with my rude manners.  It was just too good!  They had a tea set for sale, and I brought it home.

In my kitchen…  a bowl of farmer’s market yellow cherry tomatoes, plump, sweet, juicy, totally delicious!  I love to incorporate them in recipes, but sometimes I just grab one and pop in my mouth, no salt, nothing.  Just its pure flavor.

In my kitchen…  a great thing that unfortunately will come to an end. This Trader Joe’s kalamata olive oil will be enjoyed to the very last drop.  It traveled all the way from L.A. with us, and now I wish I had brought two bottles. Or three…   (sigh)

In my kitchen… a sign of the times.  Fall is the season of apples, and with apples come apple cider.  Great stuff, that I had not tried until Phil introduced me to it.  We always go through several bottles this time of the year.  And, for a change of pace, I intend to follow the footsteps of Fer, from Chucrute com Salsicha, and brew some tea using cider as the basis.  She mentioned it recently in her blog. Those who read Portuguese (or you can always use Google translate) can take a look at her post here.

and, finally… in my kitchen these days, an attempt at organization.  I’ve decided to keep only my issues of Fine Cooking.  All other publications I will read, cut out the recipes that appeal to me, and glue them in a notebook.  The rest: recycle bin.  I’ve tried many methods to organize my recipes before, with very limited success.  But, no big deal,  I have a lot of fun trying!   What matters is the journey, not the destination.   Right?    😉

ONE YEAR AGO:  Creamy Broccoli Soup

TWO YEARS AGO: Marbled Rye  (how NOT to make it, that is… 😉

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