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!


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…


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.

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…


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!


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.  😉


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.

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.

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.

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… 
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.  😉

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?

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!


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.  😉


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

51 thoughts on “IN MY KITCHEN: DECEMBER 2013

  1. I have many senior moments myself — always seeking out the sun ;-). Chief and I would get along just fine. Peet’s coffee is a new discovery for us here in the US — it stands in contrast to the customary ‘balance and harmony’ we find in northern CA (aka: medium blend), with its robust bold roast – yay! Have not come across the holiday edition however, so I’m excited to see it here… Le Creuset? wow, you really do know how to pick your friends!! :O).


    • Even I cannot believe how generous my friends can be!

      I hope you’ll have a chance to try the Holiday Blend, it is wonderful. Major Dickason is another one (not sure of the spelling, but I think that’s it)


    • That rack was a real saver for us, plus it gives us a chance to show some of the nice baking dishes, the the huge Le Creuset Dutch oven we brought from France ten years ago


    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Donna! I just hope my guests’ pets get along well with ours, but considering that Chief and Buck cannot be in the same room without killing each other (rather Buck killing Chief, who will die fighting) – I guess we might have to skip the pets and entertain just the human guests… There shall be pasta leftover, though


  2. Sally, as usual, your post is full of ideas I can use! Thank you again for giving me food for thought (not just the powdered mushrooms, but the gorgeous storage rack system as well). Are you still loving your Blue Star? I hope to be using mine by mid-December next year!


  3. Love all your stuff, I agree with all the other comments, you know how to pick your friends. The Le Creuset baking dishes are fantastic. I also love Buck, Osky and Chief.


    • I am just very lucky, I guess… The Le Creuset dishes are wonderful, I just made a Sheperd’s style pie in the large one, it turned out delicious, and of course, the Le Creuset just helps showing it off 😉


  4. Sally, please let us know how your experiment with the canned yuca goes. We are spending some time in the Florida Keys now, and I noticed yesterday that the local supermarket has a lot of Hispanic-oriented foods. I will look and see if they have the Goya canned yuca. If you say it’s worth buying, I will grab some to take with us to Colorado. I read the madioca frita recipe and it looks fabulous. I actually enjoy these labor-intensive recipes that force you to get up close and personal with the ingredients.


  5. I love peeking into your kitchen!! We have frozen yucca here in South Florida. I had never had it before moving here and now I’m hooked! I was taught by a Cuban friend to just get the frozen as the fresh is so hard and the taste is the same. Yucca along with my Cuban pork roast is the way to go! How sweet of Phil to pick you up sprinkles! That’s the kind of caring and thoughtful man I want in my life!!!


    • I almost melted when Phil came back with TWO huge bottles of sprinkles… really very thoughtful and sweet of him, and he does that all the time… Didn’t I tell I am lucky? I wasn’t kidding…. 😉


  6. I love all the red tones in your kitchen, everything from the Le Creuset baking dishes (I just have a 5.2 L Q dutch oven and had to go on a strict budget for a long time to pay for it) to the bags of espresso coffee. I love the giant pasta bowl as well.

    Your fuzzy boys enjoy snacking on peanuts and sunny spots to nap in. They sound like they’ve got a taste for the finer things in life as well.

    PS: You wrote this … “but did not by them.” I think you meant to write that you did not ‘buy’ them.


    • Thanks for catching that typo – believe it or not, I had noticed and corrected it in one of my many revisions – however, WordPress has been acting up real bad lately. Revisions do not “stick” – and in one of them I think I lost the correction and did not notice. Very annoying, but I’m glad you brought that up! I hate to leave typos in the text.


  7. Hi Sally, thanks for the tour of your kitchen. I’ve not seen nor tried Yuca… will be interested to see what you do with it. Love the pasta bowl!


  8. Oh what lovely lovely items you have in your kitchen! How you must love putting things back in their new spots on your shelves. I love that you have so much red.. But I think it’s time for a red polish as well:) But who stole my heart? Why your little pups of course!xx


    • Well, the red polish shall come back around Christmas time. Right now I’ve got a shocking purple on… Every week, a different color… have I mentioned I am not afraid of color? ;-0)))))


  9. Sally, that poinsettia is HUGE and it looks beautiful in your new pasta bowl. (I see what you mean about being able to serve a crowd.) Your pups have such distinctive personalities… the peanut story and photo made me laugh. 🙂 Looks like a festive start to a festive season in your kitchen!


    • There is indeed never a dull moment with these pups. I arrived today to find Oscar with another HUGE rodent hanging from his mouth… not sure what I’ve done to deserve this type of twists of fate on a regular basis…. all I can hope is that the many adrenaline shots will keep me healthy… (sigh)


  10. Oh my ~ methinks I would love to just pretend all of this belonged to me!! OK, would leave the pups but only ’cause I do understand how important they are to you 🙂 ! Poinsettias at Christmas ~ remember a Viking line Christmas cruise ex LA > Mexico and beyond – on embarcation all one could see were hundreds upoin hundreds of poinsettia pots EVERYWHERE!! With the weather nature brought in the next 24 hours, they kind’of did seem to disappear, but have evoked Yule for me ever since . . .


  11. I have the same set of red le creuset dishes. 🙂 I have no doubt they will look fabulous in the new kitchen. Loving all the pics of your organization – so inspiring Sally! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.


  12. I would be happy to be one of the 22 people to help you eat pasta out of that fabulous bowl, and to bring Oscar and Trevor as well, because they adore pasta – cooked or dried 😀


    • Your pups are definitely more helpful in the kitchen, I think ours are a bit spoiled… can you believe, Oscar will carefully sniff something we offer him before accepting it? And sometimes he will grab it very tentatively, and drop it on the floor, with a disgusted expression in his face? we are talking a piece of a juicy, organic, heirloom tomato! For heavens sake!!!!!!


  13. I love the rack- I bought one for holding all the bread when I was working for a bakery and just use it now for storage. But yours is much smaller and I would rather go smaller, now. I use the sparkly sugar or gourmet sugar as it is sold in the bulk store near me to sparkle up the top of my pies. They look spectacular with a tablespoon sprinkled over the top before baking.
    You have so much goodness going on in your kitchen this month- thanks so much for sharing!


    • Thank you!!!! Yeap, those Italians know a thing or two about MAKING and ENJOYING their pasta, right?

      reminded me of Sophia Loren’s remark: “everything you see I owe to spaghetti” ;-)))))


  14. Very nice, Sally. Everything red, right down to your manicure. 🙂
    Those Le Creuset dishes are wonderful. What a great gift! Your kitchen is looking so organized. One day, I’ll take everything out of mine and really get them organized. I’ve seen that look on Buck’s face too many times around here. I won’t fall for it again! 🙂


    • I was hoping SOMEONE would notice the manicure that matched the coffee bags! You are a very sharp gentleman, Mr. John… 😉 and, not to brag, but the blue manicure matched the yucca can (that was by accident, I did not notice until later

      Now, of course, I am setting myself for the hard task of matching manicure to In My Kitchen photos… what have I done? Vanity, vanity


  15. I want to move next door so I can get ‘spill-over friends’ from your house. I couldn’t get past the dogs though. I also would play all day and get nothing done – it’s nearly what happens with only one dog around here. I love your kitchen!


  16. Hi Sally! Well, you beat me to it – I wanted to tell you that I nominated you for the Blog of the Year award, but I guess you already know! I do really love your blog, and I’m hoping even more of my “followers” will discover it.
    Merry Christmas.


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