Joining the virtual party that Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial started years ago, I invite you to take a walk through our kitchen this month. To see what is going on in kitchens from food bloggers all over the world, click here.

A few gifts to get this show on the road….

From the one and only MC, hostess of Farine, a newly released book, Bar Tartine


Very unique cookbook, that will certainly stretch the horizons of anyone who is up to the challenge. Make your own powders, sprouted grains, vinegar, and come up with very creative and unusual dishes. The overall gist of the book reminded me of Ottolenghi & Tamimi’s recipes.  Thank  you, MC!

From my friend Cindy, who knows very well my taste for colorful stuff, this beautiful rest for hot pans.



Some gifts received during our recent trip to Brazil…

From my sister and her partner in Brazil, a very special bottle of pinga (ou cachaça) a sugar cane product similar to rum.  Whereas the clear pinga is used for making capirinhas, this one, a little more yellow, is refined, barrel-aged, and best if consumed in small shots, very cold.  From the state of Minas Gerais.


From our dear friend Gabi, some more color to spice up our kitchen, in a set of four kitchen towels, one of them already in use, perfect match for our Supernova stove.



From my niece Raquel, beautiful round place mats, very sturdy and of course, full of color, the way I like…



In our kitchen….


A cake stand, kind of retro.  I found it at an antique store in a tiny town in Kansas called Cottonwood Falls. The town is just like one of those old wild west locations, frozen in time.  A cool place to visit if you ever find yourself in Kansas.

In our kitchen….

A spatula to move cake layers. For someone who is afraid of baking cakes, I seem to get quite a few “right tools” for the job.  What can I say? This seemed very handy, and was on sale at Tuesday Morning.  It found a nice home in our cabinet, next to all my baking gadgets.

In our kitchen…

jamsJams and maple syrup brought home by the husband after a trip to Marshalls…  From left to right: Wild Maine Strawberry Jam, “regular” Strawberry Jam, Confiture de Cassis,  Red Tart Cherry Preserves, and Marionberry Jam (whatever that is… ).

In our kitchen…

acaciahoneyAcacia honey…  Forgive me local food advocates, because I sinned.  Yes, this honey got into a plane and flew all the way from Germany to the US, probably yet another flight took it from New York to Kansas City, and with luck the last leg of the trip was in a truck. I am very sorry, but I love it.

In our kitchen…


Some oven gloves in silicone, how could I resist this bright red?  Impossible. They work quite well, and I’m glad I brought them home.

In our kitchen…


This odd-looking bowl is actually super cool!  You know how every KitchenAid comes with a plastic attachment to make it easier to pour flour and other ingredients into the mixing bowl? I don’t know a single person who likes it. It is cumbersome, a pain to assemble, and doesn’t work well.  This bowl is perfect. You add all the flour into it, mix and use the pouring side to add it to the KitchenAid.  No mess, no fuss, I love it!  Plus, it’s bright red, in other words, irresistible.

In our kitchen….


This salt was recommended by a friend.  It is infused with real truffles, and a little bit goes a loooong way.  Sprinkled over fresh tomatoes, scrambled eggs, french fries, it adds intense truffle flavor.

And, as usual, some furry creatures want to say hello, because our kitchen is their favorite spot to hang out…


Chief, who is not too far from turning 16 years old, has been absent from our IMK posts, but this month he’s feeling better, and wanted to say that he is strong – and smart – enough to search for the spot with the brightest sun in our home.


Of course, sleeping is still his favorite pass time, but if I am “lucky” enough to reach 110 years old, it will be the same for me!

NoGrapesOscar says: Mom, I am sorry. I begged and begged for this grape, but now I realize I don’t like it. Could you pick it up and take it away from me? It is giving me the creeps…


He also has a slight problem with the concept of the pillow, and prefers to sleep with his head hanging down from the bed.


Buck finds Oscar’s behavior  totally unacceptable. A proof of intellectual inferiority, in fact.  And to demonstrate his point, he shows his ability of twisting the head at the sound of a puzzling word.  According to experts, a sign of canine intelligence.  We simply find it too cute. Want to see it in a short video?  Click here.  Please disregard the fact that he doesn’t think twice before jumping on the furniture.  We are working hard to change this behavior, and yes, we understand that giggling when that happens is totally uncalled for.

We’ve been traveling a lot, and that is pretty hard on the pups.  Just after coming back from a trip to Chicago and Brazil, we left for another 3-day trip to Houston.  Oscar is the one who suffers the most, and the look on his face as he realizes what is going on is pretty hard to take.


Please, Mom, don’t take me to the kennel again!  I can stay here waiting for you and Dad…  Please?  Pretty please?


Well, I hope you enjoyed the little virtual tour of our kitchen, the last of 2014.  It is good to finally be home and have no plans to travel for a while.  This has been one busy year for us and the pups… Celia, thanks for the work you put into your monthly In My Kitchen series!

ONE YEAR AGO: The Story of my First Creme Brulle
 Half-a-Million Page Views!
Grilling Ribbons
 Peppery Cashew Crunch
 Ossobuco Milanese


45 thoughts on “IN MY KITCHEN: DECEMBER 2014

    • Unfortunately that type of pinga is pretty much impossible to get outside Brazil, so we cherish it even more 😉

      You can find other brands that are good for caipirinhas, no problem….


    • Yes, I’ve been scalded on Facebook already… it turns out that apparently not all dogs are sensitive to grapes, so to be on the safe side no grapes should ever be given to a dog. However, we never knew about it and Chief has consumed a fair share of grapes over the long 16 years of his life, with no problem… So, don’t worry, we are not feeding our pups grapes anymore… 😉


  1. It’s a season of dull, grey, miserableness outside and if I had some of those lovely and very colourful items in MY kitchen, I’d actually want to be in it cooking rather than huddled in front of a bright computer monitor reading. I’m curious if that maple leaf shaped glass container on top of the jar of Confiture de Cassisis is full of maple syrup. It’s too pretty to use.

    Poor 3 furry guys having to languish in a kennel while you travel. I’m sure they get lots of hugs and treats when you get back but missing you must be difficult.


    • Yes, it is full of maple syrup – indeed seems too pretty to open and use, but we will do so soon, when Alex comes to visit us before Christmas – I am sure we’ll make one or two batches of his favorite breakfast, Phil’s pancakes…


  2. Prada has the “head off the bed’ sleeping thing, also. She has a big square memory foam type egg crate bed — it is super comfy and can accommodate two of her size. Still, the head hangs down onto the floor. I would have a stiff neck and pounding headache.


    • It hurts me just to see him do that, and he does it all the time! oh, well – he is very flexible, but with those long legs, a surprisingly poor runner. Hates to run, and even walking he will do for 15 min max.


  3. Darling Sally, it’s like Christmas has come early to your kitchen! Look at all those wonderful presents! I love the Tartine books, so I’ll look out for that one. And those round placemats are very appealing and colourful! You know you’re becoming a cake baking expert, don’t you? 🙂 Your furry babies are lucky to be so well loved and cared for – how fabulous to always have them for company when you’re cooking! Wishing you and Phil a gloriously festive December! Much love xxx


  4. Hi Sally, grapes are a no-no as your already have learned, as are onions, garlic, spinach, (although it is found in small quantities in commercial dog food) chocolate, poultry skin, any type of bones should be on the danger list too. This all comes from a dog therapy group I worked with for over ten years with my certified therapy dog. We visited hospitals, schools, and assisted living facilities and were given classes on how to keep our dogs healthy and happy. Lots of medical folks in our group too. Beware of any dog food/treats from China. I only deal with US companies for my Havanese girl. She also gets veggies that we eat, vet says green beans are great anytime and can be used for snacks. Frozen ones too, they love.them. We give her cooked carrots, broccoli, green beans. Four years old and no health issues, thank goodness. Love your website.


    • Yes, indeed there is a lot of stuff that can harm dogs, but one important thing to consider is the dose – I think the greatest risk is the pet getting to food that is unattended and ingesting a large amount of it, when it includes toxic substances. Or if it is a toy-sized dog, since their body mass is so tiny. That doesn’t mean that one occasional treat that contains a sliver of onion will harm them. We give our dogs leftover human food maybe once, at most twice a week and it is usually either salmon skin after we grill it, or leftover veggies that for one reason or another don’t get consumed by us. Other than that, a couple of peanuts for Buck at lunch time… the only situation in which one of our dogs got to unattended food was the dalmatian (tall enough to reach the countertop) that ran away with a full stick of butter. Ate it all, paper wrap included. 😉


  5. The Bar Tartine cover is just gorgeous — I was intrigued and had a closer look; beautifully illustrated and some real standout ingredients, sounds like a gem. Not necessarily easy recipes as you say but inspiring for sure. Now I’ve got to get myself to Bar Tartine!! (only 45 minutes away 😀 ). Hugs to Chief (keep seeking the sun, I’m with you 🙂 ) Oscar’s creep out comment made me laugh out loud! I wish I could take your pups in while you travel… it would be a gift for us <3. I hope the coming weeks bring you some time at home together, xx.


    • Oh, you are lucky! Would love to be able to drive 45 minutes and be there! As to taking care of our dogs, that is so sweet of you! But, with the “issues” between Buck and Chief (still have to be kept apart at all times), I would not inflict this job on anyone! It is quite a commitment to have these two in the same home… but love sometimes comes with an expensive price tag! 😉


    • Our house is a bit on the classic side too, but we did not care, decided to go for a modern look in the kitchen. I bet interior designers would find it quite odd, the mix and match of styles everywhere. Our dining room is pretty “formal”, nothing to do with the kitchen atmosphere.


  6. Always love seeing the dogs and so glad Chief is feeling better. Spot once stole some prune and pecan muffins -with no ill effects – but his best effort was a carton of 6 eggs which he took out through the dog door, opened properly, cracked the shells and ate all 6. No ill effects then either! I don’t think he has ever forgotten his early years on the streets before he was rescued and is always on the lookout for food.


    • Isn’t it amazing what dogs will do? Oscar was a street dog, but he is not that much into stealing food or even treats – he eats very little, and is quite picky for a street dog. Now, Buck, is a completely different story – that boy would probably eat himself to a coma. Seriously.


  7. What a colorful month, all of it is wonderful. The placemats look fantastic, they would cheer up a gloomy day for sure. I agree with you about the German honey, it is fantastic. I lived in Germany and never liked honey until then! I still buy local honey but when I get German honey I am truly happy!


  8. I’ll echo the others, Sally, when I remark at how colorful this IMK post is. How cheerful they all must make your kitchen feel. When I’ve had to board my dogs, I don’t know who feels worse. The walk back to my car, all alone, is one of the worst I’ve tread. And looks like the one your Oscar is wearing doesn’t make it any easier. You’re home now, though, so, it’s time to spoil them rotten. 🙂


    • John, some dogs (two, actually, named Buck and Oscar) may or may not have spent over 40 minutes laying next to me on the sofa this past weekend. Chief has never been a cuddle type pet, always too independent and doing his own thing….


  9. Love, love this colorful post! Pure winter magic. So glad you like the book. I can see you curled up by the fire (do you have a fireplace?) with the puppies at your feet and Bar Tartine on your lap planning future delights to amaze Phil and us readers. A lovely image in this holiday season! Hugs, MC


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