IN MY KITCHEN: JULY 2018

I am a creature of habit. Every three months I invite you for a virtual tour of our kitchen, and that time has arrived. In My Kitchen is a fun tradition started by Celia and now hosted by Sherry, from  Sherry’s Pickings. Stop by their virtual spots to say hello…

I like to start by sharing the gifts that found their way into our kitchen….

From Somnath and Aritri, a gift brought by her Dad all the way from India…

This is Chanachur…  a mixture of peanuts with some incredibly tasty and spicy (but not too hot) fried little thingies made from lentils and chickpea flour. You can read all about it here. Apparently this is very popular in Bengali region. The batch they offered us is considered the very best, sold in one spot only, people form lines to get it. Yeah, lucky me. It is addictive. We usually put just a small bowl with it and keep the rest away. They gave us a lot!  Now, you know what I did, and I hope they won’t hold it against me?  I processed a bit of it in the food processor and used together with bread crumbs for eggplant parmigiana. Oh, my….

From our departmental colleague Dr. P….

Amazing mangoes! He knows an importer in Kansas City, these beauties arrived from India and were at the peak of their juiciness… The smell! Brazil has delicious mangoes, but I must say these are hard to beat.  Some of their flesh went straight into macaron filling, remember my recent post?

From my beloved hubby…

Can I call it a gift? Well, he makes me coffee every single morning, and sometimes a second one at lunchtime (weekends only, I am a creature of habit as I told you).  He is my favorite barista. The cappuccino he makes beats any other made in the world! It is a daily gift that I cannot be without.

In our kitchen….

A foamer thingie, which I learned about last year in Kelly’s blog. She raved about it, but only recently I caved and got one. It works wonders, making a super creamy foam in a minute. According to Kelly, it also works on cold milk, and you can also foam liquids like coconut milk for a change. Imagine the possibilities!

In our kitchen…

Special tea blends that are perfect for the summer months. Cucumber-mint, super refreshing, and Hibiscus-Lemongrass, a beautiful color and very exotic taste. Love them both, either straight, or diluted with carbonated water with a glass cube or two.

In our kitchen….

As you know, I’ve been baking a lot lately, so I decided to invest in a real good white chocolate and ordered this bag before the weather got so hot that shipping would be problematic. It is absolutely delicious! The only problem is not grabbing a handful or three every time I bake with it. I adore white chocolate… it is truly one of my weaknesses.

In our kitchen…

Great fruit from one of the markets in town. Strawberries are in fact from California. We eat local here. Everything comes from Planet Earth. Absolutely everything (wink, wink).

In our kitchen…

Haven’t tried these yet, but found them at Hobby Lobby and well, they jumped into my shopping cart. I tried to negotiate with them, “please, leave me leave me”, but they refused. I now must absolutely learn how to temper chocolate so I can play with my new toys. I imagine the learning curve to be a bit steep. But that’s part of the fun.

In our kitchen…

Also from Hobby Lobby. Can you resist these little packages? They are so adorable, each has just a small amount of sprinkles which will be perfect for certain French cookies called macarons. In case you suffer from Macaron-Obsession. Like some people.

In our kitchen…

A knife sharpener recommended by America’s Test Kitchen. We are divided in our opinion about this gadget. I really like it. Phil won’t use it. He always grabs that sharpening file that comes with knife sets, ours is probably over 10 years old, but he loves it. Oh, well.

In our kitchen…

A few special piping tips. Large star tip, great for meringues, the one with the cut on the side is a St. Honoré tip, perfect for that beautiful cake, but also great in topping pies with swiss meringue, for instance. The two medium-sized can be used to pipe leaves and also some exotic flowers. I am not even close to attempting those yet.The larger one in the center is perfect to add buttercream to cakes, as it covers a nice surface quickly. You can then work the offset spatula to make things perfect. Or almost. I am a beginner. Enthusiastic, but beginner regardless.

In our kitchen…

A 6-inch metal sifter. This thing is money. It is the perfect size for any job, and the mesh is fine enough that you can use to sprinkle a light coating of flour on breads, for instance. I am totally in love with it.

In our kitchen…


Liquid glucose. This is a very special ingredient used in concoctions like the famous mirror glaze. I won’t lie to you, it is a pain in the butt to measure, it is the messiest ingredient in the known universe, but sometimes you need to go through clouds to see the light. Like in a mirror. Mirror glaze. See what I did?  (I am easily amused).

In our kitchen…

An assortment of stencils that come in handy to decorate certain cookies. But of course, they can be used on all sorts of productions, from cakes to… breads!  Why not, right?

In our kitchen…

These are too cool for words! A set of small but powerful magnets. You can use them to firm your stencil in place, and then all you have to do is slide the cookie underneath to use the air-brush, or a regular brush. Very cute idea, amazing what people come up with.

In our kitchen…


A not so successful attempt at artistic bread slashing. This was a sourdough bread made with a small amount of sprouted wheat flour. It definitely had a mind of its own as far as slashing goes… Still tasted great, so we were fine with it.

In our kitchen…

A set of Ateco round cookie cutters, in all sizes you might need. Love them… And they don’t work only for cookies either (stay tuned).

In our kitchen…

Thanks to the labor of love of my beloved husband, our grill is totally refurbished. He put new burners and burner covers, new grill grates, new gas tubing. All that while wearing a sling on his right arm due to shoulder injury. Awesome is his middle name…

BUT, BUT, WAIT!

What’s this incessant noise I hear? Seems like whining, moaning, mixed with… yes, barking… quite a bit of barking, actually. Pups are impatient. Say that I’ve been wasting the time of my readers for too long.  Fine. Let them bark their piece.

Buck and Bogey firmly believe that a big nose is a must. Big noses sniff better, inspect the food bowl better, and are easier for Mom and Dad to hold and admire.

 

Oscar, however… is not buying it.

Truth is, we love them equally, no matter the size of their sniffers.
Each got their own chance to shine and be immortalized in our kitchen wall.

Handsome and I know it…


Cute, and I know it…

Here they are, The Magnificent Trio!
(artwork from iCanvas.com)

Unfortunately, they are not always on the top of their game. Mom and Dad were excited about Movie Night, but The Magnificent Trio was not particularly interested in the plot. They demand a different genre next time. Featuring some squirrels, and perhaps a mailman chase with a real happy ending.


Bogey works on his paranormal activities…

That does not seem to work very well, so he often gives up and takes a nap instead.

Which clearly gives him the needed energy to destroy what was sold as a “super-long-lasting ball for the strongest doggie in your loving home.”  Yeah, right.

But even the cutest pups in the world have some Karma going their way….

Bath? Did anyone say bath? What for? I smell awesome! I worked so hard to develop my unique fragrance… and now this!

That does it. I am not having anything to do with ANY of you.
You can all TALK TO THE TAIL!
(special thanks to Dorothy from Shockingly Delicious  for the “talk to the tail” caption).

 

You think THAT’s Karma? 

I need a doggie lawyer! Please send help!

Osky definitely seeks revenge by rubbing his freshly shaved body into Mom’s precious yoga mat…

Never a dull moment, folks…

Oscar insists he is not interested in bananas, even if he sees his brothers going crazy for a little piece. I am not a monkey. So do not expect me EVER to eat this fruit.  And please, remove it from my resting area. The sooner, the better.

Obviously, I am very selective as far as my food intake. And no, I would never eat grass.
What makes you think otherwise?

The pups adore their Daddy, and compete for his attention…

Truth is, they all believe to be the center of the universe, and think they can prove it.

Of course I am The One! They got this rug to match my fur…
See? I can make my tail disappear in it!

What’s the big deal in matching a rug? I am The One! I match Mom’s coolest looks!


Need I say anything?

That’s all for now, folks…  We hope to see you again soon!

 

ONE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen, July 2017

TWO YEARS AGO: Secret Recipe Club: Falafel and a Bonus Recipe

THREE YEARS AGO: Chocolate Toffee Banana Bread

FOUR YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, June 2014

FIVE YEARS AGO:  Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

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

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Honey-Glazed Chicken Legs

EIGHT YEARS AGO: French-Style Rolls

NINE YEARS AGO: Chicken Breasts, Coffee, and Serendipity

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IN MY KITCHEN – APRIL 2018


Three months have passed since I took you for a walk around the Bewitching Kitchen. Time for another virtual tour. In My Kitchen is a fun tradition started by Celia and now hosted by Sherry, from  Sherry’s Pickings. Stop by their virtual spots to say hello, but not before you are done walking with me…

As usual, I like to start by sharing the gifts that found their way into our kitchen….

For my Birthday (back in March), from my grandkids:

A gorgeous Bundt pan, and a rectangular tart pan with removable bottom. Can you say happy camper?  Getting one year older all of a sudden is a lot less painful…

From Phil, temptation in shape of many truffles….

From Aritri, temptation in a can…

Gulab Jamum is heaven in form of dessert.  I fell in love with it the first time I tried, many years ago. You can read all about it here. I’ve flirted with the idea of making it from scratch, but it’s really a very involved process. Little balls with a taste that reminds me of cooked condensed milk, floating in a simple syrup. Yes, very sweet, a little bit will satisfy your cravings…

Since I spoke of Aritri, I take the opportunity to give a little update. Tomorrow, April 2nd, she starts the second cycle of chemo at Sloan-Kettering, New York. We have the gofund still going strong, and thanks to all the generous donations she’s been able to stay in New York and get the best possible treatment. Thank you for all of you who donated or helped in any way with messages, advice, and moral support.

From Ms. S., Aritri’s Mom, home-made temptation on a plate…

Paatisapta, a Bengali dessert. Delicate crepes, traditionally made with rice flour from freshly harvested rice. The filling can vary a lot, sometimes even savory stuff is used. These had a creamy coconut filling, and were very delicious. The crepes were made with a mixture of rice and semolina flour, as they were unable to find the exact kind of rice flour they would have in India. Absolutely lovely!

From my niece Raquel…

Raquel knows of my love for elephants, and sent me this package with two beautiful coffee cups (handmade), pen holders, and elephant and dog clips.  They work great to close paper and plastic bags, and also to keep parchment paper collars when you want to make a tall souffle, or something along those lines.  Such thoughtful gifts!

From Phil….

As you may have noticed, we do have a little problem with coffee and tea cups. Oh,well. There are worse addictions in life. We are not interested in any type of therapy to get rid of this one.  These were all from our favorite UK artist, Mary Rose Young, found on ebay.

In our kitchen…

A baguette-flipper.  A wooden board that is perfect to transfer baguettes from their proofing stage into the oven, as the less you mess with them after shaping, the better. I’ve always wanted to have one, and now I do!  Stay tuned for a baguette adventure coming up soon.

In our kitchen…


Since we are talking baguettes, might as well share one more item to make them. Diastatic malt powder, often used in bread dough to maximize fermentation. America’s Test Kitchen recommends using it in uses some in their baguette formula.

In our kitchen…

A dough docker. Yes, I realize the tines of a fork do the same job. But this is sexier. So there!

In our kitchen…


A spoon-shaped cutter. I first saw this gadget used to make a super cool bite-size dessert. Take a look at this post. I got in touch with the company, and Mr. Roy shipped it to me from the UK. I intend to put it to use very soon…  Adorable, don’t you think? You can also roll out sandwich type bread very thinly, use the spoon cutter to cut them in spoon shape, toast and serve with all sorts of dips, tapenade, cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers… Endless possibilities!

In our kitchen…


A cookbook with very interesting ideas for non-alcoholic drinks. For  more info, click here.

In our kitchen…


Cute little platters found at Marshall’s.  I see blue macarons in the future…

In our kitchen…

Another Marshall’s gem. As I’ve mentioned many times, I am not too fond of jams. Never spread them on toast, alone or paired with peanut butter. But, they are amazing as components of macaron fillings, so whenever I see a more exotic flavor, I cannot resist bringing it home.

In our kitchen…


A very nice tahini, in fact this is the brand recommended by the one and only Ottolenghi. I ordered it from amazon, as I could not find it in town.

In our kitchen…


This is a silicone piping bulb. I have not tried it yet, but intend to do so in the near future. The reviews on amazon were pretty good, and I think it might come in handy for small piping jobs. It comes with three tips, but it will fit most sizes of tips available in the market.

In our kitchen…


A clay pot. I used to have one many many years ago, but it cracked and after saying goodbye to it, I decided to live without one. Recently, my beloved had a craving for clay pot chicken, and that was all the stimulus I needed to bring it into the Bewitching Kitchen. Stay tuned. Did you know you can use it to bake fantastic loaves of bread too?  Ours is glazed inside, which facilitates cleaning.

And now, it’s time for our loyal and goofy four-legged furry friends to say hello…  They’ve waited patiently for 3 months and cannot wait to share their own adventures….

Bogey Quit That, over the 18 months he’s been with us, has changed a lot. He seems more adapted to his new routine, and is having a lot more fun patrolling the backyard with his brothers. However, there is no doubt he prefers weekends, when he can be inside with us.

 

Oscar, as usual has his “issues.”

Your willingness to share with me some of your fancy soup is appreciated, but I don’t think I would like it. Therefore, I won’t even taste it.

Whereas his brothers had a totally different take on it…

 

 Normally a very well-behaved pup, Buck got himself into trouble.

Those were the remains of the cork of a very special balsamic vinegar,  a gift from our friends Marijo & Vlad. I must have dropped the cork on the floor and did not even notice until it was too late.  

Would you ever forgive me, Mom?
Maybe the fact that I am the cutest dog in town could help?

Oh, pleeeeease… cute is MY middle name!

Methinks you are both in blind denial.  My carefully placed spots make me the most handsome dog to ever roam the Earth.

And I’m the only one who matches Mom’s outfits…

You must be joking. I can outmatch you anytime!

Plus, matching outfits is no big deal. I am the only one who meditates with Mom…

But, not all is peace and quiet in the Bewitching Kitchen…

Scary indeed, but nothing compared to Osky, when he accidentally saw some luggage going into the pick up truck.
Luggage = kennel.

He hid in the den, and tried to cover himself with the dog bed. I was not fast enough to get a perfect shot, but his sad eyes convey all the emotion… Still, we always come back to rescue them and shower them with love!

That’s all for now, folks!  
We hope you enjoyed the Spring version of In My Kitchen…


ONE YEAR AGO: First Monday Favorite

TWO YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2016

THREE YEARS AGO: Spring has Sprung with Suzanne Goin

FOUR YEARS AGO: Chai Brownies

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pomegranate-Molasses Glazed Carrots

SIX YEARS AGO: Braised Brisket with Bourbon-Peach Glaze

SEVEN YEARS AGO: The Real Vodka Sauce

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Spring Rolls on a Spring Day

 

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HAPPY NEW YEAR IN MY KITCHEN!


And another year starts!  I am feeling more energetic than ever, so be ready for a lot of cooking, a lot of baking, maybe some more daring culinary projects coming from this bewitched spot.  I start 2018 inviting you for a virtual stroll around our kitchen, a tradition started by Celia and now hosted by Sherry, from  Sherry’s Pickings. Stop by their virtual spots to say hello, will you?

And now, grab my hand and let’s get this party started!

Gift… So many gifts to show you, I feel I could almost do a full IMK post just with the goodies we’ve received for the past three months.

From Ms. A & Dr. S, our grad student & post-doc couple in the lab…

Addictive in a delicious way: Dry Samosas. You probably know too well how amazing samosas are?  Well, in India they turned them into snacks you buy ready to enjoy. This particular kind is super spicy, which is good, because one or two are satisfying, no need to go on until you reach the bottom of the bag…

Straight from India, from our student Mr. A, very nice sweets, the round, orange ones are made with besan flour, and are called Besan Ka Laddoo.  Sweet, exotic, wonderful, but my favorite is the other one, Kaju Katli made with ground cashews and milk, The edible silver leaf decoration makes it so elegant… It is simply divine!


From Uzbekistan, a beautiful tea set offered by the parents of our student, Dr. Y.  In my ignorance, I knew nothing about the sophisticated way tea is enjoyed in that country. Apparently, these authentic sets are hard to find, so I am forever grateful for having received them as a gift. You can read all about it here. And a very similar tea set is shown in the article. It made me feel on top of the world!

From our friend Cindy, the most colorful spreaders known to mankind. Don’t you think they have my name written all over? I knew you would agree… And do you see the green plate they are laying on? That was a gift from Cindy when I started my blog! How cool is that? Almost 9 years ago…


Still from Cindy, the latest cookbook by Christopher Kimball, in his new phase after leaving America’s Test Kitchen. The book is simply great. If you don’t have it, you need it.

My friends definitely know me well… another colorful offering, coming all the way from England! Our friend Denise sent me this planner, perfect for the list-maniac I am. Pages and pages to make lists, notes to self, stickers… I adore it! Confess to inaugurating it a couple of weeks before Christmas (sorry, Denise!).



From Phil, a new coffee mug from our favorite British ceramic artist, Mary Rose Young. Full disclosure: I broke one of our old ones, and almost had a fit, because Phil had given it to me years ago. He immediately went to work at ebay and within a few days, surprise surprise!  I know, I am a very lucky wife…


From a very dear friend Heather, from California, persimmons from her own backyard! She and her husband are amazing gardeners, you cannot imagine how many tomato plants they harvest every year in sunny California, and all sorts of veggies. These persimmons were the best we’ve ever tried.


From one dear departmental colleague at KSU, Ms. B…. sweets she made herself. Does she know I am crazy about white chocolate? Perhaps… I tell you, these are (ahem… were) amazing!

From our dear friends Marijo and Vlad, two – count them two – bottles of a balsamic vinegar that will make you go weak in the knees.  I swear I want to make a filling for macarons involving roasted strawberries and balsamic vinegar. I must go to work on this very important endeavor.

From Phil, the most amazing early Christmas gift (it was delivered a few days early)… an electric smoker!  We had enjoyed great smoked food during a visit to one of our friends in Michigan, and flirted with the idea of getting one. Well, there it is, sitting in our patio, a brand new Cookshack, great match for our home, aka The Love Shack..   (wink, wink). We’ve already enjoyed a couple of recipes and soon I’ll be sharing them with you.

And that wraps up the gifts we got since my last virtual tour through the Bewitching Kitchen… didn’t I tell you I could pretty much do a full post with them?  But, let’s move on…

In Our Kitchen…

Before the great meteorological disaster of 2017 (aka arrival of winter), we managed to harvest all the basil and the peppers produced in our backyard, thanks to the gardening efforts of my beloved husband.  I processed all the basil (trust me, it was a lot, the photo doesn’t show all of it), and made little portions of basil with olive oil, a touch of vitamin C to keep it nice and green. Then, when we need to use basil for a salad dressing, a sauce, or to turn it into real pesto, we are pretty much ready.


In our kitchen….

Phil’s new obsession… Jams from Maury Island Farm… he’s found it for the first time at a Trader Joe’s in Portland, OR. It was a single-flavor type, strawberry jam. The moment he took his first taste, he was completely obsessed by it. Went online, bought some more flavors, and ended up offering it as a gift for several of our friends. Even though I don’t care at all for jams, I had to try it because he would not take no for an answer – “Sally, you HAVE to try this, you will love it… trust me…C’mon, just a tiny bit”  And so I did. Indeed, it IS very nice.  I could macaron-it at some point…  (sorry, I have my own obsessions, as you may have noticed). If you are interested in getting some  – and I urge you to do it, you won’t be disappointed – jump to the company website with a click here.  They have an amazing amount of goodies!

In our kitchen…

 

Two items to add interesting flavors to desserts… such as macarons, maybe? You’d think? A pumpkin spice extract (which I already used for macs a couple of months ago), and bergamot essential oil. Apparently it is a wonderful match for blueberries, so you can predict what will happen in our kitchen at some point. Essential oils are very strong, one or two drops will be more than enough to flavor a buttercream, a ganache,  a custard. Fun ingredients to play with, which I learned from a great cookbook called The Sweet Spot.

In our kitchen…


A new cookbook, very beautiful, it comes in a box wrapped in thin paper like a special sweet boxed in a store in Paris… I suppose you won’t be surprised that it comes from Ladurée, the legendary macaron maker, but the book covers quite a few other French delicacies…

In our kitchen….


I guess you can call us easily obsessed? We were watching old episodes of The Great British Bake Off on youtube and in those early years they offered little tours around UK. In one particular show they focused on Scottish shortbread. Phil remembered seeing boxes of those at our local Marshall’s. To make a long story short, he stopped by and grabbed one box. Then another. Then I stopped by and bought one “for him.”  Yeah, we’ve been enjoying those very very much. In small doses, but with certain regularity, I must admit. They melt in the mouth. They make me happy. I like being happy. End of story.

In our kitchen….


Talk about an exotic ingredient!  This is it. Poha,  a flattened rice from India. Have you ever heard of it? Thanks to our graduate student Ms. A, I bought a bag. And have been researching recipes. Stay tuned…

In our kitchen…


I blame my obsession (there we go again) with The Great British Bake Off on many of the items in this post. One more for you, stem ginger. Apparently very common in the UK, it is ginger cooked in a simple syrup and gives unique flavor to desserts. I was wondering how to obtain it in the US, until one day I saw one bottle (yes, just one) at our Marshall’s. Gotta love that store… shortbread cookies, stem ginger, exotic extracts, it’s a cook’s dream! My first recipe using it will be a lemon tart that got amazing reviews by Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, when one of the contestants made it.

In our kitchen….


A bag of candied orange peel. This is one very important ingredient for panettone, and one that can make or kill the recipe. I know that it’s possible to make my own, but having a good product available makes it a lot easier. This one is really nice, the taste is fresh and bright and the texture perfect.

 

In our kitchen….


Another ingredient I am looking forward to using soon… chestnut puree… yeah, sounds very special and of course could even be geared towards the making of a certain French delicacy made with almonds and egg whites…

In our kitchen…


A special, sturdy wooden spoon, simple but mandatory tool to make choux pastry.

In our kitchen…

Talking of choux pastry… Some éclairs did happen… but I need a little more practice before sharing my adventures with you. Still, they turned out quite mesmerizing to some….

In our kitchen…


A little single-function gadget, which normally I would not be too wild about. But this one is a green bean slicer. We eat green beans with almonds quite often, and Phil loves the texture they get when prepped this way. We found it at ebay.  If you’d like to see it in action, here is an 11 second video featuring the resident George Clooney. Better than the original, obviously.

In our kitchen…


Could not resist bringing this home.. purple, one of my favorite colors, and the message? Perfect!  Well, the only way to make it better would be with “children” instead of “child.”  But I am not too picky…

And since the word dog just popped up…

I am forced to allow our pups to bark their piece… Without further ado,  let’s see what the Magnificent Trio has been up to in the past three months…

Bogey continues to feed his reputation of The Greatest Destroyer of Balls and Dog Toys

Although Oscar thinks his methods are better, and he does it with a lot more sex-appeal….

Whereas others? Others have class and dignity. Much needed in this world, if you ask me.

Bogey is always ready to play (photo taken at 6:05 am)…

and, truth be told, there is one toy he never managed to destroy, a back massager that was never born to be a dog toy, but I highly recommend it if you have a pup with excessive enthusiasm around…

The pups have been through many great moments… like the anticipation of Turkey Day

and its unavoidable consequences….

Exercising their fast reflexes…

Chilling out with Mom…

.
Being immortalized on a plate…
(we are still searching for one for Osky, so far no luck!)

But he doesn’t let that bring him down. He’s
The Bad Ass Who Shall Not Be Bothered

As it is often the case, into every life a little rain must fall… and for the pups, that also applies… we’ve had a few trips…

 

Yes, the kennel happened, more than once…

But they know we always come back to rescue them to their forever loving home….

THAT’S WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT….   

That is all for now, folks… We hope you enjoyed this sort of long virtual tour through the Bewitching Kitchen…


FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS:

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Happy New Year In My Kitchen!

TWO YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen: Happy New Year!

THREE YEARS AGO: And another year starts…

FOUR YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen: January 2014

FIVE YEARS AGO: Tacos with Pork in Green Sauce

SIX YEARS AGO:  Maui New Year!

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Natural Beauty

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Sunflower Seed Rye

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IN MY KITCHEN: OCTOBER 2017

Bogey Art, courtesy of our dear friend Denise, from UK

Time to invite my readers for another virtual tour of our kitchen, a tour that usually takes place every three months, so there’s a lot to talk about.  As I mentioned many times, credit should go to Celia who started the IMK series many years ago, and to Sherry from Sherry’s Pickings, who is hosting the event now. Stop by her site to say hello.

Starting with gifts…

From a former graduate student, Lorne

Straight from New Zealand, a honey infused with kiwi. Spectacular… Not sure how he was able to find it, but I’m sure glad he got a bottle for us

From a colleague in our department….

Bel Murabba, something I had never even heard about. You can learn more about it here. This one is a type of apple that is used exclusively in this type of preserve in India. It is stored in a heavy syrup, you simply rinse it well and enjoy a slice of the fruit. Apparently it is great for improving digestion.  It reminded me of a Brazilian delicacy called ‘goiabada” which is made from guava fruit.

From our friend Cindy…

A lemongrass plant she brought when she visited us a few months ago. Phil took good care of it, and it really exploded into a huge, healthy plant in our backyard, living in perfect harmony with our basil and a few Serrano pepper plants. I feel incredibly virtuous when a recipe calling for fresh lemongrass has me walking outside with a pair of scissors. Thank you, Cindy, for making it possible.

From one of our graduate students…

The best caviar I ever tasted. The best. You know how caviar can taste fishy sometimes? I don’t “do” fishy very well. Well, this one is the smoothest, most amazing, creamy, luscious, delicious caviar ever. Cannot thank him (and his parents who actually brought it) enough.

From Phil…

Four little vintage plates he found at an antique store in Norman, Oklahoma, during a visit last July. I love them!

Moving on to regular items…

In our kitchen…

Small vintage Pyrex dishes I bought at the same antique store. They have a full room devoted to those, I wanted to grab a lot more pieces, but storage is a problem, so I settled for these.  Adorable…

In our kitchen…

Sucanat, a sweetener derived from cane sugar with a bit of molasses taste to it, but not exactly like brown sugar. It is similar to jaggery and rapadura (the Brazilian homolog of piloncillo). America’s Test Kitchen great book “Naturally Sweet” uses sucanat in plenty of their recipes. A fun ingredient to play with.

In our kitchen…

Humongous caper berries. They are not very easy to find, so when I saw them for sale at Marshalls I pounced on the bottle like Buck on a snake.

In our kitchen…

Pineapple-infused vodka. We saw this concoction on a cookbook and Phil was intrigued. Basically you cut up a pineapple, add vodka to cover, keep in the fridge for 2 weeks. Drain the vodka, discard the pineapple pieces. The now pineapple-infused vodka can be used to make pineapple-tinis or any other drink your imagination comes up with.

In our kitchen…

Makoto Japanese Ginger Carrot dressing.  I don’t normally go for bottled salad dressing, but my friend Tracy recommended it. It is very tasty! Not too sweet, in fact in terms of carbs this dressing is quite moderate:   Excellent on cole-slaw, spinach salads, or squirted with abandon over turkey burgers.

In our kitchen…

That time of the year. Pumpkin time. How could I resist this bag of pasta? No need to answer that. I could not. I did not.

 

In our kitchen…

Another Marshalls gem. A huge bottle of fantastic roasted cashews. When I am hungry while making dinner, a few of those do a great job tidying me over until the meal is finally ready to be devoured.  Phil will often have a Wasa-cracker smeared with peanut butter and some of those cashews on top for lunch. Very delicious.

In our kitchen…

Fresh basil from our backyard, almost at the point of harvest before the first frost (these two simple words are like a couple of sharp swords stabbing my heart).

In our kitchen…

Star-shaped edible glitter… Because, macarons… (stay tuned)

In our kitchen…

Two new decorative items… a cute (perhaps slightly kitschy) elephant, and a small candle holder I found at a store in Silverthorne, Colorado last month. The elephant had high hopes for a warm welcome to our pack, but sadly, it was not exactly the case (read on).

In our kitchen…

A little bit of public service, in the form of a picture (taken in the lab, actually) to show you how much sugar is present in ONE can of Coca-Cola. Thirty-nine grams. Nobody, absolutely nobody needs this amount of sugar in one sitting. Or two..  Or three… A full 20-ounce bottle packs 65 grams. Shocking, isn’t it? Now, back to our regular programming.  😉

In our kitchen…

A mug that I ordered from gearbubble, with a favorite picture of Buck, my little Tim-Tam, my little munchkin…  Isn’t that adorable? It melts my heart every time I take a sip of my evening tea. And since I spoke of Buck….

 IT’S DOGGIE TIME!

For three months the pups patiently waited to say hello, but now, tails furiously wagging, here they are!

The morning routine changes very little in our home… Bogey’s food bowl is always full to the top, and not a molecule of nutrient is left behind when he is done, 2 and a half minutes later.

Oscar seems to find new objections to food items with every passing month…

 

But poor Oscar had some bad karma flowing his way…
He’d developed a small abscess on his neck that had to be drained.

Hi, friends… My name is Oscar For the Love of God Stop, and I am here all groggy from my torture at the vet. They said I will be ok, not sure I believe them.

Mom and Dad gave me lots of treats and petting… Maybe I should go back to the vet next week again?

Maybe Mom and Dad gave my brother a lot of attention, but Mom dressed to complement MY beautiful fur, not theirs! How about that for special attention?

Plus, Dad helps me stretch in the morning!  I don’t see him helping my two silly brothers.


Well, I can stretch on my own. What matters is, I am the one with the photo on the mug, and Mom told me she got this necklace made to match MY beautiful paws. So there!

I am just sexy. And I know it….

 

Seriously, Osky?  You must be kiddin’ me!

Mom brought a new friend home…  We are not quite sure what to make of him.
Something about his smell does not feel right to us. Any of us.

 

But into every life, a little rain must fall…

Yes, unfortunately we’ve had quite a few trips lately, and the pups had to endure some time in The Dark and Scary Place, as my friend Jill describes it. But they know that this is their forever home, and Mom and Dad never leave  for too long…

They all promised to be very well-behaved forever. Which, in dog time is a bit tricky to determine.
Should we trust them? 

Would we ever lie to our humans? What do you think?

 

Thank you, Sherry for hosting! I invite my readers to stop by Sherry’s Pickings to take virtual tours of many kitchens around the world!

ONE YEAR AGO: Little Bites of Paradise

TWO YEARS AGO: Coxinha de Galinha: A Brazilian Delicacy

THREE YEARS AGO: Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp Skewers

FOUR YEARS AGO: A Simple Dinner

FIVE YEARS AGO: Brown Butter Tomato Salad

SIX YEARS AGO:  Spelt and Cornmeal Rolls

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Roasted Potato and Olive Focaccia

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire

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IN MY KITCHEN – JULY 2017

Time to invite you for a virtual walk through the Bewitching Kitchen. Time passes fast, things change, but it’s important to give credit to  Celia who started this event years ago. It is now hosted by Sherry from Sherry’s Pickings, so make sure to stop by both sites to say hello when you have a chance. My last participation was three months ago (!!!) so there’s a lot to talk about. Are you ready?

First, I like to start talking about gifts…

The amazing colleagues from our department sent me a care package when I arrived back from Brazil after the death of my Mom. The reason is sad, but their gesture so sweet… Thank you!

From our post-doc Somnath, a gorgeous Chinese bowl that he got for me while in a scientific meeting in Los Angeles. Intense blue, I always use it to serve rice. It is what we could call a perfect match.  Thank you, Somnath!

From Phil, one more coffee cup for our collection, one more ebay find from the British artist Mary Rose Young. It is all happy next to its sister with the rose decoration on the handle. The coffee art produced by my beloved is a Chinese ideogram that means I love you forever (well, don’t show this to any Chinese person, let it be our secret).

My gift to Phil… his immersion blender was in bad shape, the blade would come out while spinning, and we had to stop, unplug it and push it back. Very dangerous, I could easily see myself losing the tip of my finger in some absent-minded move.  This one works very well, and it came with a small food processor as a bonus. We are both very happy with his gift (wink, wink).

In our kitchen…


Found this honey at Marshalls. It comes from avocado flowers.  I am not a honey connoisseur, but apparently monofloral honey is highly praised. This one is quite dark and intensely flavored. Plus the label is so stylish, I could not resist. I sometimes shop with my eyes first… 😉

In our kitchen…

I have not tried these yet, but they are supposed to give beautifully flat cakes, without that irritating “dome effect.” I confess I’ve had them for a while, and only remember they exist after the cake is out of the oven. Yeap, I do research for a living. It surprises me too.

In our kitchen

For a cake-o-phobe,  I do own a lot of cake-related gadgets.  This is a cake turner, and it was very useful to add icing to my celebratory 8th blog-anniversary concoction.

In our kitchen…

What did I just say about cake-gadgets? Could not resist these… one never knows when I’ll get into a cupcake adventure, and it’s very important to have the right tools for a job I’ve never done.

In our kitchen…

Macaron obsession is still going strong. I got a larger tip for piping the shells, works great. And a few goodies for future important experiments. Stay tuned for crazy macs coming up in the near future. Bogey was quite taken by them, I hope you will fancy them too…

In our kitchen…

Another outcome of  a Marshalls’ treasure hunt. This is a very large bowl, so colorful, I tried to move away from it at the store, but it kept pulling me back, twisting my arm, I was pretty much forced to bring it home. Abused by a bowl, that’s a first.

In our kitchen…

Macadamia oil. I heard about its qualities, including very high smoking point, and decided to give it a try. Really enjoy its mild flavor for sauteing stuff. It is more expensive than olive oil, so this will not be replacing it in our cooking. I also used it in salad dressing a couple of times. I’d say it is as mild as grapeseed oil, a favorite of mine.

In our kitchen…

This is a special Japanese rice flour. Very very fine, different from the product you might use to coat your banneton so that bread dough won’t stick to it. I read about it in the book Flours, part of my giveaway last month. Love that book, everything I’ve made from it has been a success.

In our kitchen…


Crispy brown rice cereal. I used this product in a variation of Chicken Parmigiana from the book The Dude Diet. So good, that I decided to buy a second box as a back up. You process the cereal together with some Parmigiano cheese, salt, and herbs, use that to coat chicken breast filets.

In our kitchen…

A very nice tea, recommended by our graduate student, Aritri. She loved it and I could not help but order a box, because she is a person of very fine taste. It is truly delicious! The brand has several kinds, unfortunately no free shipping available through amazon prime. I guess the best approach is to keep your eyes open, maybe your grocery stores carries it? I cross my fingers that our beloved Marshalls will, at some point.

In our kitchen…

Phil (a Michigander) loves tart cherries, and these preserves are excellent. I cannot tell, as I never eat jams or preserves of any kind, but I can testify he always has a huge smile when he does.

In our kitchen…

Strawberries coated in chocolate, courtesy of my beloved, who found the perfect use for leftover ganache from my special layered cake of the recent past.

Near our kitchen…


I am thrilled to share this with you. Soggy Doggy rug. It is a life-changing item that I cannot recommend highly enough. This rug is not cheap, let’s get this out-of-the-way. But, it was THE best investment ever, it sits in the patio, right by the door to the living room and kitchen area. If you let your dog sit and walk around it for a minute or so, the fabric adsorbs dirt and water in a way that is hard to believe!  Keeping our wooden floors clean has been so much easier since we got it several months ago. We haven’t washed it yet, just shake it outside every once in a while, sometimes use very gingerly the vacuum cleaner, with the spinning brushes off. This thing is money. Every day I pass by it and blow it a kiss. Honest. If you have pets, you need this. They come in several sizes, depending on the kind of pet you have, a small one might be enough. We really had to go for the kill here. Obviously. To order, click here.

And since the subject of pets came up,
it’s time to let them say hello…

More than a simple hello, they insist on having their grievances in the open, so that  Mom’s readers know the true nature of who they are dealing with. You know, behind those blogging doors.

“I’ve been betrayed. I had just developed a nice personal scent over a week of hard work. You gave me a bath, and took it all away. I now smell like a tangerine. I shall never ever interact with you again. Ever.”

“I’ve been betrayed. Mom tricked me into going outside dangling a cookie in front of my perfectly shaped nose. Dad was there, waiting for me. With a hose. Cold water under 95 F weather. Very unfair. I shall never ever move from this couch. Ever.”

Betrayal. Humiliation. Shame.

“Oh, you whining babies. You don’t know what real betrayal is. Mom took me to a torture place, dropped me there all by myself and not only I got a bath, but by the time they were done with me, my fur was gone. Gone. I am still in shock.”

“I shall hide from your view for eternity.”

 

Thankfully, a dog grievance never lasts very long.

Certain behaviors, though… they will likely never end…

Like a little sniffing around…

A little begging…

A little snoring after breakfast…

We still think they enjoy being squeaky clean, no matter how hard they tried to stain our reputation as doggie parents…

“Mirror, mirror tell me, who is the cutest dog in the world?”

 

“Mirror, mirror, tell me, who is the most handsome dog in the world?”

 

“Mirror, mirror, tell me, who is the bossiest dog in the world?”

In case you haven’t noticed, the couch rules have relaxed quite a bit since Bogey Quit That joined our pack…

Couch Rules? Which rules? Certainly they do not apply to this couch!

 

Agreed. The couch is my favorite place for deep thoughts… like the meaning of life, and how did that toad escape my mouth?

I feel the same way. The couch is where I wonder why every day is not a weekend day…  how pleasure can be such a fleeting emotion…

I am also having very profound thoughts, and you better believe me. In fact, I just figured out that the meaning of life is helping Mom get all comfy. I think she enjoys the new-non-rules too.

Bogey Quit That compensates for all the revolution he started by keeping our home safe.
A true guard dog like no other!

That’s all for now, folks!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour through our kitchen…
Stop by Sherry’s site to see what is going on in kitchens all over the world!

 

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ONE YEAR AGO: Secret Recipe Club: Falafel and a Bonus Recipe

TWO YEARS AGO: Chocolate Toffee Banana Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, June 2014

FOUR YEARS AGO:  Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

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

SIX YEARS AGO: Honey-Glazed Chicken Legs

SEVEN YEARS AGO: French-Style Rolls

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Chicken Breasts, Coffee, and Serendipity