PUMPKIN MACARONS

To Halloween or Not to Halloween, that is the question… 

 That’s up to you to decide. They can be very elegant served without any special decoration…

Or you can let your creative juices flow free…

PUMPKIN MACARONS
(adapted from several sources, including Craftsy.com)

for the shells:
198 g powdered sugar
113 g almond meal
113 g egg whites at room temperature
a pinch of cream of tartar
100 g granulated sugar
Orange Gel color from AmeriColor
¼ teaspoon pumpkin spice bakery emulsion (if unavailable, use  2 drops of vanilla extract)

for the filling:
3 tablespoons (40 g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (130 g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon pure pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon milk
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

for decoration (optional):
luster dust in black and gold
1/8 teaspoon gin for each color

Line 2 or 3 heavy baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Layer the powdered sugar and almond meal   in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like fine meal, about 15 seconds. Pass through a sieve and transfer to a small bowl. Set aside.

Place the egg whites and pinch of cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Make sure that the bowl and the whisk are impeccably clean. Starting on medium speed, whip the whites with the cream of tartar until they look like light foam. The whites should not appear liquid. The foam will be light and should not have any structure.

Slowly rain in the granulated sugar, trying to aim the stream between the whisk and the side of the bowl. Turn the speed up to medium-high. Continue to whip the meringue until it is soft and shiny. It should look like marshmallow creme. Add the gel color and the pumpkin spice emulsion (or vanilla). Staying at medium-high speed, whip the egg whites until the mixture begins to dull and the lines of the whisk are visible on the surface of the meringue. Check the peak. It should be firm. Transfer the whites to a medium bowl.

Fold in the almond meal mixture in three increments. Paint the mixture halfway up the side of the bowl, using the flat side of a spatula. Scrape the mixture down to the center of the bowl. Repeat two or three times, then check to see if the mixture slides slowly down the side of the bowl. Put the mixture in a piping bag fitted with one of the tips listed above. Pipe on the prepared baking sheets.

Slam each sheet hard four to six times on the counter. Then fist bump each end of the sheet’s underside twice. Let the unbaked macarons dry until they look dull but not overly dry. Drying time depends on humidity. Ina dry climate, the macarons can dry in 15 to 20 minutes; in a humid climate, it can take 35 to 40 minutes.

While the macarons are drying, heat the oven to 330 F (170 C/gas mark 3). Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack. Check in 11 minutes. If the tops slide, then bake for 2 to 3 more minutes. The macarons should release without sticking. Check one or two. If they stick, put them back in the oven for 1 to 2 more minutes. Let the macaroons cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Make the filling:  Cream the butter with the powdered sugar with a hand mixer, until incorporated and creamy. Add the other ingredients, continue beating until smooth. You should have the exact amount to fill this batch of macarons.

Assemble the macarons: find two macarons similar in size and add a good amount of filling to the bottom of one of them. Place the other on top and squeeze gently to take the filling all the way to the edge.  Paint decorations with luster dust dissolved in gin, if so desired. Let it dry and store the macarons in the fridge for 24 hours for perfect texture.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: These turned out so delicious! The pumpkin extract used in the shells gave them a subtle flavor that complemented the filling quite well. I found mine at Marshalls but included a link in the recipe for you to get it at amazon.com, if interested. These macarons scream Fall loud and clear. Once again I used my trustworthy recipe from Colette Christian over at Craftsy. I cannot praise her classes enough. During a recent sale event, I bought her Éclairs lesson, and it is simply outstanding. Plus, if you have any questions, she usually answers quite quickly. Very helpful, and very knowledgable. Yes, you read me correctly: éclairs are on my list of goodies to attempt in the very near future. Wish me luck…

 

I must thank Phil for saving the day with these Halloween-styled macarons. I had a different idea for decorating them, but let’s say it was a disaster. As I walked in circles around the kitchen, feeling miserable and hopeless, he suggested painting crazy faces on the shells, and we had a blast doing it together. Great project to do with kids, by the way. I used luster dust (available in amazon.com) in black and gold, mixed with a touch of gin. No worries, it evaporates, so these are kid-friendly. And approved by graduate students too…

ONE YEAR AGO: Slow-Cooked Whole Chicken

TWO YEARS AGO: Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting

THREE YEARS AGO: Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Honey-Mustard Dressing

FOUR YEARS AGO: Bewitching Kitchen on Fire!

FIVE YEARS AGO: Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

SIX YEARS AGO: Chiarello’s Chicken Cacciatore

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Donna Hay’s Thai-Inspired Dinner

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Panettone

 

 

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SOUP SATURDAY: REGIONAL SOUPS

Third Saturday of October, I’m joining the fun event hosted this month by Ashley from Cheese Curd in Paradise. She picked Regional Soups as theme, hoping we would all feature a soup that is typical of our state. Google is one of my best friends, but this time it let me down. No matter how hard I tried to trick it into giving me some variety for recipes from Kansas, it was set on…. Steak Soup. For someone born and raised in Brazil, the words steak and soup cannot be present in the same sentence. Unless the soup was a first light course for that juicy steak grilled medium-rare. But, in the name of joining the party, I asked Phil how he felt about it. His reaction:  No, thank you. I like my steak grilled. Medium-rare. See? We are very compatible, in case you did not notice. I had two options, decline to participate, or be a bit more flexible with definitions. Since you are reading this post, you already know my choice. Kansas has great corn. And after hitting “publish” on this post, I might need a great lawyer.

KANSAS CORN CHOWDER
(inspired by Cookin Canuck)  

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 shallot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
2 + 1/2  cups chicken broth
1 cup + 1/2 corn kernels (from about 4 corn cobs)
3/4 teaspoon of salt, divided
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-fat milk
3 cooked chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, shredded
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
fresh cilantro leaves

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the shallot, celery and red pepper and cook stirring very now and then until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the green chiles and cook briefly. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt. 

Pour in the chicken broth, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat add the corn and simmer for 5  minutes. Place the flour in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the soup, along with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Cook, until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shredded chicken meat and the Cheddar cheese. Serve right away when the cheese melts, with some cilantro sprinkled on top. Adjust seasoning. 

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Since I had already pushed the envelope coming up with a chowder as a recipe for Kansas, I went even wilder and cooked the chicken sous-vide. How about that for breaking all rules? You simply cannot beat the perfect texture sous-vide does for boneless chicken breasts. Of course you can use leftover roast chicken, or regular top of the stove poached meat, it’s all fine. The shredded chicken is added just at the end, right before serving. You can also omit it for a full-veggie version, using vegetable stock or even water instead of chicken stock.  I had a lot of fun making this soup, even if the corn husk attacked me.

Felt very virtuous with my prep work!

I bought fresh corn and shucked it myself, to collect the beautiful kernels for my Kansas Soup. As I was shucking the very first corn, while pulling the husk back, it caught the fingernail of my little finger. Pulled it upwards and back almost breaking it midway into the tip of the finger. Have you ever done that? I tell you, it hurts. I saw many of the constellations of the Milky Way passing fast in front of my eyes. Or so it seemed. Stuck my finger in an ice bath, cut the fingernail as close as possible to the finger, and moved on.

Corn 1 x 0 Sally

This soup turned out quite amazing!  I think next time a little cayenne pepper will be added, I’d like slightly more heat. I swirled a little Sriracha over my bowl, just because. You can do the same.  Compared to many corn chowder recipes around, this one is a little more restrained in terms of calories, as I used a lot less flour to thicken the soup, and also opted for low-fat milk instead of a load of heavy cream. Trust me, this was luscious enough the way I made it. We were very happy with it, and the chicken makes it a full meal.

 

If you’d like to see what my virtual friends prepared for their Regional Soups, click on the link at the very bottom of the post. Ashley, thanks for hosting!

Guess what, folks? Next month yours truly will be hosting the event!  I can hardly wait!

ONE YEAR AGO: Impossibly Cute Bacon and Egg Cups

TWO YEARS AGO: Pulling Under Pressure

THREE YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-vide: Two takes on Chicken Thighs

FOUR YEARS AGO: Miso Soup: A Japanese Classic

FIVE YEARS AGO: On my desk

SIX YEARS AGO: A must-make veggie puree

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Vegetarian Lasagna

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Brazilian Pão de Queijo

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SLOW-ROASTED TOMATOES

This could very well go into the Simplicity Files, could not be any easier to prepare. They are scrumptious, it is amazing how a few hours in a low oven can concentrate flavors, and with this method, the texture is not harsh like in so many examples of bottled sun-dried tomatoes.

First you need to start with the most gorgeous Roma tomatoes you can find…

Then, slice them in half, and remove the seeds. You don’t want them in there, it will make the tomatoes very watery and it will take a lot longer to dry. To help speed things up – even though this is a slow recipe by definition – you can let the tomatoes rest over a double layer of paper towels, cut side down for an hour or so. It is not mandatory, you can definitely omit this step.

Now, place them in a bowl and drizzle some olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and Herbes de Provence. Lay them on a roasting pan covered with parchment paper and stick them in a 200 F oven. Some recipes call for a drizzle of balsamic, but I prefer to leave that out, the flavor of the tomato comes through with no distractions.

Walk away for a few hours. After 3 hours you can start checking back to see when they reach the consistency you like. Mine actually took 5 hours to get there, but it’s a very nice culinary project to tackle on a Sunday.

They are ready when they are ready…

 

You can nibble on them, but I advise against it. If you start, you might find yourself staring at an empty bowl. Much better to put them to use in all sorts of recipes.

For instance….

A departure on Caprese salad, in which Phil paired them with mozzarella cheese, olives, and a basil dressing….

Remember our Brunch Burger?  There they are, a few slices of slow-roasted tomatoes underneath the turkey patty.

and they pair well with avocados!  Just lay half a tomato inside it, and a squeeze of lemon juice…. Simple, and so delicious!

Another tasty idea: make tomato rice… Just saute a couple of slow-roasted tomatoes until they threaten to melt in the olive oil, add rice, cook a little longer, add the water and in less than 20 minutes you have a very flavorful side dish. We still have amazing tomatoes for sale at the grocery store, so I already made two huge batches, and see a third one in the near future.

ONE YEAR AGO: Spicy Cotija and Black Olive Sourdough

TWO YEARS AGO: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: Sourdough Rye Bread with Flaxseeds and Oats

FOUR YEARS AGO: PCR and a Dance in the Mind Field

FIVE YEARS AGO: October 16: World Bread Day

SIX YEARS AGO: The US Listeria Outbreak 2011

SEVEN YEARS AGO: 36 Hour Sourdough Baguettes

EIGHT YEARS AGO: October 16 is World Bread Day

 

 

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SALZBURG SOURDOUGH

So many months without baking a single sourdough bread! The problem is we don’t eat a lot of bread. One bake lasts us for a long time, as after enjoying a couple of slices, the rest goes straight to the freezer. But I am still quite passionate about bread baking, and have a list of recipes I intend to try. They just sit and wait, poor things. Like this one, from Discovering Sourdough Part II, by Teresa Greenway. In theory, you need a specific sourdough strain from Austria, but I used my good American sourdough, born 9 years ago in Oklahoma, and headed to his teenage years in Kansas. I am sure Teresa will forgive me. But, did you know you can actually buy many sourdough starters from all over the world? Pretty amazing. Take a look at this site. Of course, over a long period of time a sourdough might change and incorporate yeast and bacteria from the new environment, but it’s fun to start from a pure culture born in some exotic, distant place. In the site, they actually dispute the claim that cultures change, but until I see solid scientific evidence it’s all a bit in the air (pun intended).

 

SALZBURG SOURDOUGH
(printed with permission from Teresa Greenway)
(I modified slightly to make a single loaf and use my preferred method of baking)

1 cup Austrian sourdough starter at 166% hydration  (9 oz)
3/4 cups water  (6 oz)
3 oz  evaporated milk
0.6 oz  rye flour
14 oz bread flour
2 teaspoons salt

Mix all ingredients, except salt, just until incorporated and then allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes (autolysis).

After autolysis, add salt and mix dough on low-speed for about 2 minutes. Then let the dough bulk ferment (first rise) for 6 hours or until doubled. Fold it once each hour during the six-hour bulk fermentation. After bulk fermentation, place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead enough to gather into a ball.  Shape it into the general shape you wish and then allow the dough to rest for 5 – 10 minutes (bench rest). After benching shape loaves into their final shapes and put them into the proofing baskets, pans, or couche. Cover the dough with plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, allow the dough to final proof for 2 – 3 hours (whenever the dough looks about 1 ½ times its size and is spongy) then turn dough out on peel and slash, cover with roasting lid moistened with water, and bake in a 425F degree oven for 30 minutes. Alternatively, use your favorite method to generate initial steam. After 30 minutes, remove roasting lid, turn down the oven to 400F degrees and continue baking for about 10-15 more minutes, turning halfway for even browning. Bread is done when the internal temperature reaches 200-205F.

Take out loaf and cool on a rack.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

Comments: Inspired by my friend Elaine,  I decided to be a bit more daring and creative with the slashing. Elaine always comes up with amazing patterns on her bread. So I took a deep breath and went at it with a razor blade. I love the way the bread turned out, and intend to keep practicing, as the slashes on top were not exactly the way I wanted.

My sourdough ended up quite assertive this time – it was hibernating in the fridge for a very long time, so I refreshed it and fed it daily for a full week before making the bread. Not sure if that affected the level of acidity, but it was really good. Teresa’s recipes all call for 166% hydration, which is easily translated into equal volumes of flour and water. It is easy because you won’t even need a scale to keep the starter going, simply pick your desired volume, and mix half and half.  I refreshed it using 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour. It ends up close enough to 166% hydration. For the final starter, I just made a bit more than needed for the bread, so I could keep it for the next baking adventure.

And once again, we have great bread stored in our freezer, although some members of our home hoped that one or two slices would fall to the floor instead… Or at least a few crumbs…

Teresa, thanks for giving me permission to publish this great recipe!

 

ONE YEAR AGO: If I had One Hour

TWO YEARS AGO: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: Sourdough Rye Bread with Flaxseeds and Oats

FOUR YEARS AGO: Apricot-Raspberry Sorbet: A farewell to Summer

FIVE YEARS AGO: Marcela’s Salpicon

SIX YEARS AGO: Pork Kebabs

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Fondant au Chocolat

EIGHT YEARS AGOGot Spinach? Have a salad!

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PARSNIP, COCONUT & LEMONGRASS SOUP

Inspired by a recipe from Mary Berry, this soup is simple and flavorful. I don’t think parsnips receive the attention and praise they deserve. There’s something about their slight sharpness that can be quite pleasing. Maybe for some it might be an acquired taste… Come to think of it, when I was a teenager, I would march out of the house if my poor Mom would dare serving parsnips in any type of preparation. I was difficult. I got better… At least in some aspects…

Back to soup. Make it. If you are not lucky enough to have friends who give you a gorgeous lemongrass plant, search for those cute little plastic tubes at the grocery store.  They are actually not that bad if you cannot have the real thing. I confess to always having the ginger kind in my fridge. And once our lemongrass goes into hibernation, that version will be joining us too.

PARSNIP, COCONUT AND LEMONGRASS SOUP
(inspired by Mary Berry Everyday)

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
3/4 pound parsnips (about 8 medium ones), peeled, cut in chunks
1 medium shallot, minced
2 teaspoons finely minced ginger
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
2 tsp honey
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cups vegetable stock  (or water)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 lemongrass stalk, bashed to release flavor
salt and pepper to taste
yogurt and black sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallot and parsnips, and saute for a few minutes, until they start to get a golden color at the edges.  Add the ginger, red curry paste and honey and saute for 30 seconds, then add the coconut milk, stock, fish sauce and lemon grass.

Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through, very tender. Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste, then remove the lemon grass and discard.

Process the soup in a blender or food processor. Serve warm with a dollop of yogurt and black sesame seeds, if so desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Loved this soup. Lemongrass, fish sauce, coconut milk, ginger, red curry paste, they do make a fantastic fantasy of flavors in your mouth, but oddly enough, you can still detect a bright and clear taste of parsnip. I had it for lunch several times in that particular week. Phil tried some and enjoyed it, but he prefers to have his smoothie – Wasa cracker/nuts/jam combination so I was left alone to savor this comforting soup day in, day out.  It gets a bit thicker each day, but adding a bit of water brings it back to a perfect consistency. I also like to squirt a little lemon juice right on the bowl.  Have I ever told you that we never, absolutely never run out of lemons in the fridge?  I get nervous if I see only one in there. Use them all the time, not only for cooking but in my carbonated water and that evening tea.

Soup weather is approaching fast. Too fast.
Grab a pin to be ready for it!

ONE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2016

TWO YEARS AGO: Paleo Moussaka

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2014

FOUR YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2013

FIVE YEARS AGO: Bourbon and Molasses Glazed Pork Tenderloin

SIX YEARS AGO: Crimson and Cream Turkey Chili

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Taking a break from the nano-kitchen

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cookies

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CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES FROM NATURALLY SWEET

Does the universe need another recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies?  

Let me think about that for a second….

The answer is obviously YES!

A few months ago I ordered the book Naturally Sweet from America’s Test Kitchen. “Bake all your classics with 30 to 50% less sugar.”  I do trust them to develop recipes that do not lack in taste. They definitely test all variables tirelessly, and I’ve never had a bad outcome. Yes, sometimes every single pot and pan in the kitchen gets dirty, but… if you don’t mind doing dishes – I definitely do not – it’s not that big a deal.   My first adventure with the book, a real American classic: chocolate chip cookies. And no, you won’t dirty a ton of dishes. Surprisingly enough, it is a one-bowl adventure.

 

OVERVIEW OF THE RECIPE

Butter is creamed with sucanat, a type of sugar that I mentioned recently in my In My Kitchen post. As you open the bag, the smell is enough to make you dream. Think brown sugar with benefits. The texture is different from any other sugar I’ve played with. Coarse, a bit harsh-looking. It will not cream the same way white or brown sugar will, it offers a bit more resistance to the blade of the mixer. Do not worry about it, just keep beating for 3 minutes or so.

One egg and one egg yolk are added, then the other regular suspects, flour, leavening agents, vanilla, and finally Ghirardelli 60% cocoa in pieces, not too small, you need to go for those assertive pieces as you bite into these babies.

America’s Test Kitchen is quite reluctant to give permission to share recipes online, and I gave up on that waiting game.  If you don’t have the book, the recipe is available online here.  By the way, Sally’s site is a must-visit, and her cookbooks great too.

 

Comments: I really like these cookies. Phil defined them pretty well:

They have this texture that at first you think it’s crunchy, then you think it’s chewy,
and then you realize it’s in a perfect spot in between…

Got it?  Well, I think the cookies will please both camps, although I am partial to the Chewy Cheerleading Team. The sucanat gives a very nice sweetness, reminding me of some cookies that call for brown butter to be incorporated in the dough. That type of added complexity.  It makes about 16 cookies (I actually managed to get 17).  I don’t think it’s a good idea to try and make them smaller, they will have the perfect texture baked exactly as ATK suggests. Indeed, those guys test their formulas. Extensively. And we all profit from their work. I took them to the department and was considering grabbing one mid-morning, but found the empty platter staring at me. It was 9:48am. That is the sign of a good batch of cookies.

ONE YEAR AGO: Little Bites of Paradise

TWO YEARS AGO: Maple-Glazed Pumpkin Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2014

FOUR YEARS AGO: Grilled Steelhead Trout

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: 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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