HAPPY NEW YEAR IN MY KITCHEN!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS!

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It’s been three long months since I last invited you for a virtual tour of our kitchen, the event initiated by Celia and now hosted by Lizzy from Bizzy Lizzy Good Things. So, tighten your seat belts, because there are lots of goodies to talk about…

Starting with gifts…

I am not sure this qualifies as a gift, but I will go with it. I entered a drawing over at Lisa is Cooking a couple of months ago, and to my absolute delight, I won!  It is a gorgeous, oval-shaped All-Clad pan, perfect to sear and cook fish.  It is so beautiful, I smile every time I look at it…  Not only it works great for its intended purpose, but I’ve used it to sear halloumi cheese. O.M.G. Wait for a blog post on that one…

panThank you so much, Lisa!  Love the pan….

From our dear friend Ines…

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A classic cookbook from the one and only Dorie Greenspan… A must-have for sure, I know I would be getting it at some point. Resistance would be futile. But now I don’t need to. HA!

From our friends Denise and Hélio, shipped all the way from England…

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The best chocolate in the world! Valrhona, in different levels of cocoa, to match your mood… or your recipe!  Such a thoughtful gift… The only problem is preventing “someone” from devouring one bar or two when I’m not paying attention.

From C & C, the coolest couple in L.A.

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A set of soapstone vodka drinking glasses. Phil loves Chopin vodka, and they also sent a huge bottle. The glasses are from a company I like a lot, Uncommon Goods. Check them out, they have very unique things.

From my sister Norma, back in Brazil….

mustard

A gourmet mustard, infused with a very special Brazilian fruit, called “jabuticaba.”  I love the fruit, and the mustard is superb!  It has a delicate touch of sweetness, and the taste is quite unique.

 

From my niece Raquel back in Brazil…

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A beautifully crafted box for my teas!  The top mimics the pattern of the sidewalks in Rio de Janeiro, every Brazilian recognizes that pattern… Looks like waves…  And now my teas are in perfect order!

From my perfect match…

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Two more coffee mugs from our favorite pottery artist, Mary Rose Young…  He keeps searching on ebay, and I keep welcoming them in our kitchen…

My Christmas gift to myself… just because….

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This little teapot has a thermometer on the lid, and you can brew each type of tea (green, herbal, black) at the optimal temperature. It is very stylish, and works like a charm…. I am in love!

 

holidays


In our kitchen…

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A few exotic ingredients I got over at the Oriental market we have in town. For the most part inspired by a couple of cookbooks I am in love with: The Saffron Tales and Taste of Persia. I got black chickpeas, culinary grade rose petals (swoon), pomegranate seeds powder (how could I resist?) and a couple of spices that are very important in Middle Eastern cuisine: angelica powder and advieh (Persian spice mix). Can hardly wait to play with them all…

In our kitchen…

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I
‘ve heard a lot of good things about this store called “The Spice Lab.” But their stuff is very expensive. The other day I stopped at Tuesday Morning in town, and was surprised to find this big bottle of Himalayan salt for sale, very cheap. It has black pepper in it. Sprinkled on top of flank steak cooked medium-rare it is to die for.

In our kitchen…

crackers

These are some tasty crackers! Served with home-made hummus it is a garbanzo bean feast for your taste buds… Love it. I think they have several kinds, I’ve seen it plain and this one with black olives. Salty, quite addictive. If you have a chance to grab a bag, go for it.

In our kitchen…

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A new (to me) grain that I bought after my friend Elaine raved about it. Still waiting to try my first recipe for it, I am sure it’s something I’ll love. You can use it as you would farro, for instance, in stews, as a risotto type prep, or even cold in salads. Stay tuned.

In our kitchen…

napkins

Holiday napkins… How could I resist these? Look at that doggie! Poise and elegance, just like our pups… Well, maybe not quite…

In our kitchen…

redplatter

A red platter found at Marshalls. It was love at first sight. They had it with a reduced price tag, I paid 5 bucks for it, if you can believe it. It is so festive, perfect for the holiday season, but I will be of course using it all year-long.

In our kitchen…

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Butterscotch extract. Yes, you read it correctly. This heaven in a bottle exists. One word for you, macarons. Are you smiling yet?

In our kitchen…

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Four perfectly round low-carb Ricotta, Lemon & Lavender pancakes, a recipe I was very excited to try on a Saturday after a nice, albeit a bit chilly morning run. Oh, you only see an empty plate? What’s up with that, you may ask?

Full disclosure: Said pancakes were left unattended for 3 and a half minutes while I went upstairs to grab my phone to take a picture of them. I should add they were in the center of the island, a spot that we considered safe from canine paws. We were proven wrong. A certain dalmatian that attends by the name of Bogey Quit That managed to push the plate with his nose (at least that’s what we think), all the way to the edge of the countertop, to very efficiently wolf them down.  And then you wonder why my hair gets a bit more gray each month (sigh).

Finally, very recently in our kitchen…

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Great friends reunited, even if only for a few hours…

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Due to a lengthy series of canine-induced grievances, I seriously considered banning the four-legged creatures from showing up in this segment of In My Kitchen. But then…

oskypeter11Sir, you seem like such a nice man…
Could you please convince Mom to let us say hello to her readers? 

Reluctantly, then… I complied.

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I have nothing to add. Still hurts me to remember.

Oscar cannot reach countertops and to be honest, he doesn’t care that much about food, which is pretty odd. But he causes grievances in other ways… like trying to dig his way to China from our backyard, forcing his humans to halt dinner preparation and deal with the muddy mess.

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Now, THAT’S what I’m talking about!
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Buck managed to hurt his front paw helping his brother in his path to China, so we put some booties on his paws to prevent him from licking the antibiotic ointment off. He was not thrilled.

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His first attempts at walking with those booties were hilarious, poor thing, but he got used to them in a few minutes. Check it out here.

Giving Bogey a bath is a workout in itself, because to dry him, you gotta catch him first. Sounds a lot easier than it is… Glad I was not the one in charge!
bogeybathHe does look great once he is squeaky clean!
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Oscar insists that he cleans up better than his brother.

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But Buck is putting up a fight for the pole position…

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I will let you be the judge of it, not taking sides!

Bogey has been bad lately. Really bad. From eating a bar of soap, to snatching my special pancakes, but the worst, the worst I shall tell you later. Never in a million years, we could imagine… well, I’ll stop here. You will have to wait for it.

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Now, if you want to see three dogs on their very best behavior, all it takes is a sirloin steak, cooked medium rare, and Phil going at it with a knife.

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That’s all, folks!  We all wish you a wonderful 2017!

We promise to be back with more cooking, more bread baking, more canine grievances, and throw in some cake baking to keep the adrenaline high…

😉

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ONE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen: Happy New Year!

TWO YEARS AGO: And another year starts…

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen: January 2014

FOUR YEARS AGO: Tacos with Pork in Green Sauce

FIVE YEARS AGO:  Maui New Year!

SIX YEARS AGO: Natural Beauty

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Sunflower Seed Rye

THE FABULOUS THREE

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For four long years we had to deal with serious dog aggression issues between Buck and Chief. Serious as: if left alone Chief would get killed by Buck. Simple like that. It was a huge challenge to keep it all under control for such a long time, and for obvious reasons we were worried about bringing Bogey, an adult, strong-willed dalmatian to our home. After getting advice from our friend Cindy and also reading a lot of stuff online, we planned our strategy. Phil would pick up the dogs at the kennel, I would stay with Bogey in the house.  When he arrived, we would take first Oscar and Bogey for a walk together. I would be outside the house (neutral territory) with Bogey on a leash, Phil would bring Oscar with him, also on a leash.  We would go up and down the street, then release them in the backyard.  Let them be there for a while, then do the same with Buck (the problem child) and Bogey.  I cannot tell you how nervous and anxious I was. First thing that happened, Oscar and Bogey snapped at each other. Not too bad, but that was their first hello, and my world seemed to collapse a little. Phil did not let that bother him, decided it was a normal reaction and we should follow with our plans. Soon they started sniffing each other’s behinds, and apparently they liked what they sniffed. They hung out together in the backyard, no issues.

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Then, with my heart racing, we did the same with Buck, and there were two pretty serious snapping episodes from Buck, matched with a scary growl, but then he calmed down.  I was so anxious that I could not witness the release of the beasts in the backyard. I was sure it was going to end in a horrible dog fight. Well, I was wrong. They were totally fine!  Next step was to have the three together outside, and you can see for yourself how it went:

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Here’s the amazing turn of events: Buck behaves like a pot of honey, whereas the one causing a bit of trouble is Oscar, very jealous of me. He is always following Bogey and showing his displeasure for him being around.  He lies on Bogey’s bed the moment Bogey stands up and leaves his spot, grabs his toys and takes them away, just like a spoiled brat. Yeah, that’s our Oscar.  But he is not a fool and knows not to pick a fight with a dog who outweighs him by more than 40 pounds. So we turned a big page and life should slowly get back into a new routine.  Bogey has a lot of adjustment to go through. He was used to sleeping in a bed cuddling with his Mom, he was always inside staring at the window and furiously barking at passing cars and dogs…  Now he will be part of The Pack of the Fabulous Three.  I thank my friend Elaine for the term, by the way, although truth be told, her real term was “The Fabulous Five.”  Is she super nice or what?

😉

 

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ONE YEAR AGO: Turkey-Chorizo Burger with Green Chile Dressing

TWO YEARS AGO: Taco Salad

THREE YEARS AGO: Semolina Sourdough Boule 

FOUR YEARS AGO: Forgive me, for I have sinned

FIVE YEARS AGOCracked Wheat Sandwich Bread

SIX YEARS AGO:  Au Revoir, my Bewitching Kitchen

SEVEN YEARS AGO:  French Bread

IN MY KITCHEN: OCTOBER 2013

Don’t get all excited, folks, this post is not about the renovated kitchen, we are not quite there yet.  But I have a few things to share with you, joining the fun virtual event hosted by Celia, from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

In our kitchen…

composite1Health Warrior Chia Bars!  I first learned about them through Joanne, from Eats Well with Others.  She is a long distance runner, super-fit Md/PhD student who recently reviewed these high-protein, low sugar bars.  They come in plenty of flavors, her favorite was coconut which is the one I tried first.  I had to order  online because our grocery stores in town don’t carry them, but I hope at some point they will.  They are delicious! I have one as my breakfast every day.

In our kitchen…

composite4Hatch Pepper Cheese!  You probably know that Hatch chiles are pretty hot right now (pun intended). Lots of bloggers rave about their wonderful taste.  These peppers are  not that easy to find in some parts of the US, but here in Kansas we are lucky to have them often at the grocery store.  This cheese won my heart!  A mild, soft cheese, with a nice heat of these special peppers in every bite.  Awesome!

in our kitchen…  Gifts from special friends…

temperoFrom our dear friend Gabi, a special spice mix from Brazil, called “Tempero Baiano”, that she uses to season pork cutlets, chicken, beef.  The name refers to the state of origin, Bahia, famous for its cooking with a heavy African influence.   I haven’t used it yet, it’s been waiting for our kitchen to be functional.
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pepperFrom my former husband,  a jar of peppers that, according to him, are THE authentic pepper to use in dishes like Hungarian paprikash, which is a recipe his Mom cooks like no one else.  Fond memories of the many outstanding meals I’ve had at his parents’ home decades ago.

composite3From my friend Cindy,  a cool gadget to hold recipe printouts… sexy red, the way I like it!  The little ball is a strong magnet, so the page stays up over your counter top, easy to read.

In our kitchen…

Gifts I bought for myself….  in anticipation of our new kitchen, I could not resist getting a few things that popped up on sales here and there.

bowlsThis set of bowls were too cute to pass… I love their size, perfect for serving nuts, olives, dips, for dinner parties.  They are happy. They make me smile…
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knivesA set of stainless steel coated knives in all sorts of shapes and colors, a great deal from One Kings Lane.   I find their stuff for the most part terribly expensive, but these knives were quite affordable, so I brought them to our kitchen. They are still in the box, to avoid getting all dusty like everything else in our home.  😉

And speaking of dust,  let me share a few photos of our renovation, in pictures taken in the past couple of weeks.

In our kitchen, chaos before bliss…

Our cabinets are going through a total make-over!  A carpenter built new doors in a more modern style. This double picture shows one such new door, as we study a color composition for the frame, and the crown molding installed a day later.

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The central counter top will be bigger, and the black granite will be gone, replaced by a lighter alternative. A stone from Brazil will take the center spot of our new kitchen…  How cool is that?   This change allowed us to build one extra cabinet for (much-needed) storage.

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Take a look at the cute storage space for baking sheets and cutting boards, love it!

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This wall has the gas line installed, and all the electrical wiring in place, waiting for the new fridge, range (be still my heart, it is going to be awesome!), and the venting hood.  I stare at this empty wall and dream…
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And now, time for a message from our four-legged friends!

Renovations can be very stressful, but some folks don’t seem to mind it that much.  Oscar, for instance, finds that a rug rolled all the way underneath the table is a lot more convenient to rest his long legs while waiting for a treat or two.

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And Chief, looking mighty good for his age, thinks the new floor halfway installed in the kitchen matches his fur very well, and gives a nice bounce to his favorite toy. Two old paws up for the renovation!

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Buck is quite fond of his new spot in the dining room.  “Daddy is so nice!  He is always ready to give me some goodies….”
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“With Mom it’s a different story, I need to endure a lot of hugging to get the treats I deserve…”composite6

Oscar has a different opinion on the subject:

“Hugging?  I should be so lucky!
I have to sing my lungs out to get ANYTHING!  Don’t believe me?
Click here…

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I hope you had fun with the little tour of our kitchen.  We are still on the road, so  I might have a bit of trouble answering to comments and visiting blogs. But, these too shall pass…  😉
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ONE YEAR AGO: Bourbon and Molasses Glazed Pork Tenderloin

TWO YEARS AGO: Crimson and Cream Turkey Chili

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

FOUR YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cookies

IN MY KITCHEN, JULY 2013

It is time to have some virtual fun again, joining my dear Australian friend Celia in her series “In My Kitchen“.  Every month she publishes a post showing what is going on in her place, and many food bloggers do the same.  I wish I could play more often, but better sometimes than never, right?  So, let me invite you for a little peek into our home…

In our kitchen…
glasses1A collection of glass containers of several sizes and shapes, to bring some sense of peace and beauty to our pantry…

Here they are, fulfilling their purpose…
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In our kitchen….
AndorinhaA bottle of Portuguese olive oil I am very fond of… must be my background? Vovó Florinda (my late Grandma) would be happy to see it, I am sure.   It is fruity, with a very intense flavor. I use it sparingly, and savor each drop.  Excellent on thick slices of juicy tomatoes.

In our kitchen…
SaffronTeaTwo delicious teas I recently found.  Have I mentioned I am crazy for saffron? The saffron flavor is not too strong, just right.  Not sure which one is my favorite, sometimes I am happy, sometimes more mellow…

In our kitchen…
tequilaBottle2A very special bottle of tequila (Anejo). Phil is turning into a serious tequila connoisseur, so I decided to give him a product recommended by the one and only Marcela Valladolid.  According to him (and a few guests who tried shots) it is very smooth and complex.

In our kitchen…
mustardA special mustard I found at a farmer’s market in town, cilantro-jalapeno flavored. Sounded too good to resist… 😉

In our kitchen…
photo(20)The most beautiful fresh dill I’ve ever had! A gift from a colleague at KSU, he harvested it just half an hour earlier.  Per his advice, the best way to preserve it is not by drying, but freezing.  So now I am a proud owner of frozen dill, ready to use.
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In our kitchen….
IMG_2126Buck, hoping that the Law of Gravity will act on slices of sourdough bread a little too far from his paws.

And finally, in our kitchen….  (click to enlarge)

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That’s all for now, folks!   😉

If you have a blog and want to participate of the IMK series, write a post and link to Celia’s blog. Easy as pie!

ONE YEAR AGO:  Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies

TWO YEARS AGO: Ina Garten’s Banana Bran Muffins

THREE YEARS AGO: Beer Bread with Roasted Barley

FOUR YEARS AGO: Tomato Confit with Arugula and Zucchini

REVENGE OF THE TWO DERELICTS

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“Don’t worry, Buck, she’ll get over it.  Remember when I tried to run in the house with that big dead rat in my mouth?  … The  hysterical screaming,     …the door banging in my face?  We had to stay outside forever, until Dad came home and calmed her down.  Unfortunately, he got my rat away from me, but at least Mom stopped acting silly.”

derolicts2 “Anyway, I told you that dropping the dead possum next to the grill when she was cooking the steak was not a good move. You should have listened to me, but now it’s too late.  OK, she could have cooked it, but apparently she doesn’t like possum.   “Now, we’ll be here for a while, I’m afraid.”

“I guess it doesn’t  matter that the damn possum was playin’ possum and then walked away …”

Never a dull moment, folks.  Never a dull moment.  And I wonder why my hair gets a little more gray each day. 😉

THE OSCAR WINNER

A couple of weeks ago we bought a small dog bed for Buck, as he loves to lay near the kitchen island, having learned that pieces of tasty stuff miraculously rain from above around that neighborhood.  But the bed got intense competition from Oscar, who doesn’t quite “get” that the bed is not big enough for him.

So, we did the only sensible thing to do:  bought a bigger bed for Oscar, and placed it next to Buck’s bed.  Problem solved.  Or…. was it really?

And what about Chief?  Well, he’s got his own ideas about getting comfy….