Sunday, December 7, 2014

In My Kitchen: December 2014


Photo: crutches ready to go back into storage, hooray!
In my kitchen orderly quiet reigned during the first week of December, unusually quiet for this noisy, active cook who sings aloud, talks to herself and fills the counters with stacks of pots, bowls, cutting boards and assorted ingredients while cooking. Crutches and limited mobility might account for the diminished activity, but I'm on the mend and it is time to get busy again. Does surfing food blogs across the internet count as being productive?... mmmmm, probably not, but it did bring me to Celia's monthly event on Fig Jam and Lime Cordial where food bloggers from around the world invite you into their kitchens for a quick visit and chat. Drop by December's In My Kitchen roundup to see what's happening in these interesting kitchens this month.  

In my kitchen we have been dining on various interchangeable breakfast/dinner items like tacos, omelets and frittatas...


Photo: Egg-topped Kale and Red Pepper Taco
simple soups that enjoy a long simmer on the stovetop and freeze well... 


Photo: Hearty Tuscan Bean and Kale Soup
colorful, plated, main-dish salads loaded with healthy fruits and vegetables and a bit of protein...


Photo: Greens with chicken, feta, blueberries and pomegranate seeds with a sweet vinaigrette
and scads of fruits that double as breakfast or dessert. No new, exciting recipes this week, just familiar favorites that keep us well fed until I recharge my cooking enthusiasm. Holiday baking might be a good starting point... or maybe not. 
Wednesday's brownie baking was an interesting episode, a laughable kitchen semi-disaster. I thought brownies would be an easy dessert to share with a friend invited to join us for dinner and Seattle's annual Christmas Ship parade and caroling at Seward Park. 



Brownies are easy to make, whether from scratch or from a boxed mix, right? I went with a new-to-me box mix, eager to try out a silicone baking pan designed for mini brownies, blondies and bars. The directions on the packaged brownie mix called for lining a baking pan with parchment or foil for easy brownie removal - uh huh, I'll bet you see this one coming. I carefully cut strips of foil to fit inside each cup and extend up the sides, then sprayed each one lightly with cooking spray. This was tedious work and I quit early, leaving 4 mini cups without foil. Gold star for effort, if not for brilliance. 



The brownies looked good, smelled divine, and tested our will power as they sat cooling on a baking rack. Next they tested my patience as they clung to each square cup in the silicone baking pan. The 4 brownies without foil wrappers broke apart into large, layered chunks; tasty but not pretty. The brownies with foil stubbornly clung to both silicone and foil. It took long minutes of grumpy muttering, picking away with knife and fingernails, for the cook to separate food from foil. In the end we piled brownie bits in bowls and covered them with whipped cream for a dessert-with-a-story, a funny memory to share among friends. 



In my kitchen you will find a barely used silicone mini brownie pan looking for a new home. Would anyone like to adopt it?



10 comments:

  1. Your cooking approach seems very sensible given your need to hobble about. I love the view outside.

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    1. Francesca, we're fortunate to have a lovely, unobstructed view of Mt. Rainier and Lake Washington. I spend untold hours watching waterfowl and clouds pass by. :>)

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  2. Lovely to read your first IMK post, from all the way over in Canberra, Australia! I love those boats, how beautiful are they! Is that Christmas celebration that you're speaking of? And do you live on a boat such as those in your pic?

    I hate silicon, have about 3 trays of the stuff, and loathe every one of them, but can't bring myself to throw them out. What to do with them, who knows. So I don't blame you there.

    Thanks for a peek into your Seattle Kitchen. Merry Christmas :)

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    1. Fran, welcome and thanks for visiting. Per your questions: we live on land during the winter, and yes the ship parade is part of Seattle's annual Christmas celebration. Come Spring we live afloat and IMK will feature the boat galley as we travel northern British Columbia and Alaska.

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  3. i am glad it is not just me who hates those silicone things. they never seem to work and cakes etc get stuck in them. Love the look of the christmas ship parade. i am sweltering here in Qld heat and humidity and would love to be out in such lovely cool weather. what fun it must be to be on a boat in Spring. Merry Xmas.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by. We're enjoying mild weather and hoping the storms (or ice & snow) skip us this year so we can sneak in a winter cruise or two. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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  4. What a cheery sense this post has about it! Call it research when checking out blogs, always things to learn. That is beautiful timer in the cupboards near your crutches. Brownie bits dessert sounds great. We have a family favourite of 'mum's mistake', can't for the life of me workout what went wrong that made it so popular with the family! Cheers :)

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    1. Delighted you visited IMK. Your "cheery sense" comment adds some sunshine to my day today - thank you.

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  5. Hi Fran! Sorry to hear that you have been immobile but how lucky for us as you discovered Celia's amazing blog and this series! The view from your kitchen is gorgeous - I am not sure I would be able to leave the room! Those silicone things are only good for ice cubes I think! They just don't seem right for baking at all! Have a wonderful Christmas!

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  6. Wow! What a view you have! Everything looks delicious in your kitchen, even though you're still on the mend. And I have to agree with the others, I don't have the best relationship with silicone bakeware either. It's great for scrapers and spatulas, not bad for chocolate, but I don't bake in them anymore except for caneles! :)

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