Wednesday, November 9, 2016

In My Kitchen - November 2016




Autumn continues to speed by at breakneck speed. Leaves have changed from green to a bright neon palate and then poof! disappeared in the blink of an eye. Or so it seems from my kitchen windows as I spot more and more bare branches. 

October brought increased kitchen activity as I exchanged the walker for a cane and reclaimed the coveted role of Head Cook. This month I favored soups, salads, sandwiches and a lot of one-pot/one-dish entrees; relying on more familiar recipes rather than new and challenging dishes. For example...


Photo: Chicken Tortilla Soup
Photo: Veggie Frittata with chiles, mushrooms, onions and cheese
Photo: Greek Shrimp Taverna with a side of pasta

Lucky for me, RL retained his position as Head Butler and Dishwasher. (hooray!) Friend Charlene sewed two colorful tote bags, making it easier to carry more than one item at a time. These bags have saved a lot of steps and proved more practical than a backpack in the kitchen.




Easing back into action, I browsed through cabinets and drawers to see what was stored where - yes, RL had "organized" the kitchen once again. What a treat to rediscover this lovely fish serving set, seriously under-utilized since its purchase ages ago in some now-forgotten antique shop. Stainless fish spatulas are common utensils, but these serving pieces deserve a special outing or two. I see a bit of polish and a few dinner invitations coming up in the future.




In my kitchen old accessories rotate in and out of storage seasonally. Mom lives 1190 miles away and is no longer able to travel, but her presence is felt daily through various kitchen treasures. Salt and pepper shakers are special favorites, more decorative than functional but full of memories. Pumpkins claim center stage currently.




Do you have a favorite olive oil? Ever since the surprising olive oil kerfluffle, California Olive Ranch has been my oil of choice. It's now easy to find at local groceries. While curious about the taste differences of various other fresh-pressed olive oils, I'd much prefer a taste-test experience at a winery or distillery instead. No surprise there! 




Kitchen comfort food has featured Fall crop apples, mushrooms and Hatch chile peppers.







Even a recent ladies lunch with friends at Cafe Flora included an meatless French Dip sandwich with portabellas. And since you're probably wondering, no, I couldn't finish all of the crispy yam fries by myself. The sandwich was so delicious, it prompted a return visit to the restaurant with Hilary for another taste.



Fresh apple bread with chiles continues as a work in progress. So far we love the flavor, but the quick bread is too moist and crumbly; it's been more of a messy loaf cake. Rather than give up on the challenge (use a round cake pan or muffin tin and call it a cake), I am determined to produce a firmer apple/chile quick bread in loaf form. Eventually.



To see what's happening in other kitchens this month, click over to Lizzy's wonderful blog, Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things. You'll find links to an interesting international group of food bloggers.


Update on Nov. 11: after reading Sherry's comment about buying local olive sourced directly from producers, I wondered about my local producers (if any). I found one in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Olive Mills, an olioteca in Oregon with 17 acres of olive trees adjoining their winery vineyards. Now I can plan a road trip and taste test both. Win!
  

15 comments:

  1. Wow, that fish serving set is so pretty... is it hard to polish? Thank you for the peek into your kitchen, and the lovely shout out. Happy November. XX

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    1. Polishing is more tedious than hard. Guess that is why I avoid doing it routinely. :>)

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  2. Old silver serving utensils really are intriguing. In the 19th century there were dozens of specialized items -- now hardly any. Great find, whenever you found it!
    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. ...and hasn't the typical menu changed as well in formal dining!

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  3. Glad to hear you're getting around the galley better, Dee, but cooking with a cane still must be a challenge. (Sending healing prayers your way!) Nice that you get to be Chief Chef and RL "stepped up to the plate" (so to speak) as Head Bottle Washer! I agree with Liz about your fish serving set -- WOW -- what a treasure. Your stuffed mushrooms look fantastic, too!

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    1. Thanks Kim for sending long-distance healing prayers in my direction. It feels like a virtual hug as well.
      I love imagining the stories behind old treasures.

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  4. Replies
    1. I need to find a way to incorporate it into our very casual lifestyle.

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    2. Dee, the serving set is super. I love the look of a mix of modern and old, there are so many stories connected to older things. Imagine the types of dishes they have seen over the years, and where did they come from? Maybe a wedding gift decades ago?

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  5. such a lovely fish set. it's interesting about olive oil. i always buy from boutique sellers i.e. small farms etc - so I know i am getting the good stuff. love those mushrooms! they look delicious. glad to hear you can get around the kitchen again.

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    Replies
    1. Life is always better when I/we can play in the kitchen!

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  6. Dee your frittata looks delicious as do your stuffed mushrooms and lots of yummy bites in your kitchen. The fish set is very beautiful and a real treasure. I bet you miss your Mum not being able to travel the distance to visit you. Happy November :)

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  7. I love soups and one dish meals this time of year, I am glad you are back in the kitchen. But, what happened? I have been out of touch for a bit and need to read back into your older posts. Hope you are on the road to full recovery now.

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  8. Glad to have peeked into your kitchen Dee. I love old silverware, particularly when it has a back story, those fish servers are very special. After you have polished them wrap them tightly in plastic cling wrap to exclude the air, they will stay bright and shiny for ages.

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  9. I love your find (again) of your fish serving utensils Dee, I love the tarnished look too as it adds character :) Glad you lost your walker & are getting a bit more mobile again, hope all is going well for your recovery Dee. Your photo of the apples in the basket on the Autumn leaves is beautiful. See you soon for IMK xx
    https://missfoodfairy.com/2016/11/04/in-my-kitchen-november-2016/

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