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!