Monday, May 1, 2017

In and Out of My Kitchen

IMK May 2017

Photo: Some days it's so wet and windy that even the Canadian geese hunker down and wait for a break in the weather.
Seattle's wetter than usual Winter-to-Spring transitional weather has contributed to symptoms of cabin fever. I wait for big breaks in the clouds to grab a jacket and head outdoors, hoping to complete a walk in between major showers or downpours. Sigh, I am such a weather wimp! The Pacific Northwest is living up to its rainy reputation.   
"The city measured 44.7 inches of rain between October and April, making it the wettest such period since records began in 1895, the National Weather Service in Seattle said"
 ...and that was a week ago. It's still raining;140+ days straight with measurable precipitation. Tulips need umbrellas, mosses flourish everywhere in the yard, and I long for some back-to-back sunny days. Omigosh, was that a whine?!


  
Back in the kitchen...30 to 40-degree Spring mornings have justified a few hearty, wintery meals like braised kale with a fried egg and mounds of applewood smoked bacon. This might have been a form of food therapy, combining healthy, beneficial kale with not-so-healthy bacon. On most days breakfast means almond milk and fruit smoothies, or yogurt-topped granola, maybe a bowl of steel-cut oats with dried fruits and nuts. But oh! I do love an occasional bacon feast.  



What do you eat for lunch? Soups, salads and lots of leftovers are routine Spring choices in my kitchen. Leftover roasted chicken inspired this tasty Curried Chicken Salad snack. (linklink) Some store-bought California grown strawberries added more color than flavor to the plate, but I couldn't wait for our local berry harvest. That won't happen until June. Our lakeside strawberry bed of fragaria virginiana is primarily a groundcover that feeds the birds and squirrels days before the fruit completely ripens. How do they know when to nibble? We appreciate the sparkle of these sprightly white blossoms during April and May, but cede the summer fruit to the local critters.  



I haven't done much with pasta lately, but this recent version of a peanut-sauced Asian noodle salad was a filling side dish to a grilled meat entree. Salad leftovers filled my lunch bowl the next day. Soba noodles, fresh peapods, spring onions, cilantro, sesame seeds and a spicy Thai peanut sauce dressing tasted even better on day two; perfect.  



An empty cookie jar whispered to me, "diets are fine, but cookies are an essential food group." Okay, I believe, and why would I argue with an empty cookie jar? Adding grated zest from four sweet little clementines brought a bright citrusy tang to a batch of Shipyard Cruising Cookies; a restrained but noticeable flavor note. Just remember to remove the zest before peeling the fruit; just saying... 
    


In and out of the kitchen...
April birthdays of two friends prompted a ladies lunch celebration at Meet the Moon in the nearby Leschi neighborhood. When we arrived the cafe was already humming with activity since Seattle Restaurant Week was in full swing, but service was pleasantly attentive and the menu held enough tempting choices to make selection difficult. Here's a peek at my choice, a deliciously satisfying poke (po keh) bowl. The city has seemingly gone mad for poke, a bit surprising since ceviche hasn't been that ubiquitous.

ALBACORE POKE BOWL* 

seaweed, sesame seeds, togarashi, ginger, soba noodles, green onion, cucumber, cabbage, red bell pepper, carrot, chile akes, avocado, fried wonton and soy dressing



RL and I finally visited a newish local lunch spot, Raconteur. Just a mile away from the house, this restaurant/coffee shop/bar shares a building and open space with an independent bookstore, Third Place Books (link). I love them both; Raconteur for its good food and friendly vibe, and the bookstore for its selection of new and super-quality used books. Yes, my waistline and cookbook collection are both growing. My order of Carne Asada Tacos arrived upright, well-supported in a handy aluminum device. What a useful gadget!


Two tortilla racks now reside in my kitchen, and more may soon join the party. They are useful for the two of us, but I need want more for future taco bar entertaining. Ahem, I had good intentions to avoid buying any more single-purpose kitchen gadgets, but Amazon Prime makes it SO easy to succumb to temptation.



Several more single-use items have entered the kitchen via Amazon. I'm proclaiming a "no guilt zone", even while I work on excuses: 
1. Hilary and I signed up for a ravioli making cooking class. These tools will encourage us me to practice. 
2. My already underused pasta machine and various cookbooks need a workout.
3. A gazillion online recipes for ravioli, both the pasta and the filling, exist online and need testing.
4. I just wanted them.   



April has been a generous month, loaded with welcome edible and visual treasures: 
  • Local asparagus, ramps, fiddleheads, rhubarb, radishes and a wider selection of greens are newly available citywide at farmers' markets. It's time to get more creative working with fresh, seasonal produce. 
  • In all directions colorful blossoms on bulbs, bushes and fruit trees are showcased by the soft greens of newly opened foliage. What an invitation to grab the camera and enjoy the display.
  • Newly-hatched goslings, such comical little fluffballs, dart about like windup toys as they explore the shoreline, plopping in and out of the water.    


Photo: This flowering pink dogwood, a memorial tree for a friend's daughter, lights up a corner of the fragaria planting bed, drawing me out of the kitchen.
Sherry Mackay is the new host of the monthly In My Kitchen gathering. Click over to Sherrys Pickings (sherryspickings.blogspot.com.au) to add your post to the group or just to enjoy the writing and photos from others in the IMK community. 

  

17 comments:

  1. Such a vibrant post, Dee. Love the colours of the strawberries and the tulips!

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    1. Thanks Liz. Your Blue Edition post takes top honors this month for vibrant color!

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  2. Thanks for joining in this month Dee. That pink tree is just lovely. Nothing nicer than some pretty blossom. Oh dear too much rain for me. 140 days!! We are having a nice autumn after the cyclone. Thank goodness it's a bit cooler. Kitchen gadgets and cookbooks are just so tempting to me I must stop!:))

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    1. Oh Sherry, your bicycle pizza cutter might tempt me to add "just one more" gadget soon! Thanks for hosting this month's IMK gathering.

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  3. You are so right that cookies are an important food group! Good luck with all your new toys.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm baking more cookies today, delaying any purposeful gadget projects while I contemplate the possibilities. (translates to being lazy).

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  4. I think kale and bacon are the prefect pair. Salty bacon as a foil against slightly bitter kale. I'm also a fan of soba noodles though looking at yours, they appear to be a much paler version of the ones I use, which are brown, almost cardboard colour. My pasta machine is also underused. It's so easy but it's a pain to get out and set up so I just don't do it. Next time I get some free range eggs from the neighbours, I promise I'll make pasta.


    I'm back from a break from blogging and reading blogs so enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing and your comment on my own IMK post.

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    1. Welcome back, Fiona. Here's to pasta success in both of our futures soon.

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  5. Such fun, Dee! Love the goslings! Poke seems to be all the rage here as well, although I'm yet to discover one I like. I still prefer chirashi sushi when I can get it. I had to laugh at your Amazon prime comment - friends of mine in SF have said it's one of the reasons they could never leave America! :)

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    1. The gosling drama grows daily; how many will survive the swooping attacks of eagle and osprey? will a lone gosling rejoin its family... and why is it all alone? It's better than daytime television.

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  6. Dee, here's to sunnier days ahead. In the meantime, you've outdone yourself with that tulip photo (with or without an umbrella) -- those "fringed" ones are SO pretty. Hear, hear for "bacon feasts", too... was just about to fry some up for my hubby... with surreptitious "bites" by moi! (Okay, a separate plate full!) :) Also loved your recently acquired taco racks. First saw them at a lil' winery/restaurant near my hometown. Duck Tacos and LOBSTER tacos... swoon. Never apologize for kitchen gadget "must have's. (And yay for Amazon!) Loved your descriptions accompanying your edible and visual photos, too, and the memorial tree... xo.

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    1. Of course, the day after my post we DID enjoy two afternoons of sunshine - followed by impressive thunderstorms. Thunder and lightning rarely visit Seattle, so the 2500 cloud-to-earth lightning strikes made for hours of riveting visuals from late afternoon till nearly midnight. Spring is always interesting!

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  7. P.S. Totally forgot to say thanks for the links you included to the chicken salad recipe(s) and Shipyard Cruising Cookies. BTW, I've forgotten to zest many a citrus rind, too... will be more mindful of that from now on. Waste not, want not!

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  8. What a fantastic breakfast, I love kale with bacon and an egg! It's already been pretty hot here so soup weather is about done, I'm missing it already. Have fun with your ravioli tools and class.

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    1. Thanks, Gretchen. I'm gathering courage to try ravioli this afternoon... maybe kale, chicken and walnuts... maybe.

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  9. I know what you mean Dee, I have ravioli cutters and pasta cookbooks that I'm yet to use also. I am in love with that gorgeous dogwood tree, its absolutely beautiful :) I am going to keep my eyes open for taco holders, they look great and make it so much easier to hold, even though I put all condiments in the middle of the table where were make our own as they can sometimes go soggy from the sauces. Hope the rain eases up soon x
    https://missfoodfairy.com/2017/05/07/in-my-kitchen-may-2017

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  10. I kept promising to use my pasta machine and then wheat was ruled out of my diet so the pasta machine went to the local school kitchen and took all my guilt with it. Having said that there is nothing like home made ravioli

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