Monday, June 5, 2017

In My Kitchen - June 2017

It's that time again! time to see what's new with kitchens and cooks all 'round the globe via the links found at Sherry's Pickings. Currently hosted by Sherry, an active food blogger in Brisbane, Australia, this monthly IMK event is not to be missed whether you link your own post or just enjoy reading the notes from other cooks.

In my kitchen...

...Spring blooms transform the view from the kitchen windows, something to appreciate when gray days linger on, so I'm reluctant to cut too many for indoor display. Instead, you'll find odd containers repurposed as vases to hold herbs and miscellaneous greenery. Rosemary roots readily, and often moves outdoors to fill empty spots in the southside flowerbeds, so I don't mind cutting it. Now I'd better get busy planting some colorful annuals along with a few veggies; with any luck the local ducks and geese will eat the slugs and not the tender plants.

...friend Charlene sent me this bragging apron, just because. BFF Char is my oldest friend, not in age but in length of friendship, and we have had decades of cooking adventures together. Some of the more memorable events may have included a lot of wine (for the cooks if not for the recipes). Swipes of flour and dough down the sides of my jeans remind me that aprons are useful, functional items only when worn. Sigh.

In my kitchen...

...I have been a lazy cook while RL traveled, existing on fresh fruit, light snacks, and an occasional lunch out. Then foodblogs and cookbooks nudged me back into action. Several IMK cooks have recommended recipes from Diana Henry, a British cookbook author previously unknown to me. The local library had her A Bird in the Hand available for checkout; I skimmed it but meh! wasn't thrilled. A newer Henry cookbook, Simple, sounded more promising, so I became number 57 on the reserve list. It was worth the long wait. I began by exploring some of Henry's meals for one - Toast Toppers. Success, and a lot of fun creating my own variations. Now I'm eager to try some of the many other Simple recipes I've marked with PostIt notes.

Recent adventures with savory asparagus hand pies spurred renewed interest in this rediscovered little cookbook, a resource for inspiration if not actual recipes. Pie crust skills still terrify elude me, but frozen premade dough removes the intimidation factor. It's strange that breadlike pizza, calzone and stromboli seem effortless, but rolled pastry anything is daunting. Hmmmm I might be missing the pastry gene.

Tanya shared some enormous lemons from her yard in Yuma, Arizona. They are super juicy with incredibly aromatic zest; special treats from a special friend. Lemon Poppyseed Cookies disappeared rapidly when I shared several dozen with a group of medical professionals. I'll credit the lemons, and the appetites at UWMC for this success.

RL returned from the boat with an empty food jar, requesting a homemade version of his newly discovered favorite food. Ja, right. I'm on batch #3 and haven't quite matched the flavor yet, but each attempt has been... well, interesting. Think Goldilocks progress: #1 was too sour,  #2 was too sweet, so it follows that #3 should be "just right". Right? Na. If only my Austrian Mom and Grandma had recorded their red cabbage recipes. 

Now that official summer is mere weeks away, it's time to seek out some fresh local rhubarb, sweet strawberries and more asparagus and get cooking. Maybe it's time to whip up that batch of Moscow Mules that didn't work out earlier.(link) What's happening in your kitchen?


  1. hi Dee
    thanks for joining in with IMK this month. Funny how we can cook certain things but not others isn't it? i can't fry anything to save my life. and my roast potatoes always suck.:) Am trying to think what we call hand pies? It has become a bit of a thing in Australia lately too. i love those barrel jars you can buy cabbage in; i love the sauerkraut. funny to think you are buying strawberries in Summer. ours come out in Queensland in June but of course it is Winter here. love the apron and all the pretty flowers - azaleas and/or rhododendrons? cheers Sherry

  2. Savory pies are a great thought. So many cuisines have some version, like empanadas from various South and Central American countries, Cornish pasties (which have become native to Northern Michigan), French quiche and its imitators, chicken pot pie from American diners, and more.

    Those are some impressive lemons!

    best... mae at

  3. Hi Dee, wow those views from your home... so beautiful. Plenty of goodies in your kitchen, as always. Hope you are keeping well. xx


  4. I know what you mean about living on light plates and snacks. It's like a small picnic every day. When you have to drag yourself out of your own indulgence to cook for two, it's a rude awakening. 'Random containers' seems to include a delightful vintage handbag. Very cute.

    Thanks for the tour. xxx

  5. My hubby was gone this past week and it was lovely to simply eat an open faced sandwich or a bowl of soup whenever I felt peckish. I really don't know why I think that wouldn't work for him as well (but I don't). He would never complain. I have that Diana Henry book, Simple, it is a keeper. She was unknown to me before this year.

  6. HI Dee, I'm a Diana Henry fan too, learned about her from a blogger in the UK. She had loads of practical ideas. Great apron from your generous friend. Nothing nicer than a hand pie...

  7. haHA! The pastry gene! Oh gal, you crack me up. I too think I missed that gene. I marvel at watching others roll out their dough into a purely even shape (really?) and to a uniform thickness, and simply pick it up and place it gently into their pie mold. Are you kidding me! I'm all thumbs, get random holes and its never even in thickness. Store bought square frozen pasty - no problem. Just not filo. That one is still a mystery to me. Thanks for the laugh Dee, and have a wonderful day. Cheers Kirsty xx

  8. I'm like you, when my husband isn't home, I snack and eat more lightly. Give me a fruit and cheese plate and I am a happy camper. I really enjoyed reading about your adventures, and your landscaping is beautiful!


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