It’s that Morel time of year!

Growing up on a farm in Northern California, on Sundays we always had “Supper” rather than dinner.  The family would all get together, usually at my grandparents house and have a wonderful late lunch.  It was the one day, my father was not working all day on the farm.  In today’s culture families are so read out, we don’t have this opportunity.  My home town of Colusa, California was small, but our family was big.  There were aunts and uncles and cousins everywhere.  We would come together on holidays and weekends for huge potlucks.  I remember one outside at one of my uncles farms where there were over a hundred people that were all related.

Today, rather than have a late dinner, I took a break and made “supper”.  I am sure my style of supper without fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy is different from the way I grew up.  But here is Sunday Supper, with Salmon poached with peas and fresh morels.  Sided with asparagus from yesterday’s Farmers Market in Poulsbo.  This was very easy and quick to prepare.  The Parsley garlic butter was left over from a couple of days ago.  Enjoy!

Poached Wild Salmon With Peas And Morels

Ingredients

2 SERVINGS

  • 2 6–8-ounce center-cut wild king salmon fillets (each about 1 1/2-inch thick)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces fresh morels; sliced, stemmed shiitake; or other mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup shelled fresh (or frozen, thawed) peas
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives or 2 pea tendrils

Preparation

Place salmon, skin side down, in a large high-sided skillet. Add wine, 2 Tbsp. salt, and cold water to cover salmon by 1/2″. Cover pan and bring liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, uncover, and gently poach salmon until just cooked through and barely opaque in the center, about 6 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer salmon and 2 Tbsp. poaching liquid to a plate; tent loosely with foil.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup salmon poaching liquid and peas and simmer until peas begin to soften, 2–3 minutes. Add cream and bring sauce to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Using a spatula, transfer salmon, skin side up, to paper towels. Gently peel off and discard skin. Invert salmon onto serving plates and spoon mushroom sauce over. Garnish with chives.

It’s that Morel time of year!

Just for the Halibut

Halibut with Parsley Garlic Butter

Whenever I see a “deal” on Halibut, I buy it fresh and change whatever dinner plans I have for the evening.  This was half off at our local Albertsons.  I will post the recipe below that came out beautifully.  Beware of two things with this recipe.  Splatters everywhere when you initially sear it, and really makes a lot of smoke in the oven.  Be ready with fan and cleanup.  The fish was moist and the Parsley Garlic Butter was just the right addition.  It was simple and simply delicious.

My husband is a beef and potatoes kind of guy, even though he does like Halibut.  I made the day before a Slow-Cooker Beef Pot Roast, so served that to him for his dinner. He loves cooked carrots, so I added in a few more for him.  Lots of chopping, but very easy and throw it all in crock pot after browning the roast, and cooking the onions and garlic. This would be lovely served over a simple polenta, as the flavors would sink in the polenta to a divine taste.  I left out the parsnips, as I did not have any and was too lazy to run to the store.

Rjoast with a Vegetable Ragout

Pan-Roasted Halibut Steaks

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil

 

2 halibut steaks, each about 1 1/4 inches thick and 10 to 12 inches long (about 2 1/2 pounds total), gently rinsed, dried well with paper towels, and trimmed of cartilage at both ends

 

  Salt and ground black pepper

 

INSTRUCTIONS

SERVES 4 TO 6

This recipe calls for a heavy ovenproof skillet. If you plan to serve the fish with one of the flavored butters or sauces below, prepare it before cooking the fish. Even well-dried fish can cause the hot oil in the pan to splatter. You can minimize splattering by laying the halibut steaks in the pan gently and putting the edge closest to you in the pan first so the far edge falls away from you.

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. When oven reaches 425 degrees, heat oil in 12-inch, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof skillet over high heat until oil just begins to smoke, about 2 1/2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of both halibut steaks generously with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-high, swirl oil in pan to distribute; carefully lay steaks in pan and sear, without moving them, until spotty brown, about 4 minutes (if steak is thinner than 1 1/4 inches, check browning at 3 1/2 minutes; thicker steaks of 1 1/2 inches may require extra time, so check at 4 1/2 minutes). Off heat, flip steaks over in pan using two thin-bladed metal spatulas.
  3. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into steaks reads 140 degrees, flakes loosen, and flesh is opaque when checked with tip of paring knife, about 9 minutes (thicker steaks may take up to 10 minutes). Remove skillet from oven and separate skin and bones from fish with spatula. Transfer fish to warm platter and serve immediately, with flavored butter or sauce (see related recipes), if desired.

Parsley Butter

4 TBls Softened butter

2 TBls Parsley

4 – 5 Garlic Salt & Pepper

1 ½ tsp lemon juice

Throw everything in a Cuisinart till combined. I put it in a small covered bowl in the refrigerator, then served with a melon baller.

 

Slow-Cooker Beef Pot Roast

INGREDIENTS

(2 1/2- to 3-pound) beef shoulder roasts

  • Salt and pepper
  • tablespoons vegetable oil
  • onions, chopped
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • tablespoons Minute Tapioca
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • pound carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • pound parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • teaspoons white wine vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pat roasts dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown roasts all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Add onions and additional 2 teaspoons oil to empty skillet and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in wine and simmer, scraping up any browned bits with wooden spoon, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in tapioca, tomatoes, and thyme; transfer to slow cooker.
  3. Toss carrots, parsnips, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and remaining oil in bowl until vegetables are well coated. Scatter vegetable mixture over pork. Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, 9 to 10 hours (or cook on high 4 to 5 hours).
  4. Transfer roasts to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes.  Cut meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices; transfer to serving platter. Using slotted spoon, transfer carrots and parsnips to platter with beef. Stir vinegar into sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing sauce at table. I left out this last step and served ( as you see) directly on the beef.

My husband loved it, but said he used to make his in the pressure cooker, with carrots, potatoes, water and a bay leaf.  He doesn’t cook much in our home.

 

Just for the Halibut

Sunday Night Dinner at Kingsley Manor

Since it was an ugly rainy day and could not finish my outdoor painting (back door and step risers) I spent time in my happy place – my kitchen.  My husband tells me I come home from Costco with more books than anything else.  OMG he is right!  This last trip brought Cooks Baking Book and What Good Cooks Know home with me.  As I was meandering through The Baking Book, I saw a recipe for Rum Raisin Bread Pudding and could not remember the last time I made it.  Off to the store to pick up a few supplies.

My brioche bread was going to waste in the refrigerator, so I thought it would be the perfect base for the bread.

Passing the vegetable isle, they had the most perfectly red heirloom tomatoes, so memories of Caprese we had on Lido Island in Venice came to mind.  It is a lovely rendition as the layers are stacked.  Basil was gorgeous and on sale, so pesto was easy to make.  I make mine quickly in the mini – Cuisinart, kind of Jamie Oliver style.  Throw in a bunch of basil, a few garlic cloves ( more is better than less), a good amount of California Olive Oil and the best parmesan I have.  Add a little salt and a tad of lemon juice and you have wonderful fresh pesto.

On my last visit to Costco, other than the books, I bought a nice piece of wild salmon.  Looking online I found what turned out to be a perfectly delicious and easy way to cook salmon.

Almond Crusted Salmon

ABOUT THIS RECIPE

“If you are, like I am, a fan of salmon, you’ll especially like this one. Crunchy almonds make this fish delicious!”

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces skinless salmon fillet
  • 2 eggs, separate egg whites, and discard yoke. Beat egg whites in small bowl
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix almonds, parsley, lemon peel, about 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper on plate. Place flour on another plate. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Dredge salmon in flour, shaking off excess. Lightly brush 1 side of salmon with beaten egg. Press brushed side of salmon into almond mixture, pressing lightly so that almond and seasoning mixture stick.
  2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add salmon to skillet, almond-coated side down, and cook until crust is brown, about 5 minutes. Turn salmon over. Sauté until salmon is cooked through and opaque in center, about 5 minutes. Transfer salmon to plates. Serve with lemon slices.

This was quick easy and the salmon was incredibly moist.  I picked up squash the other day, so sautéed it in little butter with fresh thyme from my garden while the salmon cooked.

Even though I  have to admit I was too full after dinner, I stole a tiny bit of the Rum Raisin Bread Pudding and I think you will like the recipe.  This is from Cook’s Baking Book  which is now, as you know available at your local Costco.

Rum Raisin Bread Pudding with Cinnamon

  • cup golden raisins
  • 5 teaspoons dark rum
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, (5 1/4 ounces)
  • 1 (14-ounce) loaf challah, bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 10 cups) (see note)
  • 9 large egg yolks
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

SERVES 8 TO 10

NOTE FROM THE TEST KITCHEN Challah is an egg-enriched bread that can be found in most bakeries and supermarkets. If you cannot find challah, a firm high-quality sandwich bread such as Arnold Country Classics White or Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White may be substituted. If desired, serve this pudding with softly whipped cream or with Bourbon-Brown Sugar Sauce (see related recipe, substituting rum for bourbon). Store leftovers tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. To retain a crisp top crust when reheating leftovers, cut the bread pudding into squares and heat, uncovered, in a 450-degree oven until warmed through, 6 to 8 minutes.

  1. Adjust oven racks to middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in small bowl; set aside.
  2. Combine golden raisins and dark rum in small bowl. Heat in microwave on high power until hot, about 20 seconds; set aside to cool, about 15 minutes.
  3. Spread bread cubes in single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake, tossing occasionally, until just dry, about 15 minutes, switching trays from top to bottom racks halfway through. Cool bread cubes about 15 minutes; set aside 2 cups.
  4. Whisk yolks, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk in cream and milk until combined. Stir in cooled raisin mixture. Add remaining 8 cups cooled bread cubes and toss to coat. Transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish and let stand, occasionally pressing bread cubes into custard, until cubes are thoroughly saturated, about 30 minutes.
  5. Spread reserved bread cubes evenly over top of soaked bread mixture and gently press into custard. Using pastry brush, dab melted butter over top of unsoaked bread pieces. Sprinkle brown-sugar mixture evenly over top. Place bread pudding on rimmed baking sheet and bake on middle rack until custard has just set, and pressing center of pudding with finger reveals no runny liquid, 45 to 50 minutes. (Instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pudding should read 170 degrees.) Transfer to wire rack and cool until pudding is set and just warm, about 45 minutes. Serve.

There you have it another day having fun in my kitchen.

Sunday Night Dinner at Kingsley Manor

Brioche Bread & Mushroom Bisque

America’s Test Kitchen is my favorite cookbook for the moment.  The mushroom bisque is simple and yummy.  It freezes well, as this was pulled from the freezer in the morning.  I added Enoki Mushrooms and little sour cream, to jazz it up at the last minute.  The Extra Rich Brioche Bread recipe is from Iliana Regan in the latest edition for Food & Wine Magazine, featuring the Best Chefs.

Extra Rich Brioche

INGREDIENTS

  • One 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm buttermilk (100°–105°)
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Canola oil, for greasing

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the yeast with the buttermilk until it dissolves. Let stand for 10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the bread flour with the sugar and salt. With the machine at medium speed, add the yeast mixture, then add 4 of the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Drizzle in the butter and beat for 10 minutes; the dough will look slightly greasy. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Let the dough stand at room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding.
  3. Lightly oil a 10-by-5-inch loaf pan. On a work surface, roll out the dough to a 10-by-8-inch rectangle. With a long side facing you, fold the dough in thirds and fit seam side down in the prepared loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 1/2 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425° and set a rack in the center. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg. Brush the top of the brioche with some of the egg wash and make a 1/4-inch-deep slit down the center of the loaf. Bake for 20 minutes. Brush the top again with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes longer, until the top is deep golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the 
loaf registers 182°. Transfer the brioche to a rack to cool for 
30 minutes, then unmold and let cool completely.

MAKE AHEAD

The brioche can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and foil and kept at room temperature for 2 days.

Mushroom Bisque

Ingredients

  • 1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 ½ cups chicken broth
  • cup heavy cream, plus extra for serving
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Chopped fresh chives

Instructions

SERVES 6 TO 10

NOTE FROM THE TEST KITCHEN Tying the thyme sprig with twine makes it easier to remove from the pot. For the smoothest result, use a conventional blender rather than an immersion blender. Our Fried Shallots (see related content) can replace the garnish of cream and chopped chives.

  1. Toss white mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and 1 tablespoon salt together in large bowl. Cover with large plate and microwave, stirring every 4 minutes, until mushrooms have released their liquid and reduced to about one-third their original volume, about 12 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to colander set in second large bowl and drain well. Reserve liquid.
  2. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned and fond has formed on bottom of pot, about 8 minutes. Add onion, thyme sprig, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is just softened, about 2 minutes. Add sherry and cook until evaporated. Stir in reserved mushroom liquid and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in water and broth and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Discard thyme sprig. Working in batches, process soup in blender until very smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per batch. Return soup to now-empty pot. (Soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Warm to 150 degrees before proceeding with recipe.)
  4. Whisk cream and egg yolks together in medium bowl. Stirring slowly and constantly, add 2 cups soup to cream mixture. Stirring constantly, slowly pour cream mixture into simmering soup. Heat gently, stirring constantly, until soup registers 165 degrees (do not overheat). Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, garnishing each serving with 1 teaspoon extra cream and sprinkle of chives.

TECHNIQUES

Lots of Mushrooms, Little Work

Our bisque contains a full 2 pounds of mushrooms, but we found that there’s no need to slice or chop them. Because mushrooms lack a thick outer layer, they give up moisture readily even when left whole. We simply toss them with salt and microwave them until most of their liquid is released. Then we brown the shriveled mushrooms to deepen their flavor and use the reserved mushroom liquid to help form the base of the soup.

MEGA MUSHROOMS: A mix of white button, cremini, and shiitake mushrooms gives our soup woodsy depth.

Yoking Together Yolks for Silky—and Flavorful—Bisque

The abundance of cream in bisques gives them their lush consistency, but it also makes most versions taste flat. While the fat droplets in cream thicken a liquid by getting in the way of water molecules, slowing their movement, they also mute flavor by coating the tongue and preventing flavor molecules from reaching taste receptors.

For a bisque with both pleasing body and a more pronounced mushroom flavor, we turned instead to an old-school French thickener—a so-called liaison, which replaces a large portion of the cream with egg yolks. As the bisque heats, proteins in the yolks unfold and bond together into long, tangled strands that, like the fat in cream, interfere with the movement of water molecules. Egg yolks also contain the powerful emulsifier lecithin, which has a twofold effect: It breaks up the fat droplets into smaller particles that disperse more completely throughout the liquid, obstructing more water molecules, for an even thicker consistency. It also keeps the bisque smooth by holding the fat droplets suspended in the liquid so they don’t separate out.

If yolks can do all this, why even use cream? Because the fat it contains provides an appealing mouthfeel that yolks alone can’t match.

 

Brioche Bread & Mushroom Bisque

Simplifying Cooking

 

Sometimes the simplist thing can make something easier.  This is my tip for the day.  Most recipes ask for salt, pepper or salt and pepper.  So when you are adding salt and pepper why not add them together.  The white grinder is salt.  The black grinder is pepper and the gray grinder is both.  I put equal parts salt and pepper in a plastic baggy, shake it up, cut off a corner and fill the gray grinder.  When I thought about doing this, I could not find a gray grinder similar to the other two I had, so I bought a gray wood one and spray painted it.  I have to admit I do love spray paint.  Anything to simplify life.

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What is your best kept secret for simplifying your life?

Simplifying Cooking

Gnocchi Tonight

This afternoon about four, I decided Beet Gnocchi for dinner might be fun. I went with organic yellow beets, as the red seemed a little harsh with the sage.  The recipe is very straight forward and simple, but I would make a few changes.  I would add a little more flour, as the dough was VERY sticky.  I would make the individual gnocchi smaller next time too, to be prettier in the presentation.  I took the sage from the Butter Sauce, broke it up with my fingers and added to the top of each dish.  When I added a tiny bit of freshly grated Reggiano Parmesano it burst into lusciousness.  What a yummy dinner with a simple Arugula (had left over) and mixed greens said, dressed with Champagne vinegar and EVOO.  Not the most diet dinner, but surely was tasty.  Enjoy the recipe.

Beet Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage Sauce

For the gnocchi
  • 1 lb. red beets (about 3 medium), trimmed ( I used yellow)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 11-oz. russet potato, whole and unpeeled
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour; more as needed
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
For the sauce
  • 4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 10 large fresh sage leaves or 20 small leaves
  • Kosher salt
Make the dough

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F.

Put the beets in a baking dish, season lightly with salt and pepper, drizzle with the oil, and add 1/4 cup water to the dish. Cover with foil and roast until easily pierced with a skewer, 45 to 60 minutes. (Alternatively, roast the beets in a heavy-duty foil packet on a rimmed baking sheet.) When cool enough to handle, peel and cut the beets into chunks.

Cover the potato with about 1 inch of water in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a gentle boil, and cook until easily pierced with a skewer, 35 to 40 minutes. Drain and let cool briefly. Peel the potato as soon as you can handle it. Pass the potato through a ricer into a large bowl, spreading it out to help any steam escape.

Combine the beets, egg, and yolk in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to the bowl of still-warm potatoes. Add the flour, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and the nutmeg, and mix gently with your fingers until the dough comes together; it will be sticky. Add more flour, 1 Tbs. at a time, until soft but not sticky.

Shape the gnocchi

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment and dust well with flour. Lightly flour a work surface. Turn the dough out onto the flour and gently flatten it by hand or by lightly rolling with a rolling pin until about 3/4 inch thick. If the dough is sticky, lightly dust the top with flour, too.

With a floured bench scraper or a knife, cut the dough into strips from 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide. With your hands, roll and lengthen the strips until about 1/2 inch in diameter. Using the bench scraper, cut the logs into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces (size is up to you).

If you want to give the gnocchi ridges, use the side of your thumb to gently roll each piece down the length of a gnocchi board or the tines of a fork, while simultaneously pressing lightly on the dough. (A fork will produce gnocchi with more pronounced ridges than a gnocchi board.)

Arrange the gnocchi in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets, making sure they don’t touch. If not cooking the gnocchi right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Even better, freeze the gnocchi right on the baking sheet until hard. (Frozen gnocchi are easier to handle than fresh and hold their shape better.)

Make the sauce

Combine the butter and sage in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk solids turn golden brown and smell toasty, about 10 minutes. Remove the sage leaves. (If you like, reserve them to serve over the finished gnocchi; leave small ones whole, but crumble large ones.) Season the sauce lightly with salt, and keep warm.

Cook and serve the gnocchi

Have the sauce ready and warm on the stove. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Reduce the heat to just below the boil. Add the gnocchi and cook, stirring once, until they float to the surface, 1 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or similar utensil to transfer them to a bowl as they cook.

Gently toss the gnocchi with enough sauce to coat well, garnish with the reserved sage leaves, if you like, and serve immediately.

Make Ahead Tips

You can freeze the shaped, uncooked gnocchi for up to 1 month. Once frozen rock solid on the baking sheets, transfer them to freezer bags and return to the freezer. Cook as directed without thawing.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : 1 portion of gnocchi plus 1 Tbs. sauce, Calories (kcal): 570, Fat Calories (kcal): 350, Fat (g): 40, Saturated Fat (g): 22, Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13, Cholesterol (mg): 150, Sodium (mg): 645, Carbohydrates (g): 46, Fiber (g): 3, Sugar (g): 4, Protein (g): 8

Gnocchi Tonight

Just a little organization…

Just a little organization can make cooking so much easier.  I love organization.  I am told it is a Virgo trait, but I think it is just who you are or aren’t.  When I start cooking, I want to easily find what I might need without taking time to find it.

My pretty pots are all right above my stove on a pot rack, my husband made from a design I created.  It holds copper (mostly for viewing) on one side and All Clad on the other side.  Works great!

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My huge restaurant pots from my restaurant owning days, are in a hidden cabinet. My use everyday big unsightly pots are in the adjacent laundry room on their own rack, where I can close the door when entertaining, but get to easily and quickly when cooking.

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My kitchen was recently remodeled and is going to be featured in a local magazine: West Sound Home & Garden, so he editor stopped by to take a few photos.  I am always surprised by what catches someone the attention of someone else.  She loved my pantry.

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Here is a panorama of my spices, in alphabetical order, and

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of course my cooking supplies, but they are by category, not alphabetically ordered.

Tea

Whereas my teas, are separated into decaf and caffeinated and in order alphabetically.  I think I like order in my life and in my kitchen.  It just makes it all easier to cook.

What is your favorite kitchen organization secret?

Just a little organization…

Kitchen Pet Peeves

I love being in my new kitchen whether baking or just making dinner for my family or my husband. (Family is grown and gone and waiting for Granddaughter to spend the summer) Every time I reach for the Baking Soda container I cringe a little.  It is always a challenge to measure what your need.  Whereas the person who designed the Baking  Powder made it so very easy to use.

So I came up with my own very simple solution.  I made my own Baking Soda container out of an empty Baking Powder container.  I was about to throw the one out that I had just used, had a new one to replace it and the light went off.  I now have an easy to use Baking Soda container.  Note how you can easily level your Teaspoon or Tablespoon on the top.

Hope this random thought of the day simplifies life a little for my cooking buddies.

 

Check out my art at www.dianakingsley.net

Kitchen Pet Peeves

Happy Easter

Easter was always a special day in our lives when my sons were young and we were a family of five.  The boys were dressed alike, of course I had a new hat with matching dress or visa versa and we all went to church and shared Easter Egg hunts and Pot Luck brunches at one of our houses.  It was a wonderful of great friends, good food and happy children chasing around the yards in a frenzy looking for the best egg or surprise, as we hid trucks and etc.

As the years passed and the boys grew and we moved away from that community, Easter has become quieter.  I no longer have that great group of friends to say to “Come on over and bring the kids”, so it looks differently these days.  My youngest son came to dinner, so I had a lovely morning cooking.

Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Almond Cake is wonderful with a cherry infusion and chocolate ganache frosting.  After a taste we sent it next door to my neighbor having a bigger get together.  Dinner was simple with a butterflied, rolled and stuffed leg of lamb.  Using Giada De Laurentils recipe, it was a tad dry, so would add a stock bath in the pan next time.  The Arugula Salad sitting on Ricotta was tasty, but I would use a lot less dressing than she called for in her recipe.  The Artichoke Risotto was perfection.

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Happy Easter

Simple and simply Delish!

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French Onion Soup, with a little homemade Focaccia on the side for a light dinner.  I just didn’t photograph the pasta that followed and ruined the effect.

Love these little soup bowls as you can have just a little taste of soup for the first course.  I often do this when entertaining or just for the two of us at home.

When I make a simple soup, I make a lot and freeze it in Mason Jars.  (Just be sure to leave room at the top for freezing space) On nights I don’t feel like cooking.  [You know the one that you have spent all day in the garden], it is nice to know there is something simple and good in the freezer; and just add a salad and you have dinner in ten minutes.

In the summer there is always lots of lettuce growing in my garden, so that is the time of year I love salads the most.

This last month I added a herb garden in planters on my covered deck, so I can have fresh herbs at my disposal all year, without walking out in the rain to cut them. My husband installed a drip system, so I don’t even have to worry about watering them.  It is just nice!

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This summer we will install a translucent wall, so they get light and we have privacy. The only disadvantage of living on the beach, is the close proximity to other houses.  These little additions make fresh cooking so simple.

Simple and simply Delish!