This is a famous restaurant named Somerset in Santa Barbara, California. It showed up on a blog I follow as one of the top restaurants that you should visit. Look closely at the bar stools.
Now check out the bar stools in my remodeled kitchen. I bought four of the bar stools when I designed and built my first home on Bainbridge Island in 1989. I have always loved these bar stools designed in the 1970’s. For my new kitchen, I recovered the stools and we cut them down to be table height. I found one more stool to add to the kitchen on a vintage site, selling furniture out of Las Vegas. I will share that I paid more for one I added than I did for the originals some twenty-five years ago. I love it when furniture holds its value.
Fun and very easy dinner shared here. It is interesting having my six year old granddaughter for the summer, as she has very specific likes and VERY specific dislikes. No tomatoes, but loves tomato sauces. So the other night I bought some Lamb Loin Chops and rubbed them with lots of herbs from my garden and olive oil. We grilled them quickly on barbecue and that was a huge hit, just simple and delicious. Carrots are high on her lists of favorite veggies, so sautéed with butter and fresh dill from the garden and they were devoured. Funny, but that is the one cooked vegetable I do NOT love. She kept asking me why I didn’t eat the carrots. America’s Test Kitchen bread, with very little kneading was totally tasty and another big hit with Claire and my husband. But risotto with Reggiano Parmesano was not in her palate, so she would not even try it, even though she loves cheese and loves rice. So you never know what will make it and what will not. The salad with greens from my garden, tomatoes and avocados, was a “don’t bother to put on her plate”. I don’t think I liked lettuce or tomatoes at that age either.
Since the most of the dinner was simple and as easy as described I will just post the recipe for the bread.
Almost No-Knead Bread
A no-fuss recipe that is revolutionizing home baking trades flavor and reliability for ease. Could we improve the bread’s bland taste and make it rise high every time?
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
To avoid lengthy and tiresome kneading, we let our bread dough sit for 8 to 18 hours, during which a process called autolysis develops gluten—the protein that gives baked breads their bubbly, chewy crumb structure. After that, just 15 seconds of kneading does the trick. To give our bread more flavor than standard no-knead recipes, we add vinegar for acidic tang and lager beer for extra yeastiness. We bake the bread in a preheated covered pot to create steam, producing a springy interior, and then finish baking it uncovered for a beautifully browned crust.
Use a mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser (mild nonalcoholic lager also works). In step 3, start the 30-minute timer as soon as you put the bread in the cold oven. Do not wait until the oven has preheated to start your timer or the bread will burn. The bread is best eaten the day it is baked, but it can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool, dry place for up to two days.
1. Whisk flour, salt, and yeast together in large bowl. Add water, lager, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 18 hours.
2. Lay 18 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper on counter and spray with oil spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam side down, to center of parchment and spray surface of dough with oil spray. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover loosely with plastic and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.
3. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Remove plastic from pot. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Cover pot and place in oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bake bread for 30 minutes.
4. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours.
TEN STEPS TO EASY RUSTIC BREAD
1. HAND-MIX INGREDIENTS: Combine flour, yeast, and salt; then stir in water, beer, and vinegar and fold it all together. No mixer required.
WHY? This bread will form gluten as it sits, so there’s no need for a lot of mixing at the start.
2. LET REST: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for at least 8 hours or up to 18 hours.
WHY? Much like kneading, letting the dough sit develops gluten through a process called autolysis.
3. PREPARE PARCHMENT: Spray an 18 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper lightly with vegetable oil spray.
WHY? You’ll use the parchment to move the dough from the counter to the Dutch oven for its second rise, and to remove the bread from the pot after baking.
4. KNEAD DOUGH: Transfer the dough to a floured counter and knead it just 10 to 15 times.
WHY? During the long rest, the proteins in the dough break down, making it easier to manipulate, and with less than a minute of kneading, the gluten has been sufficiently developed.
5. SHAPE AND LET RISE: Form the dough into a ball, place it on the parchment, and transfer it to a Dutch oven. Then cover it and let it rise for 2 hours.
WHY? Once shaped, the dough undergoes its final rise, during which the yeast produces carbon dioxide to make the dough puff.
6. SLASH DOUGH: Use a sharp knife or razor to cut one 6-inch- long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along the top of the dough.
WHY? Slashing the dough allows steam to escape so the loaf bakes evenly, preventing splits and cracks.
7. COVER UP: Place the cover on the pot.
WHY? The covered pot produces a steamy environment that gives the loaf an open crumb structure.
8. START IT COLD: Place the covered pot in a cold oven. Heat the oven to 425 degrees and bake the bread for 30 minutes.
WHY? Starting the bread in a cold oven ensures against burning the bottom, and the bread rises just as much as in a preheated oven.
9. REMOVE COVER: Uncover the pot and continue to bake the bread until it is deep brown and its center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes more.
WHY? After the steamy environment has created the ideal interior texture, uncovering the pot allows the crust to brown and crisp.
10. LET COOL AND SERVE: Remove the bread from the pot and place it on a rack to cool for about 2 hours before slicing.
WHY? There’s still a lot of moisture trapped inside the hot bread. As the bread sits, the steam escapes giving the cooled loaf just the right texture.
Simple Summer dinner with beautiful tomatoes from Central Market is perfect for a warm evening. Cooking is a joy to me, but the down side is there is too much good food to it, so I decided to veer away from America’s Test Kitchen and Paul Hollywood’s cooking as some light dishes might be good for the waistline. (or lack thereof) This one was very quick and easy and I loved the richness of the sauce. My granddaughter has not yet developed a taste for tomatoes, but when the tomatoes were removed, she ate the entire piece. Served with Parmesan Risotto ALA Diana, a summer salad with lettuce from our garden and tiny baby carrots and beets, as my granddaughter loves both.
YIELDServes 4 (serving size: 1 chicken breast and about 1/3 cup tomato mixture)
Browned butter is the quick cook’s best-kept secret: Less than two minutes in the pan caramelizes the milk solids in butter for a fragrant, nutty note in any dish. Try not to chop the tomatoes too finely; you want them somewhat chunky so they’ll break down in the sauce faster, but you also want them to retain some shape. If your chicken breasts are larger than 6 ounces (some can be as big as 12 ounces), halve the two breasts horizontally instead of pounding them thin. Serve over a bed of whole-wheat couscous, whole-grain polenta, or brown rice.
4 (6-oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
fat 17.3 g
satfat 5.6 g
monofat 8.1 g
polyfat 1.6 g
protein 39 g
carbohydrate 5 g
fiber 1 g
cholesterol 139 mg
iron 1 mg
sodium 443 mg
calcium 36 mg
sugars 4 g
Est. Added Sugars 0 g
How to Make It
Place chicken breasts on a cutting board; pound to a 1/2-inch-thickness using a meat mallet or small, heavy skillet (all four breasts should fit in one large skillet). Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm. Do not wipe pan clean.
Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, butter, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 2 minutes or until butter just begins to brown, stirring frequently. Stir in tomatoes; cook 2 minutes or until tomatoes are wilted. Spoon tomato mixture over chicken; sprinkle with parsley.
Hope you enjoy this yummy summer dinner. We sure did!
So easy and SO yummy. I was looking through one of my America’s Test Kitchen books and saw this. The peaches in the store looked so inviting, I added Peach Schnapps to my pantry and with the help of Claire, my granddaughter peeled the peaches. it was so worth the work.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
To achieve the right texture for our Peach Cake, we sprinkled the peach slices with sugar and baked them in a very hot oven until they lost most of their moisture. Tossing the cooled peaches with crushed panko bread crumbs sopped up the gooey, viscous film that the peaches had acquired in the oven. (The panko gets incorporated into the cake as the peach cake cooks.) Adding some peach schnapps to the batter boosted the peach flavor and gave us a peach cake recipe that could be made even with not-so-perfect peaches.
To crush the panko bread crumbs, place them in a zipper-lock bag and smash them with a rolling pin. If you can’t find panko, 1/4 cup of plain, unseasoned bread crumbs can be substituted. Orange liqueur can be substituted for the peach schnapps. If using peak-of-season, farm-fresh peaches, omit the peach schnapps.
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Gently toss 24 peach wedges with 2 tablespoons schnapps, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in bowl; set aside.
2. Cut remaining peach wedges crosswise into thirds. Gently toss chunks with remaining 3 tablespoons schnapps, remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in bowl. Spread peach chunks in single layer on prepared sheet and bake until exuded juices begin to thicken and caramelize at edges of sheet, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer sheet to wire rack and let peaches cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
3. Spray 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. Whisk brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and eggs together in second bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter until combined. Add sour cream, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract; whisk until combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
4. Transfer half of batter to prepared pan; using offset spatula, spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth surface. Sprinkle crushed bread crumbs evenly over cooled peach chunks and gently toss to coat. Arrange peach chunks on batter in even layer, gently pressing peaches into batter. Gently spread remaining batter over peach chunks and smooth top. Arrange reserved peach wedges, slightly overlapped, in ring over surface of cake, placing smaller wedges in center. Stir together remaining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and remaining 1/8 teaspoon almond extract in small bowl until sugar is moistened. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over top of cake.
5. Bake until center of cake is set and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool 5 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of cake to loosen. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.
Peach Cake Run Amuck
Things aren’t always that peachy with most peach cakes.
PROBLEM: Fruit that isn’t fruity
HOW TO SOLVE IT: Macerate peaches Unless you’re working with the best farm-stand fruit, peaches are notoriously bland. To boost fruity taste, we macerate the peach wedges we’ve reserved for shingling on top of the cake in peach schnapps and a little sugar and lemon juice.
PROBLEM: Soggy fruit sinks to bottom
HOW TO SOLVE IT: Roast peaches Roasting the peach chunks destined for the batter concentrates their flavor and drives off moisture, so there’s not as much to weigh them down or to flood the cake.
PROBLEM: Wet, gummy crumb
HOW TO SOLVE IT: Toss peaches with panko Tossing the roasted peach chunks with bread crumbs helps absorb any remaining sticky juices, ensuring a cake that’s moist, not soggy.
Keep Your Peaches Out of the Cold
Keeping peaches in the fridge might seem like a good way to prolong their shelf life, but unless the fruit is ripe, the cold temperatures can turn their flesh mealy. Storing the fruit at or below 40 degrees deactivates an enzyme that breaks down its pectin during ripening. If this happens before the flesh is ripe, the pectin will remain intact and the flesh texture will be mealy. The lesson: Store peaches on the counter.
Normally I post about food or art, but today I am sharing an article about my own home featured in a local magazine. I bought the land about thirteen years ago and designed and built a home for me to live in as a single woman, as all my children had gotten on with their lives. I was not sure at the time, if I wanted to live here or move back to California, where I am a sixth generation family member. I moved there for a year, but could not get close to the beach, hated the traffic, realized most of my past friends had moved on and totally hated living in a townhouse, with a gate and for the most part not so friendly neighbors. The problem started, when I trusted a builder to follow my construction plans, and he did not. He cheated out on absolutely everything, changed my floor plan without my permission and totally changed the feel of the house. When I moved back to Washington, I lost money on my townhouse in Carlsbad and did not have a job. I did not have a job for over a year, so making changes was not in the budget.
When I married about six years ago, after being single for over twenty years, it was an adjustment using a home designed for one person for the two people now living in it. After about five years, we decided to make the changes you see featured in this article. This is the second home I’ve had featured in a magazine. My 1998 home on Wing Point, Bainbridge Island was featured as home of the year in Seattle Home & Lifestyle Magazine. They are very different homes, as that was designed for myself and my three teenage sons.
When it comes to interior design, Diana Bennett Wirtz Kingsley wrote the book. Really. An artist and holder of a master’s degree in interior design, Kingsley authored “Hand Drafting for Interior Design” during her years of teaching at the Art Institute of Seattle. The book is a popular text in a hundred colleges across the country and abroad.
When not authoring textbooks, she is a whirlwind of creative energy. The artist-author fills her semi-retirement with painting, sewing, cooking and photography, as well as her beautifully visual cooking and commentary blog.
Considering this surplus of interests, Kingsley was just the woman for job when the time came to plan a new residence. As the last of her three sons graduated from Bainbridge High School, the designer started the search for a home site on the Kitsap Peninsula. In 2005, she found just what she was looking for in Kingston.
“I had no idea where I wanted to live until I saw this property,” she says. “There was the beach and this fabulous view. I just wanted to walk on the sand.”
Set on the shore of Apple Tree Cove, the lot looks across broad tide flats to the Kingston Cove Marina and the comings and goings of the Kingston-Edmonds ferry. Flocks of sea birds ride the waves and ospreys float in the sky. Changing weather alternately mists distant docks and glints sunbeams off passing boats. Kingsley was enchanted. She knew she’d found the one.
Kingsley also knew who would design her home. She would. First of all, the house would take advantage of the view over two stories. Deep porches on both levels would be roomy enough for dining and reclining. Finally, the master suite would occupy the entire upper floor.
For Kingsley, the design was the easy part. The tough part was acting as her own contractor. The foundation was barely dry before she made a temporary move to California. By the time she returned for a visit, the work was nearly wrapped up. Except some of it wasn’t per agreement, including the kitchen appliances.
Disappointed but undeterred, Kingsley moved in and moved on with life. The next few years brought good things, chief among them her future husband, Mike. As the newlyweds settled into the Kingston house, Diana and Mike Kingsley found creative compatibility.
“I design things and my husband makes them happen,” she says. “He’s very handy.”
“So far I have a 2-to-1 ratio of projects desired to projects completed,” Mike Kingsley replies, smiling at his indefatigable wife.
Considering the couple’s combined talents, what happened next was inevitable. They gutted the house and began a complete remodel.
“We ripped everything out and loaded it in dumpsters,” Diana Kingsley recalls.
After 12 years in residence, she knew what she wanted to rise from the metaphoric ashes of the original house. She wanted a look that was beachy, low-key and comfortable. Kingsley wanted muted colors to reflect what the eye sees outside Puget Sound windows for more than 300 cloudy days a year. She wanted an understated carbon-gray exterior with orange accents. Mostly, she wanted people to stay out of her kitchen.
Kingsley makes no apologies for being the queen of her kitchen. She loves to cook. She also loves to entertain. An invitation to dinner with the Kingsleys is a recipe for a most appetizing evening. Kingsley needed a kitchen worthy of her talents.
Then the designer had an inspiration. What if her real-life project became a lesson for her students at the art institute? Kingsley invited 30 students to her home to plan 30 individual redesigns. One of the plans was an eye-opener.
“A student suggested getting rid of the kitchen island and making the kitchen u-shaped,” she says.
Kingsley realized this new configuration was just what she wanted. It would keep guests from wandering underfoot while she cooked but allow them to keep her company on stools on the far side of the counter.
With this as the basis of her new kitchen, Kingsley added view windows and new cabinets, upgraded the appliances and chose new flooring. Her husband saw to it that her dream pot rack became reality. A new color scheme paired soft-gray walls with crisp-white cabinetry. Granite installed by Grandy Marble and Tile of Kingston added visual movement to the otherwise peaceful presentation. The result is a casually elegant cooking center that reads like a sigh of relief at the end of a hectic day.
Just off the kitchen, the couple added two small rooms tucked behind roller-mounted barn doors: the bead-boarded utility room and a pantry. The red-and-white pantry highlights Kingsley’s evolved sense of order with rows of spices and teas neatly labeled with her husband’s label maker, a device that she adores.
Of course, for a designer, the furnishings are as important as the layout. Kingsley loves the clean, classic lines of the 1970s. Examples of these in the Kingsleys’ home are the retro upholstered metal stools that Mike Kingsley had cut down to fit the kitchen counter. The home also boasts a Platner table and see-through Lucite “ghost” chairs. In contrast to these streamlined pieces is Mike’s handsome, 1907 Estey grand piano that holds sway in the living room with the good-natured solidity of Winston Churchill at an artist’s colony.
Finding the perfect wall art was no problem for Kingsley, a skilled artist whose paintings and drawings are shown and sold at Interiors of Edmonds. Whatever the theme or size needed for her own rooms, she retired to her backyard studio and created it herself. Recently, her works lean toward big, bold abstracts.
As handy with a sewing machine as a paintbrush, Diana changed out all of the living room fabrics. In the bedrooms, Mike cut the wooden headboard forms and she upholstered them in heavy silk tapestry and made pillows to match.
Both of the Kingsleys are happy in their home at the beach. He enjoys the short walk to the Kingston ferry. She is learning to live retired by the shore of what she describes as a 12-hour-a-day waterfront, meaning there’s always something to see, from raccoons and herons to paddle-boarders and that kid who had to leave his boots behind in the calf-deep mud of the tide flat.
As Mike Kingsley points out, their home is a work in progress. Yet, in the hands of a woman who admits she’s “too hyper to be a good retiree,” there’s no doubt it will all come together.
“People ask me, ‘How do you get it all done?’” Diana Kingsley says with a shrug. “How do I not?”
There are still a few more things we hope to add to the home. Last week we finished a deck by the beach and are awaiting Orange Polywood Adirondack chairs to complete the look. We will be adding privacy panels on one end of the deck and an outdoor fireplace on the other.
My granddaughter Claire did not get Ice Cream for dinner, so we promised it for breakfast the next morning. She got it! Of course it came with home made pancakes, fresh strawberries and whipped cream. I didn’t have any, but my son and husband certainly enjoyed the treat. My son passed on the added Ice Cream, but not my husband. I used America’s Test Kitchen pancake recipe and I will have to say I tasted it and it was pretty wonderful. So easy to throw this together for a fun and yummy breakfast!
Best Buttermilk Pancakes
Published July 2009
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
To create a buttermilk pancake recipe with a tangy flavor and fluffy texture, we added sour cream for flavor and cut back on leaveners to keep the pancakes from rising too high and then collapsing. The result was a pancake recipe for light, fluffy pancakes with the trademark buttermilk tang.
The pancakes can be cooked on an electric griddle. Set the griddle temperature to 350 degrees and cook as directed. The test kitchen prefers a lower-protein all-purpose flour like Gold Medal or Pillsbury. If you use an all-purpose flour with a higher protein content, like King Arthur, you will need to add an extra tablespoon or two of buttermilk.
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Spray wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray; place in oven.
2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, and melted butter together. Make well in center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients; gently stir until just combined (batter should remain lumpy with few streaks of flour). Do not overmix. Let batter sit 10 minutes before cooking.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Using paper towels, carefully wipe out oil, leaving thin film on bottom and sides of pan.
4. Using 1/4-cup dry measuring cup, portion batter into pan in 4 places. Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown, and bubbles on surface are just beginning to break, 2 to 3 minutes. Using thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve pancakes immediately, or transfer to wire rack in preheated oven. Repeat with remaining batter, using remaining oil as necessary.