Amy Artisan

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Category: Kitchen Time (page 1 of 7)

Recently – June 2018

Ah, JUNE…a month filled with the “official” start of summer…heat…humidity…summer rainstorms…fresh produce…and more…these are the things that filled my JUNE days…

Focusing…continuing to devote time to my job search…networking events…personal branding…connecting with local job seekers…initial interviews, and more…knowing the right position is there…

Reading…a total of 13 books during the month…an assortment of reads to be shared in upcoming book posts…6 NetGalley reads…the latest installments in some serial stories…and an assortment of others…the debut novel, A Storied Life, from Leigh Kramer was a delight to read! (And also sharing reads on the blog: here, here, here, and here.)

Knitting…diving into a fade project with my Shades of Green shawl…I’m now into the third green and nearing the final extended lace sequence…

Spicing…placing a good size order with our favorite The Spice House from Chicago…we had been talking about needing to make an order when there was a campaign to buy spices to send to Sailors and Marines…that was the nudge we needed to get an order placed and also share some seasonings with those aboard the USS Truman…Yes, the “California Seasoned Pepper” is a favorite so we didn’t mess around & ordered a pound of it – it’s frequently used in place of black pepper around here. The “Gateway to the North” has maple sugar from Marinette County so it is apropos to have – & is delicious on pork. Excited to try their “Everyone’s Everything Bagel Blend” – I’m looking at you, hard boiled eggs & fresh tomatoes. The “Lakeshore Seasoning” is a favorite way to accentuate farmers market produce. A good Garlic Salt is a pantry staple. And finally going to give a try to making our own vanilla extract.

Marketing…starting our Saturdays at the farmers market is definitely our routine now. A couple of weeks have included meeting up with friends at the market and introducing them to our favorite vendors. All market visits end with delicious local iced coffee/cold brew for each of us. A bonus is when our salsa stand is serving up chorizo tacos to start the day.  Of course, all the fresh produce leads to all sorts of fresh meal fun…

Cooking…Chorizo + Potato Tacos in lettuce shells…simple, flavorful, refreshing with the crisp of the lettuce…once with market Yukon gold potatoes and once with sweet potatoes…recipe inspired by a segment on America’s Test Kitchen (PBS) – but we thought tortillas were an unneeded starch…

Cooking…Asparagus, Kale & Lemon Risotto…using cauliflower rice….this was simple, bright and paired wonderfully with pork…recipe from the Whole30 Recipes feed on Instagram

Cooking…BLT Coleslaw…a delicious twist on coleslaw that combines the best of a BLT with fresh cabbage and provides a great side dish…will be making this again, for sure as we are getting tomatoes from gardener friends…recipe from the Whole30 Recipes feed on Instagram

Jamming…making a delicious Sweet & Sour Jam from a NetGalley cookbook…this Golden Beet & Apple Jam is a fantastic addition to all sorts of plates – a little dab brightens and transforms leftovers, sandwiches and more…

Cooking…Zucchini Pancakes with LakeShore Dollop…putting market zucchini to use with a simple supper side…recipe from The Spice House, it popped up as a suggestion when I last ordered our favorite Lakeshore seasoning blend…

Cooking…a Sheet Pan Salad for a Sunday supper…started by wilting a kale, blueberries, peaches and sweet onion and then adding pork chops to finish…

Streaming…watching Miss Butterfly’s choir camp concert streaming from the music hall at The University of Texas on a Saturday afternoon…

Watching…Mom & I have had some eclectic viewing between Netflix and checking out library DVDs…a bit of a British series streak: Home Fires, Rosemary & Thyme…starting into A Place Called Home in Australia…movies including The Founder, the delightful Ethel & Ernest, A Monster Calls….

Looking ahead…nothing major on the horizon in July…but more market runs, books, knitting & job focus are filling the time just fine…

What filled your JUNE days?

Connecting up with Leigh’s What I’m Into link-up and Kristen’s What’s New with You? link-up.

Muffin Madness

This weekend I knew that I needed to do some smart food prep for the week ahead & beyond – later this week I’ll be gone for a fun weekend & a few days of work at the start of next week. A major project at work is really cranking up as a deadline nears – so the days are long & I know that cooking in the evenings can’t be counted on for meals.

As I started to make a list of possible make ahead meals I noticed that all of the entrees could be baked in muffin cups so that a portion of each could be frozen & ready for smart meals later.

A breakfast treat!

A breakfast treat!

First up, a new to me variation on baked oatmeal: Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal. This was a THM pin-spiration. I “made it mine” by adding some chopped pecans & shredded (unsweetened) coconut to the mix. These baked for about 22 minutes. The cottage cheese “frosting” makes these seem like an indulgence – a clever way to add some protein to the meal.

Breakfast or Lunch or Dinner?

Next, a recipe from the Whole30 recipe feed on Instagram: Buffalo Chicken Breakfast Casserole from Living Loving Paleo. I added some diced mini peppers into each muffin. Even though there recipe has breakfast in the title, they are an any meal muffin for me. These baked for 25 minutes.

A new “go to” recipe in rotation

And then, a new favorite – Cheese Dog Pie – was given the muffin treatment. I mixed about 75% of the hot dogs into the muffin batter and these baked for 25 minutes.

As the week begins, I have 8 muffins from each batch tucked away in the freezer & ready to provide me smart meal options in the coming days & weeks. And, as work zaniness ratchets up in the next 2 weeks the answer to “what to eat” is one less thing to worry about.

What non-muffin recipes have you turned into muffins? What are some of your favorite make & freeze meals?

Mom Made

As the calendar turns to May and Mother’s Day approaches, Carole prompts us today for 10 Favorite Foods Mom Made. Of course I’ll share in this list! My Mom is a wonderful cook and baker! When she was in college, she spent her summers as a camp cook; when I was in elementary school, she managed to cook for the high school youth group missions trips to San Quintin, Mexico in a small kitchen in an airplane hangar. From an early age, I learned the lovely art of hospitality from my Mom – she loves to share from the heart by way of the kitchen. Growing up, we were often delivering a meal to new moms at church – something that I have done many times since I’ve been on my own. Missionaries, church friends, college kids and more have sat around our table and shared life over simple and delicious meals from Mom. In the age of Martha Stewart and Pinterest and Instagram and trying to portray “the” perfect dish, I’m so thankful that I learned from Mom the true joy is in the making and sharing of the dish – not in the picture and presentation.

Mom's Strawberry Pie

Mom’s Strawberry Pie

In no particular order, here are some favorites from her kitchen…and really, this list could go on and on and on…

  • Strawberry Pie – I’ve written about this once or twice; a simple and tasty recipe that always brings to mind Grandma’s strawberry patch in the backyard of her home in Southern California…
  • Lemon Chicken Florentine – A simple mix of chicken, spinach, onion, lemon juice & tumeric; a great make ahead dish – just as delicious hot or chilled…
  • Santa Maria Beans – A simple and delicious staple of Santa Maria BBQ from our time in Lompoc – even better when paired with a Tri-Tip…
  • Italian Squash Soup – Another Artisan Mom “recipe.” Brown & drain a pound of Italian sausage. Add in 24 oz tomato sauce, a couple of zucchini & yellow squash diced, some chopped mushrooms, & Italian seasonings (basil, oregano, pepper, garlic, etc) to taste. Bring to a boil & simmer for 20 minutes…
  • Simple Sausage & Cheese Biscuits – A favorite for breakfasts and perfect for parties and holiday teas
  • Pot Roast with Potatoes, Carrots, Onions & Mushrooms & Gravy – Always a delicious Sunday dinner to come home to after church…
  • Sugar Cookies – A recipe Mom discovered in a book on hospitality, this is a “go to” recipe – delicate and dainty cookies that are a good excuse to use a cookie stamp…
  • Cardamon Cookies – A family staple in the Christmas baking – delicious with or without or without frosting…
  • Tater Tot Casserole – Keeping the theme of simple…ground beef, onions, green beans, mushroom soup and a layer of tater tots on top…
  • Green Enchiladas – A recipe that Mom found in the Air Force news when we were in Wichita more than 40 years ago – turkey, onion and cheese enchiladas with a spinach sour cream sauce. My sister requests this for her birthday dinner. Thanksgiving turkey leftovers often are set aside for a batch of these…

….and this list could go on…Lemon Meringue Pie…and on…Fresh Salsa…and on…Ebelskivers…and on…Applesauce…and on…

Today as I putter in the kitchen, I’m so thankful for all that my Mom taught me (& my sister) through the kitchen…not only the recipes…the kitchen tips and tricks…the fun…but also the art of simplicity…the focus on taste…the joy of hospitality…

What are some of your favorites from your Mom’s kitchen? 

Enchanted…Snowy…Saturday…

The calendar reads more than a week into April. And yet, on Saturday the weather looked more winter than spring. After an intense work week, I decided step back from plans for errands and other running around and enjoy a quasi-snow day.

Snow Read

With the snow starting to fall, I made a pot of mint tea and settled in with a book on the Kindle. The read – The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim – a book that has been on my list to read for a while – a book that I snapped up on a Kindle deal a few weeks ago & decided would be an April read – a book set in the Italy of springtime. Throughout the day, I was swept away to lush gardens and gentle breezes and views of sea, even as the view out my window turned whiter and whiter.

Simple Lunch

In early afternoon, I took a quick reading break to pull together a simple, healthy & seemingly indulgent lunch: Citrus Roasted Shrimp & Asparagus with a Curry Aioli. (Bonus: leftovers for lunch this week!)

Organized

Throughout the day, I would read for a bit and then “adult” for a bit – some laundry was tackled, my shower got a spring cleaning and I started a long overdue pantry/cabinet refresh.

Italian Supper

The snow stopped falling before dinnertime. After spending my day “in Italy” of course my Saturday supper would have an Italian flavor to it. I tweaked this recipe into Florentine Meat Pie using what I had on hand and it is a winner.

Cookies

For the evening, I caught up with my PBS Masterpiece/Mystery shows while knitting. More mint tea was enjoyed along with these tasty Almond Joy No Bake cookies that I whipped up mid afternoon.

As I crawled into bed last night, I marveled at the R&R that occurred on this unexpected snow day. While it was not a Hunker Down day, it was nice to be able to choose to just stay home and recharge when nature decided that we needed to see a few more snowflakes this season.

 

Simple Sauce

On my pantry shelf sit several jars of preserved goodies from last summer. For the jams I made, it is pretty self evident how they get put to use. Today I plucked a jar of Ginger Pickled Blueberries from the shelf and quickly turned it into the “wow” for a simple Easter dinner. I put the entire jar in my Nutri-Ninja and gave it a couple of whirls until it was smooth.

Simmer

The sauce went into one of my small pots and was brought to a simmer on the stove top – the heat was turned down a bit and I stirred it every so often as it thickened to a syrup.

Easter Dinner

Once the syrup had reduced a bit, it was drizzled on the plate of pork and citrus roasted broccoli and asparagus. This sweet and tangy syrup added a vibrant flavor to the plate.

What are some “unusual” ways that you’ve used jars of preserves from your canning shelves?

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