One day my kitchen will be like……

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Catch yourself thinking of what would be in your dream kitchen every time you are in your kitchen?  Or maybe you have a tiny apartment size stove so why bother cooking anything real?  Or there is no counter space so you only do simple 3 ingredient recipes.

Feels like there are so many excuses about why people choose not to cook to the level they want to because the kitchen just isn’t up to par, no gas 6 burner stove, no granite counter tops.  19 is when I got my very own kitchen in my first apartment that was the tiniest apartment and kitchen, in the top of an old victorian house with no ac.  Since then I have had around 10 more kitchens, all with their perks and faults. There is one thing I have realized in all these kitchens…..you can make 5 star food no matter the kitchen.

This made me decide I wanted to de-mystify the idea that to make great food you need a big fancy kitchen.  I have, for 14 years, made 100s of raviolis, roasted turkeys, ducks and chickens, baked french pastries, and infused enough booze to run my own distillery all in kitchens that have been used and abused by tons of renters.  If you want to cook great food you can do it anywhere.

In the next few months I’m going to feature tiny, small kitchens that produce meals worthy of bon appetite on a weekly basis.  These home chefs have come to realize the same thing that I have….if you want to cook you can work with whatever you have. With each kitchen feature there will also be a recipe to their favorite item to cook.  Because if they cook it in there kitchen you can too no matter your kitchen.

Kicking it off is my own kitchen.  Its lacking in counter space, was not thrilled by the glass top electric stove, and digging for the right pots and pans is a rubic’s cube puzzle every time.  But I’ve baked breads, made homemade pasta, pan-fried dove breasts and did a small stint with cooking authentic indian cuisine.

My favorite dish so far in this kitchen has been Penne Pasta with Cream and Smoked Salmon….trust me make it your kitchen can handle it!

RECIPE: PENNE PASTA WITH CREAM & SMOKED SALMON

serves 4

Ingredients

3 c dried penne pasta

4 oz thinly sliced smoked salmon

1 tsp fresh thyme

2/3 c extra thick creme

salt and pepper to taste

  • cook penne pasta till tender
  • while pasta is cooking slice salmon into thin strips
  • melt butter in a pan, stir in cream with a quarter of the salmon and thyme, heat gently for 3-4 minutes stirring constantly
  • drain pasta, toss in cream & salmon. top with remaining salmon and thyme serve immediately

 

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Strawberry-Fresh Basil and Feta Scones

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Having spent 2 and 1/2 years where every Saturday morning I got up and baked bread, I still sometimes savior the fact that Saturday mornings can now be lazy.  I love the option of getting up early hitting the farmers market, or going for a bike ride or maybe just drinking coffee till noon in pjs reading magazines and the newspaper.  And then some Saturdays there is still the need to bake.  I know I have written now so much about how mixing flour and kneading dough is the best form of zen therapy ever, but its so true.

Having the need for a little baking therapy the other Saturday there were just the right combination to make scones that will blow any tea party out of the water.  Its summer and sweet basil with strawberries you can’t quite get enough of. Oh but wait you need something a little savior to balance off all that sweetness, the answer came from the cheese drawer….feta.  The best smell is when the strawberries start warming up in the oven filling up the whole house with sweet summer baked smells. These have been awesome for breakfast all week but I also recommend eating them with chicken salad or a savior caesar salad.

RECIPE: STRAWBERRY-FRESH BASIL & FETA SCONES

12 Scones

Ingredients

2 cups flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

4 tbsp butter –  melted

3/4 c milk

1/3 c feta

1/2 chopped strawberries

1 tbsp fresh basil

 

In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt together, toss in strawberries, feta and basil.  Add butter mix, and in milk need till forms a dough.  Roll dough out till 1/2 inch thick, cut scones into traditional triangles. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Kitchen Needs a Bit of Character

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Every kitchen needs just a little bit of character.  The last 3 years my kitchen as slowly turned into my artistic studio.  My actual artist studio got packaged up and my creative career went down a new path. When some christmas lights went up in my last kitchen and then inspirational clippings started appearing on the walls I realized my kitchen was no longer just a kitchen it was a my new studio.

My Louisiana kitchen has morphed and changed these last 2 years.  Starting off mimicking my kitchen in the Ozarks to make a little bit of home in a new environment. Then a drastic simplification, and then each appliance slowly crapping out in the last 6 months.

2 weeks ago my landlord showed up with a brand new fridge for me.  The clean white surface was my blank canvas and thus began the placement of the magnets.  Now the collection of magnets started years ago.  My inspiration came from my aunt’s fridge. Since my birth her fridge has been a masterpiece of magnets, newspaper clippings, old photos.  It was and still is a fascinating living timeline of our family.  When I began my magnet collection I made the conscious decision only to have magnets on the fridge.  My favorite magnets to collect are museum magnets with my favorite pieces of art from that museum.  Not shocking since the magnets collected, has been friends that bring me back magnets from their own journeys…Cape Cod, Spain, Asheville, Seattle and on.

Sometimes I think maybe I’d want one of those clean crisp modern looking kitchens, but then I imagine my fridge without its magnets or the aprons not on the wall and I have that overwhelming feeling that the kitchen would feel lonely without all my creative inspiration, it would feel neglected no longer the creative nexus of my home.  It maybe a little cluttered, maybe a little crazy but its mine and me, my family and my friends wouldn’t have my kitchen any other way.