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“Where are you going and what do you wish?

The old moon asked the three.

“We have come to fish for the herring fish;

that live in the beautiful see.'”

-Wynken, Blynken and Nod. Eugene Field

Where am I going and what do I wish? Two questions which have sat with me all summer and into the early turns of fall. Day to day life has continued to move forward:

  • I started my masters program in September and it feels nice to be back in school. Although I long for those hazy college days where school was priority number one, friends number 1.1, and work was something you did on the side.
  • I read some books. Some memorable. Some forgetful. Most just for fun. Recently, these graced my nightstand: The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams. The Second Machine Age, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAffee. The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna. Three starkly different, yet thought provoking.
  • I went on a beautiful family vacation from Germany to Venice, through coastal towns and many countries, ending in Greece. The pictures and memories are beautiful (see a few below).
  • I stepped into a leadership role on my volunteer board. It’s challenging, because I want to make it my top priority (it’s so much fun!), but of course life throws other priorities at us.
  • I played far too much Guild Wars 2. And now there’s an expansion happening at the end of the month. I will try to control myself.

I still cook and enjoy planning the week’s menu over a delicious, creamy cup of coffee. I still enjoy cooking and enjoy photography. I am, however, worn out by the idea of cooking 5+ meals a week. Perhaps it’s some first world problem fatigue…though I don’t really care to investigate the why.

And I’m okay with that. There’s not a perfect, easy answer or a clear why behind what we do.

Back to those questions: Where am I going and what do I wish?

Finding those answers will be an adventure in itself.

I can’t promise how much I’ll be around, or how often. I may pop up every now and then with a new recipe or adventure. Thanks for following along with me.

Take a break walking the wall in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Take a break walking the wall in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Navigating the Corinth Canal, Greece

Navigating the Corinth Canal, Greece

Taking in the colors. Hydra, Greece

Taking in the colors. Hydra, Greece

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Happy New Year! Hope you’re enjoying the last moments of 2014, if you’re out and about or tucked safely under some covers — as Lyla demonstrates below. See you in 2015 with recipes, travel notes, and general goodness from my Kitchen Notes.

Lyla's Favorite Spot

Look for an update tomorrow to kick off the new year in style! Until then, take a look at the top recipes in 2014:

Gruyere Macaroni and CheeseA classic from 2011 when this blog was brand new and just getting it’s footing. Sounds perfect on a cool winter night!

crispy, delicious mac and cheese

Cranberry Cobbler:  Cranberries have a short season, and while it’s technically over, you can still find some of these tart, red jewels of winter in grocery stores. Go ahead, buy some extra and make this in February for easy weekday mornings!

cranberry wonderful

Dark Chocolate and Cherry Brownies:  No explanation or excuse needed.

Cherry and Chocolate Brownies | Katie's Kitchen Notes

Almond Butter, Maple, and Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip CookiesStart the New Years resolutions off with a treat. A slightly healthier, delicious treat.

Maple and Whole Wheat Cookies | Kitchen Notes

One of the great parts of blogging is discovering new blogs and making connections with great people whose path you’d normally never cross. I logged in today and saw so many wonderful recipes from my friends and fellow blog followers, I couldn’t help but share them with you.

1. From SimplyDish, a gluten free cranberry and peppermint fudge. Wouldn’t this look lovely wrapped in a cellophane bags with a pretty ribbon?

2. From Chloe at Food Like Cake, these Nutella frosted chocolate sugar cookies would be a delicious ending to a holiday dinner party. Don’t they look delicious?

3. From Anchor It Down: these delicious looking and sounding quinoa, spinach, and cheese breakfast cups.

4. From Natacha at French Girl Cuisine, this french onion soup sounds perfect for a cold winter night. Who can reset fragrant broth and bubbly cheese?

Im excited to share these great recipes with you! Enjoy.

Ottolenghi's Roast Chicken

I have a love-but-never-cook relationship with Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks. The vibrant photographs draw me in, the ingredients list sounds too delicious to not follow through. Yet somehow, when it comes to weeknight cooking, I generally forgo his recipes. There’s not rhyme or reason to this..most likely just my general laziness. (I have a healthy does of lazy).

Since the weather has turned to cooler nights and mornings (yes, dear readers, it was a shocking 58 degrees on my way to work recently), there’s nothing that resonates cooler weather and seasons than a roasted chicken.

Za’atar Roasted Chicken, adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi

  • 2 lbs of bone in chicken legs, breasts, or thighs
  • 2 medium onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 lemon, sliced thinly with seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salat and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of za’atar

Combine the first eight ingredients in a large, resealable plastic bag. Toss together and ensure the chicken is coated with the marinade. Place the plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Once you’re ready to cook the chicken, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Once the oven has reached the designated temperature, wait 20 minutes. Place the chicken, onions, garlic on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Top the chicken with the za’atar.

Roasted the chicken for 45-55 minutes, until the chicken is browned and cooked through.

I had a pretty recurring job when it came to holidays, birthdays, mother’s days, and general celebrations that brought a little more pomp and circumstance to the dinner table: I was the table artist. Setting the table, styling the table, and creating a pretty setting for our celebration meal was always my specialty as a kid. In hindsight, that might help explain my attachment to all things kitchen and table prop-like. Thank goodness for a strict sense of practicality that keeps from breaking the bank or the closet with purchase. So, in the spirit of the upcoming holiday, here’s my “window shopping” list for setting a pretty table.

  1. Although definitely autumnal in feel, these Rosemary Spring Place Cards could work for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. For Christmas, maybe add some holly.
  2. For a little glam at the table, these glitter pumpkins look pretty easy.
  3. I’m crushing hard on gold flatware.
  4. Set a foundation with this silver, gold, and metallic confetti table runner from Crate and Barrel.
  5. Add a unique touch to the water glasses with this Moroccan inspired glassware.

What do you think? How do you like to set the table for the holidays?

Blackberry, Cream Cheese, and Rye Muffins | Kitchen Notes

 

What’s better than a muffin ready and waiting for your as you sit down to your first cup of coffee for the day? Probably not much. If we weren’t talking it about food, I think it’d be the same feeling as coming home realizing all your laundry had been washed, and folded, and put away.

Now that it’s dark when we wake up, having breakfast pre-made and the coffee ready to go is important to us. Somehow, Casey still manages to not hit snooze. I can’t. At least I know that I have sometime delicious waiting for me in the kitchen.

Blackberry, Cream Cheese, Rye Muffins adapted from Local Milk

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 oz of cream cheese, at room temp
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • Brown sugar for sprinkling

Head the over to 400 degrees. Grease the muffins times.

In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt). Set aside.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and eggs until fluffy. I used a medium speed. Slow down the mixer and add the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, lemon juice, and honey. Mix to combine. Slowly add in the set aside dry ingredients. Don’t over mix these, you want to to just come together.

Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 of the way. I like to use a generous 1/4 cup portion to start and fill in any that look a bit low. Use your fingers to help you sprinkle brown sugar over the top of the muffins.

Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Allow to cool in the muffin tins on a wire rack completely before removing and serving.

Blackberry, Cream Cheese, and Rye Muffins | Kitchen Notes Blackberry, Cream Cheese, and Rye Muffins | Kitchen Notes

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