In My Kitchen – January 2015

I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and that 2015 will be a happy and healthy new year for all.

Don’t you love getting ‘real’ mail?  Real mail being NOT bills, supermarket flyers, or 6 pre-approved credit card offers.  You can imagine my delight when I received a chubby envelope from Celia in Australia.  Many of you know Celia from her great blog and as the hostess of these monthly In My Kitchen features.  If you haven’t stopped by yet to see her, this would be a good time to check out what’s happening in her kitchen this month at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  Inside the envelope were the seeds for making my first ever sourdough starter…so, the first thing happening this year in my kitchen is sourdough:
IMG_1673Celia very helpfully included very detailed instructions on getting the started perked up and ready to go.  She also suggested naming my starter, referencing where it came from, namely Priscilla.  I’ve named my starter Mamie, sister of Priscilla, in honor of my mother who was a world class baker.  I should warn you though, that at any time Mamie may decide to suddenly change her name as my mother did.  Yes, I have to tell you the story of the time I was visiting my mother when I answered the phone for her.  That conversation was a pretty typical conversation with my mother and went something like this:

Mamie:  Who was that?
Me:  I don’t know – wrong number, someone looking for Mary
Mamie:  Oh!  That’s for me, who was it?
Me:  I have no idea but it was someone looking for MARY, Ma. (My mother was a little hard of hearing).
Mamie:  No, that’s me.
Me:  (Who’s on first?)  What do you mean – are you Mary?
Mamie:  Yes of course I’m Mary!
Me:  When did this happen?
Mamie:  I’ve always been Mary
Me:  Then why did your parents call you Mamie?  And why did Dad call you Mamie…and your brothers and sisters?  Why is the mail addressed to Mamie?
Mamie:  They got it wrong and it was wrong on my birth certificate.  (End of discussion, next!)

So, just like that my mother decided her name was Mary and started using it on all of her documents so I guess it was legal.  One day I may take out my Mamie starter only to find that it’s now Mary, twin of Mamie, sister of Priscilla.

As Celia promised, my starter came to life and I got my first batch of sourdough bread ready to go, leaving it on the counter overnight until the next morning when it was ready to bust out of the bowl.  Alas, the dough was ready to go but I was upstairs with a rip roaring migraine.  Glenda – do you remember suggesting that my husband take up bread making during his retirement?  The idea of fresh bread was too overwhelming for him to not step up to the plate and finish off according to Celia’s great tutorial.  There were a few minor adjustments due to poor math skills with conversions (mine – and they would have happened even if I didn’t have a migraine).  End result – maybe not the prettiest but our opinion is that it tastes great!
IMG_1679Of course I got plenty of cool gadgets and gifts from my family and friends.  Now that I’ve got the first batch of sourdough under my belt, it’s time to try this butter making kit from my daughter.  It should be great on my next batch of sourdough:

IMG_1674

I also had some temporary things in my kitchen.  Sushi:
IMG_1636

Cute little guy isn’t he?  He was a Christmas gift for Tim, our future son-in-law and I was a wreck worrying about making sure he survived until I could get him to Tim.  Lucky for me, I turned around in time as Moe the Terrorist Cat was tap-tapping Sushi’s jar to see the how he handled gravity.  Oh, he’s also been renamed Henry (I think).

Now here’s what looks like a very fun gadget from Tim’s mother:
IMG_1675
I have to buy some more grapes or cherry tomatoes to give this little gizmo a try but what you do is load it up with round objects and slide the slicer to cut the round objects in half.  I imagine I can come up with other round objects to stuff in there and the beauty of it is that the blade is safely inside so I shouldn’t slice off any fingers this year (at least not with this).

And how about this Fadenschneider?  I think I like that name better than just “microplane”.    It’s always useful to have a zester and bottle opener handy but I’ve never had anything to make those clever curly garnishes that all of you fancy bloggers are doing.  I sort of mangled a lime so I guess I still need some practice with my Fadenschneider, but once I do, you are going to see curly things all over my food.
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And finally, moved from my kitchen to the back yard is this fun birdseed wreath from our great friends and neighbors, Tom and Sue.  It took the birds a while to figure out what that was hanging out there, but I think our recent sleet and snow storm convinced the birds to give it a try and we had dozens of birds out there yesterday fighting for treats.
IMG_1684Thank you all for sharing your stories with me this past year and especially for stopping by to read and comment on my posts.  I love hearing from you all and feel that I am a lucky person to have so many wonderful friends around the world.  Your stories brighten my days and I love learning about you through your love of good food and fun friendship.  May you all continue to share your joy of cooking and have a healthy, love filled New Year!

 

 

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40 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – January 2015

  1. Hey Diane, your bread looks great. Your husband did a good job. Men seem to take to bread baking, I don’t know why. Make it his job to feed the starters. He will eventually feel responsible for their lives. Your microplane looks good, too. I don’t have one like that – oh no! I can’t believe how cold it is at your place. It is so hot here.

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    • Thanks Glenda, for a first try I was pretty happy with how it came out. I like the idea of him having to feed the starter although when we had the little fish here, my husband couldn’t stop feeding it until my daughter told him he was going to kill the poor thing. I think if you get a microplane we can have a curly making contest – I’m still working on the technique.
      Cold! Yesterday was nothing compared to today & it’s supposed to get worse through at least Thursday. My car didn’t want to start this morning but then again, I didn’t either.

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  2. Hi Diane, It’s good to see that Priscilla is going international. I have Mamie’s sister Muriel now in my kitchen in the UK, having received a similar envelope from Celia. Wonderful bread! Really love the idea of a bird feeder wreath. Happy New Year!

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    • It’s fun thinking that I’m actually breaking bread with Celia as well as everyone else she’s shared her starter with. I read that the starters have a variety of flavors and those from San Francisco are supposed to be the most sour. I like Celia’s because it’s got just enough of a tang without being overpowering.
      It took the birds a while to figure out what that wreath was, but after they did I had a hillside of birds. Yesterday, my husband went out to buy another hook to hang the old feeder on – demand is high now that the ground is covered and frozen.

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    • I love my new gadgets and as for that butter making kit – I can’t wait to try that! I’m envisioning it with the next batch of bread and my mouth is watering. My thinking is that you can never slather enough butter on a warm piece of bread.

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  3. Diane, when I first read your post, I thought, “now I wonder how Di knew I was chubby? Oh, chubby envelope..” 🙂

    Given that we now know what went wrong with your “conversions”, I think you should be very very pleased with yourself because your combined effort finished loaf looks amazing! I hope Mamie (or whomever she might evolve into) gives you years of baking joy! 🙂

    And lovely Siamese fighter – glad you were able to keep it alive until he got to Tim! 🙂 xxx

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    • Celia you were probably ready to smack me & you should have if I ever made a comment like that. Mamie (for now) seems to be happy enough in there & I’m glad that I decided to start the process on New Year’s day – sort of like a new beginning. Plus it will also make it easier for me to remember which day she needs to get fed.
      Believe me, I was worried about little Sushi until he got delivered. Between my husband overfeeding him & the cat batting at him, I thought I’d be running out Christmas Eve to get another. I tried my best to make him happy – even went into my little craft stash to find some pretty shells for him to look at. I was going to print out a picture of another one to keep him company but then my daughter told me that males kill other males & I was afraid I’d download a picture of a male & get him all upset. Am I nuts or what?

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      • You know, Siamese fighters are funny fish. I always feel sorry for them because they keep them in such tiny bowls, but apparently their natural environment is very much like that. They usually keep them in pairs, in separate bowls, side by side, because they don’t display unless they can see another male. But if they’re actually in the same tank together it can be a battle to the death! 🙂

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      • Now that’s what my daughter told me too. She’d already bought Tim a fish ‘condo’ which is a lot more room than he had when he was here. When my husband went to the pet store to get him, he said it was the strangest display he’d ever seen…all these tiny little jars lined up hanging in rows.
        Oh, they also bought him a little heater for his condo. It’s been arctic cold here & they keep their heat down low while they’re at work. When they came home he was kind of sluggish & just hanging at the bottom of his little fish house. He’s much happier now I think with his heater. Not sure how you tell if a fish is happy but she claims he is.
        This is a replacement for Tim’s last one who committed suicide. He had him beside the sink & that fish jumped right out & went down the drain. Tim likes to think that he’s swimming in the Charles River in Boston 🙂

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  4. My god that interaction with your mother resonates. My mother has taken to reminding everyone that her memory has never been better, right after she does something like leave a newspaper on the kitchen hob. I am waiting for the call…

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    • I tried for years to get my older sister to just go with the flow & stop arguing with my mother – to no avail. You never knew what she’d come out with so it was best to just nod. Like the time she heard that (for whatever reason) the town had decided to relocate some graves in the cemetery and a woman was suing the town because she had supposedly been praying over the wrong grave. My mother of course was outraged & said “Huh! I wonder where you father is!!” Well, Ma, you never knew where he was half the time when he was alive, why are you worrying about it now?
      Good luck with your mother – been there.

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      • I love that. My mother’s father died in 1982 and was buried, as many people are. My mother’s mother died the next year and was buried on top of him. But 30 odd years later mother still hasn’t updated the gravestone to reflect that. So every year we get the same story that her mother is buried in an umarked grave. It would be a concern but since it’s been 30 years and grandma hasn’t risen from the grave to reap terrible vengance I guess none of us (dead or alive) can be that bothered

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      • What a great story! maybe you could get one of those permanent markers & just go write something on the grave to put your mother’s mind to rest. You never know though…I’d sleep with the lights on in case your grandmother heard you.

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  5. Oh Diane, I am so sorry to hear you had a migraine. They are the pits! Celia posted a starter to me too but alas it has not arrived yet with our continued postal strike situation. I cannot wait for it to arrive. You and your hubby did a stellar job on your bread. I bet it tasted heavenly.
    Think I will have to pick up on the February edition of IMK as I still have Pete home and our days are filled with being with each other.
    Have a beautiful love filled happy day.
    🙂 Mandy xoxoxo

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    • Migraines are about as much fun as getting an ice pick in the eye. But I just hide under the covers, no lights, no noise, no movement and wait them out. At least they’ve gotten much better since I’ve started with Botox treatment.
      John did a great job on the bread & since he’s so proud of his accomplishments I’m going to let him do it again.
      You enjoy your time with Pete – we’ll be waiting for you. That man works hard enough that you deserve to spend more time together.

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  6. I’m still grinning over the Mamie/Mary tale, and thinking your mom just might be related to mine (Dorken/Dorothy/Dottie). The sourdough looks scrumptious, appropriately crusty with an open crumb. Congrats on your first batch.
    Diane/Dee/D

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    • Is it possible that mothers all over the world say and do things like this? I probably wouldn’t have blinked if she had said “yeah, well I never liked the name Mamie so decided I’d call myself Mary” – but to say that everyone, including her own mother had it wrong? Sigh…
      Thanks for stopping by…Diane/Dee/D/Di

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  7. Diane, I just came over from dear Celia’s In My Kitchen thing (I posted for it for the first time this month), which I’m having such fun with! Your mother sounds like a hoot! Too funny! I’m a sourdough fan, too. Baked another loaf yesterday, and it’s nearly gone. I’ll have to step up my baking from every other day to every day — which is pretty bad because I’m just baking for two.

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    • Welcome Jean – I’m glad that you stopped by and will need to pop over to see what you’re up to. Celia is terrific for bringing people together through her blog, her sourdough, and hosting the IMK. I’ve found so many fun posts through her and love chatting with people from all over the world.
      You are one serious bread person – you sound just like my husband who could sit and eat an entire loaf in one sitting.

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  8. Celia was a doll for sending you the starter package and what a beautiful bread you made. You have so many new fun gadgets and devices so that should keep you out of trouble for awhile. I am glad to hear Henry (sushi) avoided the wrath of the evil kitty… well at least this time. Looking forward to finding out out the delicious things you make this year with all of your new gadgets.

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    • Isn’t Celia the best? And to think of how many people are enjoying bread made from her starter all over the world. I don’t know if the gadgets will keep me out of trouble…some of them have sharp edges but it will be fun to play with them. I guess everyone was scouring the kitchen stores looking for things I don’t have.
      I think Henry prefers his new home which does NOT have a kitty peaking in at him thinking “lunch! How convenient”

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  9. What fun….Sushi and starter all on the kitchen counter!! LOL!
    I’ve never been a bread baker, but that could change my mind. Looks scrumptious.
    Happy new year and stay warm in this crazy weather.

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    • We were kind of getting attached to ol’ Sushi so it’s probably best that he got relocated to his new home.
      Up until Celia sent me the starter, I’d only made French bread and cinnamon rolls, both yeast based so I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing with the sour dough. But Celia has a great tutorial on her blog and she was great answering my panic emails. Anything you’re ready, let me know and I’ll dry some starter out for you.

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  10. Dianne – left you a comment but think it may have been eaten….

    I got your link between Priscilla & Muriel – very clever. I look forward to Mamie do a bit of a showtune in the kitchen. As to the fadenschneider – a girl can never have too many! Thanks for the festive tour. cheers Fiona

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    • Oh, oh…maybe the fish ate your comment! Either that or my terrorist cat’s been stomping on the computer again.
      I think everyone should have at least one fadenschneider with possibly another as a backup…never know when you might misplace your first fadenschneider.

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  11. Your kitty must have thought you bought him a Christmas present! It’s fun to think of Celia’s sourdough starter populating the world. Since it’s a living thing, it might not be far from the truth. I am SO impressed with all the bakers on IMK. I used to bake bread before Acme opened in the SF bay area, then I got lazy. I even gave a class on it eons ago. Loved the tactile feeling of handling the bread and the smell as it was baking. There is nothing like the scent of bread baking in the oven.

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    • The funny thing about that cat is that he won’t eat any fish flavored cat food! Very picky eater and only likes his junk food treats so if he managed to push Sushi over the edge, he would probably have just sat there watching gravity. What is it about cats having to shove everything off tables & counters?
      I agree with you about the smell of baking bread – there is nothing like it and that first slice out of the oven with melted butter…yum! Teaching a class on bread making must have been a lot of fun.

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  12. OK. Now I feel like a schmuck. I’ve been building you a “Texas Care Package” for the past year, maybe? And someone in Australia manages to get something to you ahead of me? Perhaps I should think about pulling my head out of my [bleep] and get with it! — Looks like you made out in the kitchen department! I received a few kitchen gadgets myself, though I’m not sure how, since I was on the ‘naughty’ list. Happy 2015 Diane! Looking forward to reading your stories throughout the year! 🙂

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    • Nah, you’re not a schmuck. You’re just a sweet guy who hasn’t gotten to the post office but that’s ok Adam. My next post will show a shot of how well I did with my Fadenschneider (Diane needs practice making curly things). But who eats those garnishes anyway?
      Happy 2015 Adam!

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    • Thank you Anne. I know that nowadays, people easily up and change their names by just using their new name. As long as it’s used consistently and not meant to defraud, it’s legal but back in those days you really did need to go to court to legally change your name. By the time she died though, she’d been using Mary and the law had changed so it was okay. I guess the only thing that made me want to pull my hair out was that she claimed everyone was wrong – not that she just didn’t care for the name Mamie. Oh well.
      I haven’t made the butter yet but I think it will be on the agenda this week. Oh, I think I’ve made that same butter myself by not paying attention to what the whipped cream was doing.

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  13. Glad that Mamie is doing well! Your loaf must have been delicious, my theory is the taste matters more than appearances! Maybe that’s because I’ve had some pretty off looking loaves of bread that still taste pretty darn good.

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    • I think you’re right about taste over appearance (at least I certainly hope that true since I’m not the person who can create & present food like you see in magazines!).
      Mamie seems to be content enough in the fridge – only thing we have to make sure is that she doesn’t decide to grab the car keys & go out for a ride.

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