Posts Tagged ‘the kitchn’

How To Host A Successful Thanksgiving

November 21, 2016
The Jones Family

The Jones Family

When one of my favorite websites, The Kitchn, invited me to participate in their Thanksgiving video series, I jumped at the opportunity. But the real magic happened when my family wandered in, and reluctantly joined in on the fun.

While the content is as promised, what puts a smile on my face is seeing my family together as we really are; raw, authentic and very happy. In a time when many are feeling isolated, disenfranchised and afraid, looking at my multi-cultural and multi-racial family, gives me great joy, and for that I am thankful. This Thanksgiving, do not let fear or hatred cloud your thoughts. Family isn’t just about gene pools; it’s about love. I hope you can feel ours in this video.

This is us…

Tips For Cooking the Best Thanksgiving

*Sorry, I can’t get the video to embed. Please click on the link to view.

Thank you Rebecca and team at The Kitchn + Apartment Therapy for letting us be part of your series.

Crappy Dinner Parties

September 21, 2016

The other day, I saw a post on one of my favorite websites, The Kitchn, entitled “Five Rules for Hosting a Crappy Dinner Party, and Seeing Your Friends More Often.” It definitely grabbed my attention. The author’s premise was that she had stopped hosting dinner parties because they had become too overwhelming with a fulltime job, and small children. She wore herself out and became someone she didn’t want to be, trying to make sure her home was clean, the food was perfect and the kids were on thier best behavior. Through a friend she learned about the concept of the impromtu “crappy dinner party”, where people just stopped by and the party happened organically.  This version allowed the house to be in a disarray, and the food to be simple. So simple in fact,that  it could be takeout. The kids could run around and the evening would be stress free. All you need are some really close friends who wouldn’t judge to be your guests. Because this became so carefree, the author began to host more and more “crappy ” parties, and got to spend more quality time with those she loved.


This got me thinking. Could I do it? I have gone so far as to host Sunday dinners that had a “come as you are” dress code. No shoes, no makeup, no problem. I do however tend to go all out on the food. Even when it is a simple menu, I still prepare everything with care, and rarely skip a homemade dessert. Lately, I have avoided having frequent dinner parties because I have been too busy, or so exhausted from cooking and baking all week that I would rather be antisocial than do another dish. That begged the question: Would my friends rather come over to a pile of old newspapers and dirty gym hair, than not see me at all?


I suddenly recalled a night many years ago when we had a power failure in New York City. Some friends came over and we lit candles in the fancy silver candelabras, opened our finest champagne, and made tuna fish sandwiches. It took the edge off of an unpleasant situation, and made for a fun, memorable experience. One that was completely judgement free under the circumstances.

Maybe it is time to throw caution to the wind, and relax my standards of entertaining enough to actually RELAX and enjoy the company. So, who wants to come to my crappy dinner party?

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Savory Tomato and Avocado Butters

August 24, 2016

Avocado toast has taken over the planet, in every iteration from simply smashed to decorative avocado roses. We just stumbled across this recipe for avocado butter from Alton Brown, and knew we had to try it. Oh the possibilities!  Smear it on toast, rub it corn on the cob or spread it on a piece of fish. We could go on and on with ideas for this one.

And then we saw a recipe on the Kitchn for tomato butter and started dreaming of it tossed with fresh pasta, topped on a piece of chicken or spread on bread. Whatever your fancy, these savory compound butters are a must try.


Avocado Butter:(adapted from Alton Brown)
Combine 2 avocados, peeled and pitted with 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, a garlic clove, a healthy squirt or 2 of lemon juice, a small handful of cilantro leaves, 2 teaspoons of toasted cumin seeds and salt and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor. Process until well combined.

Spoon the mixture onto plastic wrap and form into a log. Refrigerate for several hours until formed. Slice and use as desired.


Tomato Butter:( adapted from the Kitchn)

Place tomatoes under the broiler and cook until they are blistered and start releasing their juice. Cool to room temperature. (use 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, or about 2 cups of regular tomatoes)

Combine the tomatoes with 2 sticks of unsalted butter, salt, a tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves and black pepper in the food processor. Pulse until the tomatoes are finely chopped and the mixture is well combined.  You can roll this into a log as above, or put it in a crock in the refrigerator to store.


Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Reviving Sparkling Wine

February 23, 2016


1635400166_compDo you sometimes have leftover champagne or sparkling wine that has lost its fizz? No worries, the bubbles in your bubbly can be revived! The genius folks over that The Kitchn shared this simple tip for bringing the sparkle back to sparkling wine; drop a raisin into the bottle.

Yep, that’s it. The theory is that the carbon dioxide, which makes the wine fizzy, will adhere to the ridges of the raisin, and release itself back into the Champagne, reactivating the bubbles. Once the Champagne, or other sparkling wine has started to go flat, drop a raisin into the bottle and wait for the magic to happen. The wine will start to bubble and the results should last a couple of minutes.
No more tossing out expensive wine before it’s time. Just add a raisin.


Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Blender Replacement

April 21, 2015


Today’s tip is such a no-brainer, that when I saw it on one of my favorite websites, The Kitchn, I literally felt dumb. I mean, why didn’t I think of this? I have extolled the virtures of the immersion blender on these pages before, and my cupboard is well stocked in mason jars.

So what is this fabulous tip?

Instead of using a big bulky blender, try using a hand held immersion blender in a large mason jar. It’s easy to do, easy to clean and storing whatever you just blended is as simple as adding a lid to the jar.

Its genius, right? You may never use your blender again!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Chicken Roasted in Milk

January 6, 2014


On New Year’s Day, I craved something warm, nourishing and different. I stumbled upon the recipe for Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk, and thought it sounded downright vile. The idea of combining chicken, milk, lemon,garlic and cinnamon seemed just wrong. Yet, a writer from a trusted source, The Kitchn, absolutely raved about it, claiming it was the best chicken she has ever eaten. So,in the spirit of “new year, new attitude”, YOLO, etc., I decided to cook on the wild side and give it a try. We are all very glad that I did. It was crispy on the outside, succulent on the inside, and the sauce was surprisingly clean, yet rich at the same time. The flavors somehow meshed together perfectly, and the only regret was not having a loaf of thick bread on hand to sop up the sauce the chicken was sitting in. Go ahead, step outside of the norm, and give it a try. It really is delicious!

Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Roasted in Milk: (unrecipe version, of course!)

(c) 2012 ||

Season one whole chicken ( about 3 or 3.5 pounds or so ) with salt and pepper, and brown it in olive oil in a large, but snug fitting pot that is oven proof. Remove the chicken, pour out the excess fat, and place the chicken back in the pot.


Toss in a handful of fresh sage leaves, 1/2 a cinnamon stick ( confesssion: I used ground cinnamon since I was out of sticks and it was just fine) 8 or 10 garlic cloves unpeeled, and the zest of 2 lemons. Pour in about 2 1/2 cups of milk, and roast in a 375 degree oven for about 90 minutes until the skin is crisp and the meat is cooked through. You can walk away and forget about it like I did, or baste it from time to time. Our sauce did not curdle at all, but you may expect to get a few curds.


When you are ready to serve it, pull the chicken off the bones with your gloved hands,( it’s hot!) or use a poultry sheers to cut it into pieces. Pour the juices over the chicken, and prepare to be wowed! You can squeeze the roasted garlic cloves onto bread,  vegetables, or mix into mashed potatoes and enjoy!

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Moroccan Chicken Tagine

December 11, 2013


Those of you who follow us on Facebook ( and you really should!) know that I got a slow cooker as a gift. Those of you that follow this blog, know that I am more of a fast cooker type, using fresh ingredients to create seasonal, flavorful and simple dishes. I admit to being a bit intimidated by this concept of slow cooking, and put off trying it out. Finally, on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I was home long enough to attempt to try it out. First, I did my due diligence, researching recipes, and reading the comments. Many of the readers complained that the cooking times were off. There was lots of conversation about too much liquid, or not enough. Many of the recipes were for dishes I simply don’t care for. Finally, I stumbled upon a recipe for a Moroccan Style Chicken Tagine, with dried apricots and chickpeas. The comments were all favorable, and dish did not disappoint. The rich flavorful stew that accompanies the chicken is hearty and tasty enough to hold its own as a vegetarian dish, with a few minor tweaks ( like losing the chicken!).


I learned a few lessons experimenting with the slow cooker:

Just tossing the ingredients into the pot and turning it on isn’t going to happen very often. Browning meats, sauteing onions, and finishing sauces on the stove top are part of the success of slow cooked foods. This (un) recipe, is adapted from the Kitchn, and requires a bit of before and after work, but the results were worth the extra effort, and the added mess.

Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Chickpeas:

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown them in olive oil until golden. Work in batches if necessary, until all pieces are done.  Transfer them to the slow cooker.

Using the same pan, saute one diced onion and 2 peeled and diced carrots in olive oil, until soft and slightly brown. Add 2 or 3 minced garlic cloves, and a chunk of ginger root, peeled and minced to the pan, and cook for about 1 minute. Add 1 teaspoon or so of cumin, and cinnamon. Continue to saute until mixed.  Pour the mixture over the chicken. Add 1 cup of chicken stock, and a few large handfuls of dried apricots, chopped.

Turn the slow cooker up to high, and cook for roughly 4 -5 hours.


Remove the chicken from the cooker, and place on a platter, covered with foil to keep warm. Pour the sauce, including the fruit and vegetables into a pan, add 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.  Simmer until the sauce reduces a bit and starts to thicken.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the finished sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with chopped almonds.

Serve on a bed of cous cous and enjoy!

photos: Glasshouse Images

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The Kitchen is Cured!

October 9, 2013
Sparkling in the moonlight

Sparkling in the moonlight

It is 8pm Sunday night, and I have to say the kitchen is absolutely GLEAMING! Every surface, every cupboard, every appliance, has been scrubbed into submission. I even went to the store and purchased some food to put into my sparkling refrigerator and lemon oiled cupboards.

Look at that oven shine!

Look at that oven shine!



Everything in it's place

Everything in it’s place

It's not just a pretty ( and clean!) face

It’s not just a pretty ( and clean!) face

I don’t know what the Kitchn people have planned for next week, but I say “bring it!”

Note to family: Please do not even think about messing this up! There will be consequences…serious consequences…

Follow the #kitchncure here, or on their site.

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The Kitchen Cure: Go Deep

October 8, 2013

Days 2 and 3 of the kitchen cure were a bit easier for me. They involved taking everything out of the appliance and dish cupboards one day, and the food pantry another. This turned out to be Sunday evening’s chore.

The drill was basically the same: purge, scrub and reorganize. I have done done this fairly recently, and my appliances and cooking tools are well organized. It’s always good to wipe everything down and neaten them up, but this part was  a lot of work, but thankfully uneventful.

Day 4  of the kitchen cure, involved giving the rest of the kitchen a “deep cleaning”. I would say on a weekly basis I am pretty thorough. I take the burners off the stove and run them through the dishwasher. I climb up on the counter to clean the glass hood on the exhaust fan. I wipe down every surface. Seems pretty deep, right? Well today, I went deep.

II thought it was pretty clean until I sprayed the oven cleaner. Gross!

I thought it was pretty clean until I sprayed on the oven cleaner. Gross!

I started with the oven. It wasn’t too bad, (so I thought) since I had given it a baking soda and vinegar wipe down a short while ago. Today, I went in with the big guns and sprayed it down with oven cleaner before I started the refrigerator project.
A few hours later, I was ready to take it on. As soon as I sprayed the cleaner into the oven, everything bubbled up to the surface, and all the “not so visible” grease became a mass of sizzling brown goo.
Armed with opera length rubber gloves, a scrub brush, sponge and a bucket of water, I gingerly opened the oven door.
They call it Easy Off for a reason. I used the brush to scrub the surface, and then gave it a wipe down with the sponge. I had to change the water a couple of times, but the grime came right off! Pleasantly surprised by the ease of my accomplishment, I moved onto the next chore. I tossed the oven racks into the bathtub with about ½ of a bottle of Pine Sol to soak. (Put a towel on the bottom of the tub so the racks don’t scratch it.) The good news: the grease and any caked on food floated right off. The bad news: they still look speckled and discolored. I used Soft Scrub and my handy dandy scrub brush to really get in there, but alas; I dried them and put them back in the oven speckles and all. They are clean, but they aren’t shiny. Sigh.

They call it "Easy Off" for a reason! Gross no more.

They call it “Easy Off” for a reason! Gross no more.

Next, I tackled the stove. I have commercial appliances, and they are not the easiest to clean. Even boiling water leaves spots on the surface, so that gets wiped down almost daily. I took the knobs, burners, burner rims, and center gas flame covers and let them soak while I scrubbed the rest. I generally do this part weekly, but I don’t actually take the entire stove top off, and scrub around the inside with a toothbrush like I did today. I used baking soda and vinegar for this and it worked wonders. I have a large stainless steel pan under the stove that pulls out for cleaning. I gave that a good scrubbing and reassembled everything.

Gleaming, right?

Gleaming, right? Although I do see a streak or two…

I got up on the counter and wiped down the hood.

I took everything out of the drawers and cabinets all around the island and wiped them down. I used an antiseptic wipe to clean each bottle in the spice drawers. I used lemon oil to renew all of the wood surfaces. We’re talking deep!

I organized the cleaning supplies under the sink. (Spencer actually cleaned under there because I thought I saw a mouse. It was just a steel wool pad in the corner, but I was convinced it had a tail. I don’t do tails.)

I cleaned the countertops, backsplash and even the paper towel holder.

I used stainless steel cleaner and a toothbrush to scrub the sink and the teakettle.

It is 9:00 at night, and I have been at this since about 11 am. Since the kitchen and dining room are contiguous, the floors will have to wait until tomorrow and get done all at once, after I finish everything else.

Dinner, you might be asking? Not in my sparkling clean kitchen! Chinese take out, coming right up!

Follow along with us, or go the the kitchn to take the challenge!

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The Kitchen Cure: The Refrigerator

October 7, 2013

I love a good challenge, and if it involves cooking or fitness, I am all in.

When I saw that one of my favorite websites, The Kitchn, was having a 2-week “kitchn cure” you know I was intrigued.

Each weekday for two weeks, the Kitchn folks email you with a project, and let me just say, these are not for the feint of heart, or those short on time. The goal is to get your kitchen into the best shape it can possibly be in, to entice you to use it more.

I don’t need much help to inspire me get me cooking, and I thought I was pretty clean and organized.  I take apart the stove each week, scrub down the counters and try to stay current on spills. We all know I am fanatic about freshness, so there isn’t a lot of old expired condiments or science projects growing in the fridge. I smugly thought this would be “easy, peasy lemon squeezy,” and boy was I wrong.

My first email arrived Monday, requesting that I purge the contents of the refrigerator and freezer, scrub it down, and replace everything in an organized manner. Right away, I knew this wasn’t going to be an after work, after dinner, after tomorrow’s blog post is written kind of project. I decided to take it on over the weekend, and plow through 5 days worth in (hopefully) one.
I only bought the food we were going to consume during the week, so that the contents of my refrigerator were lean. I let B eat all the remaining Trader Joe’s specials for dinner to make sure there was little left in the freezer.

I think it's (gasp) mold! Eww!

I think it’s (gasp) mold! Eww!

After a Pilates class as a warm up, I set about scrubbing the refrigerator. What you are about to see is not for the weak. While I can proudly attest to the fact that there were not sticky, gooey or caked on spots, there was, (gasp) mold growing in the corners. Full disclosure: I knew this was a problem and had cleaned it before, but this time, I was determined to do more than just wipe it off.

I have been trying to be greener in the kitchen, and many of my Kitchen Tips Tuesday posts have been about baking soda and vinegar type stuff for cleaning.  That’s all well and good, but for this job, it was time for something a bit stronger. Something toxic enough to kill this brownish green goo, once and for all. It was time for chemical warfare!

I removed all of the drawers and shelves, and sprayed everything down with Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover with bleach. Short of a nuclear holocaust, that is probably the most toxic thing around, and most likely to get the job done.

I placed all the innards into the bathtub, removed the curtain, and sprayed away. I let it all sit for a while and attacked the refrigerator itself. I wiped it down, and got into every nook and cranny using rags, Q-tips and toothpicks. Yes, I mean EVERY cranny. Then I wiped it again with a little baking soda and water to remove as much of the chemicals as possible, and then carefully dried it.

Goo be gone!

Goo be gone!

I took a brush and scrubbed down all of the shelves and drawers and used Q-tips to get around the little wheels and crevices. I sprayed them with the shower, and dried them as well. Everything is back in place now, and it looks great! The chemical smell has abated, and will let it continue to air out for the rest of the day before placing the food back in it. There is just one little problem…I seem to have an extra part that won’t fit back in. Fellow Sub Zero owners: Does anyone know where the plain white plastic shelf goes?

Clean as a whistle! Do I have to put food in it now?

Clean as a whistle! Do I have to put food in it now?

The oven has been festering in oven cleaner for a few hours…guess what’s next?

If you want to do your own “kitchn cure” you can follow along on their website, or join us here.

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