Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Meals and Kitchens in July

July 2018 has been a month of travel, as well as houseguests visiting our house, so I've spent time in my own kitchen and in others. As the summer progresses, I'm trying to use as much local produce as I can, wherever I am. I've shown a lot of photos of my kitchen in the past: this post more emphasizes my dining room and other kitchens I've been in lately. I'm sharing this wrap-up of what I've been doing in July with Sherry's once-a-month blog event, "In My Kitchen."

Duck with mango & cherries.
We celebrated two patriotic holidays with meals for friends, and prepared lots of meals outdoors as well as inside. Above: our Bastille Day table with our Provencal-print placemats (purchased on our trip to France in 2016) and our fanciful plates with drawings of French waiters by the illustrator Guy Buffet. The menu included duck cooked according to a French recipe. This fit the theme Paris in July, that I've been writing about all month.

Above: another table setting for guests. Many other bloggers post pictures of their set tables with elaborate themes -- I've decided to feature some of my table settings here, Ikea napkins and all. We mostly emphasize the food, but do try to make our table pretty though simple. I believe the menu served on the above setting was meatballs and mashed potatoes -- not so photogenic.

We had many meals using local farm-fresh products. Above, using a similar table setting, we served a fresh red-and-yellow tomato salad with herbs from our garden. In addition: an omelet of local eggs, which are amazingly excellent, filled with local squash and onions. In the lower-right corner you can see Len's bread. The ceramic dinner plates are the work of my daughter; the serving plates are made by local Ann Arbor potters.

Another dinner at home for 9 people. We enjoyed Sy Ginsberg's corned beef (a Detroit classic) and my own potato salad prepared from locally-grown new redskins. Further back: Carol's bell pepper salad. Just visible in the foreground: Zingerman's bread and sandwich rolls.

A trip to the farmers' market in Lafayette, IN, yielded this beautiful white squash, which I brought back with me and baked for lunch one day. I stuffed the squash with breadcrumbs and topped it with cheese that browned very deeply in the oven.

Ruby's Kitchen. Ruby was way in back.
While in St.Louis for my cousin's 90th birthday (posted here) we had brunch in Ruby's kitchen, an extremely pleasant place where we've eaten many meals through the years. On the table you can see bagels, smoked fish, fruit, coffee... typical brunch.

Elaine's Kitchen.
Driving between St.Louis and home, we stopped for a couple of nights and several meals at my sister Elaine's. Here she is in her kitchen where we were preparing food from the Lafayette farmers' market. 

Lafayette dinner: a medley of farmers-market eggplant, summer squash, and other vegetables; a Caprese salad featuring local Indiana tomatoes and basil from Elaine's garden.

Eggplant medley decorated with Elaine's home-grown herbs.
Elaine also baked a wonderful cheesecake!
Back in my own kitchen: fresh corn pancakes frying on the griddle.
The Weber grill in our back yard becomes an extension of our kitchen. Sixteen people (and 2 dogs) came to our July 4th
get-together with friends and family. We grilled the right food: burgers and brats!
And the one new thing in our kitchen: a baking stone. Here we are,
checking to see if the pizza on the stone has finished baking.


Sherry's Pickings said...

thanks for joining in IMK Mae. looks like you had a lovely month with family. and all that lovely food too... i'd never thought of posting a photo of my dining table. i must keep that in mind. have a great august. cheers sherry

Tandy | Lavender and Lime (http://tandysinclair.com) said...

You are so lucky to have farmers markets near to where you live. Enjoy your baking stone. I use mine for all sorts of things. Just to let you know, I am hosting International Scone Week and it would be great if you could take part: http://tandysinclair.com/international-scone-week-2018/

Kitchen Riffs said...

Really fun peek into your dining room! We usually set our table with place mats, similar to your first picture. That way we get to look at the wood pattern of our tabletop as we eat. :-) Good post -- thanks.

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

I love using local summer produce and am intrigued with your friend's eggplant medley with fresh herbs, your stuffed squash, and your beautiful tablecloth.. Sounds like you enjoyed a wonderful July with friends and good food

Beth F said...

Great food month! I've had a pizza stone (which I also use for bread) for years and years. It lives on the lower rack of my oven.

Jackie McGuinness said...

Love all the farmers' markets we have around the city.

Deb in Hawaii said...

It looks like you had a very delicious month! ;-)
The dinner plates your daughter made are so pretty.

Claudia said...

Some lovely table settings Mae, and memorable food as well! Looks like you’ve had a very busy and sociable summer.

Carole said...

Am going to have to check out Sy Ginsberg... Have a great week. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

Marg said...

Making an effort to set the table so that it looks attractive is not something I am great at!

Shaheen said...

This is a very warming blog post. I love the look of the stuffed squash with breadcrumbs and topped with cheese. I adore the ceramic plates made by your daughter, I do appreciate things made by hand and very much like you, I don't adorn my table for dinner, its all about the food and the company.

Tina said...

I love your photos and kitchen photos in particular. Maybe I ought to join in on IMK as I have been a lurker at Sherry's site :-)
The backyard get-togethers are great. I always loved that growing and still do although the family has dwindled.

Kim Bultman said...

Mae, "simple" is the word of the season. (Perhaps for the rest of the year, too?) Loved how you incorporated family, friends, and fresh produce into your IMK mix. That Caprese salad looks fabulous, as do your other photos! Sometimes you have to step back to see the bigger picture, and from what I can see you've figured out "what's important." No apologies and no regrets, girl! Live life on your own terms, xo.