Monday, December 31, 2018

In My Kitchen, December 2018

Happy New Year's Eve!

December has been a busy month in my kitchen -- though I suspect calmer than in many people's kitchens! We hosted a couple of holiday parties, tried some new condiments and gadgets, and received some wonderful gifts, including new tea towels for our extensive collection.

Our colorful Christmas lunch. Not too heavy!
A new flavor: yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit that's often compared to citron.
I bought this yuzu paste as well as some Ponzu, which contains yuzu.
Dumplings served with a squeeze of yuzu paste.
Several tubes of squeezable pastes that are convenient to have on hand!
Another yuzu item, though labeled as Citron Tea. We haven't tried it yet.

Anchovy paste adds some nice umami taste to sauces.
More cooking: roast duck for Christmas Eve!
Duck with mushroom sauce. Later, the duck and the stock made from the trimmings
became delicious duck soup!
Another soup: squash and lentils, garnished with cranberry sauce and Sriracha.

New Tea Towels from England

Top of photo: Oyster Catchers: a favorite bird!
Lower part of photo: Bees of Kew Gardens.
"I'd rather be at the Giant's Causeway."
Images of Kew Gardens. All with great thanks to my friend Sheila.

More Bread Making Equipment

A thermometer probe that signals when your bread (or in summer,
your meat on the grill) has reached the desired temperature.
The read-out device, showing the temperature measured by the two
probes, one on the oven shelf, one in the bread.

As mentioned in an earlier post this month, Len has been baking with a new starter from King Arthur. The results have been wonderful. In addition to baking, he is continuing his research on the theory and practice of bread baking. In particular, he's interested in technical articles about the chemical and biological processes that occur while making dough.

Additional new equipment: a really sharp serrated bread knife and special gloves to keep from cutting off any fingers. Bread made with a starter has a fantastic crisp crust that's very dangerous to slice!

Len's pita bread -- made with the starter. I was eating them
as they came out of the oven. They had very good pockets.

Two Delicious Gifts

One friend made spiced pecans.
Another friend brought us this Lebanese Halawa, which is the best we
have ever tasted. Creamy!
I'm especially offering this December wrap-up of my kitchen to all the bloggers who post at "In My Kitchen" hosted each month by Sherry at Sherry's Pickings, a great blog from Australia.


Valerie-Jael said...

Hi Mae, your post has made me hungry! Love the new tea-towels. Thanks for your visit on my blog, hope to see you again! Happy New year to you and yours. Hugs, Valerie

Red Rose Alley said...

Those dumplings sure look good, and the duck with mushroom sauce looks delicious. I love anything mushroom. I've always loved pecans, and sometimes I put pecans and blueberries in my oatmeal. Thanks for visiting us today, and Happy New Year.


Debra Eliotseats said...

Such great items and food, Mae. I love that colorful and healthy Christmas lunch and the garnishes of cranberries and sriracha on that soup is genius! Happy New Year!

Jeanie said...

I love every photo (especially the dumplings!) and see some favorites here (anchovy paste!) The tea towels are especially cute -- I love the causeway one most of all. And of course, seeing nuts is always the best -- my fave thing to make over the holidays!

Happy New Year!

Tandy | Lavender and Lime ( said...

Mae, I would love to know where you got the thermometer from. Could you email me a link please? Also use the same Ponzu here but have never seen the yuzu paste. We do love anchovy paste in this house. Have a super 2019 and may it hold all that you need :)

Jen Rose said...

Loving all your new bread baking equipment - especially the thermometer with TWO probes! I need to find one of those. Trying to up our sourdough baking this month if it's cool enough to be baking. Bit envious of the cooler Norther Hemisphere whether atm. Happy New Year! =)

Tina said...

The tea towels are nice, I love them. I also like that thermometer.

Shaheen said...

Happy New Year Mae. Your kitchen blog post has me all excited. I have a thing about teatowels, so adore the ones gifted to you. I have not been to Kew Gardens and may do one day.

Please can you let me know where you got the probe or share link, my sourdough bread has been hit and miss and I think this may assist me. I want to try ponzu but have never seen it on sale in the Uk, will look again this time in the Oriental supermarkets. And nom nom to the spiced pecans!

Beth F said...

Fun to collect tea towels

Carole said...

Hi Mae, you have inspired me to look out for some yuzu paste. Thanks! Happy New Year from Carole's Chatter

Sherry's Pickings said...

happy new year Mae! thanks once again for being number 1 poster for IMK. i love tea towels and am very envious of those English ones. and i see you are going in for the Japanese condiments too. we must be twins:-) your hubby is very clever and talented with his bread making. Your Xmas lunch looks very refreshing and healthy. can't say the same for mine. tee hee. Duck! yummo. see you in february cheers sherry x

Tiffin Fiona said...

So many interesting things this month. I like the tubes of this and that to boost flavour. I've never seen anchovy paste in a tube (though to be fair, I haven't looked for it). I have an excess of miso paste so we have been using that to boost sauces, pasta and even a small smear on pizza. I love, love, love halwa so that would be the ideal gift for me though I can't be left alone with it. I've stopped buying it!

Liz said...

Happy New Year Mae. I love your tea towels and roast duck is a favorite. Hope you had lovely holidays.

Mae Travels said...

Hi Everyone,
Thanks for the comments! I've tried to look at all your blogs this month, and we collectively seem to have had a great December. Great to hear from you.

Several people asked about the probe thermometer we acquired. It's from ThermoWorks:

We have two of their products: the SMOKE with the two probes and separate read-out, and the ThermoPop which you put into the bread or meat to see the internal temperature. This company doesn't sell on because there are many counterfeits. As always, I'm not a representative of the seller, and never get any rewards for products or books that I mention.

best... mae

Kim Bultman said...

Mae, your roast duck and mushrooms look incredibly mouthwatering and your collection of "tube" spices and seasonings caught my attention, too. I've only tried squeezable tomato paste. How long do they keep? Gorgeous tea towels and breads! Your special gloves also piqued my interest. Being a piano player 'n' all, gotta preserve the fingers. I purchased a very sharp knife guaranteed to cut through crusty bread last year (so far, so good) but an ounce of prevention... Happy New Year! xo