A brief interruption.

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I should be on my way to Long Island, New York to visit my son and

his family.  But no, I am spending the day and the next little while resting

and recovering.  I have been sick since the middle of December with

one thing or the other, and this week I came down with a very devastating

stomach bug.  I haven’t eaten anything other than a few saltines in the last

few days- and I was close to becoming dehydrated- so now that I’m starting

to keep food down and can sit up long enough to type, I’ve decided to

just take it easy and recuperate. 

So- I’m going to take a break from blogging for a while, too.

I’m going to try and send out the salt mixes to Lilly and Johanna in the next

month, sometime- thank you for your participation and please send me

your addresses via messaging on Facebook.

I’m looking forward to much inspired baking and joyous bread time in the

months to come, but right now, I can’t even eat bread, let alone make any.

I may write a couple of posts sometime because I can’t help myself- but I

don’t want to feel any pressure or guilt (all self imposed) because I haven’t.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks- ready to share some great recipes!

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Maybe by then the snow will stop and the ice storms- and the

sun will be shining.

Seasoned and specialty salts- BACON SALT!

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I made these up for my family.

We were going to meet tonight to celebrate the fact that we are family.

And that we missed our time together over the holidays.

But there is a huge snowstorm on the way and possibly 9 1/2 inches of snow.

So- it may be a while before I get to give them these little tokens of love and

good taste!

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Bacon salt, fine sea salt w/herbs de Provence, Vanilla

salt, and Black Hawaiian  salt with hickory smoke.

Olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

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Bacon, pink Himalayian salt, and 3 colored peppercorns.

I found the recipe here, on Chopinandmysaucepan.

I added just a bit to sauteed cauliflower and it was transformed!

 

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Vanilla salt- Hawaiian red salt and vanilla beans- great

in cookies, salted caramel Anything, lightly salted on

sweet muffins.

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Fine sea salt w/herbs de Provence.

This is great on pasta, in pizza dough, on any veg that needs

a little pizzazz!

 

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Black salt with hickory smoke.

This is perfect on pork shoulder to make pulled pork.

Or rubbed onto turkey breast before  roasting it.

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All packaged up and ready to go

But I’m not going to see them tonight.

So- if you were supposed to be there tonight- I’ll try to get

them to you.

And if you are reading this and want one of these salts-

let me know and I’ll send some to two of you chosen randomly!

Sharp knives!

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I used to use a whetstone to sharpen my knives.

They are so messy- and my stone was small- by the time I finished, I hadn’t sharpened all my knives-

it was too much of a hassle.

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My mother had this sharpener- metal circles that you pulled the blade

through the center and it pared the edges finer.

This is old.  The circles are rusty and don’t move as freely as they used to.

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Pampered Chef sells this knife with a cover that has a built in sharpener-

the idea is that each time you pull it out it sharpens the blade.

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Nice idea, but it doesn’t really work that well.

So- I’m going to try to sharpen this knife using a couple of gadgets.

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The Rada  company has a sharpener that uses the same principle as my mother’s old one

– but there are only two circles and they are not rusted together so they work.

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Look at all the metal filings in the center of the paper.  Those are from the edge of the

knife.  The blade is a little rough, though, since we are pulling it between the circles.

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So I use the steel rod that will file down the rough edges on the blade.

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And there is the edge- the new edge I was looking for- a sharp knife.

How do you sharpen your knives?

(in which)The doldrums give way to moments of p-p-p-Pleasure

Strange title, that.

But really descriptive.

I am in the midst of the mid-winter doldrums.

Depression.  Down in the dumps.

The business of the holidays are over- and so is the magic and

mystery.  We have celebrated both spiritually and physically-

met together and rejoiced with those we love.

And now everyone is scattered.

And it is January.

There is snow.

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It is kind of beautiful, but it is also cold and I really hate when the sun shines

on snow- it’s blinding. 

Today, however, I made a lunch up from various leftovers and it was very pleasing

to the palate and the ear.

Everything started with a P!

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Fresh pineapple and pomegranate salad!

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Potato soup!

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Pulled Pork!

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Pumpkin seeds or pepitas to garnish the soup and of course, my can of POP

(I know it is called soda in other parts of the world- but I call it pop)!

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And my purple thumb from cleaning the seeds out of the pomegranate.

So- my alliterative luncheon gave me a moment of pure pleasure.

It happens that way sometimes.

BTW- did you notice the buns?  Fresh bread also makes me happy!

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What is making you happy today?

Meat and more meat.

My husband loves meat.

I love potatoes …and bread…and veggies… and chicken and fish, and meat.

But not like Frank.

When we go out, he asks for his meat without seasoning.

Without sauces.  Without salsas.

But he does like gravy.

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So when I made this roast, the gravy was acceptable.

I made a gravy using burnt sugar syrup and allspice as seasoning.

After taking the meat out of the pan and covering it with foil, I added 1 1/2 Tablespoons

of the syrup  ( I made the syrup here to use in a cake recipe)- then I added 3/4 cup of

broth to the drippings and stirred it with a whisk.  Heat the drippings back up and

then add 1/4 cup cold water with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch stirred into it.   Add salt

and pepper to taste, and simmer until thickened.  Then pour over sliced beef and

boiled potatoes before serving.

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The gravy tastes caramelized but very savory.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

more meat.

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This is the pork shoulder I bought to make pulled pork.

Again- meat.

I rubbed it down with Hickory smoked salt  and put it into the

crock pot all day on low- about  8 hours.

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Hickory salt with black Hawaiian lava salt rub.

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Again- pulled pork with  barbecue sauce for me—- plain for Frank.

I use a bbq sauce with mango and guava in it- from the Dixie Bar and Grill in Hawaii-

 

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Because it just makes it taste so very good.

I couldn’t even take the time to take a picture of Frank’s sandwich with plain

pulled pork- he likes it that way- but I was busy.

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Eating mine!

In My Kitchen…

The January edition of IMK is going to be abbreviated because

I am tired and not feeling well.  The toll of Christmas and preparations

has been very large this year- I didn’t really plan to make so many cookies-

but my nephew’s wedding necessitated the nearly 100 dozen of cookies in

December, the gingerbread competition added on more baking,  and if you

throw in the 10 or so loaves of bread and apple cakes I’ve been making-

I did a lot of baking last month!

But- here goes!

In my kitchen…

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are the new apron and gingerbread boss chef jacket that came from the

competition in December!

(Which – did I mention?  We won!)

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In my kitchen…

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is this ornament I found in our yard upon returning home

on New Year’s Day.  A flower made of eating utensils!

Not sure exactly where this came from…?

So I’m adding this boxed set of silver grapefruit spoons that

I got at a second-hand shop.

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I’m a total sucker for eating utensils that come in silk covered boxes!

In my kitchen…

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are these bars of goat’s milk soap that I felted.  They turned out rather nice,

but I think I need to make more to get the right look.

In my kitchen…

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is this scarf I just finished knitting.  It is in the kitchen because I just took it

off and threw it on the table when I came home from lunch with some friends.

The colors blended so well with the table I took a picture.

In my kitchen…

 

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is a new stash of vanilla beans-

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and a newly started bottle of vanilla- along with an almost empty

bottle from last year!

After all those cookies, my vanilla is at an all time low!

And lastly-

In my kitchen…

 

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is my husband – happily eating dinner- ham and basmati rice, wilted spinach,

homemade applesauce and summer squash grilled with onions.

Every once in a while I need a reality check.  The last couple of photos are what

my kitchen is really all about.  A happy family-good meals- a table surrounded and

filled with love.

AND- just a small smile at the end of this post-

I just saw this movie, Stranger than Fiction, with Will Ferrel and Emma Thompson-

and the best love scene in a movie for bakers was in it.

See it here on Youtube-  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2tqVQX_H3c

:)