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Showing posts from January, 2012

Martha by Mail ~ Extra Deep Mixing Bowls

I love collecting mixing bowls, both antique & new, because they are some of the most functional vessels in my kitchen.  They're also beautiful when grouped together on a counter or on one of my shelves, particularly if they share a style, color or shape.  These Extra Deep Mixing Bowls from Martha by Mail  get used a lot to mix cake batters, icings, breads, salads, pastas and for storing vegetables & fruit.  The moment I first laid eyes on them in the Martha by Mail catalog back in 2001, I knew where their inspiration had come from.  The vintage prototypes can be found in one of Martha's kitchens ( Skylands ) where her staff puts them to good use for preparing meals.  They have been featured in her magazines throughout the years (at a milestone Leo Birthday Party) and on television segments (she once made popovers with one of her French bulldogs sitting on a stool next to her). Hefty and sturdy with thick rolled rims (perfect for gripping), these mixing bowls can gr

Caring for Cutting Boards

A good, solid cutting board is one of those kitchen tools that every cook should have.  As one who spends a lot of time in the kitchen cooking up meals for my family, I rely heavily on my cutting boards to get me through many culinary tasks.  Although my boards experience a lot of cutting, dicing, slicing, chopping & mincing on a daily basis, I treat them gently by maintaining them well.  Any type of cutting board is an investment for the home cook, and it's one that shouldn't go to waste because of neglect.  Wood is my preferred surface for cutting boards, but there are other types available to the home chef, such as polypropylene (these I highly recommend for cutting meats because they can be cleaned in the dishwasher) and bamboo, which are suitable for any kitchen.  A wooden board, however, is sturdy, beautiful to look at and is easiest on knives for cutting.  They are prone to splitting and cracking if not taken care of properly, but if you follow a few simple basics,

My Sardine Sandwich

For a delicious and nutritious lunch, nothing beats a good sardine sandwich in my opinion.  I sometimes find myself eating sardines straight out of the tin when I feel the need for some protein during the day, but if I happen to have some outstanding bread in the house, I make a sandwich.  My sardine sandwich is served open-faced with only two additional ingredients.  The type and brand of sardines for this particular sandwich will depend entirely on your preference.  At my house we use skin-on, lightly to non-smoked sardines packed in olive oil that come from Spain or Morocco.  This is a heart healthy sandwich, perfect for a weekend lunch or quick weekday dinner.  Treat yourself to one this week. My Sardine Sandwich Begin with a perfectly ripe, small to medium-sized, Hass avocado.  I always have a ripe one in the refrigerator (they keep for several days) and one or two ripening on my countertop.  Slice the avocado in half lengthwise & pry it open.  Scoop out the half onto a cu

Cutting Up a Chicken

It's essential knowing how to cut up a fresh chicken if you like to cook and if your family likes chicken.  It makes economical sense to buy a whole chicken for breasts, legs & wings because it saves a lot of money in the long run.  Yes, it's convenient to buy parts already prepackaged at the supermarket, but cutting your own at  home is fast and easy.  The whole process of cutting up a chicken shouldn't make one squeamish whatsoever.  The most important thing to consider other than buying a good quality chicken (I always buy a humanely raised chicken from either Whole Foods or my local farmer's market), is having a very sharp knife.  Let me show you how I do it.  It may differ slightly from what your butcher does, but it gets the job done.     ✵ Before you begin, either cover your counter with butcher paper (parchment also works) or place the whole chicken on a cutting board used exclusively for cutting poultry or meat to prevent cross contamination.  I l

Martha by Mail ~ Great Big Mixing Bowls

The Great Big Mixing Bowls were commissioned many years ago from the Robinson Ransbottom Pottery Company (they were in business from 1900 to 2005) by the designers of the Martha by Mail catalog.  Generously proportioned and quite heavy for their size, the set of 3 nesting bowls came in either a white or yellow glaze (I've found this particular shape & style often referred to as 'mustard mixer').  Using traditional methods and the thinnest of glazes, one can see how the master potters at Robinson Ransbottom worked to make these bowls unique pieces of stoneware.  A small drip or pop in the glaze here, a nick in the clay there are just some of the endearing characteristics of these mixing bowls.  I invite you to take a closer look at these pieces from my collection.  They are beautiful bowls. Martha by Mail "These generously sized stoneware bowls are created using traditional methods and unrefined clay, then finished with a light glaze.  Made by a century-old Amer

Hot Lemon Drop

I love making a  Hot Lemon Drop as soon as the weather gets cold because it's so comforting, soothing & surprisingly refreshing.  This tart drink is just the thing to warm & brighten you up during the day, but it's also good to have at night when you want to wind down.  If you crave something hot & relaxing without the caffeine found in teas & coffee drinks, treat yourself to one of my Lemon Drops .  All you need is a lemon, some water, a bit of sugar and a pot.  You can make one to have while reading a book in bed or you can make several to serve to guests after an invigorating walk.  It's sour and puckery with just the slightest hint of sweetness, yet it's positively satisfying.  I hope you like it. Choose a lemon that is heavy for its size & thin skinned in order to extract the most juice.  This is a Meyer lemon that I brought back from California.  They're delicious! The Recipe: makes 1 drink 8 oz. (1 cup) water 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup)

My Pets

I adopted 2 adorable cats many years ago from a no-kill shelter when we moved into our first home in Haddonfield, New Jersey and I'd like to introduce you to them.  It seems like just yesterday that I rescued them from the Animal Adoption Center, but in reality they're already "middle-aged" kitties with stubborn personalities.  Having grown up with pets all my life it was only natural to fill our home with the pitter-patter of little feet, in addition to the hissing, scratching, growling, meowing & the occasional biting that we seem to love.  For those of you who have pets, you'll agree with me when I say that these little creatures become members of the family who require love, attention and special care.  Go through these intimate pictures of my little ones; I can't imagine our lives without them.  ✼ ✼ ✼ Lion Lion is a domestic short hair red tabby with the cutest face ever.  He has a fluffy "turtleneck" that is kept pristine white, along w