❧ Kitchen

I am frequently asked about my work-island (above) because it was homebuilt for less than $200 (see post on the process here). You can buy a similar island from Sur la Table (scroll down for information) or find free plans to build your own (exactly like mine) at Knock-Off Wood.

Welcome. This is my little kitchen. I really enjoy cooking —and I have a lot of fun with it— though I am in no way a culinary expert. In fact, I’ve only recently begun to explore baking. I’ve discovered that I like to experiment with food and tweak the recipes I find in cookbooks and online, as well as my old family favorites. I absolutely love using fresh, homegrown ingredients from my garden. On the side-bar at right —Recipe Archive and Categories— you will find recipes and cocktails (featuring herbs, vegetables and fruit) that I have posted on the blog. I also have a running list of favorite food and drink blogs, created by fabulous food writers, in the sidebar.

Click Here for Rosemary No-Knead Bread Recipe, baked in the lovely cobalt blue 2.75 quart Le Creuset French Oven pictured above.

I also love and use many of the other Le Creuset Cookware and Baking Pans

Click Here for My Summertime Risotto Recipe

Golden Days of Summer Gazpacho – My Special Twist on an Old Favorite (click here for recipe)

Although there are many cookbook authors and food bloggers I enjoy, I try not to play favorites. But I will say that my copies of Ina Garten‘s books (below) have the most working-ingredient dribbles on their pages. I think that is my highest compliment.

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Chive Rissoto Cakes – Based on the Recipe by Ina Garten (click here)

Marcus (Made in USA) 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set
I just bought this set and I’m very pleased. It’s both high in quality and value

One of my favorite basic, beautiful kitchen gadgets – The Bron Original Stainless Steel Mandolin. Expensive? Oh yes. But if you love your tissue-paper-thin slices of potatoes for gratin and cucumbers for gurkensalat as much as I do… then it’s sooo worth it.

Tante Maria’s Gurkensalat – Click Here for Recipe

Pommes À L’Huile – Warm Potato Salad with Herbed Vinaigrette (click here for recipe)

Hello delicious crust!  Old Stone Oven Pizza Stone

Everyone has their favorite pizza dough recipe. Click here to see mine! Image ⓒ Michaela at TGEPriced under $20, this teak peel& cutter are a great value and very high quality – Mountain Woods Pizza Peel & Cutter Set

Ferncliff Fiddlehead and Feta Omelet (click here for recipe)

Although I’m not a purist, I eat mostly vegetarian, and I very much enjoy Heidi Swanson’s blog, 101 Cookbooks, as well as her cookbook:

Super Natural Cooking

Summer Squash from the Kitchen Garden ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Homemade Zucchini Bread ⓒ Michaela at TGE - Click Here for Recipe!

Coming from a European family, of course I love Parisian food writer Clotilde Dusoulier’s fantastic blog Chocolate and Zucchini and the name-sake cookbook:

Chocolate and Zucchini

And if you haven’t already heard of my friend Amy McCoy’s Poor Girl Gourmet blog, do yourself —and your wallet— a favor and check it out. I love her new book and will be featuring some of her fabulous recipes here on the blog…

Poor Girl Gourmet: Eat in Style on a Bare-Bones Budget

While we are on the subject of frugality, let me just say that often, high price is no guarantee of quality. Take outdoor grills for example. Yes, there are more expensive models, with lots of bells and whistles —but, when it comes right down to it, I think it’s hard to beat my basic, black:

Weber Kettle Grill

A great purchase all the way around, I use my $15 Lodge Logic cast-iron skillet so frequently, that it almost never leaves the top of my stove. I love it for skillet breakfasts, and the delicious apple pancake tart, linked here and shown below…

Apple Pancake Tart

Strawberry Shortcake with Homemade Butter Biscuits and a Story (click here)

In my kitchen – a viking, a little cherry apron & a whole lotta chaos!

I make a mess. I love cherries. So, I bought this cherry apron. It’s cotton, it’s less than $20, and it’s very cute:

My Cherry Apron from NDesign via Amazon

And here is another cool, inexpensive little gadget that I waited a long time to get (why oh why?) And then —of course— I got it in cherry red…

Cuisinart 1-1/2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker

And of course a Zyliss Ice Cream Scoop to go with it…

Purchase of the above items was largely inspired by David Lebovitz’s book (below) and his highly entertaining blog.

David Lebovitz: The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments

I also like this book by David Lebovitz: Ripe for Dessert, because I am such a push-over for somewhat tart, fresh-fruit desserts.

Which brings to mind this fantastic dessert cookbook: Rustic Fruit Desserts

And heaven knows, I love a good glass of bubbly, fine wine or a well-made cocktail now and again. Click here for more cocktail recipes from this blog. And, below are some of my favorite supplies and resources for the home bar…

Click Here for my Sunset Mangotini Recipe

I must start with Maria Hunt. Maria’s blog The Bubbly Girl, is positively effervescent. And her book, The Bubbly Bar, is a must-have for any cocktail lover you know…

Maria Hunt’s fabulous champagne cocktail book: The Bubbly Bar

Click Here for My Strawberry Mint Mojito Recipe

Oxo Steel 7-Piece Barware Set

Oggi’s Marilyn – The Tall and Slim Cocktail Shaker

Click Here for the Persephone Recipe (Champagne and Pomegranate Cocktail)

101 Sangrias and Pitcher Drinks by Kim Haasarud

Sweet September Sangria – My Own Concoction – Click Here for Recipe

The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor

Summertime Herb Harvest – Rosemary, Thyme, Sage and Mint from My Garden

Gardening with Herbs – Emelie Tolley & Chris Mead

Rosemary, mint and basil – Drying herbs for use in winter

Fresh-Frozen Herb Cubes in Oil, Butter, Broth or Water – Use in tea, soups, cooking or just enjoying at room temperature throughout the long days of winter (click here for method).

Home Baked Sourdough Bread with Fresh Herbs and Olives

Dinner on the Terrace Wine and Fresh Baked Sourdough Bread with Herbs

Preserving the Harvest – Blanching and Freezing French-Style Green Beans (Haricots Verts)

This is a great preserving, freezing, canning, drying and food storing resource book for beginner through pro.

Read my review of this book and buy from Barnes & Noble Here

Or buy Putting Food By: Fifth Edition from Amazon.com

Zip-lock bags work fine for quick storage. But, if you are getting serious about putting food by, then think about investing in one of these machines. They really work to keep food (including herbs) fresh;

FoodSaver V2840 Advanced Design Vacuum Food Sealer

My Kitchen Work Island, Piled High with Produce on an August Afternoon

If you aren’t inclined to build your own kitchen island, you can order a nearly identical one (pictured above) from John Boos & Co here:  Sur La Table_Brand_88x31_WhiteBackground

Warmest Wishes from My Kitchen to Yours –  Michaela xoxo

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