In My Kitchen, July 2013

In My Kitchen posts are some of my favorites to write and to read. If you want to join in or just read what’s going on in other kitchens around the world, pop over to Celia’s page, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

This month it is heating up, and August looks to be even hotter. I am counting the days until then, though, because Baki and my mom return on August 5. He is having a whale of a time over there, and being kept very busy at day camp. They just went to the Bronx Zoo, where Baki was apparently very taken with the tigers, the penguins, and the polar bears (I hope it was nice and cool in their habitats…).

Although we don’t have Baki here with us in the garden this month, in my kitchen I have this great drawing that he made right before he left:

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We use our stove top espresso machine every day (and it shows — I will have to wash it a little better, ahem…) which may be why Baki chose to draw it. I love his drawings because they seem to amplify everything he sees, which is really a good indication of how he barrels through his days — it’s all superlatives with him.

In my kitchen, I have this wonderful little gadget that my mother gave me:

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It’s a sesame seed toaster. Now, you may be thinking, “that’s a completely ridiculous thing to have,” and I would understand; I was a bit skeptical myself. However, I think it belongs in the same category as some other gadgets that sound useless, (like grapefruit knives, cherry pitter and salad spinners) but when you need them, you really need them, and they make the job a lot easier.  Not every tool has to perform a lot of functions!

For instance, I like to make a cucmber salad that goes like this: I slice cucumbers thinly on the mandoline (being mindful to stop slicing at the precise moment when I have the thought “I can just go a bit more before my fingers are in danger…”) and toss them in a bowl with 1T soy sauce, 2T rice vinegar, grated ginger, 1t sugar, 1 t sesame oil, a big pinch of red pepper, and some salt and pepper. This salad is good just like that, but with toasted sesame seeds on top it is the kind of thing that makes you greedy.

Because of the hot weather, we try to get up as early as we can so we can get some work done before it heats up. The sky lightens at around 530, so we get up a little in advance of that to have a cup of coffee on the terrace. One morning, I went in to the kitchen to make the coffee and surprised a visitor to our kitchen:

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I apologize for the image quality — it was still dark out. But it made me feel like I had stumbled out of my dreams and into a Beatrix Potter book to be staring this little amphibian in the eye. I’ll have to look through Baki’s animal books to see what it is — some sort of toad, but what sort exactly?

Our kitchen is both outdoors and completely open in summer, so I am surprised that I do not get more guests. We do have a tiny mouse that pops up here and there, but it is quite camera shy.

And that is a quick peek at my kitchen this month. Thanks for stopping by!