In My Kitchen, July 2015 – back in the garden again

I don’t know about you, but after the bookshelf, the kitchen is the place in a person’s house that I am the most curious about. Take a peek into kitchens from around the world at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial’s  In My Kitchen. These are some of my favorite posts to write, so what better way to get back in the saddle after months and months away.

It is deepest summer here in Antalya, with temperatures well into the 30s Celsius, and edging ever closer to 40. We are doing all we can to beat the heat, but no complaints here because summer is the time when we all move out to the garden for three months with no commuting back and forth (well, there is a little, with Baki’s archery classes and an incubator still running in the apartment hatching chicks, but it’s light stuff compared to our school year routine.)

In my garden kitchen this month, there is:

  
Fruit leather! Our plum trees produced an absolute glut of deep purple fruits and we could not keep up with them, so I hunted around and found  this recipe that I liked the sound of. It’s by a kitchen hero of mine, Claire Thomson of 5 O’Clock Apron, who takes a lovely, level-headed approach to feeding kids. The recipe uses apples to thicken the fruit puree, and no sugar. I added some dates to mine for sweetness because the plums really are tart, and the shops are awash with dates this month, as it’s Ramazan. I dried it in trays in the sun, with parchment paper below to keep it from sticking and on top to keep critters out. In two days, they were leathery as can be, and the boys clamor for them. This box will be depleted before tomorrow is out, mark my words. 

We also have:

  
our stone age kitchen tool, the Kitchen Rock. Whenever we go to the beach, Baki and my mother spend a good deal of time looking for interesting rocks. Baki usually wants to take them all home, but relents when I tell him he’d have to carry them all himself. Good thing too – there’d be no rocks left if he took them all (or I’d spend all my time repatriating them). But we did bring this one home, and it is a handy tool in the kitchen that gets us in touch with our caveman roots. We use it primarily to bash garlic, but it has also proven useful when weighting is needed, holding a plate on top of a pot of bouyant dolma, for instance. My mother is a great believer in the Kitchen Rock. I think she appreciates how straightforward it is in this age of elaborate kitchen gadgets, and when I annoy her she seems to really enjoy smashing garlic to bits with it. 

Avert your eyes if you do not like animal parts! In my kitchen there are:

  
chicken feet! We are running two incubators – with a total capactiy of 72 eggs – almost continuously these days. We give a lot of the chicks to the feed store in exchange for chicken feed, but we keep a few from each batch. New chickens joining the flock means old chickens making an exit, so we have been despatching chickens lately. It is not always the easiest thing to do, but it is one of the realities of keeping animals, particularly when they reproduce. Yesterday we retired a rooster and a hen and I was interested to see how different their feet were. We can usually tell if a chicken will be a rooster by the size of its feet, but it was something else entirely to just see the feet side by side.

Of course, I love to eat chicken feet – they are my favorite dish at dim sum. I use them in my own kitchen as a most prized ingredient in our chicken broth; they have loads of collagen in them that makes a nice rich broth that will gel when it is cold – good for the gut! Broth without feet just wouldn’t feel complete to me. 

And that is a little peek into the goings on here in our garden kitchen. Thanks so much for stopping by – perhaps you’ll invite me into your kitchen some day?