Monday, March 5, 2012

Kitchen Inspiration and The Idea Board

Kitchen inspiration comes in waves. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with ideas and enthusiasm and other times I can't think what I should create; my attention is elsewhere. In the summer of course, there are more fresh ingredients lying about that need to be used. So then, as with most of the time, what I choose to create is dictated by what I have on hand. The wasting of good, quality ingredients feels like a mortal sin to me. I work hard, especially in the summer and fall to ensure that no fruit or vegetable finds itself withering or, heaven-forbid, molding in my kitchen but instead that each and every cherry, if not consumed fresh, will find its way, at its peak of ripeness, to its next incarnation as jam, a galette, a crisp, in mead, or ice cream. Or at least to a freezer bag for later use. And later is now. This is the time of year when I appreciate being able to go to the cupboard or the freezer for edibles carefully put away earlier.

Last year I purchased a chalkboard for the kitchen from IKEA. It's nice having an erasable and visible slate for jotting down inspiration when it strikes. At first it was used as a menu board which announced the evening meal but it has now become a kitchen-creation-idea-board.
Some things that I've made lately that showed up on the board are: 
Cherry Fairy Galettes made with last summer's pitted and frozen cherries from the neighbor's tree.
Biscuit-Crusted Savory Pie made with solar dried tomatoes and frozen pesto from last summer's bounty. This was right up my husband's alley. He loves savory comfort foods. Think chicken and dumplings, lamb and mashed potatoes, shepherd's pie...

White Bean Artichoke Rosemary dip made from dried cannellini beans, jarred artichoke hearts, and dried rosemary from my parent's epic bush. I will share this recipe because I found the dip to be flavorful, tangy, easy, and healthful.
Other ideas that have been knocking around in my head or finding their way to the IDEA board are making some more of my own liquors like a Grand Marnier, an Amaretto, and a honey Kahlua. Also, various salad dressings are begging to be made: A French catalina-syle, a creamy poppy seed, Pangaea's orange dressing, my mom's lemon paprika dressing, and a balsamic vinaigrette. I'm sure I'll be doing a salad dressing post soon! Although my inspiration waxes and wanes like the moon, it always seems to return to the kitchen and the creative possibilities to be embarked upon there.

Artichoke White Bean Rosemary Dip 

1 clove garlic 
2 1/2 cups of cooked white beans
1 cup artichoke hearts packed in oil
Juice of one small lemon
1/2 t. of crushed dried rosemary (or 1 t. chopped fresh rosemary)
1/4 t. kosher sea salt or other salt

Macerate garlic clove in food processor. Then add beans, artichoke hearts, lemon juice, rosemary, and salt and blend until smooth. Serve with pita chips, asparagus, and/or carrots for dipping.



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