Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things... in My Kitchen


Can you tell I love bright colors and vintage items? Red, aqua and yellow are perhaps my favorite colors together . On my first girlfriend outing to Canvas & Cocktails, I departed from the "designated picture" and under the influence of cocktails, let Inner Italian Artist loose and painted the wild colorful floral design. It is not going to win any art awards, but it is mine and I love it. Most of the items on this pantry shelf are estate sale finds that I could not bring myself to sell, they just seemed to say "Belongs in Becky's Kitchen" to me:) The big crystal bowl was a wedding present from my Nonnie, whose name I've adopted for my own grandchildren. (She looked like every charming picture you've ever seen of Mrs. Santa or Sweet Grandmother in any children's book. With the personality to match.)

The dessert plate and espresso cups in the upper right hand corner? These came from Holland. At a DOLLAR store in Holland. On a trip to Europe, my husband took off with the men in our tour for yet another war museum. I took off on the hotel's bicycle to explore the small town, and to my delight landed in the dollar store of ALL dollar stores....

The iron skillet with the wonderful domed tiered lid is my favorite vintage kitchen item scooped up at an estate sale for $4.00. I cannot believe I was in my 50's before I discovered the joys of iron skillets. I am only recently learning how to season them, how they cook food so evenly, what a good sear they will put on everything from meat to mushrooms, and that when you care for them correctly they are the best non-stick pan in the universe. That you'll never want cornbread cooked and served any other way once you've made it in a hot sizzling skillet. I leave two iron skillets on my stove top at all times now, for both the decor and the usefulness, since I use them almost every day.

And the red teapot is a gift from daughter. I love teapots. I love red. I love my daughter. I love tea. What more can I say? Always on permanent display.

Our kitchens are the heart and hearth of a home. What are some of things that make you smile in your kitchen?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Easy Cheesy Idea: Tomato Soup with Cheese Popcorn

This will be shortest recipe I've ever posted! Made some tomato soup for lunch, and spied some cheese popcorn and thought, "Hmmm... that could be tasty!" And it was. A quick, easy, fun lunch for kids or grown-ups.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Iron Skillet Cornbread

Love this cornbread recipe from Alex of Food Network. Will be my go-to recipe from now on. Not too sweet, perfectly seasoned. Caste Iron Skillet makes it rock.


This is a great recipe and tastes better, I find, when cooked in a cast iron skillet and served hot tableside. I have also served this recipe for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Whether with jam and butter or fried chicken on the side, there are rarely leftovers!

1 1/4 cups coarsely ground cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a 9-inch cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk in the milk, buttermilk, and eggs. Whisk in almost all of the melted butter, reserving about 1 tablespoon for the skillet later on.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Coat the bottom and sides of the hot skillet with the remaining butter. Pour the batter into the skillet and place it in the center of the oven. Bake until the center is firm and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.