Here's a peek...
My, I spent a lot of time in my kitchen this week. Lots of good things happening.
We had a little dinner party for three of my daughter's friends visiting from Taiwan. (Jane has been serving as a missionary there for a year now, and comes home in October.) Even though they were strangers to us and two of them didn't speak English, we felt such a warmth and connection. It truly brought me so much joy to prepare a beautiful table and meal for them, and I hope that they felt welcome as part of their first experience in the United States.
I was so pleased (and relieved!) with how everything turned out. Table set with linens, fresh flowers, and my Portuguese dishes. All the planning and preparing almost seems like play to me. The menu: the most delicious salmon I think I've ever prepared (marinated in soy sauce, maple syrup, fresh ginger, and brown sugar, then broiled with a soy-apricot jam glaze), homemade crusty rolls, green salad, rice, lemony-garlic asparagus, and a simple dessert of sliced mango (coconut sprinkled on top), whole strawberries, and a few cookies for sweet. We loved their little pineapple cakes they brought us from Taiwan.
I spent most of Saturday painting my kitchen and part of the adjoining living room. Changing from the dark red to deep forest-olive green. It seems fresher, more calming, and change is always fun.
Giving and receiving always seems to play a part in my kitchen. It seems like every week, a friend or a neighbor are always bringing by something that brightens our kitchen-- my friend Mane's wonderful soup, a basket of fruit and homegrown tulip bouquet when Phyllis and Dennis came by to visit a few weeks ago, and yesterday, the sweet surprise to see Melanie on my doorstep with her beautiful smile and the most glorious arrangement of lilacs. (Center stage on the kitchen table. I often go over to them for a whiff. Ahhh, I drink them in...) Today, I took a loaf and a little cellophane bag of cookies to some of my neighbors. Sharing always makes me happy.
Here's some of the other culinary highlights from the week:
:: loaves, crusty rolls, and Indian Naan all from the same basic dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. My go-to recipe for baking bread these days.
:: rice noodles with marinara.
:: veggie burgers (my own made-up version) with homemade whole grain buns. Oven baked fries to go with.
:: Peanut Butter Cup Granola (I switched the peanut butter with almond butter, and used coconut oil for half of the applesauce.)
::Chewy Chocolate Chunk Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
:: veg fajitas and black beans (stir fried onions, sweet bell peppers, zucchini, tomato, and garlic. Dumped in a can of rinsed black beans and seasoned it up with taco seasoning, lime juice, and soy sauce. Filled in corn tortillas with lettuce and a spicy "sour cream" dressing we like made from Vegenaise, lime juice, cumin, dried oregano, and cayenne.)
:: Vegan Vegetable Korma (so good with the naan I made. Indian food... I can't get enough.)
:: Cheezy Broccoli-Potato soup (dairy free made creamy and cheesy by blending cashews and a little nutritional yeast.)