"In the Kitchen with Robin"

This is a blog of foodie adventures in the kitchen and around town. I'll share recipes, many of them my own creations some of them "grandma's" comfort foods, wild ideas for something new, stories of my travels, restaurant critiques, photos and more. Please come back often, sign up for my monthly newsletter via the link above, or subscribe to receive blog posts via email.  Blessings! 

On our path, we will find those whom we treasure; and find we travel with our greatest teachers.
~ Robin L Griffith
 edits effective March 26, 2014

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In the Kitchen with Robin

Eight "Green Thumbs" and Two "Greener" Thumbs



An acquaintance of mine asked about container gardening the other day; since she lives in an apartment she wanted to know what types of vegetables are good to grow in containers on the patio. Wow, sorry, I've been so caught up in my lack of a working computer that as I focused on gardening, I seem to have only been focusing for myself. I just happen to be extremely blessed this year to have the space for a veggie garden in the ground and in the yard.

 

I do realize not everyone has that kind of space now days, so let's talk about what kind of veggies are good to grow in pots or containers on the patio.

 

My favorite to grow in a pot, especially if you have younger ones, are potatoes.

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It Did What, Again? Or Rather, How To Find Peace In The Vegetable Garden.


Hello Dahlink! Oh my goodness, talk about a lesson in patience and what to let go of...I got my laptop back and then within the first few days of starting to reload software on it, it crashed again!!! Can you believe this? You can tell my level of frustration just by looking at the graphic above. See the little guy with the hammer? (Insert big cheesy smile here)

It's all good! I am sure that something delightful and wonderful is going to come out of this...and I'm holding on tight to that affirmation!

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Oh Lovely Spring, How You Do Remind Me of Lemon, Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Salt!


Non-Toxic cleaning products can be found in the simple items you have around the house. Baking soda and vinegar; salt and lemon; tea tree oil; just to name a few.

Here is the picture I promised of the “before” shot of my tiny linen closet. As you can see, it definitely needs some clearing and cleaning work done on it. I’ll be sure to capture an “after” shot when it’s completed.

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Lemonade! Get your Lemonade here! .50cents a glass! Come One Come All! Get your Lemonade here!


Yes, when life gives you lemons, please! be sure to just go ahead and make lemonade! I’m selling lemonade today!

My laptop hard drive crashed over the weekend. Yes, I have my docs and images backed up and even with my restore point it doesn’t matter because it’s a problem with the hard drive. Right now, I am typing on a mini notebook, with a tiny little keyboard and I keep hitting the wrong keys, ha!

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Lions, Lambs, and Clocks; How do you dust a Lion?

Happy International Women's Day 2014!
Happy National Women's History Month!

In a time when many things have advanced forward so quickly, we still are challenged by women's equality issues lagging behind in areas like: salaries; civil and human rights; reproductive rights; business equality; education; and many more. March is a celebration of Women around the world. Make it a time to thank the Women in your life who have inspired you and kept you in action.
In honor of my Grandmother, Mary Elizabeth, who taught be to be myself and who always supported me when it seemed no one else understood,
I dedicate the articles for this month to her.
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The Classic RoeMoe Cocktail :>)


Wrapping up a month of Mixology & Cocktails:

I had a great time this last month exploring Mixology and the Classic Cocktail. Not only did I learn about the history of the cocktail, but I also learned a few tricks of the trade around creating cocktails and so far, so good with the ones I have made. :> [think orange peel]

  • After my lackluster experience at the local bar, I chose to wait to see how the birthday party I was going to, to sling drinks at, went. We had a blast - I made RoeMoes for them (thinks Cosmo, remove the Cos, add the Roe, blend it with my magick and tada! A RoeMoe :>. I don't need to go to another bar right now just to observe the bartender, but it will remain on the list of things I personally just want to check out.

 

  • I did go over to the goodwill store to look for supplies like a shaker and perhaps well glasses.
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The Dive Bar and the Crabby Bartender

Well so much for that idea! ha! Occasionally, I drop in at a local "dive" bar - it's small and looks old (as in been there for awhile), and the woman who usually tends bar is fantastic. She pours heavy and always has ready conversation and smiles.

Since I've been working this month's Kitchen Adventure, I've gain usable knowledge about cocktails and styles, and I was looking forward to going over there and asking for a classic cocktail.
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Cooking Through Grief or Through The Fire

I want to introduce you to my newest friend Charity Dasenbrock.

Charity writes a blog "through-the-fire (dot) com", she is a sister Fire enthusiast and a personal chef.


I have had the honor of being a guest blogger on her blog. Please visit my post "Cooking through Grief" at her link here Cooking Through Grief .

Robin


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Grow Little Seedlings, Grow!



It's time to start thinking about your summer garden!  If you are somewhere were all chance of frost has gone, similar to where I am in California, some seeds can be sown directly into the garden now. Visit this link  The Old Farmer's Almanac, Garden Planning for more information on what and when can be sown directly now.

If you can't start outside yet, you can start your seeds indoors. I did and I have some great babies growing, just waiting for me to plant them. During April or May, I will touch more on gardening and edible flowers, but now, consider this your formal reminder - IT'S TIME TO START THINKING ABOUT YOUR GARDEN FOR THIS SUMMER. (ha!)

Here a few of the veggies and flowers I have started:
Eggplant / Tomatoes / Yellow & White Corn / Romaine lettuce / Radishes / Red & Sweet Yellow Onions, along with Green bunches / Black Beans / Green Beans / Nasturtiums / Morning Glory / Chili Peppers / Cauliflower / White and Red Cabbage

With the hard frosts that we had, several of my plants were severely damaged so I will be replacing or drastically trimming those back, but in the mean time I added: blueberries / 3-in-1 Plum tree / 3-in-1 Peach tree.
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Preparing Bumpy Butters or "There are Plants in my Butter!"


Tips for preparing Compound Butters:

* The butter must first be brought to room temperature and softened by beating it.

 

* The flavoring ingredients must be very finely chopped or pureed. If any extra liquid develops, it should be drained off thoroughly before mixing in the butter.

* For the flavor to better penetrate the butter, allow it to stand at cool room temperature for a few hours before refrigerating.

* Compound butters may be stored in freezer, tightly wrapped.

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Shaken versus Stirring your Classic Cocktail

 The information below comes from SF Mixology and it covers the shaken versus stirred methods for cocktails and why you would want to do either of them. I’ve tried shaking when making juice based cocktails and felt like it made my drinks taste better.

 



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Confused about when to stir and when to shake? Here is a good rule to follow. When mixing a drink (i.e.

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CocoaMocha Heart Shaped Cheesecakes

CocoaMocha Heart Shaped Cheesecakes

Servings 3 / Prep Time: 30 mins / Cook Time: 30 mins / Yield: 3 individual cheesecakes / I created this for three small heart shaped springform cheesecake pans by combining two different recipes.

CRUST:
1 cup crumbled Thin Chocolate Persian Tea Cookies (any chocolate cookies will do here)

1/4 cup C&H Powder Sugar

1 tablespoon instant coffee

1 tablespoon Toll House Nestle Cocoa, Baking

2 tablespoons chunked Land O Lakes Salted Butter

FILLING:
1 (eight-ounce) package Kraft Philly Cream Cheese softened

1/3 cup Borden Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (14-ounce can)

1/3 cup C&H Powder Sugar

1/4 cup Toll House Nestle Cocoa, Baking

2 separated eggs yolks / whites

1/2 teaspoon Schilling Almond Extract (can use vanilla)

1 tablespoon C&H Powder Sugar

1 cup heavy cream 

Combine all crust ingredients into blender or small food processor chop/grind into fine crumbs. Press onto the bottom of the springform pans. Set aside.

Cheesecake filling: In glass bowl add egg yolks, cocoa powder & instant coffee, powdered sugar, almond extract, and then chunk cream cheese into bowl on top.

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Mixology and the Art of the Classic Cocktail



Sorry I'm late. I had a series of technical issues - I'll just blame it on Mercury Retrograde. Visit Galadarling.com for a for a wonderful overview of how to survive mercury retrograde.

This month I'm focusing on 
"Mixology and the Classic Cocktail"
. I've visited lots of websites, I've purchased a few books, subscribed to Imbibe Magazine, and attended a workshop put on by Shawn Refoua of SF Mixology "SF Mixology".

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I did it! I did it! I've finally had my own tea party!



"Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." ~ Henry James

 

My Tea Service at Lisa's Tea Treasures @ The Pruneyard in Campbell (CA) was delightful. I now can say I've had my first formal Tea Service. The staff at the location did a good job ensuring I had, what I call, a "Tea Experience".

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Every day is a food holiday!


I found a fun item on Food.com the other day I wanted to share with you. Go to the link below and sign up for a daily email that tells you what food holiday each day is. Today for instance is peanut butter day!
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Bless that little tea pot at the Goodwill store!

             

"Tea! thou soft, thou sober, sage, and venerable liquid,... thou female  tongue-running, smile-smoothing, heart-opening, wind-tippling cordial, to whose glorious insipidity I owe the happiest moment of my life, let me fall prostrate." - Colley Cibber

 

I have had the best time this last week going to different Goodwill stores looking for porcelain or ceramic tea cups and saucers. Actually, I found just about everything I need at two different Goodwill stores.

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The 3-tiered Dessert Tray or the Tomato Plant Holder

While doing my tea research, I spent some time on a side tangent looking at 3-tiered dessert tray images. I was surprised at the average asking price for those. One 1.5 foot vertical bar and three different size round plates with holes in the middle.

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"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln


I spent a few hours yesterday cruising the internet for information about tea and tea parties. I was surprised to see how many different websites there were with detailed information on tea and tea parties. It would seem that I am coming late to the tea party indeed.

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Lasagna with Alfredo Sauce instead of Marinara


I made lasagna the other night and went with a white sauce instead of a red marinara type. Here are a pictures of work in progress, along with a short video talking about the moisture content. When working with dry noodles instead of pre-boiled you need more moisture in the dish.

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I've decided on a theme for January's Adventure


Hello there! I am so sorry for being late to this party. I have been sick with a very bad cold and struggling just to stay awake the- se last few days.
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