What is Kitchen Kreature?

Our small kitchen buzzes to life with activity when I come home. Food is sculpted from its raw shape into dices, slices, wedges, and purees. Flames dance off the range, heating sauces and vegetables and soups. Colors decorate the granite counter tops - slices of green avocado, chunks of yellow mango mixed with diced red and green bell pepper, and bottles of spices - dark red, brown, green, yellow, white - are lined up and ready for use. Aromas drift delicately through the house, teasing the senses and rousing the appetite. The sound of vegetables being chopped are like the heartbeat of the kitchen itself, sauces bubbling create an acoustic energy - the life blood of most recipes.

The kitchen allows one to fully be immersed in being "local" - buying from the farmer's markets and enjoying the bounty that grows around the neighborhood. Paradoxically, it also is a terrific way to travel. From the rawest ingredients, I can make a dish from east central Africa to accompany a National Geographic safari on TV, or put on some blues, light a candle, and cook up a classic and hearty creole platter.

This room embraces so much - art and creativity, travel and discovery, and the pure essence of being local. In this blog, I share my experiences and discoveries - the delights of the kitchen.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Creole Gumbo

Gumbo is one of my favorite meals.  This recipe is a traditional okra gumbo.  It is easy to make but some sous chef prep is required to make the stock, compose the seasoning mixture, and chop/slice the ingredients.

I suppose this is more of a Creole than a Cajun dish - I took the liberty to designate it as such in the titling.  The spices ultimately assign that classification, but one could further paint a Creole character by adding some ripened local tomatoes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summertime Sun Tea

This is a great, simple recipe for a summertime cooler...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yam Yum Recipe

There are two general categories of "healthy" foods - organic and local.  I am a big proponent of local.  It supports the farmer down the street, puts money back into the local economy, and - do I need to add this - FRESH!  These Yams are from Louisiana, but were sitting in a box in a Pennsylvania grocery store.  Even though they were delicious, I try to buy local products whenever practical.  If that is not possible, at least take note of where your food comes from.  Read the labels and see where those strawberries were grown and where the apples were picked.  The first step to buying local is to just be aware of the geography represented on your plate. Read more for the recipe....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Good basic apple pie

My biggest challenge with apple pie is finding that sweet spot between juiciness and enough firmness so that the integrity of a slice doesn't become a puddle of (delicious) filling on the plate.  Even so, I'd still rather err on the side of juicy than firm.  I'm still searching for a solution.  In the meantime - my anti-Entemann's apple pie is certainly not a flat-top with a rubbery filling.  All from scratch, I use locally-grown apples from nearby Solebury Orchard.  While conventional wisdom suggests using tart apples such as Granny Smiths, I find sweeter apples such as JonaGolds yield a wonderful and distinctive flavor.  This dessert defines the local fall here.

The recipe...

Organization is key...

I discovered a great recipe for apple cake, but no sooner was I starting to feel comfortable with it than I found myself having to make two of them at once - for different occasions on the same day.  Even though this was a bit outside my comfort zone, it worked beautifully!  Assembly is easy, but the real work is in the measuring and slicing.  Once everything was lined up, the work was really done...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Survival in the kitchen environment

The expression If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen is true on many levels.  Kitchens naturally tend toward chaos, and imposing structure and discipline is the main ingredient in every recipe.

Here's what works for me...