Merry Christmas from Baxter & Main!

Merry Christmas to all!

Baxter & Main is super excited about all of the kitchen tools and cookbooks she has received this holiday season so be sure to check back later in the week to see them all put to good use.  Until then I wish you tidings of comfort and joy and a big ol’ plate of cookies too…

a gluttonous feast

Now that leftovers are all gone I thought I would post some images of my Thanksgiving dishes.  Am already feeling a slight nostalgia for the day that was…

There were cheddar herb biscuits:

Cornbread and sausage stuffing:

 Corn pudding:

Sweet potato casserole:

Brussels sprouts and carmelized shallot hash:

Cranberry-apple chutney:

The star of the day, salted herb roast turkey:

Pecan pie with cream cheese crust:

Pumpkin cream pie with (homemade) gingersnap crust:

And cranberry brie pie:

 There was also gingersnap ice cream but I somehow managed to miss taking a photo of it… but I can assure you it was quite good.

It dawned on me when I opened a can of chiles for the corn pudding that it was the first and only can I opened in the entire preparation the meal– everything else was made from scratch from the chicken stock to the pumpkin puree to the pie crusts.  A very homemade Thanksgiving, indeed.

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

This week I will be traveling to New York for work so my posts will likely be images of what I am eating while there.  Will return with regular programming (aka recipes) next week.

kitchens past, present and future

Would I like to work in a kitchen that is light and airy and open?  Of course!  Would I like to cook/bake with the finest appliances?  A Sub-Zero fridge perhaps, and a Wolf range?  You bet I would!  A kitchen with an island that goes on for miles and miles?  Sign me up!  A kitchen that looks much like the one below (courtesy of hgtv.com)?  Yes please!

But that’s not reality.  At least not until I strike it rich by playing the Lotto or sell so many baked goods on the etsy site I am contemplating opening (you know, in my spare time) that I can afford to do so.  In other words, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

I thought it might be fun to share images of some of the kitchens I have inhabited over the years and  yes, okay, maybe I’m stalling a little bit.  I just moved this past weekend and even though I had great ambitions of cooking and baking up a storm upon unpacking, it just didn’t quite happen.  I was tired, I’m sorry.  I will amend that in the near future, I can assure you!

I couldn’t go too far back in the old archives because a few of the apartments I’ve lived in over the years just didn’t have kitchens worth photographing and/or photos were taken before I had a digital camera (yes Virginia, there was life before digital cameras) and I don’t have a scanner and therefore no way to share the pictures on this here blog.  So, we’ll start five years ago in my Brooklyn kitchen:

1)

As you can see it was a galley style kitchen and actually relatively spacious for NYC.  It had good sunlight and ventilation from the large window and the fridge and the stove were conveniently located side-by-side (as if there were another option for placement!)  I had people over for dinner frequently in this kitchen and even hosted a few small food-related parties that I deemed to be successes.  Something you can’t tell based on the photos: we had a little bug problem in this apartment.  I’ll spare you the details but you can probably guess just what kind of insect it was…  But nevermind– I’d never let a little bug get in the way of making magic in the kitchen!

 2)

Next we have quite possibly the tiniest kitchen that’s ever existed.  See where the cooler is sitting?  That was the entire section of working counterspace– all one square foot of it.  What is hidden by the blue wall on the left is the sink and to the right of the fridge was the door to my bedroom.  And this was in a sixth-floor walk-up in Chinatown.  But I loved it!  In fact, it’s one of my favorite apartments ever.  And yes, in case you were wondering, I sure did do some baking in this teensy, tiny, little space.  Cakes, pies, cookies, bread.  All prepared on one square foot of counterspace.  Incredible!

3)

Then I moved to Wisconsin where space was not a problem.  In fact my next kitchen was so large I could have easily fit an elephant and a giraffe and probably a small whale too and they all could have lived harmoniously together without ever rubbing elbows.  (Do whales even have elbows?)  What did I not love about the kitchen?  The small oven (never could have pulled off a Thanksgiving meal here…) and the knotty pine.  Yes, it did sort of have a kitschy 1950’s appeal and on occasion I did feel like I was inhabiting Betty Draper’s kitchen (minus Don Draper, bummer) but most of the time I just felt like I was in a log cabin in northern Michigan on a long summer weekend waiting to swat some flies away from the food.  But, I did manage to bake award-winning brownies in this kitchen and that’s nothing to snuff at.  And oh man, just look at all that space!

4)

And that brings us to my brand new (but not-so-new) kitchen.  It’s smaller than the last but that was bound to happen.  It still has adequate counter space and storage.  Yes, it has some awful dark green 1980’s wallpaper with a coordinating decorative border that is barely visible in this photograph but you know what?  I can deal with that.  I will still cook and bake some wonderful things in this kitchen and fill the bellies of the people I love and hopefully bring a smile to their faces too.  Because it doesn’t matter  what kind of space you have to prep food in as long as you have passion for what you’re doing.  But if anyone wants to buy me a Wolf stove one of these days I would certainly not be opposed…

going to market

I’ve been a baking machine this morning so later in the week I will return to sharing recipes and images of the goods I made, but for now I will share a few photos I took while at an indoor food market in Stuttgart, Germany.  Upon reflection these closely resemble pictures I snapped at food markets in Barcelona and Madrid a few years ago.  The variety at European markets is outstanding!  

Germans love sausage.  Below is but a fraction of what this particular vendor had to offer: 

There were cheeses…

…pastries…

…fruit…

…beautiful mounds of cream cheese!!

And approximately a kabillion different kinds of olives!  Kind of makes you never want to eat them from a can again, right?

european vacation

I have just returned from a ten day holiday in Europe so alas I have not been cooking or baking and thusly have no recipes to post this week.  However, I did do my share of eating so I thought perhaps I’d share a few photos of the food on which I dined.  (My speech sounds very formal right now.  Must be leftover from being exposed to the Queen’s English in Cornwall…)

The first half of my trip was spent in Germany and one of the first things I did there was attend a birthday party in a castle.  Yep, a castle.  It was pretty neat. 

The surroundings were lovely and so was the food.  Below is the main course which consisted of spaetzle (ah-mazing), fingerling potatoes, roasted vegetables, shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, some sort of smoked fish pate, meatballs, fish cake, baked fish, and thinly sliced cured meat.

There was also a venison stew, several kinds of German potato salad, cabbage and carrot salads, and probably a few other things I am forgetting but I wanted to save room for dessert so I showed a little restraint.

After the main course the waiters brought out dessert which was lovely and light: strudel, fresh fruit, pudding, and sorbet.  There was actually a second dessert later after coffee and cappucinos that consisted of various pies and cakes but I was way too full to partake.  Probably should have eaten less spaetzle… I couldn’t help it though– it was just too good!

I realized upon returning home that I had taken approximately 35 photos of food, 20 of landscapes, and 3 of family.  Oops.  Do my dad’s hands in the background of the below picture count as another family photo?  Guess I got 4 of family then.

The above were some very lovely, very tasty sundaes we ate at an Italian gelateria in Germany.  Apparently the family that runs the place do such a booming business during the warmer months that they return to Italy and relax during the off-season.  Sounds like a pretty sweet deal.  Pun intended.

Later in the week I will be posting pictures of a food market I visited in Stuttgart.  The selection and presentation were incredible!

mission accomplished

Baxter and Main officially hit 25 fans on Facebook so now I have a lovely little Facebook URL:  http://www.facebook.com/baxterandmain

Thanks so much everyone!  And if you haven’t already “liked” the fb page, please, by all means!

 

 

Baxter and Main is now on Facebook

Yes, it’s true.  Baxter and Main is now on The Facebook.  The peeps at FB say I need 25 fans before they’ll grant me a proper URL so if you are on Facebook I would most appreciate it if you can search for “Baxter and Main” next time you’re logged in and “like” me.  I like you too.

Thanks so much!