kitchen elves needed.

Unless you were a complete suck up growing up, you avoided the kitchen when cleanup was needed. I know I did, although I always ended up somehow being the one that cleaned up the kitchen for the most part.

But in my defense my mother is still a master at getting other people to do what she wants done, and she was relentless when we were growing up. Come to think of it, she was also very good at getting other people to cook for her. It’s not like we had Mrs. Bridges in the kitchen it was more like me and my father. (But I digress.)

Mrs. Bridges was the beloved Cook from Upstairs, Downstairs the PBS Show. She had a veritable army of footman, maids, scullery maids, and kitchen help. Most of us don’t live like that, and never did. Which means we really appreciate a little help around the kitchen.

However I have noticed throughout my life, that cleaning up the kitchen means completely different things to men and women. And I love and adore my husband, but he and I have vastly different perspectives on this topic. And he gets really annoyed when I try to talk to him about it like I did this morning.

Face it, there are just days being a domestic goddess is harder than others. When I came down to the kitchen this morning I felt like the he-man woman haters club had held a chapter meeting in my kitchen.

There was stuff everywhere (including grains of rice lodged underneath the glass cutting board) and both sinks were loaded with dirty dishes.

So I spent a good part of my morning before getting ready to work cleaning up the kitchen and loading and running the dishwasher. That also meant time vacuuming up additional grains of rice from off of the floor.

I know, I know there are bigger problems on the face of this earth, but cleaning up the kitchen in a small house to me is a really big deal. Which means when you come in the front door it’s not too far to the kitchen. So as a woman you want everything to look tidy. Or at least I do personally.

I also live in a male household. So cleaning up the kitchen generally speaking falls to me. Not because anyone is chauvinistic, it’s just because I have a little bit of OCD going on when it comes to cleaning up.

Yes…one of my pet peeves are indeed dirty kitchens. I used to know someone that was such a slob and a pile-maker in the kitchen, that every time I came home from her house I had to clean something else up. I think to this day every time my kitchen is too dirty it reminds me of theirs.

I am also stepparent to a teenage male, and sometimes I don’t even think he sees what is in the kitchen. He is focused on being a teenage male. So he comes into the kitchen he gets what he wants and he leaves. That can be a little frustrating when it comes to cleaning up as well.

However, when my sister quipped recently that she didn’t believe either of her children (niece and nephew) knew what the dishwasher was, I know this is not just a male thing it’s just a kid thing. And I know from my other friends that there are many similar tales of “kitchen destruction” left in the wake of various aged children.

I guess it’s the whole thing when you’re a kid you don’t understand, but when you’re a grown-up you understand all too well. It’s kind of like you never understood why your mother got annoyed when there were multiple boxes of half eaten cereal in the cupboard, until you open your own cupboard and you have four open boxes of teenager designated cereal, and two are the same thing.

It seems to me that when we were growing up for the most part we had little assigned chores we were just expected to do. If we were lucky we got a little allowance out of them, but most of the time it was just we were expected to do it. We were expected to help.

Whenever I mention this, this is where my husband asks me if I was a robot growing up, and no honey, I wasn’t. We just had chores we were expected to do. And that was for me when my mother’s inner Pennsylvania German shined through, so I try not to be a bear about it as an adult in my own house. But I haven’t quite figured out what the balance is which will get me help once in a while when I need it …without me sounding like a nag.

It would be really nice to have occasional kitchen elves visit me. Unfortunately I live in Chester county, so I’m far more likely to get a mouse instead ūü§£

Thanks for listening to my womanly gripes, and men? Live dangerously help your ladies clean up the kitchen. One benefit will be will you save money on hand cream and manicures.

Thanks for stopping by.

domestic diva monday

Yes I was a domestic diva today and practiced some old-fashioned housewifery.  Apparently I am falling down on the job, because I just realized I still have a bed to change.

I have always been a little Becky Home Ecky, but I have a new appreciation of the stay at home moms and housewives extraordinaire I know.¬† They make it seem effortless, and it’s not always that at all.

Me, I have a habit of spilling on myself while cooking.  And that is after my morning French Press.

After gardening and straightening up and all that good stuff, I decided to play in the kitchen.

It’s summer, so I do indeed like to use local and cook fresh.¬† Part of this fresh cooking pays homage to my Pennsylvania German Grandmother and Italian Great Aunts and Grandmother.¬† Of course from them I get the little of this, little of that, what do you mean I have to write it down style of cooking.

First I made a couple of marinades.  One on little steaks being grilled this evening, and boneless pork chops tomorrow.  The steak marinade was made extra fun with the addition of a couple of the masala blends I have and chili powder mix from Jayshree Seasonings.  The pork is brewing in a marinade made from leftover homemade barbecue sauce.  BBQ sauce is SO easy to make.  And tastes so much better.

Now when I think of BBQ sauce I think of Southern Cooks.  Not just the queen of butter Paula Deen, but ones I have known personally (who are not on Food Network or the Cooking Channel!).

Speaking of the Food Channel, who watches Food Network’s The Next Food Network Star?¬†Well I am and I am rooting in particular for a lady from Alabama named Martie from Team Alton.

So her name is Martie Duncan and she has a food blog called Martie Knows Parties.  Martie is the only true home cook in the bunch.

I found out today that in the weird small world of it all she is a close friend of a woman I am in a blogging network with who tells me she’s¬† “known her since 2002, and she’s just so nice. She’s completely self-made. She put herself thru college by working as a cop. She did wedding planning, did set design on My Best Friend’s Wedding movie, ran a successful online startup called WeddingPoints.com.

When WeddingPoints went out of business, she was devastated. But she reinvented herself and started from scratch as a blogger with nothing because she (as well as her investors in this business) used  personal savings to give severance pay to her employees.

She’s blogged for MyRecipes and MSN and run her own blog.¬† ¬†She auditioned for Food Network Star even though (and they don’t say this on the show) most of the contestants were actually picked/recruited by the network. She cooked her entry dish in a fire station in Chicago after driving all night from Alabama.”

Is she a perfect person? Doesn’t matter and you can see she is putting her all into this.¬† And I would rather watch someone like her versus that chick Nadia G.¬†from Bitchin’ Kitchen on The Cooking Channel.¬† Nadia’s voice and her set assail the senses and I don’t mean that in a positive way.

But back to my kitchen.  I was playing around and cooked up this thing I do with fresh fruit every summer that is like a town with no name.  It has no name.  It is part cake and part cobbler.

I took some cherries and peaches (I am aces at pitting cherries now), tossed them in some orange juice, fresh grated ginger (tip: you can freeze fresh ginger nicely and grate it easier that way), sugar (brown and white), a couple of tablespoons of corn starch.

I tossed that into the bottom of a buttered pan. 

I did not feel like rolling out a crust for a pie (a tip I forgot to share  I think on pie crusts РMartha Stewart says brush your crust in the pan with egg white before adding filling, well I saw on some show of using butter instead and butter works better as far as keeping the pie crust bottom from going mushy but I digress). So anyway in the spirit of desert with no name, I threw some flour in a bowl, added baking powder, one egg, sugar, cinnamon and ginger, a little oil and whisked it up into a cake batter kind of sort of.

Poured the batter over the fruit in the pan, and went to the crumble topping: brown sugar, little bit of flour, butter, cinnamon and ginger and oatmeal.

Crumbly topping added to the fun as third and top layer.  Pan placed in Bain Marie and put in a 350 degree over for I forget how long.  Probably 45 minutes or so.

In between I¬†husked¬†a few ears of the first sweet corn of the season for tonight and tossed together a little potato salad for tomorrow.¬† The potato salad is with new red potatoes from West Chester Grower’s Market mixed with flat parsley, sweet onion and a dill and herb mayonnaise mustard mix that has a little malt vinegar to it.¬† This is a potato salad I will add capers and celery and cucumber to if I have them in.

I have to run as I still need to saute a few mushrooms for my steaks¬†and make a salad.¬† The salad will be fresh greens from the farmers’ markets – bitter and regular, with a vinaigrette of my own creation.

See ya!

(Remember, if you like or love chestercountyramblings, please consider nominating this blog for a Blue Ribbon Blogger Award with Country Living Magazine.)

becky home ecky release me from my bonds

It’s cooking week apparently…and doctor?¬† I think I am nesting.¬† My friend Linda even caught me in an apron. (There will be no film at 11 lest I suddenly spot orthopedic¬†oxfords and a hair net too.)

Today homemade Mexican was just calling my name.

One of the other fun things about Chester County is tucked in here and there are little ethnic grocery stores and organic grocery stores, in addition to regular grocery stores and farm markets.  I have also discovered the regular grocery stores have a better selection than their counterparts I was used to on the Main Line. And I am not even talking Wegmans, which while lovely I find waaaaayyy too expensive.

So today there I was minding my own business and that chicken I roasted the other night practically screamed “enchiladas!” so I thought, why not?

While I was out dodging the Buicks from the Retirement Vatican also known as Hershey’s Mill, I thought I would like fresh salsa too, so I picked up all the ingredients, snipped herbs from garden and dinner smells marvelous and is only a few minutes away from being served.

I would have to kill you if I told you my secret enchilada recipe, but I will tell you today it also contains fresh Queso which I found in my travels today – in the dairy case, not by the side of the road.

 

My salsa recipe – which gets tweaked here and there:

4 round, ripe, preferably organic or local tomatoes (not huge, just average)

3 tomatillos

1 large red onion

1 yellow or orange sweet pepper

1 small bunch of cilantro

fresh basil, oregano minced

1 packet of Goya Sazon

Dash sweet paprika

Dash smoked paprika

salt and pepper

Lime zest of two limes, juice of three limes

1 pleasantly plump Jalapeno pepper, diced and seeded

It’s not rocket science, only salsa, so chop it up, toss it in a blender or food processor and pulse until desired consistency is achieved (we are of a couple different minds in my house – I like it more chunky, the boy and the man prefer it a little more smooth even if to me that is Gazpacho’s kissing cousin.)

It keeps a few days nicely in the fridge.

Domestic Diva over and out.