“In My Kitchen” August 2018

I am prone to over share sometimes so I will be brief.

This is the first August in many decades that I will not walk into my own classroom.  (I started out teaching high school English straight out of college.)   Or, my own counseling office.  (I was the school counselor for eight years.)   Or the principal’s office.  (I was the high school principal for thirteen years.)

These experiences were all at the same small rural school.

I won’t have to make hard decisions about suspending students.  I will not have to be standing on bus duty by 7 AM every morning.   I will not have to wait for that final bus to pull through in the late afternoons in driving rain or freezing temperatures.   I WON’T HAVE TO DRIVE A BUS!

I can actually have a hair style now and wear cute (not sensible) shoes.

Although I will still be in the public school system, I will not be in charge.   Instead I will be working as a consultant with two different larger districts.

It is refreshing and I am looking forward to it!  Really, you have no idea.

I will miss the families (some of which I was nearing seeing three generations come through the building).  I will miss the teachers who were dedicated to always doing less with more.   I will miss some of my very best friends who always made me laugh, even on the worse days.   But, I am looking forward to new adventures and journeys.  It’s going to be a great year.


So, that’s what’s new with me.  Now on to the kitchen.

Picked before the cukes died.

The squash and cucumber plants have bitten the dust, probably due to neglect.   We are still getting lots of  cherry tomatoes and peppers.  Our eggplant (which I have never had good luck with) is producing and I have picked two beauties.

I decided to pick up this can of puree at the wine making store.   It was expensive ($20) but I actually thought it would be cost effective at the time and besides, good apricots are hard to find.   I concocted an apricot-vanilla jam recipe.   Epic fail and I will not do that again.  Not recommended.  🙁

The newest Cook the Books Club selection is Sourdough  by Robin Sloan.  I highly recommend it and you can read the announcement post here.   I ordered some sourdough starter because I obviously want to make something yeasty for my inspired-by recipe.  Another epic disaster.   We were rocking along fairly well, my cheese cloth covered jar and I.  Then, mold set in.  I threw it out.  Earlier this year after watching the “Air” episode of Cooked with Michael Pollan, I tried capturing my own sourdough culture from our own environment.  Didn’t work out either.  I have one more recipe to try that uses regular yeast to get things frothing.  We will see.  I am not optimistic.

I love the graphics on this label. The contents are great as well.

Let’s end this post as I started out—on a positive note!   On a recent trip out of state, I found this delicious local craft brew.   I love the label but the contents are pretty delicious, too, especially for summer.  If you are in Lawrence, KS (a cool college town), check out Free State brewing.

That’s it for this edition of “In My Kitchen.”  IMK is hosted by Sherry Sherry’s Pickings.

24 comments to “In My Kitchen” August 2018

  • Wow, where to start here?! First off congrats on your new position. Sounds like a great job and while you’ll miss some things about your old positions, great new opportunities here!
    Bummer about the sourdough starter and the apricot jam. I was thinking of ordering a sourdough starter from King Arthur but you experiences have me wondering. It’s like having a new pet with the starer. I just don’t know.

    Beauty of an eggplant! I remember my exhilaration when we finally produced eggplant. Haven’t had a garden lately though.
    Oh, I used to live in Lawrence KS but just for a bit during my first marriage, It’s been years since I set foot in Kansas!

    • Really, I am so much less stressed. It is amazing. I still really need to experiment with making my own starter SOON or I won’t make my own CTB deadline!

  • Glenda

    Know that your family is just as excited as you about your new position.

  • Congrats on your new job! How come a can of apricot puree costs so much?? I look forward to your sourdough bread :-)) Have a great weekend, Deb!

    • It was a large can (for making wine) but it wasn’t the largest one they had. The gallons were something like $35-40. At least I didn’t “big-eye” it and by the large can for this epic fail!

  • mae

    The novel Sourdough is really inspiring! My daughter has been making bread, waffles, pizza, bagels, and all sorts of other sourdough bakes ever since she read it. I loved the book too but didn’t go the baking route. So sorry that your experiments didn’t make it.

    I wish you a great further career — you must have been a very dedicated leader in your school!

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    • I’m glad to know that she’s successful in the sourdough realm! I really need to follow through and try it again….Thanks for the good thoughts!

  • thanks for joining in IMK. good luck with your new job. hope it all goes well. yes why is that apricot puree so much?:) seems excessive. love the rabbit label on the bottle. reminds me of the White Rabbit in Alice in wonderland. have a good month. cheers sherry

  • That’s an impressive eggplant. I’ve tried to grow them a couple of times and they always look a bit sad and shrivelled!

  • Congratulations. Each journey in your life sounds like it has been a good one and I’m sure that you are going to enjoy your new career.

  • Pam

    Congratulations and your new adventure in life and the best to you! Sounds like to me you wore many hats, and deserve a break now. Enjoy your new hairstyle and shoes! 🙂

    • I just feel like I need to expound on the hair and shoe statement. There was no reason to simply not pull my hair back in a clip or band because any hairstyle I attempted would be potentially ruined by 8 AM in the Oklahoma wind. Also, sense I routinely did 10,000+ steps a day without any effort, I wore very comfortable shoes. 🙂 I am going to have to start walking after work to maintain some level of exercise now, though! 🙂

  • One can never share too much of what’s in the kitchen IMO. I’m a nosy person so I love seeing what others have. 🙂 Love seeing fresh produce. Hoping that our garden comes back after hail damaged it a couple of weeks ago. BTW – after 25 years in the classroom, I went into educational consulting and loved it. Got to meet so many new, creative people who appreciated the help. So good luck to you! You’re going to love it!

    • I did not know that about you, MJ! It’s a small world. And yes, I am meeting people who are passionate about what they do. It’s wonderful to see and experience.

  • Debra, that was a wonderful testimony to ‘life’ in education, especially in a small rural school system. Share away! Change (and cute shoes) are afoot for you — bravo for driving a bus, too! Best wishes on your new career and ongoing IMK adventures. What did you make with your eggplant?

    • BTW, we have a lot in common. My previous life included being a high school principal’s secretary for four years, as well as pseudo-principal/counselor (the last year) after they downsized that position to part-time and eliminated the counselor altogether. I SO hear ya on the “joys” of discipline and multi-tasking! I was also once married to an English teacher for 13 years… long live T.S. Eliot. 🙂

      • OMG! The school secretary could run the whole joint! Wow, and it’s great that the students had you when they eliminated the counseling position ??????? (How were they able to pull that off?) TSE rules, btw! 🙂

    • Cute shoes are afoot! HAHAHAHA!!! I made a salad (posting soon) but want to revisit a lot of older eggplant recipes that I have posted. The rustic dip one is great!

  • H Debra, I hven’t been ovr awhile, not blogging or reading blogs as much as I used too.
    I want to say Wow – what a peek into your life. I did not know any of that about you, what an amazing and challenging role and one you did for so long. Congratulations on your new role and now being able to wear what you’d like to, as opposed to how you should. I do hope this new role will be enjoyable!

    A friend posted me some sourdough starter through the post last week. I am still very confused about it and unsure how to maintain it without killing it, but I have fed it and yesterday attempted a loaf. I will be be slicing it later today. Good luck with the sourdough starter again.As a veg grower myself, you know this – i love your home grown veg. Very best of wishes.

    • It is raining today so I have already decided that I will be spending all day in the kitchen. I am going to start that starter if it kills me…. Thanks for the good thoughts, too!