“In My Kitchen” November 2020

I’m starting this draft on the evening of November 3, Election Day in the U.S.   I’m setting on my patio watching the sun go down, enjoying a wonderful Indian Summer evening, sipping a cocktail, listening to a Wilco station on Pandora, and smelling the aromatic pinion wood burn in our chimenea.  (It’s too early to start watching election results.)

Just relaxing.  No stress drinking.

It’s a perfect evening.

I hope that whatever the outcome of the 2020 election that things are just as calm and peaceful as my evening was as all the votes are counted.

We shall see.  Fingers crossed.  I also hope we all work together, listen to conversations, and come out of 2020 all the better, health-wise, socially, and mentally.


What was new in my kitchen in October?  Let’s take a peak.

Holiday Tea

This is the best stuff.  I can find it at World Market.  It’s a bit pricey, but I stock up as soon as it hits the shelves.  I bought these two cans at the very beginning of October.  I need to go back and buy a few more.  I ran out around June this year.  I love drinking it (and rationing it) throughout the year.  The aroma of it always reminds me of the holidays.

The weekend of October 24 found us moving all the plants from the patio into the greenhouse.  (That’s a chore).  It also found us in the garden picking tomatoes and peppers and eggplant.   I had to preserve the late harvest.

I started to try to pickle the eggplant but I read that “Pickling eggplant is unsafe in the U.S.”  Is that prophetic?  I stir-fried it instead.  But I did pickle the jalapenos.

Candied Jalapenos and Pickled Jalapenos

You can see how many pickled jalapenos (and carrots) we have eaten. That quart jar was once full.  Candied jalapenos are in the half-pint jars.

And lots of green tomatoes.

Pickled Green Tomatoes 

Yes, that’s a gallon jar of green tomato relish. You can see we’ve already dived in. Pickled green cherry tomatoes in the foreground,

Green Tomato Relish

This is my grandmother’s recipe.  We’ve never figured out why it was called “Celery Relish”  when it calls for a peck of green tomatoes and only three stalks of celery.  🙂  I remember this stuff with such fondness and nostalgia.  It seems like she always had a gallon of it in her fridge.


I dried the habaneros (and there might have been some other kind of hot peppers in the mix) and then pulverized them into a powder.

I did have to wear a mask while I processed the dried peppers in the blender.  I love the color.  We’ve used some of the powder in a rub for a pork shoulder.  Delicious (in small amounts).

Pre-freeze pickings
There were also a few tomatoes and these great peppers to pick before the freeze.

These are a great sweet pepper.  I’ve seen them called starfish peppers and lipstick peppers.  Love them.  These got sliced up for a pizza.

I bought this cookbook, Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gatherings,  for a wedding present and had to peruse through it before it went into the gift bag.  I’ve always been a fan of Fixer Upper and I do admire some of Gaines’ products in Target.  I have to say that I was impressed with this cookbook.  I made notes and copied a few recipes like Shepherd’s Pie; Brussels Sprouts w/Crispy Bacon, Toasted Pecans & Balsamic Reduction; White Bean Hummus; Party Queso (w/cream, two kinds of beans, and the obligatory Velveeta); Layered Arugula Salad; Flatbread Pizza (w/Prosciutto & New Potatoes); Jalapeno Drip Jam (a new concept); Orange Scones; Savory Ham & Cheese Bread Pudding; and Eggs Benedict Casserole.

The photographs are fabulous.  I also appreciated the hednotes to each recipe.  Each one tells a bit about the recipe and sometimes some family lore like with Syrian Donuts.  All the recipes seem very doable (and delicious).

Without sounding like an old fart, I think this book is perfect for a young newlywed.   Gaines includes a list of items for the pantry, essential tools, and ideas for planning family gatherings.  The introduction begins with a narrative of Gaines’ first few months of marriage.  I loved the story about “It doesn’t taste like my mom’s spaghetti.”  (I have a similar potato salad experience from my young married life of long ago.)

I hope to post  recipes soon from this cookbook.  This book might make me check out the sequel, Magnolia Table:  Volume Two.  

In My Kitchen  is hosted by Sherry’s Pickings.

I’m also linking up with Foodies Read for the cookbook review.  


What’s my curveball this month?

Absolutely nothing to do with the kitchen…

Sedaris’ latest…hot off the press.  Cannot wait to read it.  Hopefully it will provide some smiles.  I’m so excited about this book that I also celebrated it on my last post.

31 comments to “In My Kitchen” November 2020

  • I can tell from all the pickles that you had a productive garden this year. Thanks for sharing, Deb.

  • I have a bunch of green tomatoes. I’m going to make your grandma’s relish with them. Thanks for sharing.

  • mae

    Gallon jars of pickles — that’s impressive! As I’m not a gardener, and didn’t get to the farmers’ market this year (too risky with covid cases) I didn’t store up any produce for winter at all. It looks like fun to drink Christmas tea all year around.

    be well… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    • Yes, I really missed the FMs. There was a small one that we would stop at on our way to the lake but it wasn’t anything like our “street-blocked-off” one which is massive (which we did NOT venture to).

  • I’ll have to check out that cookbook. Looks interesting. You mentioning the greenhouse has me interested in getting one again. It gets so hot here and I could get a head start when it’s cold on tomatoes and peppers.

  • May your wishes for this year be heard by many! It is so sad that the elections have not been dealt with in an adult fashion. One can only hope for peace. Love your granny’s recipe card – I had a box of those as well. And what a wonderful wedding gift. At least your mask was worn for something other than venturing out of the house. Stay well!

  • Liz

    We got some of those lipstick peppers in our CSA box, they were delicious. I preserved a bunch in olive oil and they have been delicious in sandwiches or on pizza.

    You had a wonderful harvest.

    • That is a great idea. I had three plants this past season and would only get enough or salads or pizza toppings—not enough to preserve. I hope to get plants out earlier next year. Will remember it!

  • ooh tell me more – why is it dangerous to pickle eggplant in the US? I love this post; so many good things in it. lipstick peppers is a great name. every time i see the word ‘peppers’ on an american blog, i think of black peppercorns. as i’m sure you know, we call those hot little babies chillies. the election is agonising isn’t it? it was all over our tv’s on your election day, so we’re getting fed up with hearing about it. and i just want to slap that orange man with a wet herring! i have that magnolia table book too but i haven’t spent much time on it. i must grab it off the shelves again. thanks heaps for joining in this month and see you next month!
    cheers and take care

  • I have no idea. All I can think of is that they’re not acidic but that’s why one would pickle them, right? So even non-hot peppers are called chilies? Interesting. Let’s hope by next month things are calmer here.

  • One thing I can say with certainty is that you have a spicy kitchen with all your home grown peppers being put to good use.

  • Mmm, green tomatoes. Love ’em. Love the patio picture, too — that’s such a nice place to hang out.

  • What amazing preserving! I think the spirit of conserving things for another time when the weather is different is so lovely. Sure is a form of time travel back to the productive time of the year.

  • The colour of the dried peppers is beauitful and I am sure has a spicy kick to it. Lovely produce from your garden and your patio looks so inviting with the wood burning fire 🙂

  • Debra, your patio cocktail “peace” sounded like a great way to celebrate election day/night. (Weeks…?) Hopefully, you’ve recreated that scene as the vote counting continues! I also enjoyed your canning & preserving efforts, including the typed recipe card! (I have my Grandma’s recipe for “Green Tomato Relish” and will have to compare notes.) Any green tomatoes I got my hands on were immediately FRIED! (Long live the South…) Loved your “starfish & lipstick” peppers, too — cute, creative names! Glad to hear I’m not the only one who reads cookbooks and copies recipes before giving them away as gifts, tee hee. Stay safe & well, xo!

  • Glenda

    I also had the question about the celery in my mother’s recipe. I only had enough green tomatoes for 1/2 gallon of the relish. I did a little search about the celery and learned that a stalk is the cluster of ribs. So I used a complete large stalk for my half gallon. So next year you could try more celery.

    • OK, well that makes sense. But, wouldn’t that make even more? Maybe we’ve created a new recipe with our three little rib version.

  • I just love looking at all the late harvest vegetables. You have quite a variety there and it looks like you put them all to good use. Green tomato pickles are the best!

    • Actually just got a few more habaneros (not from my garden but from a friends). Not sure what to do with them. (Every time I pop a pickled green cherry tomato into my mouth, I think of my grandmother, too. She also had large jars of pickles in her fridge.)

  • i always marvel at what you have been up to in your kitchen,honestly! So much to comment on, but i will just comment on your candied Jalapenos and pickled Jalapenos – DELICIOUS. I am cutting back on cookbooks and trying to cook from the ones that i already have, but Magnolia Table does intrigue me – the Jalapeno Drip Jam – so hopefully, i will be able to flick through the pages the next time i am able to visit a bookshop in the city – ah i miss those days.