Square Foot Gardening

The Beginning

The Beginning

This year we tried the “square foot gardening” method of raising veggies for The Kitchen Island. Webster was skeptical at first but he’s starting to see the benefits now! Herewith, The Kitchen Island’s kitchen garden!

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Posted in Garden, Heart Healthy, Spices, Veggies | 1 Comment

The 5th Annual Kitchen Island Bake-a-Thon!

OMG! Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark!

OMG! Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark!

OMG! Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark!

For the fifth year in a row The Kitchen Island hosted a Christmas Bake-a-Thon, a day-long sugar and caloric bacchanalia of epic proportions to which Wanda invites a slew of her many nieces – ages 5 to 16 – to The Kitchen Island for a day of baking, mentoring, crafting, present wrapping, life guidance and general frivolity. The best laid plans notwithstanding, the festivities, historically speaking, generally spin wildly out of control by about 2.30. Webster, having lived through all the previous iterations, moved quickly and decisively to contain the damage. Having fully stocked the liquor cabinet in anticipation of the event, he grabbed the gin and the remote, headed for the living room and camped out in front of the fireplace and the TV for the day’s football schedule.

But that’s another story. Today’s post is about what Webster considers the event’s piéce de résistance – salted caramel pretzel bark – and the primary reason he anticipates this annual invasion of The Kitchen Island by waves of girlie girls and the chaos it inevitably spawns. This one is among the most simple recipes in our book so, here we go…

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Posted in Chocolate, Dessert | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Crab and Corn Chowder with Mashed Potatoes

Crab and corn chowder

Crab and corn chowder over mashed potato

It’s December and it’s cold! That usually calls for a goose down parka and mittens, but for The Kitchen Island, cold weather suggests a belly-filling, hot bowl of comfort. So, grab your large enamel pot and let’s get started!

This chowder recipe was added to the regular rotation at The Kitchen Island a few months ago after enjoying a similar dish at The Eastville Inn in historic Eastville, Virginia.  Chef Brent delivered a delectable distribution of flavors that warmed my soul and left me with the desire to recreate and share this discovery with as many foodies as possible.  I mean, chowder paired with mashed potatoes?!? Really?!? Am I the only gal alive who hasn’t experienced this mind-blowing concoction? Possibly not.
So, I pulled down the cookbooks and scoured the sites of top notch magazine websites to find that perfect match.  Food and Wine won the distinct honor of becoming the Chowder Contributor and therefore, The Kitchen Island presents… Crab and Corn Chowder over mashed potatoes!

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Posted in Crabs, Dinner, Soups | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Roasted Baby Eggplant with Goat Cheese

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Our recipe posts here at The Kitchen Island are not always our own creations.  We comb through cookbooks; scan the magazines while waiting in the checkout line; and spend endless hours surfing the worldwide web.  Most of the time, we pull several recipes for one dish.  We take a little inspiration from each recipe and create a masterpiece! Very rarely do we use someone else’s exact recipe…but when we do, we definitely dish out the props..no pun intended😜  So, our chefs hats go off to one of our favorite blogs…runningtothekitchen.com! This recipe was perfect…no alterations needed.

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Clam and Bacon Pizza! OMG!!

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Sunday night at The Kitchen Island, after a hard day of arduously relaxing aboard Faith under sail on the Chesapeake Bay, a less formal – but no less formidable – dinner is the order of the day. Home-made pizza with bacon and fresh clams is guaranteed to fill the bill!

While the Fair Wanda assembled the ingredients and sipped a glass of Pinot Gris, I availed myself of an adult beverage – and began salivating over the growing array of delicious components being readied for the evening’s repast. But Webster’s job is to handle the photography, so I’ll let Wanda take it from here.

One recent Sunday morning, as we were flipping through the inspirational pages of the September 2013 edition of Bon Appetit, we stumbled upon this coastal delicacy. Blanched garlic, which is sweet and mild, is blended with briny clam liquor and olive oil to make a creamy white sauce for this unconventional, unbelievably delicious, gastronomic tour de force!

Before we embarked on this recipe, our biggest concern was the time and effort required to blanch the garlic. However, never ones to shy away from a culinary challenge, we reached for our chef’s knives and jumped in with both burners! As it turned out, the effort was minimal – the time required was essentially waiting for the water to boil which allowed for a few extra sips of a charming Sonoma region pinot gris. On top of that, the amount of sauce we ended up with far exceeded what we needed and we’re going to experiment by adding this flavorful elixir to future creations at The Kitchen Island. Make sure you refrigerate your remaining sauce and leave a comment here on our blog describing how you used it.

Bob Appetit states that you can find this dish on the menu at Area Four, a restaurant in Cambridge, MA. Now, we haven’t been there to confirm this claim, but Bon Appetit has never let us down before. If you don’t happen to be scheduled to appear in Cambridge, MA, any time soon, here’s how we did it.

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Posted in Appetizers, Clams, Dinner, Pizza, Seafood`, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Soft Shell Crabs are in the House!

Grilled Soft Shells

Grilled Soft Shell Crabs

Grilled Soft Shell Crabs! (Yummm!)

At this time of year in our neck of the woods, soft shell crabs become available and, as with the short-lived white asparagus season in France, lovers of these delicious creatures begin to get the shakes as soon as the first “Soft Shells Are In!” signs sprout on the roadway, in shop windows and on restaurant “Specials” boards.

Soft-shell crab is the culinary term for crabs which have recently molted their old exoskeleton and are still soft. The soft-shell is the blue crab in its molted state. The molting process means an abundant supply of soft crabs from late spring to early fall, with May through September ranking as the most productive months.

Peeler Pounds

Crabs, in the process of shedding, are watched constantly.

The soft-shell season is traditionally marked with the first full moon in May. At that time, the blue crab begins its molting season to accommodate its summer growth. The actual shedding of the shell can take anywhere from one to three hours, after which it must be removed or the hardening process will continue, reducing the quality of the soft-shell crab.

Soft-shells are harvested in their peeler stage in peeler pounds or pots and transferred to shedding operations where they are monitored around the clock.

When purchasing soft-shells, you would be wise to understand the terminology of size. The following chart should help you out:

Medium: 2.5 or 4.0 inches

Hotel: 4. to 4.5 inches

Prime: 4.5 to 5.0 inches

Jumbo: 5.0 to 5.5 inches

Whales: over 5.5 inches

These babies are a much sought-after delicacy here at The Kitchen Island and Wanda is about to show you how to prepare them. Click on “Continue Reading” for the details… and a short video!

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Posted in Crabs, Dinner, Seafood`, Soft Shells | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Missing Soft Shells! Oh no!!!!!

Our last post – the one about grilled soft shell crabs – has suffered a technological mishap. presumably not fatal. The video wouldn’t load!

Our team of crack propeller-heads has been loosed on the problem and the post will back up as soon they finish a few more gulps of Jolt! Sorry for the inconvenience!

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