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Kitchen Bigamy

The problem is, I love them both.  The one kitchen has all the equipment, but the other has more mouths to feed.  I know what the first kitchen should produce, but sometimes experiments in the second kitchen crash and burn.  The one has a fluid flow, everything in its place and fully functional, the other comes with the fun of teaching this and teaching that and explaining something else while trying to improvise since it lacks some fundamentals.

It can get confusing, having two kitchens.  Sometimes I'm in one, looking for something, only to realize that the something is in the other kitchen.  Or I'll be at the grocery store and KidTwo will ask if we have Saltines and I'll say we just bought some, then she'll say she thinks I didn't and I remember that I bought some for the other kitchen.  Or butter will go on sale and I won't be able to remember if I filled up that other freezer already or this one.

My kitchen is an old friend: it knows my moods and can accomodate all, from a complex meal to comfort food in a hurry.  I can decide that I want to make something without having to wonder if there's really a rolling pin in one of the drawers because I know there are three, all different.  The pastry blender is right where it should go and the nut grinder is up with the sifter, and down in the lower cabinet, there's every baking pan I could ever need.

The other kitchen has a nut grinder now because I bought it one on ebay.  It has some baking pans of its own, while others are on loan from the first kitchen.  It has a sifter that we found at the used kitchen equipment store, but it doesn't have a pastry blender yet.  When I made pie crust the other night, I demonstrated to GirlOne the old-fashioned way of cutting the shortening in with knives, which still works perfectly well.  

***Note to self:  Put pastry blender on the list. 

The second kitchen has a good handheld mixer, but it doesn't have a monster mixer like the first kitchen does.  Since I wanted to make honeybuns with GirlOne during her winter break from school (honeybuns take all day and about twenty minutes to knead by hand), I lugged my monster mixer down from the first kitchen.  It tipped over with a terrible clatter when I rounded the first corner after leaving the driveway, so I pulled over, stood it back up, and lovingly strapped it in with a seatbelt.  As it turned out, GirlOne slept past noon on the day chosen for honeybuns, having been up until four talking on the computer with a friend in London, so instead of honeybuns, we made bread.  Plain white bread, but oh so good from scratch.  The kids loved it and when GirlOne left yesterday for a sleepover at another friend's home, she took the rest of the bread with her.  That bread being baked in the second kitchen, it was formed into rolls, because the second kitchen doesn't have loaf pans yet.

***Note to self:  Put loaf pans on the list.

The first kitchen has a pan big enough for our fudge recipe, but the second kitchen doesn't.  That was okay, though, as we divided the fudge up and added mint chocolate chips to this section and then nuts in a subsection of that.  The plain fudge went in a pan, the mint fudge with no nuts went on a dinner plate, and the mint fudge with nuts went in a pie plate.  Looked a bit funny in the freezer, but the freezer didn't mind.

***Note to self:  Put jelly roll pan on the list.

The first kitchen has a full set of dumpling makers, big, medium, small, and tiny.  The first three are marvelous bits of engineering, with the bottom of the dumpling maker being exactly right to cut out the piece of pie crust to fit in the top of the dumpling maker and then filled.  The dumpling makers visited the second kitchen to check if the kids there would be interested in a set; they were.  I made the kids pasties and had them cut out and then fill the dumplings, figuring correctly that participatory preparation would make them more likely to try something new.  (BoyTwo is always afraid someone will force him to eat something unpleasant, and BoyThree follows BoyTwo's lead in all things, so getting BoyTwo to willingly take that first bite isn't always easy.)  The pasties were a success with the girls, but not cared for by the boys.  (If they don't like something, I don't make them eat it, but I also don't make them something else--they get to fill up on whatever else is available.  An ogre I'm not, but neither am I a short-order cook.  And I do insist on that first bite.)  GirlFour had so much fun making pasties that she got a couple made and on the baking sheet before I could fill them.  She happily dipped her finger in water to seal them but missed the bit about it needing to be just on the edges, so she traced little finger trails of water all over whatever bit of dough was in front of her.

***Note to self:  Put dumpling makers on the list.

I love this particular pasty recipe, so I'm going to put it here--in just a minute.  I came across this recipe years ago when I was a sixteen-year-old clerk in a gift shop.  It was on a calendar hanging in the back room of that gift shop, a calendar that had been given out as a promotion by an insurance salesman.  Each month had a pretty picture and then, for no obvious reason at all, a recipe under the picture.  Whoever chose the recipes did a good job--I copied down several of them.  The pasty recipe I carried around from pillar to post for years, taking it to the midwest and then to the Far East and then back to the midwest and finally home again to California.  After about twenty-five years of carefully not tossing that scrap of paper whenever it came to light, I finally made the pasties.  They were very good the first day and absolutely sublime the second day.  Me being me, I modified the recipe a little, adapting it to the tastes of my particular self and audience.

Here is the recipe as modified and as I made it three days ago:

One pound of ground turkey (uncooked)

1/2 an onion, finely chopped

About one pound of potatoes, boiled but not too soft (I used Yukon Golds, but russets work fine)

One clove garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp rubbed sage

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/8 tsp ground cloves*

1 tsp salt

Put the potatoes on to boil, then in a skillet brown the meat, onion, garlic, salt, and spices.  When the meat is done, set it aside.  When the potatoes are cooked but not too soft (because I like actual bits of potato instead of potato mush), mash them a bit, then mix them with the meat mixture.  Bake this in a two-crust pie or in individual pasties, 45 minutes at 375 degrees for the pie or until browned for the pasties. 

When I did this three days ago, the package of ground turkey was 20oz, not 16oz, and it didn't make a bit of difference.  There was just enough fat (7 %) in the meat and moisture in the onion that I didn't need to use any additional grease in the skillet.

Pork works as well, but there I brown the meat with the onion and garlic and then drain off the fat before returning the pan to the heat and adding the salt and spices to cook a little further.

For the vegetarians and vegans out there, I've also made this with textured vegetable protein--the stuff made to act like ground beef--and we've enjoyed it a lot.

*The original recipe called for 1/4 tsp cloves, but I buy my cloves from the bulk spice bins at the co-op, where the spices are incredibly fresh and the ground cloves are so fresh as to be almost overwhelming.  If you're using older spices, or from the spice section of a regular supermarket, you can up the amount back to a quarter teaspoon.

GirlFour just woke up and came out, so I'm going to stop this here to cuddle the cutest, snuggliest three-year-old ever.  We'll read about Frances the badger, who always learns the hard way, eventually.


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Two kitchens...

Not often but occasionally I decide to fix a simple supper at my daughter's home so my son-in-law gets an infrequent break. I get so mixed up not knowing where things are. Often it is quicker for me to simply pack equipment and or spices than to look for them. Then when I get home, I may think like you that I have an item that I had purchased at the store and taken to the other house. So I really identified with this blog--even though I had never heard of pasties. They sound good.

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Hi Sue! It does get

Hi Sue! It does get confusing, trying to keep track of what I need and have where, and, like you, I tend to carry things from home a lot (and then have to work to remember to take them back again). The pasties are just individual meat pies/tarts made for Cornish miners to take down the mines to eat for lunch. Each miner's pasty would be marked with his initials for easy identification. I make them small, not big enough to cover a dinner plate, but they work just fine that way--and also as a regular pie.