A new chapter begins for Country Kitchen Chaos.


Welcome to the cousin of my blog Country Kitchen Chaos.  The “country-cousin” is a gluten-free culinary business and website called Country Kitchen Center.  I will be addressing gluten-free related topics and concerns. I became familiar with all things gluten-free (GF) when I realized that I had a gluten intolerance. I’ve talked to a lot of  GF people who have gone through their own version of discovering that gluten was making them ill. I had had symptoms for a long time, such as blotted belly, fatigue and brain fog; but when I had to retreat to my bed, every afternoon with utter exhaustion, I knew I had to try cutting out gluten.  I stopped eating all gluten products and within a month, I was a changed person.  This helped one problem, but caused another one – I had a growing baking business.  Eventually, I phased out my regular flour baking business, Buttercup Bakery and Culinary Center.  I learned to cook and bake with out using gluten and that was a steep learning curve.  However, how glorious to eat foods such as pancakes, not get brain fog and need a nap!!

Happily, I started a food business suited to my new life-style.  I am using this blog and my Facebook pages: Andrea Skolnick and Country Kitchen Center to communicate and post information until I am able to put my website on-line. You can also use my gmail address until my business email is active on my website.  One major focus of my new endeavor will be teaching students how to live well with a mandatory gluten-free life-style.  And, I’m including their family and friends, who want to be able to accommodate the gluten-free needs of their loved ones.  My CKCenter makes a great transition from selling baked goods to holding hands-on baking and cooking classes.  Classes begin this fall and my schedule is below.  I can’t wait to hear from the big and growing gluten-free community with questions, comments etc.

By the way, I will continue to use CKBlog to post cooking and recipe information.  Stay tuned for one on an Autumn Plum Torte.  It’s one of my favorite desserts and I’ve modified it to being gluten-free.

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                                                            COUNTRY KITCHEN CENTER
“Where you can learn to love your gluten-free life”.

1299 County Rd. 35, PO Box 214, Guilford, NY 13780

amskolnick@gmail.com; #646-670-769


                             2016 Fall Schedule – Prices: $95.00 each class*, early-bird discounts available.

Sept. 17, 18*                10:00am – 1:00pm       Homestyle Baking– Big flavor & taste. Make a Gluten-Free mix. Bake Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Scones.

Sept. 24, 25*                10:00am – 1:00pm      Breakfast Is Back – It’s a new game with gluten-free grains. Batter up for Pancakes, Waffles, Crepes & Muffins. Learn the technique for Egg Frittatas.

Oct. 1, 2*                      10:00am – 1:00pm      Pasta Mamma mia! Demystify GF dried pasta grains. Cook correct sauces with matching pasta shapes.

Oct. 22, 23*                  10:00am – 1:00pm      Pizza, Pizza – Bring happiness back in your life…develop a repertoire of GF Doughs and Toppings.

Oct. 29, 30*                  10:00am – 1:00pm      Halloween Treats – with none of the tricks. Oh my! Candy, Cookies & Cupcakes. Homemade Caramel Apples.

Nov. 5, 6*           10:00am – 1:00pm                Homestyle Baking – Big flavor & taste. Make a Gluten-Free mix. Bake Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Scones.

Nov. 12, 13, 19, 20* 10:00am – 1:00pm                    Thanksgiving Baking – Let’s Give thanks for GF Baking. Homemade Pies, Fruit Crisps, Tea Breads & Rolls.

Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11*         10:00am – 1:00pm      Holiday Cookie Basket – Fill your own gift basket with classic, seasonal favorites. Decorated Sugar Cookies, Gingerbread Men, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.
*        Each date is for a separate class.

Lentil, Feta & Pecan Salad or how to organize a tasty salad.

Countrykitchenchaos is about cooking and baking good, simple food. “CKC” is as much about dealing with time and organizational problems. As a person with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), I know how these problems can create chaos and stress in the kitchen. Anyone can learn how to work effectively in the kitchen. I used to be an armchair cook; I read cookbooks and culinary magazines, but I seldom cooked. I was intimidated by the myriad steps in the cooking process.  Learning how to be organized has helped turn me into a relaxed and focused cook.

Are you one of those cooks who never use a written recipe?  You look in the fridge, pantry or – if you are lucky – your own vegetable garden and use what your freshly grown ingredients. I do that sometimes and it is how I come up with my own recipes.  Other times I use recipes. After all, they have been developed and tested (hopefully), and the percentage of success can be quite high! Recipes can help you find inspiration instead of making the same dish over and over again.

I have a huge cookbook collection and will read through the entire book, savoring each recipe and culinary photo.  I also use the internet to search for recipes. If I make it and like it, I save it. But, here’s the rub: have you ever had trouble reading or following a recipe?  Following a recipe can be a daunting process for myself. And, if that recipe is on my iPhone, it’s small and hard to see. I usually can not read a recipe through and memorize all ingredients and steps. If the cooking steps are lumped together in big paragraphs, I might miss a step. I might also confuse the steps, especially in baking. Since baking is a science, such confusion is a big problem!!

So, what do I do when I cook from a recipe. First, I read it through to see if I want to make it.  I imagine the steps and methods required to make it.  If I choose to make it, I annotate the recipe, separate the steps so they are easier to follow. If it’s a baking recipe, I will make a bracket to denote ingredients that are mixed as a sequence of steps. The bracket method also helps me remember the ingredients and steps better. Sometimes, I insert numbers in the directions, when a new step begins. This helps a lot when the directions are lumped together.

I also figure out what kind of equipment I need (including items that are not mentioned in the recipe) and I write them down on my recipe notes page.  The recipe may tell you to use a bowl, but it works better if you know what size bowl you need. I take out the equipment and set it up in my work area. Then I don’t have to look for equipment when I’m in the middle of a step.

Here’s another helpful tip: it’s a must to check and see if I have the ingredients on hand. Keep a place handy for your shopping list.  In these technical days, I like to keep my shopping list in my iPhone. You might even keep an inventory of ingredients on hand, but that’s an entire project, so I tend to keep ingredients grouped by what kind of recipes I use them in.  For example, I group sweet and savory spices separately. I keep my flours together, my grains together, my cheeses together, etc., etc.

Today I am going to share a recipe that I especially like, Lentil Feta Pecan Salad. It is a great combination of ingredients and it is also gluten-free. Yes, I am also gluten intolerant!! I made the lentil salad to take to a retirement party.  When I’m ready to cook, I line up the ingredients in the order I will use them. Did you ever think there was so much to do with getting ready to cook.  But, it takes the pressure off the cooking process when you prep thoroughly. I don’t always take the time and then I regret it. And, much of successful cooking is in the organization and preparation.  Of course, good ingredients are also  a must for the best tasting food.  I’ll be posting more on organization and methods, but let’s get down to the business of cooking.

LENTIL FETA AND PECAN SALAD (inspired by In A Vermont Cookbook, by Amy Lyon & Lynne Andreen)

Serves 10 – 12

1 LB. Package French lentils
4 Quarts water
1 Cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 LB. Feta Cheese
5 Scallions, chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh, flat parsley.
1 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 Cup white wine vinegar
2 Cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper.

1) Rinse the lentils in a colander.
2) Add the lentils to boiling water and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Pour into the colander and rinse. Let cool.
3) Place the cooled lentils in a serving bowl. Add the pecans, feta cheese and scallions.
4) Make the salad dressing in a small bowl. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour half the dressing over the lentil mixture. Use a large spoon to mix together. Add the additional dressing as necessary to make it well coated. Garnish with parsley sprigs.IMG_0445

The dog ate my blog!

Blog_GingerTeaRylee photo

I recently started a blog, but I have only posted a few entries. I’ve been reading my blog books, learning how to create a post (that’s what you are reading now), take food photos The tea photo was staged by me and my co-photographer, but the dog photo is a snapshot, taken with my iphone.  I am discovering how to get my posts out into the blogosphere.  My blog, Country Kitchen Chaos is about being efficient when working in the kitchen and cooking; it is equally about dealing with ADD/ADHD and dis-organizational problems. These are two areas in which I have a great deal of knowledge and experience.  However, I also intend to blog about my current life from time to time. OK, so here goes…


Blog teacher: Where is your next post? It’s been several weeks.

Me: The dog ate my post.

Well, the dog did not actually eat my blog post. But, he might have for all the things in the house that he has eaten: shoes, linens, wood furniture.  What he has done, is to take all my time and attention. Two of the things that I have a hard time dealing with on a good day. Yes, I have continued to bake for my business Buttercup Bakery and Culinary Center. But, doing new things is always a mental battle for me.  And, blogging is a brand new venture that entails plenty of challenges.

Just as I started this blog, I found the rescue dog that I wanted to adopt. It was one month ago. About thesame time I dropped the ball on blogging. My new dog, Rylee is a 14 month old Collie mix. I am been disorganized since Rylee came into my life.   He is as sweet as a dog can be; but he has not had any training. He has the development of a 3 month old puppy. Every day is a battle of trying to control the leash when we take our walks. He is jealous of my two cats and jumps up on me, anytime I give them some attention. Rylee and I take long walks, but he still has “accidents” in the house. I am signed up for training classes, but they can’t come soon enough.

Shortly, after I added Rylee to my furry family, I came down with a wicked case of Bronchitis. Hmmm, could dog owner stress be a reason!! Coughing has become my daily form of exercise.   I’ve been using a tea remedy I learned from someone who lives in the Caribbean Islands. It certainly helps sooth my throat. Try it whenever you have a respiratory ailment or sore throat. I make my tea with local honey; which is said to be better for your immune system.

Ginger Tea with Lemon & Honey

1 tea bag of your choice (I like Twinning’s teas.  i.e. English Breakfast or Earl Grey)
1 t. local honey, or to taste
1 thick slice, peeled fresh ginger
1 wedge lemon, squeezed into tea.


Use the back of a spoon to peel the ginger skin.  It works like a dream.

Squeeze the lemon wedge into the tea and discard the rind.  I find that if the rind is left in the tea, it gives it a more bitter taste.

Creating a Blog called Country Kitchen Chaos

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Distracted person’s kitchen

I am so glad to start a blog.  I think that my food blog will be an exciting adventure for you and me.

Country Kitchen Chaos or CKC will help the disorganized cook become an organized and confident in the kitchen.  I know what it is like to have chaos in the kitchen, as I am a person with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). I sometimes – should I say – often, have time management issues and organizational issues that have made it hard for me to enjoy the cooking process.  I used to be an “armchair” cook; I read my way through hundreds of cookbooks and learned so much about technique and methods.  But, when I did cook, I had problems following recipes and creating them.  Now, I have systems that tame the chaos.  I use these systems to work with the recipes, use equipment and ingredients and I have become much more efficient in the kitchen.  The bottom line is that I love to cook and bake and I want to share my experiences and knowledge with you.

I will be publishing not only recipes and photos, but tips and methods for being more empowered in the kitchen.  So, come share my journey. Let me tell you something about my background.  As a child, I didn’t care about food, cooking or eating.  As a teenager, I learned to make eggs, as I felt I could eat them and not have to think about food for a while.  Fortunately, I went to live in Paris when I was 21 years old.  That experience turned me into a passionate foodie.  I can clearly remember the taste sensations from my first meals there.  I started to learn how to cook and I enjoyed everything about the wonderful food, I encountered in the homes and restaurants in France.  I was lucky to cook, side-by-side with Parisian cooks.  However, when I returned to New York City, I found it hard to stay organized as a solo cook. So, my repertoire stayed small.   Some years later, I was came to live in Europe again.  This time, I settled in Florence, Italy and was delighted to discover authentic Tuscan cuisine.  I learned the Italian style of cooking from my Italian friends and brought home a treasure trove of recipes and cooking experiences.  However, once alone in my NYC apartment, my ADD made it hard to be organized and efficient.

Fortunately, I also have had some wonderful professional cooking and baking experiences.  The guidance of culinary professionals helped me shed my “armchair” cooking for real cooking. My blog is called Country Kitchen Chaos.  I was going to call it Chaos in the Kitchen, but the domain name was taken.  Lucky for me my current name was not!  It is very appropriate because I have been living in the country in upstate New York.  I live in a tiny, dairy farm country community.  I do not have a farm, but I am blessed to get so many food products straight from nearby farms.  I think I live a food paradise.  I also have a ow culinary business in which I teach culinary classes, sell baked goods and stage afternoon-style tea events.  I struggle with my ADD issues, but I continually improve and now it is time for me to share with you.

So, let’s get cooking in the kitchen and shed the chaos. I look forward to your feedback.