I've been reading a lot of blogs lately, but I haven't been blogging myself. Partly it's been the hectic end of semester/holiday crush, and partly it has been a terrible disappointment in the photos my camera is willing to produce. Without a flash things are a blurry mess, with a flash the photos are flat and washed out. Nevertheless, I will push on.
The kitchen has been in a state of mostly finished since Thanksgiving. It's quite functional, but the trim and some touchup paint need to be done in order for it to be truly presentable. I swear that I'm not going to leave it this way. I just wanted to get the semester out of the way and then I will start working on the finishing touches one section at a time.
In this photo you can see the base of the cabinets has been boxed in with flooring. I decided to use quarter round for the corners of the peninsula, but it still needs to be puttied, stained and sealed.
The side of the kitchen that you can't see has some temporary shelves, our old refrigerator and the blue tiled bar table that my sister designed and built for us. Eventually that side of the kitchen will be finished with upper and lower cabinets, built-in under cabinet fridge and freezer units, and an above-counter built in microwave. Hopefully all that will happen relatively soon, but it will have to wait until we have liquid assets to purchase it all with.
Since Thanksgiving, we've been doing a lot more cooking and I've become something of a bread baker. I searched for a good bread recipe and have settled on the NY Times no-knead-bread recipe, with a few modifications of course. Originally I used my Le Creuset dutch oven and the corn meal / oat bran that the recipe recommends. It was somewhat difficult to get the dough into the preheated pot because it is so sticky and fluid. I also wasn't crazy about the crust that it produced. Instead I have settled on a different tactic. I use either a glass loaf pan with its own lid that I grease with Earth Balance spread, or I use a metal loaf pan and form a tinfoil tent. I still cook covered for 30 minutes and then 20-30 minutes uncovered. It's about the best bread I've ever made and I've taken to making a double batch every few days. It's so easy, practically makes itself.
Using the same dough we made this pizza that passed muster with my omni DH. It's very simple, I pre-baked the crust, oiled on top with olive oil, on a silpat, then topped with Follow Your Heart Mozzarella, marinara (if you put the sauce over the cheese, it helps it stay moist and melt better) then red and green bell pepper slices, Trader Joe's Meatless balls. Put this in a 350 degree oven until the peppers are softened and then switch to broil until the cheese is nice and bubbly. While this was all baking I sauteed some onions until sweet and caramelized to top the pizza with when it came out. It was so worth the effort.
I'm finding that now that I have acres of countertop and new appliances cooking is a breeze. It's so much easier to make that slightly more complicated recipe and then have a dishwasher do the hard labor for me :)
Oh and there was knitting. I finished the candle-flame scarf that I started. It's so pretty to look at, but not quite what I was hoping for when I put it on. I think blocking might improve it, but I haven't gotten there yet. I also made a clapotis like every other knitter with internet access. I wasn't as pleased with it as I had thought I would be. I also started an afghan for my sister, and I think I will be knitting it for a very long time, despite the size 15 needles and double stranded worsted weight yarn.
Labels: cooking, kitchen, renovation