Saturday, October 18, 2014

What a Difference 12 Days Make: A Little Kitchen Progress Peek

After months of living in the ruins of our former kitchen, it finally feels like we're making major progress. I don't think I've seen a transformation this dramatic, this fast, since Jennifer Grey's nose job. Although she went from bigger to smaller... And I have no idea if she was healed in 12 days... Anywhoo.... The bottom line is that we're psyched to have a functioning kitchen again.

Every time I thought we were done with demo, something else seemed to pop up that needed whacking with a sledgehammer. The dust that all the construction stirred up was pretty much akin to having a Sahara sandstorm blow through our halls every day. Our vacuum has earned its keep about a thousand times over.

But sometime earlier this month, we turned a very magical corner and the dust settled and we embarked on the actual reconstruction of the room. First, Mr. W sealed up the open walls. Then he began installing the floor (and is finishing this weekend). We hired someone to help us patch and plaster all the cracks and holes. Installed new windows (the old ones were aluminum beauties, likely from 1959) and can lighting overhead. And when all that was done, we got to start bringing in the cabinets. Glory Hallelujah.

I have no idea how Mr. W knew how to install cabinets like a pro, but he got them all perfectly shimmed and leveled and ready for the new countertop (which will arrive on Tuesday). It felt like overnight we went from making dinner in the bathroom to cooking on our beautiful new range and washing dishes in the dishwasher (a monumental luxury after going without one for over a year).

We still have quite a bit of work to do. Like clean up this...

And we still have to tackle lots of finishes...

But I can't tell you how much it fills me with joy to see this sight again:

Within the next few weeks, I think we'll probably be able to wrap up everything. And then there will be lots of laying on the couch to recuperate. 

Here's another look at where we started:

And where we were this week:

Stay tuned for more updates. This progress train ain't slowin' down anytime soon!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Farm to Table Fun

Even when Mr. W and I were living in Hollywood, we enjoyed the process of growing and eating our own food. Our garden plot was smaller there, but we were still graced with everything from tomatoes to figs to artichokes, and we used as much of our backyard produce as possible while cooking. At our new house, we've been lucky to have copious amounts of kale, some tomatoes and corn (sad year for those crops), peaches, zucchini, apples, strawberries, a pumpkin, green onions, a host of herbs, and some other stuff I'm forgetting... But as we learned at our first picking, there is something strangely exciting about growing potatoes.

Mr. W ordered a few different varieties online—one of which is purple. And a few weeks ago, we harvested probably two pounds of fingerlings and the purple guys. It was kind of thrilling to watch Mr. W scoop up handfuls of tubers right from our yard.

We've roasted them a few times now and man are they good. A little olive oil, rosemary (from the garden, of course) and sea salt, and they're the perfect pair to a steak or fish.

As if potato farming wasn't exciting enough, we also have the egg situation. So. Ridiculously. Exciting.

We absolutely love being able to walk out to the coop each day and gather our eggs. Samantha and Miranda haven't started to lay yet, but Charlotte and little miss Birdshaw are already reliable old bitties. I love eating fresh hard-boiled eggs for breakfast. Such a treat and so cute because they're still tiny.

One of our favorite things to make, however, is a dish we discovered at Susan Feniger's now closed restaurant in Hollywood, STREET. The basis of the restaurant was to create haute cuisine spins on street food from around the world. I think I ate some of the most interesting dishes I'll ever consume at that place. And by far one of the shining stars was kaya toast.

It sounds bizarre, but it tastes incredible. Toast + coconut jam + over easy eggs + sauteed greens (we use kale) + soy sauce. I know. Crazy. But OhMyGosh SO delicious.

Mr. W previously made his own coconut jam using a recipe he found online. But this summer, he discovered that Zingermen's made one, so he immediately ordered it. Being without a kitchen meant that we had to cook everything on the barbecue, but it turned out okay and we were pretty much in heaven when we got to eat it for breakfast one morning.

I can only imagine what culinary adventures lay ahead for us when we have a fully functioning kitchen again. We hung 3 cabinets today, so there is light at the end of the tunnel. And under the light I see piles of eggs and potatoes....