Since I last blogged we've had quite an upheaval in our little kitchen. Our oven/range had been in a state of slow decline for many months. It was completely unpredictable... sometimes you could bake, and other times just trying to get the oven to preheat could lead to endless "error" beeps. Sometimes it would just randomly start beeping in the middle of the night. The only way to stop the beeping was to turn the oven off (if it was even on to start with) and open the door of the oven. Over months, I learned my way around the finicky device... attempting to use the oven and the stove top at the same time was a good way to break the whole thing down. Ditto for attempting to change the oven temperature once warm, attempting to bake back-to-back items (extended baking time), or even just using the digital timer in conjuction with the oven. Phew! We had someone come out and "repair" it, which was quite pricey and did absolutely nothing. So...
At long last! We took this opportunity to Do The Deed! We've got a gas oven!!! We've got a new fridge !!! ( I didn't even go into our fridge issues). The whole kitchen was totally torn apart... for about 2 weeks. The thing is, we had an electric stove before, and the gas stove needed ONE MORE INCH of width! For that one precious inch, we had to get our counter tops cut into & our cabinetry finessed... which led to an emptying of said cabinets all over the counter tops... which led to the fine granite dust of cutting into the granite covering every surface of the ENTIRE kitchen. Which led to a day-long total overhaul, cleaning every surface, every object, every cupboard. It was crazy.
So, here is our kitchen all torn up with the new appliances going in. Check out those countertops! It extended all the way onto our dining room table:
Can you see our friend Loren behind the oven? He's our super duper handy man & also a cool guy! Here he's hooking up the gas connection for our new oven.
Here's the contents of our new fridge. It's a lot bigger than our old fridge - we actually had to take the molding off the door frame in our kitchen in order to squeeze this baby in. We got the kind with the fridge on top and the freezer on the bottom. That was a good choice for us, because Musty has a bad back, and wasn't ever able to lean over and get in the old fridge. So I am glad that he will be able to put away his own leftovers from now on without having to ask me! I love how clean and sparkly our new fridge is. I'm not too proud to admit that I removed, cleaned out, and recycled at least 15 (maybe 20?) containers of old, expired condiments - hot sauce, wildwood aioli, flax oil, liquid vitamin, pickle relish, french's mustard, weird things from the freezer... Oh, it was an adventure all right - even stinky and icky at times!
And here are our two beauties together. Oh yeah!
After many days of substandard meals and take out meals, I inaugurated the "new" kitchen with some genuine home cooking. First I made a recipe from my giant "Try This Recipe Someday" collection - an old recipe from Sunset called "Carrot Soup with Roasted Tomatillo Relish." Mmmy!
For the tomatillos, I used these cool PURPLE tomatillos that I found at the farmer's market this morning. I think this may well have been my first time buying and cooking with tomatillos, although I have certainly enjoyed them many times when eating our or buying salsa. The "relish" had roasted tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, olive oil, and a jalepeno. It was a nice meal, though the soup did need some salt. Speaking of the farmers' market - almost this whole soup was from the market this morning... every single ingredient but the jalepeno. Cool!
Along with soup I also used my small skillet to make a half batch of the AMAZING "Southern Skillet Cornbread" from Real Food Daily. Oh yes, you should definitely make this.
In cleaning out my whole fridge & freezer, I discovered quite a collection of old frozen bananas. So, I made a double batch of banana bran bread - one with walnuts for us, and one without walnuts for my grandma. The one with walnuts is the darker one... since I accidentally left it in the oven for about 15 minutes too long. Drat! I was afraid it would be too dry, but it's okay. It's not as moist as I would like, but at least it's still tasty!
It's good to be back in the kitchen and back at the blog!