Posts Tagged 'counters'

Collaboration Pie

img_0022There are many good things about posting about food and cooking. Even if people disagree about my recipes, my tastes, my process, the comments and reactions tend not to get personal or nasty. 🙂 If I’m thinking about food, I’m NOT thinking about other aspects of reality. On many days that is the REAL reason I write about food. I like creating things and cooking and baking are creative. My friend Honour talks about the difference between cooks and bakers, that one has more leeway and room for error than the other. I’m still not sure I’m convinced about that, but again, it doesn’t (usually) get personal when we discuss it. *grin*

Today I want to write about leftovers and collaborating and when cooks and bakers work together. img_0023My husband does not bake – he cooks. Oh wow, he is SUCH a great creative cook. I love to bake and while I enjoy cooking now in my new kitchen, I’m nowhere near as innovative as he is. I’m getting better, but I’m not at his level by any means. I mentioned he brought home a store-cooked chicken the other night. That meant we had leftovers. We also had rainy cold weather all day Sunday, as well as other annoying reality. 🙂 I started thinking about cooking. I decided that a chicken pot pie would be perfect for dinner. I mentioned that to my husband and he agreed.

Now *I* was thinking more of the kind of pot pie I had growing up – basically a white creamy inside. I found a picture of one online to show you what I mean but we grew up on frozen pot pies, not home-made. It was something my father would make for us for dinner when my mother was at rehearsal. img_0024As we don’t mix meat and dairy, we use coconut milk to get our “creaminess”. I also thought I’d take my leftover steamed vegetables and throw them in too – sort of a vegetable chicken pot pie. I’d already decided to use the coconut oil for that hint of flavor while making the pastry crust. I was browsing recipes online and thinking about concocting when my husband came down with a piece of paper and said “This is what I plan to make for the pie.”. *grin* Of course his recipe looked nothing like mine (his had curry and more asian flavors) and he had no intention of putting in the leftover vegetables, only the leftover chicken. I told him his concoction sounded great to me and I’d make him a crust.

That’s what we did. I made up my pie crust using margarine and coconut oil (remember, no dairy). It was a beautiful flaky crust. It’s interesting – I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem making pie crusts (except for 2 crusts for our New Year’s Day party, but that’s a different story) since I first began. I use the recipe in The Settlement Cookbook. img_0025It says that the key to a good crust is very cold ingredients and as little water and handling as possible. That very morning as I listened to the radio talk show host, she was talking about making pies and bemoaning how difficult it is to make a good crust and how it took her so long to learn. I’ve just never had that particular problem and I know people love the pie crusts I make. Thank you Lizzie Black Kander and your fantastic cookbook (which is, as I’ve mentioned before, my #1 go-to cookbook).

The new kitchen gets another rave review here because while my husband was working on the stove, there was room for me to be rolling out the top crust. That NEVER would have been possible before the renovation. 🙂 I probably should have ‘over-ruled’ him about temperature and time (I’d have picked the higher temperature and the shorter time, which is more typical for pies) but dinner was delicious. Yay us!!
img_0030

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Kitchen

Soooooooo much has happened since my last post I’m not even sure where to begin. Nothing happened on Wednesday except for frequent visits to admire the counters. Then on Thursday everything began to happen.

running waterThe day dawned early with the plumbers there before 8 am. I was lucky I was ready for them because I’d slept late that day. If they’d been any earlier or I’d slept longer, I might have had to leave them idling on the sidewalk. They began attaching water to the sink and refrigerator, and gas to the stove, and setting up the faucet!!! RUNNING WATER!!!!! I was so excited I took pictures of water coming out of the faucet. 🙂 I’ll say now, although I only realized it much later, that my husband and I are going to need Remedial Kitchen Appliances 101. I couldn’t understand the faucet – how it worked, why there seem to be 2 on/off levers – without assistance from the contractor. Not only did we now have running water in the kitchen sink, but the dishwasher migrated back to the kitchen, away from the refrigerator, so once again there was a wide-open doorway. *grin* It’s those little things that make life so much more comfortable.

IMG_9219.jpgTom came by soon after the plumbers to begin hooking up appliances, installing hardware and all sorts of other “putting things right”. I love love LOVE my cabinet knobs and pulls. That day’s big decision was where to situate the knobs on the various cabinets. I have no experience in this – I’ve never had a new cabinet without some sort of knob or pull. I started the morning thinking that every knob had to be situated in the exact same position on every cabinet. Tom assured me that these were my cabinets and I could do what I wanted. It’s very hard for me to visualize some of these smaller details. I went across the street to see if my neighbor Stephanie was home. She is an artist and has a great eye for placement (we both garden and I often check with her about placement of perennials). IMG_9229Luckily for me she was available and came back to look. She agreed with Tom that I could place the knobs in different areas on different cabinets, depending on where it felt natural to me to open the cabinet. She said it would look fine. Then she did something I would NEVER have considered: she rotated the knobs 90 degrees. Oh. Em. Gee. I LOVED that look. Not only did it give more space between adjoining knobs, but the new angle worked so much better with the tall slender cabinets. We did all of the knobs at that angle with the exception of the 2 roll-out spice cabinets, where a horizontal placement was better (and thanks to Tom for suggesting that). The knobs and pulls are worth every single penny. They are, I believe, hand-made for Schaub and Company: Solid Brass Knob with Violet Oyster, Tiger Penshell and Yellow Mother of Pearl inlays on Antique Brass Finish. IMG_9228 The pulls were a bit larger than I was expecting but that worked out beautifully as well. 🙂 SO HAPPY!!!!

Tom also patched the various holes in the walls and ceilings, left by the knob & tube electrical adventures. He hooked up the refrigerator using an extension cord (since the electricians had not yet been here, there was no outlet for the refrigerator yet). He put in the piece joining the breakfast room floor to the bathroom floor (I thought those were called thresholds but according to my latest internet search they are called “transition strips’). Tom gave me my first class in Remedial Kitchen Appliances by helping explain the faucet, IMG_9222and giving me an overview of the refrigerator. We’ve never had a refrigerator that made ice or dispensed water and ice from the door. So much to learn. He suggested that we run at least a gallon or 2 of water through the door before drinking it and to dump the first few ice bins as well, to clear the lines.

By the end of Thursday, we had running water in the HUGE kitchen sink, a working refrigerator (it worked – just plugged in a temporary spot), patched walls and ceilings and the majority of the cabinets had knobs and pulls! A VERY exciting day!
.
knobs and pulls installed

We Have a Slab

our slabToday was our day to go see the quartz slab that would become our counters. I needed a fun day because yesterday I was beginning to feel that this project would not complete until the new year. The estimate was 10-12 weeks, which I never believed, but this is week 13 and NOTHING seemed to be happening. Combine that with a gray overcast day and it was a bit dispiriting.

We needed to drive an hour north to get to the factory (? is that what you call the place where granite and quartz are cut into table tops?). We took the convertible and had the top down, cruising merrily until we hit a sudden summer shower. I had to pull over and put the top up because this was enough rain that I couldn’t race fast enough to keep the drops from hitting us. *grin* I did THAT on the way home.

I had no idea what to expect. Let me say first that the people were lovely. Helpful, patient and very very understanding. I guess that’s how you become a successful business. slabs and slabsWe certainly had no idea how things happened, all we knew was what we wanted as an end result. They took us into the warehouse and there were scores and scores of slabs – quartz, granite and who knows what else. I could hear a lot of cutting noise from the other half of the warehouse. They led us to OUR slab. It felt a lot like being presented with a prize, or a relative’s new baby or something momentous. OUR SLAB. *grin* We loved it. The color was less gold than I expected, but it still was in the range of what I wanted. My husband loved it, and the counter is really one of ‘his’ aspects of this project. I mostly vetoed all the other patterns we’d been shown – he was the one with strong opinions. I just knew what I didn’t want.

We had time to wander about in the warehouse, looking at all the other slabs. how to move a slabSome of them were gorgeous and some were quite hideous, no matter WHERE you might want to put them. I have tried to get my photos to reflect the true color, but have not really succeeded. For that matter, my husband and I were editing the photos to try to get to the true color and we didn’t agree on which version was correct. Which merely proves the point that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I know the dress was gold and he knew the dress was blue. Whatever is our slab’s true color, we are both pleased with it and everything we picked for our kitchen, based on the sole image we had of it on my camera, will still work with that color.

It’s always fascinating to watch how big heavy things get move. moving the slabWhile this wasn’t quite as exciting as the time I watched a railroad train engine lifted up in the air and settled into place so workers could reach the underside, it was still a smooth ballet of lifting and moving the slab from one position to another. Once we could face it head-on, we began the process of placing the counter templates on the slab, trying to get the ‘best’ patterns for each piece.

We had a bit of confusion at the start, when they thought we wanted the 2 large segments to be one huge L-shape. We kept saying we didn’t want any seam up to the sink, that we didn’t care where the seam occurred in relation to the sink. They heard that originally as no seam at all. You can see in the photos that it is physically impossible to have those 2 pieces adjoin with no seam. My husband took the pieces and placed them as he wanted on the slab and then we were all able to see where the seam will have to be in relation to the sink. I gather this is another way in which my husband and I are a bit odd. close-up patternWe don’t care if the sink is centered in the counter or centered over the cabinets. It never was and we don’t care if it is now – that is not how we view the whole. What we wanted, and what we will get, is one unbroken piece from the one end all the way to just past the sink. For those of you who know the kitchen, that unbroken piece runs along the wall adjoining the bathroom, and hangs a left along the driveway to the sink. They will cut the adjoining rectangle to hold the sink and continue to the end of the counter, closest to the basement door.

full counter layoutNext we arranged for the pieces that will flank the stove. Again it’s not just a question of how much pattern you can get into the template – the grain must face the same way on both pieces. The last bit was for the cabinet in the breakfast room which is really stand-alone, so it doesn’t matter which way we oriented that template. When we were all done, I asked what they did with the pieces left over between the template. They said it was scrap and they toss it. I asked if I could have one of the pieces to use as a cutting board or cheese tray. They said absolutely and so that is marked out as well, with marker, not with a template. I’m guite pleased I thought to ask that.

the sinkThey asked us questions about the sink – where does the faucet go, will we have a soap dispenser. I told them I wanted the faucet near the bulge in the sink but that I had no idea about the soap dispenser. So many details!!!!! I said I didn’t even remember what the sink looked like, much less if it had a soap dispenser. They had the sink there (of course – they need it to cut the counter) so I have finally seen my sink since we picked it out back in April. It also took me a little conversation to grasp that the holes for faucets and dispensers are not in the SINK, but in the counter. I need to do more verification, but I’m fairly certain that there is no soap dispenser that matches our faucet, or we’d have ordered that as well.

The best news of all about the counter is that they plan to deliver it TUESDAY!!!! That’s only 1 week away!!!

The painter was here today, removing the old wallpaper and spackling the wall. He and I talked about where/how I could get one of those roll-out garbage cans in a cabinet, since I did not order one of my cabinets to have it already. IMG_9133I went online and see that they sell the hardware for installing in existing cabinets, and I have picked out the cabinet for it. We are having one of the cabinets reconfigured to be part broom closet, removing the shelves and adding a vertical divider. I think the garbage can go on the other side from the broom. The recycling bin will stay under the sink. Now I just need to figure out where to put the compost bin.

I came home and found several messages about shipments and deliveries. I needed to contact the appliance people to confirm delivery tomorrow. I needed to contact a shipping company to confirm delivery of the bistro table. I had called the cabinet hardware people this morning to find out why my order still only showed as “in processing” as opposed to “shipped”, and found a message from them that my order was sent out for shipping. The contractor stopped by late today as well and delivered the material for the soffits and the molding and what I think may be the divider for the broom closet. THINGS ARE HAPPENING!!!!


Stat Counter

wordpress analytics