Saturday, September 10, 2011

Eat: Upon my triumphant return to the kitchen. . .

We are in week five of our kitchen project.  This means that I have not cooked a rack of ribs, an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, not so much as a Monday Night Pizza in over a month.

I'm not complaining about being displaced from the kitchen. How bad can things be if you can afford to increase your counter space? As a bonus, just when I had convinced myself that having our kitchen done was a frivolous expense, our contractor informed us that when he and his crew pulled the walls down to replace a rotten window they found and fixed structural deficiencies that threatened to drop our second floor bedrooms into the basement one night as we slept. So, not only am I thankful for gleaming countertops and cabinets from this century, I am free from the guilt of an entirely cosmetic improvement.

I am realizing, however, how much I enjoy my time in the kitchen and how eager I am to get back to cooking. Over the past month I've accrued a lot of restaurant crayons in my purse, filled my freezer with an international smorgasbord of Trader Joe's offerings (and highly recommend the steamed pork buns), made frequent use of the grocery store salad bar and tried to get creative with a rotisserie chicken. In between all that, though, I've been making some plans for all that I shall accomplish up upon my triumphant return to the kitchen.

I've favorited these pumpkin muffins with dark chocolate and pistachios from Leena Eats. Not only are the flavors right up Big E's alley, but the recipe, with its molasses and whole wheat flour, looks significantly healthier than the frozen chocolate chip muffin tops we've been nuking for her every morning.

These homemade McRibs from aren't new to me, but of everything I've ever cooked these may be my favorite and so they are on the list. In fact, we've recently decided to make them a part of our new Christmas night tradition: homemade McRibs followed by a cheesy family movie at the nearly empty theater.

Speaking of holiday meals, when I get the kitchen back I'll audition these sweet potatoes with pecans and goat cheese from Smitten Kitchen for possible inclusion in our Thanksgiving dinner. They are essentially a sweet potato-based bruschetta and include some of my favorite flavors. has been a valuable source of food porn during my kitchenless weeks. Though after all of the restaurant bread baskets I've been hitting I probably don't need the carbs, I'm looking forward to making this Capellini with Nantucket Bay Scallops that I found there. I'm also hoping that my husband will make me this BEAT (bacon, egg, avocado, tomato) sandwich for breakfast one weekend; as I normally have a granola bar and a Diet Coke in the bathroom while I do my hair, real breakfast prepared by someone other than me is one of my happiest indulgences.

Finally, I've decided to take another crack at the ice cream maker just as soon as I dig it out of whatever crate it ended up in, and I'm starting with Green Tea Ice Cream from, hopefully reminiscent of the Haagen Daz green tea ice cream that my husband and I bought in little cups from a Tokyo convenience store on our honeymoon. My backup plan, should my homemade ice cream prove a soupy unappealing mess as it did in my previous attempts, is this Mocha-Caramel Sauce from Big Girls Small Kitchen served over a more reliable store-bought ice cream.

The kitchen should be done in a week or two, though I really can't predict when I'll get around to unpacking the many crates off cooking implements stacked throughout our dining room. Until then, I'll continue compiling my list

Anything I should add?

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