Friday, September 11, 2009

Kitchen Demolition

Work schmerk. It isn't long until my mind drifts to food. And before you know it I have wasted an hour reading food blogs, searching for recipes, and planning my next grocery trip. Shh - don't tell. Or planning my dream kitchen. The great kitchen remodel has begun. So far we have demo'ed one wall and bought three cabinets - progress is slow but steady - or so I keep telling myself.

Moving day was also my sister's (the Little Potato and future Wildwood tenant) birthday. Here is a good before shot of the wall and also her birthday cake. Notice lots of Pimm's scattered around the room and the bottle of Dom left behind - which is being saved for Wildwood's 100th birthday party in 9 years.



It will be awhile before I have an after picture, but I can't wait!!

Check out these beautiful melons - all grown locally and arrived with the CSA. Have you ever had yellow watermelon? It is, believe it or not, juicier and sweeter than the pink stuff, phenomenal.

In the attempt to use the mid-demo kitchen as little as possible, CC and I have been grilling daily. I picked up a whole chicken from Tea Hills on Saturday and thought I would try the beer can chicken craze I have heard about. I used this recipe for the rub, but I forgot to rub some under the skin as well. We don't eat the skin, so I think we missed out on a lot of the flavor. But the chicken cooked up fast (like 45 minutes) and was very moist. It is a simple technique that I want to play around with some more. Plus, it is fun to play with chickens.

Beer Can Chicken Rub:
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder

For the Chicken:
4 pounds chicken, washed and dried
Vegetable oil
Beer Can Chicken Rub
1 (12-ounce) can beer

For the chicken rub:
In a small bowl mix all the ingredients together and use for the grilled chicken. You can store extra rub mixture in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

For the chicken:
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
Rub the chicken and its cavity down with the vegetable oil. Season the chicken with rub mixture, remembering to season the cavity. Pour out 1/4 of the beer and sit the chicken on top of the beer can. Place the chicken in the center of the hot grill and cover. Cook the chicken for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F. Once cooked, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pimm's O'Clock

If it's summer in London you are probably drinking a Pimm's. I'm not sure how this has not found greater popularity here in the states cuz this is one seriously awesome - no wicked -summer cocktail. This commercial played a lot while we there and it gives the recipe for the perfect Pimm's:

To recap - Pimm's, a jug, ice, lemonade (what we call sprite or 7-up), cucumber, orange, strawberry, and mint. About one part Pimm's to three parts lemonade. Combine and enjoy.

We instituted a daily ritual of Pimm's O'Clock on our trip, or what we refer to as happy hour here in America. I was only able to bring home one bottle, but I think you may be able to buy it over here. I haven't been to a liquor store yet, so let me know if you find it.

Em and a jug of Pimm's

Our first Pimm's O'Clock was on our impromptu pub crawl through London. We hit up English pubs (of course), an Australian bar, and a very weak Canadian bar and we even met a prince!

Oh Hello

Well I suppose it is time I bite the bullet and write a little something. I have so much that I want to write about, but when I get so behind like this I start to get anxiety and then I don't know where to start and then I just procrastinate until it has been way too long and then I write a post that starts like this and when I have only been writing a blog for like 9 months, doing this so often is just well - me I guess. So I should probably stop apologizing for it since this blog's purpose is much more for personal reasons than anything else. So, hello again blog. Sometimes I wish you wrote yourself.

Why too busy to write? Well first I was gone on my two week vacation to Europe. I left for vacation two days after closing on my house and I moved in to the house two days after I got back. So that took some orchestrating. I have lots of pictures and some videos from our trip which I hope to post about in the future in a few pieces.

And I am a homeowner! The house is LOVELY! It is an oldie, built in 1918, but this house has been loved. The best surprise upon moving in was to discover that we have the best neighbors. This street is a gem. CC and I have now named the house. A little background: the house is set back from the street, but there is no grass in the front yard, it is completely covered in plants and flowers. The backyard is completely covered in ivy, but we want to convert this to a lawn and more usable space. Also, CC really likes going to garage sales and flea markets. I usually give him a hard time about it, but one of his finds is an old iron sign with a landscape setting that says "Wildwood". And that is the perfect name for this house, so now when I refer to Wildwood, you will know I mean home.

I love living here and I really feel at home, but I don't feel settled yet. There are a lot of projects between me and my nesting instincts before I will feel truly settled. The backyard being one for the spring, painting all the rooms (painting being the easy part and picking out colors proving to be the tough part) and the biggest project of all - the kitchen. CC and I began demolishing the existing one and are moving forward with a full-on renovation. I know I will love the final product and it will be more than worth it, but in the mean time, all my kitchen gadgets remain in boxes and we have been left grilling an eating salads. Did I mention I have a grill now?? L.O.V.E.

We got 6 ears of sweet corn from the CSA this week (remember when I used to write about that? well its still going) and this salad was awesome! We ate half like a side salad and the other half as a salsa-ish dip. It was fantastic either way!

Corn and Black Bean Salad with Basil-Lime Vinaigrette
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, 2008

2 ears fresh corn or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 limes, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon
ground cumin
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad: Preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Peel back the corn husks. Remove the silks and replace the husks. Soak the corn in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain and place on the grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely and remove the husks. Using a sharp knife, remove the corn kernels. In a medium bowl, mix together the grilled corn, black beans, garbanzo beans, bell pepper, and mango.

For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the lime zest, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, basil, and cumin. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well. Refrigerate for 1 hour, and toss again, before serving.