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Smithy

Foodblog: Smithy - Notes from the land of Cheap Refrigeration

164 posts in this topic

Nancy, I think that leftover ham, minced fine, might have a place in your ravoli, and maybe some onion, too.

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"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Nancy, I think that leftover ham, minced fine, might have a place in your ravoli, and maybe some onion, too.

Thanks for that suggestion, judiu! I think I'll use it on the remainder of the squash filling.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Ufda.

Today was not much for eating, much less for cookery. We spent much of the morning using an evil implement called a "roof rake", trying to ease the snow load on one of our outbuildings. Eventually we figured out how to "work smarter, not harder", but it was still mid-afternoon before we stopped. The standard breakfast occupied one rest break; lunch involved the last ravioli from last night and, er, I forget what else.

Once we'd called it a day on (note that I did not say "finished") the outside chores we set out for the day's errands. The plan had been to allow 5 hours and be home before 5 p.m; the reality crammed them into 3 hours and got us home by 6. I still managed to snap some photos during our shopping.

I briefly entertained the notion of a parody along the line of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" for Duluth's great food and kitchen stores: "Three grand grocers", "Two great charcuteries" and so on, to celebrate the expansion of wonderful groceries, butcher shops and even kitchen stores since I moved here. I decided I couldn't make the numbers work. Here, without further ado, are the places we visited today.

Old World Meats is in its third generation of family owners/operators, and they keep expanding and improving.

Old World Meats exterior.jpg

They've remodeled and reworked the space, just since last October.

OWM 1.jpg

Instead of a couple of cluttered aisles where home sausage-makers could buy their spices and supplies (I forgot to ask where those items are now kept) they've expanded the island for their cured meats, and set up a charcuterie section to show off their excellent sausages, spicy beef sticks, and smoked foods.

OWM Charcuterie.jpg

OWM Sticks.jpg

OWM Smoked.jpg

Their meat counter is something to behold.

OWM Steaks.jpg

Back in 2005 there was an eGullet Culinary Institute short course on braising; that's when I started getting to know the fellows here. I've been a regular ever since. These are the people who can get a specific cut and/or advise you on how to cook it. They smoke meats and fish, mix sausage, and have strong opinions about how to cook their products...if, but only if, you ask.

They also have a great fish counter. Today, however, the display case was atypically empty due to a heavy deep cleaning when they "knew business would be slow". Trust me: you can usually get good fresh salmon and halibut there, and you can often also get scallops, shrimp, or fish that I can't remember because I'm not particularly interested in it.

We picked up some smoked salmon, upon which I hadn't planned, along with the pre-arranged tri-tips. More about those in a later post.

One of our favorite grocery stores here is technically part of a chain, but its counterparts are all far south: Minneapolis, St. Paul, and those areas. Cub Foods was a big breath of fresh air when it first arrived up here, and it gets much of our business.

Cub Exterior.jpg

Over the years, as subject to market pressure as any other place, they've expanded their produce areas

Cub Peppers.jpgCub Produce.jpg

added to their inventory to accommodate multiple cuisines

Cub Ethnic.jpg

expanded their deli area

Cub Cheese.jpg

and allowed other ways for us to spend entirely too much money. We picked up items for a dinner party in a couple of days, and continued our rounds.

Cub Crackers.jpgCub Flowers.jpg

When we FINALLY got home, we enjoyed the crystalline quality of moonlight over a snowy landscape, as seen from a hot tub,

...then enjoyed reheated pork roast and sauerkraut, from last week's crockpot cookery. I'll post photos if anyone wishes, but it was much more tasty than pretty. Think beige. Then think savory, salty and juicy.


Edited by Smithy (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Lovin' your blog, Smithy. That meat market looks like a real gem.

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""" Old World Meats """

Im just dying here ....

""" Cub Foods """

looks just like the spot Alton Brown used to shop at in Atlanta or somewhere on Good Eats

still dying ....

wait .... its 50 degrees here

:biggrin:

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""" Old World Meats """

Im just dying here ....

""" Cub Foods """

looks just like the spot Alton Brown used to shop at in Atlanta or somewhere on Good Eats

still dying ....

wait .... its 50 degrees here

:biggrin:

:laugh:

Tues 10 am temp.jpg

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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My darling's breakfast is generally fruit salad with whole-grain Cheerios. Just as with the green salad I showed, we find it works best to make several days' worth in advance and store it for ready access. Here are the fixings:

Fruit salad fixings.jpg

The berries, grapes and pineapple were purchased at Cub Foods yesterday. The oranges and dates we brought back with us from California. He's less fussy than I about fruit in season and has absolutely no qualms about buying it from wherever he can get it (the grapes are from Peru). I have qualms about some such items: for instance, I just can't bring myself to buy stone fruits at this time of year because it's an insult to the real deal...but the fresh fruit does help brighten our diet, and he's firmly in the "any port in a storm" camp of winter survival.

Actually, the strawberries look and taste surprisingly good this time: red through, not too soft, but they have good flavor.

Strawberries and cutting board.jpg

The finished salad fills a 3-quart mixing bowl. He'll fill a 2-quart plastic storage tub with some of it, and apportion the rest into smaller containers, ready to receive the cereal.

Fruit salad closeup.jpg

When we first started this fruit-salad-in-advance plan we made smaller batches so it wouldn't rot, but we've learned that the pineapple juice, all of which goes into the salad, does 2 things: it seems to help preserve the fruit quality, and it prevents the navel oranges from going bitter as they sit. When there's no pineapple to be had, another stratagem is to use fruit juice as the base for a fruit-salad gelatin. The gelatin helps keep the fruit fresh. A gelatin made from freshly squeezed mandarin oranges, or minneola tangelos, or an orange-lemon mix, is a wonderful thing.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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This bamboo cutting board is a new acquisition: $10 from Smart and Final, and I've been admiring the beauty of these babies for a while.

Cutting board and sink.jpg

Today was the first time I used it. I cleaned it before use, but as I cut the strawberries I started noticing that it was taking a stain from the berries and a strange odor was coming up. It doesn't seem to have affected the flavor but I stopped using it and went back to one of my flexible cutting mats - which are, actually, more practical for this operation, despite the admonitions that plastic is hard on knives.

Should I have cleaned and sealed the bamboo board better? How? My plan, unless I hear otherwise from some experienced person, is to do the standard butcher block treatment: salt and vinegar, scrape, then rub with mineral oil. This board came with a $1-off coupon for the company's special sealant, but I can't see spending $12 on a special treatment for a $10 board.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I have a similar bamboo board. I just scrub it w teflon scrubbing pad and dry it.

I have it a long while and nothing bad has happened.

i not a fan of plain mineral oil. I dont feel it does much of anything. maybe adds 'shine'

PS they do stain, esp w cut darker fruit.

if thats a concern, a little 50 % hot bleach and a scrubbie does the trick.

the rinse

dont get that on yourself, your counter or your clothes !


Edited by rotuts (log)
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Smithy, I am enjoying this blog. I also followed your princess camping stories.

This bamboo cutting board is a new acquisition: $10 from Smart and Final, and I've been admiring the beauty of these babies for a while.

I am rather anal about having only plastic cutting boards in my kitchen. I am very big on everything being able to go into the dishwasher. I purchased a bamboo board a few years ago. I rarely used it because of my aversion to hand-washing. It finally went to a thrift shop. (The aversion is to hand-washing as the final cleaning. I pre-scrub everything before it goes into the dishwasher. Maybe if I had a 3-compartment sink in my kitchen...)

I also got a chuckle out of recognizing the mixing bowl you used. I have them in multiples in 3qt through 8 qt plus a14 qt. Are yours Tramontina or another brand?


Edited by Porthos (log)

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

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Back up on the salad post you noted that you each have your preferred dressings. Made or bought? Care to share?

I think both of the pre-preps of vegetable and fruit for handy inclusion in meals is a concept that can be adapted and adopted by many busy folks. My current "ready to grab for a quick meal/snack" are lacinto kale already dressed with olive oil, wine vinegar, shallots and shaved asiago, and an overabundance of Lebanese cucumbers in a spicy yogurt dressing.

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BTW: some Knife-ish aficionados dislike the bamboo cutting boards as they feel the wood dense grass it too hard for their

knives 'keen edge' I have not found this the case for me, and my knives have an EdgePro edge.

they are pleasant to look at and pleasing to the eye. and well, they are Legal Grass !

if you enjoy using it, just keep using it.

I do not know about those vapors. maybe they will go away?

try the scrub even with the scrubbies that are not for teflon ( green )

then the 50% bleach soak. then see.


Edited by rotuts (log)
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On the bamboo cutting board - I have one I got as a gift a few years ago and never used. It still has that sort of vegetal bamboo smell. Like the bamboo steamer always releases that same smell. Perhaps that is the nature of bamboo? In the past I have never sealed wooden boards. Currently using plastic.

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I now have a beautiful, smooth squash puree thanks to a food mill. It seems a bit moist. The recipe says to use bread crumbs to thicken if necessary, but since I just realized I'm out of Parmesan cheese <scowl> I'm letting it drain prior to being put away for now. Actually it's too late for me to start messing with mixing fresh pasta dough and forming the raviolis tonight, anyway; I'm slow enough at all this that I tend to make the filling one day and use it a day or two later.

I'm reminded of the ladies who make the pierogi at St. Stephen's Church here in Oswego. Every day of the week leading up to their big festival, they make one kind of pierogi, and one filling. First, they make the dough (usually three or four food processors and stand mixers going at a time), set each batch aside to rest for a moment, and pass a batch of rested dough on to someone else to roll it out and cut circles. The circles get placed on parchment-lined sheet pans, and sent on to the tables of fillers. The fillers take the balls of filling that were made yesterday, place each ball onto a dough circle, pinch the edges shut, and put the filled pierogi back onto the sheet pan. The pans then go to a checker, who checks that no filling has crept into the seal (which would result in the pierog opening in the boiling pot) and fixes any potential problems, and then put in the freezer to wait for the festival. When the day's batch is complete (meaning all the dough balls have been sealed into dough), the next day's filling gets mixed and scooped with a disher into individual balls, which are put on parchment lined sheet pans and frozen. The freezing helps to keep the filling in a rounded shape, which in turn keeps it away from the edges when the dough gets pinched shut so the pierogi stay properly sealed in the cooking process. Doing it the day before also helps to expedite the assembly line, because the filling becomes grab-and-go and because the dough makers will know exactly how many batches of dough they need to make that day, for the complete batch. The pierogi stay frozen until the festival, when they get boiled and then fried. They'll also sell them frozen, for people to take home and cook later.

I wonder if a similar methodology of freezing ravioli filling in dollops would help to expedite your process?

Great idea, and thanks for the evocative description of the St. Stephens assembly line!

It's still amazing to me how efficient the assembly line production is: in just 3 or 4 hours, they can have literally a thousand pierogi finished, and about the same number of filling balls in the freezer for the next day's batch. When I haven't been busy during prep week, I've gone over to help but also (selfishly) to learn some of their secrets. The only jobs I haven't done at this point are mixing the dough and cooking the pierogi, because those are reserved for special people who have been at it for decades. I knew I was on their good side when they allowed me to roll the dough out flat!

Making the pierogi is women's work at the church, although the cooking on the day of the festival is strictly men's work. Another thing that's strictly men's work is coring the cabbages for the golabki, with an electric drill and large bit! I think the first year I helped was the first time I'd ever seen a power tool repurposed for kitchen work.

Smithy, you have a nice array of international cuisine sections in your supermarket. Is the population as diverse?

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MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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""" strictly men's work is coring the cabbages for the golabki, with an electric drill and large bit ""

in no way trying to get off track here, but this got me thinking of this:

http://www.amazon.com/2pc-DIAMOND-HOLE-SAW-DRILL/dp/B000TYIWUW/ref=sr_1_10/175-5238971-3997065?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1389725616&sr=1-10&keywords=hole+drill+bits

thanks for the idea !


Edited by rotuts (log)
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BTW the 'bleach soak' above was meant to be a 'bleach-flood' for a few minutes. hot water and bleach would do.

wooden boards or grass boards should not 'soak' in water.

use then clean then dry.

:biggrin:

Id be very interested to hear if the bleach takes care of the grassy-smell

mine never had it.


Edited by rotuts (log)

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Porthos, rotuts and heidih, thanks for all the input on the cutting board. I'll try the bleach method and see whether that helps. I wouldn't have described it as a grassy smell, though; I know what a bamboo steamer smells like and this wasn't it; it seemed a bit more sour, and not in a pleasant lemony sense. That's part of the puzzlement.

I have a couple of wooden cutting boards as well as several plastic ones. The most useful to me are the flexible mats - usually 3 or 4 to a package for not much money. I use those for meats, but have read that they're harder on knives than wooden cutting boards. Their flexibility is wonderful: cut or chop stuff, flip it into the bowl or pot. I also like that they're more or less dishwasher-safe. However, I find that they do warp in the dishwasher after a while, so I tend to wash them by hand if they were used for fruit or vegetables. Porthos, I'm probably almost as careful as you about meat contamination...but I don't worry about pre-washing before things go into the dishwasher. Is that because your dishwasher doesn't get things clean without a careful prerinse, or some other reason? Do your knives also go into the dishwasher, or are they an exception to the "no handwashing" rule?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Smithy, I am enjoying this blog. I also followed your princess camping stories.

This bamboo cutting board is a new acquisition: $10 from Smart and Final, and I've been admiring the beauty of these babies for a while.

I am rather anal about having only plastic cutting boards in my kitchen. I am very big on everything being able to go into the dishwasher. I purchased a bamboo board a few years ago. I rarely used it because of my aversion to hand-washing. It finally went to a thrift shop. (The aversion is to hand-washing as the final cleaning. I pre-scrub everything before it goes into the dishwasher. Maybe if I had a 3-compartment sink in my kitchen...)

I also got a chuckle out of recognizing the mixing bowl you used. I have them in multiples in 3qt through 8 qt plus a14 qt. Are yours Tramontina or another brand?

Thank you for the compliments!

The mixing bowl is some thing I picked up at, oh, Target or Pier 1 or a grocery store down south. I keep buying more of these - I have 2 or 3 in the trailer and 2 here at home - in different sizes. They're such great mixing bowls, and I like the shape. The very first bowl of these I bought over 30 years ago at some import store in Pasadena, I can't even remember the name. Maybe a Cost Plus? Early Pier 1?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Back up on the salad post you noted that you each have your preferred dressings. Made or bought? Care to share?

I think both of the pre-preps of vegetable and fruit for handy inclusion in meals is a concept that can be adapted and adopted by many busy folks. My current "ready to grab for a quick meal/snack" are lacinto kale already dressed with olive oil, wine vinegar, shallots and shaved asiago, and an overabundance of Lebanese cucumbers in a spicy yogurt dressing.

We make our own, sort of. He starts with a package of Good Seasons Italian or Zesty Italian dressing mix. He uses white balsamic vinegar and about a 50/50 mix of olive oil and whatever vegetable oil we have on hand (Wesson soybean, at present). The mixture of oil is so that his doesn't congeal in the refrigerator.

I prefer a vinaigrette based loosely on an Egyptian salad dressing recipe I picked up a few years ago. Start with a clove or three of finely minced garlic, then grind it with a couple of teaspoons of fine sea salt to make a paste. Scoop those into a mixing jar. Maybe add some dried sumac, or a touch of dijon mustard, or freshly chopped cilantro and/or parsley, depending on mood and availability. For acid I generally use lemon juice - Meyer if I can get it - but if the lemons are tooooo strong I may tone it down a bit with white wine vinegar. I like straight olive oil, even though I have to take the salad dressing out of the refrigerator in advance to get it to de-congeal. My preferred proportions are 2 parts oil to 1 part acid, so if I squeezed enough lemon to get 1/2 cup I'll use 1 cup olive oil.

With regard to the congealing oil, I've discovered that if I can keep the dressing emulsified it doesn't set up as hard. Toward that end I've experimented with a touch of xanthan gum, to some success, although it's easy to overdo it and give the dressing an unpleasant drooly consistency.

Once I hit on the "two parts oil to one part vinegar" routine, I started having a blast with making my own salad dressings. I find that walnut oil and (red) balsamic vinegar are brilliant together.

You can see my salad dressing, recently shaken (it does separate quickly), in the background of this lunch photo.

Lunch 2.jpg

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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<snip>

Making the pierogi is women's work at the church, although the cooking on the day of the festival is strictly men's work. Another thing that's strictly men's work is coring the cabbages for the golabki, with an electric drill and large bit! I think the first year I helped was the first time I'd ever seen a power tool repurposed for kitchen work.

Smithy, you have a nice array of international cuisine sections in your supermarket. Is the population as diverse?

I love the idea of using power tools to deal with kitchen chores. As I recall, you use a lathe to peel winter squash, do you not?

I think of Duluth's population as still being pretty homogenous: European ancestry, for the most part: Scandinavian, Germanic, Slavic, British Isles, based on the faces I see in the grocery store. However, the populations of the university and colleges here are quite mixed, as are the staff of the medical facilities: with 2 major hospital chains and I-don't-know-how many clinics, the medical practice accounts for a lot of employment around here.

Unfortunately the demand for international cuisine hasn't been enough to keep any sort of specialty store afloat, except for a couple of Italian groceries that have been around here forever. (Italian immigrants were a major wave early in the last century.) The Oriental grocery died several years ago, I believe a victim of the general economic slump that hit us all around 2008. There's never been a good Middle Eastern or Indian grocery store here. I'm glad that Cub and Mt. Royal, my other favorite large grocery store here (still to be visited this week) are meeting the demand.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Do your knives also go into the dishwasher, or are they an exception to the "no handwashing" rule?

I have one 9 1/2" chef's knife that I hand-wash. I only use it for veggie prep. All other knives go into the dishwasher. My machine has a 6 comparment cutlery tray built into the door. I only put one knife in each of the 3 sections I use for knives so that they don't bang against each other. My other 9 1/2" chef's knife, which I have had for 30 years, does go in the dishwasher. The two 9 1/2" are from the same maker, long out of business. I sharpen all of my knives on my EdgePro and have never had issues with the dishwasher affecting them. I spent 16 years in the corrosion monitoring industry so I have some insight as to what could happen.

IMAG0345.jpg

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

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Tonight's dinner is marinating at present. The recipe is a happy discovery from Fine Cooking, Issue #155 (Feb/Mar 2012): Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken. http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/citrus-marinated-roasted-chicken.aspx

Start with these ingredients:

Roast chicken ingredients.jpg

Most of it's self-explanatory. The recipe actually calls for 2 chickens in order to make plenty of leftovers, but we're already swimming in leftovers so I just pulled one chicken out of the freezer. This chicken was locally raised and purchased at our farmer's market last summer. The honey is a product of a really great farm out near Reno, Nevada, and was a gift from my sister. Great stuff. This is infused with basil, definitely not a part of the recipe, but I think it will add a nice touch. The pomegranate is also my addition; I'll use some seeds as garnish.

I picked too small a roasting pan and will have to put a drip pan under it in the oven, but otherwise I think this will be fine. It's to marinate for at least 6 hours before roasting.

Chicken in marinade.jpg Marinating under the lily pad.jpg

This kitchen island has outlets on both sides and at one end. When I designed it I told the electrician that I wanted it wired like a lab bench. He looked me over - we'd all been working together long enough to be comfortable - and said, "I think you're a bit of a mad scientist!" :laugh:

Outlets on back.jpg

The cats aren't allowed atop kitchen surfaces, but I usually have one supervising as I work.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Sooo ...

who is this ?

cat.jpg

and the other?

they do like to keep track of things

:biggrin:

if you went to the 'funnies'

you might get a good laugh. :

cant find it but its here: for cat people:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1388794651351969

its food related.


Edited by rotuts (log)
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We remodeled a few years ago. . . . All in all we're very happy with the outcome, but we aren't eager to go through the process again. :laugh:

And that is pretty much the definition of a successful kitchen renovation. :rolleyes:

We installed a good hood and vented it outside, but if you do enough stir-frying grease still finds a way to glom onto the outside of the hood.

Our previous house had short cabinets with a grease-attracting gap above and I vowed never again. When we renovated our current kitchen we installed tall kitchen cabinets that butt up against the ceiling. Since Mrs. C is vertically challenged the top shelves are “mine”. If all of the cooks are vertically challenged the top shelf is still useful for storing rarely used items.

We were out of town and it was such a pleasant surprise to log in to eGullet and see you blogging! I look forward to following along with you the rest of this week.

Keep up the good work!

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rotuts, I'm howling with laughter; that cartoon is very definitely "feed me" related and true to all four of our cats! Our Siberian husky is less subtle. it's a miracle he hasn't stuck his nose into the photos before now. I'll send you more information by PM; I'm always happy to talk about "my kids".

C. Sapidus, how nice of you to check in! That's funny about the cabinets. My darling and I have both lived in places without that grease-attracting gap above cabinets, and we both preferred to keep it open for display/storage...grease notwithstanding. It takes a stepladder for either of us to reach something up there, so anything we use frequently that can fit into a lower cabinet lives there instead. Your comment about grease accumulating despite a good hood makes me feel a bit better about our arrangement; maybe it isn't all that bad after all.

My fears about the roasting pan being overfilled were unfounded.

Cooked down nicely.jpg

In addition to the chicken we had brussels sprouts with bacon, and beverage of our choice. He prefers beer with dinner.

Dinner.jpg

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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