Browsing Archives for Kitchen

My spinach has been growing gangbusters.

Fearing that the warmer weather might cause my spinach crop to bolt…

…like my arugula did.

I decided I better go ahead and harvest most of it and see if I could figure out how to ‘put it up’.

I collected enough spinach to fill a tall kitchen trash bag.

I set the bag into the sink and filled it with water, letting the spinach soak for a while to loosen the dried on dirt.

The boys helped me to remove the stems and any unwanted bits and pieces.

I set up an assembly line on the island.

Here we have cleaned spinach, boiling water, and a large container filled with ice and water.

I placed the clean spinach in the boiling water for one minute, which is called ‘blanching’ because that makes you sound smart and gives you an edge on confusing the heck out of people.

I found several recipes for freezing spinach, and they all had different recomendations for how long to ‘blanch’ your spinach. Some said two minutes, some said thirty seconds, some spoke of enzymes and some spoke of nutrient leaching. I finally gave up on finding a cook time that was predominant, and went with an average… one minute. My spinach will probaby have both bad enzymes and nutrient leaching. I just hope it tastes alright.

After one minute I removed the spinach from the boiling water…

…and placed it in an ice bath.

The ice bath stops the spinach from cooking, which also stops the enzymes from ‘enzyming’ and also stops the nutrients from leaching.

I left my spinach in the ice bath until I had processed all the spinach.

I labeled my freezer bags.

I then drained the spinach and loaded up the bags.

Two small freezer bags.

That is all that came from a trash bag full of spinach.

That stuff cooks down… way down!

I can’t wait to try this out in a batch of spanakopita!

The Hutch Saga Continues

September 22nd, 2008

Kitchen Hutch – (from before the house was completely finished)

This is what the hutch now looks like with two coats of “Cottage Cream” paint from Sherwin Williams. 

Yes, I went with cream. 
Yes, I realize that cream was not really an option before. 
Yes, I seriously considered many of the suggestions that were offered in the previous hutch spasm story.
Yes, I almost went with black and then I almost went with the same color as the walls, but in the end I wimped out with cream. Or maybe I whipped out with cream! 
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha – boy am I funny today.

So back to me, me, me and more me, and also my hutch.

Here are all my problems for you to solve.

1. So far I have not painted the inside of the hutch with the cream paint. Can you even tell from the picture? Or does it all look the same?
If by some miracle, you can tell that the inside is still a pale blue/green and the exterior is now a warm cream, I really would appreciate your opinion as to if I should go ahead and paint the inside cream as well.  Or if I should paint it an entirely different color.  Or if I can leave the inside of the hutch the pale green/blue color and maybe have a slim chance of getting the damn… I mean DANG thing finished in this lifetime.

PS – If you vote for painting it cream or painting it an entirely different color – YOU HAVE TO COME OVER AND DO IT FOR ME!!!

2. My second problem is even spazzier than the first. Do you see how the top of the hutch is currently sitting on the bottom of the hutch? I don’t know if you realize this, but the top of the hutch used to hang on the wall suspend about a foot above the bottom of the hutch.

Like the above pic.

This is not how I intended for the hutch to be. I originally drew the hutch to be a single piece, but the country doctor was concerned that we would not have enough counter space, and so at the last minute, the cabinet makers hung the top of the hutch a foot above the bottom of the hutch. We could not hang it any higher because of the vent on the wall. And guess what? We do really use that counter space. Mostly to catch all the junk mail, and the permission slips and the book orders, and the soccer schedules and the school picture packets… which keeps the other counters free from all that junk, which makes me pretty happy.  On the other hand, I always though that the two part hutch looked kind of odd.

3. Can you also tell that we took off the crown moulding and we moved the hutch out from the wall?  Am I the only person on the planet who cares this much about my silly little hutch?  If there is anyone still reading this – I always wanted my kitchen hutch to LOOK LIKE A HUTCH! But it never really did. So I am considering giving it a complete makeover. I want to move it away from the wall, put on a new countertop that is edged all the way around, find a smaller crown moulding for the top. I would also like the cabinet makers to build a piece that goes in between the countertop and the upper cabinet that sort of connects the two pieces together so it looks like a whole. I know this is all terribly confusing so look… I drew a really bad picture…

Is it all crystal clear now?

Do you think that it will look terrible and I should just put it back like it was? Should I keep the upper cabinet on the lower cabinet? Is anyone still with me?

So cream inside or cream not inside?
Upper on lower or upper not on lower?
Out from the wall or not out from the wall?
Place her in psychiatric care immediately or sedate her and lobotomize the frontal lobe?
Tell me what you think.  
Muchas Gracias!

I have mentioned before, that we ordered about half of all the cabinets in our house in “paint grade poplar” meaning the cabinets were delivered and installed unpainted in order to save a few shekels.  I really enjoy painting and thought it would be no trouble at all to paint twenty odd cabinets myself.  
Har Har Har!
I think I will have unpainted cabinets in my house until I am ninety years old at this point.  And even funnier is that I actually did paint the kitchen hutch already!
Yeah – isn’t that funny!  
Isn’t that just the funniest thing you ever heard?!?
I am laughing really, really hard right now.
Tears are just streaming down my face, I am laughing so hard.
Wait!  I’m not laughing… I am sobbing!

But I have never really liked this faded greed on the hutch.  Actually – I do like the color.  I just don’t like it on the hutch.  Actually I do like it on the hutch.  I just don’t like it on the hutch in this room.  The kitchen is painted in a very nice warm yellow and the washed out greenish/blueish hutch has never looked right to me.

Believe it or not the door above is actually painted in two different colors.  One side is a deep orange and other side is a cardinal red.  I ragged a brown glaze over both colors.  What do you think?  Can you even see a difference?

This is the closest color I could find to a pumpkin… because I just had to try a pumpkin color on my hutch.  I also used the brown glaze over the top and I love this color… I am just not sure I want my kitchen hutch to be this color.  

This is a deeper red with the brown glaze over the top.

Then I got tired of the reds…

So I decided to try a few greens.  I just had to try them.  The samples are cheap and I just had to see if a “harder green” would do the trick for me.  I especially like the darker green, but again I am not sure it is the right choice for the hutch.

Do you see a color that looks perfect?
Please don’t tell my you like the original color!
Because it is not going to be easy to cover up all that red paint!

While I was at the paint store, I happened to notice that they had a huge wallpaper book collection, so I took a break from my hutch paint color spasms and flipped through a few books.

I am usually the type of person that likes to drag home as many samples of certain materials as I can get away with.  I will lug twelve carpet samples, nineteen tile boards, and four hundred paint chips home, spread them all out, and glory in all the possibilities for days.  But the wallpaper books were different.  After looking through several, I stumbled upon one that instantly made my heartbeat erratic.  My pulse quickened.  My skin glistened with sweat.  My bosom heaved.  Every page in the wallpaper book felt like a scene from a Jane Austen novel.

I guess you could say that I judged the book by it’s cover.

And as tears rained down on my cheeks….

I whispered the dearest feelings of my heart…

You had me at hello…

You… had…. ME… at… HELLO!  

Oh yeah – so if you have an opinion on a good color for that horrifying hutch up there please let me know.  
Because the clown look is really not working for me.
Muy Muy Appreciado,