Ceviche w/ Avocado, Tomato and Green Chile

IMG_7422

Summer is the perfect season for the fresh crisp flavors of ceviche.  This wonderful lime-marinated seafood cocktail has its roots in Latin America.  It is traditionally made with fresh ocean fish or shellfish but many modern chefs have broadened the concept to include a variety of bold-flavored combinations of seafood, vegetables, herbs and even fruit.  Essentially it is a collection of raw ingredients that are marinated in citrus, most commonly lime juice, long enough to “cook” through.  It is a versatile salad that be served in a variety of ways.  I enjoy it served as a tostada on a crisp corn tortilla as a main dish or in a small glass as an appetizer served with crackers or chips.  I have also eaten it nestled in greens as a citrus punched first course salad.  Regardless of how it is served, it is  light, vibrant, and stunning to look at.  It begs for creativity in both its composition and presentation.IMG_7436

I have enjoyed making and eating ceviche for many years but I have to credit my daughter, Sarah, for my most recent creation.  We were discussing my lack of a functioning kitchen (update to come later) and she suggested making this dish as it relies strictly on the acid of the citrus to cook, requiring no heat source.  Perfect for the chef with no stove, right?

One tip for making a successful ceviche is “Freshness!”  I cannot emphasize this enough.  The freshest of ingredients, especially the fish and shellfish, is essential.  I suggest you read these tips, “How to Make the Perfect Ceviche and Common Mistakes to Avoid” , if you are inexperienced with the process.  Opinions vary greatly on how long the ingredients should sit in the marinade.  A variance of 15 minutes to 2 hrs. can be found.  I personally do not like to marinate longer than 20-30 minutes as the fish gets overcooked.  I then remove all the contents from the citrus and finish it off.  You should do it the way that makes you most comfortable.

Mine creation went down like this.IMG_7409

Jeanne’s Ceviche (Sometimes spelled Seviche)  

6-8 servings 

1 lb each bay scallops and large shrimp, (sea scallops or other light white fish can also be used), cut into bite size pieces

1 c fresh lime juice

¼ c fresh lemon juice

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine

1-2 scallions, green part only, chopped fine

¼ c flat leaf parsley, chopped

½ c cilantro, chopped

1 T extra-virgin olive oil

2 tomatoes, cut into small dice (optional)

1 avocado, cut into small dice (optional)

1/2 c cucumber, cut in small dice (optional)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1.  Combine scallops, shrimp, lime juice, lemon juice, jalapeno, scallions, parsley, and cilantro.
  2.  Toss thoroughly, cover and refrigerate for 15- 20 minutes but not more than 30 minutes for maximum tenderness.
  3.  Drain and reserve citrus mixture.
  4.  Toss scallops with olive oil and 1 T of reserved citrus juice.
  5.  Add chopped tomato and avocado and cucumber, if using.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7.  Taste and adjust seasoning and add more citrus,  if needed.

IMG_7425

A favorite picnic dish in Mexico, it screams summer freshness.  I am thinking next time I might add some watermelon to mine.  With the all the garden choices this season brings, the possibilities are endless.  I am happy to report that my home-grown tomatoes and scallions ripened just in time for this week’s recipe.  Can’t wait to see what is coming next!IMG_7393

I promised more on the ongoing saga of the unfinished kitchen remodel, so here it goes.  First thing Monday morning the electricians came and completed all the lighting around the sink.  Wow!  It is really makes that area come alive.  The other development is, “the stove is in the house!”  That’s right it was delivered late Thursday but a little too late for the installers.  So here it sits in the middle of the kitchen waiting to fulfill its destiny as a functional appliance.  The promise is the installers will be here first thing tomorrow morning (Monday) and if all goes well, the kitchen will be back!  Finally!  I am now about 95% moved back in and itching to cook my first meal.  I truly hope for all our sakes I will be able to christen the new space this week and we can cease talking about it  I look forward to being asked, “what’s cooking?” instead of the question of late, “do you have your stove yet?”

IMG_7446

Hopefully all of you have been keeping it alive on your stoves and/or grills, enjoying the fruits of the summer harvest and spreading the love, one dish at a time.  I am sending my hope to fire up my stove this week and sending my love from my almost kitchen to yours.

 

 

Coming Home

 

 “I’m coming home;  I’m coming home;

Tell the world I’m coming home!”   J. Cole Lyrics

IMG_7373

An incredible adventure is so enriching but even while experiencing the excitement our thoughts often drift longingly to home.  This is your comfort zone, the place where you can totally relax and be yourself.  Thoughts of sleeping in your own bed conjure comfort and safety.   Although I have been sleeping in my own bed, I have felt very displaced since the kitchen remodel project has been underway, approaching 6 weeks now.  Can you believe it?  If you have been following you know it has not been without frustration.  Even though I must report still being stoveless, I believe we have resolved the issue by canceling our order with the original company and purchasing the same stove from another vendor.  I did have to settle for a floor model that comes with a little scratch on the front panel but was reduced in price by several hundred dollars which eased the pain a bit.  The real bonus is I actually got to touch it and I am feeling very confident after all that has happened, I will have a stove by Thursday.   That said, the need to settle into the new space has taken over and I have spent the last week lining cupboards and drawers and reclaiming my space.  I found myself singing the above song lyric as I hung the pot rack and lovingly placed my cookware.  The empty bookcase that has been calling to me is now filled with the cherished works of my precious culinary “friends.”  Welcome home, Julia et al!  I am so happy to be back in your company.  photo

It has been a bit like Christmas and I am feeling empowered as I unpack and decide on the new location for my tools and equipment.  The above song goes on to say,

“Back where I belong; I never felt so strong, Feeling like there’s nothing that I can’t try, If you feel me, put your hands up high.”

This reflects my joy as I continue the process of re-establishing my favorite space.  Perhaps I can write about the first meal cooked in my new kitchen next time.  Keep those positive thoughts for me, a chef without a kitchen is like a fish out of water.  I am, however, getting closer to home, there is no place like it, right Dorothy?

IMG_7378IMG_7380

Meanwhile, I do have a new grill recipe for you.  If you garden you know how prolific even one zucchini plant can be.  With the season upon us, we are always in search of new and creative ways to prepare it.  Last night I roasted it on the grill with a spice rub that ordinarily I associate with meats.  The result was very flavorful.  Here’s how it goes.

SMOKY GRILLED ZUCCHINI                           Serves 6

Recipe by Alice Ladman

3 medium zucchini

1T Extra-virgin olive oil

½ t Sea salt

½ t freshly ground black pepper

1 t smoked paprika

1-2 t brown sugar

Fresh limes for squeezing

  1. Heat the grill to medium-high.
  2. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and rub them with the olive oil.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, paprika and sugar. Rub this mixture over the zucchini.
  4. Grill the zucchini until tender and charred, about 3-5 minutes per side.
  5. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing.

The smokiness of the paprika paired with the sweetness of the sugar really amps up the rather dull flavor of the squash.  Add a squeeze of lime for a bit of acidity and you have a perfect balance.  I just used 1t of sugar as my palate leans to savory but you can adjust to taste.  Quick and easy, it can be served hot or at room temperature.  Try not to overcook it as it will get mushy.  I keep an eye on it and cook just until crisp tender, the time will vary depending on the temp of your grill.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  I have a feeling you will view zucchini differently after eating it prepared this way.

IMG_7381

So the saga continues but I am optimistic a new story will prevail as the week progresses.  My creative juices refuse to be squelched as I resume the task of reclamation and coming home.  Keep me in your thoughts and let me know what you are grilling up these days as you continue to spread the love, one dish at a time.  From my grill to yours, I send my love and best summer wishes.  Jeanne

 

 

Jambalaya on the Grill

IMG_7333

It has been said, “necessity is the mother of invention.”  I know for sure there is truth in that saying as being without a functioning kitchen for a month has truly ignited my creative juices.  I am constantly thinking about ways to get around the inconvenience and still satisfy my love of good food and need to create it.  At first I kept it simple with sandwiches, salads and grilling the standard steak, chop or burger but now I am hungry for more.  Perhaps it was the delicious etouffee and Cajun inspired meal  prepared for us by friends recently that got me thinking about New Orleans and its unique and eclectic cuisines.  Or the book “Gumbo Shop” those same friends loaned me that whet my appetite.  Whatever the inspiration, the presence of gulf shrimp and Andouille sausage lurking in my freezer sealed the deal.  IMG_7352

Let’s start with a little background.  The cuisine(s) of this area have many influences; French, Italian, Spanish, African, Native American to name a few.  Some believe the idea of jambalaya originated from the Spanish and their love of paella (the national dish of Spain).  It is a rice based dish combined with a variety of meats, shellfish and vegetables originally cooked by the gauchos (cowboys) over an open fire.  That said, it did not seem such a reach to make it on the grill.  Traditionally the raw rice is toasted a bit in the fat and then the liquid is added cooking it with the selected ingredients.  I decided instead to utilize the steamed rice left over from Chinese takeout that was hanging in the fridge.  This reduced the amount of time needed for cooking and made me feel good about not wasting.

Here is how I did it using a cast iron skillet.  The result was a smoky goodness with just enough heat to wake the palate and stimulate the taste buds.  You adjust to suit yourself.

IMG_7309IMG_7313

 

 

 

Jambalaya On The Grill                                        Serves 6

Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis

½ lb. shrimp Peeled, deveined, placed on skewers,  brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and Cajun spice

½ lb. Andouille sausageIMG_7316

½ c each “holy trinity”, cut into small dice (green or red bell pepper, celery, onion)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2T bacon drippings, lard or cooking oil

1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes or equivalent of fresh, if in season

1 ½ c cooked rice

1 c chicken stock

Cajun spice, to taste

Sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Large cast iron skilletIMG_7323

  1. Preheat grill to high.
  2. Prep all ingredients and place them on a baking sheet to carry outside.
  3. Place whole sausage on the grill and cook until outside is a bit charred. Remove and set aside.
  4. Place skewers with shrimp on the grill and cook for just a few seconds on each side. Remove and set aside (they will cook further later on).
  5. Adjust the heat on the grill to achieve medium high heat.
  6. Place a large cast iron skillet on the top with 2T of whatever fat you have chosen. When heated, add the “holy trinity,” season with salt, pepper and Cajun spice, sauté until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, stirring to avoid burning.
  7. Slice the sausage into bite sized pieces and add back into skillet. Stir and cook a minute or so.
  8. Add the diced tomato and cook for 5-10 minutes to allow the tomatoes to break down.
  9. Add the rice and stir in to fully incorporate. Add the chicken stock and cook for 5 minutes or more until the mixture is thick and not soupy.
  10. Remove the shrimp from the skewers and add to skillet.  Stir for about a minute.
  11. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve hot.

If you do the prep ahead, the actual cooking time is quick and easy.  I substituted red bell pepper for the traditional green because I prefer the added sweetness it provides but like I say, “whatever makes you happy.”  I know you are going to love this!

IMG_7332

Ok, now for this weeks installment of Jeanne’s kitchen makeover.  It has been both a gratifying and frustrating process this week.  The good news is I have a beautiful functioning sink and dishwasher (I no longer have to hand wash) with a fully installed glass backsplash (waiting for the electrics to be finished) that has caused me to walk by for a loving  glance at regular intervals.  IMG_7347

My refrigerator is in and making ice along with the wall oven which is fully functioning.  The housing for my cookbooks lies in wait of its residents and I am so excited to assist them with their relocation.  Ah, the bad news, still no stove!  What?  It’s the heartbeat of the kitchen, right?  It seems to be lost and no one can find it.  Long story and many emails and phone calls later the frustration continues with still no word as to when I might actually lay eyes on it.  I guess my finesse with the grill will continue until further notice or the stove fairies bring one in the night.  I will keep you posted.

IMG_7339

Summer is the best time for grilling so why not bust out and try something out of the ordinary.  You would be amazed what you can do especially if you employ the assistance of the trusty cast iron skillet, indestructible and old school, it is one cooking tool I would not want to do without.  Until next time whether grilling or not, keep spreading the love, one dish at a time.  For me, from my grill and my partially renovated kitchen, I send my love to you.  Jeanne

                                                         

Summer Salad Makes a Meal

IMG_7294

Throughout my childhood there were two items that were ever-present on the family dinner table.  Fresh salad, that always wore a dress of homemade vinaigrette, and crusty bread.  They were there year round regardless of the evening’s menu.  It was a given.  The salad would change as the seasons evolved but night after night it took its place as a side dish and would never assume to be the star.  Times have changed since then and as society’s consciousness shifts to consuming more fruits and vegetables, the status of salads has been elevated.   It now has a prominent place on many restaurant menus and consumers are choosing to make it a meal.  Perhaps it is out of necessity given the current state of my kitchen (update to follow) or the steamy weather of the past weeks but salads as a meal have become commonplace in my home.  Last night was no exception.  Checking the pantry and fridge I composed a symphony of ingredients that was satisfying, rife with flavors and covered all the food groups.

It starts with making the vinaigrette.  The ratio I use is 1  part  acid (vinegar or lemon juice) to 3 parts good quality extra virgin olive oil.  To that I add Dijon mustard, finely chopped shallot or a couple of crushed garlic cloves and season   with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  I place all of the ingredients in a jar with a tight lid and shake vigorously to emulsify.  I like to make enough for several salads so I have it on hand in the refrigerator.

Last night’s salad was composed of

  1. Mixed greens ( 1 large handful per person)
  2. 1 can of  good quality tuna, broken into chunks
  3. 2 semi soft cooked eggs, chopped
  4. Handful of fresh herbs, torn (I used cilantro, parsley, basil but whatever you have)
  5. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  6. Garnish with strips of seasoned sea weed and nasturtiums, optional

Dress with the vinaigrette, being careful not to overdress as greens will become soggy.  Use just enough to lightly coat the leaves.

I used mixed greens but any greens you enjoy will do.  The same goes for the proteins.  Don’t like eggs or tuna?  Try chicken, beans, nuts or a dollop of cottage cheese.  I recently discovered Greek style (cottage cheese) which is thicker and has a lot of body.  The beauty is, there is no recipe, it is what appeals to your palate and what you happen  to have on hand.  There you have itIMG_7283

 

……a complete meal in a bowl.

Time now for the update on the kitchen remodel.  This week has been a mixed bag of emotion.  The good news is the wood workers came and refinished the butcher block counters on the island and above the cupboards along the back wall.

IMG_7270IMG_7272

We really wanted to keep this feature of the original design as they are hard maple and were  hand-built by the original owners.  To our delight, they were able to completely restore it to the original condition.  Gorgeous!   Wednesday was the appliance delivery.  We had assembled the electricians and the carpenters to be sure things went smoothly for the stove and oven installation.  Alas, best laid plans.  Appliances arrived sans stove.  After investigating we were told it was just a paper error and would be straightened out.  Two days later after our continued inquiry we discovered the stove had never been ordered from the company.  Ugh!  We are still waiting to find out how long they anticipate the delivery to take and whether we should begin to look elsewhere.  IMG_7276

Meanwhile I continue to use my portable burner for small cooking jobs and am getting quite skilled at using the grill.  Tuesday I am expecting the countertop to arrive that will allow for the installation of the sink and dishwasher.  Keep your fingers crossed.  IMG_7278

I am attempting to stay focused on the completed project and how much fun I am going to have preparing recipes in the newly remodeled heart of our home.  Thank God for  summer and the access to fresh local ingredients it provides.  Use this season to allow your creativity to soar and keep spreading the love one salad or fresh dish at a time.  I may not have a stove but the love still flows from my evolving kitchen to yours.

The Kindness of Friends

Strawberries are here!

Strawberries are here!

We are fortunate on so many levels to have supportive friends.  There have been many times when I questioned whether I could make it through difficult times if it were not for the generosity of others.  That can take many forms; a listening  ear, a compassionate heart, a shoulder for crying, a hand to hold or as I like to say, spreading the love through food.  I believe people as a whole are generous and want to lend a helping hand when they can.  Many times, however, they just don’t know how or are afraid of intruding.  These past few weeks with our kitchen in various stages of disrepair, people have demonstrated just how kind and thoughtful they can be.  Last week we were invited to dinner by a couple we have known for a while but have spent little time with socially.  The invitation was a surprise and we willingly accepted.  We were served a delicious dinner of Greek-style chicken and salad with a lovely composition of seasonal fruit dressed in a very light but flavorful ricotta topping laced with vanilla and orange.  Yum! I will be making that through the summer.  In addition to the food we had a very enjoyable evening getting to know each other better, hearing about each others lives, families and interests.  Their adorable home is alive with color, including the “fiesta ware” which graced the table, a love we all have in common.  The living spaces have many personal touches taking on their personalities and making it truly their own.  So fun to share.   A few days later we sat at the table of very good friends where we commiserated about politics, aging, philosophy of life, our dogs and a myriad of other things over bowls of the most delicious garlic soup I have ever tasted (recipe to follow when back in business), roasted salmon over mustard greens, also delicious, and finished with fine chocolates and glasses of port.  We didn’t solve the world’s problems but it was so fun to share the love with friends.  It was a satisfying evening all around.  As if that wasn’t enough kindness, tonight we are dining at the home of some other friends promising shrimp etouffee, one of my favorites, lively conversation and many laughs.  Can’t wait.  We are blessed to know so much generosity in our lives and are grateful for the thoughtfulness while experiencing the war zone we now call our kitchen.

Refrigerator, Wall oven Microwave

Refrigerator, Wall oven Microwave

Speaking of, if I had to describe it (the kitchen) in one word it would be “holes.”  We have  many of them awaiting the arrival of the new appliances.  This week there was much accomplished but not much visible to the naked eye.  Plumbing, electrical, and some finish carpentry setting the stage for future developments.  Necessary, but not as sexy as last week when we saw the evolution of the new cabinets.

The existing butcher block counters slated to be refinished last Friday got delayed until tomorrow and the appliances are on the calendar to be delivered and installed Wednesday.  If all goes accordingly I should have more exciting visuals to share next time.

Butcher Block

Butcher Block

Stove

Stove

 

Sink, Dishwasher

Sink, Dishwasher

 

Meanwhile, we have been eating a lot of impromptu salads and simple preparations such as my latest creation made of this wonderful cheese given to me by my dear friend (the creator of the above mentioned garlic soup and roasted salmon), and topped with avocado.  Served on toasted rye bread, it has been my go to lunch for several days. photo

Simple Food

Simple Food

This whole process has definitely been made easier by the generosity of others.  May blessings be bestowed upon all of you many fold.  I am continually reminded how much we need each other in both good times and bad.  We are blessed and I promise I will soon repay you with something from the heart made in my new kitchen.  I haven’t been doing much cooking lately but I do hope you are taking advantage of the seasonal harvest and spreading your love to those around you, one dish at a time.  Meanwhile I am eating strawberries and sending the sweet love to you from our room of holes.  Jeanne

 

 

Italian Tuna Sandwich

IMG_6254If you read my last post you know there is not much cooking in this house these days due to the remodel of the kitchen and its contents packed in boxes.  This creates the dilemma of what to eat?  Although friends have graciously come forth with dinner invitations and there are plenty of restaurants, you can’t eat out all day everyday.  With that in mind, it was time to create a new sandwich.  The process began in my pantry and refrigerator to see what was on hand and would go together.  Since I love good quality tuna, that was the start.  With the protein decided, I added several vegetables, a little olive oil to give it moisture and some pesto, for added depth of flavor, as a spread for the bread.  Topped with spinach, a perfectly soft cooked egg and some shavings of Parmesan cheese, it had all the necessary components.  Pile all of that in a ciabatta roll and there it is, a big fat sandwich that made a complete meal.  This is how it went down, more or less.

IMG_6261

 

 

 

 

ITALIAN TUNA SANDWICH                                                        Makes 4

Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis

¼ c oil packed sun-dried tomato, roughly chopped

3T capers, roughly chopped

3T good quality extra-virgin olive oil

1 can (4oz.) tuna, drained

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 sliced ciabatta rolls, toasted

½c basil pesto

2 soft cooked eggs, peeled and sliced (I cook them about 7 minutes)***

Baby spinach, enough for 4 sandwiches

8 pieces Parmesan cheese, shaved from a block using a vegetable peeler

  1. Mix together the tomatoes, capers, olive oil and tuna. Toss with a fork until fully incorporated and tuna is less chunky. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Assemble the sandwich by spreading both sides of the rolls with pesto. Divide the tuna mixture among the rolls. Top each with slices of egg, spinach and pieces of shaved parmesan.

Note:  The sandwich improves greatly if you use a high quality  olive oil and tuna.  I used wild caught albacore tuna packed in spring water but olive oil packed would be great as well.  For the cheese, I used Parmigiano-Reggiano, the undisputed “king” of cheeses.

IMG_6250

 

 

 

 

If you are curious about the egg, here is how I do it.  Place eggs in pan and cover with cold water, about one inch above the eggs.  Bring to a boil and immediately remove from the heat.  Cover, and let sit off heat for 6-7 minutes.  Drain and place in cold water or ice bath.  Keeping the yolk somewhat soft enhances the flavor and mouth feel.  Cooking it longer dries out the yolk making it rubbery and hard to swallow, in my opinion, but you should make it the way it pleases you.  If you like your egg yolks firmer, leave them for about 10 minutes.  Using this method you will avoid that disgusting greenish ring that can form at the edges.  I promise.

photo

Now for an update on the kitchen remodel.  The cabinets now are completely installed with the exception of the bookcase that will be home for my cookbook collection, at least the ones most frequently used.  The refrigerator remains in the living room but I anticipate the new appliance delivery on Wednesday when it will be handed over to a new family.  I still have an operating stove but the electricians are coming in the morning and I assume they will disconnect and move it out.  Friday the guys are coming to refinish the butcher block that remains on the center island and above the cabinets along the wall.  If all goes as planned, we will have the installation of the sink, its countertop and the backsplash tile remaining by the end of next week.  Making progress but still living with dust covering everything.  I see more sandwiches in my near future.  IMG_7226

That said, I want to take a moment to honor all the Dads on this Fathers Day.  Of course that includes my own, Frederick (Ted) Raffetto.  He lived a long life of 86 years, loved telling stories and was especially proud of serving as a captain in the U.S. Army during World War II.  During my younger years he and his brother owned a restaurant that had been previously operated by my grandfather, evolving from an ice cream parlor built by my great-grandfather. photo My Dad loved good food and was an adventurous eater, a trait he passed to me and I will be forever grateful.  A kind and gentle man, he rarely raised his voice except when we misbehaved at the dinner table where he and my mother demanded good manners.  He often said it was his goal to get through dinner without one of us spilling our milk.  With seven children, that was a lofty goal.  In spite of that he loved his family and encouraged independence in all of us.  This has served me more than I could have ever imagined.  Thank you, Dad.  I salute all of the fathers today and my own, everyday.

If you are a dad, I hope you are being honored and someone is spreading the love by making a special dish just for you.  Until next time, I send my love to all of you  from the dust bowl.  Jeanne

 

 

Kitchen Renaissance

IMG_7210

Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, oh my!  This has been the week of chaos and dirt.  Workmen in my house from early morning to late afternoon and constant noise.  That’s right, Queen Jeanne is” kitchenless” and surrounded by clutter.  Let me walk you through the process.  First there was months of planning and decision-making.  Who knew there were so many styles of sinks and faucets not to mention all the other things that make a kitchen work.  Then the appliances!  Yikes!  Hope I made good choices.  Then of course the anxiety producing wait for the all of the things ordered, made, cut and delivered.  Finally the call that the destruction will begin and time to clear out all the stuff from the existing kitchen.  That is no easy task as I have forty something cabinets and drawers (not complaining, just saying) shamelessly full of accoutrements to make cooking fun and nearly three hundred cookbooks.  I am thrilled to say my new kitchen has a built-in home for them.  The good thing is I found things I forgot I had and took advantage of this time for a major purge.  Just because it was given to you by your favorite aunt doesn’t make it worthy of keeping if you never use it!  That done, there are still many boxes and stuff all over my house.

Not for long!

Not for long!

This week was all about out with the old and the beginning of the rebirth.  There are disadvantages to an open floor plan.  At the moment, the refrigerator is in my living room, an arrangement my husband says makes getting a beer easier.  Don’t get used to it, my dear.  I am not too fond of those Subway mats they put down but I guess it helps protect.  With the dishwasher gone I am fortunate to have a second sink in my utility/pantry room so I do not have to wash dishes in the bath tub.  For cooking we have both a charcoal and gas grill, slow cooker, and many fine restaurants available to us.  I think given most of my cooking tools are packed, we will be taking advantage of the later more than anything.

Plumbers and electricians work their magic.

Plumbers and electricians work their magic.

Cabinets gone.

Cabinets gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been trying to ignore the melee indoors and concentrate on the beauty in my gardens.  The lilacs and lily of the valley are gone and replaced by the glorious iris and my favorite, the peonies.  I surround myself with the beauty of nature which eases my cooking withdrawal and angst about the end result of all the decisions.  My youngest sister remodeled her kitchen a few years ago and she advised me to  “keep my eye on the prize not on the dirt.”  I guess I will focus on what grows in the dirt.

Transformation begins.

Transformation begins.

From the dirt.

From the dirt.

Natures gifts.

Natures gifts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please do not think I am whining about this wonderful project I get to do.  I am really excited and can’t wait to cook my first meal in my new favorite room, the reborn kitchen.  Not sure how many recipes I will share in the next few weeks but I will keep you posted on our progress.  Meanwhile, I need you to keep spreading the love, one dish at a time.  I send you my love and dreams of future dishes from the construction zone.  Jeanne

Calming!

Calming!