Archive for February, 2008

Curried Tofu Scramble

February 29, 2008

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As an equal opportunity eater, I don’t discriminate between vegetarian and meat-centric cuisines. If it’s good, it’s good. One is equally delicious as the other. So as much as I love fluffy scrambled eggs, I love a good tofu scramble. Inspired by Smooch’s curried tofu scramble, I’ve supplemented with extras from the fridge that I happen to like with eggs too.

Curried Tofu Scramble – serves two

-finely chop 1/4 onion and 1/4 red bell pepper
-heat 1T oil in a frying pan over medium high, add onion and pepper, cook until soft, about 3 minutes
-in the meantime, crumble 1/2-10 oz. cube of firm tofu with a fork until it looks like cottage cheese
-add to onion and peppers, along with 1t curry powder and 1/4t salt, stirring to integrate, cook until heated through, about 2 minutes

Unlike scrambled eggs, they still taste good as leftovers, and make for a tasty breakfast burrito.

OXO Soap Squirting Palm Brush

February 28, 2008

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My zeal for washing dishes by hand would not be complete without my OXO Soap Squirting Palm Brush. A gadget that looks not unlike a Dow Scrubbing Bubble, the bulbous head holds dishwashing liquid that gets dispensed to the bristles with a squeeze of the top. Nothing gets greasy plastic as clean without leaving soapy residue. It’s also easy, and essential, for getting gunk off dishes so it doesn’t junk up the sponge. I wish I had a facilitator like this for all of life’s chores.

Foot Pedal Sink!

February 27, 2008

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After reading about Dave Arnold’s mad cooking inventions in this week’s Time Magazine, I became intrigued with his idea of a foot pedal sink. A hands-free sink enables a minimization of running water, which is great for us water watchers. I haven’t been able to wash my dishes California style – only running water for rinsing – since moving to The Littlest Kitchen, with its separate hot and cold faucets and no room to spread out soaped dishes. And what a boon for germaphobes – how can your hands be really clean when you’re touching the same faucets that were touched by dirty hands? These sinks can be found through medical equipment manufacturers, hospitals being the real place of need for godliness cleanliness. Kitchen Source also has one, catching wind as something useful in the kitchen. A fantasy that can be a reality.

Guilty Pleasure

February 26, 2008

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A fact that I’m embarrassed to admit to my closest friends – I like American cheese slices. Only in the most specific cases as in a hot sandwich – cheeseburger, grilled cheese, tuna melt, egg on a roll – is it often preferred to real cheese. The orange plasticheese melts smoothly becoming the industrial ooze that blankets my food. The molten gooey-ness unnaturally sticks to my teeth. I love it. Not even a sentimental holdout from my less sophisticated childhood, this is a conscious decision after my foodie conversion. But I absolutely refuse to eat it cold out of the wrapper.

One gallon of Rock Miracle later…

February 25, 2008

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And I’m still not done! I’ve been able to finish the frame and the exterior of the doors, but there’s still the underside and the interior doors to do. This weekends efforts have been to finish the interior rims of the frame. I’ve considered fudging this and leaving the edges white, but I have to do the right thing. I’m not going as ape shit with the paint stripper, as the finest and most difficult layers at the bottom will sand off nicely to the same effect. I’m not sick of sanding, where as I am of stripping.

I’ve also started to work on the door interiors by taking them off the frame. The hardware came off easily and will eventually get its paint removal bath. It’s been easier to work with the doors on a flat surface instead of on its hinges. But I couldn’t even undo the hinges without removing the paint – the screw heads were so gooked on with paint. All in all, I wish I used a heat gun!

The GC Blues

February 22, 2008

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I now know why people hire general contractors. Aside from their valuable service, knowledge, and connections, it’s quite a job. A job that is difficult to do when one already has a job. And when one is looking for a job. Welcome to my world.

Maybe it was the lunar eclipse, but I have never felt such an overwhelming feeling of wanting to run away and hide.  Usually, I love a sense of accomplishment, of getting things done, and I love a challenge – can we say cabinet? But this time, it’s not just a feeling of dread, or I-don’t-feel-like-it, but helplessness.  

Thinking sanely and rationally, and not wallowing in my emotions, I have been able to accomplish a few things. My super is on board for removing my old sink cabinet and oven. All my appliances are in stock at AM Royal – I can order them now and they can hold them at their warehouse until I’m ready for delivery. I’m meeting the marble guys on Saturday. I’ve gone down to the Bowery to check out sinks.  I’ve decided to paint the walls myself.

What is ultimately bumming me out is that I can’t find anyone to do my floors. My super doesn’t want to do it. Bergen Tile doesn’t want to do it. I don’t want Home Depot to do it. There has to be a better way, maybe it’s my approach – “Hi, I have a 50 square foot floor that needs to have the concrete removed”. Not exactly tempting or lucrative. The reality is that I have to hit the pavement and research. Start talking to people for recommendations, interviewing people, and getting estimates – stuff that I don’t really want to do, but, hey, no one else will. And the best thing to do is push back my schedule two weeks to buy more time.

Warm Lentil Salad

February 21, 2008

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I always feel so healthy when I eat lentils. I practically feel holier than thou macrobiotic vegan locavore when I eat a warm lentil salad over salad.  Earthy lentils combined with crunchy sweet red pepper and celery, a trinity that balances texture, flavor, and color.  A little feta adds for a creamy, salty surprise.  The oil that is cooked with the vegetables also dress the greens.  A squeeze of lemon gives extra brightness. 

Warm Lentil Salad – serves six 
-boil a quart of water, add 1 cup lentils 
-cook until tender, but not mushy, about 20 minutes 
-in the meantime, prepare the vegetables – mince 2 scallions, and chop 1/2 red bell pepper and 3 celery stalks 
-when the lentils are done, drain 
-in a large frying pan, heat 2T olive oil over medium high-add scallions, heat until fragrant, about 1 minute
-add red pepper and celery, saute until vibrant and still crisp about 3 minutes
-add lentils, 1/2t salt, and 1/4t pepper, toss until well combined, about 1 minute
-turn off the heat, add the juice of half a lemon and 1/2 cup cubed feta cheese 
-serve over salad greens  

I also like chopped parsley when I have it.  Other vegetables can be added to the mix -carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, as long as their chopped to the scale of the lentils.  For more spice, add hot sauce, but I  like being able to taste the subtle flavor of the lentils.

Under the Peninsula

February 20, 2008

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My makeshift peninsula has been an Ikea desk that was a moving hand-me-down from a few years ago.  Lower than a standard counter top, and certainly not as sturdy, it has served me well for the past year.  When the fridge and freezer get put in, I’ll miss the freedom of stretching out my legs underneath it, and the view out of my window.  The peninsula counter will extend out to accommodate my legs,  but I’ll face the opposite direction into the kitchen.  A small sacrifice, making it more important to make the kitchen aesthetically pleasing.

Busy Week Ahead

February 19, 2008

img_1659.jpgBeing as budget conscious as I am, I have decided not to hire a general contractor for my kitchen renovation. I’m not moving plumbing or gas, or even electricity, if I can help it. I am my own general contractor.Still, this is no small feat for me, requiring the coordination and logic of an army commander, in my mind. But I am open to new challenges, look at the cabinet! Luckily, I have the guiding light of my ace cabinet maker and my fabulous detail-obsessed architect. The tentative schedule is demo, floors, and painting on the week of March 10. Cabinet and fridge installation on the week of March 17. Countertop and stove installation on the week of March 23. It means no stove or sink for almost a month!My to do list this week is:-talk to my super about demo, possibly doing the floors, and painting the kitchen-call AM Royal about ordering appliances-call the marble guys-check out possible sinks at the restaurant supply storesEssentially, I’ve given myself until March 10 to finish the cabinet, which I think I can do. Next weekend, I’ll take the doors off to finish the frame, and the inside of the doors. This leaves two weekends to sand and wax, which hopefully won’t be as toxic as the stripping. Did you know that Rock Miracle “reduces the blood’s oxygen carrying capacity”? Probably as harmful as smoking a lifetime of cigarettes!

Garlic Press

February 15, 2008

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I have finally come to terms with the garlic press. Loved it. Hated it. Loved it again. We’ve come a long way from the dinky aluminium jobs that would buckle under the most stubborn cloves. I had long exchewed this gadget in exchange for the chef’s knife and cutting board, which are easy to use and easy to clean. But the virtue of the the garlic press, earning its place in The Littlest Kitchen, is that it makes evenly minced pieces (for pasta) and can grind through quantities of garlic quickly (for garlic soup). And it’s convenient on occasions when I’m not using the knife and board. Zyliss makes a simple and sturdy press, which makes my life easier.