Archive for July, 2008

Decisions Decisions

July 25, 2008

I have a hole for an oven and a gap for a backsplash. I have to decide on what to do with them so I can move on with my life. Or not. I’m not dealing with either right now because I’m going on vacation! I’m letting go of all of my worries for a week and then I’ll give both sides careful analysis and consideration. For now, the kitchen is closed.

Bangkok on Moscow

July 24, 2008

Tucked in the barely block-long Mosco Street is the Bangkok Center Grocery, a little bit of Thailand in the middle of Chinatown. Neatly packed and well curated with Thai goods from a rainbow of curry pastes and exotic sauces to fresh Thai basils and sticky rice desserts, it’s an inspiration for Thai cooks of all levels, including mine, rudimentary. I was able to find the otherwise hard to find roasted rice powder for Thai beef salad, along with the more common rice noodle sticks, but these were cut into shorter more manageable segments than the usual endless tangle. Part of the seduction of the store is the packaging, as I bought fish sauce and white pepper just for how they looked – the fish sauce has an illustration of a baby brandishing an even larger bottle of fish sauce like a bazooka, and the white pepper comes in a long skinny tin with a thumbs up drawn on it. I give Bangkok Center Grocery two thumbs up. Bangkok Center Grocery, 104 Mosco Street, between Mott and Mulberry Streets, 212-732-8916.

Like Lame

July 23, 2008

Within a few days of putting together the drawer dividers, they collapsed. Double stick tape just isn’t strong enough for the gentle back and forth pull of the drawer and having the force of silverware hit it. I’m hoping that some 2 Ton Epoxy will help. I’ve glued the slats to the holders, but not to the wood of the drawers – I’m not that committed. Let’s hope it lasts, I’d rather not buy those millimeter hogging divider trays.

My Beautiful Closet

July 22, 2008

After all my hemming and hawing, I am thrilled with my broom closet. All the cleaning supplies in one easily accessible space. The shallow shelves allow for a single line of vision, no digging around in dark, dank spaces. The Muji rack is genius, if I may say so myself. Sliding hooks from which to hang my mop and broom, and all my various kitchen towels and dusting cloths, part of my concerted effort to reduce my paper towel usage. It’s just too good.

Taking the Shame

July 21, 2008

My marble guy called me before I had a chance to call him, checking to see my satisfaction with the new counter top. I had to express my disappointment with the installation of the backsplash, and he graciously came by to check it out with his installer. In their Sicilian-Italian, I was able to discern “not right” and “mess”. It was agreed that they wouldn’t be able to re-do the backsplash, so they offered a few solutions:

1) place another thin piece of marble on top of the gap that would be about 7″ high, forming a higher up backsplash. My least favorite option.

2) install a tile backsplash.

3) fill the wall with drywall and feather it up the side of the old cabinet.

I’m just happy that they’ve acknowledged the shoddy work and are willing to do something about it, whether I take them up on their offer or not. They’re taking the shame. I’ve forwarded their suggestions to my architect. He’s the decider.

California Cleaning

July 17, 2008

Not only have a longed to wash dishes in my kitchen sink for the past few months, I have been dying to wash my dishes California style. Raised during a drought in California (“If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down”), I was used to this eco-friendly way of sudsing and then rinsing a batch of dishes, rather than letting the water run. This had not been a possibility in The Littlest Kitchen until now, since I never quite had the space to spread out the soapy dishes, so I’d let the water run. By buying an extra drain board to place over the burners while I suds up, I am able to create extra space. The thin-ish tray fits under the sink neatly when not be used for its five minutes of the day. I had forgotten that we did this in my first apartment in New York, a nifty trick devised by the Organizing Olympian.

The Retraction

July 16, 2008

I misunderstood comments from my architect about the backsplash. It shouldn’t be redone as it would cause more harm than good because of the heavy duty adhesive used to piece together the marble. His suggestion is to place molding around the column in front of the sink, which is under the old cabinet. A very small and subtle piece of molding that looks intentionally wrapped around this part of the wall that sticks out. He thinks that building out the wall will be too expensive and difficult to do well. The molding solution is much cheaper, but this too has to be done well, or else it will look cheap and suburban. I think it’s well worth doing.

A Revelation

July 15, 2008

The worst thing about the renovation has been not having a kitchen sink. The fridges were a smooth transition, I did alright without a stove and oven, but the sink is the lynchpin to the entire operation. Water to drink, water to cook, water to clean, all in a space big enough to maneuver. The bathroom sink came up short. I couldn’t fit a dinner plate in the bathroom sink, let alone a cutting board, hence a lack of enthusiasm to cook. Now with my sink fully operational, it’s a brand new day, I’m in love again.

The cooktop has also been put in and it looks great. Boiling water for my coffee is a pleasure compared to the two cup microwave hustle. I swear it tastes better too.

My problem is the stove. Unbeknownst to me, it has to be hardwired into an outlet. As in there is no plug on the oven, only loose wires that have to be hooked up to the loose wires in an outlet box. For heaven’s sake, it’s an Ikea oven! Isn’t Ikea synonymous to simple? I’m flummoxed. I tried to do the right thing by getting an electric oven instead of gas, because of the gas code, and it’s more trouble and more aggravating than I could possibly imagine. I had the kitchen rewired because of this stupid oven! F**k code, is anything in New York City up to code?

Enough of my tantrum, I have to address my problem. The solution is to either hardwire the oven, or get a plug put on it. If it has to be hardwired, the cooktop will have to be plugged in elsewhere, like the microwave cabinet. Quel drag, at least I don’t need the oven right now, especially in the middle of summer, like I need my sink.


July 14, 2008

After I had finished the fish in my ceviche, there was a load of aromatics left over. The well seasoned mix of onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, and oregano was too good to throw away, there was so much potential. It could be thrown in the blender and used as a marinade for chicken breasts. Or I could go over to a friend’s and make a green curry. The simplest thing to do would be burgers. I like onions and oregano in burgers, the extra herbaceous cilantro, spicy jalapeno, and tart lime should add enough flavor for some exotic burger of sorts. I combined the mix – about 1 1/2 cups – with a pound of ground turkey (dark and white meat), shaped the patty in to an oblong shape to go on a baguette (which is the only bread that I had), and ran it through my George Forman grill for about 5 minutes. I topped my sandwich with mayo, tomato and avocado to round it out. The result was a burger/sausage-like combo, quite good and flavorful, the sour lime adding an unexpected dimension. I wouldn’t necessarily start from square one to make the salsa in order to make the burger, but as an improvised leftover, I would do it again.

Pain in my Backsplash

July 11, 2008

My architect thinks that the marble guys can and should redo the backsplash. I really hope that they can because it sort of sucks. He thinks that the gap is due to the little shelves being too wide, not that the walls were uneven, which I concur. The backsplash doesn’t even hit the wall, how can they make the excuse that it’s uneven? If this redo can be done, it pushes back the appliance installation, which was supposed to be on Monday. Not a big deal considering that I’ve waited how long?

One thing that does concern me is if removing the current backsplash will ruin the oven side of the broom closet, as it is conspicuously glued to the little marble shelf. Seeing how “careful” they were with the install, I can only imagine how “delicate” the removal will be. We will see on Monday, when they get back from vacation.