Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Having It All

April 8, 2009


I’m realizing that the special someone to repair my re-modelling, may have to be many someones.  Contrary to my initial thoughts, I feel like I’m looking for a general practitioner when I need a bunch of specialists.  Since the oven is the priority, I checked in with someone who I thought was more of a GC, but is actually an appliance installer who works with an electrician and a painter.  He offered me confidence where I had none, explaining the pros and cons of gas and electric ovens.  He assured me that the DeLonghi oven that I originally wanted would be fine for under counter use, that the warning the company heeds about ventilation was more of an extra precaution than anything else.  There was no danger of fire or overheating.  I will only need an extra shut off valve for the gas intake (each gas appliance needs its own shut off valve) and half an inch taken off of the oven frame to accommodate the oven.  As someone who is licensed and insured, he may not be the contractor of my dreams, but I sure wish we met last year.

Another Pesto, Another Salad

December 8, 2008

img_2551 img_2552

Pesto really does make everything taste better.  Anything that has a low flavor profile – pasta, potatoes, bland sandwiches –  is instantly better with pesto.  But split peas?  Leave it to 101 Cookbooks to make these homely, chalky legumes exciting and fresh with cilantro pesto.  It’s further made intriguing with crunchy toasted pumpkin seeds, a textural and toasty contrast.  I have a new appreciation for split peas, they’re not just soup to me.

From Day Two to Day Three

June 11, 2008

From chaos arises order, at least such has been the case in the last 24 hours. When I got home on Monday, the apartment was nothing like how I left it in the morning. The sink was put in place, the pantry shelves were up, I had a closeout corner, and the microwave cabinet was 1/2″ slimmer. And filled with sawdust. The loathsome polka dot rug in the mid-area was turned up, there was appliance packaging here and there, and the intercom was busted. I embraced the chaos without an attempt to clean up, and did my laundry to add to the melee.

Yesterday, when I got home, it was altogether different. I had posed the packaging question to my cabinet maker – to keep or not to keep – and he set it all aside, also hesitant to dispose of it. I had fronts to the microwave cabinet drawers. I had a hall bookcase, not yet installed. There was a cutout for the oven. And the fridge was pushed back. The intercom was still busted.

Was it really only a week ago that all I had in the kitchen was flooring? Now I have so much to look forward to, and so much to organize. Including the laundry.

The Contractor That I Don’t Have

May 16, 2008

There are two sides to every story, and yesterday’s New York Times had the contractor’s tale.  Fascinating for its portrayal of the beleaguered good guy contractor (where are you? who are you?), it attempts to shake up the asshole myth.  In reading about what clients do to torture and harass their contractors, I am disgusted by what people think that they can get away with – delaying final payment for petty details, calling at inappropriate times, poaching the help.  But at the top of the list of annoyances is “avoid making decisions”.  Why, that’s me!  While I couldn’t imagine the sheer rudeness of these other acts, I was the worst offender of all in my inability to make decisions.  I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t have a GC.

Homemade Bahn-Mi

May 9, 2008

From the disparate elements in my fridge, I had almost all the ingredients for a bahn-mi, one of my favorite sandwiches ever.  A crusty roll, roast beef, cilantro, pickled carrots, hot sauce, and mayonnaise, have been living in the fridge, brought in for different reasons and at different times.  All I needed was pate, and we have a sandwich.  As suspected, a slice of pate from Whole Foods was $3.30, almost the price of a bahn-mi in Chinatown.  But now I can make multiple bahn-mis.


-toast a crusty roll

-slice crosswise and while still hot, slather some pate on one half

-on the other half, spread a schmear of mayonnaise and dashes of hot sauce

-on top of that, add some roast beef, a few sprigs of cilantro, and some pickled carrots

-top with the pate half

Since there are so many flavors going on, it pays to be generous with the ingredients.  I’m sure that other meats can be substituted like slices of roast turkey, something fairly plain to contrast the pate.  Cucumbers could be a good addition or substitute to carrots to provide a refreshing crunch.

Two days after making bean salad, I have to admit, it was kind of a bust.  Maybe it’s the absence of garlic or onions to which it would act as a foil to the more aromatic cilantro and lemon.  Maybe instead of lemon, lime would have been better.  In short, the salad tastes like 7Up.  Since then, I’ve added hot sauce which gives it a piquant spiciness to cover up the uncola taste.

Picking Up Speed

April 25, 2008

I thought that I would have to live with my moonscaped kitchen for another couple of weeks, so imagine my surprise to find smooth cement partially laid down. The electricity looks untouched from yesterday, but all it needs is the outlet since the box and line are in. It’s really happening.

The only thing standing between me and real progress is tile glue. For almost two weeks, I have not had a chance to go out and buy it. I refuse to go to Home Dystopia, which admittedly have good after work hours. I have to make it a priority to go to my beloved local hardware store this weekend. Along with updating my architect and cabinet maker, getting a basket for my sink, and maybe working on that cabinet. I’ve almost forgotten what Rock Miracle smells like.

The Un-Broom Broom Closet

April 21, 2008

Our collective brain power of three Berkeley grads, could not figure out how to make the broom closet more functional than to not keep brooms in it. In my architect’s plan, he had designed the broom closet , essentially a very shallow closet that hugs a column in order to a) liaise between the sink/cooktop counter and the peninsula to create one flush line; b) provide a natural interruption between the counter and peninsula as not to require a mega piece of marble, or a small lame piece, or an even lamer substitute material; and c) hold some more crap.

I’ve had issues with this piece, especially the piece that hugs the wall next to the cooktop, and have asked my architect to reconsider, much to his dismay and resistance. I consulted with my design friends who were former architect students, and we considered other possibilities like a counter height cabinet with shelves above, or hinged drawers like those Ikea shoe shelves, but all the ideas led to problems with a or b. It was agreed that what my architect had planned was the best, on the outside. It’s the interiors that need to be tweaked for maximum usage. So instead of using it to house the brooms and mops, it’ll have adjustable shelves for spices, boxes of aluminum foil and ziploc bags, etc. Not a bad solution.

Demo Day Two

April 16, 2008

Without anything in the kitchen it almost seems spacious! Good riddance to bad crap! So long, lame small stove whose knobs came off whenever I turned them! Adios, rotting sink cabinet! The floor was actually the least offensive, and most solid, but nothing could be done about them after the walls were take out last year.

I am amazed by the amount of concrete in the kitchen. Little hills and valleys of cement soon to have more self-leveling concrete over it, before the tiles can be set with a tile glue. In taking out the floors, they pulled out some of the plaster on the bottom where the walls meet, which will also have to be reworked, possibly before the tiles get put in. It feels like a whole new beginning.

Welcome to The Littlest Kitchen

December 18, 2007

I don’t really have the littlest kitchen. That would be my first New York apartment, which only had a “kitchen strip” – no more than a sink and an oven whose door couldn’t open all the way because of an obstructing steam pipe. But in between then and now, I’ve had a real eat-in kitchen, which was the heart and hearth of my home. Having recently moved, my new kitchen is bite sized, almost a throwback to that first apartment. Given the downsize, I’m determined to be able to eat well and work efficiently. In a little over 5′ x 6′.

Hello world!

December 18, 2007

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!