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Scaly Freak celebrates the glorious return of The Kitchen


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The forest is quiet. Finally, so very quiet.

 

Scalyfreak takes a deep breath, lets it out, then takes another deep breath. And then she looks down at the fallen form of Despair and smirks, and delivers a firm kick to the head of her downed enemy. “And stay down! Bastard!”

 

After satisfying her need to vent her powerless rage against Despair, Scalyfreak returns to the large tree where she left her belongings and reclaims them all. That done, she grabs the crystal hanging from a chain around her neck, and says the words that activate the teleportation spell embedded in the jewel.

 

A moment later she stands in the teleportation circle inside her bunker, much to her relief. Taking a deep breath, Scalyfreak stretches before leaving the teleportation circle (making sure not to smudge it) and begins unloading her equipment and bags. More than anything, she wants to relax and take a nap now. And have a good meal. Food sounds like a fantastic idea right now.

 

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THE KITCHEN IS BACK!!!

 

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It feels like it has taken forever, but we have finally gone from this:

 

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...to this:

 

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I cooked dinner in my own kitchen on Friday night, for the first time since the first week of July. For those counting, that’s around 10 weeks, or two and a half month, and I have missed being able to cook with a level of pain I did not expect, nor handle well. Last night, while I was cooking, Husband commented that I seemed more relaxed while cooking, than I have been in months, and he was absolutely right. :) 

 

I’m sure it will surprise no one that I will spend this challenge period thoroughly distracted by cooking and baking. Let there be food! Let there also be cookies! Let there be cake! Let there be bread!

 

That reminds me! @Heidi, would you mind sharing a link to that sourdough starter we were talking about early in the last challenge? Thank you kindly. :) 

 

When I am not side-tracked by rediscovering the joys of cooking, I will work on my challenge goals. I am keeping the challenge simple and straight-forward, with just three goals:

 

1. Every day, make at least one “return trip” to transport the things that were relocated for the floor re-finish, to their rightful home.

 

2. Meditate every day means on my days off as well. This is a struggle for me. During work days, no problem. Days off, not so much, so I will work on that.

 

3. Continue rebuilding the habit of lifting regularly. This goal will be activated when the floor finish can handle area rugs, which is about week from now.

 

 

Last night’s dinner was short ribs and a side of roasted potatoes, one of my favorite things to cook and one of both our favorite things to eat, so that worked out very nicely.

 

I washed a small hill of baby gold potatoes and cut them in half. Then I minced a half dozen garlic cloves and put them in a bowl with the potatoes. Then I added olive oil, salt and pepper, and lots of rosemary and put them in the oven at 400F for 20 minutes. At that point take them out, flip them over, put them back in for another 20 minutes.

 

While the potatoes were cooking, I lined up the flanken style short ribs and sprinkled a herbal salty spice blend on both sides. Then I took the stainless steel frying pan, heated some vegetable oil in it, and proceeded to cook the short ribs. I basically lay them down flat and pay attention, and when there is even “bleeding” on the side facing up, I flip them over and cook them for an equal amount of time on the other side. As they finish cooking, I put the short ribs on a plate and after they’re all done, they go into the second oven on the Warm setting.

 

Early in the cooking process I opened a bottle of Malbec (because we are celebrating the kitchen!), so while the short ribs were in the oven on Warm and the potatoes finished cooking, I used some of the wine to deglaze the frying pan. Then I used flour and more wine until I had gravy at the texture and amount that I wanted. Split the potatoes and short ribs evenly on two plates and drizzled the gravy on top.

 

Poured more of the Malbec into glasses to go with the meal, of course. :)

 

Tonight’s dinner is the roast I covered in salt and put back into the fridge last night. The salt will be wiped off, seasoning applied, and then the whole thing will be cooked and enjoyed during Sunday Night Football.

 

AcidicImpassionedHarpseal-size_restricte

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When we rebuilt our kitchen we were hoping the insurance would pay for a new fridge/freezer combo unit, as that was what caused our water leak in the first place. But they said it was too old (more than 8 years) and so refused to give us a single cent for it  So now we're still using it, but with the leaking pipe just disconnected. That means the ice and drinking water dispenser isn't working anymore, and I miss it. Other than that it's still doing its job. And a new one costs a fortune... So we're still a bit indecisive what to do about it. Keep it or replace it? Are all the appliances in your kitchen new, or did you reuse anything from the old kitchen?

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1 hour ago, Tobbe said:

Are all the appliances in your kitchen new, or did you reuse anything from the old kitchen?

 

All the appliances you see in the "after" picture, including the dishwasher that is not visible because it's underneath the counter closest to the camera, are the same ones we had before. 

 

Our insurance company would not cover replacing the pipe that leaked, so the fridge no longer has water dispensing ability, but we were already talking about a new fridge before The Flood happened, because that narrow door on the left is the only freezer we have, and it is too small for what we need anyway. Final decisions on fridge replacement are in the future and not considered urgent though.

 

45 minutes ago, KB Girl said:

Have you seen the movie Julie and Julia?

 

No, but it sounds familiar. Isn't that the one about Julia Child, with Meryl Streep?

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1. Every day, make at least one “return trip”. Unpacked one of the boxes with the pretty things that go in the glass door cabinet with the wine glasses and whiskey tumblers. Also identified a large empty box as storage for Things That Are Waiting To Be Donated. 

 

2. Meditate every day means on my days off as well. Woke up with pain and tension in a shoulder, so substituted the mediation for a hatha yoga video from DoYogaWithMe.com, that focused on stretching neck and shoulders, and ended with a few minutes of mediation. That counts for today.

 

3. Continue rebuilding the habit of lifting regularly. Currently on hold.

 

For dinner was a prime grade standing rib roast, with a side of mashed potatoes. 

 

The roast was seasoned last night, covered with a mix of equal shares kosher salt, and applewood smoked salt. After covering the roast in the slat mix it was re-wrapped and returned to the fridge until today. The roast got to sit on the new kitchen counter for a couple of hours until it was room temperature, then the salt was wiped off along with all the leaked liquid, and the roast was put into the oven at 500F, for 15 minutes. After the 15, the oven was changed to 325 F and the roast was left alone until the internal temperature was 125 F. AT that point, I took it out of the oven, loosely wrapped it in aluminum foil and left it alone for a little over half an hour.

 

While all this happened, russet potatoes were peeled and cubed so they would cook faster. After they were done boiling I moved the potatoes to a large bowl, and added half a stick of butter. Then I added milk (lactose free), and several heaping spoons of ricotta cheese, and lastly garlic salt, fresh ground black pepper, and some additional salt for more flavor. And then I mashed everything together until it was smooth.

 

And I opened a bottle of wine, because prime rib demands a rich and dry red wine to go with it. :) 

 

And later tonight something will happen with the half water melon in the fridge.

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Your kitchen looks fantastic! I LOVE the stone backsplash!

 

My remodel of the master bathroom and bedroom are almost done. Then I'm taking a break before starting on the kitchen. I'm so exhausted from the bathrooms (did the guest bathroom too) that just thought of sanding down all my kitchen cabinets to stain them (transforming them from orangey oak to walnut) makes my arms ache, lol.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Magdalena Ravenclaw said:

Your kitchen looks fantastic! I LOVE the stone backsplash!

 

Thank you! The back splash was a Big Thing between me and Husband before we were able to agree on a color and texture we both were okay with.

 

The entire process of remodeling was exhausting and excruciating, but so much worth it in the end. I hope your bathroom and kitchen remodel feels the same way for you when you're done!

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15 hours ago, Magdalena Ravenclaw said:

I'm so exhausted from the bathrooms (did the guest bathroom too) that just thought of sanding down all my kitchen cabinets to stain them (transforming them from orangey oak to walnut) makes my arms ache, lol.

 

15 hours ago, Scaly Freak said:

The entire process of remodeling was exhausting and excruciating, but so much worth it in the end. I hope your bathroom and kitchen remodel feels the same way for you when you're done!

 

That's the problem right there. After you're done you only see how great it turned out, and super quickly forget all the work, fights, lost sleep etc. And before you know it you're right back at it again somewhere else in the house...

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20 minutes ago, Tobbe said:

That's the problem right there. After you're done you only see how great it turned out, and super quickly forget all the work, fights, lost sleep etc. And before you know it you're right back at it again somewhere else in the house...

 

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1. Every day, make at least one “return trip”. Procrastination is trying to convince me this goal is negotiable. I will defy her by moving something down stairs, even if it's only a single small object, just on principle.

 

2. Meditate every day means on my days off as well. Yep, meditated today.

 

3. Continue rebuilding the habit of lifting regularly. Still on hold and awaiting area rugs.

 

Dinner was the prime rib leftovers from last night.

 

I also made water melon juice. I cut a seedless water melon into cubs and filled the blender a little over two thirds with the cubes. Then I added coconut water and lemon juice and set the blender to "liquefy" until there were no solid pieces of water melon left. It was very tasty, and will be an excellent daiquiri base. :) 

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Challenge update:

 

1. Every day, make at least one “return trip”. Procrastination is still spewing destructive propaganda. Defied her by cleaning the upstairs cat litter box, picking up shedded pet fur, and emptying every trash can I could find. She will not make me listen to her this time!

 

2. Meditate every day means on my days off as well. Found a wonderful "back to basics" mindfulness meditation session on Insight Timer. Felt so much better after thatI have now bookmarked it. (And then I ran off like a crazy peson to scramble to get ready in time for a 7:00 AM meeting.)

 

3. Continue rebuilding the habit of lifting regularly. Still on hold and awaiting area rugs.

 

Dinner was pork chops, with a side of basmati ice. The bone-less pork chops were sprinkled on both sides with Gotlandskrydda, a spice blend we bought the last time we were in Sweden, and then cooked in a cast iron skillet. I cooked them in avocado oil because @Tanktimus the Encourager always does that and I was curious what all the fuss is about.

 

The basmati rice as left virginally unseasoned, because that is the only way I can prevent my delicious sweet chili sauce from being contaminated by Husband's insistence of having soy sauce on his rice, which is gross. Sweet chili sauce is much better. :) 

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4 hours ago, Scaly Freak said:

Dinner was pork chops, with a side of basmati ice. The bone-less pork chops were sprinkled on both sides with Gotlandskrydda, a spice blend we bought the last time we were in Sweden, and then cooked in a cast iron skillet. I cooked them in avocado oil because @Tanktimus the Encourager always does that and I was curious what all the fuss is about.


What was the result? Is it worth buying a small expensive bottle of avocado oil? 

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4 hours ago, Scaly Freak said:

The songs are in the spoiler.

 

Can't believe I still haven't seen Nighwish live. Wish I got to see them when Tarja was still their singer. That ship has sailed, but for sure, when live concerts are a thing again, I'll have to make sure to go see them with the current lineup! Just hope they do some of their old songs, because I'm not a huge fan of their latest album :( I mean, Noise is decent but it's no Wishmaster or Over the Hills and Far Away...

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I'm in the camp of onlookers wondering about the Avocado Oil as well.  Did it have a nice taste?  I guess its technically better for you than EVOO?  Are you even allowed to use EVOO in a cast iron?  All I know is cleaning up ours with the little chainmail thing, my wife tells me to re-oil it with basic vegetable oil and not the fancy stuff.  I'm just a sous chef, I am not the mastermind in the kitchen in the slightest.  Unless its protein shakes/smoothies.  I can broscience some of those up real nice.

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8 hours ago, Harriet said:

What was the result? Is it worth buying a small expensive bottle of avocado oil? 

 

34 minutes ago, ZachPSU said:

I'm in the camp of onlookers wondering about the Avocado Oil as well.  Did it have a nice taste?   I guess its technically better for you than EVOO?  Are you even allowed to use EVOO in a cast iron? 

 

I'm not convinced it had an impact on the flavor of the pork chops, but it was effortlessly easy to cook with and required no adjustments to the cooking process. Based on the brief googling I did last night, avocado oil has the amount of calories and the same nutrition profile as olive oil, but has a higher smoke point, so can be used for cooking at higher temperatures than the olive oil can. The smoke point makes the avocado oil a better choice for cooking in my mind, since it means there now is one less thing to remember and pay attention to when cooking.

 

Whether it is worth the much higher price, I can only speak for myself, but I will probably continue to use avocado oil for cooking.

 

As for being allowed to use either avocado or olive oil in a cast iron skillet, I was unaware there are rules for these things. If there are, I've been breaking them my entire life! :D 

 

I use whatever oils I have access to, including butter, in my cast iron pots and skillets. When I'm done cooking I immediately rinse the hot cast iron, use a brush to scrub off anything that was stuck, and immediately wipe it until it's completely dry. I don't bother re-oiling mine, but I've been using them almost daily for several years, so they are well and truly seasoned, and the way I clean them makes them stay that way.

 

The only thing that I will never, ever, use in cast iron is cooking spray. Cast iron absorbs trace amounts of what cook in it, and cooking spray has all sorts of chemicals added to make it a misting spray and to keep it from going bad, and I prefer not to have that soak into the cast iron and then release into my food.

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