Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pico de Gallo

Last week, when we went to pick up our CSA share, there was a choice between cilantro and red Russian kale. Now normally, I'd take the kale because BD hates cilantro (truth be told, I'd already taken the kale and put it in my tote before I changed my mind), but then I remembered some salsa recipes I'd just read, so I went with the cilantro, And, boy was it the right choice. I chopped ot up with some tomatoes, a poblano pepper, and onion, added a little salt and olive oil and had myself some amazing pico de gallo. Even BD was a fan,

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ikea Basil

Sounds crazy, I know, but BD and I bought basil the last time we were at Ikea, or rather, more specifically, we bought a basil growing kit or something. For about $3, we bought a 4 oz cup containing a packet of basil seeds and a peat pellet. The directions were all in picture form and basically showed you to add water to the peat pellet, pour in the seeds, wait 10-12 weeks, and then eat what you had grown. I wish I'd saved the packaging so I could post it anywhere. Anywho, I'm not sure what they were thinking when they wrote up directions instructing us to plant a whole packet of sides in a 4 oz cup, or why we followed them, but the end result is more basil than I know what to do with or how to raise properly. I've already divided it twice and now have two window boxes full of it. And this is addition to the basil that BD and I are already growing in our backyard container garden. So, today I finally decided to try some of this Ikea basil and put it in a pasta salad I was making. I also got to make a dent in this week's CSA share by using up some of my scallions.

Patio Distraction

So this morning I woke up with every intention of declaring it "the day we finally finish this stinking bedroom," but as soon as we went in to start working, BD decided he needed to take down all the storm windows and wash them (and the screens) outside before he could proceed with anymore work. Since the rainy weather has kept me indoors most of the week, I decided to work on weeding my flower bed and join him outside, but that was before I remembered the patio project i started last week. Some time in the past of 29 Timson Street(we're guessing 30-50 years ago), some enterprising soul laid a brick patio in the backyard. While it's a bit too overgrown to even see the shape right now, it's a great organic curve, which I fully plan on taking advantage of one of these days. The only problem, of course, is that it's completely overgrown. It's almost as if immediately after it was put down, all maintenance ceased. "Well, it's done now. Let's just enjoy it." I started plain old weeding it last weekend, but then realized just how easily I could get up all the dirt, grass, and moss between the cracks with a big, ole' screwdriver. It's been slow going, but as you can see it's going to make a huge difference once it's all cleaned out and refilled in with sand. As you can see, in the bottom pic, BD slightly altered the shape of one end earlier in the year, so this cleaning up should hopefully work to blend the new and the old a little better, as well. In the meantime, I'll just keep dreaming of a neat and tidy patio with a picnic table and umbrella.

Monday, June 22, 2009

So Close I Can Almost Taste It...

BD and I have been working on our master bedroom since the day we bought our house. Literally. We started the demolition as soon as we left the closing. We had ambitious goals when we started the room i.e. take everything in the whole house down to the studs and start from scratch. We've since realized that touching up plaster and refinishing moldings in place really are a close second if you take time and care. Unfortunately, it was a lesson learned too late for our bedroom, which suffered from lack of walls for nearly a year. And then there was the unfortunate day when BD decided to investigate why the floor dipped in the front and ended up removing (and ruining) a good portion of the hardwood. If you've ever tried to find antique heartwood pine you know it's not an easy task. Finally, though, I can see the light. There is a complete, refinished floor. There are wall, which are even insulated and painted. The wiring actually works. I'm guessing in another week or two I might even be sleeping in this beauty.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Stir Fry

Today I made a stir fry for lunch in an attempt to use up some of the napa cabbage and scallions we got in our farm share this week. I tried to do the same thing last weekend in a much less successful attempt to use that week's bok choy. For whatever reason, I decided the bok choy was too good for my standard stir fry recipe with its stir fry sauce from a jar. Nope. The bok choy needed something special: a whole new recipe, sauce made from scratch, even a trip on its behalf to the local Chinese market. Needless to say, the final result turned out to be less than appetizing. It was so salty I could have drank a gallon of water and still not have been quenched, the corn starch in the sauce solidified instantly turning into hard white lumps, and the special mushrooms I bought at the store turned out to be less the delicate mushrooms I imagined and more like giant ears. I gallantly ate my helping, but BD didn't touch his and the majority went straight into the can.

This week I vowed to do things differently: make my standard stir fry (canned and jarred ingredients and all) and just substitute the scallions for onions and the napa cabbage for broccolli. All in all, it was a much tastier result.

The Great Reveal

After nearly 14 months of working on our 100-year old four square every day (and reading plenty of other home bloggers), I've finally decided enough's enough, I need to start documenting the renovation process. Not that I'm really sure renovation's the right word since there's very little actual construction going on, something that I think is a necessity to make a project a full-blown remodel or renovation. We're also not really a restoration since we're choosing to keep some things historically accurate, while others a bit more modernized. I think we're kind of more like a rehab/redecorate. Our house has always had great bones, it's just been a bit abused over the past 50 years or so, It seems that the majority of the prevous owners just lived here, not really touching a thing. A new coat of paint here or there, patching a hole in the wall--otherwise it was good enough for them. On the plus side, it means we don't have to waste a lot of time undoing the messes made by previous owners, but on the other side, it means that the few changes that have been made were executed pretty poorly and that the house really needs to be brought into the 21st century.