Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Orange You Glad We're Upgrading Our Kitchen?

So I've been busy these past 2 weeks. When we moved into our house, the original kitchen color was an 80's salmon pink...bleh. I had it painted to a favorite terra cotta/burnt orange and now I deeply regret it.

Our oak floors and oak cabinets, with the orange walls....TOO MUCH ORANGE! What was I thinking?

In addition the previous owners installed a dark, slate-colored 6"x 6" tile as a backsplash and around the counter. The final push to start this project was when the entire cap of tiles on the end of the counter fell off last year. Not only did the previous owners choose a crappy tile, the person who installed it did a bad job.

Everything is just too dark and too orange and it's been driving me nuts.

This is my Photoshop inspired upgrade. I downloaded a kitchen image from Pintrest that had the exact layout as mine, but a little smaller, and made the changes I wanted. If this is your kitchen, I apologize and thank you for the inspiration.

Basically, I am:

  • Removing the tile from around the counter and installing bead board. 
  • Painting the cabinets white and installing new hardware. 
  • Removing the old backsplash and installing glass tile. 
  • Installing a ducted and vented range hood. 
  • Raising the top trim of the old cabinets to where there is less space between the top and the ceiling (no more dust farms). 
  • Removing the cabinet to the left of the window and installing open, rustic shelving
  • Repainting the whole room to BM's Revere Pewter
  • Installing a new light fixture above the sink

I am doing all of this on my own with the exception of installing the range hood ducting in the ceiling and painting. Chances are there will be pieces of ceiling cut out to install the ducting to the outside and I am hiring a painter to patch the ceiling, which will then need painting, and then painting the room. I figure that I will be out of steam at that point and it's important to get drywall patching right. 

So far, things are coming along...updates coming soon!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Spanish-Style White Bean, Kale, and Chorizo Soup

I received the most awesome surprise gift from my friend Mary at Two Sisters last week. She sent me a sausage package from Pig-Of-The-Month that contained: 2 Lamb and Orange Salamis, 1 package of Andouille sausage, 1 package of chorizo sausage, and 1 BBQ piece of Pork Shoulder.

Is that an amazing friend or what? I am a very lucky lady!

Immediately I started searching around for a good recipe for that chorizo and came across the Spanish-Style White Bean, Kale, and Chorizo Soup recipe at the Cooking Channel. This sounded like the perfect dish to eat on a cold winter evening, so I went for it.

The chorizo was AMAZING and quite spicy in the heat department. It really was the primary flavoring profile for the entire dish. Lots of cumin, oregano, and red pepper. The soup came across as more of a white bean chili and it was great with a piece of cornbread and a Corona beer. I would definitely make this again.

Spanish-Style White Bean, Kale, and Chorizo Soup
Recipe source: The Cooking Channel
recipe adjustments made by me

1 1b. dry white beans (I used Cannelloni)
8 1/2 cups chicken broth
1-2 bay leaves
1 pinch saffron threads
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 Spanish Chorizo sausages (either chopped or removed from casings)
1 large onion, medium chop
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red-bell pepper, medium chop
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 bunch of kale, about 3/4 lb., tough stems removed, washed well, and coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Sherry vinegar to taste (about 1/2 tablespoon)

Soak the beans overnight in a bowl, covered by at least 2-3 inches of water.

The next day, drain the beans and place them in a large pot. Pour in 8 cups of the chicken broth, add the bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the beans, partially covered, for approximately 2 hours or until tender. Remove the bay leaves.

Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth in a cup and add the saffron threads to soak.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. If your chorizo is an aged, harder style, chop it into 1-inch pieces. In my case, my chorizo was fresh, so I simply squeezed it out of the casings. Saute the chorizo in the oil, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate.

Add the onion, reduce the heat to a medium, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the red-bell pepper and the paprika. Cook for 2 minutes longer, then transfer the contents of the skillet to the bean pot. Feel free to deglaze the saute pan with some ladled chicken broth from the beans to get all that yummy fond on the bottom of the pan! Add that to the bean pot too.

Stir in the saffron soaking with chicken broth to the bean pot. Add the chorizo and the kale. Bring back to a simmer and cook until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the vinegar, and serve hot.

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