After months of talking about it and planning for it, we finally started it.
Kitchen renovation, and we are just wrapping up week one. It was gut wrenching. Or just gut. It was gutted.
I’ll hit you with “before and after” photos when everything is done, but for now, this is what you get. Nothing. There is nothing in my kitchen except studs. (Louie says, Why thank you!)
I must admit, I don’t know what to do with myself. I am ALWAYS in the kitchen, unless I’m napping. I can’t be in the kitchen and I can’t nap. I can’t nap, because if workers are in my house, I feel it’s necessary to pretend I’m busy. I’m never ACTUALLY busy, so this is a difficult charade.
Earlier in the week, the weather was blistering and humid, hardly the kind you want when escaping the indoors for the outdoors. Luckily, three days ago, it turned GORGEOUS. (Kelly says, Why thank you!)
Many plants are in bloom.
I love getting the bees in the picture…
No bees on the butterfly bush…
Or on the black-eyed Susans…
Or the hydrangeas…
See? All of that picture taking was just an elaborate attempt to appear busy to the workers in the kitchen.
I’m determined to make dinner at home as much as possible. I thought I’d share with you different meals I make, so you can get ideas how to cook without a kitchen in case a need ever arises in YOUR household. My sister-in-law Janet recently finished a kitchen renovation during which she was known to cook a salmon dinner on her panini maker. The weather was cold and snowy during her project, so I thought that was pretty impressive!
My challenge is that I have a great abundance of produce, because I have a garden going gangbusters right now. I have cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, carrots and many herbs over-growing. I decided to employ my grill, which has a side burner. I can cook with a pot on that burner. Dinner last night was:
- Grilled “hot dogs,”
- Chopped salad with cooked and raw vegetables
- Cucumber dill salad.
I had three “hot dogs” leftover. I no longer had the packaging, but these are some kind of soy product. I never buy plain soy “hot dogs”; I always go for things labelled “italian sausage” or “beer brats,” which are also soy or seitan, but which have more flavor than the plain soy “hot dogs.” So, we grilled…
The chopped salad was delicious and made good use of produce I had on hand from my CSA and my garden. I’ll be making this again for sure:
Chopped Salad (Vegan)
Based on a recipe from O Magazine, August 2015
(Serves 4 to 6)
Two tablespoons red wine vinegar
One tablespoon lemon juice
One-half tablespoon Dijon mustard
One small garlic clove, minced
One-quarter teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
One-quarter cup extra-virgin olive oil
One-half pound green beans, trimmed and cut into one-half inch pieces
One cup corn kernels (from one to two ears)
Two medium tomatoes, cored and cut into one-half inch pieces
Two ribs celery, cut into one-half inch pieces
One red bell pepper, cored and cut into one-half inch pieces
One-third cup finely chopped red onion
One head romaine (I used baby kale and mixed greens from B&H Produce)
One large, ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced (I omitted)
One-quarter cup grated vegan parmesan (I omitted)
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. (I used the burner on my outdoor grill.) Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, one-half teaspoon salt, garlic and black pepper. Whisk in oil.
2. Add green beans and carrots to boiling water and cook until just tender, about three minutes. Add corn and cook one minute more. Drain in a colander and rinse in cold running water until completely cool. Transfer to bowl with vinaigrette. Add tomatoes, celery, bell pepper and onion and toss well. Set aside to let marinate for thirty minutes. (Note: You may dice the carrots and green beans into smaller pieces and forego cooking. They are fine raw in this salad if you like. Use canned corn.)
3. Add lettuce, avocado, parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.
Creamy Cucumber Dill Salad (Vegan)
Two large cucumbers, washed (peeled or unpeeled according to your preference)
Two-thirds cup vegan sour cream (I use Tofutti brand)
Two tablespoons white wine vinegar*
One-half teaspoon salt
One-quarter teaspoon pepper
One or two tablespoons fresh dill
*You may substitute with fresh lemon juice.
1. Cut the ends off each cucumber. Slice them lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with the tip of a spoon. Slice the cucumbers into bite-sized pieces, and place them in a serving bowl.
2. Whisk together the “sour cream,” vinegar, salt, pepper and dill in a small bowl.
3. Toss the cucumbers with the dressing and chill before serving.
4. Feel free to add chopped red onions and halved cherry tomatoes, which is what I did! Those make excellent additions!
We sat outside on our patio. It was a delightful evening. We are fortunate to have such nice weather. If the weather turns, we might make actual paninis on our panini maker. Vegetable paninis, of course!