Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May Cooking

I'm still feeling a little lazy about blogging. There has been a lot of post bathroom renovation clean up. We also started the process of freshening up the rest of the basement. This involves painting the ceilings and walls, ripping off a wallpaper border, and replacing all the carpet. We also have carpet on the stairway walls. Yes, carpet. It is almost as gross and creepy as the old pink bathroom. I don't know if the previous owners carpeted the stairway walls for extra sound proofing or because they were in the flooring business and loved flooring so much. After all, the built in shelves are built of flooring, too.

Anyway, the carpet must be ripped off the walls, the walls fixed with plaster or drywall, and then painted. What makes the painting of the walls/stairway even more 'fun' is that the previous owner put a skylight above the stairs to the basement. On the one hand, this is terrific for lots of sunshine on the stairs and it really brightens up the basement. On the other hand, it's a 2 story high area to paint, above stairs. Tricky. So we will be hiring someone to rip off the carpet, fix the stair walls, and paint it all. We are not messing with trying to balance on stairs to paint all the way from the basement to the roof!

We also cleaned out the garage. And painted it. And replaced the rusted and falling apart shelves. The garage was like the pink bathroom. Super creepy. Lots of bugs, leaves, cobwebs, dust, and clutter. I cannot stand dust and clutter. SP doesn't much notice it. But once we started clearing stuff out... eeewwww! Mom and I painted the concrete white so freshen it up. Mom cleaned everything, SP put together the new shelves, we rearranged and got some 'organization' things to store stuff on the walls (like the bicycle, plus other wall mounted storage things to hold brooms and rakes and such). We just need to get a better drill to mount the stuff on the concrete walls! We have just a one car garage, so getting as much stuff as possible on shelves and mounted on the walls means more space around the car. It looks much, much better. Definitely less bug/cobweb scary. I don't feel like some critter is going to dart out from behind clutter/debris and attack me.

There's still a lot to do. It's a slow process. We might finish by the end of the year. We might not. The next priority is finalizing an agreement with someone to fix the carpeted walls. That will be a messy job, so we've put a hold on painting the main basement area until the stairs are done. The new carpet will be the last part of the project.

Let's talk food. We haven't made anything new but we have been using the grill and enjoying some tasty meals out on the deck. Here's a photo summary of our May eats:

First rotisserie chicken of the year, looking nicely golden and not torched like the first one last year. 

It helps to keep a water bottle right next to the grill to put out any flare ups that threaten to blacken your chicken.

Off the rotisserie and resting before carving.

The lemon we stuffed inside the chicken for flavor. We also stuffed some onion in the chicken. We rubbed under the skin with salt, lemon zest, and fresh chopped chives.

This was a really tasty chicken, moist, lemony, but mostly it was probably so tasty because we bought an organic chicken. I call it happy chicken. 

Pasta salad I made for with the chicken. Our usual homemade dressing. Cucumber, tomatoes, artichokes, green olives, kalamatas, carrots, fresh thyme.

In early May we ate a lot of green beans and rice with the Mustard-Tarragon Chicken Saute. I think we ate this every day for 5 days. This time we added mushrooms to the sauce since we had mushrooms from the CSA, but they didn't really add much to the dish. They didn't make it taste bad, they just didn't add anything. This chicken dish is one of our go-to, quick, easy meals.
This past weekend we made our first ribs of the grilling season. Rubbed with a McCormick Dry Rub, wrapped tightly in foil with a bit of apple cider poured into the foil packets, cooked in the oven at 225 degrees for 4 hours, finished on the grill with BBQ sauce.
We also grilled some kielbasa.

Finished ribs. SP's had a homemade BBQ that he made a while ago. The other ribs were either slathered in regular Sweet Baby Ray's Sauce or Jack Daniels Honey Brown Sugar Sauce. Kind of hard to tell them apart!

The meat could be pulled off the bone with a fork. Nice and tender and juicy.

Market District Olive Baguette slices brushed with Delallo Basil Flavored Dipping Oil and grilled. They got a little too crispy and crouton-like for me, but were still tasty.

Grilled asparagus.

Just what do we do with all those CSA greens? Sometimes we do not promptly eat our CSA goodies! I made a salad of all the lettuces and the spinach, added a carrot, and we used the leftover pasta salad dressing for salad dressing. There was kale, too, and we grilled the kale to make kale chips again.

We still have rhubarb and some green onions. Our other 'cooking' has been hoagies, reheating pizza. Nothing too exciting. My dad arrives in town this afternoon and we have more grilling plans for the next week and hopefully a dinner out. Maybe something 'exciting' to get me in the mood for blogging?!

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