Friday, January 29, 2010

I can haz kitchen?

 The cabinets are here, and this hole in my house finally looks like a kitchen! Keith, the contractor, had to drive to the sticks of Amish country in Pennsylvania to pick them up. He reports that the cabinet maker is "for real Amish," all except for the fax machine and the high tech cabinet-making equipment.

As part of my financial holy hemorrhage, I've also purchased some matching stainless steel appliances to cozy up with my new cabinets. Today I also ordered the garbage disposal and a 900 CFM exhaust hood for over the Chambers. They're both coming from Overstock. Thanks to the Internet, I found a promo code that's saving me twenty big ones. That'll pay for Ethiopian dinner tonight!

Now that I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I'm getting anxious for the end. The basement kitchen was cool at first, but now I'm getting tired of having to wash paint brushes and rollers in the same sink as I wash my dishes, which also happens to be the same sink my dirty laundry water drains into. Yuck. 

I'm still cooking, despite the hardships. (Ha!) After January Foodmakers, which was awesome-- (check out Aliza's blog for photographic evidence,) I had leftover chickpea cutlet "dough" from making a double batch, so I whipped up some buffalo'ed chickpea nuggets, along with sprouts and Kevin's favorite carb, Crash Hot Potatoes. 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fieldtrip and Broken Pipes

I'm sitting down by the fire with a cuppa' this morning after an action-packed couple of days. Thursday night was spent with our friends in Annapolis at Annie and Wiley's house. They've gone vegan after reading Eating Animals, so we're trying to help nurture their nutrition. I made Tex-Mex Lasagna in my basement from 1,000 Vegan Recipes and brought it to their casa.

I envy these dishes.

Meanwhile, back on the farm, this cast iron pipe had reached its expiration date. It's the main drain pipe for the house and sits in the corner of the kitchen. The house is 130 years old, and who knows how old this iron pipe may have been. If it were to burst, the countertops, the cabinets, and the ceiling would have to be removed to access it. It was too big of a risk. It had to go.

This jerk pipe had been CRACKED and PATCHED.
Who does that?
Megan:1. Pipe: zero.

Because the pipe removal had most operations on hold at the house, we decided it was time for a field trip to DC to check two things off the "to do" list: visit Robert Bergman's exhibit at the National Gallery and stuff my face at Sticky Fingers. After all the Daiya cheese hype, I thought I'd just have to try one of SF's famous grilled cheese samiches. In my mind, grilled cheese should be eaten with tomato soup, which they happened to be serving that night.

Food before photography. I had to eat it hot before snapping the shot.

Kevin and his chick'n kay-sa-dila.
He had to ride in the trunk to the restaurant, but it was worth it.

All said and done, we stuffed our pie holes with fake cheese-product. Upon exiting we were presented with the opportunity to purchase said fake cheese and bring it home for our eating enjoyment. We all decided it was a good treat, but not really something we could get into on a regular basis.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Asthma and pancakes

The kitchen has (mostly) been moved downstairs. It's actually a fairly functional, cozy set-up. It also happens to be one sacred area of the house that is not covered in a thick layer of dust. This place is feeling like Pompeii after Vesuvius from all the mortar dust.

Kevin's taken on the project of repointing the brick and has been grinding away in the dust-storm of our sealed-off kitchen. He's gotten wise and is now using a respirator, which makes him look like a Storm Trooper but sound like Darth Vader.

We bought muriatic acid and safety equipment at Ace today. On a less windy day, he'll open the house up for ventilation and be acid-washing the brick. The nice man at Ace was pretty into the safety aspect, and didn't hesitate to tell us that muriatic acid was "a lot like Napalm," citing his personal experience with both as a Vietnam vet and handy-person.

The new window and door have been ordered. I really need to order the cork flooring, but my credit card is feeling a bit exhausted right now. I have to work up the  chutzpah to put another big purchase on my plastic.

After a big day of construction, I tested out my newest cookbook (1,000 Vegan Recipes, given to me by Kevin's mom for xmas.) I made a savory chickpea flour pancake with rosemary and kalamata olives. It was pretty good with some olive oil drizzled on top. Next time I'll be adding double the kalamatas though. Regardless, pancake made of pea flour kinda blows my mind.

In the meantime, the Chambers is still waiting patiently to continue the restoration. I believe all I need to do is locate a compression valve, replace the rockwool in the door, and put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Friday, January 1, 2010

January Foodmakers Potluck

This month's Baltimore Foodmakers potluck will be featuring meat and vegan meat alternatives. Fellow foodmaker Brian will be prep'ing salt-cured, local, pasture-raised meats from folks like Polyface Farms. I'll be coordinating the vegan side of things. I'm actually pretty excited for this event. Brian, former vegan, and I had a lengthy conversation about the ethics of eating only local, truly free-range meat on rare occasions. I can respect this perspective, but I'm also stoked to present the alternative: tasty protein-rich foods that are plant-based.

I'm planning to put some time, effort, and love into creating some (hopefully) impressive non-meat dishes. The top contenders for preparation are:

  • Buffalo tempeh
  • Chickpea cutlets and gravy
  • Bean-based meatloaf
I might try ordering these vegan drumsticks. I'm pretty sure they're what Yabba Pot is serving up. They're a little creepy, since they have a dowel in the center that's a bit startling and bone-like when you unsuspectingly bite or cut into it.

Anyways, here's Brian's description. If anyone who happens to be reading wants to attend, visit the group online and RSVP!