I didn’t have a lot of renovation news to report last week. In case you forgot, we’d just finished off a week of drywall, drywall and more drywall. It was not the best week for it. Damp and rainy, the drywall mud was in no big hurry to dry. Out came the fans and air conditioner because, when in doubt, add more noise to the dust and commotion. As planned, I’ve been spending time with brushes and roller. The ceiling now has a clean, white coat. The walls are a soft and friendly OC-96. Benjamin Moore® Gentle Cream in case you’d like to know.
Once the drywall and painting was done, carpenters, plumber, electrician and tile guy were back in force. They wasted no time; didn’t even pause to tell me how much they loved the Gentle Cream. In what seemed like an instant, Bruce and Chuck had the new floor down … and promptly covered with a protective coat of heavy-duty paper. Peeking around the edges, the cork looks beautiful.
Yes, the kitchen floors are cork. No,it’s not made up of several months’ accumulation of popped corks. Perhaps I should have thrown a big party in July. That might have done it. Anyway, the floors, or what I can see of them, are wonderful. They are both good-looking and promise to be gentle on my back. The new tile floors in the half-bath/laundry room and front hall are perfect; thank you Dave. More thanks to Max for installing the half-bath and Bill for illuminating it all.
However, the absolute best part of the new kitchen is the cabinets. I am all agog. After a lot of back and forth and forth and back, I circled around to my first choice – red. Yes, red. I spent weeks agonizing and second-guessing. White cabinets are all the rage these days. Or so I’ve heard. I tried to convince myself to go with white. The kitchen faces north. It is not a sunny room. White would be light and bright. I tried to be reasonable; I tried to persuade myself that white was it.
I dithered and perused and checked them all – linen white, white pewter, snowflake … there are a lot of whites out there. I’d pick one and then, after a day or two, decide … no, it wasn’t quite right. This white was too cold; that one was too gray. It wasn’t the paint samples, it was me. All that cajoling and trying to convince myself, it didn’t work. Latest trend or not, beautiful or not, white was not for me. (To all my friends with white kitchens, believe me, I love them, they’re beautiful.)
I thought about compromise. A lovely buttery yellow hit my radar for a couple of days. Emphasis on a couple; it came to nothing. I couldn’t help it; I kept circling back to red. The name on the back of the sample was Red Delicious. What could be better for a kitchen?
And that’s not just me talking. Julio was here on Thursday to create the template for the granite countertops. He gave his approval. I’ve posted a few photos on Facebook and several friends have given a big thumbs up. A few have gone so far as to voice enthusiastic appreciation, even envy. The rest? Well, they’re keeping mum. You know what our mothers taught us, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” No, that couldn’t be it; they must be too busy with work, life and other stuff to comment.
In case you’re concerned that I’ve gone overboard, now might be good time to mention that the pantry is not red but a lovely honey colored cherry. Delicious or not, even I can figure out how much red is too much.
As we head into week four of the renovation, I’m hoping the eighty-twenty rule doesn’t apply. In case you’ve forgotten… just when you think you’re eighty percent done; you’re bound to have eighty percent more to do.
End of Summer Cod, Corn & White Bean Soup
This delicious soup takes advantage of the end of summer tomato and corn bounty. Enjoy!
About 2 pounds (enough for about 3 cups chopped) tomatoes*
1-2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon hot sauce or to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine
2-3 cups fish stock juice or broth
2-3 cups chicken stock or broth
5-6 cups small white beans, rinsed and drained**
2 pounds cod, cut into bite-size pieces
About 4 cups (4-6 ears) fresh corn kernels*
Fresh, chopped chives
Bring a pot with enough water to submerge a tomato to a boil. Fill a bowl with enough water and ice to submerge a tomato. Carefully drop the tomatoes, one at a time, into the boiling water and leave each for about 10 seconds. Remove from the boiling water and immediately submerge in the ice water. Using your fingers or a paring knife, remove the skin from the tomatoes. Core, seed and chop the tomatoes. Reserve.
Lightly coat a stockpot with olive oil and heat over medium. Add the carrots, celery and onion, season with hot sauce, paprika, salt and pepper and cook, stirring from time to time, until the onion is almost translucent. Add the garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half.
Add the fish and chicken stock, tomatoes, beans, thyme and bay leaf, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the fish to the pot, season with salt and pepper and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to combine.
Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Add the corn and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Ladle the soup into mugs or bowls, sprinkle with chives and serve.
* You can use canned, diced tomatoes and frozen corn if the fresh, local versions are not available.
** You will need about 10 ounces of dried beans to soak and cook or 2 (15-ounce) cans.
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One Year Ago – Applesauce Cake with Brown Butter Icing
Two Years Ago – Applesauce Scones
Three Years Ago – Roasted Beet Tatin with Goat Cheese & Walnuts
Four Years Ago – Fettuccine with Fresh Corn & Tomatoes
Five Years Ago – Chicken Parmagiana with Spaghetti Marinara
Six Years Ago – Lemon Roasted Salmon with Beurre Blanc
Seven Years Ago – Wild Mushroom Soup
Eight Years Ago – Rustic Apple Tart
Nine Years Ago – Oktoberfest Sausages & Sauerkraut
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
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Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2017