Day 234: Don’t try this one at home

August 22, 2007

This evening we made Big Beef and Garlic Italian Stir-Fry which, in all honesty, seemed to be a horrible waste of good ingredients. Imagine making a stir fry of garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, red peppers, broccolini, parsley and flank steak. As everything is hot you decide not to add soy sauce or hoisin sauce or something along those lines, but instead add balsamic vinegar. I know, you think to yourself, I’ll eat this with parmesan cheese on top, and maybe some bread on the side. And you do, except it is not the Italian delight that you hoped for, but rather a culinary disaster. As I was trying to eat some of the steak, L helpfully said “it’s like eating dead people”, which didn’t help by any means. Then he said that it was enough to make you turn vegetarian, and I could certainly agree with that thought.

This meal just seemed wrong. Perhaps with some fresh tomatoes chopped in there it would have been a little less stir-fry and more hot-pot-like, and then maybe the cheese would have made more sense. As it was it just seemed to be a highly unsuccessful made-up recipe. Perhaps something that seemed good in theory, but was hopelessly wrong in practice. Parmesan on top of fried beef= all wrong. There were a couple of things that may have contributed, that we can put down to user-error. We bought broccolini (miniature broccoli) rather than broccoli rabe, which is a leafy vegetable in the same family. Our choice was all we could find in the shop, so that was what we bought. Also, our little electric stove top didn’t exactly caramelise the beef, as a hotter gas ring could have; our beef bubbled a bit which probably made it taste exactly like an old boot. Not the best. But even under ideal circumstances, it is hard to imagine that this meal would be a great success. Still, at least there was bread.

Today was another day with another trip to Ikea. One of the reasonably important corner cabinets had not been delivered, although we do seem to have an assortment of random cabinets left over which we’ll be able to return, presumably. All of the base cabinets are in place, with the promise of countertops tomorrow. And then we can move some stuff into the cabinets, I really, truly can hardly wait. On the plus side going up and down stairs has been good exercise, but wowser it’ll be nice to cook in one room.

These photographs show how the kitchen looked before we started this whole venture. We have an awkward space so we are stuck with a few things, like the tight space around the sink leading to the basement steps. But we have had the stairway to the right of the cooker blocked in so that we will actually be able to have some countertop and make a wee island.

This is how the kitchen looked 6 days ago, these photographs show how it looks tonight. Tomorrow we will be making Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts with Zippy Chunky Salad and Garlic Dill Fries, which will prompt our first ever tasting of microwave fries. Mm-mmm. The kitchen may be getting there, but tomorrow we will still be microwaving in the garage, cooking outside and cleaning up in the basement. We are indeed living the dream.

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  • Reply Jojo August 23, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Wow! Thanks for posting pics! Your kitchen will be vastly improved!

    Are you getting kitchen cabinets from IKEA, my favorite store? Every time I go there, I linger in the kitchens and dream of redoing ours.

  • Reply Helen | One Year Project August 23, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    The kitchen is indeed going to be Ikea, they just got in more door choices with the 2008 catalogue, some of which look yum. We’re going with a basic white door with an oak butcher block countertop. I really like the shiny white one but little fingers + pet hair= not such a good choice.

  • Reply The Home Cook August 24, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Looks like things are really coming along! We love IKEA. I can’t wait to see how your kitchen looks when it’s finished. Every time we go there we oooh and aaah over the kitchens. 🙂

    I can’t believe you guys have continued with the project throughout the move and renovations. I give you a lot of credit!

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