Thursday, May 26

This Old House

First off, thank you all so very much for the kind birthday wishes.  I had a week filled with lovely surprises and I was reminded how truly blessed I am to have such a loving family and group of friends.  The memories of celebrating my 29th birthday as we purchased our first home made it a birthday I won't soon forget, nor will the orange scented whole wheat french toast with raspberry sauce and creme anglaise that I had.  Yum, yum, yum.                 

In the last couple of weeks, we've managed to demo our kitchen, take a road trip to Atlanta and pack up our apartment - all while fixing decades worth of bad paint jobs before we install our new kitchen.  Suffice it to say there's been an absurd amount of drywalling, sanding and repeating goin' on around here.  Not to mention surviving the cicada invasion of 2011.  Have you ever seen (or heard) those suckers?!  They are BIG and NASTY, and apparently rear their ugly heads (quite literally) every 13 years in Tennessee.         

I need to come clean about something, by the way.  I swore up and down it would never happen, but last week I busted out an "I'm jist sayin".  It's officially official: I think the cicada invasion triggered my being a true southerner.     

All kidding aside, these last couple of weeks have allowed us to develop a relationship with our little home, albeit a rocky one at times.  We're growing with it and learning to love it for it's charms and quirks that come with a near sixty-year old home.  Somedays I wonder what we thought would be so romantic about buying a "charming" mid-century ranch home that we could put our stamp on.  Who cares about stamps anyways?  There isn't a whole lot of romance in windows that barely open and a basement that leaks after a big storm.  Nevertheless, it's our home, and I think it might be a good sign that my dog whimpers with joy and excitement every time we pull into the driveway.  

The first inspiration for my "industrial farmhouse kitchen."

Like with anything in life, I'm learning to take things in stride.  I'm trying to chill out a little on the whole "perfectionism thing" and not obsess too much over making my house look like a photoshoot from Sunset Magazine right away.  A little delayed gratification is something I can learn to embrace, and heck, it might even make me a better person for it.

And while we're on the emotional roller coaster that comes with being first-time home buyers, I know these experiences will be ripe with memories in the years to come.  It surely hasn't been all romance with this old house, but these are the things that make life crazy and complicated and wonderful.  

Here's a recipe I found alongside lemon and thyme grilled pork chops, and a grilled potato rosemary cake in Sunset's June issue.  I won't be entertaining quite yet, but do me a favor, will you?  Throw a killer Memorial Day BBQ with your favorite peeps and maybe even get a little drunk while rockin' out to some good country music.  Okay, it can be a tad more sophisticated than that, but that's what I would do.  I'm just sayin'.               

photo courtesy Sunset Magazine

Carmelized tomato bruschetta   
1 slender baguette (8 oz.)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pt. large cherry tomatoes, halved
About 1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and pepper
3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 cup small fresh basil leaves

1. Heat grill to medium (350° to 450°). Cut 18 thin slices from baguette, each 3 to 4 in. long. Save remaining bread for another use. Set baguette slices on a tray to carry to grill and brush all over with about 1 tbsp. oil.
2. Grill bread with lid down, turning once with tongs, until browned, 1 to 3 minutes total. Transfer to a platter.
3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or other ovenproof frying pan on cooking grate with grill lid down until water dances when sprinkled on skillet, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1 1/2 tbsp. oil and spread with a heatproof brush. Pour tomato halves into pan, then quickly turn with tongs so all are cut side down. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook with grill lid down, without stirring, until juices evaporate and tomatoes are blackened on cut side, 10 to 15 minutes. Gently loosen tomatoes from pan with a wide metal spatula as they're done and transfer to a bowl.
4. Spoon ricotta into a bowl and drizzle remaining 1/2 tbsp. oil on top. Put basil in another bowl. Set out toasts with tomatoes, ricotta, and basil so people can build their own bruschetta. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

No comments:

Post a Comment