Friday, November 5, 2010

 If you read my other blog, Out of the Darkroom, you know the reason I haven't had time to post much lately is that we moved twice in the past 6 months or so--the first move was back into our rebuilt house and the second was to a much larger house about four miles away.  The old house is not yet on the market, but I hope it will be soon.

The new house has a huge kitchen with some top of the line equipment, although it was probably installed around 1994, after the last big earthquake when the house was enlarged.  At least, that's when the GE Monogram built-in refrigerator was made. That piece of equipment has barely worked since we moved in.  The repair people have been out four times so far (and, yes, we did purchase insurance against such breakdowns) but it still isn't working right.  I see Thanksgiving looming and fear a repeat of my then year old fridge breaking down on me just in time for that holiday.

That's Len and my friend Karen in the kitchen when we did one of the walk-throughs.  There's a center-island with a prep sink and the refrigerator, range, and wall ovens are on the left side of the picture.  There's a skylight/backlit ceiling stained glass of ducks over head (a motif also found in the etched glass of the front door) that's quite cheerful.  And there is a lot of cabinet space, even if I no longer have a walk-in pantry (my favorite thing about the rebuilt old house.)
Fortunately, we brought both the big refrigerator and the one we use for cold drinks with us when we moved. The big one is in the garage where, sadly, there is no water hook up for the ice maker, and the other sits on the patio for the convenience of our guests.  And to give me some extra freezer space because I don't have a working refrigerator in the kitchen.

This has not put a stop to the Sunday Super Supper Squad, which did not miss a beat during the move.  I've been trying new recipes almost every week and the kitchen is big enough that I can extend my dining room table to comfortably seat a dozen people.  We'll have to move it to the living room for Thanksgiving and its full extension for a larger crowd, but that's no big deal.
For Halloween, I made a huge pot of chicken and dumplings (above) which was a big hit and has provided lunch at work all week. It hasn't been nearly cold enough for such comfort food this week, with temperatures in the 90s, but it was cooler on Sunday night.  I'm hoping for a bit cooler this weekend because I've got two large butternut squashes awaiting their squash destiny as butternut squash soup.

I love the Viking range that came with the house--four large burners and a grill.  When I made the lobsters (below) for my friend Gayle's birthday party, I could boil 3 large pots of water so everything was ready at the same time. I don't know why people think making lobster is hard to do when the best way to serve it is so easy.
While the Dacor electric double wall oven would not have been my first choice (I prefer gas and my range had a 5.3 cubic foot oven, much bigger than these), it does a fine job and can take half-sheet pans. I haven't gotten around to making bread yet, but roasted chicken and frozen pizzas made on my baking stones have come out right. I am quite inspired to do Christmas cookies this year.

I will say that I am actually looking forward to Thanksgiving this year.  In the old house, I always dreaded the task of rearranging furniture to make space for the people we would try to squeeze in every year (23 was the most, 16 was average.) We usually had to put our living room furniture outside to make room for the tables inside. Then it was really hard to work in the kitchen because there wasn't really enough room for more than two people and everyone wants to volunteer to help. This year, I fully expect to be able to set the table the night before the actual event, while different kinds of desserts are baking away in the two ovens. And I won't have to stay up all night to do it.  Heaven.

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