Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kitchen Re-Do, Parts 1 & 2

I have not always been the most environmentally mindful person but(thankfully) I have come to appreciate the disastrous consequences, for this and future generations, if each person does not act responsibly to help protect the Earth and its resources. Also, I like Al Gore and don’t want to make him angry....he's endured enough disappointment!

I own a rental property that really, really, really needed a new kitchen…also I knew I eventually wanted to remodel the kitchen in my house, so…..I decided to re-use the perfectly serviceable and still attractive cabinets from my house in my rental property (this provoked the question from my tenant -- also known as daughter -- "why do you get the new cabinets?"....I don't think I even need to answer that). The rental property is in the charming and trendy neighborhood of Philadelphia called Manayunk. It is a small house with a galley-style kitchen, so I knew there would probably be enough cabinetry for the space but I was concerned that the layout could work properly. Well, I worried needlessly because as long as one has a cute talented Irish contractor who can consistently make construction magic happen, anything is possible….he finagled, shaved, filled, prodded, and nudged, and before I knew it, the reclaimed cupboards were (re)hung and ready to safeguard pots and pans, boxes and cans. They actually look much better in the rental property than in my house. I purchased new appliances and installed a very fun black and white checkered floor (my daughter's request and idea)…how retro is that! The “new” kitchen is not only functional, but very, very nice.

Meanwhile, back at the dismantled domicile, I was busy working with a kitchen planner and my architect friend to create my (almost) dream kitchen. Although my house is spacious, the kitchen is small and counter space is minimal, so I knew I could not fashion the Tuscan-inspired space I really craved, so I settled for a few classic details, including beautiful cherry cabinets, a farmhouse sink and a subway-tile backsplash (a last minute detail I was encouraged to add). I reused the stove, refrigerator and dishwasher, got a new Silestone countertop, and after a few days of construction and some paint touchups, I was back in business with a brand-new, beautiful kitchen (at a very budget price -- thank you, Home Depot).
As I said, the kitchen is small, so I am reorganizing the basement and building a storage pantry at the bottom of the steps to store my cookware, bakeware, cookbooks, and other treasures. More on this project later.

Last night we had dinner at the architect’s house (the very same who helped with the kitchen re-do!). She served a traditional Argentinian dish called "Milanesa." This dish originated in Milan, Italy and it is a thinly sliced "commom" meat dish prepared in such a way to serve make meat stretch further. This dish is typically made with beef, but we had a healthier chicken version last night.
To prepare this dish, slice each chicken breast very thin and then pound it even thinner and sprinkle each filet with salt and paprika. Dredge each filet in eggs, flour and bread crumbs with oregano. Fry each in canola oil and place the fried filets on a paper bag to absorb the excess oil.
Serve with a slice of lemom and mashed potatoes....yummo! I never had this dish before and it was a treat indeed. She gave me a leftover piece and I made my high school junior a sandwich with a bit of mayo and lettuce.

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