Friday, September 5, 2008

Catching Up, Cleaning Up

This week has been a little atypical. Jen's in San Diego and I've been spending all of my time not at work assembling various Ikea items and reorganizing our apartment after our most recent Ikea jaunt.

Part of the mission was installing a $12 shelf above the stove to hang pots and pans. This is an improvement that is extraordinarily cheap that I've been talking about doing since we moved in four years ago. For $12 I'm a little embarrassed that it took so long to finally purchase and install. We've been living with pots and pans overflowing all over the stove for all this time and after a quick installation our kitchen is now 500% less miserable to be in.

I was now able to do something I haven't been able to do since we moved in here, cook on all four burners without having to move any pots and pans onto the floor.

Why didn't I spend this $12 sooner? It has already made my kitchen life infinitely more tolerable.

The only unfortunate portion of this process was me "spilling" paint all over my hand. I say "spill" because it's less embarrassing than "squeezing the paint out of the paint brush like a big, stupid idiot and subsequently covering my hand in paint." So that added about 30 minutes of scrubbing, soaking in nail polish remover and removing more of skin than paint in an attempt to clean up. It also resulted in little white fingerprints on our soap dispenser, bottle of hydrogen peroxide and on Jen's nail polish remover (which is now nearly empty).

I had to sadly discard the computer desk that my father had purchased with our first computer, an IBM 8088 PS/2, in 1987. Since then it's been home to at least ten different computers and even made the move with me to New York. Unfortunately it was pretty damaged and had to be tossed out and replaced by a lighter, smaller desk from Ikea.

As is always the case with moving a computer after I unhooked everything then set it up on the new desk I was left with a tremendous amount of unused and unneeded wires that I was able to put directly into our computer recycling bag.

Having today off of work was a good opportunity to do the laundry, finish up some of the home improvement project and cook a number of things to get us through the weekend. Jen will be home very early in the morning so I figured I could make some stuff and refrigerate/freeze it for her so she can focus most of her weekend on relaxing (and going through the tremendous number of books she has to reorganize).

I started by making some corn chowder. I still had the purple and red pepper from the previous week so I sweated them down with a little onion and garlic, steamed the corn, cut it from the cob then finished it with a little stock, skim milk, salt, pepper, Old Bay seasoning and thickened it with some roux. I would normally use green and red pepper. The purple was a little weird so I added some of the chard to the soup as well to make it a little greener.

We still had some meatballs in the freezer so I made some sweet and sour meatballs quickly. The recipe is so simple that I'm a little embarrassed to print it. Let's pretend that it's a laborious process that involves lots of herbs and spices.

We also had the eggplant in the fridge so I made an eggplant, tomato and ricotta pasta sauce that we could hopefully use up in the coming days.

Earlier in the day I had baked some brownies because we were out of cakey substances, my favorite food group. I had to make s'mores to have with my afternoon tea and that was not really acceptable. Not acceptable, yet very delicious.

Next week should be a slightly more typical week as far as our vegetables go. Once we clear the mounds of books off our table we may even be able to enjoy dinner like civilized people! Won't that be exciting!

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