It started out as a trip to the home improvement store to have a "look-see" at the new interior paints for 2012. It turned into a seven day kitchen-cabinet-remodel-plus-living-room-bedroom-painting palooza. S-e-v-e-n days. Non-stop. During the home improvement festivities, cooking took a hiatus. Well sorta. We survived mainly on the remains of daily rations of pizza dough from this: Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. And now, having acquired all of the cookbooks in the Five Minutes a Day collection, I can honestly say, I LOVE this and consider it one the best. Not only did this book keep us fed and nourished during our remodel project, it also created some of the best pizza dough I've EVER had. (No disrespect to Peter Reinhart.)
I will tell you that the dough recipe I found I loved the most in the book calls for "oo" flour--which you will probably have to order online, or search really hard for where you live. Lucky for us, St. Louis is home to one of the top Italian food nirvanas (known as "The Hill") in the country and I was able to get my flour from one of the grocers there. I like to keep "oo" flour on hand for all things pasta and pizza. Don't be discouraged, the Pizza in Five book has enough options you probably have everything you need to whip up a batch of dough right now using AP flour. Spend even a few minutes on their site and I promise, all dinner problems will be solved. As for the vegan BBQ chicken pizza recipe--check out any BBQ sauce recipe for inspiration, then cook the sauce until it is nicely reduced and thick--almost like a paste, then begin the vegan pizza building! You'll need to get your hands on some vegan chicken substitute--which is not a problem given the vegan lifestyle is finally beginning to go mainstream, if only at a snail's pace. And truth be told, I am just spent after all the work we've done and it was about all I could do to get these pizza pictures taken to share with you all. Really. Super good pizza-eating here.
Action shot: the vegan Diaya cheese is a must. But notice how thin I rolled my crust. That is really important. And I like my pizza with a bit MORE on top vs. less. Pizza opinions are like noses: everyone's got one.
Here's my trusty little container of pizza dough I keep in the fridge. We were on our last legs with this one. But never fear, more was made!
Meet my small, humble kitchen. . . and its circa 1990 pale cabinet color. I've made "do" with it. You remember I just painted it last year in my favorite Martha Stewart color: sea glass. I still love the color of the walls in my kitchen. It's been said that with all homes, it takes about five-to-seven years for the home to begin to conform to the dream you always knew it could be. This fall will be our eighth year here. Our home was built around 1940s. Originally probably served as a hunting cabin, then farm, then grew into the house it is today. I fell in love with, not only this kitchen (it has vaulted ceilings with exposed wood beams going across)--giving a very cozy-cabin feel), but I fell in love with the land, too. Of course this house has given us more than we could ever give it back. I truly believe in the power of place. And this place has been a wonderful home (albeit a "bit" of a sweat equity nightmare the first three years, the likes of which I hope to NEVER have to re-live again)--we have grown to love it more every year. But these pale cabinets. . . they had to go. It was time.
So, as I was saying, it all started with a trip to the Home Depot. I turned the corner and sitting on the floor is this cute little one-stop-shop kitchen cabinet remodel kit by Rust-Oleum called, Cabinet Transformation. Complete with a how-to DVD. Well, if there's pictures AND a DVD, surely I could do this, right? Right. And we did. It worked like a charm. H-a-r-d-e-s-t week of my life, but sooo worth it. I turn into a bit of a cry baby after about two days of home improvement goings on. I'm not ashamed to say this either. As a result of the "impending" nervous break down, Dr. Thyme jumped in to save the day because I had also planned to re-paint the living room and bedroom this weekend. He kindly took over that task. God love him for that!
Here is Dr. Thyme--the most excellent painter-man I've ever met. He can tape walls like no one else I know. We transformed our home from the nineties and that old terra-cotta obsession (and it was a good obsession when I had it, but its time had come) to this beautiful rich, dark grey called "mined coal" with an accent color in a very subtle taupe called "jackal". So our home is now "Coal/Jackal!" It works and we love it to death.
Twenty-six doors. That's how many kitchen cabinets and drawers I had to personally remove and re-attach, and clean and re-clean, paint twice and deglaze and finally top-coat for a total of 186 paintings. (I had Dr. Thyme do the math for me because by day four, I was sort of a hot mess and was sobbing uncontrollably and at the spur of the moment.) Yes. This is a DIY project. No. It is not for the faint of heart.
Viola! New kitchen. I wanted to go darker. I used the color "espresso" for my doors. I love the result. It took me eight hours to re-attach each door, plus new knobs and handles. (Got those at Target--they had this knob/handle kit!) I heart Target.
And finally. As if I hadn't turned into enough of a head case, I suddenly decided that I needed to have a Baking Center in my kitchen. Cutting down on that dreaded five step walk back and forth to my pantry everytime the urge to bake strikes. (Which is, as we all know. . . nearly every day!) Viola! Baking Station accomplished. Don't you love it? I have everything I need right at my finger tips. I think Martha Stewart would be pleased. She might not like those messy wires showing. Oh, and yes, there are TWO coffee makers. And YES, I DO love my coffee.
So there you have it. Today I have plans for more organizing in the kitchen--placing all the dried beans in mason jars now that I have more room in the pantry for storing. Then a little work on my pots and pans area because if I have to remove the entire cabinet of pans to get to my favorite soup pot one more time, I'll scream. But we LOVE how everything turned out. Just love it. Hands still a bit swollen, but other than that, it's perfect.