Monday, September 22, 2014

Kitchen Reveal!

Finally! Seven weeks later: It's done! We are so happy with the results. Here are some before and afters.

 There were 2 pantries in the kitchen on each side of the desk - so we kept one and could do without the other.  So where we were losing counter space with the U-shaped area, we gained it back and then some with moving the fridge and adding a "bar" type area to where the original pantry was.

I'm really glad I no longer have a "drop spot" to throw all my junk - the desk was ALWAYS an eye sore.

We added more storage by removing the soffits and taking the cabinets all the way to the ceiling. Added recessed lighting brightens the entire place up! There used to be 2 boob lights in there.

Such. An. Improvement!  See the black table? Found some test pots of a soft gray color - felt really crafty for a week, but painting furniture is TEDIOUS. So, when you come over, don't look too closely........ ;-)

A few luxuries that I realize now I'm not sure how I lived without: ice maker, spray nozzle on the kitchen sink, and water from the fridge.

Now enjoying a beautiful first day of fall with the windows open!

Shrimp and Weisenberger Grits

Do yourself a huge favor and make this soon. Perfect comfort food for fall, a great "date night at home", or just because you feel like being fancy. These shrimp and grits were one of the best meals I've ever made, and it only took right around 30-35 minutes to make.

I started off frying off bacon, both for the topping and grease to fry the shrimp in. Everything is better using bacon grease - pancakes especially. Drain the grease off into a container on the side and move pan off the heat. I used a cast iron skillet for frying but you can use whatever your heart desires.

Once I fried up the bacon, I got started on the grits. The package of grits gives standard directions - 4c water to 1 c grits. In my grits, I used 2 cups milk (2% but any will work) and 2 c chicken stock. This is a magical combination. Bring the 4 c of liquid to a simmer then add 1 cup of grits and 1 clove of garlic chopped -the garlic will soften with the grits. Bring to a boil then immediately lower the temperature to low/med. You want to keep an eye on these stirring frequently, and cooking for about 25 minutes. You will feel them tightening up as you stir.  Around 20 minutes in, I covered the grits and let them cook for the last 5 minutes covered up. Remove from heat and add 1/2 c heavy cream and 1 c parmesean cheese (I used grated). You can really use whatever cheese you want. The grits should be thin, but not runny.  To keep warm, you can cover or keep on low heat.  I stirred in a handful of spinach last that wilted down while I cooked the shrimp.

Last step is to cook your shrimp (takes 3-4 minutes).

The only things I seasoned my shrimp with are Old Bay and tabasco sauce. Generously coat your shrimp - you don't have to add salt or pepper since it is in the Old Bay seasoning already.  Pour a little of your reserved bacon grease on the cast iron skillet, and bring heat to medium. Put shrimp on and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes per side or until pink.  Make sure not to overcook your shrimp, because they will also cook a little bit longer when you put them in the hot grits.

Toast up a baguette, top with chopped bacon, and dig in!


Grits recipe from Grits and Greens in Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree

The Grits:
2 c milk
2 c chicken stock
1 garlic clove
1/2 c heavy cream
1 c grated parmesean
1 c yellow grits (I used Weisenberger)
1 c baby spinach

Bring 2c milk and 2c chicken stock to simmer, add grits and garlic. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover with 5 minutes to go.  After 25 minutes, stir in heavy cream and cheese. Add more heavy cream if consistency is too thick. It should be loose but not runny. Add salt to taste if desired. Stir in spinach and set aside.

The Shrimp:
1 lb 40-50 shrimp - peeled, deveined, tails off, thawed
2 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tbsp tabasco
4 slices thick cut bacon

Cook bacon and reserve grease - drain bacon on paper towel lined plate.
Bring skillet to medium heat with 2 tbsp bacon grease.
Season shrimp with old bay and tabasco
Place on skillet and cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side until pink.

Pour grits into shallow bowl and add cooked shrimp in the center. Top with bacon and serve.

Serves 4.

Let me know if you make this soon and how you liked it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kitchen Update Numero Dos

I have not cooked dinner in SIX weeks. SIX. I've read ALL the books, I've binge watched Scandal (hellloooo Tony Goldwyn!), and have done major closet cleaning.

I am itching to cook something. Anything. I want to chop vegetables and use my new sink. I want to preheat my oven!!!! I want to run my dishwasher. Okay, so those aren't technically cooking, but it is the beginning and end of a delicious meal. It is only days away. I can taste the brussels sprouts pizza already.

Here are some pics of whats been happening in the G household.  Big things are happening y'all!

Let's take a look back at the OG:

Back in this post, there were a lot of things happening, but no cabinets were in.

The cabinets were delivered and put up last week.

Hello my pretties! This is prior to crown molding being installed.

This, is after. Sorry for the obscene hand gestures, guys. See how the ceiling looks uneven? Paint and caulk fixes that.

 Then, my love named "farmhouse sink" stepped into my life and now I want to sit and stare at her all day long. Oh, the dishes you will clean!

Moving on to this awesomeness! Please note, some things on pinterest actually do come true.  Ask your contractor, and ye shall receive.

That's right, kids. A cutting board over the trash.  Life is good.  We are going to see how we like it without a hole in it and possibly cut one in the future. 

This pic was accidentally uploaded, but how can you resist this sweet face?

Then the painting began. We chose Benjamin Moore Palest Pistachio. It is reallllllly light blue. I am obsessed with how it turned out, because its juust a hint of color. I was thisclose to freaking out when Joey said "oh, they've finished priming the room!" when actually, eeeeeek, it was the paint color I picked out. He now notices the color (or maybe not).

See the clean line at the ceiling and crown molding. The wonders of caulk!

Please tell me you can see the hint of color. You do? NO? Well it is there. Promise.

And here we are! Waiting on fridge and dishwasher, some baseboards, countertops, and electrical work.  These will be all in and done by the middle of next week!

Also, I need some ideas for my first meal to make in the finished kitchen. Give me some ideas. It's gotta be good, and cheap. We outta dollaz over here.