orchard apple tarte

In the orchard. We have 4 apple, an English walnut, and 2 plum trees that need some serious TLC. We've contacted VT Extension and they've sent a document on spray schedules and best wishes. If anyone knows anything about fruit trees...
Our apple sorter. She's known as Julia Bucket.
A few good apples.
Apple tarte! Recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything for Rich Tart Crust and Simplest Apple Tart.

bread for a picnique

Basic everyday bread recipe. Note the yeast spoon with the yeast: 2.25 tsp = one packet.
1.5 cups water. Add 2.25 tsp yeast and a scant 2 tsp salt, swirl to mix. Stir in 1 cup whole wheat flour, then 1 cup bread flour, then 1/2-3/4 cup additional bread flour. Dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Pour (and scrape with your hands) dough onto surface prepared with flour and cornmeal to prevent sticking.


Shape dough, slash with knife, sprinkle with salt. Bake in 450F oven with a pan of water on the bottom for approximately 45 min.
Dark crunchy crust. I made this yesterday.
Today it was served picnique-style with cheeses (Parmigiano-Reggiano, double-cream Brie, Nittany Valley Organics smoked cheddar), saucissons (Chorizo and Olli Napoli), canteloupe from the Blacksburg Farmer's Market, and other accoutrements. Paired with another bottle of 2007 Georges Côtes du Roussillon. Lots of bottle to bottle variation in this wine, primarily in the Brettanomyces concentration.


bacon & tomato panini

Shadowchase Farm (Giles County, VA) hickory-smoked bacon
Dijon and mayonnaise on both sides of the bread, tomato, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper
add bacon and grill
served with corn


and this 2007 Côtes du Roussillon, which was a fabulous find for about $13. Has a little "l'animal" character which develops nicely with aeration.


lunch: summer vegetable saute

sauteed a small amount chopped onion and slices of slender squash in olive oil and butter. I like these to get a little color so I turned up the heat.
Once the onions and squash had some caramelization, reduced the heat and added minced garlic, 2 min. Added chopped tomato, parsley, salt, pepper. Served with bread and wine leftover from last night.


Started with Mark Bittman's crust recipe from How to Cook Everything. Added olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, onions and garlic sauteed in olive oil, salt, pepper
added sliced tomato, salt
added slices of Napoli salumi from Olli Salumeria (VA), Parmigiano-Reggiano, pepper


Baked in a preheated 500F oven reduced to 475F until browned and bubbly. Left on the baking pan to catch tomato juices
Sliced and topped with Spanish olive oil
Paired with this wine.


a few more after photos

Today the granite company came to pick up the extra piece of granite from the cooktop cutout to hone it into two serving boards. They sent four big guys…perhaps they heard I was unhappy about the faucet hole debacle and sent backup? Do I have a reputation? Awesome. They also filled the pits in the countertop. If I had known all I needed was a Sharpie and some Crazy Glue I would have done it myself.

View from entry.
View to sink.
View to nook.

pendants, cue the 1812 Overture, night photos

The pendants arrived at State Electric on Tuesday. An electrician came by to install them today, on the first day I’ve locked the house in two months.

Pendant lights over the bar.

We’ve decided to put them on a dimmer switch, and we have a few other details to add, including window treatments and a pot rack to hang.

View to sink. I like the reflection in the window, and the childproofing detail on the cabinet.
View into family room from kitchen.
View into kitchen from family room.


Open kitchen.

There are still a few minor punch list details (sealing the nicks on the granite and the grout on the replaced tiles, cabinet alignment), but tomorrow will be the first weekday in 61 days that I don’t have to be up and decent. And since we just came back from the ER with a croupy baby, we may just stay in our pajamas all day.

and I had to clean everything AGAIN

The tile installer came by to replace 3 of the tiles around the mosaic today, which I think improved the overall design. This is definitely a hindsight learning experience on tile installation.

Apparently, he was supposed to chisel it out by hand, and I had moved stuff out of the way for him to do that. He, however, went at it with a saw. This resulted in my kitchen, and really the rest of the first floor completely covered in a fine powder of carbonate minerals. I spent THREE HOURS cleaning cabinets, countertops, appliances, and everything that we moved back into the kitchen over the weekend. DAMN! The site supervisor called after he heard that the house was left like that and asked if I wanted him to send the painting crew over to clean (and that it should not have been done that way). I said no thanks, I was already on it. At this point, I’ve reclaimed my space, and only I can clean my antiques.



Dusty tomatoes.


Dusty porcelain.
Look at all that dust!
Dusty coffee, anyone?
Mosaic II.

and thus we began week 8

Between last Friday and today the window sconce was centered, refrigerator leveled, and paint and cabinet touch-ups finished. (Well, there are still some small ones, but I’m getting tired of pointing out tiny flaws when it’s easier just to do it myself.) If you want something done right…perfectionists’ creed.

Centered and raised, much better.
No more ceiling flakes on the light fixture.

It was determined that the stain on the floor is underneath the laminate coating and that it would look a lot worse to try to switch the board out for another one. It’s unfortunate that it wasn’t caught at installation. My recommendation here for future remodels would be to add a more formal QA process throughout the project at every major install point. I’m experienced with HACCP; I could do it for them.

Floor stain solution.

One last change before we’re done. After giving much thought to the mosaic and having the designer over to take a look (who said she loves it), I’ve decided to have 1 or 2 of the cut pieces replaced with lighter tiles; since all of the cut pieces ended up being darker tiles, I think it draws more attention to them as a design element. The job supervisor should be here tomorrow to do that.

We were VERY happy to move back into the kitchen over the weekend and start using it. It took all weekend, but the space is set up, dishes are washed and put away, and we’re eating reasonably again. I made raspberry-blackberry jam this afternoon and am baking bread tonight.

Can't go wrong with the 2010 Domaine de la Mordorée Tavel Rosé.