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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Counter Top Arrives!!!

Matt, my son, finally had a break in his work schedule and was able to make the counter top. He delivered last week and helped us install and put the sink in. It is a light gray limestone pattern that blends wonderfully with our grays, white and caramel color palette. The kitchen looks great and we are extremely grateful for his help.
So what's next? The backsplash of course! 
I purchased white and black 3"x6" subway tile a while back and left in box until last week. Unsure of how I wanted to use it I started playing with different patterns, colors and materials. Backsplash are often used to add drama, texture or pattern to a kitchen as well as making the walls easier to clean. We want to add a bit of all those to this tiny apartment. We'll pick a pattern in the next day or two and then I'll get this last piece done. Then we can start marketing and get this thing rented!

Here are some of the patterns I came up with:

Offset (traditional) subway tile
A more modern pattern
- stacked horizontally
We like the staked pattern more than the traditional.

Modern pattern with 
random black tiles
These patterns use flat marbles as accent. We like the added texture and will most likely go with the option on the left or right. Or a derivative of the two. The third would make a great bathroom pattern.

Beer Can Chicken and Caramelized Fennel

Caramelized Fennel
Sister Barb came to visit a few weeks ago. As always she requested Todd's famous beer can chicken. Todd, being the master of the Weber Grill, obliged.

Beer can chicken is essentially a larger fryer or mid-size roaster cooked whole with a dry rub applied inside and out, and then made to stand with a half full beer can stuffed into the large open cavity with the legs making a tripod. Then it is placed on the grill and cooked until done. No basting, no fussing, no nothing. The skin becomes amazingly crispy and tasty from the rub and the meat inside amazingly moist from the beer steaming it from the inside.

The beer can chicken turned out great as usual, but the real star of the meal for vegetable eaters was the caramelized fennel. I had a couple of really nice medium size bulbs of fennel I picked up at the local grocery store and a guest so I went for it with this very simple recipe.

Caramelized Fennel

  1. Clean and thinly slice two medium or one large fennel bulb, saving a few fronds for garnish.
  2. Heat coconut, olive oil and butter, butter, or a light tasting vegetable oil in a large skillet. About two tablespoons, or as Jamie Oliver likes to say a nice turn of oil. By this he means hold the bottle of oil above the pan and do a medium pour in a circle around the pan. This method is easy and you don't have to measure and it is usually right on for sauteing. If you are using olive oil and butter use equal amounts of each. This day I used coconut oil because it sends a wonderful light waft of coconut perfume to the air and a nice lightly sweet taste to whatever is being sauteed.
  3. Saute until fennel is somewhat translucent.
  4. Add a teaspoon or two of white sugar (depending on how much fennel), stir and cook until the fennel is well coated and caramelized.
  5. Transfer to serving dish or places and garnish with the reserved fennel fronds.
serves 4