Sunday, June 3, 2007

Hot Cash Injection

I could not decide what to title this blog entry. The updates have been sparse because I have not cooked much, yet a lot has happened in our culinary life. First of all our dishwasher broke. Matt and I hate doing dishes so this made us not cook very much for several days. Replacing a dishwasher should have been a snap but it turned into a huge ordeal that is not interesting enough to get into so let's just leave it at this -- it took longer than it should have to replace our dishwasher. The good news is our shiny new dishwasher is now in place. It is a fancy Energystar Kitchenaid dishwasher that does solid food disposal and has many special and glorious features but I do not remember what they all are. The dishwasher was pricey ($600) but it does a great job which is important since we cook a lot and do not enjoy washing dishes.

To celebrate the restoration of dishwashing in our house, Matt and I cooked up the contents of our crisper in a delicious stir fry. It had cabbage, broccoli, tofu and fresh basil from our yard. Speaking of the yard...

During this debacle Matt and I got a little charcoal grill! Matt and I live in the city in an adorable 19th century rowhouse with a really fancy private courtyard in the back. It has a koi pond and ivy covered privacy walls and our little organic container garden where we grow lots of fresh herbs and cherry tomatoes and strawberries and hot peppers. Last year our lovely little yard was overrun by motherfucking mosquitoes and we could not use it at all. This year we stuck a bunch of mosquito dunks in our pond and they've worked like gangbusters. Not a mosquito in sight. Why didn't any one tell us about these before? They rock. Anyway, this year we've actually been enjoying our lovely outdoor space and we got a grill so we could have friends over for cook outs. Last weekend we made kebabs, veggie hotdogs and asparagus. It was all super delicious. We got a marinade at Whole Foods that was pomegranate, pear and port flavored.

The spending did not stop there though. I finally got a copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and made their Sexy Lowfat Vanilla Cupcakes. They were really really good. I was impressed.

Not having entirely depleted our bank accounts, Matt and I went on a very long overdue shopping spree at Bed Bath and Beyond and equipped our kitchen with several items that either Alton Brown convinced us our lives were meaningless without or items that we'd been fantasizing about owning for months. Lest you think this $700 shopping spree was totally frivolous and indulgent, I should point out that this was actually an early birthday present for someone who might be turning twenty-ten in a couple of weeks. Someone who shall remain nameless...

The loot included:
- 5 qt Kitchenaid mixer
- reversible stovetop grill/griddle
- Cuisinart popcorn machine
- immersion blender (Alton, this thing better be good)
- new french press (my old one was falling apart)
- mortar and pestle
- a very expensive, sharp-enough-to-murder-a-pumpkin Japanese chef's knife
- fancy knife sharpener
- strainers with fine mesh in various sizes
- a Wok
- Y peeler, ice cream scoop with release lever and other assorted utensils
- Crazy about Cupcakes, a cupcake cookbook with great art and petit fours recipes (I am starting to obsess about petit fours these days). The book is mostly not vegan but I can adjust their recipes for my purposes.

About the popcorn machine; I LOVE LOVE LOVE popcorn. I probably eat it almost everyday. Sometimes more than once a day. I could live on popcorn. Fellow popcorn addict Karin insisted this popcorn maker was the best thing ever and that all other popcorn pales in comparison so how could I not buy it. I am a little troubled by the amount of oil required with this new machine though. I am not a fan of very oily popcorn.

Still not yet in the poor house, Matt and I turned our attention to Mom's. If you crossed co-op health food shopping with Nordstrom, it would be this place. We spent $80 on assorted exotic treats including some vegan marshmallow fluff, a ton of fancy jam, agave nectar, and some beautiful purple scallions. I had no idea scallions came in purple. We also got some organic lemons and raspberries and I made the most glorious lemonade of all time.

To make your own Fizzy Raspberry Lemonade you need:
- 8 oz sparkling mineral water (I recommend Poland Springs raspberry lime mineral water)
- The juice of one lemon
- 2 Tbs sweetener (sugar, agave nectar, whatever you like. I used Splenda because we are watching our figures and it dissolves in cold water)
- 2 Tbs crushed fresh raspberries

If you wanted an adult version of this most delicious beverage, Stoli Ras and a dash of raspberry schnapps would work nicely. Serve over ice -- with a silly straw if you like.

I know it seems that we've spent an outrageous amount of cash on our culinary life this week but to be fair we do not do this sort of thing often, the dishwasher was needed, the BB&B spree was for a big birthday and well... we love to cook.


Anonymous said...

Your shopping spree sounds like so much fun. I have about half of those items on my wish list as well.

I love popcorn too but I make the way Alton Brown does - without a popcorn popper. It's so easy and the results are awesome. I gave my popcorn popper to my brother after I learned how to do it this way. I use the old school brown paper lunch bags. You can pick them up at any grocery store for cheap.,1977,FOOD_9936_11374,00.html

Anonymous said...

Oh, also, I meant to add that I don't use any oil. I save those calories for after the popcorn has been popped and I don't use a stapler. I just fold over the bag really tight a couple of times (although still leaving plenty of room for the popcorn to move around).

marias23 said...

Oh you guys! That's not a sum at all considering what you got. First of all, once you've baked with a KitchenAid mixer, you'll never go back! I got one for Christmas and I can't imagine how I lived without one!

Celine said...

hooray for getting new things!!! they were well deserved anyway so don't you dare feel bad about any of it. have fun!

urban vegan said...

Hooray for dishwashers!

I could spend a ton of $$ on kitchen stuff...I can relate. Looks like you're putting it all to great use.

SteamyKitchen said...

Wow, did you guys win the lottery?! :-)

Congrats on all your purchases. I love my immersion blender!

Insomniac Chef said...

I wish we'd won the lottery. We'd just been wanting a lot of kitchen toys for a while. We are putting them to good use.