Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pantry Gloop

Hello Chickens!  Are you sick of winter?  Because I am just about up to here with this weather business.  At the moment I'm watching the rain pour down, which makes me happy, because perhaps some of this 68 freaking inches of snow we've had dumped on us will actually go away, but also makes me nervous, what with the whole flooding potential.  Not to mention that the temp is supposed to drop again, and I'd prefer to keep the whole ice rink situation solidly in Sochi, thank you very much.  At the moment?  Its like living in a half melted margarita.  With dirt in it.  And a staggering amount of unattended to dog poop.  C'mon people, pick up after your dogs!

So far, so good, nothing scary happening in the basement, but I'm keeping fingers crossed for all of my friends and loved ones who live where the water systems can get overloaded.  We've always been fortunate with our location, the basement here is a dry one.  But you can bet we are in the process of installing drain tile and a sump pump, because we believe in better safe than soggy.  We are still enjoying the heck out of the new central heating system, and loving the look of the place now that all the huge radiators are out of the house!  You'd be absolutely shocked how much room is taken up by radiators.  It feels like a whole new space.

In other news, we are officially beginning to design the basement bathroom!  This is enormously exciting, since it is the first time we are making decisions about how a room will actually look, as opposed to just the size and shape and function of a space.  Its complicated, since while EVENTUALLY it will be "just a basement guest bathroom" for the foreseeable future it will become our master bath, so we are walking a fine line of doing something that isn't too insane, but will still be an upgrade for us when we temporarily move downstairs so they can work their way up!

They say that with design, it is best to make one big initial decision and then let the rest follow from there.  It could be a tub or a shower configuration, it could be a tile choice or color scheme.

Here was our first decision:

This is an arts and crafts buffet, circa 1930ish, with original brass hardware.  And while it looks perfectly lovely in its temporary home in our dining room, we are very excited for it to have a future the vanity in the bathroom!  We will be removing the wooden top, installing an under-mounted 4 foot long trough sink with a stone countertop, and installing two wall-mounted faucets in antique brass to match the hardware.  Charming Suitor and I love the idea of both of us being able to brush our teeth concurrently without either of us getting beaned by a flying elbow or accidentally spit upon, but neither of us really love the look of two side by side sinks.  By doing one long shared sink with two independent faucets we will get the separate functionality we want, but with a more modern, cleaner look.

We will only lose the top three drawers when the sink goes in, and a couple inches of the depth in the two cabinet sections, but this piece should provide plenty of storage for the bathroom, and we think it will make for a really cool look.  If you are looking into bathroom remodel, especially in an older home, I strongly suggest you investigate your options of turning a piece of furniture into your vanity.  You'll get a much more custom look, often for a lot less money than you might spend on new cabinetry.  This piece we found locally on Craigslist for not much money (thank god it fit in CS's truck for schlepping it home!), and the conversion is pretty simple, our contractors will take care of it for us, but they say that anyone with basic carpentry skills could accomplish it as a DIY.

Now that we have committed to this design choice, we will focus on planning the rest of the bathroom to work with this piece and compliment it...stay tuned for more decisions as we make them!

Finally, I know you have all been on pins and needles about my pantry dinner project.  So the good news, at least for us, is that at least once a week I have indeed been concocting dinners out of what we have lying around.  Unfortunately for you, the recipes are so similar to each other that it isn't worth giving you recipes.  Since we are still working our way thru the endless supply of ground beef that comes when you purchase a quarter of a cow, the stewlike dishes all start with sautéed ground beef and onions, dumped in the slow cooker with some sort of grain or pasta, some sort of bean or lentil, a can of crushed tomatoes, a box of either beef or chicken stock, and whatever veggies happen to be lying around.  Each version is a teeny bit different, so that is preventing us from getting too bored, but it isn't like I'm magically coming up with exciting new dining innovations.  

I wanted to, I thought I would, but I find that a lot of the ingredients I have socked away are much more suited to making sauces and such, and would require the purchase of new ingredients to make them sing, so for the moment, I'm just focused on clearing the decks a bit and whittling down the stores while the weather still calls for hearty bowls of what CS has taken to calling "Casseroles Without Borders".  Hopefully when the weather improves and I've gotten the pantry and freezer down to more rational contents, I'll be able to focus more on new ideas.

In the meantime, don't forget to help me find a title for my upcoming digital cookbook...details HERE.

Yours in Good Taste,
The Polymath


  1. Love the buffett! Will make an awesome vanity.

  2. I love the idea of transforming a piece of furniture into a vanity. That is brilliant! I also like the idea of one big sink with two faucets. I fought the double sink vanity in our bathroom for a while because I didn't want it to look like a public bathroom with the multiple sinks. But I love being able to brush side by side with my husband. (still don't like the look though)

  3. Arts & Crafts is an excellent design choice! (IMHO)