It’s been a couple months in the food blogging world, and I think it’s going pretty well so far. One Tastespotting spot, a Kreativ Blogger award, photos that have gone from ‘meh’, to ‘less meh’, and lots of delicious new recipes, with only a few that were too awful to write about (twice baked sweet potatoes – do NOT try this at home people)
When you start really investigating food blogs, you discover all these creative recipes, with combinations and presentations that you would never in a million years have dreamed of putting together, accompanied by incedible food photos that looks so delicious, you wish you could crawl through your computer screen, put the plate on your table and dig in.
And you picture your favorite food bloggers that create this recipes and photos – you paint a picture of them in your head, using your imagination (or seeing their picture on their ‘about me’ page). You envision them in their pristine kitchens, with mahogany floors, cabinets apon cabinets full with every All-Clad pan that has ever been created, kitchen gadgets that seem like they shouldn’t be legal in the U.S, and sprawling granite countertops as far as the eye can see. And they’re perfectly primped and pressed – their aprons are so cute and stylish that you could probably wear them as part of an outfit, and there’s not a spot or stain on it. Their counters are never cluttered. Their dishes never dirty. They are the epitomany of food blogging perfection.
Dave and I’s world is somewhat different however.
When we first moved in, we thought our kitchen was HUGE! “GREAT for entertaining” our realtor told us. We stood there with him, envisioning dinner parties with friends, wine flowing like water, laughter and music and 5 course meals – not realizing that there was about 2 square feet of counter space and all of 4 cabinets in which to fit our entire kitchen life into.
Initially this wasn’t a problem: Dave had a set of 8 white IKEA dinner plates, all with chips and cracks in them. We had a smattering of random appliances, pots and pans, and most of our ‘gadgets’ had been bought from the clearance bin at the Christmas Tree Shop. But then, we got engaged – we registered – I had 2 showers – we got ALOT of kitchen stuff – real life adult kitchen stuff. And we thought “Where in the world is all of this stuff going to go?”.
We’ve done pretty well improvising with storage, but cooking on the other hand can be a real challenge. Our stove, sink and cabinets are shoved into a small ‘galley style’ area of the kitchen, along with the 2 square feet of counter space. So if Dave and I are wanting to have a romantic night in the kitchen, sipping wine, cookin’ up something delish together, it usually turns into a night of clever maneuvering around each other to avoid 3rd degree burns from bumping into the stove.
And our cooking attire? My cute Vera Bradley apron has more grease stains than paisley flowers, and 9 times out of 10, it’s tied over my gym clothes or pajama pants, which I think I’ve had since my Junior Year of high school. And if Dave’s not standing over the stove in his Stanley Cup Sweatpants, it’s usually a pair of tattered jeans that I’ve tried to replace with new ones that still have the stickers on them, or an old under shirt, such as the one pictured below.
So there’s the ugly truth of the Schoon Kitchen. It may not be as glamorous as the likes of Ina Garten, or any other all-star food blogger, but after almost two years, we’ve figured out ways to make it work, while still being able to produce some pretty decent meals. In our next house, perhaps we’ll have the endless granite countertops we always drool over when watching the food network, or a collection of appliances only seen in an Iron Chef kitchen. But for now, I still get excited every time I get to use my KitchenAid (even if I do have to balance it on a kitchen stool) and after replacing our IKEA plates with Crate and Barrel ones, I think we feel pretty hip!
As for the rest of the clutter? Well, that’s what Photoshop is for!
Another Tuesday gem for you guys – the most delicious onion rings this side of Burger King (I always really liked Burger King O.R’s UNTIL I had these!)
Tuesday nights I usually don’t get home from the gym until around 8, so Dave is usually nice enough to take care of dinner. There’s a lot of things I love about Dave, heck that’s why I married him right? HOWEVER, one of the things I DON’T love is his tendency to start these intricate meals invovling numerous steps and ingredients 8 o’clock at night, leaving us eating dinner for what seems like breakfast.
I don’t know about all of you but I get pretty grumpy when I’m hungry – and when I’ve just been at the gym, all I want when I get home is dinner ready and on the table, even if it’s sandpaper with peanut butter on it. So when I called Dave on my way home around 7:30, I was anticipating that he’d say “oh hello dear, how was the gym? I hope you’re starving because I have dinner hot and ready when you get home” – Instead, he said “Actually, I’m on my way home from Market Basket right now – and I’m making pan seared scallops with fried vidalia onion rings and some sort of side dish with Kale”. As I heaved a huge sigh and a stomach rumble, I started chewing on my fingers, knowing that this ambitious meal might not be eaten til’ sunrise. I got pretty snappy with Dave, and having the patience of a saint, he replied in a calm, cool and collective manner “You’re mean when you’re hungry”.
So I get home – the kitchen in shambles, being assured that we’d be eating by 8:30 (clock then reading 7:55) and I watched Dave shuffle around the kitchen with every pot, pan and kitchen tool that we own in use. I think he was pretending like he was on Chopped (one of our favorite Food Network shows) – only the challenge was not to cook a meal in 1/2 hour and impress a panel of expert judges, but his ravenous wife who was giving him death stares as she shoved tortilla chips in her mouth.
I must say though, the dinner was worth the wait – and on the table by 8:46 p.m! Delcious seared scallops and sauteed Kale, which we had never had before, but both really loved – it retained a nice crunch, unlike spinach which can get soggy when you saute it.
But, the best part of the meal was by far the onion rings – O.M.G – now I know pretty much everything dipped and batter and fried is amazeballs, but these just tasted so good. Sweet vidalia onions battered in an adaptaion of the batter we used for our Fish and Chips – delicious. A great summer time (or any time) side dish!
Beer Battered Vidalia Onion Rings
Vegetable or Canola Oil
1 large Vidalia Onion, sliced into rings
3/4 cups of flour
1/4 cup of cornstarch
3 tsp of baking powder
1 cup of Lager beer (we used Victory Hop Devil)
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1) Fill a shallow pan 2/3 way full with oil and let heat for about 5-10 minutes, until you can see the oil rippling
2) Mix flour, corn starch, baking powder and beer together in a mixing bowl.
3) Season the sliced onion rings with salt and pepper.
4) Place the seasoned rings in the batter and then drop in the hot oil.
5) Let the onion rings cook in the oil for 2-3 minutes, until they really start turning golden brown. You don’t want to take them out too early because the onion won’t cook. Don’t be nervous if you start to think they’re getting too brown – you want the onions to cook too.
6) Place onion rings on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
7) Serve hot!
Unlike the Fish and Chips, we found that the onion rings were best when just placed in the wet batter, vs. dry then wet then dry again. These were so tasty, you didn’t even need ketchup or a dipping sauce.
So all’s well that ends well on a Tuesday night in the Schoon household – we didn’t file for divorce, we ate a delicous dinner before 9 o’clock and as an apology for being a crab apple, I did all the dishes 🙂