Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Big Little Kitchen Redo: Shakedown Cruise

It's all over, y'all.
The kitchen is finished. We were moved in as of yesterday, and but for a couple of tiny little loose ends, we were ready for the inaugural REAL meal.

Because y'all scared me so bad with your "What's going to be the first thing you cook in the new kitchen??" questions, I totally panicked, bailed and tossed the ball to a professional. (This is why I don't play sports, people.)

I've raved about Tony Rosenfeld for a long time. I've had a cook's crush on him for years because of his contributions to Fine Cooking. He's good looking, too. Much too young for me, but still a handsome fellow. Most importantly, though, he's my kind of cook. Practical, not fussy, dabbles in all kinds of cuisines and flavors, and every one of his recipes is rock-solid. Not a clunker in the bunch.

Well, recently, Tony launched his great new site, Cook Angel. The idea is one of those "why hasn't someone done this sooner?" things. You give him the ingredients you have on hand and a photo, and he'll build you a meal. Pretty lickety-split, too. Give him a submission and the next day, he'll have your game plan for you. His launch timing was perfect. They were just about to finish up and I was armed with a brand-spankin' new kitchen and... nothin'. No inspiration whatsoever. I had writer's block, as it were.

So Tony put on his cape and boots and in he swooped! You can read his post for me here. How did he know I was a meat and potatoes girl?

This menu let me test drive the high heat capacity of the new stove, the sucking power of the vent-a-hood (it works!) and the low heat burner for keeping the potatoes warm. AND it was a fairly fast meal for a weeknight.

I boiled my Yukon Golds whole instead of dicing them, because I had a little more time, and because I use a ricer rather than mashing. That's just how I roll.

Check my ricer in one of my handy new drawers. Man, I love this kitchen!
Once I had the potatoes riced, I prepared them the way Tony suggested and popped them over the extra-low heat burner to keep them warm while I seared the phoo out of the steaks.

Looky at the smoke being pulled OUT of the kitchen by my kick-ass vent-a-hood!

If you don't have a tiny kitchen, you don't understand how important and cool this is.

After a proper searing, I put the steaks in the oven to finish off and I started on the pan sauce. I had some mushrooms I needed to use, so I added those to the shallots. I didn't think Tony would mind.

When the sauce was finished, I quick-cooked the spinach in a little garlic. And, as it turns out, too much salt. Evidently, I've forgotten how to cook.

Then dinner went right onto plates

and we went straight out the back door. 

We opted for outdoor dining, since it was a nice evening.

Have you met my dog, "Useless"? Dinky is just sitting there, waiting for a steak delivery.
Pootie gave his smile of approval. I cajoled a little. He hates smiling for the camera. But he did love his dinner.

I can't wait until Tony's new cookbook, Sear, Sauce & Serve gets here. I pre-ordered it. It will really let me use the stuffin' out of my new range and hood.

This menu was the perfect first meal for the new digs. Thanks, Tony.

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