Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Big Little Kitchen Redo Thank You Party

Forty-eight months ago, our kitchen remodel began.

Well, OK. It was more like four weeks ago. But it sure seemed like a long time to be without a kitchen. Especially since we'd just been without a bathroom and a laundry room before that.

During our remodel process, a few good friends made our existence a lot more pleasant. To show our appreciation, we had a little get-together to thank them and let them be the first to see the new digs.

Because I thought I was going to take pictures at the party, I didn't take pictures of the food prep. Because I was busy showing and talking and laughing, I didn't take pictures at the party. Well, that's not entirely true. I took four. They were all really blurry. Here's one.

The kids watched "Up". Obviously, a couple of them spotted me. They told us to keep it down a couple of times. We were too loud.

I decided to put the whole kitchen and the backyard through the wringer for this one. There wasn't much that I didn't use. I baked, I roasted, I grilled, I cooked over high heat on the stovetop and used the vent-a-hood, I shredded and chopped, and I juiced a LOT of limes. (Pomegranate margaritas, baby!)

We're very lucky to have such good friends, neighbors and family, and they ALL know their way around a kitchen WELL. During the Big Little Kitchen Redo:

Steph and her boys generously offering to let me come over ANY TIME we needed a home-cooked meal. When we failed to invite ourselves (I really suck at that), she told us to haul our kiesters over and she made us an excellent thai noodle dish.

Ned and Melissa and their kids had us out to their place for a kickass curry and comisseration. That was right around the time we were having HVAC installer issues. Those goobers. (The HVAC guys, not Ned and Melissa.

Jenn and David told us to bring Dinky with us and come have one of the best pork chop dishes I've ever tasted (yes, I got the recipe) with them and their little people and their puppy. Poor Dinky was worn slap out by the time we left.

Jim and Darlene, our next-door neighbors, put up with us parking in their driveway frequently when we got overrun with service vehicles and had nowhere else to go.

Morgan and Jesse, our other next-door neighbors, with whom we share a driveway, suffered the service vehicle overrun and graciously tolerated it. On top of that, they gave us a key to their house and free access to their bathroom and laundry facilities when we had none, and brought us a meal, too! We gave new meaning to the word "impose".

And of course, my wonderful in-laws also provided a spare bathroom, laundry facilities, meals and very importantly, empathetic moral support. During our bathroom and mudroom phase, and part of our early kitchen destruction, they were going through a kitchen renovation of their own with the same contractors. Our pain was their pain. Except their kitchen is MUCH more spectacular than ours - it's a real beauty, and huge! - which of course means their suffering was also much more spectacular.

Certainly we're fortunate as hell to have the ability to do a renovation like this in the first place. But it's not without its stress. These guys all made it a lot easier. Of course, I figured the best thanks was to feed 'em and liquor 'em up. (Except the kids, of course. They had lemonade.) We had a great time, the weather was perfect, and there was just enough food left to let me know everyone had enough.

Here's the menu, with links to the recipes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes (just peel them, cut them into big chunks, drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt, and roast at 400 for about 45 minutes.)

I recommend some Andy Narell for the playlist for this menu. Unless you hate steel drums, in which case I guess you could just play Marley.

I confess, for the short people, I bailed and just did a Costco cheese pizza  cut into small squares. They didn't complain. Neither did the adults I caught  swiping a few pieces.

Thankfully the kids struck back and didn't just stick with the pizza.

Everyone left in a pretty good mood, and cleanup was minimal. Someone played elf in the kitchen while I was sitting on my butt in the living room talking. I know Pootie did some, but whoever was helping him, thanks. It took us all of 15 minutes to clean up after the last guests took off.

This morning, there were few remnants left.


This squirrel is scrounging for half-finished beers.
Such a nice party Saturday night made for a lovely lazy Sunday.

Thanks to Jenn (holla!), I even had a fun new toy for cooking my egg for breakfast!

Oh, that girl is a stitch.

Thanks again, you guys. Here's to many more meals in the New! Improved! Kitchen at 305.

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