Continuing with our fixer-upper story, we had a room to dine , yet still no place to cook and were pretty certain George, Martha and the little dancer were tired of watching us gorge ourselves on take-out general tso's and vegetable lo mein. (What do a first president, first lady and first ghost have to do around here to get a decent surf n' turf?)
Unlike the dining room's rich history, we honestly didn't know much about the kitchen. We knew most of the room was not original to the house, but by the multiple layers of wall applications, it was clearly showing its age. When the house was built in (what some people date back to) 1780, the shell of a fireplace down in the basement, was its main cooking source and served as the homes original functioning kitchen (at least that's what we've been told). This kitchen you see pictured below, required a complete gut job! We had a dream, a blank slate, loving help from our parents (labor), solid plans atop a beer laced napkin...and yes like most...we had a budget.
The original plan, was to completely open up the wall between the family room and kitchen, allowing in ample sunlight and creating one large, versatile room. Full exposure inside the wall, unveiled a stubborn gas line with no intention of moving. The two posts you see below, were the end result of smart thinking and adaptability on behalf of the group. Serving as a visual anchor to the kitchen island, the posts also do a wonderful job dividing and ultimately defining each respective room. A perfect example of how when undertaking a renovation, you need be flexible, open minded and able to maintain that fine balance, between respecting the bones of a house...yet remaining its captain, in total control.
Unfinished and messy but okay shot of the posts:
There are still many things we need to do with this kitchen (a list too long to note), but we tried our best to utilize its space. Granite counter tops, a slate floor painstakingly laid by my husband and me, subway tiles for a back splash and higher end appliances purchased on sale...with the unyielding support of the parents...our hearts and souls were literally poured into every inch of this room. It's that same heart and soul, that with every meal emerging from this kitchen today... makes it taste that much more rewarding!
These classic popovers were one of the first things we made in our new kitchen. I took this photo on New Year's Eve a few years ago (long before I started this blog). They're worth sharing! That night we ate them along side a medium-rare, prime standing rib roast. Since then we enjoy the popovers whenever we're in the mood for an extra special treat...for instance at tea time with a homemade herb butter and rhubarb-strawberry jam!
*While the recipe calls for a 45 minute bake time, in our oven on convection bake, they took a mere 25.
*Instead of butter, my husband likes to grease the muffin tins with drippings from the standing rib roasting pan. (Unbelievably Good!) If you're not making them w/meat, obviously butter is perfect.
*Serve leftovers the next morning with butter, jam, cheeses or a savory spread!
Gourmet, January 1996
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously grease six 2/3-cup popover tins or nine 1/2-cup muffin tins
In a bowl whisk together eggs, milk, and water and add butter in a stream, whisking. Add flour and salt and whisk mixture until combined well but still slightly lumpy. Divide batter among tins and bake in lower third of oven 45 minutes. Cut a slit about 1/2 inch long on top of each popover with a small sharp knife and bake 10 minutes more.