Gaining a Testimony of the Do's of the Word of Wisdom

Cooking Without a Kitchen + Nutty Broccoli Slaw

Pardon the phone picture, heaven only knows where the camera was at that moment.

In the past few days we’ve been demolishing our 1985 kitchen. That means all of the horrid layout, the bumping into the stovetop island, and compensating for the weak stove had to go along with all of the old cabinets, soffits, and cold, hard tile flooring. We still have a LOT to do, but it nice to see light filling the room where previously it was blocked by said obstructions. And the light pouring in means we can see the giant mess of a kitchen ever so much clearer. Friends, we have trashed that place; and we aren’t done yet. The popcorn ceiling is coming down tomorrow or the day after. Goodbye 1985, and hello 2013.

Since we are completely gutting the kitchen, we have had (and will continue to have) lots of choices to make as we replace what we took out. It feels a bit like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one as I’ve picked out and purchased a new sink, dishwasher and range for the remodel. Within the confines of my budget,  I am free to choose out the nicest appliances I’ve ever had. I’m looking forward to cooking with more ease in our soon-to-be kitchen. Unfortunately, that is still a month away, and my current stove, oven and sink all get ripped out in the next few days, and I will be going without for several weeks to come. I’m excited for the new space, but perplexed about the next few weeks will go. No oven, no stove and no sink. To say things will simplify would be putting it lightly. This will feel like camping in our own house. I’ve got to figure out how we are supposed to eat beyond frozen, packaged, and take out food (which honestly have a part in any live-in renovation).

Wall cabinets and soffits down; sink, stove, and their respective cabinets and counters to go in the next day.

Although we are glad to have a decent taco shop around the corner, and will exercise some more regular patronage there in the next month and a half, I don’t have the desire or means to be there are frequently as we need a meal not prepared in our gaping hole of a kitchen. Frankly, we need some simple, simple food. Unthankfully, I got a warm up exercise in December and January. During those two months (when we were also thick in the mess of moving) we went for a few 1-2 week long stretches of variant functionality of our stove top, toaster oven and microwave. It’s surprising how much you can miss one of the those appliances when they aren’t operational.  I missed poached, scrambled and fried eggs. I wanted to boil water for pasta and make a skillet of Thai fried rice laden with cabbage and coconut. It felt like a wait, but I survived and conjured up food despite our failing appliances.  And now that seems like nothing. This one will be much longer and more challanging. Now I get to make food with even less at the same time half of the kitchen is tucked into spaces in my bedroom and in closets and shoved into the dining room with the bathroom filling in for my kitchen sink. (I don’t think I’m making a good sell for massive kitchen renovations, am I?) So much for scrambled eggs, or trying to find the smoked paprika I like dusted on top of them. When I get desperate enough I can always haul out the camp stove- the weather is graciously warming up. I do have the microwave, toaster over and waffle iron- we won’t starve. But the food will be simple and simply prepared.

Personally I’m seeing a hearty amount of salad in the weeks ahead. Salad can be bought already ready to go: cleaned and diced- and you can even add your own dressing to vastly improve the contents of the package. That’s exactly happened with this salad. Frustrated that I couldn’t find my cutting boards in the moving mess and couldn’t cook the broccoli recipe I wanted to without a stove top, I took a stroll through the aisles of Trader Joe’s and conjured up this tasty lunch. It wasn’t hard. I didn’t have to cook or cut anything (not that I could have anyway). And it tasted great. It was the perfect lunch salad and then again at dinner the next night and maybe another lunch that week. I was a fan.

I used a 12 oz. bag of broccoli slaw, but if you have a different size bag, adjust your other ingredients accordingly- or shrink to fit and make this salad small enough for just you. It’s a flexible recipe. Or can you find your knives or a food processor? Lucky. Make your own mix- it’s cheap (use your peeled broccoli stalks) and really fast with a shredding disk on a food processor.

Nutty Broccoli Slaw

1 package broccoli slaw (it’s typically a mix of shredded broccoli with a bit of carrot)

2 handfuls of toasted nuts (I’ve love walnuts here, but almonds are also very nice)

1 handfuls of dried cranberries or golden raisins

1 crisp apple, chopped or shredded

Extra-virgin olive oil

Juice from one orange or a nice citrusy vinegar (I also favor Trader Joe’s for their orange muscat vinegar- it’s $3 and worth seeking out)

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Toss slaw mix with the nuts, dried fruit and apple. Squeeze over some orange juice or add a glug of vinegar with a glug of olive oil. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper. Toss, taste for seasoning and adjust to taste (adjusting ingredients until it suits your taste).

This salad keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days.


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