The Feathered Nest

The softer side of MaisonBisson

New Kitchen Shelving April 22, 2012

TowerGirl @ 8:29 am
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I love my apartment. In a city like San Francisco, where the rental market has higher stakes than a professional poker game, you are often forced to settle for a place that has only few of the characteristics you want. Our apartment is nearly the perfect: great location, a parking space, great light, high ceilings, spacious living space, and an office/guest room. The one blemish on all this perfection is the kitchen. It’s small and not terribly user-friendly. If you are a gal like me who loves to cook, it’s a problem.

What you see above is what we have to the left of the kitchen entrance. What you see below are the Ikea butcher-block carts we’d placed to the right of the the entryway to give a bit more counter space and a bit of storage.

The problem is it just hasn’t been enough storage. I tried attaching hooks to the carts, I added some bins, but it always looked messy and things were hard to get to.

Yesterday, my genius of a husband built me shelving and a pot rack to add to the carts. The result is organization bliss. Ahhh!

Now, I do believe my apartment in just about perfect.




Cold Cucumber Soup July 1, 2007

Cold Cucumber SoupMy beloved husband went off on a Boy’s Adventure Weekend. This left me with the entire house and kitchen to myself. When this happens, I become a bit like a mad scientist left alone in my laboratory. So, it was just me, the cats, and that most dangerous invention, Food Network. After some house work, chick flicks, and visiting with my parents, I spent an hour putting away laundry and watching Emeril. He made a great looking cold cucumber soup and I just had to try it. It’s been over 90 degrees and very humid in New England, something we are not used to, and this dish seemed like the perfect antidote to the sweltering heat.

I woke up on Sunday and went off to my local market and raided the produce section. I had decided that a nice salad nicoise would be the perfect accompaniment to this dish. I also picked up a bottle of my current favorite cheap wine, the pinot grigio produced by Twin Fin (available from I headed home and got cooking. My plan was to have a lovely late lunch waiting for my husband when he returned from his manly outing. I find its important to remind him of the comforts of home.

The soup was a blast to make because it required no cooking. It gave me the opportunity to spend some quality time with my beloved food processor. I altered the recipe a bit by using only one jalepeno, I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy foods. The final product was lovely, cool and refreshing. I think that next time I make it I’d like to add a citrusy note, maybe lime juice, I think it would give it a little something extra.

To make the presentation special, and because I am big geek who loves to make things look pretty, I decided to serve the soup in a couple of our martini glasses. I garnished with chives from my garden and snipped a couple of the chive blossoms as well. When my husband returned home, all sweaty and smelly, I first sent him to the shower. Then, we settled down to this perfect summer lunch and laughs about his camping misadventures. Then I sat and sipped my wine and watched him clean up the kitchen, a perfect Sunday afternoon.

Cold Cucumber Soup


Cake Robed In Chocolate And Strawberries June 17, 2007

Cake robed in chocolate and strawberries

Like so many women, there are days when my desire for chocolate is nearly overwhelming. However, perhaps because I am a tad high maintenance, my cravings are not satisfied by a mere candy bar. When I crave chocolate I want something rich, decadent, and freshly baked, I want chocolate cake.

When one of these cravings coincided with finding the first of the year’s native strawberries I decided to combine the two, the result was the cake you see above. I made a chocolate cake from my personal culinary bible, The Joy of Cooking. I joined the two layers with a chocolate frosting and then spread a layer of frosting on the top of the cake. On top of that, I arranged blanket of fresh strawberry slices. Finally, I consulted the bible again for directions for my first attempt at a chocolate ganache. The ganache came out a bit more watery than I was hoping for, but the end result was actually pretty interesting, a rich chocolate glaze that revealed the strawberries. The result? Chocolate craving quenched.