Lox bagel

I love waking up lazily on a Sunday morning and making my way to the kitchen to toast a bagel and layer goodies on it. I recently made my own gravlax and got to enjoy this amazing treat.

Lox Bagel

  • You favorite savory bagel – I used sundried tomato
  • Spreadable cream cheese
  • Capers
  • One red onion, sliced thinly
  • One tomato, sliced
  • Gravlax

Toast the bagel to your liking.  Spread cream cheese, sprinkle capers, layer red onion slices, tomato slices and finally gravlax.  Enjoy.

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Kitchen remodel update

Our remodel is still in the works.  It has taken quite a bit longer than we anticipated, but the fact that it was a 100% DIY project has made the wait tolerable and the results that much more satisfying.  We’re still working on some detail pieces including some trim under the cabinets over the sink, adding under cabinet lighting, updating the light fixture, we still have to install new flooring and update the fridge.  The kitchen is totally usable now, though, so this weekend I had some fun baking bread and took photos to share our progress.  Click here to see what we started with. 

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Our tile came in 12×12 sheets, but some of the individual tiles were not all adhered straight, so we had to lay each of them by hand.

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We removed the shutter doors from the pantry and made a new back wall and new shelves.

New sink, updates cabinets, new toaster, new microwave. The cabinet with to the right of the stove has magnetic paint. The black cabinet was painted with magnetic and chalkboard paint.

New sink, updated cabinets, new knobs and pulls, new toaster, and new microwave. The cabinet to the right of the stove has magnetic paint. The black cabinet was painted with magnetic and chalkboard paint.

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We installed hooks to hang pots, which freed up a lot of storage space in the cabinets.

We wanted to do butcher block on the countertops, but it proved to be a little beyond our abilities at the moment, so we installed formica. We will try again to install butcher block in a few years.

We wanted to do butcher block on the countertops, but it proved to be a little beyond our abilities at the moment, so we installed formica. We will try again to install butcher block in a few years.

More updates will be shared as they become available.  We work on the kitchen a few evenings per week and a few hours every weekend, so it has been slow going.  I’m super excited to get it all done.

Gravlax

After years of splurging on gravlax in specialty grocery stores and bagel shops, I decided to try to make it myself. I researched several recipes and made it a couple of times before settling on my favorite method, which really showcases the salmon’s natural flavor and has a butter soft texture.  Although it may seem a little intimidating, making gravlax is super easy and well worth it if you love it as much as I do.  Just imagine the possibilities: the classic gravlax bagel with sliced red onions, tomato, cream cheese and pungent little capers, gravlax with juicy springtime fruit, tomato and avocado salad with herbs and gravlax, gravlax with dill mustard on crackers, even slices by themselves!

Gravlax

  • One 2-3 lb salmon filet with skin on
  • zest of two limes
  • 4-6 tbsp kosher salt
  • 4-6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp fresh dill

Place salmon filet on a cutting board and run your hands over every piece of flesh, pulling out any bones.  Use needlenose pliers for bones that are particularly stubborn.

Place salmon filet skin side down on a large piece of plastic wrap, twice or three times the length of the filet.

In a medium bowl, mix together the lime zest, kosher salt, brown sugar and dill.  Sniff the container after all is mixed.  For pleasure.

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Spread the mixture all over every inch of the salmon’s flesh.

Fold the filet in half, skin side out, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Once wrapped, wrap again with more plastic wrap.  wrap wrap wrap wrap. (what a weird word)

Place the wrapped filet in a container and place another, heavier container on top of it to keep an even weight compression.  Put it all together into the fridge and forget about it for 3-4 days.

After it has cured, the filet wrapper will be oily.  Unwrap the filet and pat dry with a paper towel if excessively oily.

With a very sharp knife, at an angle, carefully carve off thin slices, leaving the skin intact.

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You’ll end up with a much larger pile of salmon than $9 will buy you in any specialty shop.

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Sliced gravlax will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Food is not only for eating: Avocado, egg yolk and honey mask

This mask is super moisturizing. Avocados contain tons of minerals plus vitamins B and E, and honey helps reduce inflammation. After wearing the mask for a few minutes, the avocado oils begin to melt into your skin, making it feel supple.

Mix together 1 mashed avocado, 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of honey.

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Spread over your face and neck and leave for 15-20 minutes, and then rinse off with warm water.

I <3 Frijoles

In my parents home there has never been an absence of beans.  Ever.  My mom would make a batch of pinto beans every few days and we would eat them as a side dish, in burritos or my favorite – by themselves with a little queso fresco sprinkled on top accompanied by a warm corn tortilla to soak up the rich broth.  Yumz. 

Dried Bean Guide 

1/3 cup dry beans = 1 cup cooked beans
1/2 cup dry beans = 1 1/2 cups cooked beans
2/3 cup dry beans = 2 cup cooked beans
1 cup dry beans = 3 cups cooked beans
2 cups (1 pound) dry beans = 6 cups cooked beans

Beans typically can be found in bags at the grocery store or sometimes in bulk bins.  They must be sorted very carefully because they are a natural product that came from a plant, therefore will sometimes have debris such as little stones, that can be camoflaged against the sea of beans.  Sort out any beans that are discolored, wrinkled, or broken, in addition to debris.  Rinse the sorted beans.

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Good beans on the left, bad beans on the right

Place the beans in a heavy pot or Dutch oven.  In order to reduce their “magical” abilities, soak them in cool water, about 2 inches above the top of the beans, for 6-8 hours.  Strain out the soaking liquid and replace with fresh water, about 4 inches above the top of the beans.  Bring to a boil over med-high heat, then cover and reduce to med-low heat and allow to cook for about 2 hours.  Check on them once in a while to be sure they still have ample water.  If they are beginning to dry out, add more water. 

You can tell the beans are done by squishing a few between two fingers.  They should be completely soft. 

Now that the beans are done, they are ready to season.  I like to add salt, a teaspoon at a time, mixing each addition in and tasting before adding more.  Then I add one chopped onion and one sliced jalapeno for a nice spicy kick.  Allow the beans to simmer until the onion and jalapeno are soft and enjoy!

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