Everything tastes better when prepared in an upgraded kitchen.

We knew going into the purchase of our home that upgrades in every room (not kidding on this point) were going to be necessary; unless we wanted a McHome in a treeless neighborhood this was our choice, so it takes some time for coins to accumulate in my wagon’s cupholder before we can move from one project to another. With the master bath finished, upgrading the kitchen appliances was next.

Where once sat a circa 2005 oven-microwave combination now sits a double oven. (We aren’t microwave people.) Look how it sparkles.

The old cooktop was a slightly updated version of the one we put into the renovation of our previous U.S. home. In 2001. But now, 18,000 BTUs. I’m cookin’ with gas, pun intended.

What do I have to show for this fabulous upgraded effort?  Cherry Tarts and Lobster Rolls kicked off Patriotic Food Week. (The Blueberry Pie was brought over by our neighbors, still warm. It fit the theme, though, and even warranted the formal china.)

Perhaps a rustic dish that came into being centuries ago, or one created by a resourceful National Guardsman in the 1960s who had to feed 100 people in Beaufort, South Carolina, Frogmore Stew (named for a large plantation home) or Low Country Boil is a coastal mix of the summer’s best offerings to wrap up our Patriotic Food Week.

“Bicolor” or “Peaches & Cream” corn, plus potatoes and Andouille sausage are staples. The rest is seafood, and everything is boiled in cajun seasoned water. We here in Tennessee had to sub in snow crabs for stone crabs, but I was able to find some Crawfish and North Carolina White Shrimp to up the authenticity. Not even a corn kernel remained.

Art Projects. When the farmers market is bursting with Garlic Scapes, one must make Pesto.

When my garden is overgrown with Sweet Basil (I didn’t kill it! 🎉)…more pesto. Freezing all of them for when we can toss these sauces with fresh pasta on a gray winter day, hopefully watching the snow fall outside the window.

Speaking of basil, I have quite the green thumb, apparently, when it comes to the Thai variety. The Greek Oregano looks pretty good, too, no?  The Thai Basil is now drying in my pantry; I’m letting the oregano run wild a little longer.

Not really cooking, per se, because the temperatures have been quite warm here in the South. Go figure.  Found English Peas at Trader Joe’s and made a light summer supper. Garlic grilled bread topped with Burrata, Proscuitto and Peas, with a grating of Pecorino for decadence. 

Squee. Whole Flounder at Whole Foods. We feasted.

When Tony wraps up his arduous weekly SAH commute from our home office to the great room on Fridays, a proper cocktail is necessary to usher in the weekend. Our favorite is London Gin and Grapefruit Bitters. I was resoundingly beaten down by my alcoholic betters on social media for not having a proper G&T goblet but at howevermany days into this pandemic, that we are not drinking straight from the bottle is enough for us.

To pair with our cocktails, Chive and Dill Scones. We may or may not have added sliced cheese and called it supper.

A bright and simple Persian-ish salad was refreshing on this particular 36C day.

More squee. Found marbled rye at the grocer. Classic Reubens made us long for the 2nd Avenue Deli in NYC. Some day.

How much fun this dinner was! Gua Bao, or more commonly, Bao Buns, a Taiwanese snack of a sliced steamed bun traditionally filled with spiced pork belly.  Mine were a little trendier, with Chicken Katsu Curry (at Anna Grace’s request, natch); Sriracha mayo and pickled vegetables.

Finally, an even bake! Herbed Heirloom Tomato Tarts.