Kitchen renovation one week in

Today was in many ways annoying, y'all. For one, although I love the Olympics, I just cannot abide by curling and, to a lesser degree of irritation, the biathlon. Thank goodness two friends sent me this hilarious video of cat curling, aka purrling. Now that's a sport!

Also thank goodness I had lunch with one of my favorite people in the world. And thank goodness that I have wonderful neighbors because in addition to dealing with 983 workmen in the house today, various hiccups, and more rain, I needed to make the King Cakes I promised the boys. Every year I send one into each of their classes, and it's a tradition we all love. However, without an oven, baking King Cakes is hard.

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Hence my gratitude for neighbors. One gave me her key for today and in her oven I baked up these beauties which I'd made in my basement kitchen and kneaded and rolled on the boys' craft table. I have not located my stash of plastic Jesus babies, so the cakes will be without this year, but alas. 

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

We are entering the realm of extreme holeage. Not pictured here are the new holes in the basement, garage, and exterior of our home. Progress!

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Has it been a week? King Cake, pasta, salad, Nutmeg

It has just occurred to me that I've not slept through the night since January 19, and even then, I was tired. Politics, the March, our kitchen, Nutmeg, various ailments racing through our house and community...I am so tired that today I watched a hilarious skit featuring Seth Meyers (SNL, The Late Show, and a former college-mate of mine) and Kelly Clarkson day-drinking and immediately wondered if I was drunk without my own knowledge.

I am that tired.

So, I have little for you except some recent kitchen wins and a kitchen update and an enormous spot of gratitude for hot tea and the fact that my in-laws have the boys tonight. Praise whomever for local grandparents being a fact of my life.

It's Mardi Gras season, y'all, and so, King Cake. This one was for Jack's family culture evening at school. Although we will have no kitchen starting Tuesday, I have promised cakes for both boys' classes on Mardi Gras Day. Hmm. As usual, I use Southern Living's Traditional King Cake recipe but I do NOT add the lemon juice to the icing. 

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Last night: pasta with Brussels sprouts, speck, and parm. Amen for good carbs on cold nights. Also, it has a distinctly Mardi Gras feel, which I love. 

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Lastly, a gorgeous winter salad of shaved fennel, avocado, pomelo, roasted and salted pistachios, shaved manchego, salt, pepper, basil olive oil, and blackberry balsamic. Is this not just glorious? It tasted as good!

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The Nut acts as if he were never injured, and mercifully, our kitchen renovation finally commences on Tuesday with demolition day 1. If I could take the first swipe at it all, I would. Maybe I'll ask. I mean, this stupid Nunes memo nonsense has made my blood boil, so perhaps the crew wants a lady eager to crank through some cortisol via sledge hammer?!

Our new range -a stunning charcoal gray beauty from Lacanche via France- arrived last Monday. I have nicknamed her Gal Gadot because she is not only stunning but also strong and charismatic. She will anchor our new kitchen, but many other beautiful treasures will complete the room. I'll keep you posted, but here's a sneak peek of Gal. 

As an aside, why is not all language written in the beautiful scripts of Europe? Just look at those handwritten letters and numbers on the crate. Mon dieu. 

Happy Mardi Gras

Tomorrow (or today, depending on when you're reading this) is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. As you may know, I make king cakes every year for the kids to bring into their classrooms. Often I'll go too, bringing beads, masks, and music, and sharing some of the history and tradition of Mardi Gras. I find the holiday to be such a fine way to keep my kids aware of and tethered to their Louisiana roots, for Mardi Gras isn't religious (although it has some religious roots) and it epitomizes joie de vivre and celebration, two characteristics of Louisianians that I have always adored.

As the kids have grown, a single king cake has ceased being enough to feed their classmates. This year I doubled the recipes and made two much larger cakes and then a third one to split between us, Jack's math teacher (a Louisiana native), and a few other special teachers and friends. Doing so added a great deal to the cook time, but I'm pretty confident no one will go hungry tomorrow. That said, I expect not a crumb to return home. And that is how it should be.

For the first time, I've added a plastic baby to each cake, comfortable that all the kids are old enough now not to freak out if they cut or bite into a naked infant. Louisiana folks take such knowledge for granted, but I have long wondered if a child who's unfamiliar with the king cake tradition might be traumatized with such a surprise in his or her cake. 

As I usually do, this year I used Southern Living's classic, unfilled king cake recipe. I also made their glaze but omitted the lemon juice as I find it terribly distracting and unwelcome on a cinnamon sugar treat. 

So here you have it, six hours later, much in the way of celebratory cake. Laissez les bons temps rouler!!

after the very successful rising (see top pics), I rolled out subdivided balls of dough, slathered with butter, and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

after the very successful rising (see top pics), I rolled out subdivided balls of dough, slathered with butter, and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

king cakes that have risen and are ready for the oven

king cakes that have risen and are ready for the oven