Friday, April 27, 2012 a Wine Closet, Part 1: Design & Test

This was my side project for Mr. & Mrs. M my last few weeks with them before I moved.

The Problem

Their house has an under the stairs closet and they've had a hard time finding how best to use it. The space is a little awkward and has the potential to be a junk closet if they didn't give it a specific purpose. After talking to them, and collaborating over the phone with my boyfriend I came up with a few options. I didn't have the exact dimensions of the closet when I drew these up so you'll notice the shape changes in the final design. I got a little playful with a few of them and they're pretty diagrammatic.

The Design

The main difference between the options were laying the bottles on their side or cantilevering them from the wall. While the cantilevered bottles were dramatic and could create an interesting pattern it wasn't going to work in the actual space. It would be more difficult to install and have less room for error. Instead we went with shelves along the wall with a routed groove to keep the bottles from rolling off. Pine 1x6's would create both the structure and the shelves.

One board gets screwed into the wall the second is placed perpendicular to the wall and glued in place. That pattern get repeated up the wall where the board on top of each shelf against the wall holds the shelf in place. A few screws, a little wood glue and gravity, is all it takes to hold this lovely piece together. To make sure this system would work we did a test.

Materials for the Test
1 Pine Board 1x6 (8'-0"), Cut into 18" Sections*
1 Plywood 2'x2' Board, to Simulate the wall
1 Small Table Router (13x18) with a 3/4" Bit
1 Dozen Screws
1 Bottle Wood Glue

*Most Home Depot's will do major cuts for you.

The Test
Mr. M ran two of the 18" boards thru the router twice. to create a 1.5" groove 1/4" deep into the board.

We tested a few depths and widths and decided this was the best option to keep the bottle from rolling.

Mr. M screwed the 1x6 into our plywood 'wall', I had them all marked up and ready.

We glued the shelf top and bottom and I helped hold the board in place while he screwed the second and third one in place.

 Once the glue dried, we tried it out.

And to be sure, we put it to a real test. It was solid and didn't make creak ('til Mr. M tried to stand on it...)

Coming Soon

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 a Not so Fancy, Fancy Brunch for Four a Not so Fancy, Fancy Brunch for Four

Hey Michaela, here's my favorite brunch! I'd like to think it's a little fancy, it's definitely colorful and could be dressed up pretty easily. I had it with Mr. & Mrs. M for Easter but with Mother & Fathers Day is coming up, it would be perfect for breakfast in bed (should I tell your Husband to get on it?) or any weekend brunch.

Part One
Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Bagels & Lox

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Slice 8 or more Tomatoes thickly.
Rub with Olive Oil and Salt
Bake at 275 for 3-5 Hours

(These can be made the day before and kept in a little extra olive oil for up to a week.)

Bagels & Lox
4 Bagels, Halved
1 Package Cream Cheese
2 Avocados, Sliced
1/2 Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
1 Package Lox
1 Package Prosciutto
2-4 Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Part Two

Honied Pears & Goat Cheese
4 Pears, Sliced
1/4 Cup Honey, Warmed
4 oz. Goat Cheese, Crumbled

(Use the back of a spoon to get the Goat Cheese out of the package or cheat and buy pre-crumbled.)

The finished duo together, easy, delicious and.... well, almost pretty.

Sunday, April 8, 2012 a Last Long Distance Date Night!

In honor of our last date night we decided to make the same recipe as our first long distance date night.

French Onion Soup
Olive Oil
1 Red Onion, Halved & Thinly Sliced
32 oz Chicken Broth (or Beef)
8 Provolone Rounds

Olive Oil

1 Loaf Delicious Bread, Cubed
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan, Divided

Slice Bread into 1 in. cubes and toss in Olive Oil and sprinkle with half the grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown and crunchy.

Cut the Onion in half and slice it thinly, saute´ in Olive Oil until they're carmel sweet and very soft.

Add the Onions to the Broth and bring to a boil.

To serve place croutons in the bottom of a bowl 1 cheese round on top, pour broth and onions into the bowl.

Top with another cheese rounds and wait until it melts a little before eating it.



Friday, April 6, 2012 Black Bean Burgers

Eat, Live, Run. And again it was delicious, plus a the 'boyfriend approved' titled made me laugh.

2 Cans Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed
1 Serano Pepper, Minced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Tbsp Tomato Sauce
1/2 Cup Breadcrumbs
2 tsp Cumin
1/2 cup corn (fresh or frozen and defrosted)
avocado for topping
olive oil (or canola oil) for frying burgers

Seed and mince Serano Pepper. Combine with minced Garlic.

Add one can of Black Beans to the Pepper & Garlic mixture, combine thoroughly, a hand mixer or Kitchenaid will do wonders for this. Add Cumin mix until resembles chunky black bean dip.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the Bread Crumbs, Tomato Sauce and Corn. Stir well until everything is combined. Add remaining Black Beans.

Heat a little Olive Oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Form Black Bean mixture into patties and fry for about 4 minutes per side, until golden and crusty brown.

Serve burgers with Avocado Slices and Sriracha. Walnut Honey Rolls

Adapted from Small Sweet Treats

4 Cups Walnuts, Finely Chopped
1 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Orange Zest
32 Sheets Phyllo Dough
8 Tbsp Butter, Melted
1 Cup Honey, Warmed

Place the Nuts, Sugar, Cinnamon & Orange Zest in a food processor and grind until Nuts are finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl.

Place a sheet of Phyllo Dough on a work surface. Keep the remaining sheets covered with a damp towel after each sheet is used. Brush the sheet of Phyllo Dough with Butter, top with another sheet Phyllo and brush with more Butter.

Lightly spread the sheet Phyllo with some of the Nut Mixture.

Roll the dough and cut Roll with a sharp knife into 3 to 4 pieces. Place the Rolls on a lined baking sheet, seem side down.

Continue with remaining sheets of Phyllo Dough and remaining Nut Mixture. Bake in a preheated oven at 375-degrees for 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then drizzle with honey.

Allow to cool completely before serving.


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