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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

classic springtime supper

At about 5 o’clock, put down your book and come in off the deck. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. potatoesTake about two pounds of new red potatoes and scrub well, but do not peel.  Place in pot and cover with water and bring to boil.  Once water is boiling,  set timer for 20 minutes.cedar-plank-grilled-salmon-recipe-6-29-07While you are waiting for the water to boil, take a pound and a half of salmon, wild if available and affordable.  Rinse well and pat dry.  Spread on a thin coat of good mayonnaise (Duke’s or homemade).  Mix together about a fourth of a cup of brown sugar, a tablespoon of dried rosemary, and a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  Press dried mix into mayo.  Bake at 375 about 20 minutes—you may have to adjust the time depending on the thickness of the salmon.
Next, take a large bunch of fresh asparagus, wash and trim tough ends.  Place in shallow baking dish and drizzle with good olive oil.  Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and black pepper.  Place in oven to roast while salmon is baking.  You should have about 10 minutes left, if you haven’t had a phone call or been otherwise distracted.  Check the potatoes for doneness.  Drain water, toss in two tablespoons of real butter and about a half cup of milk. Mash with an old-fashioned potato masher.
This is one of our favorite meals, every bite tastes better than the one before.  The carmelized sugar crust on the salmon is incredible; the smoky roasted  flavor of the asparagus is delicious; and the mashed potatoes?  C’mon, they’re real mashed potatoes—even Jamie Oliver would approve.  When this is dinner, there’s never a forkful left on anyone’s plate.
“Recipes” courtesy of my dear sister-in-law, K; Ina Garten; and me.


  1. Oh, no! Sorry for the confusion! I meant to attribute three people for three recipes. I will make the correction!

  2. Cannot wait to try the salmon recipe, and I love the simplicity of it. Most simple recipes are the best, I think, just good fresh food with a few ingrediants. Really enjoy your writing!

  3. Mmm, I may have found one of my meals for this weekend!

  4. you've posted my favorite dinner--love spring asparagus and salmon and the potatoes I love just a little too much! Like your salmon dressing--sometimes I use maple syrup and dijon mustard- btw Ina is a goddess isn't she?

  5. Mmmmm sounds delish!

    Art by Karena

  6. Wow, these recipes look amazing! I do love Ina Garten too, she makes it all look so effortless and is so stylish and chic. I would love to attend one of her dinner parties on day, wouldn't that be fun? :) I'm seriously adding this menu to my Spring must-make folder! Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

  7. I love homemade mashed potatoes... can you believe I never make them? My boys do not like them?!?!?! What craziness... I think I will make them anyway. just. for. me.

  8. unbelievable fast, simple, and sounds delicious!

    rachel ray, look out!


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