It’s been over five months now since we moved into our place, and once we were able to organize the space the way we wanted to we haven’t done much in the realm of home renovations save for adding potted herbs to the window sills and finally installing some curtains in the living room that weren’t hideous. Naturally we have a little wishlist of things we’d like to do, but we’ve been trying to show some patience on that front because these things cost money and we want to be sensible about this. (Plus we have to replace our hot water heater soon because it’s at the age when it can go and two others have already gone within the past year in our building.)
Now, one of the great things about our place is that it didn’t need a ton of work to make it look good since we had things like the original hardwood floors and the gorgeous anaglypta wallpaper, but that doesn’t mean improvements don’t abound. The biggest project will be redoing both bathrooms, as I loathe the tiny tile lining the floor and the wall tile is just bland as hell, but that’s going to be down the road a bit still because it’s going to be a really big project. Besides–unless you really have any interest in me babbling about bathroom design inspiration, I’m going to keep the house talk to at least be tangential to food. That, of course, means some sprucing up of the kitchen.
Don’t get me wrong–I love our kitchen. I think the builders did a fine job with the cabinets and the countertops, as the black granite is gorgeous and the wood has a lovely finish to it. It’s just that when they went and built out all of the units, it appears that they never finished any of the islands, peninsulas, or bar counters with actual counters/ledges. Most of the owners have since installed their own (usually sticking with the granite), but the owner of our old place didn’t do it until after we moved out and he was trying to sell the place and none of the old owners of our place ever installed one either. This has turned into an opportunity for us, as it became clear at Michael’s party that people liked congregating around the island to hang out and chat, and they really needed a better spot to keep all of their glasses and plates, and one of our neighbors suggested installing a wood countertop rather than granite to set off both the wood floors and the wood cabinets. This idea appealed to us both very much, so over the holiday weekend we went to Home Depot to explore our options.
Naturally we both found ourselves drawn to one of the more expensive options–a bamboo wood stained to a nice warm tan color–but the material felt amazing to the touch and I’d rather add something of quality than something goofy that will look disjointed and kind of chintzy. We’ve reached out to the kitchen designer on their staff and now we’re waiting to hear back on an official estimate so we can plan accordingly.
Since this is getting on the wordy side, I’ll share the other project in another post; in the meantime, here’s a recipe for a pretty bananas pizza we had on Labor Day proper. It’s simply a combination of heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, and basil, and it is exactly what you want to be eating right now, trust me.
Heirloom Tomato Pizza with Mozzarella di Bufala and Basil
- 1 ball from the two balls made from this recipe (make another pizza with the other or save it and freeze it for another day)
- 2-3 medium sized heirloom tomatoes, cored and try to take out some of the seeds if possible
- 7 oz mozzarella di bufala cheese, broken into small pieces and drained on paper towels (by the way–this is lactose free so all of you who find regular mozzarella problematic, this is definitely the cheese for you)
- 8-10 basil leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Corn grits for dusting
- Sea salt for serving
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and season with salt and pepper and set aside to marinate for about 10-20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the dough: gently stretch it out on a cutting board until it is about 12-14 inches wide all around, and gently place on a foil-lined pan sprinkled with a good amount of corn grits. Dock the dough in the middle of the pie and then bake for about 10 minutes to let the dough get properly firm. (The tomatoes and cheese need a solid base so it doesn’t disintegrate the dough.)
Dress the pie with the tomatoes (definitely drain them out of any water that seeps out and then drink that on your own because it’s delicious) and then the cheese, bake for another 5 minutes until cheese starts to melt. Change over to the broiler on high, add the basil leaves, and broil until the leaves get a little crispy and the crust gets a lovely golden brown color. Remove from the oven, carefully transfer to a cutting board, and let sit for a few minutes prior to cutting into the pie. Sprinkle a little sea salt over the pie, cut into slices, and serve immediately.