Some Handiworks

June 22, 2020

Sigh… another day, another day.  Pandemic Day #101.

Most days are pretty mellow with intermittent flurries of handiwork.. projects inside and outside. Jim’s a busy guy in the garage (that’s an outside project venue), customizing his workshop while also producing hammock stands and tables and tables and doors (yes, I said tables twice). And all manner of metal things I can’t quite describe.

My output is mostly from the kitchen (that’s obviously an inside project venue). I am amassing a huge stack of recipes tried and rated (rated for future re-making or just discarded as a fail) — dinners mostly, with a smattering of baking projects.

We are true to our X and Y chromosomes.

Here’re some pics of handiworks from the weekend:

Jim’s new screen door. He bought some livestock gate panel and crafted this screen barrier, which slides like a barn door (that’s clever handiwork in itself), and can be slid into the opening of our garage’s “person” door, so that he can flush hot air out (or let cool air rush in during cooler nights) which keeps his workspace temperature-tolerable and secure (secure when he’s in the house, that is…he doesn’t want to make it easy for would-be burglars to make off with tools). It’s well designed, functional and so good looking!

These are the garage doors all closed up..


This is with the person door open and the new screen door in place (immoveable from the outside)…


I don’t have a photo to share of the coffee table’s progress (but he’s also working on that right now ), so let’s switch to my home projects:

Here’s last night’s Chicken Marbella sauce — wine, brown sugar, basil, bay, garlic, olive oil, vinegar — reducing (after which, it’ll be strained and then served atop chicken w/ capers, prunes, green olives:


The choice of angel hair as a base for this was a good one.


That was Father’s Day dinner. And for dessert, these brownies (in their pre-baked state):


Jury’s out on these, as I had a baking mishap where first they were underdone, then popped them back in an hour later to bake further (that never works) and missed hearing the timer and they ended up baking for three times the suggested time (shoulda been 20 mins, turned into 60). We were talking to Peter as he drove from Phoenix to La Jolla and just forgot about the brownies in the oven. They’re hard, but tasty.

The night before, struggled but ultimately emerged victorious in my inaugural use of the Instant Pot.. this is a pearl couscous dish with toasted almonds, romano, basil, mint, pancetta and some other things I’m not remembering at the moment.. another Christopher Kimball recipe. Very rich, but quite good (in very small doses). Would be a good side dish to something simple like grilled chicken.


One day, I’ll summarize (maybe) all the projects undertaken during these stay-at-home-self-isolating days… it’s been productive.





5 Responses to “Some Handiworks”

  1. Michael Ann Says:

    Jim’s garage doors are AMAZING. Really, really beautiful. Your food looks good but I did have to laugh about the brownies!!!

    I’ll tell you my secret for brownies. Ghiradelli box mix. 🙂

    • Kari Says:

      Do they come out dense and chewy, sorta hard on the sides, flakey on top? No problem with boxes!! My favorite chocolate cake (and I’ve tried dozens) is Martha’s Killer Chocolate Cake — a box mix.

      • Michael Ann Says:

        Yes, they come out exactly like that! They are really perfect (as long as you don’t over-bake them!). You know that’s my mantra! I have never tried Martha’s box mix, now I will have to!

  2. Kari Says:

    The food coop stopped carrying Martha’s choc cake mix, so we get them online. We have a full supply! They actually come in a brown paper bag, rather than a box… but same deal.. premixed dry ingreds, just add eggs and butter (and water). Organic. Great stuff.

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