Friday, February 11, 2011

Renovate Brooklyn! Days Sixteen & Seventeen: What We Did This Week...

Good grief. Somehow even the smallest projects seem to snow-ball into these monster overhauls of the entire house! But we have come out on the other side and here's what we have to show for it!

My new little desk in the closet. I found the perfect place for our old chandelier.

The "work" side of the closet. *Note the tool belt hanging off the shelf. This is a new one to replace that smelly one John bought in a thrift store. I'm all for second-hand, but that was a particularly pungent tool belt! An early Valentine's Day present from me...

Now for the confession portion of this blog entry. For those with a keen eye, you may have noticed that we didn't actually manage to fit everything back into the closet. The towels and bed linens now reside in the "laundry-room" (closet) and the danish-style bookcase that was in left-hand closet has moved into the living room area.

I'm on the fence about the bookcase in this room, so I'd love feedback if anyone has any opinions. (I know you do! This is the internet- everyone has an opinion!) In the pictures to the left, you can see it first with the bookcase and below, without. In the bookcase's defense, it does actually match the rest of the wall-unit in the living room.

It may seem like we haven't accomplished much, but it's been a busy week for us. We had two of our great friends, Phoebus and Justin, over for dinner last night, which was considerably more fun than reorganizing our closets. We made a smashing dinner of skirt steak which was marinated in a garlic and olive oil sauce, and served with a side of "Cuban Sweet Potatoes." I have no idea if these are actually Cuban, but that's what my mom always called them. The recipe is as follows:

Cuban Sweet Potatoes
3-4 Sweet Potatoes, skin-on and scrubbed clean, cut into 1/4" slices and then quartered.
Lime Juice
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Fresh Cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut up the sweet potatoes and toss them in olive oil, enough to nicely coat them but not drench them. Throw them onto a baking pan, and cook for 30-40 minutes, tossing them around every 10 minutes +/- so they don't get too cooked on one side. I like mine a little browned, but this is a matter of personal preference. Once they're cooked through, remove from oven and let cool while you make the dressing. In a big-ish bowl (big enough to accommodate your sweet potatoes) pour 1/8 cup of lime juice (fresh or from the bottle), add salt & pepper to taste, and then whisk in 1/4 c. olive oil. Taste and then add more oil or juice to reach your preferred amount of tart vs. savory.

Now add the sweet potatoes to the bowl and using a flexible spatula, toss them in the dressing. (The flexible spatula keeps the soft sweet potatoes from breaking up too much as you toss them.) One coated, sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro to taste, and serve.

These are like crack. Once you start, you just can't get enough. Except unlike crack, sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, anti-oxidants, and ridiculous amounts of Vitamin A. So that's way better.

Por Cuba Libre!


  1. In the office side of the closet, do you think the black file drawer might "disappear" a bit if you painted it white or a lighter color?

  2. To Zinniagirl: Thanks again for the helpful and thoughtful comments.

    We too lamented the dark color of the file cabinets, but because of their existing powder-coated finish, we felt it would be a gamble to paint them, especially because they get so much regular use being opened and closed. Down the line, we might consider replacing them with something more pleasing looking, but for now we're okay hiding them behind the closet doors.