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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Delicious!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I'm working on my kitchen reveal post, and it should be ready by Saturday morning.  Yay!  In the meantime, I wanted to share with you our problematic counters and why we wanted to have them replaced.

This is the huge gap between our sink and old countertop.  Notice that this is over 1/2"!

The terrible men who installed our granite took a chunk out of it and filled it in with if we wouldn't know.  :/

This is one of the seams in the countertop.  You can't tell from the photo, but they aren't level, and the seam is a little more than 1/4".  

More sink ugliness....

The men who sold and installed the granite had no shame, and they had no honor.  We paid good money for a product and service, and we didn't get what we paid for.  That's why this time around we went with The Home Depot because they guarantee their work.  It was so easy and pleasant working with The Home Depot team!

I know that you've been *D*Y*I*N*G to know the first thing I cooked in our new kitchen  ;P

This is really a great recipe, and I hope you'll try it!
(Can you tell I can't wait for spring?)

Penne with Spring Vegetables

Combining a medley of spring vegetables, this garden-fresh pasta dish is enriched with a bit of heavy cream.

2 Tbs. salt, plus more, to taste
3/4 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed, spears cut into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. olive oil
3 bunches green onions, white and light green portions, thinly sliced
6 oz. baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb. frozen petite peas
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. penne or other medium-size pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Blanch the asparagus
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the 2 Tbs. salt and the asparagus and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer to a colander to drain; set aside. Return the water to a boil. 

Make the sauce
In a large fry pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the green onions and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and peas and sauté until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus, stir in the wine and cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the cream and cook until heated through. Add the basil and season with salt and pepper.

Finish the dish
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. 

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Add as much of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Warm briefly over low heat to blend the flavors. Serve immediately and pass the cheese at the table. Serves 4. 

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Pasta, by Julia della Croce (Oxmoor House, 2006).

What are you having for dinner tonight?

Linking to:

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


  1. Yummm!

    That's really terrible to spend alot of money on something & have it be installed so awfully. What a shame! Can't wait to see your reveal. From what I can tell, I think I'm going to LOVE your new countertops!

  2. Wow i can't believe the craftsmanship. Well i am too excited to see the new!!!
    Dont know whats for dinner but just had an amazing lunch. Grilled zucchini veggie sandwich with muenster cheese spinach and kalamata olives with hummis spread. Sooooo good!!!

  3. Mmm, that recipe sounds wonderful.

    Now about the old granite...oh brother! You pay so much for granite, I can't believe they did that.

  4. Oh, I'm leaving town for the day Saturday so you'd better get that post up early. I'm chomping at the bit here!

  5. yikes...granite cost an arm and a leg,then this happens,nuff to turn ur stomach...can't wait to see the new kitchen.

    Ricki Jill let me just say....gurlfriend this dish is heavenly!Love your photo's and foodie tutorial!!I'm excited just thinking about all the awesome recipes your going to spin out for us.

  6. How awful to have all that trouble with your kitchen. I am glad you got HD and that they are doing a good job. Your first meal sounds wonderful! xo Diana

  7. Wow, Ricki Jill, I can't believe what horrible workmanship! When we did our kitchen rehab in our previous home, we also went with Home Depot. We worked with a woman in their kitchen design center, and she was wonderful. We had started to price things out with Lowes, but the man they had working in their kitchen design was just a creepy little man. Everytime I mentioned what I wanted, he would say, "No, you don't really want to do that!" What? We had been planning that redo for quite some time, so I definitely knew what I wanted. He just made me mad, so we took our business to Home Depot and never regretted it. Can't wait to see what you've done!


  8. RJ, I feel your frustration. We've had our share of construction disappointments. Sorry you had this one, and I hope that the new one is A - OK. '-) Dinner sounds good. What time are you serving?
    Love the Vintage Cake cookbook. I don't have it, but I've looked at it. Wonderful vignette with all that yummy McK-C. ~ Sarah

  9. Wait...were we invited for dinner? I can' believe you were left with such poor work!

  10. I had no idea you guys were having all this grief!! Shysters!! I can't stand them. Your pasta dish looks wonderful and right down my alley! Enjoy. Can't wait for the post! Have a great weekend.

  11. What a shame about your granite. I can't believe he tried to fill that piece with resin. We might have taken a leap of faith but we shopped for ours at the warehouse where they actually cut the slabs. The guy that installed it was meticulous, you can't even see the seam. Well. I can't wait to see your "new" kitchen and thanks for the recipe, it sounds like a winner!


  12. Yikes. I would have been livid.
    Looks like an amazing meal, I'm going to have to try it! When we got our new oven at our last home, the first thing I cooked were brownies. :o)

  13. This looks SO good.. so fresh and perfect comfort food as we (hopefully) start in to some spring weather. I can't wait to see your kitchen! Whatever you've decided on, I'm sure it will be lovely and you will enjoy cooking so much more too :)


  14. The pasta looks yummy! We had filet mignon tonight - my brother and wife took us out to dinner. It was lovely.

  15. Wow, some contractors are shameless. I hope your new countertop is perfect!

  16. Ricki Jill,
    Your granite countertop color looks very much like mine. That's too bad about the corners. I would love to see your kitchen reveal. I enjoy seeing kitchen ideas. This pasta looks so delicious.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  17. The penne looks delicious - light and healthy (well not the heavy cream part, but we will ignore that) and pretty.

    And speaking of pretty - shame on those installers. That was not a pretty sight. Looking forward to the 'after' shots. We're heading to the cottage on Saturday so I'll have to wait until Monday to see the kitchen.

  18. Oh my goodness, I absolutely would have started crying if I came home to my new counter tops and saw that! I hope you were able to get some kind of discount!

  19. Mmh looks good!

    I'm so sorry to see/hear how they messed up your granite instation! It's just shocking cause I know it is possible to do a far better job than that! (husband used to own a granite company back in South Africa) Did you pay them the full invoice amount?

    Can't wait to see the reveal!

  20. You had me at asparagus. :)

    I am appalled at the old granite job! I have been through two craftsman home constructions now (my parents') which included weighing in on (and researching, endlessly) granite. I have NEVER seen such shoddy workmanship! You shouldn't even be able to see the seam, let alone it being 1/4"...and the gap to the sink...and the resin fill! I'd sue the bastards. You are 100% justified in getting the countertops redone! Is that white marble the replacement for the granite?

  21. So sorry to hear you've had trouble with the counter. That has to be maddening. The pasta,on the other hand, looks so good!

  22. Loving your pasta honey, now that's my fav!! I hate problems like that sweetie, hope all gets resolved soon! Big hugs,

  23. Hi Ricki! Thank you for linking up. You made my very shy Beautiful Sunday series happy haha

    I can't wait to see your kitchen reveal. I guess we just have to charge the poor service to experience. I'm pretty sure your new kitchen is way better or best now.

    As for your pasta, wish I was invited to taste it haha Happy weekend and enjoy the week ahead.

  24. That is so terrible to have a kitchen installed this way.
    You recipe makes me smile though, so delicious.
    Have a wonderful day.


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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