Javimami's Profile

Display Name: Javimami
Member Since: 7/24/13

Latest Comments...

My original point is that when I lived in Italy, all the carrara marble floors had a rough finish, not a shiny finish (because it was intentional or too cheap to polish every year?, don't know). So I am just curious to know if anyone has had problems with this (maintenance and safety-wise), especially in an area that will receive a lot of water and mud.

Mike & Sandie's Foyer: New Flooring Renovation Diary
7/22/14 03:45 PM

I like carrara, but have always thought it shouldn't be used as flooring in wet areas, e.g. bathrooms, kitchens, etc. because of the possibility of slipping and falling. Does your carrara have a no-slip finish on it? Will you put down a rug? Just curious to see how you will remedy that.

Mike & Sandie's Foyer: New Flooring Renovation Diary
7/22/14 01:48 PM

Coming from someone who fought WWIII with pantry moths last year, don't use screw on containers - ants, pantry moths, etc., can crawl up inside the lid and around and around the screw top and into the jar. If you do want to use glass jars, make sure they are the type used for canning, i.e. the lid with seal and then screw the ring on, or the ones with a hinged lid and rubber gasket.

Also, plastic bags can easily be chewed through by bugs, so keep that in mind.

In general, when testing for whether something is air tight, fill it with water and turn it upside down - no leak, you should be good.

My favorites are real Tupperware brand Modular mates and Rubbermaid storage containers. They are dishwasher safe, durable, long and narrow, and stack well.



Which Pantry Items Should I Keep in Airtight Containers? Tips from The Kitchn
7/22/14 12:46 PM

sorry - "these TWO things".

What Can I Do with $2000 to Update This Kitchen? Good Questions
7/22/14 08:41 AM

If you really want a better range/oven, just changing that out and adding a decent ($200) exhaust hood would probably be the entire $2000 budget (our GE gas range/oven combo was almost $1000). Just by replacing these to things, you would also probably need to remove the cabinet between the fridge and oven to accommodate a larger range, and also the layout above the oven would look strange (it already does because short upper cabinet doesn't align with the oven), so labor would take the rest of the $2000 budget to have it done right, install an exhaust hood, venting to the outside, etc.
For me, I would think about just switching out the hardware on the cabinets, replacing the flooring (looks dated), painting the cabinets only if they are in really rough shape (i.e. peeling veneer, water damage, etc.), replacing light fixtures, and painting the walls. Then replace the counter tops if you can't stand them.
But, if things are in decent condition, I would live with it for a few months and you will start to see what annoys you, if you can't stand the small stove, etc., and THEN get the small renovations done.

What Can I Do with $2000 to Update This Kitchen? Good Questions
7/22/14 08:40 AM

Looks fabulous and thank you for reusing the original steel cabinets! Wish I had me some of those!

Before & After: Adrienne's $5,000 Fixer-Upper Kitchen The Big Reveal
7/21/14 03:46 PM

I like the bold color. Did you try using wood conditioner before you stained them? That is supposed to allow the stain to be applied more evenly.

Before & After: Nightstand Nightmare No More
7/21/14 03:40 PM

@ AT editor - I think you mean "Mike and Sandie's plans for the finished FOYER", not kitchen.

While I am sad to see the reno (I think some good paint/wall coverings and new flooring would have been enough), I am not a contractor nor have I seen the space so there may be things going on that we don't know about.

I would try to keep the reno as historically accurate as possible and not paint the wood, not remove functional and original features, and not put a closet in front of the window. It will be interesting to see the final outcome.

Mike & Sandie's Foyer Renovation: Demo Begins Renovation Diary
7/16/14 10:52 AM

I agree. I love when people try to keep as much of the old and bring in some new, whether it's a decision based on budget, aesthetics, preservation, etc.

Before & After: Cindy's Small Budget Makeover The Big Reveal
7/15/14 10:17 AM

I hear ya! We are in the exact same situation, financially. We owned a house before the recession, moved abroad so we sold it (didn't want to worry about it and didn't want renters ruining it), then came back to the US in a different location (DC metro area), where housing costs are 3-4 times the price of where we were before. It's also so much harder to buy a home now than before the recession, though I understand why. But to have 20% down in DC is nearly impossible unless you have received an inheritance. Federal employees like us can't save that kind of money!

Is Home Ownership Still Part of The American Dream?
7/9/14 08:38 AM

This is all great advice. My piece to add is that I have completely given up on Management Companies, ads in craigslist, etc., and now only rent from the actual owner who has placed the property for rent through the MLS (or similar, when living abroad). I know they do a background check, the property is legit, all the legal things are addressed, the rent is well-researched and correct for the area, I have more than one person to contact should something not get addressed (landlord and realty company), the landlord is willing to shell out a few extra dollars in realtor fees to get a good tenant, etc.

Also, DO NOT have one of your roommates be the person who owns the place! So creepy, home all the time, watching everything you do (and don't do), just not a good situation.

And, when living abroad (Italy in this case), we as renters had to pay the realtor fees (an additional one month's rent, plus 300 euros, whereas in the US it's usually the owner that pays it) on top of the first month's rent and one month's security deposit - so nearly 5000 euros upfront. I also remember in Japan there are additional non-refundable fees as well (basically, you pay the owner to allow you the honor of renting the place, which can be very expensive, like several month's rent).

5 Things to Run Away From as a Renter Renters Solutions
7/3/14 09:37 AM

Looking at my Il cucchiaio (Silver Spoon) cookbook (UK edition, 2009), and on page 1011 there is a recipe for Choux paste (pasta per bigne). Is this what you are looking for? (There is also a savory recipe on the same page). Here is the recipe in Italian: http://www.cucchiaio.it/ricette/ricetta-pasta-bigne

Help! Does Anyone Remember This Old Italian Cookbook? Good Questions
7/2/14 10:21 AM

I second the aluminum items - tortilla press, ice cream scoop, needed to throw them away because they marked everything. I don't have a problem with my kitchenaid paddle, maybe becuse it's the white style, not the aluminum one?

As for knives, definate no-no. It's the extreme heating that ruins the blade. I think Alton talks about it in his chopping episode. Also dangerous to reach into a DW for a knife.

Don't put Sigg bottles in the DW - the interior lining separates and you end up throwing it away or risk choking on pieces of lining. They never got really clean anyways because of the small opening, but I digress. Also, I usually hand wash small things, like small storage containers and lids (snack cup size), because they usually get turned upright and fill with water and the lids end up on the bottom of the DW, sitting in the dirty water or melted by the heating element. Grrrr...

11 Things You Probably Shouldn't Put in the Dishwasher Cleaning Tips from The Kitchn
6/19/14 12:36 PM

I just purchased the Harper Sectional from Macy's (I love it, btw). Granted, it is more modern than you probably are looking for, but we live in a house built in 1946 and, because it is in pieces, it fit through the 36" front door and 30" interior doors with no problem. So, maybe looking to sectionals that are modular?

Also, in the 70s, when my parents purchased furniture for their first home, the shelter couch they bought could be easily disassembled using common tools like wrenches. I am sure there are some sofas made nowadays that can be diassembled like that, especially in your price range, and not from Ikea.

Help Me Find a Low Profile Sectional that Isn't Mid-Century Modern? Good Questions
6/19/14 12:18 PM

Sorry, meant to say buy masa harina (Maseca is a low-quality brand name to stay away from).

Also, when I say we eyeball it, it's because prepared masa "feels" a certain way and has a certain texture, and depends on humidity, weather, etc. So, sometimes we have to add a little dusting of masa, or add more water. It's not always a specific ratio of water to masa harina.

Do I Need to Season My Cast Iron Tortilla Press? Good Questions
4/23/14 05:23 PM

Yeah, I got rid of mine because it was a unitasker, pain to clean, and really never worked well. We now just cut a gallon ziplock down the sides (so it's a long rectangle), oil the insides lightly, put the ball of masa inside, then use the bottom of a pyrex dish or pot to press. Works way better and faster, and the ziploc plastic is more durable than plastic wrap.

As for recipes, if you want the real, time-consuming masa, follow Diana Kennedy's recipe for nixtamal (in all of her books, you can easily find them at the public library). Alton Brown also has a recipe and video on the Food Network site.

Or, for the quick way, buy maseca (ground corn flour specifically for tortillas, I prefer the brand PAN in a yellow bag (from Colombia or Venezuela, I think?) - best quality, the other stuff is over processed and tastes like cardboard), and follow the directions on the bag (or here: http://www.lacocinadeleslie.com/2010/03/tortillas-de-maiz.html). We usually eyeball it. I don't add salt, but do add a little corn or vegetable oil.

Do I Need to Season My Cast Iron Tortilla Press? Good Questions
4/23/14 05:17 PM

I forgot to mention that if you want to keep the wall colors period, check out Sherwin Williams' historic collection, particularly the Arts and Crafts line:


To Paint or Not To Paint Our Abundance of Wood Trim? Good Questions
4/22/14 09:46 AM

Another vote for keeping it original and am a firm believer that you are the caretaker of this house for the time you will live in it and hand it over to the next person. These older homes have the unpainted look in the entertaining rooms because it was very expensive to have the beautiful wood trim. If this were bedrooms or bathrooms, I would be indifferent, but the main floor and first rooms you see should be kept as close to original as possible.

The house has made it this far without the trim being painted. Try lighter, cool colors for the walls and furniture. That should help brighten it up.

At least live in it for one year before you decide to paint the trim white. It may grow on you.

"Love the house you're in."

To Paint or Not To Paint Our Abundance of Wood Trim? Good Questions
4/22/14 09:23 AM

My husband is from Central America, so we use this all the time. It's basically sugar cane juice that is boiled to be able to dehydrate it enough to form the cone shape, but as close as you can get to the natural state of cane sugar. Basically, white sugar is this stuff put in a centrifuge, from which molasses is extracted. Brown sugar is simple white sugar with molasses added to it. So this is the REAL DEAL and has an extra dimension of flavor that you just can't get from processed brown sugar.

Use it as a substitute for dark brown sugar by grating it with a box grater. Use it as molasses by adding a little water and boiling it. Make a simple syrup as someone suggested already.

Alton Brown uses it in his chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe as a substitute for brown sugar. Definitely worth the extra work of grating it.

Make sure you buy good quality piloncillo - we have found rocks and other strange things in it before, so always go for the middle road or higher priced piloncillo at the store. Not worth a trip to the dentist office!

What Can I Do With Piloncillo? Good Questions
4/18/14 05:07 PM

I used to use them (got my first one free from the dorm garbage room during move-out), but they are so expensive to keep buying the replacements and never really cleaned anything (even after 3 replacement pads per room, it was still dirty). When we lived in Europe, I got a "mop head" that is like a broomhead without the bristles, but instead has little "teeth" that grip a highly absorbent towel, microfiber cloth, etc. They are great, and take up no space, and I can re-use them. Cheap investment.
I received a Shark Steamer as a gift, and like it too, but only use it after I clean with the mop, and not on the hardwood floors.
I wouldn't recommend a swiffer (at least not the wet jet one) - just money down the drain. And I don't know what chemicals are in the wet jet liquid.

Are Swiffers Really As Good As They Claim? Good Questions
3/28/14 09:23 AM