This stuffed whole red snapper is bursting with Greek flavors and topped with a simple summer tomato salad for a light gourmet meal.
Long time readers know this story, but about a year and a half ago our house was on the market. We decided, now that we knew we’d be in this area until retirement, we wanted a smaller, one-story house (preferably cheaper and with less taxes!) that we could completely make our own. About 1 month in, we had an offer that met our minimum selling price and we went out on the search to find a new place to live. Realizing new construction was going to cost just as much if not more than our current house even though we wanted to build a smaller house, we agreed upon finding an older home at a price point where it would make sense to gut renovate it. Surprisingly, we did. We went into contract and then we waited. Waited for our buyers to do their inspection, waited for contracts to be signed on both sides, waited for mortgages to go through, all the typical house selling and buying stuff. Everything looked great until about two weeks out from closing, when we found out our buyer had apparently changed status at his place of employment from an employee to a contracted employee and his bank was not happy about it. Long story short, our sale fell through and after our contract with our realtor ended, we decided not to move and instead to do everything to the house and yard we wanted to be happy here for the next 20 years.
Of course, all this was AFTER I had completely pinned my heart out for my brand new kitchen, which included white cabinets, a gorgeous aqua glass tile backsplash, Carrera marble countertops and professional grade appliances, including the dual- fuel 36” stove I had purchased from an outlet store, making it non-returnable.
I kept that stove for a few months, trying everything I could to figure out a way to fit it into our existing kitchen, but the floor plan and existing 30” cut out just wouldn’t cooperate. To fit the 36” stove would mean cutting out cabinets, cutting granite countertops, losing my over the stove microwave (which is the only place it fits and no, I cannot live without a microwave), installing a stand-alone propane tank and running the line to the kitchen (because we currently have an electric stove) and shelling out at least $5,000 to do so. After many tears (yes, I’m serious, I cried over this stove), we decided to put it on eBay and get rid of it. Not only was my dual-fuel 36” stove dream gone, but we lost about half of what we paid for it too and some lady in Mississippi got my stainless steel baby… it hurt.
Fast forward a year and half later and we’ve done almost everything we wanted to this house to make us happy staying here. From installing a front screen door to adding a water softener, replacing a dumbly placed and backwards installed French door to the deck with a slider, replacing our side by side bottom of the line fridge, and installing the pretty stone and glass mixed backsplash you see below in the kitchen, there are really only two ‘major’ things left I want to do.
Which brings us back to the stove. I’ve come to terms with the fact that unless we gut this kitchen (and since it’s only 8 years old, that’s not happening), I’m not getting a 36” stove, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up hope of having a gas stove top. Considering I cook every day FOR MY JOB, (Ulysses doesn’t necessarily agree, but until he starts cooking dinner, he has no say) I’ve completely rationalized installing that propane tank, running the line and getting rid of this electric stove. I’ve never had a gas stove in my life and just the thought of not having to wait 5 minutes to throw bacon on a skillet excites me beyond belief. The other, slightly less major, but still a decent sized purchase, that needs to happen is replacing our dishwasher. Again, I’m pretty sure the builder picked the cheapest bottom of the line stainless steel model he could because wash cycles take about 3 hours and it sounds like a jet engine is running in our kitchen that whole time. With our only TV about 10 feet away without a wall separating the two rooms, this drives me nuts.
Just because I can’t have my 36” stove though, doesn’t mean I want to skimp on quality when we do replace it. The new Frigidaire Professional Collection appliances that are sold at Lowe’s would be absolutely perfect. Their high-end/professional-grade appliances are compatible with standard-sized spaces so they fit into existing kitchens, eliminating the need to completely renovate the kitchen. I have my eye on the gas model Frigidaire Professional® Freestanding range with the PowerPlus® Convection feature that delivers consistent results every time with more even baking and roasting. I would also love the Frigidaire Professional® Dishwasher (especially its 30 minute power wash cycle!). So while I may not have the white cabinets and Carrera marble counters I dreamed of, I can’t really complain when a few appliance swap-outs, a backsplash install and a new sink give me all I want and need in my kitchen for far less than a complete renovation would’ve cost.
I wanted to make a dish that reflected my dream professional-grade appliances and the first two things that came to mind were fancy and bold. I’d say conquering my fear of cooking something with its head and eyeballs still intact fits both those things. Not gonna lie and pretend this didn’t freak me out a bit, because it did, but making the fish monger butterfly and debone it helped tremendously. Not to mention, just like with chicken, buying fish whole is SO much cheaper. Cheaper but looks prettier, kinda like the stove and dishwasher.
*This post is sponsored by Frigidaire Professional Collection and Lowe’s through Kitchen PLAY. All content and opinions are my own.