Sunday, September 13, 2015
Kitchen Tour Time!
Living in New York City definitely inspires creative space-saving solutions in your kitchen.
We just moved to Brooklyn this past year, and have since expanded our kitchen storage considerably, though by the average American standards, I suppose our kitchen is still a bit small.
I was actually quite impressed with all of the creative ways in which my boyfriend had re-arranged his teeny Manhattan kitchen when I moved in with him several years ago (see below). The microwave went above the refrigerator. Behind that? More storage, which needed to be accessed with a step stool (at least by me). He had removed the doors from the cabinets so that we could still access the area, even with the microwave partially blocking it. He also removed the cabinet door over the sink, and dedicated the shelf directly above the kitchen sink to the drying rack, which was actually quite genius because our only counterspace was about 14" square!
In order to have more shelf space, we opted for multiple, but rather short shelves, which meant we had no place for tall cereal boxes, so cereal would come out of the box when we bought it, and be stuffed on the shelf inside of its bag. It was quite a tight space, but we definitely made it work!
These days we have a lot more space (relatively speaking!)...and I've expanded our storage even further with a great baker's rack.
It's a big step up from my kitchen storage during graduate school:
Our new baker's rack, with a butcher's block, is perfect for storing my favorite cookbook go-tos, spices, and baking supplies, while also supplying an additional counter space. We got this at the Container Store and they have a lot of great options for building your own setup.
Since we are going on a kitchen tour today, I thought I'd talk to you about a few of my kitchen essentials.
The top shelf of this rack is perfect for little odds and ends that I use frequently in baking and cooking--we keep all of the sugars, the all-purpose flour, and some various other sundries up here. I love to use the little chalkboard labels on our containers, because if you end up using the containers for something else down the line, you simply wipe off the name, and write in the new one! I also keep our gigantic cashew jar up here (which is always running low), and some straws for smoothies. We like the Susty party straws since they are made in the USA of sustainably harvested compostable paper, and they come in a bunch of fun colors!
We try to keep one side of the butcher's block clear for prep space while cooking, but it's also a great place to keep the stand mixer off of our main countertop. We recently acquired the stand mixer as a wedding gift and it gets a lot of use! I've made several batches of homemade pasta, loads of vegan ice cream, and of course it's also great for mixing batters and especially icing (like for all of those cupcakes!).
On the next shelf, we have some of my favorite cookbooks (there's not space for all of them here, unfortunately!), as well as the spices. Having access to all of my spices was really important to me, since I'm constantly grabbing them as I cook, so I thought a lot about how I'd like to store them. Ultimately this little stepped, expandable shelf worked great. We also put a clear liner on this shelf to keep things from wobbling around and potentially falling through.
Finally, on the bottom, I've got some small bins to store all of my baking supplies, mixer attachments, etc. Then there's our large food processor (essential for shredding, and making things like pesto and dips), and finally, our Vitamix. The Vitamix was a big investment when I bought it several years ago, but if you're an avid vegan cook it is a real lifesaver. It makes nut-based sauces a real breeze, and I'm not sure I could make some of the harder vegan cheeses without it. It's also fabulous for making anything from sorbets to soups! It even comes with a recipe book that includes many great vegan options. And cleanup is a real breeze. I may not use it everyday, but it gets used several times a week at least and I really don't know what I would do without it!
And we have an amazing zester--another wedding gift!
I'd always hated zesting before we got this thing--the zesting holes on our grater were so teeny tiny that it often felt like I was juicing the fruit rather than zesting the rind, and getting all of the excess zest out of the grater was such a pain, if not impossible! Plus, constantly checking to see how much zest you have gets old really fast. This Kitchen IQ zester totally changed the game.
Somehow it zests remarkably quickly, you can check how much zest you have on the back (brilliant!) and the container in the back has this nifty feature where it actually scrapes against the grater as you remove it--ensuring you get every last bit of zest out of there!
The rest of our kitchen is relatively straight forward.
We have a great Simple Human utensil holder (above) with a built in spoon rest (which just slides off of the front), and a Simple Human dish rack (below) that while on the pricier side, I am pretty much convinced is one of the best dish racks on the planet.
Well--that was quite a full post! I hope I've left you with lots of food for thought!