New kitchen for cooking all the veggies

Arah in kitchen with big island

I mentioned in my last post that this household is trying something different this spring, foodwise. You may have noticed that the guidelines were a chiefly a long list of things we had to avoid. Here’s what we were invited to consume, and sometimes in indeterminate (or just huge) amounts:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Whole grains
  • Olive oil
  • Turmeric
  • Aloe vera juice 🤢
  • Apples
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and/or cardamom
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Pretty much anything that ever spends time in the crisper drawer (and often too much time in there, for us)
  • Gallons of water, ideally at room temperature

As you can imagine, much of this involved a fair amount of chopping, slicing, dicing, dressing mixing and time on the range (for cooking grains). This all requires some counter space. Check out the counter space available in our kitchen as of mid-November, 2020:

Not so impressive, eh?

Christmas without an oven

How fortunate that we spent this past holiday season enduring a kitchen remodel! This gave us more counter space, a dishwasher and some innovative cabinetry options. It’s so nice to have a food processor, blender and stand mixer within an arm’s reach!

Additional goals and benefits for the remodel:

  • Countertops, flooring and cabinetry that looks a hell of a lot better than our circa 1957 kitchen with its stained formica, peeling linoleum, well past its prime sink and rustic curvy cut-out decoration
  • Better flow into the rest of the house. The old setup created a kind of choke-point and as we were anticipating the arrival of a puppy soon, having another option for access to the rest of the house sounded brilliant to us. Thankful for the imagination of our kitchen designer, Debra Cohen!
  • Access to both windows to allow cross-circulation for when things get too smoky (or a hood that works)
  • Since we’re cooking more during the pandemic, a way to do it more enjoyably, and together
  • Finally hooking up the ice maker in the fridge Mom bought for us 2 years ago

For a series of “before” and “during” photos, please checkout this series Steve posted on his website.

Above are some “before” stills that include the dining room built-in that we had removed in order to open up the space and create an island.

Fairy dust applied

Two months, a few clams, about 78 crock-pot, toaster, kettle and electric griddle meals and two yoga classes taught from the TV room later: BAM! New kitchen (pictured at the top of this post). We are so grateful to our professional, timely and considerate designer, mentioned above, and builder (Dzurik Construction)!

Regarding the diet/cleanse/lifestyle change: I’m not sure what took so long, but I’ve discovered mason jar salads, thanks to the program. Suddenly, I’m enjoying salads a lot more often, either as salads or quick stir-fry meals.

The notion of prepping more than one ahead of time is revolutionary for me: the prep for salads has always been my reason for forgoing them at home.

The creation of these kaleidoscopes for the fridge shelves is so much fun! I think it’s because of our kitchen configuration: namely the counter space but also easy access to tools and containers. In the final accounting, it may be true that we ended up with less storage in the kitchen.

From the outset, we were aware that we had an abundance of cookware and serving ware … too many pots, pans, wine glasses, mugs, gadgets, obscure baking pans. A few got donated and a few rest in storage for a day when having guests over is more of a regular event. For now: 2 of many things, 4 or 8 of a few others keeps everything nearby.

It’s amazing that we get through a head of cabbage in sooner than 3 months. Our fridge has a defect that ends up putting water in the crisper bins, constantly, so needs to be sponged out and sometimes cleaned as well. That’s not a as much of a hassle, when we empty them continually by making salads and roasting various roots and crucifers all the time.

Shown is evidence that some baking happened in March! At some point, I’ll get back to baking, but until flour and sugar get along better with this household, we’re all about the slicing and dicing. Mixing, leavening and oven alchemy may have to wait until fall.