Kitchen Update

Whoa! Where did the rest of the year go? After a full summer of vacation rental guests, some nice folks found us who wanted to rent our house from Oct through May. How could we say no?

It is a different kind of move to be out of your house–and kitchen!–for three seasons instead of just a month (or less). Moving out of the painting studio and the kitchen was a sizeable task.

Two and a half months later, I feel like we might be getting a grip on life. I started painting again over Thanksgiving weekend (if you’d like a peek, click here), and have rearranged things in the minimal kitchen-ish facilities at our photo studio.

After weeks and weeks of sitting on its end in the hallway, a school desk/counter thing (metal with a thick formica top) finally replaced the square folding table in the kitchen. It is easy to picture this piece as a counter/desk in a high school science lab. Actually, we have used it for just that in past photo shoots.

It adds a LOT of needed counter space. I put the beautiful vintage two-burner Kenmore electric hotplate on one side, closest to the refrigerator, and on the other side I have a Breville countertop convection oven which was delivered last week from BB&B (using one of those marvelous 20% off coupons).

The Breville oven. I like it a lot, but find I can't run it and the hotplate at the same time. I keep trying (accidentally) and the breaker keeps tripping. Sigh. On top of the oven (which gets HOT so it's not a good habit to keep things up there!) is what was left of the plate of Sandies, another holiday tradition.

Here's our cute vintage Kenmore hotplate, and the batch of peppermint bark from the holidays. Yum!

Now I have a little prep room on the built-in counter where the hotplate used to be. Even more room if I clear off the clean dishes that drip dry on that counter on a quilted and cushy microfiber pad. Found the pad at Big Lots; wish I’d bought one more. (Yes, we have no dishwasher. We sure make a lot of dirty dishes.)

I have two metal racks: one chrome restaurant-style rack and an older red metal rack with solid shelving. Those open wire shelves can be challenging to use. The racks are my pantry space and hanging pots and pans on the sides works great. One shelf stores my various small appliances: rice cooker, electric frying pan, my thirty-eight year old slow cooker (shocking!). The blender gets constant use for our morning shakes so it stays out on the counter.

We’ve had great salads, a few slow cooker dishes, and lots of restaurant take-out. Ugh. Now that I have the convection oven, I plan on making roasted veggies. Instead of a huge pan, though, I am limited to the cute 12×12 inch pan that came with the oven. I’ve roasted a batch of cherry tomatoes, with garlic and fresh thyme and the quantity that fit on the pan was passable.

So, that’s what’s cooking here. Next time I’ll post the recipe for a delicious butternut squash and apple soup I made last week. Also, a raspberry chipotle sauce to serve over cream cheese with gluten-free crackers–a hot tip from my dear former sister-in-law Merilyn. She sent me to Costco to buy it all, but they had sold out for the season. So, I made my own! It’s better and cheaper.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy 2012! I hope you eat well.

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