Monday, February 27, 2012

Living in and Loving our Cottage by the Sea

 Have you ever noticed when describing homes, if one uses "cute", "cozy", "bungalow", or "cottage" it almost literally translates into tiny?  Let me describe my house:  I live in a cute, cozy, bungalow type cottage on the corner, by the sea.  It's lovely and it's just a hop skip and a jump ( if you chose to use that method of transportation) from the Gulf of Mexico.  But, it is a bit on the cramped side.

SEGUE .....

So, before my school sabbatical, I was reading through chapter on tools and gadgets. Not sure that was the title, but it was definitely the idea.  It made me think about what my most frequently used tools are.  Then that led to the internal dialogue of how I don't have a ton of tools because I really don't have the room for them.  So I wanted to #1. show you the tools I almost couldn't live without and #2, show you some of the things we've done to fit more into a little bit of room.

Now, these are not by any means the fanciest tools in all the land, but they are the most often used in this little cottage cucina.  Lets discuss from the top:
  • Whisks:  You should have multiple sizes of whisks.  I use them the most when scrambling eggs and make bechamels or gravy's, or to sift dry ingredients when baking.  The smaller whisks are good for sauces and dressings and even hot chocolate. 
  • Bench Scraper:  I just added this to my arsenal recently.  I'm a sloppy cook and was so tired of dropping onions between the cutting board and the stove.  This helps me pick up more veggies and transfer them safely across the counter.  The dogs, however are pissed. 
  • Silicon brush:  Love this invention. From basting meat with BBQ sauce, to spreading olive oil on pizza dough.  It cleans up so much easier and doesn't shed bristles like a normal pastry brush. 
  • Tongs:  #2 most used tool (behind knife).  It flips meat, pulls the rack out of the oven and serves pasta.  As many pairs of tongs in as many sizes you can get your hands it. I even picked up a pair at a garage sale for $.50.  WINNING!!
  • Knife:  I love this knife.  My life changed when I got it.  Invest in a good quality one.  I need a lot more but your dices will turn out much better and the sharper the knife , the safer. 
Ok, the next two things were actually purchased to go in our RV.  But I used them so much they're in my kitchen now.

  • Hand grater:  Used almost daily for garlic or cheese.  It can also be used to zest citrus.  Love it. 
  • Spatula:  Yes this one is teeny tiny. But that's one reason I love it.  Its versatile and treats cookies and eggs equally gently. You should have metal spatulas as well as plastic/silicon to use on the non stick pans. 
  • Corkscrew:  I believe this needs no introduction.  I like the old fashioned waiter style corkscrews.  It's never met a cork it couldn't remove.  Some of the new fancy corkscrews don't work on fabricated corks. In this case, simple is better.
So are there things missing from my tool box?  I'm sure there is, but I would never know.

Let's move on to organization (i cringe at that word)

This is my kitchen... no, I'm not hiding any of it.  This is it:
I don't take up too much room when I'm preparing food. So the counter space is fine.  But the storage..UGHHHH.  There are 5 drawers...Count 'em.. One BIG on and 4 ittttyyyy bitttyyyy little drawers. About three regular size cabinets and two lazy Susan's  Which by the way, I LOATHE.  Terrible invention.  Those will be coming out here soon and we'll transform those corner cabinets into something a lot more workable. Anyway, With such little storage where is everything?  Well, first of all, thanks to some lengthy negotiation with my husband, some of my bigger platters and trays are stored in a cabinet in the garage.  I've also resigned myself to having to store some things on the counter top. I'm not usually a fan of it, but had very little choice in the matter.

 Plus, my mixer is pink.  So it's worthy of being front and center.  Or at least in the corner.

We also had an oddly placed bathroom right off the kitchen when we moved in.  Fortunately, I'm married to a very talented man who likes my cooking a whole lot.  So in order to continue to be on the receiving end of said cooking,  I gently persuaded him to take out the bathroom, seal it up and build a pantry.  I got the pegboard idea from Julia Child of course.
There is no way, I would have room for these if it weren't for this pantry.

                                                        A couple other quick ideas:
knife magnet

lid holder

One more thing we did to save space was add a couple little baskets on the inside doors under the sink.  I hold all my aluminum foil, plastic wrap, plastic baggies..etc.  It saves drawer room.

Hopefully these tips are helpful to someone.  I'm sure well continue to rearrange and come up with additional space saving ideas.  When we do, I'll be sure to share those as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment