Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dreaming of My Future Kitchen

Hi!  I'm Kathy... and I watch way too many cooking shows.  For some people it's soap operas, some can't get enough reality tv but me, I watch HGTV and Food Network.  And then I plan way too many projects to do and dishes to cook.

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Tonight I'm watching a re-run of the Chopped Grand Championship interspersed with commercials for a new show called Worst Cooks In America.  Interesting to ponder on the differing dynamics of the best and the worst that a kitchen can offer.  Myself, I fall somewhere in between.  I can hold my own in a home kitchen.  Which is not to say that I don't have the occasional epic failure...  But I don't have any professional training.  Sometimes I really wish that I did.  I'd love, for example, the chance to get some mad knife skills and be able to do that almost magical technique to chop chop chop my vegetables.  You know the one where you curl your fingers under and guide the knife with your middle knuckles of one hand and chop very quickly by almost rocking the knife over the food with the other.

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While I'd love to master these classical skills, I also love things that offer shortcuts and the ability to extend quality fresh ingredients.  For example, one of my favorite tools is a FoodSaver.  I use it to package single chicken breasts, sometimes in a marinade, for the freezer or to break down a bulk, and therefore more economical, package of hamburger into single meal proportions.  This is the model from their website that looks and works most like mine.  You can purchase them directly there or from a retail store of your choice.  Now and then one of the frugal shopping/couponing guru websites will showcase a special offer where you can save a substantial amount of money on both the machine and on the plastic packaging material.

Another thing I insist on for my kitchen (and has become a home improvement project in past kitchens) is a  gas range.  If I had to use an electric cooktop or one of those horrid sealed surface units, I'd quit cooking!  Happily Derek agreed to this condition for our upcoming house hunting adventure...

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Just like garden ripened tomatoes are the only ones truly worth eating...  Great ingredients are the key to making the most of these tools and skills and I'm willing to go to great lengths for some of them!

I grew up in Southeast Idaho, right in the heart of potato country.  And no other potato compares to an Idaho Russett!  My personal preference is the Burbank variety, but Norkotah seems to be an easier variety to find.  And oddly, I'm finding better potatoes here in Georgia than I ever did in Utah which is a neighboring state or what my friends out West report they find in their local supermarkets.  They've lamented several times that what they find is scrawny and scabby and just plain sad while I have my choice of big, smooth-skinned, Grade A bakers.

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Another kitchen staple I special order is clover honey from my hometown in Idaho.  I've bought other clover honey and I give it a lukewarm okay to sweeten tea or for cooking but it's just not the same.  For my taste buds to be truly happy when spreading it on toast I have to have creamed honey from Cox's Honey Farms.  (For some fascinating more general information about honey, click here!)

Once we get settled in, I want to explore purchasing foodstuffs from both Bountiful Baskets and Zaycon Foods.  I've heard wonderful reviews about the quality of their products and the prices are attractive.

What are some special things you use in your kitchen?

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