Greetings, readers! Though I’ve been absent (practicing recreational relaxation + hanging out with the hubby), I have been cooking a lot. In fact, two days ago, I made my first fried chicken. I didn’t taste it (okay, snuck some of the crunchy exterior), but heard it was juicy and awesome.
This recipe was from Tyler Florence, who created the pizza dough recipe I cherish most. It was an intensive double-dip the chicken in chili-spiked buttermilk and a cayenne-paprika-peppery flour mixture. And smelled really fantastic.
Our neighbor was kind enough to help me with my car, so I made his family dinner—an appropriate occasion to attempt fried chicken. Though I haven’t experienced it myself, I’ve observed through my 24 years on earth that fried chicken fills many Americans with inexplicable glee. When Andrew came home from work, homemade mac and cheese in the oven and fried chicken resting on paper bags, he asked if he’d died and gone to heaven.
Like I feed him so poorly the other nights?
Okay, fruit salad doesn’t excite some like it does me and limited members of extended family. I get it. But I’m not here to talk about food so much today as the kitchen. Cooking in a teeny kitchen is especially frustrating for the cook with lots of tools, gadgets, pots, cutting boards and food all over the place. Who needs all those apps and games on the iPhone when we’ve got our own game of Tetris every night putting away the drinking glasses and tupperware?
An organized kitchen is crucial for any cook, and I’m re-working our system all the time to try and make our little space work.
The refrigerator does make a first impression—and I don’t just mean on your guests. When I walk into our bitty cooking area, the fridge is straight ahead, and as you can see, the chaos begins here. Yes, people and weddings and Christmases we love fill our fridge, but it’s getting to be a tad overwhelming.
Today I decided to do something about it. I took a few photos I’d taken from my and Andrew’s special trips. I removed the overload from the fridge door and voila: a wee gallery.
Ahhhhh, that’s better. A spot for our grocery list (found this Real Simple check-off list at Target that faciliates faster grocery trips), and a greeting that inspires creativity rather than an explosion of vintage magnets and wedding reminders.
For a simple fridge make-over, you can get those plastic photo thingys with the magnets on the back—I had five (various sizes) on hand, and love the way they present my photos. Sure, you could display family photos where you hair and teeth are looking their finest, but I liked a contemporary look of fun architecture and landscapes.
I cropped some photos into my plastic frames, and loved the scraps so much I taped them to advertising magnets for extra scenery. With the repetition of different parts of the same photos, it became variations on a theme. The musician in me talking now.
Since I’m inviting you into our kitchen today, I might as well give you a photo tour. Starting at the seashell lobster (going clockwise): Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, a doorway in Harrisburg, PA, bottles of wine at the Stratus vineyards in Niagra falls from our first anniversary, a graffiti mural in Montreal, our wedding cake samples at Patisserie Poupon, and back to the church door.
We only have so much free wallspace, so this was a fun way to display some favorite photos, while making my kitchen a more creative and personalized spot in our apartment. (Don’t worry, Andrew agrees it is my kitchen).
Over the weekend, I also emptied all our storage cupboards, packed to the brim with blenders and platters, machines and bottles of cooking oils. Since they fit so tightly in their space, labeling their home helps me find what I need much quicker, and now we both know where to return them.
Oh, sure, this seems neurotic, but I was able to make so much room I relocated our ever-dangerous Indian Spice Rack to a safer, grounded shelf! As you can see with the green object on the top left, a collapsible colander is crucial for small spaces.
Lastly, I wanted to mention the beauty and convenience of Hanging Things. Our eggshell drywall could never handle shelves (and by eggshell, I mean the width of the wall, not the paint finish). Thanks to IKEA, however, I found lightweight ways to access my kitchen tools easier, and create a great deal of additional space on the countertops.
The silver suspension rail, plus two packs of S-hooks was a miraculous $3 IKEA kitchen upgrade. I love reaching my tools here, rather than digging through drawers. Plus, I think it gives our bland kitchen a little touch of Professional.
The black magnetic rack was $6 at IKEA. It’s intended for knives, but I feel safer keeping my knives in an in-drawer bamboo storage block and hanging things I wouldn’t mind dropping on my toes.
For more home and kitchen and organizing ideas, visit a fun newly-discovered home blog, Young House Love.
And if all these homey stuff makes you laugh, you must visit my favorite, favorite, favorite new place for laughs: Catalog Living.
Thanks for visiting!