Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Drop Your Drawers

Although you keep your kitchen drawers closed until you need something out of there…and although no guest in their right mind would ever rummage through them, it is still worth the time and effort to organize your drawers.

Taking the time to organize your kitchen drawers will allow you to…

  • maximize your space
  • no longer have kitchen drawers that are so messy and crammed that you have to take everything out of the drawer in order to find anything
  • simplify your cooking routine.
  • squeeze the most out of the space you do have available.

First Things First

Empty your drawers.

Throw away or give away anything that you don’t actually use or that you have too many of or that is broken or with missing parts or

Move things that could be stored in a more convenient spot.

Take the time to wash every utensil, at least ;in the dishwasher.

Group like items together…more on this later…

Take the time to scrub down your drawers with a clean rag and antibacterial cleaning spray.

Use a drawer liner. This will brighten the drawers and inspire you to keep things neat and organized.

This is also a good time to make sure that the drawers have quality sliding hardware and secure handles.

Zoning

But before you do this, take the time to decide what zones you want to use.

  • Here are some suggestions…
  • Baking Drawer
  • Cooking Utensil Drawer
  • Dish Drawer
  • Grilling Drawer
  • Junk Drawer
  • Linen Drawer
  • Meat Drawer
  • Silverware Drawer
  • Utensil Drawer

Decide where you would like to store each zone.

Now start grouping similar items according to these different zones..

Let’s take a closer look at what should or cculd be set into whivh zone…

Baking

  • beaters
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons,
  • rolling pins
  • rubber spatulas
  • silicone spatulas
  • whisks
  • wooden spoons

Cooking Utensils…any utensils that do not belong in any of the other categories

Grilling…grilling tools such as grilling tongs, a basting brush, and a meat thermometer

Junk

This is the drawer for all your “extra” items.

Some of the items that you might want to have in this drawer include…

  • bandages
  • batteries
  • cords and chargers 
  • flashlights
  • paper clips
  • rubberbands
  • safety pins
  • scissors
  • tape
  • twine or string
  • twist ties

Place smaller items in small plastic containers with lids I have found maraschino cherries jars to be awesome. Stick only one thing into each jar.

Taking the time to label each jar, telling what’s inside the jar, is very useful.

Other things that you could use to organize your drawers include cardboard boxes, store-bought drawer dividers, or empty Tupperware containers.

it is a good idea to go back through these drawers about four times a year so that they don’t become “junk drawers,” but “miscellaneous storage drawers” instead.

Linen Drawer…Designate a drawer for kitchen linens, such as…

  • kitchen towels
  • napkins
  • oven mitts
  • placemats
  • table runners
  • tablecloths

Meat Drawer…Things that you ight want to store in this drawer include…

  • basting tool
  • meat thermometer
  • seasoning brush
  • tenderizer

Silverware Drawer

Using Drawer Dividers

As far as dividers, be sure to measure the height, width, and length of yout drawers before you waste money buying dividers that will not fit into the drawer.

Using clear acrylic dividers allows you to see the drawer liner that you just installed and makes it easier to see things.

Another great idea is using expandable or pegboard drawer dividers that will allow you to adjust the size of the divider to fit the dimensions of your drawer.

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Finding the Perfect Pot to Pea In

Before you start making your own homemade soup, there is certain equipment that you must have on hand.

And the most important equipment of all—a big enough pan.

You could find the very best recipe, spend hours making your own stock, buy the best ingredients, take the time to finely dice all of your vegetables exactly the same size, and so forth…

But will all that effort mean one darn thing if you don’t have a big enough pot.

Pots and pans are like bath towels. All of us have them—in various sizes and shapes and colors.

But most of us simply settle for the first towel that we happen to grab we get out of the shower.

How much thought do you put into your bath towels and pots and pans on a daily basis?

But this shouldn’t be the case.

Here is some advice as far as what to look for when finding “the perfect pot to pea in”…

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.Base…The bottom should be heavy in order to keep ingredients at the bottom  from scorching during long cooking..

Handles…There should be two short, sturdy handles that have been bolted on, not simply pressed and adhered on. Remember you’re going to need a “good grip” when you will be picking up a heavy pot with hot liquid.

Height…A pot that is higher than it is wide prevents too much liquid from evaporating.

Lid

  • Glass—Glass lids allow you to see the progress of your stock or soup.
  • Oven Safe—If you plan to use the pot in the oven, be sure your lid and your handles are oven safe.
  • Steaming—Look for a small hole in the glass lid with a grommet.
  • Tight—The lid should fit tightly so that you close the lid and steam properly.

Material

Material is probably the most important thing to consider when buying new pots and pans.

There are several options available, including…

Anodized aluminum…

  • Cost…$125-200
  • Dishwasher Safe…no
  • Example…Calphalon
  • Heats fairly evenly and quickly

Aluminum…

  • Cost…$21 w/o cover
  • Heats quickly

Coated Carbon Steel, enameled…

  • Cost…$80.00
  • Example…Le Creuset
  • Weight…Lightweight

Copper…

  • Dishwasher safe…no, requires constant upkeep
  • Heats rapidly
  • More of a collectible or display item, not very realistic for the real world

Stainless steel…

  • Cost…as low as $10
  • Heats rapidly and evenly
  • Weight..sturdy without being too heavy

Stainless Steel w/ aluminum or copper core base…

  • Cost…around $60
  • Heat…rapid heating thanks to the base of either aluminum or copper surrounded by stainless steel

 

 

Shape…Taller pots allow less water to steam out from the stock, but also consider how much difference in temperature there might be at the bottom of the pot than at the top of the pot.

And if you’re as short as I am, be realistic. Imagine stirring your soup as it cooks and then also picking up and pouring the contents of the pot.

 

Size…The pot should be large enough to hold at least four quarts.

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