Minimalist kitchen/community gardening
If there’s one thing we can all agree upon, it’s that people love to eat. That being said, many of us really like to cook. With the explosion of the “foodie” movement, it seems that what we eat and how we prepare it is always a hot topic of conversation. And just with anything that becomes “hot”, it becomes consumerized. I fall victim to it all of the time . . . passing by Williams & Sonoma, eyeing those shiny appliances and impressive looking gadgets . . . when in reality I’m not really quite sure what they’re for or how to use them. We’re constantly being fed this idea that to make good or “high-end” food, we need a plethora of tools. Simply not true. There is no reason to a) clutter up your small kitchen or b) spend needless money. Instead of spending time browsing through that kitchen catalog, do some research on the internet, or better yet, exercise that brain and see if you can’t come up with creative ways to solve your culinary problems with the basic, essential tools you already have. Here are a few simple tips:
- Don’t throw that wine bottle away! They actually make great rolling pins (and are even better than the real thing when filled with ice water and used to make perfectly flaky pie crust).
- Don’t waste time buying cookie cutters and other gadgets of the like. Use the bottom of a glass, or create your own stencil and cut out the shapes yourself!
- Keep your paper bags; many produce items like mushrooms and sprouts actually last longer in paper bags as opposed to plastic Ziplocs.
- Don’t waste money on a fancy Panini press. All you need to create the perfect hot sandwich is a good hot (cast iron if you have it) pan, and a smaller pan to place on top of the sandwich, weighted by something (an old brick, or the rocks your son brings home from school).
- Invest in a dutch oven; it’s great to roast in, make stews and soups, and can be used outside on a grill or on a stovetop.
- Avoid the all-inclusive knife set. First off, they’re not actually that economical, and secondly, the only essential knife you need is a good chef’s knife. A serrated knife and a smaller paring knife are also a nice addition.
- A pastry blender is not necessary. While it is nice, a fork or knife and some elbow grease will work just as well, if not better.
- Buy your dry spices and herbs whole – you can grind them yourself in your coffee grinder or, preferably, with a mortar and pestle (which you can find in thrift stores or discounts stores). And if you have space, start and herb garden and grow your own!
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