50 ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS

Your ideal pantry should feel like a wonderland of endless recipe options. Are those shelves currently looking a little bare? These are the 50 essential staples you should always keep on hand

Dried or Canned Beans

DRIED OR CANNED BEANS

Pound-for-pound, dried beans are one of the best values on the shelf. No time to soak? Canned beans ain’t bad either. If you’re craving a cool dip for chips, a bowl of spicy chili or stick-to-your-ribs comfort, beans are your new best buddy:

Dried Pasta

DRIED PASTA

Whether long, twisted or tied in a bow, pasta is the ultimate vessel for homemade sauces. Tired of spaghetti with sweetened, canned ragu? The opportunities for combination and customization are endless. Try south-of-the-border flavors, a cool pasta salad or an umami-rich red sauce:

 

Canned Tuna

CANNED TUNA

Fancy sushi-grade ahi ain’t got nothing on this last-minute lunch staple. Whether we’re craving salad or melty cheese sandwiches, we’re not ashamed to open a can, mix it with mayo and enjoy for any meal of the day:

 

Olive Oil

OLIVE OIL

Olive oil is available in all prices. Use the cheap bottles for cooking and the more expensive oils for fresh sauces, dressings, and infusions. Real extra-virgin olive oil will burn slightly at the back of your throat, and will be smooth, not viscous or sticky on the tongue:

Tortillas

TORTILLAS

Taco Tuesday is over and you have leftover tortillas. Yes, you could use them to wrap up a burrito or some sliced turkey. But did you consider a macaroni and cheese quesadilla? Or that you could fry them up and make your own chips? Go forth and tortilla:

Chicken Stock

CHICKEN STOCK

Every kitchen should include some good stock, especially since it can replace water in almost any savory recipe and add a ton of flavor (ever tried boiling pasta in it?). It’s ideal for soups and stews and can turn any pan drippings into a sauce in no time.  I make my own and store it in the extra freezer in my garage.

Peanut Butter

PEANUT BUTTER

Yes, you can slather some peanut butter and jelly on bread and call it a day. But why not try your hand at Chinese-takeout-style peanut butter noodles or sweet-and-savory desserts? But for some reason, I always keep mine in the refrigerator.

Rice

RICE

You’ll find rice on the plates of the majority of human beings around the world. Whether you boil it, steam it, simmer it or fry it, rice is a staple food worth experimenting.  The question is: “How many types of rice do you keep in your pantry?”

 

Milk

MILK

If the gallon is on its last few days, don’t toss it! You can use the last of it in sauces and gravies, as well as to make fresh mozzarella and milkshakes. Ok, so this in the frig, not the pantry, unless you have a refrigerated pantry.

Lemons

LEMONS

You should have lemons on hand for both a beautiful kitchen centerpiece and to brighten up dishes like fish and chicken. Try them in this Greek lemon soup, rice or any yellow baked good.

Eggs

EGGS

Having eggs in the fridge is a no-brainer. They’re essential if you’re baking or making breakfast at home, but can also be utilized for easy sandwiches, quiche and more.

Tomato Sauce & Paste

TOMATO SAUCE & PASTE

You might look at a can of tomato sauce and only see pasta, but don’t sell its potential short! Sure, it’s necessary for staples like chicken parm and pizza, but what about as a topping for stuffed vegetables or as a base for your sloppy Joes?

Soy Sauce

SOY SAUCE

Sure, soy sauce is an obvious choice on top of your Chinese takeout, but what about as part of a sweet and salty glaze for chicken? Keep it in the pantry to use in any number of sauces, or just to flavor steamed rice whenever you forget to order fried:

Brown Sugar

BROWN SUGAR

Plain granulated ain’t got nothing on brown. An essential for baked goods, you can also sprinkle it on bacon for a sweet-savory-bacony twist on breakfast or dessert. Your box is hard as a rock? Microwave to soften.

Parmesan Cheese

PARMESAN CHEESE

It’s salty, it’s nutty, it’s cheese a trifecta of deliciousness! Consider keeping extra in the fridge so you can transform almost protein into a parm. Plus, if you don’t have it, what are you putting on top of your pasta? I buy Reggiano Parmesano and freeze it when there is a sale.

Breadcrumbs

BREADCRUMBS

Breadcrumbs provide an unreal softness and lightness when mixed into meatballs, and Japanese-style panko is best for adding a crispy crunch to baked or fried foods.

Onions

ONIONS

Keep your onions in a dry, cool and dark place (away from the potatoes!) and they’ll last for months. Months during which you can caramelize them, fry them or serve them fresh:

Honey

HONEY

Great for sauces or as a sweetener for tea, oatmeal, yogurt, lemonade and more, this buzz-worthy liquid is the bee’s knees.

Vanilla Extract

VANILLA EXTRACT

There’s no knowing why vanilla became synonymous with bland. The extract from this ancient Mesoamerican bean is complex and fragrant, and is perfect when baked into creme brulee or broiled on grapefruits.

Balsamic Vinegar

BALSAMIC VINEGAR

If you’ve ever made your own salad dressing, you’re probably familiar with this Italian condiment. Balsamic vinegar is a perfect complement to fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, works magic in marinades and can be reduced to a syrup and used as a garnish.

Lentils

LENTILS

Is that box of lentils languishing in the back of your cabinet? Time to pull it out. Lentils are the perfect legumes for making protein-rich soups, salads and cookies.

Barbecue Sauce

BARBECUE SAUCE

In addition to being the one condiment you must have for grilling season, barbecue sauce is an easy out when you need lots of flavor without lots of work. Some of our favorite things to slather it on include pizza, chicken wings, and even savory muffins.

Greek Yogurt

GREEK YOGURT

Besides being a healthy staple for breakfast or a snack, Greek yogurt can also be used up in a marinade for chicken, as a creamy addition in soup or even in pancake batter. And don’t forget about tzatziki!

Cocoa Powder

COCOA POWDER

Cocoa powder might be the perfect chocolate boost for brownies and cakes, but try it in Mexican food to bring it back to its roots. Mole sauces and spicy Mexican hot chocolate are some traditional options.

Maple Syrup

MAPLE SYRUP

Don’t have a maple tree tapped in your backyard? Good thing you’ve got Canada (and Vermont) to pick up the slack. Use this sweet nectar to flavor everything from scones to French fries to roasted meats.

Potatoes

POTATOES

This humble Peruvian tuber is a staple in most all of the world’s cuisines. It can be prepared in every way imaginable and will last for months if stored in a dark, cool place (away from the onions!).

 

CURRY PASTE & POWDER

Whether you’re using paste or powder, curry is a great flavoring agent for sauces, soups and marinades. Looking for the ultimate quick fix? Curry + coconut milk = instant awesome:

FROZEN PEAS

Finish off almost any pasta with frozen peas, add them into a pot pie, or toss them into a salad. Any way you slice it, your freezer should definitely have a few bags of these at all times.

CANNED SALSA

Unlock the potential of salsa by piling it on top of your burgers, adding it in with slow-cooked meats and even mixing it into your rice. Bonus: it doesn’t take up fridge space until you’ve opened it.

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

Not many ingredients are as versatile as Worcestershire. It adds a salty, garlicky flavor to meat, so it’s ideal for marinades and sauces.

FROZEN SHRIMP

Shrimp is one of the quickest-cooking proteins out there, so when you’re short on time, tap into its amazingness by sauteeing it and serving over rice. And don’t forget about shrimp when you’re entertaining—they’re often at their best when served cold.

PIZZA DOUGH

Pizza dough is just for pizza, right? Wrong. You can use it to make cinnamon rolls, one-bite appetizers or just some cheesy breadsticks. Plus, it keeps in the freezer for at least a few months.

JAM & PRESERVES

Supplies for emergency PB&Js should always be in your pantry, but the buck doesn’t stop there when it comes to jams, jellies and preserves. You can easily amp-up any dessert with them, or even use them in a sweet and savory sauce for meatballs.

GRAINS

We all love our rices and our pastas, but sometimes we like to move into uncharted territory with starches. Have an adventure with farro, couscous, and quinoa in these grain salads.

MUSTARD

If you haven’t explored the mustard world lately, you’re really missing out. There are tons of different varieties and you can use them to add a tanginess to almost any meat, not to mention roasted veggie and sandwich possibilities.

DRIED FRUIT

Sucking the water out of fruit not only makes for highly concentrated flavors, it also renders fruits shelf-stable. Store them in the cupboard and use to sweeten baked goods, veggie dishes, grain salads, and stews.

CANNED TOMATOES

Odds are you’ve got your own ideas about what to do with a can of tomatoes. When it comes to using this pantry essential the options may be endless, but here are some of our favorites.

CORNBREAD MIX

Did you think cornbread mix was just for making cornbread? Silly goose. You’ve been missing out on some revelatory casseroles and biscuits! Oh, and don’t forget about the hot dogs and sausages you could have been dipping. I just keep cornmeal, as I make my own cornbread – so easy!

BACON

It’s a proven fact that bacon makes everything better (we’ve studied it), so you should definitely keep some in the fridge for testing that thesis. You can even add it to desserts for a salty twist, like this bacon brittle. I don’t use it often enough to keep in the refrigerator, so I freeze it.

CANNED ARTICHOKE HEARTS

Didn’t make as much artichoke dip as you expected? Try baking artichoke hearts into a casserole, spreading them over bread with some cheese or just sauteing them with chicken.

MAYO

Mayo is the base of so many delicious things that it’s almost impossible to not have some in the fridge. What would the world be without chipotle mayo or chicken salad?

PICKLES

Still, have the same jar of pickles from last summer’s barbecue season in the back of your fridge? Pull them out and get to work on some party snacks, dips or even just fried pickle chips.

HOT SAUCE

Firstly, if you can keep a bottle of hot sauce for more than a month without using it, congrats you’re stronger than we are. But if you do find that bottle lingering, fear not, because you can buffalo just about anything (chicken, pizza, fries, your whole life).

COCONUT MILK

You want to whip up a boxed cake but you want it to taste homemade good thing you’ve got coconut milk in the pantry. Use it in place of the liquids to give any baked good extra flavor, or to amp-up stir-fries and seafood.

FROZEN BERRIES

It’s impossible to keep yourself stocked with fresh berries all the time, so head for the frozen variety. Did you know freezing the fruit actually locks in its nutrients? Use berries for frozen drinks, pies and even homemade sorbet.

POPCORN

Goodbye, movie theater butter, you’re old news. Spice up your life with spiced popcorn or try something crazy and bake those fluffy popped kernels into cookies. I love grated parmesan cheese with my popcorn.

NUTS

Protein-packed and ready to eat, nuts are a staple in any pantry. If you’re not into them as a snack on their own, try crusting fish with them, or trying your hand at making peanut butter.  I store these in the freezer, so they do not go rancid.

OATS

Rich with essential nutrients, versatile in their uses and easy to prepare, oats make for an ideal breakfast. Eat them as a porridge, cooked into pancakes or blended into a smoothie:

PUFF PASTRY

Puff pastry is like the blank canvas of foods that you can transform completely with the addition of almost anything. Wrap it around chicken and asparagus for a new take on the chicken roll, or use it as a base for inventive pastries.

Most of all, have fun in the kitchen with what you can store in your pantry or refrigerator or in my case, your extra freezer.

 

50 ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

soup.jpg I love making and eating soup when the weather turns cold.  Every year I just keep trying new ones.  When I am at the grocery store, I just look at all the different ingredients, grab a few and always find a recipe online that works.  It is kind of a fun challenge.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter ( I only had peanut butter with nuts, but just put it in the blender with the soup and it was great)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt to taste
  • 1 large Roma (plum) tomato, seeded and diced  (I only had cherry, so chopped fine and deseeded by wiping with a paper towel)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and lime zest. Set aside in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend.
  2. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add sweet potatoes, and chicken stock. Season with cumin, chili flakes, and ginger. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
  3. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or regular blender. If using a countertop blender, puree in small batches, filling the blender just a bit past halfway to avoid spillage. Whisk peanut butter into the soup, (I added in the blender) and heat through. Stir in lime juice, and salt.
  4. Ladle into warm bowls, and top with a dollop of the reserved sour cream, a few pieces of diced tomato, and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Serve with a salad or nice piece of French Bread and it is a lunch or dinner for kings. Oh, and don’t forget to add a nice glass of wine.

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Bierocks

Birocks .jpg

Made these the other night.  They are basically German Hamburgers, or as my youngest son used to say:  “Hammaburgers”.

So when I made them, I had lots of left-over hamburger filling.  I added some potatoes and mushroom, covered with grated potatoes a good amount of cheddar cheese, threw in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and had a second dinner.

Well, that was all fine and good, but there was still left over, so I put it in a pot, added chicken stock, half & half and there is the third dinner.  None of them taste the same.  How about three cheap dinners.

Ingredients

  1. Prepare dough: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Mix in sugar, margarine, egg, salt and 1/2 of the flour. Beat until smooth; add remaining flour until dough pulls together. Place in oiled bowl. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, OR let it rise for 1 hour.
  2. In a large heavy skillet, brown meat. Add onion, cabbage, salt and simmer 30 minutes. Cool until lukewarm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) Coat a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
  3. Punch down dough and divide into 20 pieces. Spread each piece of dough out on an un-floured surface and fill with approximately 2 tablespoons filling. fold dough over and seal edges. Place on prepared cookie sheet and let rise for 1 hour.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with butter and serve.

 

Bierocks

Why Do So Many Recipes Bake at 350°F?

 Muffins and quick bread, dips, and pies almost always start with the same instruction: “Preheat the oven to 350°F.” Why?

Why is that?

What makes 350°F the magical temperature?

Why is it that so many types of baked foods from cake to bread go in a 350°F oven and come out perfectly after a relatively brief bake?

The answer to that is one part science and one part, well, human laziness.

Putting something in a hot oven sets off a series of chemical reactions that turn the gooey dough into a bouncing bread or sheets of puff pastry into flaky pastries. A temperature of around 350°F is hot enough to complete a lot of these steps quickly.

Step 1. At 90°F, fats begin to melt and combine with the gluten proteins (flour). Gases from the baking soda or baking powder are released, which helps make the baked good tender.

Step 2..At 140°F, the gluten proteins (flour) begin to swell and dry out. That’s when cake or cookies go from wet batter to dry food.

Step 3. At 300°F, sugar starts to caramelize.

Step 4. The Maillard Reaction, a point at which foods begin to brown and develop their distinctive flavor, happens around 320°F.

So why 350°F? It’s good enough to make all those necessary steps happen quickly, even if your oven runs a little cold and it’s not so hot you have to worry about burning.

But how did we decide to bake things at 350°F and not 340°F or 360°F?

That requires a trip back to the turn of the century.

Before we had ovens that could be warmed up in 5-degree increments like we do today, we had ovens that could bake at three settings: slow, moderate, or high. Recipes for baked goods often called for “moderate ovens.”

After World War II, oven manufacturers capitalized on some technological improvements from the war. Newer models of ovens gave cooks slightly more control by letting them set their gas and electric ovens in 25°F increments. Today, many modern ovens will let you set your oven in 5°F increments.

Attempting to adapt antiquated recipe instructions to match the modern day appliances, recipe writers converted a “moderate” temperature to 350°F, which was typically halfway between an oven’s lowest setting, around 200°F, and its highest, around 500°F.

Is 350°F really the best temperature for baking?

No, probably not. Ovens are notoriously unreliable, so setting your oven to 350°F promises you’ll land somewhere between 330-370°F. You’ll hit 350°F only if your oven is well-calibrated. That being said, most ovens have hot spots and cool spots, so it’s not a good bet that you’re really cooking at precisely 350°F.

Recipe writers and food marketers know that it’s better to err on the side of caution with the “moderate” temperature than to get very specific and have a failed recipe.

Some baked goods, like crusty baguettes,  benefit from baking at a higher temperature, but a too-high temp could sink it. The higher heat will help the bread rise more quickly and set the crust before the gluten in the bread has a chance to dry out and stiffen.

The same can be true for muffins: the muffin tops rise taller in the higher heat, and you can lower the temp to finish baking them and prevent them from drying out.

Likewise, many chocolate chip cookie recipes bake at a higher temp as high as 425°F or start hot and finish at a lower temp. The hot start gets the dough to the caramelization and Maillard Reaction stages faster and then slows the cooking down to keep the cookies from drying out or burning.

Until ovens become almost foolproof and manufacturers can guarantee an oven really is the temp it says, we’ll stick with the magical 350°F. It’s good enough to get the job done.

I like keeping an oven thermometer close at hand to check my oven temperature from time to time.

Why Do So Many Recipes Bake at 350°F?

7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen

This a great article from Dwell Magazine.

If you have serious culinary chops and take pride in preparing meals that wow your family and friends, keep these tips in mind when designing or renovating your kitchen.

If boiling eggs is not your forte, and you’d much rather eat out than experiment with new recipes, then a basic kitchen may be all you need. But if you’re serious about cooking and love nothing more than spending hours trying out new dishes that’ll impress guests at your next dinner party, then here are some elements to incorporate for a professional-grade kitchen.

1. The Magic Triangle

When planning the layout for your kitchen, refer to the “kitchen work triangle” with the cooking area, sink, and refrigerator at its three points. Though modern kitchens have evolved, and it is sometimes geometrically impossible to abide by this configuration (for example, in a single wall kitchen), the triangle is a good concept to keep in mind when designing to maximize functionality and ease of movement.

What they did not talk about is the new triangle, where the refrigerator is off to the side and a little out of the way.  There needs to be space across from it or beside it to put food when cooking, but it does not absolutely need to be part of the triangle anymore.  I love the cooktop part of my triangle, as I am working there, more than in the refrigerator. (unless I am really hungry)

7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen - Photo 1 of 7 -

 

2. Two Sinks

Install two sinks so that you can clean fruits and vegetables in one while washing or stacking used pots and pans in the other. Ensure that the sink is deep and the faucets are high, so you don’t have to worry about water splashing onto the countertop as you strain your pasta or wash your dishes.

I have a little different take on this.  My utility room is adjacent to my kitchen, so I added a large stainless sink in there if I need a place for pots and pans.  If I am entertaining, I do not want my guests to see dirty pans in my kitchen, so this works great! 

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IMG_6990

3. Plenty of Durable Work Counters

As a home chef, you’ll be engaged in many food preparation tasks, so think about how to maximize counter space. Surface counters made of quartz, laminates, and solid surfaces are good choices for their durability, and antibacterial and anti-staining properties. Such surfaces are ideal for areas where you’ll do the most peeling, chopping, and blending.

Quartz is the new popular countertop and it is great, but if you select a plain one, be prepared to constantly be cleaning it, as it shows every spot.  I love a good granite that hides a little.  

7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen - Photo 3 of 7 -

4. Built-In Appliances

Integrated appliances are your best bet for freeing up space, hiding unsightly electrical cords, and getting a clean, streamlined look. Wherever possible, choose built-in ovens, dishwashers, coffee machines, microwaves, and pullout fridges. This will help free up more counter space and make your kitchen look much more inviting.

I love making my dishwasher and refrigerator look like cabinets.  Now there are drawer refrigerators and freezers.  I hide my microwave and toaster oven in my pantry.  Clean is the new look!  

5. Good Lighting

A bright kitchen is not only healthier for your eyes, it makes preparing food safer and will probably put you in a cheerier mood. Locate your kitchen close to windows or incorporate skylights to increase the amount of natural light it receives. When choosing light fixtures, consider ambient lights, task lights, and accent lights. Use down lights to prevent glare and shadows, strip lighting under cabinets, and wide-rimmed pendant lights above the bar or island counter.

In my last home I had windows under the cabinets that looked out to the garden.  It had a wonderful effect.  We added another window when we remodeled last summer to take full advantage of our water view. 

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6. Ample and Intelligent Storage

Easy and intuitive access to a large pantry, spice racks, pots and pans, utensils, dinnerware, and cutlery can make all the difference when you’re preparing a feast for a large group. Consider storage systems which hold all your kitchen basics neatly and beautifully like a secret armoire.

I personally think that although this is “cool”, there are a lot better use of space, than hanging your utensils and knives.  One knife block on the counter is quite practical. 

7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen - Photo 6 of 7 - On/Off Monoblock by Boffi

7. Wine Storage Facilities

Good food isn’t complete without great wine, so consider including wine storage facilities.  We love ours and use it every day.  

7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen - Photo 7 of 7 - Perlick wine cooler

 

7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen

Luxury Kitchens Sell the Home: Design Trends

 January 21, 2018 by 

Recently some 60,000+ people gathered in Orlando, FL at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) hosted by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. It’s where companies that supply the kitchen and bath trade showcase their wares to interior designers, retailers and dealers, architects, builders, and remodelers. KBIS is part of Design and Construction Week with the NAHB International Builders’ Show.

Kitchens take center stage at KBIS and have been a focus of my research over the past year as well. I participated in a series of AuthLux day-long workshops on luxury kitchen and bath design sponsored by ROHL, the kitchen and bath luxury fixtures company, and part of the Fortune Brands family of companies.

An excerpted hour-long version of that full-day event was presented at this year’s KBIS, but I thought to share more insights from an AuthLux Summit panel discussion about designing the luxury kitchen of tomorrow today, hosted by Dallas-based interior designer Denise MaGaha.

The kitchen unlocks the value of a home

The kitchen is now the showpiece of the modern home. “The ultimate design statement of the home starts in the kitchen,” said MaGaha as she introduced the discussion focused on the three essential design elements for the modern kitchen – Cabinetry, Appliances and Water Appliances. “With the trend toward open-floor plans, the kitchen sets the stage for all the other design decisions in the home.”

The kitchen’s importance to the home owner is second to none. In today’s open-floor home designs, the kitchen takes center stage as the place where the family’s lifestyle starts. Kitchens are the most important selling point in home buyers’ decision, according to Realtor.com, and homes listed with “luxury kitchens” sell faster and command a higher selling price than similar-sized homes in the same ZIP code.

It’s no wonder then that interior designers find the greatest demand for their services in remodeling kitchens. Some 80% of home remodeling projects take place in the kitchen, according to the National Association of Home Builder’s Remodeling Market Index survey.

Here are some highlights from the panel discussion:

Upscale cabinets must be as beautiful on the inside as on the outside

Cabinets are the grounding element in the luxury kitchen, as all the other elements are mounted on them or placed within them. What’s more, they set the design style for the kitchen. “Today we see transitional and modern style with strong architectural references increasingly popular,” explained Jason Artus of Rutt HandCrafted Cabinetry, based in Lancaster County, PA.

“That’s also why we find European style frameless-constructed cabinets growing in demand,” Artus said. Frameless cabinets allow for additional storage with wider drawers and pullouts because they do not have a face frame attached to the front of the cabinet box and no center stile coming down in the middle of two cabinet doors. Frameless cabinets give a sleek, simple aesthetic that provide easier access to the items inside.

Another trend Artus sees in luxury cabinet choices is more drawers, instead of hinged door cabinets. “Additional drawers in the kitchen results in more accessible storage and organization, which is a top priority for clients to be sure that each and every kitchen item has its place.” And once those drawers or cabinets are opened, lights need to turn on automatically to guide the way.

And for the luxury home owner, the outside is just as important as the inside when it comes to cabinets. “It is expected that today’s upscale cabinetry look as beautiful on the interior as it does on the exterior,” Artus said, as he points to growing interest within the design community in white oak on cabinet interiors for “those looking for a lighter option to pair with darker exterior finishes.”

Luxury kitchens mean chef-quality appliances

While cabinetry provides the modern kitchen’s form, the appliances provide its function. And today that function is going more high-tech as smart technology is added into the mix. Selecting appliance brands that serve their function in style and are ahead of the curve in innovation is key.

Juanita Galliford, of Thermador, part of BSH Home Appliances Corporation, shared that her company has been at the forefront of kitchen innovation since its founding in 1916. It invented the wall oven and cooktop combination and was the first to introduce stainless steel. And in 1948 it brought the first professional-quality and performance ranges to the home owner, followed by the first self-cleaning oven in the 60s. When it comes to kitchen appliance innovation, she said, “Thermador has led while other brands have followed.”

On the cutting edge of cooking technology today is the steam/convection oven, Galliford explained. “The steam oven is one of the healthiest ways to cook a meal. Traditional ovens pull moisture out of the food as it cooks, while in a steam oven food is cooked in its own juices, enhancing flavor and retaining nutrients,” she said and told how it is also super-fast, allowing a 14 lb. turkey to cook in only 90 minutes.

And in the modern luxury kitchen, the refrigerator has taken on a new role as the “culinary preservation center,” noted Galliford. “Refrigerators are no longer just about preservation. Today’s homeowner wants personalization allowing them to customize the line up of cold storage combinations that give them exactly the cold storage solutions they desire.” So a modular concept in cold storage is required allowing the homeowner to pick fresh food store, freezer and wine storage combinations right for their needs.

From sink and faucet to water appliance

And perhaps the most overlooked, yet most critical function in the kitchen is the faucet and sink, which ROHL has redefined as the water appliance. “The most used appliance in the kitchen is actually the faucet/sink combination,” said Greg Rohl. “A family of four uses their water appliance 20-30 times a day. We encourage designers to think about reallocating budgets towards this most heavily used ‘appliance’ allowing clients to spend more for better quality and more attractive solutions.”

To discover the water appliance faucets, fixtures and fittings that meet 21st century needs in quality, style and function, ROHL canvases the world to find products that meet the luxury homeowners’ needs, like the innovative Pull-Out Kitchen Faucet, which founder Ken Rohl discovered in Europe in 1983 and which became the flagship product for the ROHL brand.

Through close collaborations with its worldwide partners, ROHL finds it critical to maintain authenticity in time-honored material and craft while adapting to modern needs. “We work closely with on-staff engineers and industrial designers to incorporate low-lead material requirements, meet California water-use and flow restrictions and IAPMO and EPA WaterSense criteria without compromise,” Rohl noted.

Designing the luxury kitchen of tomorrow today

Designing the kitchen of tomorrow today requires bringing many separate components provided by a variety of suppliers with unique expertise together into a cohesive kitchen package that combines beauty and function, efficiency and style. “Traditional kitchen configurations with upper and lower cabinets are being replaced by full-on kitchen islands – grounded by larger sinks, faucets and accompanying accessories,” Rohl explained. “Today, and in the future, the multi-function sink/faucet combination will continue to be the mainstay of the kitchen, flanked by the cooking and cold storage appliances, and installed with beautiful, architectural cabinetry that defines the kitchen’s style.”

The kitchen’s place of presence in the home is without doubt. Yet its form and function continues to evolve with technology, product and design innovations. Perhaps Christopher Peacock, a high-end cabinetry designer in Norwalk, CT expressed the evolution of the modern kitchen best: “It’s almost not worth calling it a kitchen anymore—it’s a living room that you can cook in.”

Luxury Kitchens Sell the Home: Design Trends

How about Turkey Wellington for Christmas??

Turkey Wellington

SERVES 10
 From Jamie’s Oliver’s “Christmas with Bells On”837_1_1439210788

Ingredients

  • 1.6 kg turkey breast , skin off, preferably higher welfare
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme , leaves picked
  • 1 x 340 g jar cranberry jam
  • 25 g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 rashers quality smoked streaky bacon , thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 600 g mixed mushrooms , chopped
  • 1 turkey leg
  • 1 carrot , roughly chopped
  • 1 leek , trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 onion , peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 knob unsalted butter
  • 2 x 500 g packets all butter puff pastry , chilled
  • 1 large free-range egg , beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Place the turkey breast upside-down on a board. Gently slice into the natural join of the breast muscle to open it out and make a sort of pocket. Season well and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over half the thyme leaves, then spread over an even layer of cranberry jam, pushing it into all the nooks and crannies. Fold it back into shape to seal the mixture inside – swiss roll-stylie – and push a few cocktail sticks into the seam to keep it together. Transfer the turkey to a roasting tray, season the outside with the remaining thyme leaves, a good pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Rub it all over, cover in tin foil and roast in the hot oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until just cooked through – using a thermometer, you want it to be 72°C at the thickest point.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the porcini in a dish of just-boiled water. After 5 minutes, stir with a fork so any bits of grit sink to the bottom. Add the bacon to a large frying pan with a splash of oil on a medium heat and fry for 5 to 10 minutes, or until beautifully golden and super crispy. Strip in the leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs for the last 30 seconds or so. Remove everything from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the bacon fat behind. Add the fresh mushrooms to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper. Drain and chop the porcini, saving the water, then stir into the pan. Add a splash of the water, avoiding the grit, then cook for around 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pan starts to sizzle again and the mushrooms are golden, soft and sticky with caramelly edges.
  3. To make the gravy, cut the thigh off the turkey leg and slash into it slightly. Throw the leg and thigh into a pot along with the carrot, leek and onion. Stir in the flour, add a good pinch of salt and pepper and 2 litres of boiling water. Add a heaped tablespoon of cranberry jam, the balsamic vinegar and remaining rosemary sprig. Bring back to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for around 2 hours, or until thick. Strain it through a sieve and reheat before serving.
  4. When the mushroom pan is dry, add a knob of butter and toss to coat. Tip the mushrooms into the food processor and whiz until you get a good mixture of smooth and chunky. Leave to cool. Once the turkey breast and stuffing have cooled, you can get on with assembling the wellington.
  5. Dust a clean surface with flour, then roll out each packet of puff pastry to the size of a shoe box (one will be the base, one the lid – roll the lid ever so slightly bigger). Line a large roasting tray with greaseproof paper, dust with flour, then add the smaller piece of pastry. Spread half of the mushroom stuffing onto the middle of the base to cover an area the same size as your turkey breast. Remove the cocktail sticks, then place the turkey breast on top and spread the remaining stuffing over the top packing it all in and smoothing it out so that the whole breast is covered. Sprinkle with the crispy bacon and rosemary, then brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg. Lay the second sheet of pastry over the top, gently mold it round the shape of the breast, pushing all the air out and seal together. Trim the edges to around 4cm, then pull, twist, tuck and pinch in the pastry (like in the picture).
  6. Brush the whole thing with beaten egg then all the hard work’s done. Leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight until you’re ready to cook. On Christmas day, cook at 180°/350°F/gas 4 for 50 to 60 minutes, or until risen, puffy and beautifully golden and the turkey is piping hot throughout. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for around 10 minutes before carving. Serve carved into 2.5cm with the gravy and all the usual. Christmas in a mouthful.
How about Turkey Wellington for Christmas??

SUNDAY NIGHT OR WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS

It’s Sunday night and weekend passed way too quickly.  The backyard had a lot of plants to cut back for winter and chickens are very funny, but very messy.  Time to clean up their mess before the rains come.

The Korean Beef Short Ribs became, as I told my husband, the meat eater: “Meat over Rice” and that was all he ate, as that was all i cooked.  I took some Butternut Squash soup out of the freezer and cut up the rolled pork loin with broccoli rabe adding it to the soup.  Put a little fresh Regianno Parmesano and you have a pretty tasty dinner and not wasted food.

The chickens got the left over Pea Salad and they were happy too.  It is a nice relaxing evening here at “Kingsley Manor”. Off to binge watch Poldark.

Beside dinner, I baked another Paul Hollywood’s Pain de Savoie for my husband’s office pot luck, designed an invitation for my granddaughter’s birthday party, wrote an article for a local magazine and caught up on my online class.  Grandma was pretty busy today.

SUNDAY NIGHT OR WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS

Panko

For years we all ground our own breadcrumbs and I often still do for some dishes, but when I discover Panko I switched in most cases, as it is lighter and more crunchy.

In the late ’90s, chefs started talking about the glories of a Japanese breadcrumb called Panko. This light and airy bread version of breadcrumbs was only available in Asian markets and some higher-end luxury gourmet grocery stores. They were pale and large compared to traditional American crumbs, and they fried and toasted up in a more crunchy manner. People took notice and home cooks begin experimenting with this new-to-them style of crumb. By the early 2000’s Panko was readily available in the US.

If they are just breadcrumbs, why are they so different looking and why do they cook up so uniquely? And can I make my own the way I do with regular breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs while simple to make just are not the same and sadly you cannot make panko at home because the bread isn’t baked, but cooked on a metal plate with electrical currents.

It is believed that it was the Portuguese who introduced frying to the Japanese as there is no record of oil, or “abura,” prior to the Portuguese landing in Japan. So when you eat a shrimp tempura, thank a Portuguese for this wonderful entrée.

What is fascinating to me is the story of the creation of the breading for tonkatsu, panko, which became a household word, however, was undocumented.

The invention of panko happened during World War II. While the Japanese were at war with the Russians, they wanted to eat bread out in the battlefields. Unable to bake the bread, the Japanese used their tanks’ batteries to quickly “bake” their bread. They discovered that the bread was extremely light and airy, with very small air pockets.

This method of using electric current to bake bread with no brown crusts is how panko is made today at Upper Crust Enterprises.

Masashi Kawaguchi started Mrs. Friday panko-crusted shrimp fish sold to restaurants and in the frozen section, food service, cash and carry outlets. He brought the panko from Japan, but the best flour comes from the United States, Canada, and Australia. Mr. Kawaguchi thought this did not make good business sense to ship the flour from America to Japan, then back to the United States as panko, so sent his son Gary to Japan to learn how to make panko.

Mr. Kawaguchi opened two plants 35 years ago and the present location in Little Tokyo is now run by Gary Kawaguchi. One of the cleanest, most monitored factories we have seen, it is an impressive operation. We had to remove all jewelry, wear a hairnet, (Jim had a beard net) clean and wash our hands twice before we began our tour around the panko factory.

The bread dough is carefully mixed, kneaded, and risen twice, just as you would if baking bread at home. The bread goes through a specially made “oven” for 1 1/2 hours where each huge loaf of bread is electrocuted. When the bread comes out, the loaves are whitish slabs of “bread” that looks and jiggles like tofu. Tom tore off a piece of bread for us to taste.

The bread was soft and billowy and tastes like bread should.

These loaves are air-dried on large racks overnight. The next day, a special food processor cuts these loaves into long crumbs. Unlike their competitors, Upper Crust has healthy looking panko flakes, not tiny crumbs.

By weight, their panko gives 26 percent better yield per pound because of the larger, slivery crumbs with an airy texture.

Asked whether gluten-free panko would be a future product and he said the gluten in wheat flour was necessary to get the texture and airy panko crumbs. Tom suggested using crushed rice crispies, corn flakes or dehydrated potato flakes for coating when cooking for someone with gluten intolerance.

 

Today, producers make the crustless loaves, let them rest for a day or so, then put them through a sort of mill or grinder with screens to make the bread shards. They then bake the shards at high heat to remove any remaining moisture, giving them that signature texture.

The Japanese first learned to make bread from the Europeans, and panko is derived from pan from the Portuguese and -ko, a Japanese suffix indicating “flour“, “crumb”, or “powder” (as in komeko, “rice powder”, sobako, “buckwheat flour”, and komugiko, “wheat flour”).
Panko

Pain de Savoie

Pain de Savoie

Another successful Paul Hollywood bread recipe that is lovely to look at and even better to eat.  This one was devoured at my wine group. We were doing a Riesling night and the heavy texture with cheese and bacon was a perfect paring.  (or at least I thought so)

Pain de Savoie (makes 1 loaf)

400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

100g rye flour

10g salt

8g fast-action dried yeast

20ml olive oil, plus extra for oiling

330ml cool water

150g lardons, fried and cooled

200g Comté cheese, cut into 1cm cubes

Step 1: Mix the flours in a large bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the olive oil and 250ml of the water and mix with the fingers of one hand. Add as much of the rest of the water as you need to form a soft dough; rye flour takes a lot of water so you should need most or all of it. Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and knead well for 5–10 minutes or more, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add the cooled lardons, working them well into the dough. Form the dough into a ball and put in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave to rise until at least doubled or trebled in size – at least 2 hours.

Step 2: Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 equal pieces. Knock back by pushing down on the dough with the heels of your hands, then your knuckles and fingertips, and folding the dough in on itself several times. Form each piece into a ball.

Step 3: Oil a 20cm springform cake tin. Roll out a ball of dough to a 1.5–2cm thick circle, to fit the tin and lay it in the bottom. Scatter over half of the cheese. Roll out a similar disc of dough and lay on top. Add the rest of the cheese. Roll out the final ball of dough and place on top. Dust with flour. Put the tin inside a roomy plastic bag and leave to prove for about 1 hour, or until well puffed up. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220°C. Bake the loaf in the oven for 30 minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I am cooking my way through this book and have not yet had a failure, so really do recommend buying this book.  He shows you all the steps in wonderful photos, then shows you suggestions of what it tastes great with.  I have not been disappointed.  And I always leave the cookbook in my kitchen.  Not bad to look at either….

Happy Baking!

 

 

Pain de Savoie