Pan rack no. 2

Jun 24, 2017

I have two pan racks. Thought I'd show you the second one too. This one is over the dishwasher, several paces away from the stove. So it is the home to many things we don't use every day. 

Also, you'll notice that you can use the top level to store things as well. In this one I have an old "grizwald." (vintage cast iron pan) In the other picture you can see that I have finally found a home for that one really large bowl that I use 4 times a year that doesn't fit in any of the cabinets.

AND... I hang herb and garlic to dry from the middle of the rack. Can't find a picture from last year. I'll take one this summer and post later.
Pan rack no. 2

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Kitchen Organization #4: So you've used up all your walls...

Jun 23, 2017

...Then don't forget about the ceiling! Hanging pot racks are super cool! They get a whole bunch of bulky items, some of which you use regularly, some very infrequently, completely out of your way. And, this is a category of items that do not stack or nest well in your cabinets, they take up a lot of space, and, let's face it, I like bending over less and less every year. You have to make sure you have enough clearance. Don't put them over high traffic areas. Make sure everyone who uses the pans can reach them and that the tallest person in your house won't bang his/her head on them. Other than that, they're super easy to install. As long as you have a drill and can figure out where the joists or strapping is, you're good to go. 

You may also notice that our go to cleaner is hanging right there so we don't have to bend over and rummage under the sink every night to clean the stove and table.

As always, the things you use most should be most accessible. The three pans that are missing are closest to the stove because we use them almost every day.
Kitchen Organization #4: So you've used up all your walls...

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Kitchen Organization #3: Vertical space & Knife racks

Jun 13, 2017

Conceptually, I don't love knife blocks. I always wonder how sanitary it is down at the bottom of that slot that you put your knife in. All it takes is one or two times of not getting the knife totally clean... But that's speculation on my part. 

Knife bars are my joint. I love seeing them all out and displayed for easy use. Plus, we have almost no counter space. So, again, using the walls is the way to go. 

The knife rack is at an angle because otherwise it wouldn't fit on the wall anywhere near the cutting board. 

Kitchen Organization #3: Vertical space & Knife racks

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Kitchen Organization #2: Spice racks: More about vertical space

Jun 16, 2017

Spices are weird. They are things that you absolutely need for certain things but usually aren't things you use every day. In fact you may use a specific spice once or twice a year. Plus, they are strangely expensive, so you don't want to just throw them out... even though they do lose potency after time. They are also a pretty awkward size/shape if you think about the standard shelf size and depth in most kitchens. Basically they are an organizational nightmare.

Here are some thoughts/tips about organizing spices. 
  • Try not to buy a spice for a recipe that you know you'll only make once. See if a friend or neighbor can "lend" you a tablespoon. 
  • Consider getting rid of older spices. The conventional wisdom is that spices last about year. I would argue with that. They definitely lose potency but it's not like they are good one day and bad the next. Just be aware that you may need to adjust and use a bit more in certain applications. Though most ground spices are candidates to be tossed without worry between 3 & 6 years.
  • For applicable spices, consider buying the whole spice instead of the ground spice. You will radically extend the shelf life when you store whole spices. Particularly nutmeg should be kept whole. It starts to loose its "oompf" very quickly. A whole nutmeg will last a very long time and it always at your fingertips with a quick grate on the microplane.* For other spices, like fennel seeds, a cheap coffee grinder will usually do the trick.
  • I really like having all my spices visible so I don't have to rifle through them and make a mess. Plus as a "lazy" ADHDer, not having to go in and out of a drawer or cabinet is nice.
  • The the plastic shaker top off the bottle if you primarily use the spice for things that require measuring. It's just another thing to get in your way.
  • Don't necessarily group them alphabetically. That's what I did when I first got a "tasteful rotating spice rack." And, I never cooked with one spice. I'd have four out and then put them back in the wrong spaces and could never find anything. Now I group them by what I use them for: Dried herbs for pasta sauces etc., Baking spices, Pickling spices, Things I use very rarely, Hot spices, etc.

The spice racks are actually screwed to the outside of what was sold as a build in spice rack. (It's clearly an old ironing board cabinet.) We ended up having to seal it off when we got blow in insulation, but I've always had the spice racks on the outside. Just easier.


* Microplane on Amazon:  Don't get the curved ones. They just leave you with curved nutmeg, cheese, ginger, etc. which ends up wasting the product. 

Kitchen Organization #2: Spice racks: More about vertical space

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Kitchen Organization #2: Use Your Vertical Space

Jun 9, 2017

Really this one is partially a continuation of the first tip, keeping things that you use a lot handy. But since there is only so much counter space near where you need to work in a kitchen, use the walls! You could see in the last post that I have two mason jars next to the stove. Great, but that doesn't hold all my spatulas, ladles, and large spoons. A simple tool bar with S hooks solves that problem for just a couple buck and with a few screws.
Kitchen Organization #2: Use Your Vertical Space

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Kitchen Organization #1: Keep the good stuff handy

Jun 2, 2017

I've decided to do a series of entries of the late spring & summer about kitchen organization and food/meal planning. Both are right in my wheelhouse as a former chef and not so intense for summer reading (and writing.) We'll start with kitchen organization.

Let's start with kitchen organization. I have a much different perspective from the average "civilian" on how a kitchen should run. And, it actually works really well for me as an ADHDer. The first rule of my kitchen if you use it everyday, don't pack it up and put it in a cabinet. For example, my cutting board, knives, salt, pepper, olive oil, etc. are never away where it would be a pain to get them and use them.
Kitchen Organization #1: Keep the good stuff handy

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