Cooking Great Meals In A Small Kitchen

Small simple kitchen - Cooking Great Meals In A Small KitchenIt can be a little perplexing to bake or cook in a small kitchen with limited space. Whether you’re in an apartment, condo, or just a house with a kitchen that isn’t quite as big as you’d like, cooking fantastic meals in a small kitchen is altogether possible.

How nice it would be, but you don’t need a big kitchen to make a big meal, no rather all you need is a little knowledge and creativity for working in a small kitchen with limited space.

Organizing Your Kitchen Space

The key to having a small kitchen with limited space, is organization. Keeping your limited space organized can actually give you more space to work with when preparing to cook or bake.

Organization can also save you money and a trip to the store. How so? Consider this. Say you’re making an “Apple Spiced Cake,” how many occasions have you opened the pantry to see if you have a certain spice, and it is no were to be found.

small kitchens

Image credit: Decoralia

As you need the spice, you end up going to the store to buy some more, only to find a week later the spice you we’re looking for hidden in the back of the pantry.

Cooking and baking in a limited space kitchen with organization can save you money.

Before you start cooking, pull out all the ingredients you’ll need for the meal, and keep them all on the counter in one place. Spreading out all over a small kitchen isn’t an option, so watch how much room you’re using for your ingredients. What ever you are done with, put it back right away.

Being organized before you start preparing food to eat, as well as while you are cooking will save you from becoming frustrated, because not knowing were items required for the meal preparation are could quit well discourage you from preparing meals.

Keep ion mind that small spaces and frustration are not a good combination.

Keeping your pantry, cupboards, fridge, freezer, and any space where food is stored, is essential to cooking in a small kitchen.

Keeping Your Small Space Clean

To start, a clean kitchen means prepared meals without food-born infections. Since you have a small kitchen, why not make recipes that only require the use of one mixing bowl or one pot recipes.

The less cooking and baking utensils you can use, the more counter space available and less clean up.

washing dishes

Image credit: Food52

Instead of grabbing a new bowl, pot, or mixing utensil, try to use the ones that are already dirty.

While you’re waiting for something in the oven or on the stove, wash the cooking utensils, and the ones that you don’t need anymore, put them away, and the ones you will keep using, leave them on the counter out of the way.

Also while you are waiting, put away ingredients you are done using at that time, as well.

This will help free up space and create less work in cleaning up after the meal has been enjoyed.

One Cook Kitchens

Kitchens that are small, and don’t have enough elbow room, as they say, is really a one cook kitchen. The best idea in a small kitchen is to kick everyone out while you’re cooking.

If you barely have enough room to turn around while you’re cooking, you’ll need as much space as you can get. Don’t let anyone in your kitchen while you’re preparing the meal, unless you want someones help to chop vegetables or round up and put away no longer needed ingredients.

There’s never anything wrong with asking for a little help, but if someone just wants to chat while you’re cooking, they’ll probably just get in the way.

A Small Kitchen – Buffet Style Or Plate and Serve

plate and serve - small kitchenWith limited counter space, it’s probably not the best idea to have a buffet style meal.

If you don’t have room to chat with people while you’re cooking, you probably don’t have enough room for guests to line up and get their food.

If you have the counter space to plate the meal yourself for each guest, that’s probably your best bet.

Otherwise, you can always pass serving dishes at the table and store them on the counter for people to get second helpings if they want.

Wouldn’t you agree these are great suggestions to follow in every kitchen, small or big?

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The 3 “B”s of Piedmont Wines: Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera

The 3 “B”s of Piedmont Wines: Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera

Without question, Italy is one of the most esteemed wine producing countries in the world and the Piedmont (Piemonte) region in northern Italy ranks near the top in terms of the quality of wines it produces. Any discussion of Piedmont wines would be incomplete without shining a spotlight on the 3 “B”s of this region – Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera.

A Tale of Two Grapes

Barolo and Barbaresco are produced from the same grape: Nebbiolo. This grape is a true diva. She is fussy and demanding and among the most difficult to grow. In fact, she refuses to flourish just about anywhere else in the world. (She even takes her name from the Italian word ‘nebbia’ for the fog that settles over the Piedmont region during the fall harvest). However, she delivers the goods in terms of the quality and complexity of wines produced from her.

As a result, she is highly prized by winemakers in the Piedmont region and the best growing areas and winemaking equipment are devoted to her. It’s not surprising, then, that her most famous offspring – Barolo and Barbaresco – are so highly revered. Born of privilege and prestige, they are content to make you wait, and wait, and wait, until they are ready to be savored and enjoyed.

On the other hand, the Barbera grape (also the name of the wine) is much more laid back and easy to accommodate. She is planted much more widely, but almost never on the highly coveted southern facing slopes that brought such prominence to the Piedmont region. Traditionally, the Barbera grape was planted for quantity, not quality, so her offspring became known as everyday drinking wines.

Barolo vs. Barbaresco: Wine Royalty

vineyars near Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy

vineyars near Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy

Although both hail from the rustic, yet sophisticated Piedmont region and are produced from the same grape, there are distinct differences between these two powerhouse wines.

Both are reigning monarchs of Piedmont’s most well known wines. (In fact, Barolo has been referred to as the ‘king of wine’). In general, Barolo is the more robust, complex and masculine of the two. It has been called “stern and imposing,” but that is open to interpretation. It is, however, weightier and more like a French Bordeaux than its counterpart. Barolos tend to cost more and age better, as well.

Like Barbaresco, Barolo is not a wine you’d want to drink while young because it is too severe. By law, it must age for a minimum of 3 years between barrel and bottle; 5 years for Barolo riserva. Many require significantly longer to reach their prime.

Barbaresco, on the other hand, is the more graceful of the two. She is softer, more balanced and matures earlier. Aging requirements for Barbaresco are 2 years between barrel and bottle and 4 years for Barbaresco riserva. Non-riserva wines require only one year of oak aging, resulting in its smooth, soft, and more feminine finish.

Both Barolo and Barbaresco pair well with foods that offer big flavors that can stand up to them. Robust meats, wild game, rich pastas and creamy risottos are all worthy partners.

Barbera: Piedmont’s Traditional Every Day Wine

Remember, Barbera is the name of both the grape and the wine. Historically, both have been treated more like ‘commoners’ when compared to their more royal Piedmont counterparts. Unlike the fussy Nebbiolo grape, Barbera is so adaptable it can thrive just about anywhere. In fact, it can now be found in wine growing regions all around the world.

It’s not hard to see why Barbera has long been referred to as the ‘people’s wine.’ The adaptability and high yield of this grape made it easy to cultivate for people of all social and economic standing. It has earned its reputation as a common wine, suitable for every table. Not surprisingly, Barbera is a wine that has graced the tables of hard working Italian families for generations.

Barbera is no shrinking violet, however. With its acidic, full body and deep rich color, it is a good match for the hearty flavors you’ll find on the average Italian family table. However, thanks to its laid back character – and the fact it can be enjoyed young – Barbera has gained more widespread appeal. It can now be found in the finest restaurants, as well as in the average family home.

No matter what you’re serving for dinner tonight, when it comes to choosing a bottle of wine to grace your table, look no further than the wines of the Piedmont region of Italy.

 

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Perfect Panna Cotta

Perfect Panna Cotta topped with strawberry sauce and a fresh strawberry

 

Panna Cotta is a classic northern Italian dessert with roots in the dairy-rich Piedmont region. Although it only takes a few minutes to prepare, it lends a sophisticated finish to any special meal or occasion. This recipe proves once again that a dish doesn’t have to be complicated to be out-of-this-world delicious.

 Here is what you will need

1/3 cup cold water

1 ½ tablespoons unflavored gelatin

2 cups heavy cream (you can use 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, can make for a creamer panna cotta)

2 cups half & half

½ cup honey or 1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Directions:

In a medium glass bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the cold water and let stand for 5 – 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the heavy cream, half & half and honey to a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until honey is dissolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Pour the warm mixture over the gelatin and stir until thoroughly dissolved.

Divide into wine goblets and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours before serving.

To serve, top with strawberry sauce, seasonal fresh berries, caramel sauce or drizzled with honey.

To make your Italian dessert a Mocha Panna Cotta: delete the vanilla extract and replace with 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder and top with shaved dark chocolate.

 

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