Connect with us

Tips & Advice

Chef Karen Davison Shares the Best Kitchen Organization Methods

Published

on

A cluttered, almost overflowing kitchen is a recipe for aggravation. You open one cabinet and are met with row after row of Tupperware. You pull out a pot, everything else in the general vicinity comes crashing down, leaving you with some tidying up to do and ringing ears.

To regain control of your kitchen, it is crucial that you mull over how you can improve its overall organization from top to bottom, drawer by drawer, because it will do you a world of good and allow you to concentrate on the actual cooking.

Karen Davison, a professional chef from Plano, Texas, who has worked in various kitchens, restaurants, and roles throughout the United States, has cooked up some chef-inspired tips and advice to help you better organize your kitchen.

Start with the Cabinets and Drawers

First, walk over to each cabinet and empty its contents, Karen Davison suggests, taking note of what can be disposed of or donated. While you might be sentimental about that container that has been a superb servant over the years, there are likely a few identical items that can fill in the void. Approach your drawers with a similar no-nonsense demeanor and begin arranging all of the items on the floor, grouping them into categories like baking essentials, cooking utensils, glassware, etc. Then, with everything lying in front of you, consider a storing strategy and choose a resting place for each individual item. For example, utensils might be situated specifically near the food preparation area or the glassware can be arranged on a shelf closer to the refrigerator.

Crank Up the Creativity

Now, as you have progressed to the next step of re-stocking and re-filling those spaces that you emptied, it’s time to inject some creativity into the proceedings, Karen Davison states. Utilize containers to hold items that generally become separated and scattered, such as packets of sauce mixes, tea bags, oatmeal, and hot cocoa envelopes. Food that is packaged in mini boxes can be stored in clear plastic shoeboxes to the same effect. Another way to maximize space is by combining lids and containers together, assuming you can actually locate the matching pieces. If not, you can always keep the lids neatly stacked in one separate container. Your pots and pans should also have their proper lids resting on top of them. Finally, take advantage of the vertical space at your disposal, as hooks can be installed beneath cabinets and used to hold mugs above the countertop. Extra space within the cabinets themselves can provide you the option of putting hooks on the inside of cabinet doors as well. A rack is a terrific way to free up more space because you can hang your pots and pans on it or even use it for your collection of spices.

Refrigerator Ransacking

Before that one day of the week in which you put out your trash for pick up, have a look at your refrigerator’s contents and toss out whatever isn’t necessary, Karen Davison says. Expiration dates, on that languishing carton of milk in particular, will be an obvious priority, but you can also donate the food that is not expected to be sought out by anyone in the near future. A few minutes dedicated to this action will eliminate all of the extra items that eat up precious volume in your refrigerator and preserve the space for your freshly-purchased groceries. Go through the freezer section, too.

Re-Stocking the Refrigerator

To ensure your kitchen remains organized, research what foods last longer in the fridge or freezer and which foods can be left outside its cooling effects. By doing this, you will waste less food, store your ingredients expertly, and simplify your grocery shopping routine because you essentially have a means of tracking inventory, says Karen Davison. When you do put items into the fridge, be aware that there are suitable spots for different types of food. Your upper shelf should be somewhat reserved for dairy products because that is where the temperature is most consistent. Avoid storing eggs in the fridge door, seeing as how that is the warmest part of the refrigerator. Store your vegetables in the crisper drawer and a safe distance away from fruits that produce ethylene, like apples. At the bottom of the fridge, where it’s coldest, your meat can sit comfortably and prevent any potential leaks from contaminating other foods. One last chef-inspired tip on organizing your refrigerator: position the most recently cooked food behind earlier leftovers, as it will ensure everything is eaten in a timely manner.

Stick to Your Zones

Much like the cabinets and drawers that are now storing certain items, your other kitchen zones need to be finalized, Karen Davison points out. Your countertop must have an appropriate area for the prep work involved in cooking, another one for the coffee maker and kettle, and of course, a spot reserved for the microwave. To make all of your zones highly effective, do your best to keep the ingredients, items, and foods that correlate to these areas in a close proximity to each other. Some ideas for your zones can be: everyday items (plates, bowls, cups, cutlery, and glassware), cooking items (pots, pans, dishes, cutting boards, wooden spoons, measuring cups, spatulas, mixing bowls, and other baking essentials), pantry (dry goods, spices, and larger kitchen tools), accessories and storage (Tupperware, food wrap, Ziploc bags, tin foil, and food storage), coffee and bar (coffee cups, pods, coffee accessories, a Keurig, coffee pot, wine glasses, shot glasses, and other glassware) and beneath the sink (cleaning supplies, additional hand soap, garbage bags).

Don’t Deviate, Says Karen Davison

You have developed a fine system to organize your kitchen, but it is vital that you are constantly sticking to it and maintaining an organized area. After you have become comfortable and are prepared to add to it, you can up the creativity yet again. Perhaps you are suddenly seeking some rotating trays to hold your oils, vinegars, spices, vitamins, medications, or other cooking ingredients. Maybe a drawer divider caught your eye during a recent shopping spree. Or you can’t resist purchasing that lazy-Susan that has been on your mind. Remember, it’s your kitchen; own it.

Continue Reading

Tips & Advice

How an Internet Video got me Cleaning my Toaster with a Hair Dryer

Published

on

By

It is always exciting to find out how home appliances often come in handy in the most unexpected ways. 

From hand vacuuming your microwave to get rid of crumbs to cleaning greasy cabinets with a steamer, and as I recently discovered, cleaning dirty toasters with a blow dryer. 

Household appliances have always done more than their job descriptions required, but it is not every day that an appliance crosses over from the dressing table to the kitchen.  

But as online influencer Jessica Haizman proved, what’s good for your dressing table can sometimes be good for your kitchen.

Haizman took to TikTok to show case an interesting way to clean up a filthy toaster. It takes only three steps, and it seemed to work. 

I had not deep cleaned my toaster in all its years of service, so I was eager to give it a shot. What made me even more excited about the project was that according to the video, I already had all the tools I needed to execute the job. I was ready to do it. 

Haizman first suggested using a microfiber cloth to help dislodge bigger particles inside the toaster slot. If the microfiber cloth is dry, it should be easy to push the crumbs so that they fall into the tray. I tried that part and found it was not too hard. 

Now I just had to get rid of the bigger particles once and for all by removing the tray from the toaster and washing it in the sink before drying it on the dish rack. This part was not difficult either. 

By now you are probably wondering how the blow dryer comes in. This part is a little more complicated, but the main idea is that you are blowing the air downward in order to force out the debris lodged inside the toaster. These particles would be hard to get out any other way. 

The good news is that it worked. The particles stuck inside the toaster did come out. The bad news? They ended up scattered across my kitchen floor and counter.

If you want to avoid this, you can hold your toaster upside over the trash can and proceed to shake it gently until the crumbs budge. 

After that, you can use the blow dryer to remove any small particles still stuck inside the toaster. Do this over the trash can to avoid a mess. Use a low setting. 

After you have finished removing the crumbs, you can now wipe down the toaster’s outer walls using water with some white vinegar in it. This will remove all the grime and grease on the surface.

The results? Even though there are still some rusty looking spots, my toaster looks a lot younger and shiner. Now if you will excuse me, I need to clean all the bits of toast scattered across my kitchen counters. 

Continue Reading

Tips & Advice

Know your Way about Butter-Rich Pasta

Published

on

By

Pasta and butter are two of the most compatible food ingredients you can use in your kitchen. Here are some sure-fire ways to bring together butter and pasta for a delicious and comforting dish. 

It wasn’t too long ago that nobody wanted to cook with butter. Low-fat yoghurt or Velveeta was a more popular choice than butter. 

Now that people have developed a better appreciation for the qualities of butter, we can enjoy the full flavor and creamy texture that butter brings to any dish. 

Many chefs find that they cannot do without butter in their kitchen sink, and we are no exception. Now, butter is an essential ingredient in any pasta dishes. 

Indeed, Northern Italians who are blessed with cool climate and plenty of cattle they use a generous serving of butter in their pasta.

Butter sauces are great. But you can do a lot more with butter. Adding it to a meaty sauce or incorporating it into a ravioli filling makes the dish ultimately more satisfying and creamy as well as balances out flavors. 

Using butter in caramelized onions to accompany your pasta is a great way to turn pasta into a filling and comforting winter dish. Caramelized onions are both savory and sweet in a good way. To make it perfect, use a generous amount of Kerrygold butter.

Here are some of our best pasta-butter combinations for every season:

Butter in Sauces

There is something about butter melting on pasta that brings to life adult comforts and childhood dreams. Butter and parmesan go really well with spaghetti, but they are even better combined with pasta stuffing because they do so much to bring out the delicious flavors of the cheeses, proteins, and vegetables. 

It really doesn’t matter whether you prefer to add it to your pasta water, cook the butter until it is golden, or add some fresh herbs for extra flavor. Butter never disappoints when you use it to dress tortellini, ravioli, as well as agnolotti.

Butter for Finishing Touches

A little butter added to a dish gives it that extra je ne sais quoi that is missing. Turn to butter to give a meat sauce that missing something that makes it that much better in terms of richness and holds it all together. 

After preparing a creamy sauce, turn off the heat and beat in some cold butter to make the soup smooth and velvety.

When you are preparing a tomato sauce, you might find that a little butter keeps it from being too acidic and makes it smoother but not too heavy. 

Even your store-bought sauces could do better with some butter.

Butter as a Flavor Carrier

Herbs have a way of upgrading the basics you have in your panty. From roasted garlic, chiles, parmesan, fresh herbs, steak, toast, and pretty much anything else. Even truffles. Butter has a way of making the things you love even better. 

Butter for Pasta Filling

Once you get a taste of pasta filling with butter, you won’t want to have it any other way. Adding plenty of brown butter to your squash, cheese, meat, or sweet corn pasta filling makes it that much more creamy and irresistible. 

Continue Reading

Tips & Advice

6 Essentials for Putting Together the Perfect Home Bar

Published

on

By

Now that we know we won’t be going to bars for a while, it might be a good time to think about doing something to give yourself the bar experience at home. 

We want to make this easy for you, and this is why we are putting together this list of bar carts and other bar essentials for your home. There has never been a better year to invest in a bar. 

So here goes:

Bar Cart Over $200: Mid-Century Bar Cart

This classic mid-century inspired bar cart got some of the best reviews from experts for good reasons. It is a fine looking cart that you will be sorry not to be able to show it off. 

Bar Cart Under $200: Made by Design Round Utility Cart

This cart has already garnered lots of excellent reviews for its pretty look, practicality, and friendly price. The Made by Design Round utility cart is also versatile enough that it can be repurposed into different uses. 

Blender for Margaritas: Vitamix E310

This one is expensive, but it does offer the best in terms of the consistency of blended drinks and textures. If you want to save yourself the trouble of trying and failing with different blenders, you want to go for the Vitamix. It is worth the price. 

Wine Fridge: Ivation 18-Bottle Wine and Beverage Cooler

This one is for people who don’t have a wine cellar in their homes. A mini fridge capable of holding 18 bottles is the next best thing. Even better, this fridge is compact enough to fit in small spaces. 

The cooler protects drinks from UV light with it’s double-paned glass doors and it’s temperature ranges from 41°F to 64°F.

Kegerator: Insignia Kegerator

If you love draft beer, you want to gift yourself this kegerator. The best thing about the Insignia Kegerator is that it offers a quality comparable to other options in the market but at a lower price. 

Electric Ice Maker: GE Opal Nugget Countertop Ice Maker

Nugget ice may not be as popular as King Cube Ice Trays, but it really comes in handy with mint juleps, rum, as well as cokes. 

The machine cranks out crunchy ice, freeing you from having to get ice from a gas station. 

Continue Reading

Trending