In the next 12 hours, Snowmageddon 2011 is set to hit our area. IceForce 1 (a local sanding truck) and Meltdown 20 (Apparently THE name in snow melting material) are ready to go the instant a first frozen drop of rain falls from the sky. Supposedly the state of Wisconsin donated a super-expensive snow blower to our metro area for the week and trucks are on stand-by as far as six hours away. Considering Super Bowl 45 is in our back yard this year (figuratively, not literally), football fans combined with icy conditions in a state used to warm, dry roads could make for an interesting week.
The last (and only…to date) snow storm that hit our area left casa de phillips with a whopping .2 inches of powdery snow on the ground. Said .2 inches dried up before naptime could even come to an end that day.
Fingers are crossed that something significant falls from the sky tomorrow.
I do not know what it is about snow/ice/inclement weather, but such conditions make me want to bake up a storm in the kitchen. Although said baking does not coincide well with my attempt to lose some holiday weight, it still is quite comforting to whip up a batch of muffins or cookies while the snow falls silently outside (or in our state’s case…while the ice hits the trees and ground in a noisy, dramatic manner).
As I make plans for tomorrow’s Snowmageddon, I wanted to share some tools in the kitchen that I find to be essential. Of course, there are the obvious ones of an oven and microwave and the more select of a center island and gas stove top (both new to me with this house and both on my list of requirements for any living space from now on). Aside from those standards, here are a few kitchen essentials for casa de phillips.
- The Small Bowl. I have been a fan of cooking shows/demonstrations since I was little. On sick days home from school, I would plop myself in front of the morning talk show junket, in hopes of catching a cooking segment. On television, chefs always use small prep bowls to hold ingredients that the can effortlessly toss in at just the right moment in their cooking process. Although such a style of cooking is not very efficient in the home kitchen, those little bowls have many uses. I have several sets of bowls that I use for a variety of things. Sometimes they hold condiments that pair with our meal (for example, last week I served baked potatoes for dinner and the bowls held bacon, chives, cheese, and sour cream), other times the bowls hold a portion of fruit on a plate and still other times they hold a serving of yogurt or applesauce for the kids. I do use the bowls in the cooking process as well, often times to hold a scoop of flour to dust a pastry mat with or a side of marinade that I have reserved for later.
- The Pastry Mat. A few years ago I taught myself how to work with yeast. I learned how to make a variety of bisquits, pizza crusts and breads from scratch. This type of baking involves quite a bit of flour and a whole lot of mess. There is little I detest more than scraping stuck pieces of half-wet flour off of my counter tops. Enter: The Pastry Mat. I have a large green mat that I lay over the kitchen island whenever I am making a bread product. I can easily roll the food out and remove items from the mat. When clean-up time rolls around, I simply roll up the mat and walk it over to the sink where all the bits of flour and dough can be washed effortlessly down the drain.
- Small Milk Pitchers. On the typical day, breakfast is not a fancy ordeal here at casa de philips. The children get to pick (within reason) what they would like to eat. On school mornings, I attempt to have breakfast on the table ready for their little mouths once they wander down from their rooms. A lot of times the kids will eat cereal, paired with fruit or yogurt. Rather than standing at their beck and call when they need milk added to their cereal, they are each given a little pitcher of milk to use. This helps them practice their pouring technique and it gives me a chance to eat my own breakfast and accomplish something like unloading the dishwasher or getting their bags ready for school.
- Mini Spatula. I believe a few years ago, my Mother-in-Law gave the children two little rubber spatulas for Christmas. Those spatulas now live in my utensil drawer where they are used on a very regular basis. They are the perfect tool for scrambling eggs, they come in handy when I need to make a small amount of sauce and they have been known to stir a glass or two of chocolate milk. Their small size does not take up very much room in my utensil drawer and they wash up nicely in the dishwasher.
What tools are essential in your home kitchen?