Many of our clients are renovating a kitchen for the first time. As we get acquainted, we like to focus on discussing the renovation process and make sure they are prepared for the road ahead. Typical questions revolve around processes, schedules and budgets.
Recently, I was with a client who asked a question I have never received before: “What should we avoid doing?”
It was a terrific question, one I didn’t have an answer for. And as I spent time thinking, I realized there are three common design obstacles homeowners create for themselves are focusing on:
Desired storage features
Good design totals more than the sum of the parts. However, many will focus on each piece separately. They will select Counter A from this supplier and Backsplash B from another and hoping they will add up to a beautiful design. The end result is a mismatch that doesn’t tell a cohesive “design story.”
Solution- Focus on the “feel” of a space, and let your design team source the individual elements to tell that story.
Just like designing around individual components, laying out a kitchen is not as simple as finding a home for each item. We want to create a space that functions in many different settings and for a few specific workflow patterns.
Many homeowners can be resistant to change, especially if they have spent a few years in the home and have developed patterns for cooking and entertaining.
Solution- Keep an open mind to ideas presented by your design team, and give them time to sink in. For example, consider the big picture of the space. and the total gains by making a recommended change.
Desired Storage Features
Maybe it’s a cool gadget you saw in a showroom, or a nifty storage feature from your neighbors home- and you have to have it! These features are good solutions designed for a specific problem; fortunately, it is a problem you don’t have.
Forcing these magic corners and slim pantry pullouts can wreak havoc on a design. They cut down the function of your storage, as well as the flow of your space.
Solution- Let these features come organically. Create the best design with the most efficient storage, and use the complicated mechanisms as solutions when necessary.
October is finally here and that can only mean one thing…
There’s just something comforting about the warm spiced smell of pumpkin. We can hardly wait to get in the kitchen to whip up some pumpkin specialties to celebrate the change of seasons and the celebrations of all things fall.
We assembled a list of recipe favorites to bring pumpkin flavor to the table for breakfast lunch and dinner. These are perfect for the pumpkin enthusiast and Halloween party-goer alike.
Cut the tops off the mini pumpkins about one-third of the way down the pumpkin so that the top makes a nice lid but the center of the lower half is deep enough to hold an egg. Scoop out the seeds and use a spoon to scrape away any of the membranes to make a nice smooth bowl. Cover the stems with foil. Place the pumpkins on a foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down. Set aside.
With a chef’s knife or a knife that you are comfortable handling, carefully cut the red kuri or butternut squash into sections. Remove the seeds and stem. Microwave the squash sections to soften them and make them easier to dice, about 3 to 3½ minutes. Peel the squash and dice it into ½ inch diced pieces.
Toss the diced squash with the finely diced onion and diced bacon. Remove any of the large pieces of bacon fat, if desired.
Whisk together the vegetable oil, balsamic vinegar, chili flakes, garlic.
Pour vinaigrette over the squash mixture a little at a time and toss until the squash is well coated. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and toss again. Generously season with salt and pepper.
Turn the squash mixture out onto the foil covered baking sheet and spread out evenly.
Bake the pumpkins and the squash together for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven. Quickly brush the inside of the pumpkins with a little of the leftover vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Crack one egg into the center of each pumpkin. Return the baking sheet to the oven before the pumpkins cool down and continue baking until the eggs are sunny side up, or set whites with runny yolk, about 6 to 8 minutes (check after 4 minutes and keep a close eye on them).
Remove the pumpkins and the bacon and roasted squash hash from the oven, the eggs will continue to cook a little bit more inside the hot pumpkins.
To serve, spoon the hash onto plates and nestle the pumpkins in the center. Lean on top of a pumpkin on each pumpkin.
Cut your pumpkin in half or into fourths and reserve the pumpkin seeds for later. Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet and rub the pumpkin with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Chop off the top portion of the garlic head to reveal cloves. Peel any excess paper/skin off from the bulb of garlic. Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil on top the garlic cloves and cover with foil. Roast both the pumpkin and garlic together on the same baking sheet for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is fork tender and the garlic golden brown and soft. Remove from the oven and allow everything to cool five minutes. Squeeze garlic out of the paper skin into a small bowl and mash well with a fork, set aside.
Grab the pumpkin and add it to a food processor (or mash extremely well) and puree with 1 cup of the chicken broth, puree until completely smooth.
Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the butter and shallots. Saute the shallots until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and cook another 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin puree, remaining chicken, coconut milk, water, cayenne, nutmeg, maple syrup and crushed red pepper. Bring the soup to a low simmer and simmer 15-20 minutes.
While the soup cooks make the pesto. Add the roasted garlic, parsley, sage, and pistachios to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and then stream in the olive oil. Add the cheese and pulse a few more time until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
To fry the pumpkin seeds. Add the reserved pumpkin seeds to a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon coconut milk and 1 tablespoon flour. In a small bowl combine the chipotle chili powder, pepper, and brown sugar. Place a skillet on the stove top and set to medium heat, add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the pumpkin seeds into the pan, but be careful! Stir the pumpkin seeds around in the skillet with a spoon or spatula continuously until they expand and start to brown. Once the seeds are browned remove from the skillet and place on a paper towel to drain. Toss with the chili powder and a good pinch of salt. Taste and season accordingly.
To assemble the soup, ladle the soup into bowls (or your roasted pumpkins) and top each bowl with a dollop of pesto, a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and if desired drizzle with coconut milk. Start slurpin!
To make the roasted pumpkin soup bowls. Remove the tops of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Rub the insides of the pumpkins with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes or just until soft to touch but not falling in.
*Winter squash such as Hubbard, red kuri or butternut make fine substitutes for the pumpkin. One sugar pumpkin yields about two cups of flesh.
3½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
5 large eggs lightly beaten
4 T. unsalted butter
8 fresh sage leaves
¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano
For the filling:
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and discard. Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil on a baking sheet. Season inside of the pumpkin with salt and place cut side down. Roast for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserts easily through the skin into the flesh. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Scoop out flesh and place in a bowl. Add the two cups of cheese and season with salt to taste. Mix to combine. Taste and add more salt until the mixture tastes well seasoned — there is no salt in the dough, so this is your only chance to season the ravioli. Add the eggs and mix to combine. Set aside.
For the dough:
Mound flour in the center of a medium-sized bowl. Make a well in the center of the mound of flour. Add the eggs to the center. Using a fork, beat the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well. When the eggs are almost completely incorporated, start kneading the dough in the bowl and then transfer to a large, lightly floured wooden board and continue to knead for 10 minutes, dusting the board with additional flour as necessary. The dough should feel elastic and a little sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature before using.
To make the ravioli, divide the dough into 4 pieces. Keep the dough covered with plastic wrap at all times. Lightly flour one of the pieces of dough, and shape into a rectangle about ½-inch thick.
Pass through the widest setting on a pasta machine. Fold the dough in three, like a letter, and pass through the same setting again feeding the short end in first. Repeat this step 2 times, adding flour as needed.
Without folding the dough now, repeatedly pass it through the machine rollers, reducing the space between the rollers after each pass. When it has passed through the thinnest setting, it is ready to be shaped into ravioli. (If the dough gets too long and difficult to deal with, cut it in half and feed each piece through separately until each has passed through the thinnest setting).
The dough should be just less than 6 inches wide. On the bottom half of the dough, place heaping teaspoons of the squash filling, evenly spaced every 1½ inches. Fold top half of dough over bottom half. With a knife or fluted roller, cut between each mound to create the individual ravioli. Gently pinch to seal the two dough layers together, using a tiny bit of water if necessary. Transfer to a baking sheet dusted with flour and cover with plastic wrap while you shape the remaining sections of dough.
At this point, decide how many ravioli you want to cook, and then freeze any remaining: Do not store ravioli in the refrigerator — they become a soggy mess.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Place butter in a small sauté pan and heat until it bubbles. Add the sage leaves and let sizzle until crisp, about 1-2 minutes total. Turn off the heat, remove leaves with tongs and drain on a paper towel. Set aside. When water boils, add ravioli and cook until tender about 2-3 minutes (frozen ravioli also take only about 3 minutes). When ravioli are done, drain, or remove with a spider, but do not rinse under cold water. Place ravioli on a serving platter. Heat butter again until hot and begins to brown. Return the sage leaves and then spoon brown-butter over ravioli. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.
Before you make a single change, you’ll need a strong idea of what you want to accomplish out of your remodel. With so many different style and function options to choose from, the possibilities are endless.
Design doesn’t have to be complicated!
We put together a list of our favorite resources to get you started.
Design doesn’t always play by the rules and House Beautiful is a great place to get inspired! They always showcase design inspiration and projects that help readers plan their dream kitchens from the bottom-up. Their articles are also great ways to brush up on your design lingo to help you partner up with the design team that’ll help make all the kitchen magic happen.
On CocoCozy, you’ll be able to cut right to the section that you’re looking for. There’s tons of inspiration with lots of pictures to help you compare styles to customize your big project. This blog also has some helpful tips from pro-designers to help you every step along the way.
While we all dream of that immaculate all white kitchen, practicality is what’s really at the forefront of every design. Dwell gives you awesome design inspiration that’s not only gorgeous but also livable. You can scroll for hours through jaw dropping kitchens that can actually keep up with your busy lifestyle.
While we don’t think twice about our kitchen containers, there are a few fun facts about Tupperware that might just surprise you.
1.The first Tupperware models were actually called Wonder Bowls.
Earl Tupper was a passionate inventor that didn’t make his big break until the 1940’s. After the Depression, he found himself working at a plastic factory that inspired him to set out to use the plastic for different things. With some trial and error, the Wonder Bowl made its debut in the 1940’s.
2. The Tupperware bowls made it to the Museum of Modern Art in 1956
As the Tupperware containers of the 1950’s married form and function, their design elements really set them apart from other kitchen gadgets of its time. By 1956, the Museum of Modern Art had Tupperware displays and there was a bustling retail location on New York City’s cosmopolitan 5th Avenue.
3. A housewife saved the Tupperware company.
The Tupperware container as we know it almost didn’t take off. Earl Tupper was a master inventor but was a horrible salesman. A divorced, single mom with an 8th-grade education decided to sell Tupperware instead of brooms and sales soared. Her secret to success were parties in the suburbs where she introduced other housewives to the product and all its modern conveniences.
4. In the 90’s, some containers featured Braille.
In the early 90’s, Tupperware sought to make the brand more inclusive. They released a line of containers that featured Braille volume indications on the bottom. They were the first storage container to ever feature Braille.
So before you dig in to last night’s spaghetti, take the opportunity to marvel at the invention in your hands!
Although Tupperware containers don’t have the fame they once had, they’re still an important piece of kitchen history. Without the innovation of a plastic factory employee and a housewife with a vision, the leftovers game might have changed as we know it!
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East Hill Cabinetry
305 Central Avenue
White Plains NY 10606