My new kitchen

 I’ve been trying to publish this post since early March but I keep getting sidetracked by real life. But maybe today March 24. YES, I finished the writing. Now to publish it on my blog site! So, WELCOME to my new kitchen! Please leave comments and let me know what you think.

Since I now enjoy cooking and spend three days a week cooking Blue Apron meals it made sense to modify it to better fit my needs. Here is a tour of my new kitchen.

Pot rack lowrez

I’m beginning to accumulate quite a few pots and pans so I made a hanging rod for them. Unlike most pot racks in other kitchens this one is close to the floor and made so I can get under it to use it.

When I did the original planning, I had supports running straight down to the floor. My contractor (Daniel’s Home Services) has done things for me for me for me for a long time. So, he knows my needs and built it with angled supports to the wall. Now I can get under its full length and to use it.

Cooking area from left lowrez

 The oven is both higher and lower than those in standard kitchens. It is too risky to reach over the open oven door.

I thought of getting an oven that opens to the side or up. But I have to wear a wig and one of the risks is the heat from an oven can quickly melt the acrylics that used in them. That is sure something you don’t want to risk happening. So, I chose go use a standard front and down opening oven.

Safety is a big consideration when you try to use an oven from a wheelchair. I don’t have a lot of upper body strength so I can’t carry a hot pan of food across the room. That is why I chose real granite counter tops. I need to be able to set a pan down right away and not worry about melting the counter top. In the past I’ve tried just setting pans on a piece of ceramic tile on a plastic counter. Sadly, that doesn’t work too well the tile is always slipping and a four-hundred-degree pan of food in your lap is not a pleasant happening.

I also added some more counter space and a way under it so I could get closer to the oven. That is another safety consideration so I don’t have to reach too far from my chair.

Cooking Area Hood lowrez

Since I do a lot of cooking I installed a real hood vented to the outside.

Hood Controls 1 lowrezA problem I foresaw was how to reach the hood controls. Daniel (Daniel’s Home Services) contracted the manufacture got another set of controls and installed them on the side of the oven enclosure for me. This helps a lot since I don’t reach above my head as well. I got a pleasant surprise when I started using the hood. One of the buttons is a timer that will turn off the lights or the fan after delaying a minute.

Cooking area From right lowrez

I know, I know most serious cooks use a gas stove top. While I would like the control, gas gives you I am not the neatest person stirring a pot on the cooktop. I didn’t want to spend hours trying to clean pasta sauce out of all the nooks and crannies of a gas cooktop.  Cooking is fun but cleaning up isn’t!

Low Counters lowrezI made the counter tops even lower than they are in many adapted kitchens because of safety concerns gained through experience. A few months ago I was sauteing some chicken and hot greese poped on my face. I couldn’t lower the counters much but I learned my lesson. Every little bit helps.

Sink 2 lowrez

Sink 3 lowrezAfter seventeen years my old white plastic sink was getting rather stained and shabby so I went with a stainless steel under mount. I am sure glad I did. The under mount design gives me enough counter space to to keep things like detergent and sponges in easy reach. Something you can’t see is the new heavy-duty garbage disposer I have. The old one would have worn out soon so I replaced it. I can hardly hear the new one!

Sink shelf lowrezI added a shelf next to the sink to keep my water filter on. It is lower than the sink because I need to dump it out once a week so I can use the sink counter as a fulcrum to bear against and not have to pick up the heavy filter when it is full of water.

Prep 2 lowrez

Most of my time is spent in the preparation area. Here the extra low counters came in very handy. I don’t have a lot of upper body strength but it helps to be able to bear down more.

Prep 1 lowrezHint: Use a pair of clothing scissors instead of kitchen shears. The light weight of much of the plastic used on many ingredients is too fine for many kitchen shears.

My old pantry was just too small so I added a storage area in what was originally intended for the dining area.

Storage New Left lowrez

Storage Right lowrez
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Dog Band lowrezNow I even have enough space to put out my wooden carved dog band.

Strorage Box lowrezI still store most of my food in boxes along the living room wall. I need a lot of space to get to things and it is just too convenient to spread things out. Plus, I order my stapes food from the Amazon Prime Pantry so I don’t have to move it far when UPS or FedEx delivers it.

Kitchen Light New Kitchen lowrez

Lighting in my old kitchen was so dim at times I could hardly read recipes. So, I added a LOT more light. Now I have enough and even the hood has lights. Yes, that is Santa on the half wall. I like him so he guards my sink all year.

Power Power Power

A modern kitchen really needs many power outlets. I was going to put power strips in several places around the counters. They use a lot of space, didn’t look particularly good, and would have been in the way. My contractor found these popup power strips. If you’ve never seen these before I recommend them.

 

 Power Strip Down lowrez  Power Strip Up lowrez

 

Simply press on the silver button it pops up then just pull the power strip out of the counter top. Plug your mixer, juicer, or other electrical appliance in. Then when you are finished unplug it and the power strip disappears back into the counter. As a bonus it also includes two USB ports so you can plug your phone in. I’ve found this very useful since I like to listen to podcasts while copping vegetables and I still come away with a fully charged phone.

COOKING

First Meal Spicy Fettuccini and Beef Bolognese with Zucchini lowrez

A kitchen is for cooking so I the first meal prepared was my version of Blue Apron’s Spicy Fettuccini and Beef Bolognese with Zucchini.

Since it took me so long to post this I’ve cooked a lot in my new kitchen. Its wonderful to have a kitchen that finally fits me.

Christina Revisited lowrez

Cross your fingers – Cheese-it Crackers, and Parmesan-Crusted Steak with Pink Lemon, Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli Day 2

Boogie 1 lowrez
Happier Days

These pictures of my Buddy Boogie may seem like a strange way to start a cooking post but it has a surprising and nice purpose.

I have been working on my new kitchen for the last month. So yesterday when it was finished should have been a joyous day in my life. But last weekend things took a very troubling and unexpected turn.

Listless Boogie lowrez
Listless Boogie

My pal Boogie lost a LOT of weight and got very listless. I took him to Animal Medical and Surgical Center Monday and the prognosis was not good. They did an ultra sound, a biopsy, and other tests of Boogie’s bad liver. It was either cirrhosis or cancer of the liver.

I finally got to bring Boogie home Friday about noon with a lot of medicine and special dog food. What the vet told me to watch out for was whether Boogie would eat or not. This is where Cheese-it crackers and Parmesan-Crusted Steak with Pink Lemon, Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli Day 2 come in.

I was very upset so to take my mind off the sickness of my best friend I decided to cook a Blue Apron meal. It almost worked for me but then Boogie would not eat that evening. I eventually went to bed but not to sleep.

Saturday he still wouldn’t eat and I couldn’t even give him his medicine. He just turned up his nose at the vet supplied dog food. I even tried warming some of the liver food up in the microwave to a little over room temperature. (You want to smell something that stinks. Try that!) Out of desperation I tried some Cheese-it Crackers. Boogie has always liked them. Surprise, surprise he would eat them as long as I gave them to him one at a time and not too many at once. I could even give him his liquid medicines by putting some of the medicine on the crackers and letting it soak in.

Parmesan-Crusted Steak with Pink Lemon, Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli 1 (1) lowrezThat still left his pills. I warmed up some of the left-over Parmesan-Crusted Steak with Pink Lemon, Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli I had fixed the day before for my lunch. That gave me an idea! It turns out making a little ball from peanut butter along with the pill and a small piece of steak works great for giving solid medicine to a fur baby. They don’t notice the pill if there is a small piece of steak in the peanut butter.

Ok, Lunch with wine, I like to post!

Lunch wine #1 Low rez

I am doing all this “gourmet” cooking so I though to really finish the meal I needed a good wine. So I ordered the Blue Apron” wine service. This is the first lunch I made with wine. For years I’ve wanted to learn about wine so I thought this was a good time.

It is a room temperature Barley salad (Carrots, Vidalia Onions, Greek Yogurt, and Pearled Barley cooked then cooled to room temperature), with a cold marinated cucumber salad (Cucumber., Honey, Fresh Tarragon, and White Wine Vinegar), and a side of Pad Thia noodles with chicken.

The wine is a Palmina Sangioverse from a vineyard East of San Francisco.

Why I’m changing the focus of this blog to cooking.

Header for blog

I’m here to restart and change the focus of a blog I started in 2015 but let languish in 2016. I have a new and unexpected passion in my life- COOKING!

I’m trying to become something of a gourmet cook. If you look at some of the dishes I’ve made I’m on my way. I’ll add more pictures of dishes I’ve made in future posts. Maybe all those years of watching the Food Channel haven’t been wasted. Thanks to trying it out with “Blue Apron” ( https://www.blueapron.com ) I’ve found I can actually do it!

It’s been a dream of mine to become a gourmet amateur chef for years. But I didn’t think I could because I must cook sitting down. If I need to move some chopped garlic from the prep area to the stove I must carry it in my wheelchair to the stove.

That gives me the difference that will make my blog stand out from the thousands of other cooking blogs on the web. If you do a search just using the key word “cooking” you get over seventeen million hits. But when you add modifiers like “cooking disabled” or “cooking sitting down” you find very little. Maybe my blog on cooking sitting down can fill that niche.

Opening picture my Asparagus and Arugula Pesto Pizza with Pink Lemon Ricotta

 

Next time accommodating the Oven and Cooktop.

My savior Blue Apron

Steak#2 Cooked v3.jpgFor months, I tried going purely vegetarian both because I did not like the way animals were treated ethically and the added hormones and other chemicals used by commercial meat producers and even produce farms in the US. Beside that doctors always say a meatless diet is healthier.

Sadly, I was having almost constant headaches and did not feel that well in general.  Then there were the ethical problems, hormones, and other chemicals used by commercial farms.

So, I decided to try Blue Apron about five months ago. The produce is fresh and produced without all the chemicals added. The meats and other animal products are not commercially produced with all the hormones and other chemicals added.  It’s taken awhile but now the headaches are going away and I’m feeling both physically and ethically better.

The picture above is my latest effort. It is Seared Steak and Fingerling Potatoes with Charred Onions and Butter Lettuce Salad.  The salad was dressed using a combination of Blue Cheese, Dion Mustard, Crème Fresh, and Verjus Rougeand topped with Chopped Wallnuts.