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

Boogie has conned me

I think I’ve been conned! Lately it is a challenge to get my kid to eat. To get him I have to actually cook his meat put it on a plate take it over to the prep area of my kitchen where I cut it up and feed it piece by piece by hand.

This morning is typical. I cooked him a steak yesterday he ate half then I put it in the refrigerator. When I took it out this morning cut off a piece of the cold steak and tried to feed to him he sniffed at it and gave me a dirty look that said, “Come on Mom” as he turned up his nose.

To get him to eat it I had to partly cook three pieces of bacon then put that steak into the bacon grease warm it up then put the steak and bacon on a plate. Take that plate over to the prep area of my kitchen cut steak into bite size piece off and feed it to him BY HAND. He likes the bacon too.  Then he goes over to his new bed and goes back to sleep.

After Breakfast Nap lowrez

 

That is really hard when my own breakfast is a cup of coffee with some breakfast crackers and I smell that meat cooking. I THINK I’VE BEEN CONNED!

Boogie sure knows how to get me to spoil him. I think I’ll soft scramble an egg for him tomorrow.

Whewwww Boogie does NOT have cancer

Listless Boogie lowrezHe isn’t out of the woods yet. His liver is still very inflamed. He will only eat little pieces of streak I cook for him and feed him by hand one piece at a time. He stays in his bed in the Florida room at my feet all the time. He is still very unsteady on his feet. When I take him out the front I have to keep him on a short leash or he will walk off the porch.

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.

Cooking again at last

For the last two weeks I haven’t been able to cook because I was remodeling my kitchen to better fit me. (Putting per-prepared food in the microwave is not cooking. I’m also using the word food very loosely.) The kitchen won’t be complete done until tomorrow or Monday. Only cosmetic things need to be done to the hood over the cooktop and the rack I’m having put in to store my pots and pans remains to be done. So, I actually cooked today. Here is a starting tour of my new kitchen.

This is the prep area.

New Prep Area lowrez

The counter tops are granite and only 25 ¼ inches high with space under them so I can get my wheelchair under them. (BTW the flag in the picture is my father’s who served in World War Two.)

I chose the low work surface height for two reasons. One so I can get as much leverage as possible. I don’t have a lot of upper body strength and it helps to bear down when trying to chop vegetables.

The second is for safety while actually cooking. A couple of months ago I was sautéing some chicken and the grease popped onto my face. The burns took three weeks to heal but I learned my lesson. Keep the cooktop as far away from my face as possible and be careful. So, I lowered the counter tops as much as I could.

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 would 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 them before I recommend them.

Power Strip Down lowrezPower 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.

My new kitchen lightening

Since I’ve found I enjoy cooking so much I’m modifying my kitchen to make it both more convenient and safer. The contractor got started on my kitchen mods Tuesday. So far only the lighting has been changed. But even that is amazing.
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Kitchen Lights Before lowrez

These two pictures show the change. I hadn’t realized how much this would change my kitchen lighting until I saw this before and after. I can now actually read the recipe when I cook from one.

Kitchen Lights After.

There are going to be more changes but I was so excited about this one I just had to post about the lighting change.

Spicy Lemongrass Salmon with Green Beans and Herb Rice

Finished Salmon #1 lowrea

This dish has lots of ingredients but it can be prepared quickly and is a good summer meal.

Ingredients for 2 servings

  • 2 skin-on Salmond Fillets
  • ½ cup Jasmine Rice
  • 4 oz. Green Beans
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 bunch Cilantro and Mint
  • 1 stalk Lemongrass
  • 2 Tbsp. Golden Mountain
  • 1-inch piece of Ginger
  • 1 Bird’s Eye Pepper
  • 1 Tbs. Rice Vinegar

Mise en place

  • Cut off and discard the stem end of the Green Beans.
  • Cut off and discard the stem of the Bell Pepper then slice lengthwise.
  • Peel and roughly chop the Garlic.
  • Pick the Cilantro and Mint leaves off the stems then roughly chop the leaves.
  • Chop off the Chile Pepper stem. These can be very spicy if you leave the seeds in. But don’t do like I did and remove all the seeds. Carefully taste before you do that or this won’t be “Spicy Salmon.”
  • Cut off and peel the Lemongrass to the flexible white core then finely chop this.

Cooking

  • To a small pot add 1 cup of water, the Rice, and a big pinch of salt. When it boils cover, and reduce the heat to low. After 12 minutes and the water is absorbed fluff the rice and move to a serving dish
  • To a large pan heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil until it is hot. Then add the Green Beans, Bell Pepper. Ginger, Lemongrass, and Garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes stirring frequently.
  • Add the Golden Mountain Sauce, Vinigar, and as much of the Chile Pepper as you’d like. Season with salt and pepper and move to a serving dish.
  • Pat the Salmon Fillets dry the season with salt and pepper. Add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. When it is hot then add the Salmon skin side down and cook for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add half the Mint and Cilantro to the bowl of rice.

Plate your meal.

Finished Salmon#2 lowrez

Top the salmon to some of the sauce from the vegetables then garnish with the remaining Cilantro and Mint. ENJOY!