A Crowded Kitchen, Are __ Appliances too Many?

by Anne Maxfield on June 29, 2015

Accidental Locavore CannerThe Accidental Locavore was the lucky recipient of the new Ball freshTech Electric Water Bath Canner and Multi Cooker to try out. I’m hoping it will make a mad canner out of me and the fear of preserving will be a thing of the past! It’s beautiful and it’s big – make that huge. Since it arrived, I’ve been trying to find a place for it (off the kitchen floor) and it’s been making me take stock of what’s taking up real estate in the kitchen.

Accidental Locavore ToastersMy kitchen is pretty big and fairly well laid out. There is (or was) a lot of counter space, but these days most of that prime space is taken up with a crazy collection of appliances. The ones that are on the counters do get regular use (with the exception of one of the knife racks, but that one amuses me) or get banished to the pantry cupboard. A quick scan, working around the space from the stove, came up with the following:Accidental Locavore Coffee Makers

  1. Toaster
  2. Toaster oven
  3. Knife block
  4. Espresso maker
  5. Second espresso maker
  6. Coffee grinder
  7. Stand mixer
  8. Coffee maker (for our weekend guests), but not always out
  9. Another knife block
  10. Food sealer
  11. Microwave oven
  12. Electric kettle
  13. Cuisinart

Accidental Locavore Kitchen AppliancesIn my pantry cupboard:

  1. Electric slicer
  2. Juicer
  3. Scale
  4. Pasta maker (extruder)
  5. Smoking gun (hand-held smoker)
  6. Blender
  7. Rotisserie
  8. Pasta machine
  9. Waffle maker

Accidental Locaovre MixerAnd with the pots and pans:

  1. Large slow cooker
  2. Smaller slow cooker
  3. SodaStream (and bottles of flavorings)
  4. Sous-vide machine

So where will the canner call home? Hasn’t been decided yet. A smart person would find a space for it and the jars Ball was kind enough to include with it*. But that does bring up yet another dilemma, where to put all the goodies I’m about to start canning? Hmmmm….

*after several weeks of life on the kitchen floor, the canner has a prime home in the laundry room next to #26. Ice cream machine.



Top 6 Pieces of Kitchen Gear I Own

by Anne Maxfield on January 27, 2014

After the Accidental Locavore dissed five appliances for being (hard-to-clean, stainless steel) single function space-hogs, you may be amused to see what does take up that valuable kitchen real estate. Unlike coffee makers, tea kettles and various ovens (toaster, microwave) that get a daily workout, these sit quietly until called into action:Accidental Locavore Slicer

  1. Electric slicer: This was a gift from a friend who was occasionally on the receiving end of my year of charcuterie. While it’s not something I use a lot, it’s there for a specific purpose, slicing my homemade bacon, which it does remarkably well. Surprisingly, if I ever gave it up, it would be for a bigger one. As much as I like challenging my knife skills, slicing five pounds of bacon, evenly, is a job, whereas the slicer quickly creates a perfect rasher every time.
  2. Vacuum sealer: Once the bacon is sliced, what do you do with it? Vacuum pack it! This was also something I thought I could live without, until I bought it. If you freeze food, or want to experiment with cooking sous-vide, you need this. It totally prevents freezer burn and makes perfect packets for cooking sous-vide. The more expensive ones work better than the cheaper versions, so go for the bells and whistles.Accidental Locavore Sealer
  3. Slow cooker: My hack for cooking sous-vide, I actually own two, a big one and a smaller one. Bring a pot of water to 160°, pour it into the slow cooker and you’ve got a decent answer to the $500 machines. Oh, and it makes great stews, braises etc, but you already knew that.
  4. Food scale: As you know, I’m not much of a baker, so a food scale was never on my radar until I read an article about how everyone should own one, followed by a sale on Gilt. It’s amazingly useful, not only for my bacon and other charcuterie items (where accuracy is important), but for scaling up recipes for Christmas gifts etc. It takes up very little room, and is easily cleanable. Get one.Accidental Locavore Cuisinart
  5. Food processor: I’ve had my Cusinart since college (thanks, Mom & Dad!) and it’s still going strong. Virtually indestructible, this is the one appliance that I would want on a (solar powered) desert island. As you probably know, it dices and slices and purees, makes great mayo and hollandaise and thousands of other things at the flick of a switch.Accidental Locavore Kitchen Aid
  6. Mixer: My red Kitchen Aid mixer was another much-appreciated gift from my parents. While it certainly takes up a lot of counter space (and is heavy enough that schlepping it from the closet is a pain), it does make a lot of things easier. A little less aggressive than the Cuisinart for making things like dog biscuits, or chocolate chip cookies, it’s a wonderful over-kill for mashed potatoes. With the grinder and sausage attachments, I grind meat for steak tartare or sausages like merguez.