A good friend (who happens to be the same person who suggested I start this blog) recommended I start a kind of behind-the-scenes section of The Steady Table. This is it. Here you’ll be able to find out more about my kitchen, ingredients, materials, equipment, tips on what to buy where, what to keep on hand, and who knows what else.
It seems logical to start with a tour of the kitchen. Ours is a typical, small, New York City galley kitchen. Shane and I designed and (gut) renovated it ourselves in 2007. I was pregnant and we figured if we didn’t do it before the baby, we’d never do it.
We wanted our kitchen to be classic/timeless, and in keeping with our 1920’s coop apartment. This was a challenge because in 2007 all appliances were either stainless steel or had that weird icky texture (unless you had a bundle to spend, which we didn’t). We also wanted to maximize our counter top and storage space.
Our apartment is a 5th floor walk-up so the kitchen dumbwaiter is indispensable (it’s that thing with the chalkboard paint in the photos). We use it daily, which is why it’s a little beat up around the edges. Think Costco runs, luggage, laundry, trash and recycle. We work it hard.
There are a few things about our kitchen that I’d like to change, and a few we’ve changed already. Overall, I think we did a pretty good job, particularly considering we’d never designed or renovated a kitchen before. (Click on photos for the full view.)
If you’re going to commit to cooking dinner almost every night, you’ve got to have certain things on hand at all times. (Or at least have most of them on hand, most of the time). Here’s my list of pantry and fridge essentials and nice-to-haves. I’m listing dinner essentials only.
- Olive oil (extra virgin)
- Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
- Rice wine vinegar (seasoned)
- Dijon mustard
- Lemons and limes
- Salad greens (2 kinds, leafy plus fennel is my choice)
- Fresh herbs (can replace second type of salad green)
- Onions and garlic
- Pepper (red and black)
- San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
- Better Than Boullion (veggie)
- Organic chicken breasts (buy in bulk, keep in freezer)
Nice To Have (very nearly essential):
- Cheddar cheese
- Heavy cream
- Tomato paste
- Anchovies (in a jar)
- Balsamic vinegar
- Vegetable oil
- Miso paste
- Nuts & dried fruit
- A selection of veggies
- Plain yogurt
- Broth (vegetable or chicken)
- Pancetta, prosciutto and/or bacon (your choice)
The Costco Shopping List
I understand that not all Costco stores carry the same products. Below are the food items we purchase at the Costco in our area. Note: I buy very little produce at Costco, and I only buy their meat if it’s organic.
- Organic milk (unfortunately, they don’t have 2%, we get whole)
- Horizon organic chocolate milk
- Garofalo Bufala Mozzarella (this is the delicious, gooey in the middle kind)
- Kirkland Signature Parmigiano Reggiano
- Cello grated Pecorino Romano
- Cabot cheddar cheese (the one in the black wrapper)
- Cubanelle peppers
- Butter (salted and unsalted)
- Berio extra virgin olive oil
- Organic boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
- Fage greek yogurt
- Inkeeper’s Healthful 8-Grain bread (sandwich bread)
- Raw almonds
- Barilla pasta
- Goya black beans