Posts Tagged Kitchen

Tiny House Kitchen Tour

I’ve been cooking up a storm in my kitchen and even though I live in a tiny house, I can still do almost anything I’ve wanted.  Just because you go tiny doesn’t mean your meals have to suffer.

Here is a video tour of my tiny house kitchen

 

Your Turn!

  • What do you think is important to have in your kitchen?

 

video tour of tiny house kitchen

How to Season and Care for Cast Iron Cookware

When cast iron is well-cared for it easily becomes your trusty standby that you wouldn’t dream of cooking without. The more you use it, the more the finish builds up and becomes part of the pan. Before long you will be slipping a fried egg out of it faster than any non-stick pan out there.

seasoning cast iron

As the finish builds up so does the flavor! The oils that you cook with and the fats from your food are what bond with the pan to create that non-stick coating. Many people have concerns over using Teflon to cook with because of concerns over chemicals leaching from nicks or scrapes in the finish. Cast iron is the perfect solution to that problem. A well-developed finish is nearly indestructible and if for some reason rust develops you can always re-season the pan.

What does it mean to season cast iron?

Cast iron cookware is made of raw metal without any coating on it which means that if exposed to water it will rust. That is why it needs to be seasoned. Seasoning your cast iron cookware is a process of heating oil beyond the smoke point to create a smooth, durable finish.

vintage cast iron

How to season a new pan!

You will want to season your pan when it is new, if it has rusted, or anytime the finish has been compromised. It is a very simple process. You will need about a tablespoon of oil. Flax seed oil is considered one of the best oils for creating a durable finish. I really like avocado oil too.

Dribble a little oil into the pan and then use a clean, lint-free rag or a paper towel to wipe the oil all over the pan. Now take an additional rag or paper towel and wipe off any excess oil. Leaving a thick layer of oil on the pan will cause the finish to build up too quickly and leave a sticky residue. The finish that you create with thick coats of oil does not bond to the pan, so they easily flake off while you are cooking.

old cast iron skillets

Now take the pan with all excess oil removed and place it in the oven face down and then heat your oven to 400 F degrees. Once the oven has reached 400 F degrees, continue cooking for ten minutes. You want your pan to get hot enough that it begins to smoke a little bit. That is how you know the oil has reached a high enough temperature to bond to the pan.

Turn the oven off and allow the pan to cool down in the oven. Do not pull the pan out of the oven and do not submerse it in water when it is hot.

How to clean cast iron cookware

cleaning cast iron

It is ok to submerge the pan and to use soap. Just make sure you do not leave the pan in the sink to soak. Rust will develop, and then you will have to season it again. I use a stainless steel scrubby on my cast iron. It doesn’t absorb the oil and seems to preserve the finish on the pan better than anything else.

Now that you have a great finish on your pan how do you clean it up? Start by scraping any food bits out of the pan. It is ok to submerse your pan in water while you are washing it, but you don’t want to soak it at all, or it will rust. Heating water in the pan is how I deal with food that gets stuck to the pan.

season cast iron skillet

How to maintain the finish.

Once the pan is all cleaned up again, it is important to add to the finish of the pan and seal it again. However this time it is a simplified version. Pour a little oil into the pan, wipe off all of the excesses, and then heat on the stove top. You want to heat just until you see little wisps of smoke then promptly remove from the heat. Set it aside and let it cool. There really isn’t much you can do to mess it up, just make sure that you wipe off all of the excess oil so that you don’t end up with a gummy build up.

Don’t be overwhelmed by any of this. I am sure it seems a bit foreign if you didn’t grow up with cast iron cookware but it is tough to mess it up. Even better, if something does get messed up, you can just scrub the pan really well and start again.

cast iron finish

 

Your Turn

  • What do you remember your grandma cooking in her cast iron pan?
  • How do you season your cast iron pans?

Ryan’s Tiny House Kitchen

It’s been a long time since I’ve done an update on my house, I had my kitchen done a long time ago, but never really took any photos.  So today I wanted to share some of those photos and the design that went into my kitchen.

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I started by putting together a Pinterest board of ideas I liked (I’ve since deleted it).  This let me consider features I wanted to bake into my design. I also narrowed down my color scheme for the tiny house interior.  I have such a hard time choosing colors so this was a big hurdle for me.

I then got into the design:

tiny-house-kitchen-layout

Some renderings before hand (note the colors aren’t correct here):

tiny-house-kitchen-rendering

With this rendering you can see the main cabinet which will house the sink, the hot water heater and it has this pull out storage bin which was designed for cans.

tiny-house-kitchen-cabinet

This is the main storage cabinet which allows me to keep pots, pans, food below.  I custom designed the top drawers for utensils and spices.

The whole thing came together like this:

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Your Turn!

  • What features do you want in your tiny house kitchen?

 

Equipping A Minimalist Kitchen: Essential Equipment List For Cooking

The kitchen is a prime target for clutter.  Companies are inventing a gadget for every little thing – anything that can make cooking a little easier.  In the end, we find our kitchens filled with gadgets, multi-function counter top appliances and it all adds up to a whole lot of clutter.  Some time ago I realized one thing about all these things in my kitchen: they don’t add up to better food on the plate.  I realized what really matters are the initial ingredients and technique, very little relied upon the tools.

minimalist kitchen utensiles for cooking

How To Equip A Minimalist Kitchen With Essential Items

With this realization I began to declutter my kitchen using my tried and true box method (read about how to do it here).  As I needed things, I would pull them out and after a few months I still had 80% of my kitchen things still left in the box.  During this time I brushed up on some of my knife techniques, read up on how professional chefs cook, and focused on simple.

A few things to keep in mind.  I have this setup for how and what I like to cook, I don’t like to bake much, I’m mainly stove top or grill.  I also am cooking for myself, maybe one other person.

In the end, I was able to whittle down to a basic set of tools in my kitchen all the while increasing the quality of my cooking/food.  So what does a minimalist kitchen have in it?  Glad you asked…

Two knives and one steel

minimalist knives for a minimalist ktichen

I see this all the time, you walk into someone’s kitchen and there is a giant knife block that contains 10-15 knives.  If we are honest with ourselves, we don’t know what half them are for and we only use a few on a regular basis.  Most of your work will be done with your 8 inch chef knife, it’s the workhorse.  Next to that I have a 3 to 4 inch parring knife for smaller, more delicate tasks.  Finally a honing steel, this helps re-align your edge between sharpening because as you use a knife, the fine edge actually rolls over, creating a less sharp edge; using a honing steel quickly un-rolls that edge and gives you back your edge.

If you ask me, put your money here.  A check knife in the $100-$200 price range with a full tang and good steel is something that is worth spending money on.  A paring knife for $50-$100 and a honing steel for $25-$50.

Ryan’s Recommendations:

 

Two rubber spatulas and two tongs

tongs-for-tiny-house-ktichen

These two items are pretty much my go-tos when it comes to actually cooking on heat.  It keep two of each so that if I have to make things that can’t mix, I’m covered, or if I’m doing something with meat, to reduce risk of salmonella.  My tongs are a rigid silicone tipped, so they can be used on coated pans and on the grill.

Ryan’s Recommendations:

One metal spatula

minimalist-kitchen-spatula

I use this for grilling or if I ever use cast iron. This is a heavy duty metal spatula that is rigid enough to scrape, but flexible enough to wiggle under a piece of meat.  I’d use this a lot more if I was a big fan of cast iron. Cast iron isn’t my favorite, but if you cook a lot with cast iron, this will be a go to.

Ryan’s Recommendations:

Break apart scissors

Break-apart-scissors

Sometimes scissors are the right too for the job, including cutting up chicken.  A solid pair of scissors that come apart so you can thoroughly clean the joint is very handy.  These can play double duty for a bottle opener.

Ryan’s Recommendations:

Pot strainer (or colander)

pot-strainer-for-minimalist-kitchen

I use this style of a pot strainer, its very small, compact and doesn’t take up a lot of space.  If I was more of a pasta guy, I’d upgrade to a colander, but this suits my needs.

Ryan’s Recommendations:

Pots and pans

pot-set-for-minimalist-kitchen

This is the pot set that I choose for my kitchen, it was the second place that I sunk most of my money into.  When you live a minimalist life, it makes sense to spend some real money on the few things you have.  For this set, I did my research and ignored prices. This set cost me $600 at the time, now it’s much less.  I rarely use the large soup pot and the high side saute pan, but they are worth keeping on hand.  While I still keep these two, I don’t actually keep them in my kitchen of my tiny house, I keep them in my bulk storage area.  90% of what I cook is done in the small fry pan, the large fry pan or the medium sized pot.

Ryan’s Recommendations:

Cutting Board

cutting-board-tiny-house

The last thing on my list is a cutting board. I prefer a butcher block style myself.

Ryan’s Recommendations:

Your Turn!

  • What else would you add?
  • What is your favorite kitchen item?

Faucets and Ranges and Bathtubs, Oh My: The Tiny Life goes to KBIS

Faucets and Ranges and Bathtubs, Oh My: The Tiny Life goes to KBIS

Last week, I voyaged to the far-off land of Las Vegas to speak at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show 2016. The kind folks at the National Kitchen and Bath Association, who were hosting the event, asked me to discuss luxury elements in small kitchens and baths, using tiny houses as a lens into the downsizing trend. It was a trip of firsts: my first solo trip ever, my first time to Vegas, my first industry conference, and my first big industry speaking engagement. Needless to say, it was very exciting. Follow me, Internet, as I recount my adventure!

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I had a layover in Salt Lake City, and it was my first time seeing the snow-capped Rockies. I snapped this photo of a river of clouds right before our landing.

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I’ve arrived! The airport was as full of slot machines and liquor stores as one might expect.

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The KBIS folks did not skimp on accommodations! This is a picture of me feeling perfectly at home and not awkward at all in a very luxurious hotel room at the Encore. In all seriousness, the hotel was great and I had a lovely stay.

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Here’s a panoramic view of the entrance to the Encore, as viewed from the cab line. The weather wasn’t that great that day – 46 degrees and rainy. Right after I landed, the guy next to me on the plane looked out the window and said, “Are we in Las Vegas or Bangor, Maine?”

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It’s the big day! I got a beautiful view of the Wynn, the Encore’s sister hotel, from my room. The weather turned out beautifully, too.

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KBIS 2016! This event was mind-bogglingly large. My cab driver told me that he heard there were 160,000 people attending the conference. Whether or not that number is exact, it’s clear that KBIS does not mess around.

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Here’s a glimpse into the madness. This was only one hall at the convention center, and it was packed to the gills with booths of all kinds.

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This is the NKBA Center Stage, where I gave my talk on Wednesday afternoon. I’d guess there were between 75 and 85 people who listened to my session. People came up afterward to tell me they enjoyed it and asked me great questions. It’s always fun to talk shop with industry folks! And no, that is not a photo of me on the stage – I didn’t transform into 5 people. I am in fact only one person.

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One of the coolest things about the speaker sessions was an artist who illustrated each talk in real time, as it was happening. Here’s my talk, cartoonified!

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Here’s the core of my talk: small is here to stay, and adding beautiful elements is important to making your home feel joyful – no matter its size!

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After my talk, I traded my high heels for sneakers and explored the expo. Gorgeous appliances and hardware could be found everywhere. I love the satin brass shower fixtures above.

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Corbelbot says hello!

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This dapper-looking gentleman was demonstrating an app-responsive refrigerator. Fancy!

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I fell hard for this super tiny, retro-styled enameled cast iron stove. Perhaps this will make it into my tiny house someday!

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I also came face to face with what might be the cutest bathtub ever.

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Drawer pulls for days! If you live in a tiny house, you better make sure that all your hardware choices are easy to use and nice to look at. It’s all in the details!

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I wanted to run around in this shower display at the Delta booth, but I have a feeling they wouldn’t have been too happy with me.

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Anyone else a fan of the HGTV Dream Home? This was one of the highlights of my year when I was a kid. No, I’m not kidding.

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After a crazy day at KBIS, it was time to catch my flights back home. Catch you later, Vegas! I can’t wait to come back and explore more someday.

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Here’s a very flattering selfie of me looking unenthused about my impending red-eye flight.

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One of the highlights of the whole trip was my 11:15 PM takeoff over Las Vegas all lit up at night. It was honestly one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. I wish this photo could do it justice!

I had a fantastic time attending KBIS 2016 and representing The Tiny Life. I met great folks, saw some very beautiful and innovative kitchen and bath designs, and got to experience Las Vegas for the first time. I want to thank the wonderful folks at the NKBA for this fantastic opportunity. I’m so glad I got to share the tiny house movement with a new audience!

Your Turn!

  • How do you plan to make your tiny house kitchen or bathroom luxurious?
  • What are some of your favorite tourist spots in Las Vegas? (I want to know for my next trip! ;D )