Have you ever decided against making a new recipe because it called for a gadget you don’t own? Some kitchen tools are superfluous while others are essentials no chef should live without. Here are the items to ensure you have in your cooking arsenal.
Sharp Knife Set
There’s nothing worse than squishing a ripe tomato or smashing a loaf of bread with a dull knife. Invest in a set of high-quality stainless steel or ceramic knives you can use for everything from slicing an apple to dicing fresh parsley to butterflying a chicken breast.
Cast Iron Skillet
Cheap pots and pans don’t belong in a chef’s kitchen. Along with the widely adopted nonstick cookware, you should also invest in a cast iron skillet. This can cook at high temperatures and retain its heat for a long time. It’s even oven-safe, making it perfect for cornbread or peach cobbler. The rustic good looks of a cast iron skillet allow you to transfer it straight from the stove to the tabletop – on a protective trivet, of course.
Meats are juicier, soups more flavorful and vegetables more tender when you cook them slowly at a low temperature. With a slow cooker, you throw in your ingredients several hours before dinner and enjoy the tantalizing aroma all afternoon. Then, you get to enjoy a hot meal come dinnertime, even on the busiest of days.
With a small electric indoor grill, burgers can be more than just a summertime food. Plus, versatile countertop grills let you cook fish, chicken, veggies, Panini sandwiches and more in mere minutes.
If you plan to make sauces or dips from scratch, you need a quality food processor. This versatile kitchen essential also shreds lettuce and cabbage with ease, turns dried bread into breadcrumbs and crushes graham crackers for the perfect pie crust.
If you plan to make a pot roast or Thanksgiving turkey, this gadget is a must! After all, meat must be cooked to the proper temperature before serving: 140 degrees F for steak, 145 degrees F for ham and 165 degrees F for poultry. Stick your meat with an instant-read thermometer to take the guesswork out of safe meat preparation.
A whisk can only get you so far. Take your cooking to the next level with an immersion blender. This nifty tool can blend single-serve smoothies and milkshakes on the go, mix up pancake and waffle batter, and beat fluffy eggs for an omelet or frittata. It’s compact, versatile and easy to use.
Along with having the right kitchen essentials, every chef needs ample counter and storage space and a well-designed kitchen to work in. Do you wish this part of your home was more functional and beautiful? When you’re ready to discover your new kitchen, please contact Blue Water Kitchens & More at (810) 958 – 3193. We install cabinetry , countertops and so much more!
Few things are more cliche on Valentine’s Day than chocolates, roses and going out to eat. While these traditions are all well and good, you might want to shake things up a bit. Perhaps you and your significant other have such busy lifestyles that you barely ever enjoy a relaxing evening at home together. Set aside February 14 as the day to slow down and keep the home-fire burning for once. These at-home Valentine’s dinner date ideas will make the evening extra special.
Make Heart-Shaped Food and Love-Themed Drinks
Whether you routinely serve home-cooked meals or not, make sure your Valentine’s dinner stands out by planning dishes that allude to this day of love. Heart-shaped food is extra fun and may include pizza, stuffed pasta, pancakes, waffles or sandwiches. Heart-shaped plates and bowls add to the theme.
Make your drinks festive as well. Since you’re staying in, there’s no need for a designated driver. Cocktails with fresh cherries or strawberries, cranberry juice or grenadine lend a red hue to your drinks that make them worthy of your Valentine’s dinner date.
Have an Indoor Picnic
After the meal is prepared, skip the dining room table and move straight to the living room floor. Spread out a blanket, bring some pillows over and set a vase of flowers nearby to lend their fresh aroma to your indoor picnic. There’s something innocent and simple about eating on the floor that will take you both back to your dating days.
Eat by Candlelight
Whether you jump on the indoor picnic idea or opt for a traditional meal at the table, nothing says romance like a candlelit dinner. Dim the lights and spend the entire evening gazing into each other’s eyes by the light of flickering candles. Add to the atmosphere even more with some romantic music playing in the background.
Bake Dessert Together
Valentine’s dessert is just as important as dinner, and making sugar cookies together can quickly become a romantic affair. Keep to the theme with heart-shaped cookie cutters and pink and red frosting.
Not a huge fan of sugar cookies? You could also bake strawberry muffins, red velvet cake, macaroons, chocolate truffles or any other favorite dessert. The point is to bake them with your significant other and enjoy spending the time together.
Your at-home Valentine’s dinner date is bound to be more fun and romantic if your kitchen is equipped with everything you need to cook, bake and eat in comfort. When you’re ready to make improvements to your kitchen and other parts of your home, please contact Blue Water Kitchens & More at (810) 958 – 3193. We install cabinetry , countertops and so much more!
We all know that sticking to New Year’s resolutions can be pretty difficult. Many resolutions made every year are centered around topics related to health and fitness. Whether it’s losing weight, exercising, or eating healthier, nearly half of people who make resolutions have at least one health related goal. Here are some ways you can stick to your 2018 resolutions.
Break Down Your Goals
Instead of a difficult goal to achieve such as losing 50 pounds, break your goals down into smaller and more attainable ones. If your goal is to exercise more, don’t plan on going to the gym for an hour every single day or you’ll never start. Start off by walking for 15 minutes a day and hopefully by the end of the year you’ll be in the gym every day or at least exercising more regularly.
Rather than saying you resolve to be healthier, come up with more specific goals. For example, instead of saying you want to eat better, resolve to replace unhealthy processed foods with fresh, plant-based options. Get even more specific by making a shopping list and sticking to it.
It’s a lot easier to accomplish any goal when you have someone working on a similar goal or at least someone who knows about yours and wants to help keep you accountable. Whether it’s one person or a group such as a workout class or co-workers who want to eat healthier lunches, this tip can really motivate you.
Focus on Progress
Take time to re-examine your goals and see how you are doing along the way. If you slip up here or there don’t abandon your goals but just try harder to get back on track. Even if you make slight improvements to your daily habits you are at least getting a little bit healthier along the way.
If updating your kitchen would help you improve your food related goals, contact Blue Water Kitchens & More today at 810-958-3193.
If you’re looking to change things up a bit for 2018, trying out some new recipes may do the trick. Whether you’ve resolved to be healthier or simply to try new things, spending time in the kitchen and improving your cooking skills is never a bad thing.
This black pepper tofu recipe is great for anyone including those on a vegan or vegetarian diet. This recipe can be customized based on your tastes or dietary restrictions and this tofu is anything but bland.
Ingredients Needed (serves four to six):
- 1 ¾ lb. firm tofu (cut into 1” cubes)
- 2 cups canola oil
- 11 tbsp. unsalted butter
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 12 cloves crushed garlic
- 12 thinly sliced small shallots
- 8 stemmed and thinly sliced serrano chiles
- 5 tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
- 4 tsp. dark soy sauce
- 3 tsp. light soy sauce
- 3 tsp. kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
- 16 small scallions cut into 1 1/4” pieces
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- Cooked white rice
- Heat canola oil in 12” skillet over medium to high heat
- Toss cornstarch and tofu in a bowl until coated evenly
- Fry tofu for about 3 minutes, until browned
- Drain tofu and set aside
- Discard oil and wipe skillet clean
- Heat butter in skillet over medium heat
- Add in ginger, shallots, chiles, and garlic
- Cook for about 15 minutes, until soft
- Stir in pepper, sugar, and soy sauces
- Cook and stir tofu in skillet for about two minutes, until warmed through
- Stir in scallions and serve over rice
If you need a better place to prepare your recipes such as new kitchen countertops or new cabinets to store your cookware in, contact Blue Water Kitchens & More today by calling 810-958-3193.
If you’re like many Americans, chances are you’ll be doing at least a bit of extra cooking during the holiday season. That means you’ll want to make sure your kitchen is properly ventilated so you don’t set off the smoke alarms or inhale all that smoke.
Ventilation is a necessary part of any commercial kitchen, but it’s sometimes overlooked for the home kitchen. Many kitchens have exhaust fans over the stove, but is that enough? Despite what you’ve been told, you should turn on the exhaust fan anytime you use your burners or oven because the device removes heat and odors. Exhaust fans also work to prevent moisture and grime from building up on nearby surfaces.
One of the most important jobs an exhaust fan can do is removing very fine airborne particles that are created when foods are cooked. Those particles contribute to indoor pollution if they aren’t removed. Exhaust fans help reduce carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other hazardous products.
If your home doesn’t have a range hood or vent, or it simply isn’t doing the job, there are a number of things you can do to improve your kitchen’s ventilation. There are many home range ventilation systems that can be purchased and installed to improve cooking conditions. Here are some other things you can try:
Open windows and use a window fan
Use an air purifier
Use other fans nearby (ceiling fan, bathroom fan, etc.)
Use a splatter screen to control grease
Wipe down kitchen cabinets often
At Blue Water Kitchens & More, we will work with you to design and discover your new kitchen. We offer pre-made kitchen cabinets you can install yourself or have us install for you. We also offer several styles of countertops to help you realize your dream kitchen. Call today for a free consultation at 810-958-3193.
Even though the traditional white colored kitchen is still pretty popular, too much of the color can make the kitchen feel a bit cold. In order to keep your kitchen feeling warmer and more inviting, you should consider adding some color without having to totally ditch all of that white.
Updating your cabinets can bring a fresh new look to any kitchen. Natural white still works as a good base color for walls as well as ceilings and trim, but white cabinets can make the kitchen feel too cold and sterile. To warm up the kitchen just a bit, try a warmer-toned grey cabinet.
Ultracraft cabinets are available in a variety of colors and offer 75 door styles available in wood, metal, and many more options. When you combine that with the wide variety of colors available, you get more than 10,000 unique door-style and finish combinations.
For a kitchen that’s primarily white, you might want to think about accent colors for your cabinets including lighter shades of blue, green, or red. If you’re looking for a color that’s trendy, consider Ultra Violet. The color was named as Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2018. This bright shade of purple is described by words like dramatic, thoughtful, and provocative.
The color Ultra Violet is also associated with inventiveness and imagination. The blue-based purple focuses on what lies ahead, artistic expression, and spirituality. Using this color in your kitchen can bring some life to a room that may have become a bit boring.
Blue Water Kitchens & More offers custom and semi-custom kitchen cabinets as well as countertops, fireplaces, and much more. In addition to Ultracraft Cabinets, we also offer kitchen cabinets by Five Lakes Cabinets, Decora Cabinets, Diamond Cabinets, and Homecrest Cabinets. Give us a call today for a free consultation at 810-958-3193.
If you have a fireplace in your home, you probably don’t realize how much energy you’re actually wasting. There are more than 100 million homes in North America that use either a wood or gas burning fireplace. While fireplaces have many benefits including keeping you warm, they are also a sneaky source of energy loss.
Unsealed or open fireplace dampers are the main culprit contributing to energy loss. It’s been estimated that 80 to 90% of the heat produced by wood burning in an open fireplace ends up being lost up the chimney.
The average fireplace can raise your home’s energy consumption by 30%, or about $200 per year. That certainly adds up over time, so looking into more energy-efficient versions of fireplaces is a noble and worthy cause.
The solution you need may in fact be the Enviro Berkeley Glass Freestanding Stove. This bad boy can heat up to 2,000 square feet with an amazing 70% efficiency. This energy-efficient fireplace is designed to heat and built to last.
Not only will the Berkley Glass Freestanding Stove heat your home efficiently, it also looks great and adds a nice touch to any room. In addition, Blue Water Kitchens & More also offers the following:
- Gas fireplaces and inserts
- Wood fireplaces and inserts
- Wood and pellet stoves
- Fireplace doors and hearth accessories
- Ready to assemble
- Solid surface
Find out why we are #1 in the thumb for kitchen design and remodeling. Give us a call today at 810-958-3193.
If you’re looking to warm up and enjoy the company of family and friends this winter, there’s no better way to do so than by having a bonfire. At first, it might seem like all you need is people and a fire, but there are actually quite a few things you’ll want to have on hand to make the experience as enjoyable and safe as possible.
Food and Drinks
Of course you’ll want to make S’mores, especially if there are children at the bonfire. You can also serve dinner by roasting hot dogs. Don’t forget the drinks as well.
- Graham crackers
- Hot dogs
- Hot dog buns
- Condiments (mustard, relish, ketchup)
- Alcoholic beverages
You’ll need equipment to start the fire as well as places for people to sit and relax and avoid stumbling around in the dark.
After the bonfire, you’ll need to clean up. You can wait until the next morning, but everyone will be gone. Having everyone pitch in only takes a couple minutes.
- Garbage bags
- Paper towels
- Water bucket for hot ashes
- Cleaning wipes
Even if you don’t use everything on this list, it doesn’t hurt to have it on hand. Make sure everyone is happy and nobody goes home disappointed.
- Plates, cups, napkins, and utensils
- Fire extinguisher
- Bottle opener or corkscrew
- Insect repellent
- Serving tray
- Music player
If you feel like bringing the fire inside, Blue Water Kitchens & More has a great selection of fireplaces including electrics, inserts, log sets, stoves, and even outdoor fireplaces. Give us a call today at 810-958-3193 or stop by our Lakeport location to learn more.
A cast iron skillet is a great tool to have in the kitchen. These skillets are durable and your food won’t stick to them. They’re a great choice for sears, scrambling, skillet-frying, and even making pizzas. The only drawback to a cast iron skillet is that some people don’t know to how to clean them effectively. Cast iron skillets are different than other types of skillets and also need to be cleaned differently.
The first thing you need to know is to never put your cast iron skillet in the dishwasher. Scrubbing the skillet with salt is the best way to clean it. First, pour one cup of coarse kosher salt into the cast iron skillet while it’s still warm. Next, use a folded kitchen towel to scour the pan.
Pour out the salt and then rinse your skillet with hot water. Use a kitchen towel to dry the skillet immediately, or you can opt to heat it over a medium to low flame to evaporate the moisture from it. Never use soap or steel wool to clean your cast iron skillet. You also don’t want to leave the pan in the sink to soak because it will likely rust.
After the skillet is cleaned and dried, you’ll want to re-season it. Rub a light coat (about one tablespoon) of flaxseed oil onto the cast iron. You can also use vegetable oil or rendered lard. Next heat the pan gently so the oil soaks in and it’s ready to go the next time you use it.
Cooking with a cast iron skillet is best when you have a nice spacious kitchen you can enjoy. Blue Water Kitchens & More can help you discover your new kitchen with several lines of cabinets and countertops to choose from. Call us today at 810-958-3193 for a free design quote.