Short & A Bit Sentimental
Well the moving boxes are packed, or at least getting there, Gilmore Girls has been playing on my TV for the past 48 hours straight, and I’m sitting here drinking copious amounts of coffee either as a result of all the packing or all the Gilmore Girls, I’m not really sure, and also I’m using the word copious now, apparently, thank you Rory Gilmore.
It’s so bittersweet to be packing up this apartment. I’ve had some really good times in this place, and it’s all starting to hit me that this time next week I’ll be in a new place with new memories to make, but I can imagine them ever being as good as the ones I’ve made here. It’s here where I fell in love, where I started blogging, where I made friendships that I hope will last a lifetime, and where I started to learn who I really am as a person. When I moved to D.C. I never imagined I’d be here this long, I thought 1 or 2 years tops, I’ll have my adventure and move on to the next place, well I’ll have you know starting a new adventure isn’t always as easy as it seems. I guess DC never really has felt like “home” per se, but this little apartment, this little piece of the DC area has felt a little something like home. I still remember moving in to my apartment here in Old Town. It was one of my first blog posts, back in the day when I tried blogging for the first time. If you could have seen the look of fear and terror in my eyes when I saw all of my stuff piled so high on the back of that old truck. Let’s just say, next weekend when I move, I’ll have a much larger truck.
I think my favorite thing about this place is that it’s really where I’ve learned how to enjoy cooking. This little kitchen is really where I discovered my inner Julia Child, it’s where I burned my first dinner, came up with my first recipe, took pictures for my first blog post, and where I discovered that you don’t need much to make a good home-cooked meal for you and those you love. Could I be any more sentimental?
I think one of the biggest excuses I hear from people is they don’t like cooking because they don’t know where to begin. Well, I think the first thing you have to do is stop making up excuses, but the second is get a few key “tools” to be used in the kitchen. A couple of weeks ago I came across this article in Bon Appétit magazine and it lays out the best pots and pans, the ones you just have to have, the ones that you really need, and the ones that ehh you could live without. For the most part I totally with what they have listed, but my list is a bit different. Having lived in a small kitchen, and now moving to an even smaller one, I’m really limited space wise, it’s important that I stock my kitchen with only necessary pots, pans, etc. so I’ve come up with my list of must haves pots and pans.
Molly’s Must Have Pots and Pans
- rimmed baking sheet
- dutch oven
- stainless steel pan
- non stick pan
- sauce pan with lid
- enamel lined – oven safe baking pan
- muffin pan or loaf pan
First up the rimmed baking sheet used for not only baking but roasting as well. I use this sucker at least once a week. There’s not much to say about it other than you don’t know what you’re missing if your kitchen is missing one of these.
Next, I couldn’t live without my dutch oven, and I don’t know how most people do, I’ve used it countless times since I’ve bought it. Now, I know, they tend to be a bit expensive, and they do take up significant space, but believe me, it’s one of my must haves for a reason. I use it for basically anything and everything in the winter time from breads to stews and homemade caramel, oh it’s also what I use for most of my frying!
Similar to the dutch oven, my braiser is next up on the list. Braisers are wider and shallower than Dutch Ovens which allows you to caramelize things much butter since they don’t build up/retail moisture the same way. Don’t bother with those glass baking dishes, this works just as well and is way more versatile it can go from stove top to oven to table to fridge. It’s great for large quantities of overnight french toast, delicious weeknight pork, and baking various forms of stuffed chicken.
What kitchen would be complete without the non-stick/stainless duo. Since college I’ve had a non-stick pan. However, it was only recently that I spent a little more money on one, and let me tell you, it was totally worth it! Eggs just slide out of the pan, it’s amazing. Sur la Table has this little set, and I highly recommend it. It was because of this set that I finally added a stainless steel pan to my cookware collection. I’ll admit, I was a little reluctant on this, but seriously, once you get used to it, it’s the best! I love quickly sautéing veggies, cooking up pork chops, or anything else that doesn’t need non-stick – which turns out to be a lot of things once you really start thinking about it.
Another staple in every kitchen is the sauce pan. Right now, I have this handy non-stick, but now that I’m such a stainless fan I’m hoping to upgrade soon. Sauce pans are a necessity and can be used in so many ways, from oatmeal to re-heating leftover Chinese and acting as a double boiler.
The next pan isn’t really a must have, but I’ve really come to depend on it every Saturday morning. This is a thin, enamel lined pan that can be used in the oven. I use it a lot for bacon and eggs, but it’s also great when I want to make a gravy/roux or get a sauce started and then mix it into a larger pot.
Last but not least, the muffin pan or loaf pan. I do a lot of muffins and breads, from banana to zucchini, so I can’t imagine not having both, but if you’re limited on space one or the other really will work.
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but it is a little glimpse into what I think is important in the kitchen. It really doesn’t take much to make a great meal for you or your family, so get in the kitchen and cook something.
Now… about those boxes…