Last Summer I wrote a piece on the stewardship of ones kitchen. I shared a bit about how I really wasn’t into cleaning, but it was a lesson in care and really learning the ins and out of my kitchen.
It’s interesting and always sweet to me how lessons have a way of spiraling around and deepening to newer levels. Where my challenge use to be cleaning the kitchen, its now evolved into something very different.
Cleaning on its own is important to be sure, but now as I am cooking a couple if not 3 meals a day, I’m finding that like an artist, each meal needs to start with a clean palette. There is nothing worse then coming home from a tiring day of activities, knowing you have something great to cook, but oh wait… a massive pile of dishes needs to be washed and put away BEFORE you can even start making your meal.
It’s a matter of efficiency and supporting ourselves in really getting in there and cooking, even on the most busy or tiring days, but making sure that the kitchen is always cleaned up, and all things put away and ready to make the next meal. I want to walk in and pull out every single thing I need in less then 5 minutes and get started. The only way to do that is make sure that after every cooking session, every thing is left put away, cleaned, dried and put in its proper place.
It might sound very Martha Stewart of me, but I’m telling you, its made going into the kitchen to cook something when I’m a bit worn out, so much easier. And even when I’m not tired, the ability to walk into a tidy kitchen and just start creating off the bat is so lovely. Is it a bit more work on the back end? Maybe, but that’s OK. Its infinitely more rewarding to have a clean palette to work with when you first enter your cooking space.
So part of a solid food practice is: Keep your kitchen (palette) clean at all times. You never want to start a prepping a meal by having to clean up after the last one.
Now onto a little recipe! I found this on some magazine page I tore out of something a while back. It was easy and so delicious. Jon has been wanting us to have more potatoes as its something I tend not to cook often… for no reason at all really. What I loved most about this dish was the fact that I baked it in a cast iron skillet. I don’t get to use it that often and for some reason the whole thing felt rustic, hearty and very “I-live-in-the-country”.
Scalloped Potatoes Recipe
- 1 1/2 tbsp butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing
- 1/2 of garlic
- 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and sliced to 1/8 inch thick
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/4 cups of vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup of organic rice milk
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 fresh bay leaves (or 2 dry)
- 1/3 cup grated gruyere cheese
1. Preheat oven at 425 degrees.
2. Brush large oven safe skillet with cut garlic and then rub the skillet with butter. Cast iron preferable.
3. Heat skillet on stove over medium-high heat.
4. Add half of the potatoes, sprinkle with 3/4 tsp of salt, and pepper to taste, then arrange the remaining potatoes on top. Sprinkle those with the another 3/4 tsp of salt and pepper to taste.
5. Pur the broth and milk over the potatoes, then add the nutmeg and bay leaves. Simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Dot the potatoes with the cut up butter and sprinkle the gruyere over the potatoes.
7. Take off the heat and place in oven. Bake until golden, which should be about 25 minutes. Oven temperatures vary so take a peak at 20 minutes and adjust times if needed.
8. Let rest for 5-10 minutes once out of the oven and pull out bay leaves before serving.
Serves 6-8 people and is great the next morning with some fluffy scrambled eggs. I served these with a light butter leaf lettuce salad dressed with lemon and oil, and a light and delicious herbed mahi fillet.
I’m a messy person in general, but it’s been pounded into my head to keep the kitchen clean. It really does make everything better. Though “clean” to me doesn’t necessarily mean “not cluttered”–I tend to have too much stuff in too small space!
I often want a bigger kitchen, more counter space would help a lot, and I'm more than willing to do the added cleaning that would involve. Now if the other two people in my house would also clean up after themselves or before they cook (when I allow them) it would help a lot.
*laughs* I feel ya… on the bigger kitchen that is. Our kitchen is a great size now after the remodel, but it just doesn't get enough natural light. There was no way to do that with the way the house is structured. But the dream kitchen is always there, lingering over our thoughts and wishes. Now that its bigger, it does take a bit more cleaning, but once you get into a rhythm, you don't notice it.
Jon and I clean up together. Since I do most of the cooking, he does most of the cleaning as long as I take care of putting away any left overs. For whatever reason, he just doesn't like that job! When he works in the kitchen alone, he cleans up after himself. I'm the one that has had to REALLY learn to be a mindful kitchen mate! Luckily, I'm totally on board with the clean up, and its become such a better life since!
This looks fantastic. I love skillet potatoes, scalloped or otherwise so I'll definitely be giving them a try.
I agree with you about the clean kitchen, but have to admit that I don't always meet the mark on that one. Since Hubby tends to disappear directly after a meal into his man cave and I'm beat after having prepared whatever I've made, sometimes it sits for a while. He's got many, many great things going for him; cleaning up isn't one of them. 🙂