As you may know, my own kitchen renovation was recently featured in Detroit Home magazine’s fall edition. Called Pale & Pretty Palette, the article talks about everything from how my family and I use the kitchen to why I selected the colors (reminiscent of Scandinavia) and what sort of lighting works best for us here in Michigan (where winters can get pretty long). Before the photographer showed up, I cleared my counters and put away a few items to make it picture-perfect. But really, I didn’t need to do much, because I hate clutter.
And as I was looking at my various cookbooks (I don’t use very many), I stumbled upon my all-time favorite. Weeknight Wonders, by chef and registered dietitian Ellie Krieger, is jammed with great ideas, healthy notions and fresh-food recipes.
I had a feeling that the renowned Ellie, of Manhattan, New York, is all about keeping an organized kitchen, especially as the entertaining season is upon us, and I was curious about her entertaining style. After all, we’re now on the cusp of the holiday season! One of AK Design & Accents communications specialists contacted Ellie and asked her a few questions — I’m sharing her feedback and insights here. Keep them in mind when looking for a great cookbook, considering a recipe for a holiday crowd, or making New Year’s resolution on countertop clutter. I know I will.
Armina: Regarding space use in the kitchen, what is your favorite layout/working space?
Ellie Krieger: “I love an open kitchen layout. I entertain a lot and having an open kitchen allows me to socialize with my guests and still be a part of the party when I’m busy with meal prep.”
AK: What are your favorite, can’t-live-without kitchen tools/gadgets and what do you use them for?
EK: “A good sharp set of knives is an absolute must. I also can’t live without my medium and large nonstick skillets. They are a must for cooking eggs and help to cook dishes without having to use too much fat. A good blender is also a can’t-live-without gadget. I make soups, smoothies and sauces in it all the time.”
AK: Re: Your home kitchen is relatively small, so with regard to countertop clutter — what do you keep out all the time on the counter, and what comes out now and then; how do you keep clutter at bay?
EK: “I like to keep gadgets to a minimum and keep them stored away off the counter. I really don’t keep much out on the counter. Whatever you see in the picture (shown here) is really what’s typically out. Just my toaster oven and salt and pepper. This helps me stay organized in a small space.”
AK: Do you cook/entertain for friends/family? If so, do you have any preference for style? Formal? Casual?
EK: “I absolutely love to have friends and family over. My style is definitely low-key and casual. I often like to make a big pot of chili and put out all the fixings so everyone can help themselves. I don’t have much room in my home for sit-down dinners so this style usually works best.”
AK: Which recipe in your Weeknight Wonders cookbook is simple, simple, simple, and hands-down, most likely the most popular?
EK: “Speaking of chili, my Rush-Hour Chili recipe is simple, easy and always a crowd pleaser.”
I will soon post some of my own entertaining tips and also will let you know what I think of Ellie’s chili recipe! With a teen-age son, it’s likely going to be a winner in our house, although we may substitute chicken for the ground beef. I’m not sure yet. Do you have a favorite way to entertain or a great dish for crowds? How do you keep clutter to a minimum in the kitchen? Let us know!