Saturday, September 28, 2013

What's Cookin'!

Some wishes do come true.  Like my wish for an Indian summer in my last post.  Monday turned out to be brilliantly sunny and even hot.  Juliette and I had some fun playground time to celebrate!  The rest of the week was very pleasant, temperature-wise.  Somehow I couldn't help but savor it all the more knowing shorter, cooler days are around the corner.  Like eating the last garden-grown tomatoes, knowing less flavorful ones will be around for the next six months.

And speaking of tomatoes and food, I have finally gotten my kitchen into a more functional state, another long-time wish.  If you've every rented in France you'll know that bare kitchens are quite the norm.  You know the expression "everything but the kitchen sink"?  Here it's the opposite.  When we moved into our current place, which was brand-spanking new, there was nothing but the kitchen sink and a white melamine cabinet underneath it in the galley-style kitchen.

So we did what any self-respecting French renter would do and went to Ikea to kit ourselves out.  Gas burners are not really allowed in apartments here so we kept the electric stove top we'd had in our previous place.  And that was much to my dismay.

Ever since I've been living in apartments in France I've had to deal with electric stove tops.  The first time it was already integrated into the miniscule kitchen, as in my first studio apartment.  When some water splashed onto the unit it took one burner out and the landlord replaced it (but my insurance had to cover it).   There was amazingly one brief moment where I rented in a place that actually had gas burners.  Later we rented our first place as a married couple and the kitchen was pretty much bare except for some cabinets the previous renters had kindly left.  We bought our first electric stove top.

But the problem with these portable units is that they are also quite sensitive to moisture and a real pain to clean.  A little pasta water boils over and, things get ugly.  And I'm not really a slave to housework so my burners end up looking like this and dying on me after about two years.  I think I've gone through three units these past seven years.

So when this one died (as they all do), the last thing I wanted to do was buy another of the ugly things.  And after much online researching as to options, I actually found a portable three-burner induction unit at the discount grocery store.  Who'd have figured?  Lidl has some pretty cool stuff sometimes!

Of course, induction does require magnetic-based cookware.  I did the magnet test on our stuff and found that most of it did indeed attract your average fridge magnet, so all systems were go!  Just had to buy a new frying pan and we were in business!

The induction system heats up quickly and cools down relatively quickly too since the heating action is more in the bottom of the saucepan than the burner itself.  Don't ask me the physics of it!  So far so good and the best part is the glass top is easy to clean, just a damp sponge.  I must just be careful to not let water seep in  the edges, of course, or slam my pan down too forcefully on the glass top.

So here's hoping I can make some tasty meals with this baby (and that it will last)!  What would you like to change in your kitchen?


Crystal said...

You got that at Lidl?? Wow, what a find! So glad you aren't using those hot plates anymore. Yay for a new stove top (and dish washer) ;)

Marina Carstens said...

I live in a studio apartment, so my kitchen is a few feet from my bed. I actually like the fact that I'm able to live in such a small space, but I would like to have a two bedroom apartment someday. I'd love to have a kitchen just off the living room with a small dining area in front of "French" doors that open onto a balcony that extends to the living room and bedroom. I imagine myself sipping tea and looking out into a sunny morning sky. I'd also like to have a kitchen table that doesn't fold and isn't the size of two large laptops. I might actually look for one soon, if I can find a way to fit it into my already crammed studio apartment.

Jessamyn said...

I'm so glad you got a new stove top! Hopefully this will make cooking a little more fun for you.

As you know, I just got a kitchen island (from IKEA). So now I need to stain it or seal it or something.

Now all my kitchen is lacking is a man who will do the dishes for me :)

Lindle said...

I am so glad you got rid of that two burner thing. So frustrating. Hope your new one will please you and help you cook with more ease. Now, if we could just EXPAND that little kitchen!