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Gourmet cooking in small kitchens: a little planning is all it takes to create a meal to wow your guests

By Sassa Brown —

Extravagant chef’s kitchens are not necessary in pulling off spectacular meals that will amaze your family and friends. In fact, you can create delicious, mouth-watering dishes from the comfort of your own home, even if that home is a small condo with less than 800 square feet of total space.

How can this be accomplished without miles of cabinet space and the finest equipment? It is much easier than you may think. Take Julia Child, for instance. She did not have a five-star kitchen loaded with state-of-the-art appliances. She created her dishes in her own tiny kitchen — and so can you.

 

Julia Child famously created her recipes in a small kitchen. She kept organized with workshop-like pegboards, which might not be pretty in a condo, but the key tip is “organize.”

 

It simply requires you to be a bit creative and use the space you do have wisely. I am going to address this topic in a way that will be helpful for everyone, regardless of cooking skill. Even if you have never cooked a meal that did not come in a package with directions in your life, you can still craft deliciously mind-blowing meals from the heart of your tiny kitchen.

Organize your space

First, you will need to move your microwave and other unnecessary appliances into a cabinet or drawer if you have not already done so. This will free up more workspace for meal prep. You should also make sure that you have all fresh ingredients. This will reduce the mess made and time wasted opening a bunch of cans and other packaging material. More importantly, the food will taste so much better.

 

Using fresh ingredients makes all the difference to a gourmet outcome in a small kitchen. Avoid “can clutter” and “canned taste.”

 

The main aspect of gourmet cooking is simplicity. You definitely do not need to “go big” here. A tender, juicy piece of meat, glazed to perfection and served with seasoned vegetables is the epitome of gourmet cooking. One cut of meat can go a long way as well. Place a cut of flank steak on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap to prevent loss of juices. Do not wrap it too tightly, however, as you want to leave room for the steak to spread out. Pound the meat with the jagged side of a mallet, starting in the middle and pushing outward as you lift. Continue pounding over the entire surface of the meat, on both sides. This will make the meat incredibly tender.

 

The ultimate goal — a meal that sets the table for an enjoyable get-together or family meal.

 

Season the meat with salt and pepper, then marinade it in the refrigerator for several hours, turning occasionally. Stuff it as desired, roll it, and secure it with butcher’s string. Cook on the stove for a few minutes until it begins to brown on each side. Then place it in the oven and cook at 400 degrees (Fahrenheit) for twenty to thirty minutes, or until the meat is cooked according to your preference. Serve with asparagus and seasoned, roasted potatoes.

Try the slow cooker and rice cookers

As you can see, it does not take a large amount of kitchen space or hundreds of dollars’ worth of supplies to create a delicious meal that will wow your guests. Slow cookers, instant pots, and rice cookers are amazing. You can create so many amazing meals that require only one or two pots. This is a huge space saver, and it also eliminates much of the cleaning that you would otherwise need to do if you were using several pans and utensils for cooking and baking. I love cooking roast in the slow cooker, and I always use a raspberry chipotle sauce. The meat and vegetables absorb the flavour as they cook, resulting in a meal that is so tender and juicy that even the leftovers are amazing.

 

Even with a crowd of kids in a small kitchen, gourmet cooking and baking is possible — and fun.

 

If you have your heart set on baking and decorating a fabulous cake, take the time to plan it out before you begin. Design the cake and figure out how much batter you will need to make for each layer, how much icing you will need to make, etc. You should also consider the type of frosting you want to use. Do you want to use buttercream or whipped frosting, or are you opting for fondant? Personally, I never use fondant because of the taste. It does not make sense to me to spend all that time baking and decorating a cake that nobody will eat. However, that is my own personal preference.

 

Even a small kitchen can be a gourmet kitchen with the right attitude and some organizational skills.

 

Fondant is amazing for sculpting and decorating, so it makes sense that so many bakers use it. Whipped topping is delicious but not really great for decorating elaborate cakes. My favorite frosting to use is buttercream. Try different types out for yourself. See which ones you like better and which ones are easier for you to work with. This will help you plan your confectionary adventures better and be prepared so that you can avoid earthquake cakes and other kitchen disasters. After baking the cake, you will need to let each layer chill before putting the cake together. Invest in a turntable, as it will make frosting your cake so much faster and easier.

 

No matter what skill levels you have, a little organization, fresh ingredients — and a chef who tastes as she goes — can make the difference between wow and so-so.

 

Whether you are cooking or baking, a little strategy will go a long way. Any amount of space can be more than enough if utilized efficiently and effectively. Pull out drawers if you need a little more surface space, plan your meals ahead of time, and cook multiple dishes on one pan when possible. Meat and veggies wrapped separately in aluminum foil and cooked in a baking dish can save you time and space, while making clean-up so much easier. It also keeps the juices locked in so the food does not dry out while cooking. Cleaning as you go will also save you a lot of hassle and ensure that you do not run out of space while cooking. This also allows you to use a single pot or utensil for multiple dishes within a meal. If you follow these tips, you should have no problem cooking gourmet meals from any kitchen, no matter how big or small.

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