I'm Becoming a Girl - Part I - My Dream Kitchen

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I'm Becoming a Girl - Part I - My Dream Kitchen

Postby WiseNLucky » Sun 02 May, 2010 08:56 am

So my investments are up a whole bunch since this time last year and we are well ahead of target in preparing for retirement. So I'm thinking of selling some stocks and putting in my dream chef's kitchen. Here are some things I'm certain I want, but I would like your input if there are things you really wish you had, or things you have seen that are cool:

Large refrigerator (double-wide)
48" gas cooktop with stainless vent (perhaps mounted in the island)?
Double oven, one of them convection
Fancy but functional countertops (what kind do you recommend?)
New sink and faucet

I actually love our existing cabinets, although we will have to move and/or replace some to fit the appliances in.

I also intend to get new fancy cookware and cutlery. What are your favorites? I've been looking at Viking and Culinary Institute of America cookware, but I'm open to other suggestions. I haven't started on cutlery yet.

Our current kitchen is large enough and is functional, but it is not up to the standard of the rest of the house. I especially don't like the ceramic cooktop - it really limits the cookware you can use. I love cast iron, for instance, and can't use it with my current stove.
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Postby Lady Celtic » Sun 02 May, 2010 10:36 am

Ooo! A double wide fridge. Someday I want one of those too.

My MIL installed Silestone countertops. Or was it Corian? One of the two--not granite, and they fused together with a special adhesive that left no visible seam. The sink she got was of the same material, so the sink and counters are seamless--I think it's awesome. She has a similar double-oven setup, but she doesn't use the convection oven very often. I find it kind of confusing myself, but my father-in-law loves it. He's the experimental cook in the family.

How fun for you! You'll have to post pictures.
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Postby lisapants » Mon 03 May, 2010 08:40 am

SO JEALOUS!

We got some Shun knives a while back and we love them.
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Postby AdamOndi » Mon 03 May, 2010 08:49 am

Wow. You are essentially describing one of my dream scenarios. Here is what I would do:

Counter top: I have heard good things about the various synthetic counter top surfaces like Silestone and Corian. Also, since I love the look of marble, but not necessarily the maintenance (sealing and stain-resistance), Silestone and Corian are great options, since you get the look without having to re-seal the stuff every 12 months. Also, I would have a big huge portion of my counter be a high quality butcher block like the various Food Network shows always have. There is no such thing as too much room on your cutting board/butcher block.

Cooktop: I would love to have one of those awesome, extra-wide gas cooktops with the built-in grill in the middle. And if it was me, I would definitely put it in the island with a nice venting hood above it. I would also get a fancy pan-hanging rack installed above the island for easy access to all of my pans.

Ovens: I don't know if I would bother with double ovens. I would just get one really nice wall-mounted convection oven. I never really cook enough to require a double oven.

Cookware: I really like the cookware that Lisapants's parents gave us for Christmas a few years ago. It was a large assortment of stainless steel pans (for easy cleaning) with heavy copper bottoms (for superior heat conduction). I can't remember the brand at the moment, but they are nice. I am sure that Viking cookware would also be wonderful. The only addition that I would eventually like to make to our cookware collection would be a couple of enameled cast iron Le Creuset pots and some Le Creuset stoneware baking dishes.

Cutlery: I can give you an excellent recommendation for this. A while back, there was a Woot Off where a set of Alton's Angles knives from Shun was up for $249. This is a set that normally goes for $599 or so. I was ecstatic and bought them right up. They are easily the best knives I have ever held. I highly recommend them. After all, it is Alton Brown's favorite brand of cutlery, too. The main thing to think about with cutlery, though, is making sure you like the feel of the knife handle. Shun knives have a Japanese-style D-shaped handle which I prefer. Some of the high-end German knives have handles with little grooves on them for your fingers which some people like better. Either way, go into an actual cutlery shop and hold some of their really nice knives. Make a few practice cutting motions and see which ones feel the best and are weighted the way you like best.
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Postby iamroch » Mon 03 May, 2010 10:14 am

We lived in a place with double ovens and it was terrific! It was especially nice for holidays (cook the turkey in one and sides in another). We also would turn on the lower one to a low setting and put bread dough in the top to rise. It would get warm in there and was protected from breezes and any things flicked around the kitchen.

I want a seemless sink so you can wipe the counters and not have things get stuck on the rim of the sink.

Sounds awesome for you! Enjoy!
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Postby The Don » Mon 03 May, 2010 01:20 pm

I use my cast iron skillet as much as my stainless steel commercial-style skillet. It's very versatile. I've used it to bake whole chickens in as it does a much better job holding and radiating heat than my roasting pans.

If you don't have a cast iron dutch oven (better without legs but I use my legged one all the time in my oven) I would get one too. It's incredibly useful as well.
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Postby Momma Snider » Mon 03 May, 2010 01:50 pm

I do have a cast iron dutch oven that used to be my grandma's. I can recommend that.

I want a new refrigerator someday. I like the water in the door, but I don't like the skinny freezer, so I think my only option is the big one with french doors, only I don't want stainless steel. I think I'm out of luck.

Luckily the only really important thing is the water in the door. And the old one is still working just fine, except for the ice maker.

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Postby robcan2 » Mon 03 May, 2010 01:53 pm

I've heard that bacteria love to inhabit those handy water dispensers. But that should only be a problem if you're a germaphobe like me.

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Postby WiseNLucky » Mon 03 May, 2010 03:55 pm

lisapants wrote:SO JEALOUS!

We got some Shun knives a while back and we love them.


This is why I love this board!! I've never even heard of Shun knives, but I will certainly be checking them out.
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Postby WiseNLucky » Mon 03 May, 2010 04:08 pm

AdamOndi wrote:Counter top: I have heard good things about the various synthetic counter top surfaces like Silestone and Corian. Also, since I love the look of marble, but not necessarily the maintenance (sealing and stain-resistance), Silestone and Corian are great options, since you get the look without having to re-seal the stuff every 12 months. Also, I would have a big huge portion of my counter be a high quality butcher block like the various Food Network shows always have. There is no such thing as too much room on your cutting board/butcher block.


I certainly need to do more research on countertop surfaces. I'm hearing a lot that I need granite, but don't have any idea yet why that is better. With my OCD, color will be important, so the synthetic options may be better for me.

What's the advantage of a butcher block? Seems like it would be a source for bacteria to gather. I bought a large wooden cutting board which I don't use for cutting, and it works great for rolling piecrust etc.

Cooktop: I would love to have one of those awesome, extra-wide gas cooktops with the built-in grill in the middle. And if it was me, I would definitely put it in the island with a nice venting hood above it. I would also get a fancy pan-hanging rack installed above the island for easy access to all of my pans.


Those are all things I have been thinking about. I'll have to see how difficult (expensive) it will be to vent the middle of the kitchen. Right now we don't have a vent at all, just a fan under the microwave which is above the stove. Getting gas put in the kitchen will change that, but I don't know if it is easier to put a vent near a wall or in the middle of the kitchen.

Ovens: I don't know if I would bother with double ovens. I would just get one really nice wall-mounted convection oven. I never really cook enough to require a double oven.


I confess that part of it is the way it looks. And, of course, every holiday is a struggle to get the meal done what with juggling things in the oven.

Cookware: I really like the cookware that Lisapants's parents gave us for Christmas a few years ago. It was a large assortment of stainless steel pans (for easy cleaning) with heavy copper bottoms (for superior heat conduction). I can't remember the brand at the moment, but they are nice. I am sure that Viking cookware would also be wonderful.


I wish you would look up the brand for me. I would like to look at lots of options.

The only addition that I would eventually like to make to our cookware collection would be a couple of enameled cast iron Le Creuset pots and some Le Creuset stoneware baking dishes.


Absolutely. My mother-in-law had me buy some for her and we both loved them. But with my current cooktop I can't use them. This is one of the drivers for me to move to gas.

Cutlery: I can give you an excellent recommendation for this. A while back, there was a Woot Off where a set of Alton's Angles knives from Shun was up for $249. This is a set that normally goes for $599 or so. I was ecstatic and bought them right up. They are easily the best knives I have ever held. I highly recommend them. After all, it is Alton Brown's favorite brand of cutlery, too. The main thing to think about with cutlery, though, is making sure you like the feel of the knife handle. Shun knives have a Japanese-style D-shaped handle which I prefer. Some of the high-end German knives have handles with little grooves on them for your fingers which some people like better. Either way, go into an actual cutlery shop and hold some of their really nice knives. Make a few practice cutting motions and see which ones feel the best and are weighted the way you like best.


As I told your hunny, I've never heard of these. I'm looking forward to trying them out. I'm taking some cooking classes this summer at a place that is attached to a store with all kinds of fancy cookware and cutlery. I'm looking forward to shopping!
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Postby WiseNLucky » Mon 03 May, 2010 04:10 pm

iamroch wrote:We lived in a place with double ovens and it was terrific! It was especially nice for holidays (cook the turkey in one and sides in another). We also would turn on the lower one to a low setting and put bread dough in the top to rise. It would get warm in there and was protected from breezes and any things flicked around the kitchen.

I want a seemless sink so you can wipe the counters and not have things get stuck on the rim of the sink.

Sounds awesome for you! Enjoy!


Aside from looks, my holiday experiences are driving the desire for a double oven. Your recommendation is a reason I hadn't even thought of.

I will definitely get an under-mounted sink. Everyone I've talked to who has one loves it.
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Postby WiseNLucky » Mon 03 May, 2010 04:11 pm

The Don wrote:I use my cast iron skillet as much as my stainless steel commercial-style skillet. It's very versatile. I've used it to bake whole chickens in as it does a much better job holding and radiating heat than my roasting pans.

If you don't have a cast iron dutch oven (better without legs but I use my legged one all the time in my oven) I would get one too. It's incredibly useful as well.


I love cast iron, as well as enamel coated cast iron. I hate that I can't use it on my stove. I still use my cast iron in the oven (yum, cornbread) but would like to cook some things with it on the stovetop.
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Postby WiseNLucky » Mon 03 May, 2010 04:17 pm

Momma Snider wrote:I want a new refrigerator someday. I like the water in the door, but I don't like the skinny freezer, so I think my only option is the big one with french doors, only I don't want stainless steel. I think I'm out of luck.


That's interesting. My current appliances are stainless front, and I love that part. I don't think I've known anyone who doesn't like stainless. Do you have an appliance color preference?

My current kitchen is functional, but I've always had this desire for something exceptional. When we were house-hunting, there was a home in the neighborhood with an exceptional kitchen and I wanted it really badly, but it was only on the market a few days before it was snatched up, even though it was a buyer's market. I didn't have a shot at it. My wife just thought it was weird that I was willing to pay more for a house just because of the kitchen, because she has no interest in cooking. I'm doing more cooking lately, and the shortcomings of my kitchen are starting to bother me.
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Postby WiseNLucky » Mon 03 May, 2010 04:18 pm

Lady Celtic wrote:Ooo! A double wide fridge. Someday I want one of those too.

My MIL installed Silestone countertops. Or was it Corian? One of the two--not granite, and they fused together with a special adhesive that left no visible seam. The sink she got was of the same material, so the sink and counters are seamless--I think it's awesome. She has a similar double-oven setup, but she doesn't use the convection oven very often. I find it kind of confusing myself, but my father-in-law loves it. He's the experimental cook in the family.

How fun for you! You'll have to post pictures.


I will definitely post pictures. I'm just starting the process, so that will be a ways down the road.

Looks like I need to research countertops.
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Postby Momma Snider » Mon 03 May, 2010 05:43 pm

[quote="]WiseNLucky That's interesting. My current appliances are stainless front, and I love that part. I don't think I've known anyone who doesn't like stainless. Do you have an appliance color preference?

.[/quote]

I like white appliances. But now that I really think about it, I guess stainless steel would be okay for a fridge. I just have always really, really hated stainless steel sinks, because they're so noisy when you drop silverware in there.

Regarding germs in the water dispenser, I do think about that especially since this model doesn't even have a filter that can be changed. But so far, so good.

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Postby KMD » Tue 04 May, 2010 07:08 am

WiseNLucky wrote: When we were house-hunting, there was a home in the neighborhood with an exceptional kitchen and I wanted it really badly, but it was only on the market a few days before it was snatched up, even though it was a buyer's market. I didn't have a shot at it. My wife just thought it was weird that I was willing to pay more for a house just because of the kitchen, because she has no interest in cooking.


Do not feel weird about this. When we were buying our first home, in NC, I fell for the house we bought just because of the kitchen, and when I told our real estate agent, he told me that the kitchen sells the house. If it's got a nice kitchen, it will sell quickly, if the kitchen needs work, it'll stay on the market for much longer.

Unfortunately, this time around, I bought a house mostly because I was 8 months pregnant, and the people had already moved out of this house, so they were willing to move up the closing date for me. And, it wasn't hideous. But now that we've lived in it a couple years, the kitchen is driving me crazy, it's so small and cramped! I have no room to move in there! So, I am supremely jealous of you, WnL, and your kitchen aspirations. Make it your own! And we shall all cook vicariously through you. :D
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Postby AdamOndi » Tue 04 May, 2010 07:12 am

Cookware: I really like the cookware that Lisapants's parents gave us for Christmas a few years ago. It was a large assortment of stainless steel pans (for easy cleaning) with heavy copper bottoms (for superior heat conduction). I can't remember the brand at the moment, but they are nice. I am sure that Viking cookware would also be wonderful.


I wish you would look up the brand for me. I would like to look at lots of options.


I am pretty sure the brand is Bonjour. I'll check into it and let you know if it is actually something else. I have also heard really good things about All-Clad for stainless and copper cookware.
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Postby AdamOndi » Tue 04 May, 2010 07:40 am

I certainly need to do more research on countertop surfaces. I'm hearing a lot that I need granite, but don't have any idea yet why that is better. With my OCD, color will be important, so the synthetic options may be better for me.

What's the advantage of a butcher block? Seems like it would be a source for bacteria to gather. I bought a large wooden cutting board which I don't use for cutting, and it works great for rolling piecrust etc.


Also, you wouldn't need to use the large cutting board for rolling out dough. A little flour on a clean granite/marble/synthetic countertop is all you would need.

The term "butcher block" is a bit of a misnomer nowadays. It was originally what butchers would use to cut meat, but modern butchers use plastic boards that can be sanitized. The term now refers more to the construction method rather than the intended use, since butcher block-style boards are only recommended for non-meat use due to worries about cross-contamination. Anyway, I will let the Wikipedia article explain the advantage of end-grain butcher block construction:

This type of butcher block is made by gluing pieces of wood with the wood fiber perpendicular to the surface. Most commercial butcher blocks have a thickness greater than four inches. This produces an extremely tough, durable surface capable of withstanding repeated blows from large, heavy meat cleavers. Its thickness also allows it to be resurfaced many times without wearing away an appreciable percentage of the total thickness.

End Grain Butcher Blocks are generally preferred by professional chefs because the end grain wood fibers absorb the impact of the knife blade by allowing it to go between the fibers. This in turn keeps knives sharper longer and makes the boards more resistant to nicks and gouges.


Also, Lisapants just looked at the brand of our pans, and it is Belgique, not Bonjour. I knew it started with a B and was a French-sounding word....
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Postby WiseNLucky » Wed 05 May, 2010 06:22 am

AdamOndi wrote:End Grain Butcher Blocks are generally preferred by professional chefs because the end grain wood fibers absorb the impact of the knife blade by allowing it to go between the fibers. This in turn keeps knives sharper longer and makes the boards more resistant to nicks and gouges.


I like the keeping knives sharper part, but isn't there still an issue with microorganisms whether you are cutting meat or vegetables? I'm just trying to understand better. Do the cooking show people cut stuff on their butcher blocks?

Also, Lisapants just looked at the brand of our pans, and it is Belgique, not Bonjour. I knew it started with a B and was a French-sounding word....


Belgique with copper bottoms is what I have too (from Burdines, now Macy's). I like it pretty well (particularly the appearance) but wonder if something else would be better. I do notice that the pans without non-stick surface tend to stick except on very low heat, but they clean up very nicely. No one has complained about the meals I've cooked in them.

Julia Child's cookbook says that a thin layer of copper isn't effective in conducting heat, that you need at least 1/8 inch. That book prefers other type of heavy bottoms if you can't get really expensive thick copper exteriors with tinned insides. I never thought to measure mine for thickness but I do know the insides are stainless steel. I have found some pretty expensive heavy copper cookware with stainless insides and cast iron handles online, but wonder if it is that much better. I wish I could just try a bunch of different kinds without buying one of each type of pan.
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Postby AdamOndi » Wed 05 May, 2010 07:33 am

WiseNLucky wrote:I like the keeping knives sharper part, but isn't there still an issue with microorganisms whether you are cutting meat or vegetables? I'm just trying to understand better. Do the cooking show people cut stuff on their butcher blocks?


I'm sure that if you never clean your cutting board/butcher block, then there would be problems with germs. But all you would really have to do is clean it after using it with soap and water. If you are really paranoid about microorganisms, then you could sanitize your board from time to time with a diluted bleach solution or find a cutting board sanitizer spray at the store.
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