This year commit to bringing greater peace and joy in your kitchen and meals by practicing “mise en place’ – the professional chef’s code of maintaining organization and balance in the kitchen.
Want to lose weight, eat healthier, and add interest to your meals? Every year, our friends approach us on how that can get organized for the New Year. Our answer? Mise en place!
The key to planning successful healthy adventurous meals comes by creating order in your kitchen.
Here are five tips for creating peace and joy in your kitchen and home:
(1) Clean and Clear Each Week – We like to plan our main grocery shopping for Wednesday evening – we avoid the crowds and have everything we need for weekend meal making with family and friends. Tip: Take 15 minutes on Tuesday to wipe down the fridge, clear out any fruits and vegetables by making a delicious compote, applesauce, smoothie-bag that you can pull out of the freezer.
(2) Stock Up on Essentials – We know you’ve heard it one thousand times, but have you looked in your cabinets lately? It’s better to be prepared! Canned tomatoes, tomato paste, olives, peppers, lentil and rice pastas, coconut and almond milk, raw nuts, pepitas, and sunflower seeds are a good place to start. We also like to have baking ingredients like agave and maple syrup, almond and rice flour, and semolina flour.
(3) Keep your Spices Fresh – Have your spices lost their flavor? Open your spice bottles to check for freshness, look over expiration dates, and throw out old bottles. Today, you can find good quality spices (and spice blends) at great prices -- there’s no need to use paprika that’s lost its pep!
(4) Invest in Tools of the Trade – great knives, large cutting boards, a micro-planner, garlic press, citrus-juicer, a small cookie dough scoop, and a waterproof apron make a huge difference when in the kitchen. Consider what your family enjoys eating and visit a great housewares shop to find the best tools to simplify your cooking routine.
(5) Practice Mise en Place – While “mise en place” can be understood as having an organized system which would include the tips we outlined today, many chefs describe mise en place as having everything within a hand’s reach while they are cooking. Take some time to consider how your kitchen is organized. While you are tending to something on the stove, what can you easily grab? Potholders and trivets for hot pots, spoons and other utensils for quick mixing, spices and pot and pan lids? Timing is everything in the kitchen!