Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Orange kitchen accessories? Splendid!

I say I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I became obsessed with the color orange, but if I really think about it, I bet I know when it happened.  In 2003, I was waiting very impatiently for my acceptance to the University of Illinois.  I had wanted to go there for at least 3 years, and since I was applying for the Music Education program, it not only took a great application, but also an audition and an interview to be accepted.  I played in the combo for the high school show choir, and we were gone for the weekend at a competition in Iowa in early March.  When we got back to the school, my brother and I started to load our belongings into my truck to drive home.  As I came around the driver’s side of the cab, I noticed something pulled over my seat.  When I approached, I realized it was an orange Illinois sweatshirt – my first.  After calling my parents to ask them if it meant what I thought it meant, they assured me that my acceptance letter had come in the mail while I was gone.  I put on my sweatshirt, celebrated with my friends, and headed home.  Little did I know it was just the beginning.

Over the course of the next few years, I began acquiring more orange things.
  It started with Illinois paraphernalia, and it grew from there.  I’m the girl with multiple orange purses, orange phone cases, and no less than three orange dresses, among other things.  I also really enjoy cooking and baking, so that means I am often the very lucky recipient of orange kitchen utensils!  My stellar roommate gave me quite a few orange goodies for Christmas this year to add to the already ridiculous collection, and I find them all splendid.  Clearly that meant I needed to write a post about orange kitchen accessories.  Clearly.

I should say that none of this is sponsored.
  I own all of these items, many of them gifts from loved ones, and no one is paying me to talk about them.  (If someone would like to pay me to talk about orange things, I would be ecstatic to do so.)

For Christmas 2011, I was given an orange Cuisinart 5-quart enamel cast iron covered casserole.  I have searched the internets high and low for an image of it, but I couldn’t find one.  It looks exactly like the Le Creuset 5.5-quart round French oven in flame, except it’s not.

LeCreuset 5.5-quart round French oven

Cuisinart 5-quart round casserole

equals my pot

I love this pot.  It’s big and tough, and obviously a gorgeous color.  It has the strength and versatility of cast iron while the enamel makes it easier to clean.  No seasoning necessary!  I’ve used it on a number of occasions, and it is my go-to pot for making the contents of chicken pot pie.  I will also be using it to make Smoky Pork Pappardelle from Food & Wine for Valentine’s Day. 
The only con I have about it is that the handle on the lid is plastic, so even though the pot can go from stove to oven, the lid is not oven-safe.

Speaking of orange pots, the aforementioned stellar roommate gave me the Biale 5-quart Pasta Pot for Christmas 2012.
  We eat a lot of pasta at my house, so the pot will probably not spend much time in the cabinet because it will constantly be in use.  This is one of those things I didn’t know I needed until I had it.
Biale 5-quart Pasta Pot available at Target

The aspect of design that makes this pot special is the lid.
  The lid has a series of holes on one half of the lid, along with ridges on the edge.  The ovular shape allows the lid to be “locked” and “unlocked” on the pot by rotating it until it fits.  Once the lid is locked on, you can dump all the water without fear of losing your noodles.  (Losing your noodles… I might start saying that more often.)  The pot itself has two features I appreciate.  First, the lip of the pot is indented to create a slight spout for pouring.  I found this helpful when using the pot to make hard boiled eggs the other day.  Sure, it’s technically a vessel designed to boil pasta, but a pot’s a pot.  Am I right?  Anyway, the other feature I appreciate is that the handles stick out further than on a typical pot.  They have a nice shape, too, so it’s very comfortable to drain the water without fear of accidentally burning your hands.  Not that I do that often…

So I already mentioned we eat a lot of pasta, but we eat other things, too.
  It’s just that a lot of them involve draining a pot in order to eat.  I also really hate using a colander because it takes up so much space, and to be honest, there’s usually already a dish that needs to be washed in the skink, and it just stresses me out.  Before I got the pasta pot, I was thinking about how much I wanted a flat drainer that’s held up to the top of the pot.  Apparently my fairy godmother/roommate picked up on this and also gave me the Trudeau Pot Drainer for Christmas.
Trudeau Pot Drainer available on Amazon.com
So flat, so simple, so little space needed!   It’s a dream come true.  And it’s ORANGE!  Seriously, opening this on Christmas morning, I was almost as excited about this little piece of dishwasher safe plastic as I was the iPad Mini I received.  It’s just what I always wanted!  Much like my Microplane zester, it was something I wanted and not very expensive, but for some reason I just hadn’t gotten around to buying one.

At this point I could wax poetic about my orange kitchen accessories for many more hours, but perhaps I’ll just have to turn this into a series!

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