My Favorite Kitchen Tool Has Nothing to Do With Food

Every six weeks (or so it seems) on Twitter there is an argument about whether you should leave your shoes on when you enter your home or take them off. Both sides staunchly believe they are right. My answer: Both. Yes, I always take off my shoes when …

Every six weeks (or so it seems) on Twitter there is an argument about whether you should leave your shoes on when you enter your home or take them off. Both sides staunchly believe they are right. My answer: Both. Yes, I always take off my shoes when I come into the house. And yes, I also wear shoes in the house. (Just call me Mister Rogers, I guess?) Indoor shoes are a very specific genre. And the most important of them: kitchen shoes.

I’m never going to be one of those carefree barefoot cooks. Stepping on a shard of glass once led me to be so serious about foot protection that I often bring slippers when going to others’ homes. Especially when I’m in the kitchen, I simply need shoes. I mean, have you seen most kitchen floors mid meal preparation? They’re quick to get slippery and sticky with all manner of spatter and slime (ew). I may cook for work, but I still drop things in the kitchen—and sometimes those things are heavy or sharp (or both). A sturdy pair of kitchen shoes offer traction and protection, and you absolutely need them. When I was working in professional kitchen environments, which meant standing for a minimum of 8 hours at a time, I looked no further than Blundstone boots and my trusty Hoka Clifton sneakers; when I'm cooking at home, I turn to slightly more casual options.

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Our Kitchen & ILVE Range Review

Here it is: our kitchen refresh featuring a new ILVE range! This brand has won us over with its stylish…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Here it is: our kitchen refresh featuring a new ILVE range! This brand has won us over with its stylish features and functionality.

Ilve range

This post includes our honest review of our ILVE range and hood, gifted to us by ILVE. All opinions are our own.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and no more so than in our house! As professional recipe writers, our kitchen gets splattered and battered on the daily. So Alex and I decided after 9 years of heavy use, it was time for a little kitchen refresh. We’ve teased it on Instagram long enough, so here’s the big reveal! The main innovation? We made space for this 40-inch ILVE Induction Range! Switching from gas to induction is a big deal: here’s why we did it and all the things we love about this beauty.

What is an ILVE range?

What’s ILVE? ILVE (pronounced “il-vay”) is a brand of Italian crafted kitchen appliances, including ranges, ovens, hoods, refrigerators, microwaves and more. The brand was founded in Campodarsego, Italy in 1952 by two Italian friends. The appliances are commercial grade and highly regarded as some of the finest cooking appliances on the market.

Why did we want an ILVE range? First off, the sustainability of induction cooking. After learning that induction is more sustainable than gas, Alex and I decided we were ready to make the switch (gulp!). Second, we wanted a stylish European range that would make our kitchen look like an eclectic French cottage. After some research, we found ILVE! It’s a stylish range that’s offered in both gas and induction.

Ilve range

Why to cook with induction (sustainability and health!)

You’ve probably heard it before: gas stoves are best for cooking! But guess what? That’s not true. In fact, much of the passion around natural gas cooking is due to gas companies persuading us all that gas is better. After some research, here’s what Alex and I learned about gas vs induction cooking:

  • Burning natural gas produces nitrogen dioxide, sometimes carbon monoxide, and other pollutants, which can be harmful to people and pets. (Source)
  • New efficient electric appliances have lower carbon footprints. So they’re better for the planet! (Source)
  • Induction ranges are much higher quality than old-school electric stoves with coils. It’s incredibly easy to control temperature and cook with even heat. (See more below.)
  • You can boil water in 2 minutes! It’s an incredible time saver. Everything heats up faster!

Want to read more on induction vs gas? Here are a few resources: Give Up Your Gas Stove to Save the Planet (NPR) and Kill Your Gas Stove (The Atlantic).

Ilve range review
Ilve range

Our ILVE Range Review

The ILVE range that we were gifted from the brand was the ILVE Majestic II. We previously had a 30-inch range which was on its last legs (a burner was permanently not working and it had a ton of hard usage). After much deliberation, we decided to remove one kitchen cabinet to make way for a 40-inch range. While this caused a lot of construction (cabinet removal, new backsplash, trim, etc), in the end it was all worth it!

We’ve been cooking on the ILVE Majestic II induction range for a month. The opinion of these two professional home cooks and cookbook authors? We could not love it more. Here are a few particulars:

  • Induction cooking is far superior to gas. We are beyond pleased with cooking on induction. While we switched for the health and sustainability reasons, we’ve fallen in love with how it cooks food. It heats up incredibly fast and has much more even heat than gas.
  • The range shows you the heat level and boils water in 2 minutes! We love that the cooktop shows the heat level you’re on. You can also use a “Power” mode to boil a huge pot of water in just 2 minutes! On our old gas range it took 10 to 15 minutes.
  • The cooktop is very easy to clean. This is actually a huge life-saver. We’re pretty messy cooks, so just a wipe of the top gets it beautifully clean. No removing grates or caked on messes.
  • It’s beautiful. (Drop dead gorgeous.) This is subjective, but ILVE ranges are the most beautiful, stylish ranges we’ve seen on the market. The way the brass knobs gleam in the light makes our hearts skip a beat. But in all seriousness: there’s really something to using an appliance that’s functional and beautiful. It’s just more fun.
  • The ovens are very reliable (plus, the small one has a rotisserie!). Our model of ILVE range has a large oven and small side oven, which is nice for when you’re wanting to cook things at two temperatures. If we had room, of course we’d want two big ovens! But the side oven is great and even has a rotisserie. We’ve been using it to roast a whole chicken and it comes out incredibly moist! The oven’s baking ability is spot on: we’ve tested a bunch of our recipes and it’s incredibly accurate on bake time with very even heating.
  • It’s got lots of other great features. There’s a warming drawer where you can store pans while the oven is off, or keep food warm when it’s on. There are lots of different oven settings depending on what you’re cooking, and it even gets hotter than a standard oven (up to 575 degrees, which is great for pizza!).

Want to know more about ILVE? Here are some of the ILVE Range Models and comparisons between the different features that each one has. Or browse around at ILVE.com.

Note: The larger oven in the 40-inch range is slightly too small to fit a standard half sheet pan. The oven comes with a custom sheet pan that fits perfectly. We also purchased a 16″x12″ pan which is approximately the same surface area.

Kitchen reno
Ilve range
Ilve range review

More about our kitchen refresh

We used our new ILVE range as an opportunity to give our kitchen a little refresh! Eight years ago we did a major renovation of our kitchen when we moved into our 1926 home. Putting in this range required some construction to change from 30-inch to 40-inch, but there was no major re-configuration of walls or structures. Even so, we took it as a chance to update a few things to give it a new French kitchen look. Here’s what we changed:

  • Backsplash changed to Zellige tile: Because the range width changed, we had to redo the position of the backsplash. We’d always loved the look of square, handmade Zellige tile so we went with it! We love the irregularity and uniqueness of the look.
  • Added a pot rack: There was a theme in all my Pinterest kitchen photos when planning for this reno: a pot rack with copper pots! All of the pots and ladles hanging up are ones we actually use. We did have to buy new pots because of the induction range! Here’s a link to our copper pots that work on induction.
  • Brass hardware: To update the look of our kitchen even more, we change out our stainless hardware with vintage-looking brass drawer pulls and handles. We love how unique they make the kitchen look.
  • Brass faucet: We changed out the faucet in our island to brass since it was getting very worn. Overall we wanted a mixed metals look, so we went with a stainless ILVE hood and kept our old stainless shelves.
  • Wooden bar stools: We swapped out our stainless bar stools for wooden ones with backs, to add more warmth to the room.

We love how it all turned out. Thanks to our designer Tiffany Skilling for helping us choose all these items to bring the look together!

Ilve range
Kitchen
Kitchen

Questions? Comments?

Thinking about an ILVE range? Have questions about switching from gas cooking to induction cooking? Let us know in the comments below!

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

The Self-Care Practice That Helps Me Be Kinder to Myself

I’ve always been an active person. I can’t remember a time before last year when I wasn’t doing something. Tests, assignments, and projects took up my entire school year, and during holiday breaks, I worked on my blog. So when the pandemic hit, I found…

I’ve always been an active person. I can’t remember a time before last year when I wasn’t doing something. Tests, assignments, and projects took up my entire school year, and during holiday breaks, I worked on my blog. So when the pandemic hit, I found myself in an unusual position. I had loads of free time and no major obligations, since school was temporarily suspended. I could have started a workout routine, written a short novel, or learned a new skill (heck, probably a dozen).

But I just...couldn’t.

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How to Keep Your White Furniture Clean

Inside: Learn some practical tips for keeping your white furniture white and clean, even when you have a house full of kids.    We recently moved into a new house, and …

The post How to Keep Your White Furniture Clean appeared first on My Latina Table.

Inside: Learn some practical tips for keeping your white furniture white and clean, even when you have a house full of kids. 

 

White Sofa from the Futon Shop from the second floor

We recently moved into a new house, and as I’m sure you are aware, moving often means getting new furniture. In our case, we needed a sectional sofa to fill a large great room with 20 foot ceilings. After looking around, we decided to get a 5 piece sectional from the Futon Shop. What I love about the Futon Shop is that they have all-natural furniture with the option to have organic fill. They are non-toxic and chemical free which is really important to me and my family. As you can see in the picture below, they are comfy and we often find our youngest son sleeping on it. 

little boy sleeping on couch from the Futon Shop

 

One tip when buying from the Futon Shop (or anywhere, really) is to measure the space and make sure it is big (or small) enough. We initially purchased a smaller size, but when we put it all together, we realized that we needed one more piece, which we then purchased. The dimensions are posted on the site, so you should be able to measure before buying. Learn more about the Futon Shop and its natural furniture here

sofa from futon shop from second floor without covers

They have so many different options for colors fabrics, and in the end we chose to go with a white color. Now, many of you know that I have 3 boys, with another on the way, so you are probably thinking I am crazy for having white furniture. I have had that thought myself if I am being completely honest, but it went really well with the overall design and color scheme of our home so we went with it anyway. 

white furniture with pillows

Before making the choice, I did some research and found that you really can take some steps to keep white furniture clean. It isn’t easy, and of course there are going to be accidents, but I wanted to share some tips today about keeping that new white sofa clean. 

Pre-Treat the Fabric

The first thing you should do when you get your white furniture is treat it with fabric protector. This can make a world of difference because they are designed to repel spills and other messes. Based on my experience, this is not going to protect it from everything, but it definitely does a good job of repelling small spills and other accidents. There are many options to choose from, but I always recommend trying it on a small piece of the fabric on the underside of a pillow or somewhere else that isn’t visible to make sure it doesn’t cause any issues. 

Follow the Manufacturer’s Guidelines and Wash Often

The sofa that we got from the Futon Shop comes with easily removable covers for the cushions and pillows. This makes it easy to remove them and wash them in the washing machine from time-to-time. If you are using white slipcovers, you can take those off as well and wash them when needed. The important thing here is to make sure that you are following the manufacturer’s instructions for washing. Many fabrics require using only cold water and air drying. If you follow the instructions for washing the fabric, your furniture will last longer and should stay cleaner as well. 

Don’t let Spills Sit for a Long Time. 

The longer you wait to clean a stain, the more difficult it will be to remove and maintain the white color for your sofa. For example, if your child drops a popsicle on the couch, you should wipe it up right away and use a spot stain remover and probably wash that part of the couch at the very least. If you let it sit, it will be very difficult to get rid of later. 

Make and Enforce Rules 

This may seem like a crazy idea to all of you moms of boys out there, but if you want to keep your white furniture clean, you have to set rules and you have to enforce them. For example, we have movie night every night in our family room. With movie night, we serve ice cream, but my boys know that the rule is that we do not eat the ice cream on the couch. In fact, our overall rule is that there is no eating on the couch ever. It was hard for them to adjust, but they are used to the rule now and that has helped me keep our beautiful sofa clean. 

white furniture in the great room with rug

 

If you are going to spend money on a new couch, you should definitely take the time to make sure that you are doing what you can to keep it clean. I hope that these tips are helpful for you! Let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips. 

 

The post How to Keep Your White Furniture Clean appeared first on My Latina Table.

What’s the Actual Difference Between Vegan & Vegetarian?

As is the case with many millennials, I’ve spent most of my adult life dabbling in following a plant-based diet. It started in college for financial reasons, when I preferred to spend the majority of my grocery budget on produce (and, admittedly, wine)…

As is the case with many millennials, I’ve spent most of my adult life dabbling in following a plant-based diet. It started in college for financial reasons, when I preferred to spend the majority of my grocery budget on produce (and, admittedly, wine) rather than on more expensive meat and fish. Once I learned more about how animal agriculture negatively impacts the environment, I continued to phase meat out of my diet—partially at times, entirely at others. I’m also a lifelong lactose-intolerant who has been deeply invested in the development of non-dairy cheese and ice cream since the early aughts. And I’m not the only one who’s invested.

Plant-based diets are on the rise. It seems there’s a new non-dairy "milk" on the shelves every week, and lab-grown or meatless proteins like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burgers are popping up on menus everywhere from fast-food chains to high-end restaurants. "Meatless Monday" has become as ubiquitous as "Taco Tuesday". There has never been more variety and accessibility when it comes to plant-based food; it’s exciting, but can also be daunting. In the last decade, various media have continued to uncover the environmental and ethical impact of eating animals. We know that we should be eating less meat—and many already are—but when it comes to differentiating between vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based, there can be a lot of nuance. So, let’s break it down.

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How California Designer Jenni Kayne Learned to Embrace Slowing Down

Born and raised in Los Angeles, I’ve always identified with the California ideal of slowing down and appreciating life’s simpler moments. My favorite quote by Lao Tzu sums this up perfectly: “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” I’ve…

Born and raised in Los Angeles, I’ve always identified with the California ideal of slowing down and appreciating life’s simpler moments. My favorite quote by Lao Tzu sums this up perfectly: “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” I’ve worked to keep that ethos alive both personally and through my brand, by trying to inspire women everywhere to live intentionally, and live well—whether that’s with a seasonal menu, timeless wardrobe, or a calming home interior.

At the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, I unexpectedly found my busy days replaced with a mix of Zoom calls, homeschooling schedules, and the needs of my three kids. Instead of rushing between school pick-ups, design meetings, my daughter’s horseback riding lessons, and our soon-to-be-finished LA home, like much of the world, I found myself at home all of the time. Just like that, the world had hit pause—and I had to follow. Yet, with all of my work in creating a company that invites women to slow down into the laid-back California lifestyle, I found that I was having a hard time doing so myself.

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You’ve Been Told to ‘Shelter in Place’—but What Does That Mean?

Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make th…

Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make things run a little more smoothly for you and your loved ones.


There have, in the past few weeks, been a myriad of new terms crawling their way into our lexicon. It began with the novelty of the novel coronavirus, then social distancing waltzed in, we started to talk of curves and their flattenings, quarantines and their happenings. The implications of these terms are as in flux as the current situation—which is to say, we’re learning more about them and what they mean to us every moment, every day.

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This Small Kitchen Tweak Might Save You a Few Hundred Dollars This Year

Big resolutions are overrated. This year, we’re all about highly doable improvements we can pull off any day. In Small Change, Big Impact, we’re making tiny tweaks and sharing the results. Follow along, join in, and let us know what other small changes…

Big resolutions are overrated. This year, we’re all about highly doable improvements we can pull off any day. In Small Change, Big Impact, we're making tiny tweaks and sharing the results. Follow along, join in, and let us know what other small changes you’re making this year.

Americans love paper towels. This year, according to Statista, over 318 million consumers reported using them, compared to a mere 10 million who don’t. Likewise, The Atlantic shared that the United States accounted for almost half of the $12 billion global spending on this product in 2017 (for some context, the runner-up, France, spent $635 million).

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