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Copyright © 2006
Express Publishing Inc
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is strictly prohibited. 

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The Sun Valley Guide magazine is distributed free three times a year to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area communities.

Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper will receive the Sun Valley Guide with their subscription.

Investing in top-quality cookware is a must for any cook. Copper makes an attractive kitchen accent and copper pans cook food more evenly, heat faster and use less fuel than other pans. Mauviel Copper Cookware from Ketchum Kitchens. Saute pan $325, 3-quart saucepan $290.

organize habitat
An organized kitchen is the key to creating a happy home
writer: Sabina Dana Plasse, photographer: Paulette Phlipot

There is a saying in Sun Valley that you either have three jobs or three homes. Regardless of how many homes you own, the kitchen is still its heart. A functional kitchen in Sun Valley runs the gamut from a place to cater to your family and occasionally put on a show for weekend visitors, to a second-home owner’s culinary dream and the ideal support for impromptu parties.
Organizing a kitchen to fulfill a Sun Valley lifestyle is not only feasible, it can all be done locally. Page Klune of Sun Valley Ultimate Services, a personal concierge who has made organizing into a business, understands the importance of a well-organized kitchen because organizing is not just her passion, it’s her livelihood.

A cookbook stand is a priceless item for anyone who likes to cook by the book. Ketchum Kitchens and The Cluttered Kitchen in Hailey have several options, and both stock high-altitude cookbooks, an essential item for the Sun Valley cook. Lucite cookbook stand from Ketchum Kitchens, $10.99. Vintage Restaurant cookbook, $34.95.

Klune aims for minimal and functional. “One should have space gratification,” she said. “Whether you have an enormous great room with an open kitchen or a small space, the size dictates the functionality. But it’s your flair and taste that makes it all come together.”

Placemats and decorative linens add the finishing touches that give a host pride, while making guests feel welcome and special. Store linens away from the heart of the kitchen; this keeps them clean and fresh for impromptu occasions. Linens from The Picket Fence, $28 to $65.

A supply of staple food items cuts meal planning in half, while proper kitchen equipment allows the cook to be quick and creative. Kitchen tools and dishes should be easily accessible so a weekend warrior or spontaneous party-thrower can quickly create hors d’oeuvres, mini-meals or dinner for the family. Remember, a well-stocked, organized kitchen will create a lasting impression.

The impromptu party thrower

A well-stocked kitchen is the creative juice for party success

The spontaneous entertainer should always have a fridge full of gourmet delicacies. This Sub Zero refrigerator contains a smorgasbord of Sun Valley area treats from Ciro’s vinaigrette to locally produced salsa.

“A lot of people are not serious cooks and that makes it tough to be organized,” said Klune. “Depending upon your level of enthusiasm for entertaining, you should have it and need it rather than not have it all.” An avid entertainer, Klune always keeps a freezer full of meats and prepared foods, such as smoked salmon and prosciutto, as well as a cooler outside filled with shrimp, peanuts, extra cheeses and special sausages—such as apple and chicken—as well as tomatoes, because entertaining is not always planned.

Fresh produce can act as decoration as well as ingredient. Keep tomatoes out of the refrigerator to maintain their freshness and flavor. Heirloom tomatoes from Atkinsons’ Market, $8.69 per pound. Platter from The Picket Fence, $28.

When occasions arise spontaneously, preparation and organization need to be at their best. Have plenty of olive oil on hand and keep it refrigerated for long-lasting flavor. Having a good supply of the basics, such as corn meal, flour, sugar and bouillon cubes, is extremely useful for last-minute meal planning. In addition, have a variety of cutting boards on hand for cheeses, trivets for hot table items, a kitchen timer, basting brushes, serving spoons and all sizes of wooden spoons and spatulas easily accessible. For impromptu entertaining, your pantry should contain ample salsas, chutneys and crackers, and there should always be a bottle of champagne in the fridge, as well as a stocked bar and a variety of wines. If time allows, fresh flowers can enhance any party mood.

The weekend warrior
For one-session cooking, this cook needs items in bulk and ample storage space

If cooking and baking tend to be reserved for the weekends, then storage is a priority. Baking products should be kept in containers and there should always be extra butter in the freezer. In Sun Valley, brown sugar especially should be in a container. “I put brown sugar into a baggie with a saturated sponge so moisture is absorbed from the sponge keeping the sugar from getting hard,” said Klune.

The everyday cook needs spices that are easily accessible or in plain sight, because time can be of the essence when a kitchen is used around the clock. Atkinsons’ Market, The Cluttered Kitchen and Ketchum Kitchens stock local flavors, as well as a wide selection of gourmet specialty items.

Remember, altitude in Sun Valley has to be considered when baking. Any good high-altitude cookbook has conversions. However, a general rule of thumb for adjustments at 3,000 feet or higher is to reduce baking powder and sugar but increase liquids. For each teaspoon of baking powder in the recipe, decrease by one-eighth of a teaspoon. For each cup of sugar listed, decrease by one tablespoon, and for each cup of liquid, increase by two tablespoons. Since baking items often rise quicker at higher altitudes, you may want to increase oven temperatures.

The everyday cook
A happy homemaker or after-school cook needs expediency and accessibility

This kitchen sees plenty of traffic so it must be functional and access friendly. All seasonings and spices should be readily available, along with plenty of pots and pans, cooking sheets, ramekins, pitchers and many sets of plates in all sizes. “A cook who does it all with family and business has to have everything at their fingertips,” said Klune.

Knives are essential to this kitchen; keeping them sharp is important and should be done often. A food processor is also useful because it saves time on chopping, mixing and blending, making complicated dishes easier to prepare. Keep a variety of oils, vinegars, and jars of sauces nearby to make meals interesting and unique. Once opened, dressings and mustards should be kept in the refrigerator. A good selection of condiments can dress up just about any dish. The serious cook should always have the following readily available: a cookbook stand, aprons, stacks of dishtowels and nice cloth napkins, rather than paper.

With thanks to: Sun Valley Ultimate Services LLC for the use of the downtown Ketchum penthouse; Page Klune for her expertise;
Primavera Plants & Flowers for the floral arrangement; Ketchum Kitchens, Atkinsons’ Market, Ciro’s Market and The Picket Fence for kitchen accessories.