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- May 21, 2012
- Vol. 77
- No. 21
In the Kitchen with Celebrity Chefs
Three Titans of the Stove-Top-Including the Ultimate Domestic Diva-Open Up Their Homes, Refrigerators and Recipe Books
THE QUEEN OF ENTERTAINING GIVES A GUIDED TOUR OF HER HOME KITCHEN
At first, the scene in Martha Stewart's Bedford, N.Y., kitchen seems like something that could be taking place in almost any kitchen in America. The woman of the house introduces her pets (three dogs, four cats) and proudly shows off the latest photos of her grandchildren Jude, 1, and Truman, 2 months. But the TV-ready perfection of the large space-and the dazzling array of gadgets-make it clear that this is the home of the domestic diva. Near a massive cappuccino maker is a gigantic mill she uses to grind corn ("I found it at a trading post in Oregon," says Stewart). Across the room is a mortar and pestle big enough to serve 100 people guacamole. And above the fridge are two ice boxes carved out of chalk stone that make sure the butter she makes on the premises stays cold. "This entire kitchen was my biggest splurge," she says. "It has professional touches, but it also has a homey feeling."
And no surprise, the TV star and bestselling cookbook author-who also currently has homes in East Hampton, N.Y., Seal Harbor, Maine, and New York City-has built enough kitchens (22 by her estimate) over the years to know exactly how to achieve that goal. "Ambience, good ventilation and easy access to equipment are very important," she advises. Stewart, 70, who spent about two years designing and building the space, requested open shelving, two sinks (one for pots and pans and one for fine dishes and vegetables), three dishwashers and decided on having two long counters after being disappointed with the one large kitchen island she installed in her East Hampton home. "It's so big you spend a lot of time walking around it," she complains. Further proof of her culinary chops includes a restaurant-size refrigerator (see sidebar) and a six-burner stove she had specially designed. "There is no reason not to get a really good stove," she explains. "It makes cooking very easy." Which works out well since Stewart regularly hosts parties for 200 people and tested most of the recipes for her new cookbook Martha's American Food here. "I wanted an open, chef-friendly kitchen you could really cook in."
To ensure the space can also be a place to relax, Stewart fills it with favorite treasures like her vintage collection of glass cake domes. "They're rare and beautiful," she says over the sounds of her canaries chirping in the next room. She keeps two computers on her kitchen desk-one is a MacBook Air that Steve Jobs gave her-to surf the Internet, and she also installed a 40-in. TV. "That way I can watch Mad Men or Downton Abbey on Sunday nights while going through the bills," she says. Visitors can also find her making sure there's no trace of pet hair left behind by her furry friends, who spend as much time in the kitchen as their owner. "I want the kitchen to be impeccable," she says. "I put big wet dishrags on my feet and I walk around to clean the fur off the floor. That's one of the best mops in the world." Whether she's at work or at play, "the kitchen is the heart of this house," says Stewart. "A successful day means I've been productive in the kitchen and made something tasty, healthy and pretty."
Martha's Blueberry Crisp
For the Filling
6 cups (3 pints) fresh blueberries
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. coarse salt
For the Topping
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
½ cup chopped nuts, such as almonds
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. coarse salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1. Preheat oven to 375. Make the filling: Mix blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and salt in a bowl. Transfer to an 8-in. square baking dish.
2. Make the topping: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, nuts, baking powder and salt. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir flour mixture into butter. Using your hands, squeeze topping pieces together to form clumps.
3. Sprinkle topping evenly over filling. Bake until filling is bubbling in the center and topping is golden brown, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 30 minutes before serving.
For more of Stewart's recipes, check out her new cookbook, in stores now.
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