Karen Morgan is the clever baker and cookbook author behind Austin's gluten-free Blackbird Bakery. We showed you the rest of her downtown Austin apartment last week over at Apartment Therapy, but we also have a special look at Karen's kitchen. She shines doing what she does best: making amazing, doesn't-taste-or-look-gluten-free-at-all gluten-free food! We take a closer peek at the space she uses to devise and create her amazing gluten-free recipes (and she shares the one she was creating: Blueberry Galettes!).
We loved watching Karen move around her modern black and white kitchen. She's clearly organized the space wisely, as things were never far out of reach, and we like that it actually doesn't seem like it's the kitchen of a chef. Save for the gorgeous serving dishes lining the tops of her cabinets, you only really see a clean, streamlined space. And her closet-turned-pantry is neatly organized with lots of labels (important for gluten-free folks, who often cook with a variety of different gluten-free flours). What a relaxing, stress-free way to start off a recipe. Speaking of recipes...
10 Questions for Karen Morgan (and Her Kitchen)
1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
My kitchen is like a canvas I get to work in, so it's always impeccably clean so I can kind of explode when I get in there to cook or develop a new gluten-free recipe. My cooking is inspired from what I see and what I smell, but when I'm emotional, it's all about what I'm feeling.
2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
My countertop. It's enormous and I can lay out all my ingredients in an assembly line. I also love my magnetic knife rack. It keeps my knives sharper for at least twice as long.
3. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
Probably the night I made homemade gluten-free ravioli for ten of my friends. Everyone had napkins tied around their necks because there was no where to sit down! It was hilarious!
4. The biggest challenge for cooking in your kitchen:
It's small, and I only have four burners on my stove, so it gets really tight sometimes and I don't have guests over as much as I'd like for the same reason.
5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
If I could renovate my kitchen, I'd get a better stove. I still haven't chosen a model because the size is so small. But the layout is really ideal and I don't think there is another configuration that I could of come up with that tops this one. If money was no object, I'd have gone all out and gotten a Sub-Zero or Miele refrigerator, a Miele dishwasher, and a La Cornue stove.
6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen:
I indulge in my Nespresso coffee machine every single day and have gotten a new model every two years since 2006. I'm due for a newbie!
7. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
Oh yeah. There is always room for improvement as far as I'm concerned, and at present, I'd love to get some really comfortable shoes. Standing on concrete is a total bitch on your knees and back and sometimes I'm standing at my counter for ten plus hours a day — especially when I'm working on a cookbook.
8. How would you describe your cooking style?
Simple food done exceptionally well, with the very best ingredients available.
9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Know what you don't know so you can find someone to teach you, and so you don't embarrass yourself.
10. What are you cooking this week?
I've been working on my next cookbook so it's been a mixed comfort food bag. My oven roasted tomato sauce got a double thumbs up from my son, and the cream-filled, gluten-free fried donuts brought my boyfriend to his knees. (Don't worry, no marriage proposal!)
Find Karen's book: Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free: 75 Recipes for Irresistible Gluten-Free Desserts and Pastries at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon
Visit Karen's virtual bakeshop : Blackbird Bakery
We're always looking for real kitchens from real cooks.
Show us your kitchen here!
(Images: Adrienne Breaux)