Sinkless In Seattle - To Market, To Market…Seattle Blog at - 95879

To Market, To Market…Seattle

Sinkless in Seattle 
May 15, 2009 2:38 pm 
Updated: May 26, 2009 9:03 am
No fridge, no stove, no sink, no Farmer’s Market fix – this week was a sad week for fine dining in our little Seattle bungalow. I tried to make it to a market this week, but in my exuberance for checking out all of the local markets, I forgot to check the start dates. And, guess what? The one I tried for is not open until June. Oops. When does your local market open?
The market trip was an adventure all the same. I found a new neighborhood and circled the nearby blocks a few times looking for farmers and happy market shoppers before I realized my flub. But, that’s okay, because I am not sure what I would have done with my finds. The kitchen is under construction and I am still figuring out how to regularly feed us in this new and confusing reality. Luckily my good friend brought us delicious dinners two nights this week, but I can't count on that for the whole next month!! We have a microwave, toaster, fridge and a grill. (And, Ginger's nice offer of a two burner hot plate, but that’s not over yet.) And we’re washing dishes in the tub, so the fewer the better, there.
I need your help - any and all ideas/simple recipes you are willing to share - for how to cook and eat healthfully without using the kitchen stove (or the rest of the kitchen, for that matter). What should I make? We’ll gather supplies at the market this weekend, and I will post pictures and tell you how your ideas worked for us. I'll add some pics of the situation at home, too. It's pretty wild! You have to unzip the plastic to get into the "mess kitchen."
Thanks for your ideas. I can't wait to see what you come up with!
May 15, 2009 3:05 pm
I spent a summer without a functioning kitchen. The fridge was on the back porch, we used a camp stove to boil water for coffee, and yeah, did dishes in the bathtub. My advice? Pizza on the grill. Sandwiches get old, fast...but on pizza, somehow, the endless combinations of toppings were always appetizing.
May 15, 2009 6:24 pm
My brother and S-i-L went through this 2 summers ago. Same scenario exactly. Lots of Salads with grilled chicken or steaks, comes to mind. The camp stove is a good idea for sure. At least its a couple of burners. How good of friends are you with the neighbors? You can always offer to cook their dinner some night if you can do it in their kitchen. Of course that way you get the benefit of using an oven. It really will be over sooner than later. May not seem like it as you're living through it, but it will.
May 16, 2009 12:21 am
Hi SeattleFarmersMarketGirl! I was Sinkless in Seattle at the end of last summer, so I feel for you - really. I don't have any good tips. We ate out a lot. I live in Ballard, so there are a few fun and funky places to eat that I hadn't checked out yet (since I'm always cooking, we rarely eat out). I got really sick of it, but I gained a whole new appreciation for my kitchen sink. It is now my most honored household appliance. Washing dishes in the bathtub in not for the Byrds. I truly didn't come up with any good solution for myself - I hope you fare better. It sounds like you're a little more determined than I was, so that's a good start. I'll be watching to see what you come up with! :)
May 17, 2009 12:26 pm
If you have a crockpot you could cook lots of different things, and use paper plates and plastic silverware to eat on. Good Luck!
May 17, 2009 4:20 pm
been there done that for 6 months while we built our home and lived in our RV. No running water, (bought bottled for cooking, drug jugs from our year around creek and boiled for everything else) but had electric. my kitchen consisted of 3 burners in our 22 ft RV.(the oven didn't work) a microwave, crockpot(which i dug out of our storage unit 3 months into the project) a gas BBQ and breadmaker, in addition a camp stove outside to boil larger amounts of water for cleaning. i was fortunate to have an electric frypan that had a broiler unit top on it and had a toaster oven given to me on loan by a co-worker. All appliances were kept in the trunk of my car when not in use. It was the only place to store anything. You can use any standard saucepan or fry pans on a gas grill - regulate the heat as you would a regular stove. you can bake in a grill through indirect heat. ours had two burners so i could turn one on for the heat, but place what needed to be baked on the other side. i scoped every cookbook and scrap of inbred cooking knowledge i had to do it and i did not poison my family. there were glitches, but not near as many as i had anticipated. i just decided to be a pioneer woman - and how did those gals make it thru with what they were given? trust yourself when it comes to temperatures, and doneness. if you have a microwave - it saves the day more often than not. even for baking
May 18, 2009 1:51 pm
Paper Plates and Take-out!!
May 18, 2009 2:24 pm
Sounds awful!.. I think I would BBQ and eat on paper plate! Good luck! :)
May 18, 2009 4:57 pm
A Crockpot is definitely a way to go. Roasts, soups, and stews are very easy in a slow cooker. It is very forgiving and a great way to use those Market finds. All Recipes has TONS of great crockpot recipes too.
May 18, 2009 8:03 pm
Lots of good ideas already posted. I use crock pot for lots of fave recipe is for chicken bbq. Use boneless chicken breasts, 1/3 cup vinegar, 3 tbsp. of molasses, cover with water. Cook on high for 4 - 5 hours. Once done pull apart with forks, add fave bbq sauce and serve on buns, salads, etc. We put on buns mostly with cole slaw and have chips with it. Picnic style:)
May 19, 2009 10:12 am
I feel your I went through this couple years ago. I bought a rotisserie oven, two electric burners and a small refridgerator and actually cooked a full thanksgiving dinner. It was a challenge, kinda fun but don't want to do it again!
May 19, 2009 10:29 am
I surprises me that the market doesn't open until June! Here in Minnesota the market across from our house opened in April... and being from Wisconsin I'm sure you know what April here in the upper Midwest can mean!
May 19, 2009 10:29 am
You could always get a rice cooker--you can cook much more than rice in it! Or, almost anything goes on the grill (just ask anyone who's lived through a hurricane!). For coffee, you'll need a percolating pot; for everything else, just use your normal pots and pans but rub a bar of soap all over the bottom before you start so they don't burn.
May 19, 2009 11:50 am
I went through this with my family about five years ago while we were remodeling our kitchen. Luckily we had an electric skillet. You might invest in one, its either that or waffles.
May 19, 2009 1:47 pm
Wow! Thank you all for the great ideas and for all of the support. I did break down and buy a stash of paper plates:) I also made a much better plan for this week and we are surviving!! I will have to try that tasty sounding BBQ chicken recipe, pizza on the grill, and salads with grilled veg and meats! I knew the AR community could help me get into the swing of this! You are all awesome.
May 19, 2009 1:54 pm
Have you given thot to getting together with a family member or your neighbor and planning out, shopping for and cooking a month's worth of meals to store in the freezer? Or if not a month's worth maybe a week at a time? You could cook the entrees and then toss together veggie salads and fresh fruit desserts. just a thot. Been there done that. I got so used to using my grill and my crockpot and campstove I hardly missed my stove. We also have a fire ring in the backyard and one night a week we do a hot dog kindof nite and all make s'mores together. It's fun and keeps the dishes down too. Good luck. You'll find a way to work it out. Bredbaker in Bloomington, IN
May 19, 2009 3:52 pm
Everyone who suggested slow cooker beat me to it -- ditto "summer china", aka paper plates and plasticware (some really good quality stuff out there). Also with the weather getting better it's grilling season; stick some chicken pieces or good steak on the grill, wrap up some baking potatoes in foil and toss them on the grill, and make foil pockets to cook veggies like asparagus or green beans (add butter and seasonings before cooking and you won't have to mess with it afterwards), and you're all set, with only the grill to wash (and you can make Hubby do that outside!). Our farmer's market down the street is year-round, but we're usually so busy we never get down there; this week's a no go because of a graduation luncheon for my nephew, but maybe next Saturday we can make it down.
May 19, 2009 5:07 pm
*for sure* buy an electric griddle!!! You can find a terrific one for $20 or less at any big superstore. They work really well for bacon, pancakes, grilled cheese, quesadillas...anything you can think of...and you can cook a lot more stuff at once than with an electric frying pan. Mine is super easy to clean...unplug, squirt a little dishsoap on it, quick scrub and a rinse (or...maybe a hose down in your case). I use it every weekend for pancakes or something like that for the kids. My favorite recipe for the grill (or broiler): sliced zucchini & yellow squash, red onions, mushrooms...toss everything in hoisin sauce & a little bit of crushed red pepper...maybe a little bit of steak seasoning...a sprinkle of olive oil to keep things from sticking together or to the foil (or cookie sheet if broiling)...pouch it up in foil and throw it on the grill until tender (usually around 10 min or so). Sooo yummy and simple! perfect with teriyaki chicken (for when you get sick of hamburgers and traditional bbq food). If you get a rice cooker too, you are in business! Good luck :-)
May 20, 2009 1:07 am
Bless your heart. I feel for ya, I really do. You just have to get you a crock pot or slow cooker and dont forget the trusty grill. Hope that gets ur wheels to turning. If you dont have a crock pot, I'm sure someone will lone you one and they arent expensive either. I love mine. It's paid for itself over and over. good luck and let us know how its working out please.
May 20, 2009 7:17 am
A foreman grill for inside would be great..nice when you want something grilled but don't want to fire up the outdoor grill.
May 20, 2009 8:04 am
I just had my kitchen remodeled and had the same dilemma. Found some wholesome microwave dinners for busy nights, used the grill even in snow in Wisconsin. Washed dishes in the laundry tub, much easier than bath tub. We ate lots of salads, vegies and dip, fruit. The slow cooker was a must--made big roasts & sliced leftovers for sandwiches. Lots of very good suggestions already given. If you have a local party storeplanning , I found that to be a great place to stock up on disposable kitchen stuff. It was all worth it, and my new kitchen is beautiful!
May 20, 2009 10:14 am
I'm feeling for you - and other then a lot of BBQ'ing, I have used the following on camping trips and when I was looking for a low clean-up breakfast option - but you will need at least a camping stove. All you need is a pot of boiling water, zip lock bags, eggs and your choice of veggies/cheeses/meats (sandwich meats work well). No Mess Omelets: Bring a big pot of water to boil, crack individual sized portions of eggs (1 egg for a child, up to 3 for an adult) into the ziplock bag. Add veggies, cheese, ham - whatever your preference is, into the zip lock bag with the egg mixture and shake it up. Shake, shake, shake - then put the bag into the boiling water. In 3 minutes you will have a healthy omelet (no oils/butter used) and no frying pans to clean. I use this camping, the kids love to make their own, and there is very little clean up.
May 20, 2009 12:46 pm
Hi! I been there, done that! Some years back we remodeled our kitchen & house. It took six months. In preparation we purchased a portable microwave, a sandwich grill, and (had) a crock pot, toaster oven, a blender, and a BBQ. We learned to "nuke" the scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast, grill sandwiches for lunch and have crock pot dinners. Also, I remember fixing, for the kids, "cheese bread" in the toaster oven & tomato soup that I had heated on the grill. I even made a great gazpacho in my blender while relaxing on the patio! My back and knees were killing me, though, with the six months of washing dishes in the bathtub! Fond and funny memories. Good luck and have fun! Make it an adventure if there are kids at home. Ours still remember it more for the laughter than the inconveniences. P.S. I'm formerly from Seattle and have a bro living in Sahalee.
May 20, 2009 5:35 pm
all you need is some briquettes and a dutch oven. you can cook are your favorite meals and it can be fun. Also foil the inside of the oven for easy clean up and chinet dishes. go here for recipes in dutch oven cooking.
May 21, 2009 8:21 am
I love any kind of green salad with grilled meat on top (chicken of various kinds, seafood, even steak). You can serve it with some grilled bread and it makes a nice healthy meal. I actually eat this when I'm trying to lose a little weight. Experiment with different dry rubs for the meat and new dressings. It really doesn't get boring if you try to have some variety.
May 21, 2009 10:22 am
If you can boil water, you can make a lot of things--any pasta with ready made sauces, mashed potatoes, pasta salad (add can chicken or tuna), rice (add can chicken, cheese & seasonings, then use your grill to "bake"). Have a baked potato night-microwave them and have an assortment of toppings. Pasta salad. Check out camping recipes for foil packets. Lots you can do!
May 21, 2009 11:23 am
This is tricky - I'd stick to the BBQ due to the fact I wouldn't want to do dishes in the sink - I'd do easy salads (easy to wash) and get some pre-marinade meats from the local grocery for the BBQ (I’m not a fan of having to clean raw meat dishes..ick). Marinated veggies would be easy to throw on the BBQ as well, zucchini, squashes, asparagus and corn. These would be also OK to clean in the sink. Also – this is a perfect time to try out some new local eats in the area too! Having to go out for a dinner might be a nice break from the long day of working on the house.
May 21, 2009 1:52 pm
Hello! She doesn't have a sink! I recommend grilling or dutch ovening. All you have to do is dig a hole and fill it with hot coals. If you have the time this is better than any cooking I know! Then after you eat the contents, burn off the residue and wipe, dishes done, no water needed, then re-oil. Or order in, when you dont have the time, but that does get costly. Good luck!
May 21, 2009 9:08 pm
Well, this will probably get old, fast, but...I've been noticing some pretty delicious sweet corn in the markets lately. Shuck it, wrap it in a wet paper towel and nuke for 5 minutes. Presto. Delicious corn, no mess! Can't live on corn, but at least there's a side dish, ha ha. Good luck!
May 22, 2009 8:53 am
Been there-done that - don't want to do it again! Since I'm single I ate out and got salads from McD's and Jack. Thank goodness it was only for a month. Couldn't wait to get back in my kitchen.
May 22, 2009 4:29 pm
Our younger daughter is going through this and it will be worth it when finished! Her fridge is in the living room and the rest of her "kitchen" is in the basement. I think take out and paper products is the way to go.
May 22, 2009 4:36 pm
Hormel has great precooked meats that you can cook in the microwave; also mashed potatoes in the meats section at grocery, canned gravys are greatly improved. We've had the meatloaf and the pot roast from Hormel and we like the Country Crock Homestyle Potatoes.
May 23, 2009 9:38 pm
Your post caught my attention because when I lived in Seattle 10 years ago, my efficiency only had a sink, microwave and mini fridge. My parents supplied me with a toaster oven, and I used it to bake birthday cakes for everyone in my office (I had to bake one layer at a time!) I also baked brownies for the residents of Ida Culver House in Ravenna, where I had a part-time job. Plus, I had a single burner hot plate; I managed to quite well. Still, I also ate dinner out alot - mostly at CJ's in Belltown since my best friend's apartment was upstairs from the restaurant. That place always reminded me of Tom's Restaurant from Seinfeld. Well anyway, I wish you a speedy remodel and best of luck! :-)
the vegan cupcake diva 
May 24, 2009 8:54 am
microwave pre-made organic soup broth's, imagine brand has great flavors, then drop in thinly sliced veggies you find at the market. the heat of the broth will steam the veggies and the clean-up is super easy. the cup you use for coffee/tea in the morning doubles as a soup bowl in the evening. Also using a rice cooker or crock-pot to cook whole grains in large batches for the week keep well in the fridge. You could grill large amounts of protein for the week as well on your grill. That way meal time is just layering components, seasoning and maybe a little cheese, salsa, dressing or sauce on top and you done. also, stock up on paper plates, it might be bad for the environment but it will save you a headache for the workweek when you really need more time. save the dish doing for the weekends when you can relax.
May 24, 2009 10:38 am
Panini's on the george foreman grill would be my suggestion, you can use all of the wonderful produce from the market inside these tasty sandwiches! *Also, the Magnolia farmers market opened this weekend, and the ballard and fremont markets are open all year around!
May 24, 2009 2:10 pm
Rather than paper plates, can I suggest compostables? There's a website called Branch ( that sells plates and cutlery made from bagasse that can handle heat and microwaving. You can toss them into your compost bin if you're within city limits, oiliness and meats and all. And they're made from material that would otherwise be burned. You can probably find these locally as well, not sure where though.
May 25, 2009 1:36 am
Old Girl Scout recipe: Get a piece of tinfoil; put in a fish fillet or a whole small fish, add salt, pepper, a pat of butter, some thin-sliced onions and whatever other thin veggies you like, even some sliced potatoes. Wrap it up good and tight and throw it on the grill for I forget how long - 20 minutes or so maybe. Take it off, eat it right out of the foil or put the foil on a recyclable plate. It's very good, nutritious, and would probably work with a chicken breast instead of the fish. My GS always did it with trout.
May 26, 2009 2:05 am
Two words for you: gas grill and a crockpot. Oh, ok, that's three words. But the crockpot is a GODSEND!! I am also in the Seattle area-Auburn!
May 26, 2009 9:03 am
you should get a crockpot-then use oven bags or liner bags inside to reduce cleanup. Also you should get skewers and make kabobs- using plastic bags to marinate in. I also like the pizza idea- different toppings.
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About Me
I started cooking at a young age and have had great experiences travelling and studying food around the world. I enjoy searching out new things and trying to find the "best of" my family and friends' favorite foods.
My favorite things to cook
I try to shop as much as I can at farmers markets. I really enjoy cooking with fresh, wholesome, local ingredients and I love exploring the products made by specialty meat, cheese, oil, vinegar, and wine producers both locally and from farther afield.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My family has solid German and Scottish roots. The traditions coming out of my grandmother's kitchen are for hearty, frugal dishes: pot roasts, chicken and dumplings, rouladen, and Friday fish dinners are what I remember most.
My cooking triumphs
My mother was very sick one Christmas when I was still in gradeschool, probably 12 years old or so. We had the whole family (about 45 relatives) coming over for dinner and I told my Mom I would take care of it. For two days, I worked and cooked - running upstairs to ask Mom what to do next, then coming down to whip potatoes, make stuffing, prepare the molded salad, and dress the crown roast of pork for the holiday dinner. It all came out right, nothing was ruined and everyone ate well. I will always remember how good it felt to make my Mom and family so happy and proud. That is what really hooked me on cooking.
My cooking tragedies
As a young cook, I often would try to make things before I read a recipe or really understood the chemistry of the cooking or baking task. I once made the most wretched pot pie - a lard crust, undercooked gravy instead of white sauce, frozen peas as the only vegetable, turkey from a holiday that was probably a few days too old to eat. I served it to my sisters - it tasted horrible and gave us all upset stomachs. Thankfully, they have forgiven me and continue to support my cooking adventures.
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