At this Dickinson home, everyone gathers in the sea-inspired kitchen
Jennifer Lawrence’s newly remodeled kitchen in her Dickinson home has many functional components — a 12-foot-long island, KitchenAid stainless steel appliances, Fisher & Paykel six-burner gas range top, Hoshizaki ice maker, nifty coffee bar and two-tone beechwood cabinets with 66 doors.
But it’s the family component that’s much more meaningful to Lawrence, who is a wife and mother, and the busy president of Chemic Engineers & Constructors in Hitchcock.
“We call our house the Lawrence Hacienda,” she said. “We have a lot of company that comes to visit, plus my two teenagers have friends over, and the kitchen is the best place to hang due to its size and openness.”
Lawrence particularly likes her new coffee bar, which is accessible to guests no matter how early they rise or how late they sleep.
“It’s a self-serve area with coffee and tea choices, and a Bialetti ceramic kettle — something I first saw while visiting England,” Lawrence said.
No matter how many guests might be congregating in the house, they always wind up in the kitchen, she said.
“You can get a big group of people in here doing all sorts of things,” Lawrence said. “At one time, we had my daughter and niece baking cookies in one area, my husband cooking on the stove, me visiting with guests, and others just mingling.”
All the new windows bring in light from the outside, she said.
“And since we’re surrounded by trees on our 2.5 acres, we have a nature-inspired view,” she said.
Lawrence’s husband, Jason, does 50 percent of the cooking, and is known to whip up a pot of gumbo, red beans and rice, crawfish étouffée or fire up the outside grill. He particularly likes to wow guests with bami, an Asian noodle dish.
The bright, Caribbean theme of the kitchen-dining area reflects this family’s love of the sea and scuba diving, and no doubt played a role when bringing it up to speed.
“We’d only lived here for eight months when Hurricane Harvey flooded the house with 2 feet of water last year, but we were able to grab our dining room table, bench and chairs, and move them upstairs,” Lawrence said. “They cleaned up well and look really nice under our new rustic bronze chandelier. I have this weird, eclectic, modern, tropical thing going on.”
The new buffet, with tin sliding distressed doors and distressed wood from StarFine Furniture in Dickinson, is a perfect match for the salvaged table.
The former kitchen cabinets couldn’t be saved, so Lawrence changed the configuration of the new ones, added drawers for pots and pans, special pull-out spice racks and lots of open shelving. Remarkably, all the hardware from the old cabinets and drawers fit beautifully on the new ones.
Quartzite stone replaced granite countertops and an oyster white mini-brick pattern backsplash resembles the inside of a seashell, Lawrence said.
Lawrence’s colorful collection of Fiesta-ware stands out, as well as other treasures, including vintage red and gold barware from her great aunt and uncle, highball glasses with matching ice bucket, and a little metal guitar man that she played with as a child.
Although she’s quite proud of her new kitchen, she likes to spend time on the back porch, which provides easy access to the dining room.
“We eat out there a lot, weather permitting,” she said. “The deer wander up while we’re cooking on the grill, and in the winter, we’re all around the fire pit. In the summer and fall, we do Pizza by the Pool on Friday nights, but switch to Saturday nights when Gator football season starts.”
Adapted from a recipe from Jerry and Donna Ramdhani, who are friends of the Lawrence family.
11⁄2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or chicken breast)
8 to 12 ounces Thai rice noodles
1 (15-ounce) can bean sprouts
5 tablespoons dark soy sauce
5 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
Salt and black pepper
Dry red pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper)
1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄2 teaspoon Garlic powder (or fresh garlic)
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
3⁄4 white onion, chopped
2 stalks green onion, sliced
Boil chicken in water with 1 tablespoon dark soy, 2 tablespoons light soy, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon dry red pepper flakes. When cooked, remove from water and tear (or cut) chicken into small pieces. Using stock from chicken, boil the noodles until they’re al dente. Drain noodles, but save water they were cooked in.
Mix noodles with 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce.
In large wok, sauté the white onion and celery. Add the chicken pieces, bean sprouts, 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce, 3 tablespoons light soy sauce, 3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce, pinch of dry red pepper flakes, 1⁄2 teaspoon coriander, 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
Mix in the noodles. If too dry, add more noodle water. Mix well and top with green onions. Serve with sriracha (or other preferred chili sauce).