A coastal-themed kitchen in Galveston has a view to match
Cindy Sapio’s Galveston kitchen looks brand new, though she hasn’t done much to it since she and husband, Peter, built their home in 1996.
She replaced the original countertops with granite 10 years ago and has upgraded appliances when necessary. A KitchenAid stove, downdraft vent hood and refrigerator, plus a General Electric oven, are new additions.
The white-painted cabinets have held up beautifully over the years, with just a few touch-ups needed now and then. Stainless cabinet and drawer pulls are new, but other than that, this coastal-themed kitchen, with colors of aqua and white, has a timely, modern appeal.
“I’m pretty happy with it the way it is and about the only thing I’d consider changing would be the dark granite,” Cindy Sapio said. “Adding a more neutral color is what I have in mind, but that’s down the road.”
In the meantime, she enjoys sitting at her breakfast room table and admiring the best thing she likes about her kitchen.
“It’s the view of the bay, the palm trees and the sand bar where all the birds congregate,” she said.
A six-light chandelier sculpted to resemble white coral, enhanced with a natural-looking application of sand, hangs above the breakfast room table set with aqua placements, surrounded by white-painted chairs with aqua cushions. Positioned in front of several floor-to-ceiling windows, this arrangement sets the stage for that seaside view.
Tucked away in the corner is a solid oak vintage cabinet-style icebox that came from her grandmother’s antique shop — Teichman’s Antiques — that was once on Broadway in Galveston.
“It’s now being used as a liquor cabinet, but it was a functioning icebox in its day,” she said.
The U-shaped kitchen with free-standing island is roomy and functional. Three rattan bar stools, upholstered with a palm leaf pattern, provide extra seating.
Pantry louvered doors, painted aqua, open up to every cook’s dream — a large collection of spices.
“The ones I use the most are Maceo’s All Seasoning and Honey Brown BBQ Rub, which is good for grilling shrimp,” she said.
The aqua-and-white theme is evident in vases, starfish and a large abstract painting just outside the kitchen. The kitchen leads to a formal dining room with a glass-top table and china cabinet filled with heirloom crystal.
Next to the china cabinet, tall marine blue vases holding palm fronds flank each side of a large seashell mirror.
The kitchen is the family gathering place and that’s when she enjoys it the most, Sapio said.
“I look forward to all the relatives getting together and sharing their favorite dishes,” she said. “I just hosted our August birthdays, and my husband fried shrimp outdoors. My specialty is a crab casserole dish that belonged to my grandmother.”
Sapio has fond memories of her father cooking when she was growing up, and she’s still trying to master his gumbo recipe, she said.
“I’ve tried many times,” she said. “He told me how to make it and even showed me, but I’ve never perfected it; it just doesn’t turn out like his.”
One thing she has perfected is her homemade honey-lime salad dressing.
“It’s really easy and there isn’t a specific recipe,” she said. “That’s when my Vitamix comes in handy, because you put everything in there: honey, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, fresh lime juice, garlic and fresh cilantro. I do equal parts of the honey, vinegar and oil, then eyeball the rest.”
Sapio relies on gadgets a lot for prep work and her newest find is the Kuhn Rikon Swiss Pull Chop she bought at The Kitchen Chick in downtown Galveston.
“It chops food coarse, medium or fine,” she said. “You just put ingredients into the container, pull a few times, and you’re done.”
Heirloom items tucked away in a bottom cabinet include a vintage Juice King juicer that belonged to Sapio’s husband’s grandfather, and a set of Blue Danube china, crafted in Japan, inherited from her mother-in-law.
A retired teacher, Sapio spends less time in her kitchen these days, but when those family gatherings happen, the crab casserole will usually appear.
“It’s a tradition for most special occasions,” she said.
4 pounds lump crab meat
4 sticks butter
3 cups Progresso Italian bread crumbs
Green onions, chopped and lightly sautéed in a bit of butter
Mix all ingredients. Lightly butter large Pyrex dish. Cover and bake at 350 F for 40 minutes. Uncover the last few minutes to brown.