Sunday, January 29, 2012

Comfort food

As you all know in winter there is nothing more comforting than a big ol' bowl of steaming soup or a big plate of hearty stew with a thick slice of bread. In my house everybody knows 2 things about me 1) I am a chocolate lover and 2) I am a meat and potato gal, any combo will do, beef and mashed potatoes, chicken and scalloped potatoes, Shepperd name it and I will like it, and if cheese is involved it's even better !!! This next recipe had all the right ingredients and made it our new favorite family meal.

Stoved chicken   

Ingredients :

I doubled the recipe since I have to feed 3 children and a bottomless stomach husband!!

2 lbs potatoes cut into into1/4 in slices
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 stick of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large bacon strips chopped, I used pancetta.
4 large chicken joints, halved
2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
1 bay leaf
salt and ground black pepper

Preheat the oven 300F

Make a thick layer of half the potato slices int the base of a large, heavy casserole, then cover with half the onion. Sprinkle with half the thyme and salt and ground black pepper.

Heat the butter and the oil in a large frying pan, then brown the bacon and chicken. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and bacon to the casserole. Reserve the fat in the pan. When cool, store in the fridge and use another time for roasting potatoes (yummy more potatoes!!!)

Tuck the bay leaf in between the chicken pieces. Sprinkle the remaining thyme over, then cover with remaining onion, followed by a layer of overlapping potato slices. Season.

pour the stock into the casserole. Brush the top layer of the sliced potatoes with the reserved fat from the frying pan, then cover tightly and cook in preheated oven for 2 hours, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and tender.

Preheat the broiler to high. Uncover the casserole, place under the grill and cook until the slices or potato are beginning to brown and crisp. Serve hot.

Bon appetit.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

cheesecake chocolate chips bars, and a mini makeover...

Hello everyone !! Well it's been a little while since my last post. So let's not wait another moment and go right to it. I made my next recipe at a GNO last week and I had a lot of demands for the recipe so here we go. Those bars come with a warning though, they are highly addictive and highly high in calories !!!! So make then at your own risks.

Preheat oven to 325°. Butter a 9″-square baking pan. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides. Butter the parchment paper.

To prepare the crust combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Stir in the mini-chocolate chips. Press crust mixture into bottom of pan and 1 inch up sides. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool.

Next, prepare the cookie dough. Using an electric mixer, mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium speed until smooth.Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour. Mix just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

To prepare the filling, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar just until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating just until blended. Pour batter into baked crust.

Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls over the top of the filling.  

Bake about 30 minutes, or until set. Transfer to wire rack.

To decorate with drizzled chocolate, place chocolate in a microwave safe dish and microwave in 30 second intervals moving the chocolate around between. Then use a spoon to drizzle the melted chocolate over the cake.

Using the edges of the parchment paper, remove bars from pan. Cut into bars and serve. These bars are served best straight from the refrigerator, after cooled.

Now WHO can resist this and only eat one, I had to stop myself after 3 and had some more again that evening, evil, I'm telling you, evil !!!!!

Ingredients :
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup miniature chocolate chips

Cheesecake Filling

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cookie Dough Topping
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mini makeover

On to the makeover part. Now I don't for you but I always find myself rearranging or redecorating  rooms and what not in my house. My kitchen cupboards are my latest victims. I discovered a passion for open shelving in kitchen, but since I can not find the shelves I like (I am still looking!! hint, hint, for help!!) I decided for now to just open up the cupboards by taking down some of the doors, I know it's not perfect but it really gives another look, and feel in to kitchen.

Here's what it looked like before, nothing wrong with it, but nothing fantastic either, almost boring.

Full of the kids cookies and chocolate, well, and mine too!! and all sort of other baking things and my kitchen towels.

And this is what it looks like now, I removed one shelf and put some of my cooking books, and put the towels in a basket, which looks neater and cuter!! I played a little bit with the back of the cupboard and put toile tissue paper I had in my basement, just to see the effect, and I have to say I kind of like it. Now I have to find a proper paper for that, but tissue paper will have to do for now.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Visions of white

With the unusual mild winter we are experiencing in upstate NY this year, I find myself dreaming of some white. White home design that is!

All-white décor is a hot trend right now, it's in every magazines and all over the internet. It can be a daunting task to start decorating a room in white, but by choosing the right whites and a few key accent pieces, you can turn a room into a fresh and inviting space that you’ll love to be in. Whatever your style is, shabby chic, country or modern, you'll find the white that's right for you.

Here's some pretty pictures to give you some ideas and make you want to go all white !!

I hope you got inspired.