1.30.2013

quote



Quote: By Megan | Design: Daniella Marie 

January has almost come and gone (where did the time go?!). And with it came planning, more planning, and finally, some actual decision making. I'm excited to make some changes around here, in conjunction with another project I've been working on. I've had all these ideas floating around, too fearful to make any "final" decisions, but the above words could not ring any more true. Holding back until something is just so, just doesn't work. It's taken me over 3 years to realize that. Things are always evolving. So I've given my perfectionism a hard deadline, with hopes of launching something special in late February. Plus, it doesn't hurt to announce here either, right? (eek!). Wish me luck, friends.

1.27.2013

beef bourguignon

I don't have a bucket list, but if I did, conquering Julia Child's beef bourguignon would be on it. It seems like a dish that one should try and cook at least once in their life.

I started off pretty much intimidated by the whole thing. Not gonna lie.

There's a lot of steps (well, to me), including two seperate recipes (though basic) for the mushrooms and the mini onions. Half way through peeling 18 of them I started to wonder whether or not they were worth it. (They were.)

From prep to plate it took about 4 1/2 hours. Julia's tips such as drying the beef with papers towels so it browns properly really made a difference. Step-by-step it all came together, in this delicious concoction of savory flavours only slow-cooking could possibly create. It was so, so good. Rick loved it, and there's plenty more for dinner tomorrow night. Well worth the wait!

I'm starting to think the Le Creuset oven is magic.

Note: I was going to include the recipe here, but it's easily found just by googling "Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon."

1.21.2013

coq au vin

Over the weekend I made coq au vin for the first time, using our new french oven. I've been wanting to try making some classic french dishes and I couldn't have started with a better pick. The recipe is from The Cook's Atelier (a favourite blog of mine), and is absolutely flawless. It's the first recipe i've tried where everything came together exactly as expected. For some that might seem silly, but baking has always been more of my thing. Hopefully the next dish I try (i'm thinking beef bourginon) turns out just as delicious.

Coq au vin
(Adapted from The Cook's Atelier for two servings)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 slices of smoked bacon, cut into lardons
2 large chicken breasts
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cups dry white wine
1 bouquet garni (4 sprigs thyme, a small bunch of parsley, and 1 bay leaf)
2 cups chicken stock

For the Mushrooms

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large handful of sliced mushrooms

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used curly parsley)

Heat oil in a heavy, large pot (wide enough to hold the chicken in a single layer) over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and sauté until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a small bowl.

Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Sauté, until golden brown (do not turn), about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot. Cook the garlic, onion and carrots over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes (mine took 10). Add the wine and boil, uncovered, until reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot, browned side up, add the bacon and the bouquet garni. Cover with stock and simmer, partially covered, until cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes (mine took 35).

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the mushrooms. Place a skillet over high heat with the butter and extra-virgin olive oil. As soon as the butter foam has begun to subside, which indicates it is hot enough, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms to the pot and bring to a simmer, basting the chicken with the sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 4 to 5 minutes to incorporate the flavors. Adjust the seasoning and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve from the pot or arrange on a hot platter with creamy mashed potatoes.

Note: I boiled some yellow potatoes during the simmering process in another pot and then added the cooked potatoes to the chicken pot during the last half of simmering. They were great right in the sauce with the carrots, mushrooms, and chicken.

1.13.2013

tea for three


This weekend my Mother and Aunt stopped by for tea and a little visit. On Friday I headed to the antique store and found a few of the cutest flowery teacups, and two double-tiered stands for sweets and sandwiches – major score. The tiered stands are so hard to find! I made sandwiches cut into little crustless triangles, mini quiche, salad, scones with butter and jam, and a custard fruit tart served with mimosas. And tea of course. I can only imagine what a wonderful tradition it must have been to take tea back in the day with all the appropriate silverware and bone china. There really was a utensil or dish for everything! So lovely.

How was your weekend?

1.10.2013

good reads



I forgot what it was like to just sit down and read.

I know. Ridiculous, right? Sure, i've read tons of blogs, magazines, how-to, lifestyle, and cook books over the past while, but when I try to remember the last time I got lost in a really great novel, I for the life of me can't remember. I've been swept up in all things online, and miss physically turning the pages of a good story.

Recently, I came across GoodReads (through Rachel & Candice), and I am loving it. I hadn't heard of the site till now, but it's basically a place where you can collect "shelves" books you've read and books you'd like to read, all while interacting with friends, seeking out new titles, rating books, and discovering new recommendations. For 2013, I challenged myself to read 24 books – and by books I mean novels. I've started reading Northanger Abbey, and I am loving the quiet time of getting lost in Jane Austen. It's such a good break to just relax and read.

Are you on GoodReads? If so, let's be friends! And if you decide to join, add me to your list.

1.09.2013

hibernating

After the holidays Winter always starts to seem long to me. So far the weather hasn't been too bad though (compared to my brother in Sylvan Lake, where a cool -20˚C is normal). A little floral prettiness indoors though, is a good reminder than eventually Spring is on the way.

For now i'm hibernating indoors, where I plan to read a few good books, learn to knit a scarf, and prepare our spare room for the perfect office. Rick is leaving me to my own devices, so I plan on creating a little girly, yet sophisticated space... cream walls, ivory curtains, lightly-coloured natural hues, a few antiques, and the perfect wooden desk. Hopefully I can create the look that lives inside my head. Execution is sometimes a challenge for me when it comes to decor. I want it to be an inspiring spot where I can finally work on some ideas i've had for the past while. I need that permanent area that lacks distraction in order to really "hunker down" and concentrate.

What about you? Do you have a corner of your home where you work from consistently? Or are you wherever your laptop takes you?

Also, if you have any inspiring boards of office spaces on Pinterest, please share! I'd love to follow along.

1.01.2013

a brand new year



Happy new year everyone! How were your holidays? I for one cannot believe a brand new year has arrived. 2012 flew by with so many reasons to celebrate – buying a house, moving, getting married, going on our honeymoon... it was a year with so many wonderful memories made. Busy, is an understatement though! It'll be nice to just go with the flow for a bit as we kick off the new year. I have a few goals in mind though, as do most people during this time of year. It's the perfect month for a fresh start and new ventures. This week i'm planning on thinking about how I want to achieve those goals, and see where I go from there. It's always nice this time of year to reorganize my thoughts. January is always such a good refresher, no?

Did you set any goals/resolutions this year? And more importantly, how do you help to keep yourself on track and focused on those goals?