February 11, 2010

These Are a Few of My NEW Favorite Things

Welcome! Come on in. No, this isn't my front door, it's my newest stamp by B Line Designs. It looks exactly like the armoire in my living room, so I had to get it. My wonderful husband put a gift certificate in my Christmas stocking from my favorite stamp store, INK ABOUT IT, in Westford, MA. I have some cool ideas on how I plan to use it.

The "eyes" have it. I love her! She'll have fun showing up in many of my projects. She's by Limited Editions Stamps, also from Ink About It.

In my past life, I was a ballerina. Well, in my very early youth! STAMPINGTON & COMPANY, has THE most elegant and detailed stamps and this is one of my favorites. I'm still trying to think of some ideas how to use "her," but I may just frame this one. Suggestions anyone?

My dear friend, FABRE, gave me this stamp for Christmas. She knows I adore sunflowers. They remind me of France. Fields of sunflowers - is that not happiness? By Inkadinkado, this one also came from Ink About It.

Ok, do you know what this is? It's chicken wire!! Can I tell you how excited I was to find this background stamp? For my love of anything French, I have some ideas whirling around in my head for this one. A great source for all kinds of stamps, ADDICTED TO RUBBER STAMPS, I just couldn't let this one "fly" by. Made by Art Impressions.

Finally, I know they aren't stamps, but I hopped on to this site, SMALL STUDIO PRODUCTIONS, and found these awesome metal tags. How fun would it be to embellish them up with some grungy charms, papers, and findings. How about as a gift tag on a really cool wrapped gift. Look for a new project of mine using these tags, coming soon.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my new favs. I will, from time to time, post more goodies that show up in my studio, my kitchen and HOPEFULLY, my garden.

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February 08, 2010

En Papillote - What Does it Mean?

How do you meld one's love of art, food, and nature into a simple blog, especially the title? It's not hard when a favorite French cooking technique translates into cooking "in parchment" (or paper). En papillote is a classic method of cooking, where, usually fish or chicken is sealed in parchment paper or foil, with the addition of herbs and broth, and steamed inside the paper vessel.

And paper - do I love paper. You might say I'm addicted to it! I love to alter it in any way I can. I will be sharing my own techniques for projects I'm working on along with new products I'm trying. You'll see glimpses into my studio, my garden, and my kitchen.....all threads of my life woven into what I hope is as exciting for you as it is for me.

I want to share a lovely recipe for cooking en papillote with a Moroccan twist. It's adapted from Martha Stewart, one of my life mentors, who never fails to amaze me and always teaches how to live life to its fullest.

Moroccan Chicken "Tagine" En Papillote

Serves 4

2 sticks carrot - peeled, halved lengthwise, cut in 1/2" slices
1 cup canned chickpeas - rinsed and drained
1 small onion - chopped
1/2 cup raisins

1 tbsp. fresh ginger - peeled and grated

2 clovcs garlic - minced
6 sprigs fresh thyme
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. extra virgin olivc oil
2 tsp. Kosher salt - more if needed
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper - more if needed
1/8 tsp. ground coriander

1/8 tsp. ground cumin
pinch cinnamon
4 large chicken thighs without skin - bone in, or 8 skinless drumsticks

1/2 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine carrots,chickpeas, onion, raisins, ginger, garlic, thyme, lemon zest, and olive oil. Toss to coat.

In another large bowl, combine salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon. Add chicken pieces and rub in to coat.

Cut and have ready, four 12 x 17" sheets of parchment. Lay a sheet on a work surface. Place one quarter of the vegetable mixture in center of parchment sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle 2 tbsp. chicken stock over vegetables. Place a chicken thigh over vegetables. Seal packet by bringing edges of parchment together to make a 1 inch fold. Crease. Keep folding and creasing along the edges. Repeat with remaining ingredients and 3 sheets of parchment.

Transfer packets to a baking sheet. Bake until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender, about 75 minutes. To serve, carefully cut open each packet and remove thyme sprigs. Serve over couscous or basmati rice.
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