Savory Pie ~

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Made this Chicken Sausage, Porcini Mushroom, Lentil pie last night with a Pecorino Cheese Crust………looked and tasted terrific!

How it started…..I had a busy day planned and it didn’t include a large chunk of time in the kitchen. But I really was feeling a savory pie. So while I was making the morning coffee I whipped out the food processor and made the crust in just a couple of minutes. Wrapped it in plastic wrap and popped it in the fridge for later that day.  While getting the dogs breakfast ready I put the lentils and the chicken sausage in a pot of chicken stock and simmered them together with a shallot for 25 minutes. Which was just enough time to get dressed before I went out the door.  Everything prepped for later in the day. Here’s the recipe. It’s so worth it.

Ingredients:

Filling

1 cup lentils

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

2 chicken sausage fennel sausages

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

6 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 shallot

2 carrots, diced

1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup chopped parsley

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, diced

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon sun dried tomatoes, chopped

Topping

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, diced

1/2 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup (packed) coarsely grated Soft Pecorino cheese (about 3 ounces)

 

Directions:

Filling:
Add lentils to pot and cover lentils with chicken stock 1”. Add the two chicken fennel sausages, 1/2 t salt and a shallot; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain; set lentils and sausage aside. Or if you are prepping early pop it in the fridge.

Pour 1 cup of boiling chicken stock over porcini in medium bowl; soak 15 mins. Remove porcini from soaking liquid, chop coarsely. (Reserve soaking liquid.)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fresh mushrooms. Sauté 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon oil, onion, carrot, sage, and thyme. Sauté 4 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic; sauté 30 seconds.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Mix flour into vegetables; cook 1 minute. Add porcini soaking liquid and the remainder of the chicken stock.

Cover; simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, 13 to 15 minutes. Add lentils; season with salt and pepper. Place the filling in a pie dish or 4 individual large ramekins. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before topping with the pie crust.

Do ahead. Can be made 2 days in advance Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.

Crust:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; pulse until dough forms moist clumps. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Roll into a disc, cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 20 mins.
Roll out the dough on a flour service and place on top of the pie dish with the filling. Crimp the edges. Slit the top of the pie 4 or 5 times. Egg wash the top and sprinkle some sea salt on the crust.

Bake pie on baking sheet until tester the crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remember the filling is already cooked. If the edges get too brown wrap them with foil 20 mins into the cooking.


Kitchen Pleasantries!

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Loving every bit of cooking from shopping to table (except possibly dishes if I’m to be truly honest) I discovered these gorgeous blue steel hand forged pans last fall.  Designed and hammered by Patrick Maher and Caryn Badgett’s in their blacksmith shop in Washington they are great for searing and caramelizing while lovely to cook in.  They are hammered and forged, not cast, which makes the pans lighter and easier to handle, as well as less porous and quicker to season. They can take high temperatures and  can go from stove, to oven, to table – where they make a beautiful table presentation.  The blue color is a product of heat treatment, which forms a protective layer of blue iron oxide on polished steel. It is a natural rust deterrent, and combined with organic virgin coconut oil, provides an excellent pre-seasoned surface. They’re iron pans and therefore reactive, so they won’t stay blue – they’ll darken and patina as you cook and season them, aging beautifully as we all do!

Available at Blu Skillet Ironware

www.bluskilletironware.com

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Another treat for the esthetically inclined kitchen…. Pineapple cut out colanders.

Available at NoMoreRack.

http://www.nomorerack.com/daily_deals/view/1677556-3-Piece_Set%3A_Imperial_Home_High_Quality_Pineapple-Cut_Stainless_Steel_Deep_Colanders??n=3166&pid=1&pc=129932&n=3320&pid=1&pc=137632&nan_pid=1813587583

Stainless-Steel Ultimate Spatula Set, Cool Grey

The shapes and sizes of these stainless and silicone spatulas are convenient and attractive. Paintbrush-inspired handles encourage the ideal angle and grip depending on the desired task. The heads are made of hygienic, heatproof silicone so they don’t melt if you accidentally leave them too close to the flame! I’m particularly fond of the little one.

Available at Williams Sonoma.

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/stainless-steel-ultimate-spatula-set/?pkey=ccooking-utensils|turner-spatulas|&cm_src=cooking-utensils||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_–_-&group=1&sku=5728295

Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron Oval Dutch Oven

My “go to” Dutch Oven for Sunday night dinners is by Le Creuset. The enameled cast iron signature cookware makes the perfect stews, soups and braised meats. I’ve had mine for 20 years now and it’s a seasoned competitor in my kitchen for it’s design and reliability. Still turning out perfect dishes after all these years!

Available at Williams Sonoma.

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/le-creuset-signature-oval-dutch-oven/?pkey=e|lecrueset|64|best|4294967203|1|24||24&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||Category-_-Cookware-_-NoMerchRules

All-Clad 3-Piece Stainless-Steel Strainer Set

Whether you are straining stock or finishing a cake with a light dusting of powder sugar…these are definitely the strainers you need. Designed by All-Clad they are designed to position securely over bowls and pots, go straight to the dishwasher and are artistically designed to accent your heart felt creations.

Available at Williams Sonoma.

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/all-clad-stainless-steel-strainer-set/?cm_src=AutoRel2

These are my mixing bowls…they don’t slip… which I love. There is nothing worse than whisking in a bowl that takes on a life of it’s own. The high grade stainless steel bowl is bonded with a non-slip silicone base which keeps them cemented to the counter top (within reason of course).

Available at Chefs.

http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/28501-chefs-stainless-steel-mixing-bowl-set-with-non-skid-silicone-bottom-5-piece.aspx

Just a few kitchen ideas from my home to yours. These terrific additions to your kitchen make the joy of cooking both handy and wonderfully successful!

Bon Appetit!

 

Kitchen Counter Tops ~

While researching counter tops for a clients’ outdoor kitchen I thought it would be a great time to summarize the types of counters that are readily available for today’s kitchens. A variety of textures,  costs and appearances can change the look and feel of the heart of your home.
Soapstone. The first photo of the contemporary kitchen features the sleekness of soapstone. It’s durability has made this material a top choice for hundreds of years.  It’s density makes it stain and bacteria resistant and is not discolored by heat. Cleans simply with soap and water. Develops a dark patina and can scratch or chip over over time.  While many people love the charm the counter top assumes over time, others prefer to sand the soapstone to keep it looking new. Average cost $75 -$95 a foot.

 Concrete is one of the greenest, most environmentally friendly materials on Earth. They are available in a variety of colors and can be textured as well.  Average cost $65 – $135 a foot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of Cooking!

Those who love to cook….love their pots….not only for the functionality and conductivity of them but from a visual esthetic point of view as well. I suppose it’s similar to showing up in the ring with your boots polished every day. All aspects of one’s passion, in order to produce divine satisfaction, factor into the mix of the eventual product. So for cooking, the beauty of a line of Cobalt blue patina pans crafted by an artisan and blacksmith were right up my alley!

Seattle based Patrick Maher and Caryn Badgett,  the husband and wife team behind this beautiful line of Ironware, found they shared a similar aesthetic in designing and creating objects that were both beautiful and useful.

In their own words, “There was something so satisfying and wonderful about cooking dinner in a lovely pan you’d just made by hand – not to mention delicious! ”

So after some tasty testing and research into the making of steel pans (which are 99% iron), they started Blu Skillet Ironware, hand forged blue steel pans and ironware objects for the home.

 

In addition to their beautiful design these blue steel pans are great for searing and caramelizing – and they make fantastic over-easy eggs! Iron pans that are forged rather than cast, make the pans lighter and easier to handle, as well as less porous and quicker to season. Able to take high temperatures, they can go from stove top, to oven, to table – where the artistry of the pan compliments the evenings meal and conversation!

The blue color is a product of heat treatment, which forms a protective layer of blue iron oxide on polished steel. It is a natural rust deterrent, and combined with organic virgin coconut oil, provides an excellent pre-seasoned surface rendering the pans nonstick and ready to use. They are iron pans and therefore reactive, so they won’t stay blue – they’ll darken and patina as you cook and season them which to me just adds to their aged timeless beauty.

 

http://www.bluskilletironware.com/

 

 

Before & After Town Home

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Remodeled this town home to make it more attractive to the buying public on a budget and in two weeks! Producing a contemporary feel to what was dated and bland.  Original cream carpet with vanilla paint was replaced with engineered hand scraped hardwood floors, new fixtures and contrasting paint colors.

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Dining room went from dark and dreary to light and modern.

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Family Room/Kitchen area became inviting and entertaining.

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With the addition of Granite counter tops, new appliances, glass tile back splash and a coat of paint this outdated kitchen turned into a Cook’s Delight!

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Master Bedroom

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Guest Bedroom

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Third Bedroom/Office

Visit the website for additional photos at www.116pachettiway.com.

 

 

Smart Quartz Countertops!

Activated by light and air movement, this super smart floor apparently can convert the toxins normally found in your home into harmless water and carbon dioxide. – See more at: http://furstmanproperties.com/?p=591#sthash.di4QWUKb.dpuf

A few weeks ago I wrote about a hardwood flooring that is reinventing the control of air quality in your home.  Activated by light and air movement, this super smart floor apparently can convert the toxins normally found in your home into harmless water vapor and cardon dioxide. Well I just found their counter part for the kitchen!

reinventing the control of air quality in your home.  Activated by light and air movement, this super smart floor apparently can convert the toxins normally found in your home into harmless water and carbon dioxide. – See more at: http://furstmanproperties.com/?p=591#sthash.JV8KikoA.dpuf

While I originally chose this kitchen to highlight because of the mixture of style and components, primarily the old reclaimed wood ceiling with the modern glass tiles and stainless appliances, once I began to read about the designer Sheryl Schey, a principal at White Picket Fence in Santa Monica, and her philosophies I became interested in her selection of the Silestone natural quartz counter-top she used on the island.

Silestone is composed of 94% natural quartz and is the only quartz product that provides Bacteriostatic protection. Developed by Cosentino, this protective formula incorporated into the quartz, uses the latest generation silver ions to prevent the propagation of bacteria on your counter-tops in the kitchen and bathroom. What a great idea! The product comes in a variety of colors as well as textures, polished, suede and volcano. Guaranteed, the quartz is stain, scratch, acid and impact resistant. Seems to cover all the concerns home owners have when considering what product to feature on their cabinetry in their kitchen and bathrooms.  With the cost of counter-tops being one of high ticket items in a kitchen or bath, to have the comfort of knowing your product is resistant to everyday use and doesn’t requiring regular sealing is a plus.
http://colors.cosentino.com/media/showroom/hd/kitchen/silestone-kitchen-cocina-silestone-quartz-cuarzo-tao-03.jpg

Photo courtesy of Silestone

 

Creative Kitchen Stools

Yellow upholstered stools pepper the dark wood floors, marble and white cabinets of this handsome kitchen.

Great stripe fabric on these lacquered tall chairs, island provides dining as well as prepping space.

Upholstered stools provides extra storage space under the cushions.

Dark wood of the chairs highlights the patterned limestone flooring and infinity style of the quartz island.

Earthy and comfortable.

Modern leather lattice weave style stools.

Classic Mcguire style kitchen stools.

Contemporary and sleek lucite.

 

Kitchen Islands

This article has some great ideas for interesting kitchen islands.  Featured here is my favorite, I love the contrast between the old wood and the sleek contemporary cabinets, white subway tile and stainless appliances. Reclaimed timber with the quartz counter top mixes a rustic look with the polish finish of the stone. To see other examples click the link below:

Fireclay Tile

Caribbean Cool San Francisco Kitchen

 

Paul Burns founded Fireclay Tile in 1986, his goal was to make beautiful tile for his clients exactly how they would like it made. Every tile is handmade to order using recycled materials and sustainable manufacturing practices. Their focus is on working directly with their clients to create the home and commercial projects of their dreams. In a timely manner and with the greatest customer service in the world!

Their philosophy, “That handmade things have soul, and good design will prevail as one of our most sustainable assets. We believe in the power of team work and that work should be fun. We believe that life should be lived boldly and with purpose. We believe in the beauty of imperfection and the gift of learning from our mistakes. We believe it is our responsibility to make products for people, products that last for generations, and products that have a story to tell.”

Constantly striving to find new ways to reuse cast off materials, 16 years ago Fireclay Tile discovered a way to use a disposed of fine dust particulate into their recycled clay. Their glass line consists of 100% recycled materials. The vertical integration of their production allows them to incorporate an exceptional amount of their own production waste.   Recycling onsite includes water reclamation at cutting and mixing stations, along with rainwater capture.   All scrap and defective materials are crushed into aggregate which is used in their recycled clay as well as any glaze over-spray.

And have you seen their tiles? This Caribbean blue tile, used in the kitchen design by Joshua Mogal, contrasts nicely with the white cabinetry and slate grey counter-tops. To visit their site and see a collection of their tiles I’ve included the link below:

http://www.fireclaytile.com/gallery

Kudos to a company trying to do it all and beautifully at the same time!