The Element of Stove and Style: Copper Cookware and Decorative Accents

Copper cookware and decorative accents continue to be a favored choice of kitchen ware.  Exquisite in composition and artistic in execution, culinary preparation is performance art at its delicious best.  Celebrated chefs and accomplished cooks know the advantages of using copper cookware in food preparation.

Denis-Pierre_Bergeret_Geschäftiges_Treiben_in_der_KücheDenis-Pierre Bergeret Geschäftiges Treiben in der Küche  {{PD-US}}

The stove to table taste of home ritual most of us engage in on a daily basis far better serves the sizzle, sauté, sauce and simmer when the cookware used results in superior performance and quality taste. Temperature uniformity is essential in the cooking process.  Too much heat scorches and burns while too little heat deters the notes of taste and flavor.  Copper is an excellent heat conductor- the maestro of materials.

copper

Copper cookware distributes a precise and even heat which is the essential element for proper temperature control.  Gorgeous is as gorgeous works, and copper cookware plates a gorgeous taste.  It’s Super Copper Tastic Excellent à la Decorocious!

copper-kitchen-wares

Cooking and decorating share similar attributes.

Balance.

Proportion.

Taste.

Visual appeal.

It is said that we eat with your eyes.

williams-sonoma-mini-copper-cocottes-set-of-4-oWilliams Sonoma Mini Copper Cocottes

Decorative accents and embellishments should enhance the design rather than overpower it.  Less proves to be so much more in many design and decorating instances, visually speaking.  Take this white French kitchen hood accented with copper trim as an example.  The copper trim really pops against the white, and draws the eye to the contrast between the exposed brick backsplash/back wall and rustic wood truss with focal point precision.

copper-hood-keystone-millworks-inc

Keystone Millworks, Inc.

Timeless style translates to the modern kitchen.

hh-aldred-kitchen-final3_sup_hh_oc11House & Home

Copper lends a distinctive presence to accents and home decor accessories for unique, sumptuous, whimsical and eclectic kitchen decorating consideration.

copper brutalist pendant-style chandelierExquisite Spiraling Copper Brutalist Pendant-Style Chandelier

I have kept this style spotted copper milk can or creamer or whatever it is from the 2011 Kitchen of the Year created by chef Tyler Florence in my thoughts over the years.  It made that big of an impression on me.  In the presence of dark cabinetry, high-tech appliances and farm to modern rustic, yet refined kitchen design and accessories stands this most impressive copper accent piece.  The look created when mixing and mingling traditional and modern design and decorating styles with an antique or vintage piece is thinking outside of the box of standard decor rules focal point perfection.

tyler-florence-kitchen-of-the-year-2011-copper

2011 Kitchen of the Year created by celebrity chef Tyler Florence

antique creamer jug with chained lid

Argentine Copper Creamer Jug with Chained Lid ~ Eron Johnson Antiques

Lighting fixtures, artwork, architectural pieces, decorative objects- copper has got you covered.

arts & crafts antique copper fire screen

Harp Gallery 

This fabulous 1900s antique copper fireplace screen would make a fantastic decorative backsplash piece à la fireback.

19th century french architectural flame finial in copper19th Century French Architectural Flame Copper Finial 

Patina and pit marks come with age.  I consider these perfect imperfections.  Patina is the greenish brown film that covers the surface of bronze, copper and similar metals brought on by the natural process of oxidation.

copper at auctionGallery Auctions, Inc.

I purchase vintage copper cookware with an extremely careful eye.  Buying vintage copper cookware pieces for decorating purposes differs from buying copper cookware pieces to actually prepare food in.  Vintage copper cookware pieces tend to be made of unlined copper.  Unlined copper is categorized as a reactive metal, and may interact with foods. Safety in cooking is of the utmost importance.

copper-milk-jug

Vintage Lidded Copper Milk Jug

Consider opting for copper pots and pans lined in tin or stainless steel which creates a nonreactive lining.  When cleaning copper cookware and decorative accents, avoid using an abrasive cleaner to eliminate the risk of scratching the copper.  Allow your copper cookware to cool down after use. The sudden temperature change from stove burner to dishwater can promote warping.

copper cookware

De Buyer Copper Sauce Pans

Be it copper, copper over tin or copper over stainless steel- the point is the look, performance and decorative effect.  The availability of copper cookware and interior and exterior decor items with a wide range of price points is in our favor.  Copper cookware and decorative accents remain an elegant element and traditional choice of material to complement taste, space, and of course, to compliment the chef.

Signs and Sounds: Fall or Autumn Wishfall Thinking

Signs and sounds hinting at an early fall or autumn leads to wishfall thinking.  Concrete proof of fall’s preview peppers the Places In The Home driveway, sidewalk and patio with yellow leaves intermingled among summer’s last holdouts.  As I blog and type “Dancing In The Moonlight” by King Harvest is currently playing on Music Choice.  Now “Night Moves” by Bob Seger is playing.  Two songs played back to back with the lyrics everybody’s dancin’ in the moonlight and with autumn closing in. Changing colors, temps and tastes.  Oh yeah, this is happening.

yellow-fall-leavesWe crazy Louisianians grab hold of the slightest hint of a fall weather preview and hold on for dear life.  Hey, speaking of crazy Louisianians

britney-ellenLouisianians  Ellen DeGeneres and  Britney Spears

Dave and I stood on the front porch for a few minutes Friday night listening to the high school bands playing during the local football Jamboree.  Humidity and mosquitoes crashed our party, making me wish for fall even more.  Hope springs or falls eternal, and I can testify to sure signs of wishfall thinking- shorter days, a changing sun that casts a bright white light through the windows, and wind chimes that play a North wind lullaby.

roux-gumbo

The first gumbo feast of fall is soon to be cooking in the big blue pot.

flour-sifter

Okay.  I couldn’t wait until the official arrival of fall for a gumbo feast.  No respectable Louisiana cook can talk about gumbo and not break out the big blue pot, make some roux, chop up the Cajun trinity, and whip up a pot of chicken and sausage gumbo.  C’est si bon!

gumbo-for-fall1

The hunt is on for Sportsman’s Paradise activities to do.  Fall festivals of pecan, tamale, meat pie, and funktoberfest are on our fall calendar of events.

black-lab

A new to me vintage mixing bowl is ready for fall recipe duty.

vintage-mixing-bowl

A bag of fresh and faux apples and a dash of wishfall thinking leads the inspired charge to create delicious apple themed recipes and diy projects.

guide-to-apples

A Guide to Apples from Williams-Sonoma


1.  Cortland – Crimson in color with a sweet flavor and crisp texture.  Best for:  applesauce and apple butter.

2.  Red Delicious – Softer in texture with a mellow, not-too-sweet flavor. Best for:  apple cider

3.   Braeburn – Reddish-orange with green and yellow streaks and a unique sweet-tart flavor.  Best for:  cooking and baking

4.  Gravenstein  –  A juicy apple with a finely-grained texture and a light yellow or red skin.  Best for:  applesauce and apple cider

5.  Gala  –  Sweet, aromatic and crisp with a light-red color.  Best for: eating raw and applesauce

6.  Fuji  –  Crisp texture and dense flesh with a sugary-sweet flavor.  Best for: eating raw

7.  Pink Lady  –  Crisp in texture and bright pink with a tart-sweet flavor.   Best for:  eating raw

8.  Golden Delicious  –  Very sweet to the taste with a golden yellow color.   Best for:  applesauce and apple butter

9.  Granny Smith  –  Very tart and crisp with a bright green color.  Best for: baking


fall-craft-apple-wreath

Wishfall thinking exhibit A as in a fall diamond in the summer rough.  The seasons they are a-changin’.

 Fall Autumn Wishfall Thinking

There is nothing like a good fall preview or autumn sneak peek to build the anticipation of seasonal things to come.  By all accounts, it’s fall y’all!

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Finds and Treasures Currently Catching My Eye

Finds and treasures currently catching my eye for the August gotta have it list include all things house that make a home goodies in appetizing, modern, polished and pumpkin time is right around the corner style.  First up in this month’s round up is a set of appetizer plates with a sense of style and a sense of humor.

appetizer-plate

ED by Ellen

Memories lay the ground work for a collectible fascination to take root.  My frog fascination began in the summer of 1974 when I landed the coveted lead role in the local community theater production of Fairy Frog Superstar.  The play was pure G-rated fun, a take off on Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother.  The frog thing stuck, and I’ve been an avid collector of frog themed objects ever since. Metals are trending with a vengeance for fall 2015, and this brass finished frog object from West Elm is one handsome hopper.

brass-frog

The mixing of traditional, vintage and/or antiques with modern pieces remains on trend and in style.  Contrast is good, visual impact the desired decorating effect, and creating a unique and impressive focal point is the point.  I am inspired by the INSPIRE Q Canali Sleek Modern Accent Chair.

INSPIRE-Q-Canali-Sleek-Modern-Accent-Chair-Set-of-2-5ad33c32-a475-48f4-af2e-f27fff2c0616

Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater Hand Therapy smells as good as it feels and heals. Perfect treatment for project weary hands.

rosewater-Crabtree-Evelyn

Thank You in any language translates well.   Modeled after antique enameled European signage, this Merci Word Play porcelain wall art says thank you in ooh la la fashion.

merci

Howard Feed-N-Wax is the Tina Turner of wood polishes.  Simply the best.

Howard-feed-n-wax

Who’s looking forward to getting their fall baking, cooking and seasoning on? The Staub Ceramic Pumpkin Cocotte from Williams-Sonoma is making it very hard for me not to be in a fall-pumpkin-cinnamon state of mind.

staub-pumpkin-cocotte

Speaking of seasonal recipes, may I suggest Louisiana De Mer: Seasonal Seafood Recipes for your cookbook collection.  This definitive collections of recipes for seafood lovers features 160 pages of beautiful photography, recipes from celebrated Louisiana chefs and restaurants, New Orleans classics- including po-boys and dozens of Cajun and Creole cooking tips.

Louisiana-de-mer-cookbook

Now we’re cooking!

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The Summer Entertaining Season

Memorial Day signals the beginning of the summer entertaining season. That’s ninety some odd summer days and nights brimming with opportunity to gather together with family and friends.  Is there a summer is here big party blowout in your Memorial Day weekend future or is the plan for something in the neighborhood of quality over quantity for just you, yours and a few close friends?  Here are five tips to help you master the summer entertaining season.

Summer Entertaining Season Tip #1

Regardless of the numbers involved, the ultimate party favor you can give to you and your guests is an enjoyable and relaxing time.  Endless hours of planning and preparing does not a successful party guarantee.  However, what does come very close to guaranteeing a successful party is setting an at ease example.  Guests usually take the party lead from the attitude of the host and/or hostess which sets the tone for a comfortable let the good times roll atmosphere.

The Summer Entertaining SeasonPinterest

Summer Entertaining Season Tip #2

Popular points of culinary and entertaining interest set an inviting place at the summer table.  I like to take my tablescape in a casually elegant direction.  I know there is quite a bit of considerable thought put into achieving the anything but uptight, stuffy finished result through the right accents, lighting, selected place settings, serveware and flowers, but I want the memo to read effortless chic. This look is achieved with simple finds from my usual haunts- antiques shops, new to you shops, dollar stores, arts and crafts stores and the always handy in-house treasures, trinkets and trash closet.  Visually impressive table settings need not be an expensive or exhausting endeavor.

sliced-watermelon

 

Summer Entertaining Season Tip #3

Kick off the summer sippin’ season with the unofficial official fruit of summer, the watermelon.  Watermelon Strawberry Citrus Sangria, anyone?  Dazzle the thirsty through sight and taste.  Nothing says welcome to our summer soiree quite like a cool summer appropriate beverage.

watermelon-strawberry-citrus-sangria-700Shape via Joy the Baker

Summer Entertaining Season Tip #4

Summer just isn’t summer until something is basted, marinated or smothered in a stellar Southern BBQ sauce.  In Louisiana we don’t need an excuse to jazz it up, fire it up and kick it up, but if we did, summer would be all the excuse needed. Good barbecue is what we call summer stock.  We aren’t afraid to turn up the heat, spice or seasoning, but when entertaining we dial back the kick to a respectable c’est si bon level to accommodate the taste bud timid.  Good cooks and even better hosts know a little goes a long way in the flavor department and account for all tastes considered.

Summer Entertaining Season Tip #5

Balance is key.  Entertaining mirrors interior design and decorating in regards to balance.  When selecting the music for the party playlist, I aim to keep the types, styles, genres and decades balanced somewhere between current hits, grooving to the oldies, what movie is this from, smooth and easy jazz, lounge lizard standards and the soundtrack to high school and college days gone by.  Balance the bar to the standard rule of party planning with help from the handy drink calculator from Total Wine & More.  Balance safety with responsibility.  As always, drink and host responsibly.

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Places In The Home For The Holidays Thanksgiving Style

Making a list and checking it twice, Places In The Home for the Holidays Thanksgiving style.

memo-book-holiday

Oops- wrong holiday song but right holiday action.

Thanksgiving-kitchen-graphicThere’s no time like now to get into the planning mode.  Buy now what is on seasonal sale, markdown or clearance.  My cabinets runneth over with sale priced canned goods, spices and the Thanksgiving staple of all Thanksgiving staples, chicken broth. Holiday checklists come in so handy. Hey, the Places In The Home Holiday Helper Checklist pdf download is available for your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner planning convenience.

thanksgiving-serving-guideThank you,  Whole Foods Market!

The world will not come to an end if the rolls don’t rise and the gravy is lumpy.  It may, however, if the turkey doesn’t defrost.  There’s a video from Taste of Home magazine to help with that!

Relax, turn up the tunes and let’s Thanksgiving.

Company’s Coming: Friends and Family

Now We’re Cooking!

food is memories

Placesetting-682x1024Absolutely love this place setting idea from A Place for Us

The ingredients list for a memorable Thanksgiving celebration works off the cornucopia concept.

la102862_1107_gold_vertMartha Stewart

The day should overflow with an abundance of love, food, family, friends and gratefulness.

grateful

It’s Places In The Home for the holidays Thanksgiving style season once again.  I’ll be posting new and updated all things Thanksgiving and Holidays posts over these home for the holidays weeks featuring home decor, side dishes, desserts, gift ideas, advice and fun facts for the it’s the most wonderful time of the year decoristas!

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A Most Fetching Friday

fetch·ing

/ˈfeCHiNG/

adjective

adjective: fetching

attractive.

synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

This week’s Fetching Friday features decorative and delicious details, perfect pairings, decorating advice from one of the best, Paris, Canada and a classic fixture of kitchen and craft.

ff-hardwareNever underestimate the power of decorative details, for they complete the look!  Traditional Home

ff-foyer Perfect pairings from foyer to ceiling. Cote de Texas via Pinterest

ff-Albert HadleyA wise man and stylish designer once said… Albert Hadley 

ff-Seeded-Whole-Grain-Breakfast-Bread-110September Mornings – Seeded Whole Grain Breakfast Bread from the culinary talent that is  Half Baked Harvest

travel+leisureTravel Often!  Travel + Leisure

Last month when our son traveled to Canada he and his girlfriend spent an afternoon at the Journey to Churchill exhibit at Assiniboine Park Zoo.  May I introduce you to Hudson the Polar Bear.

fetching FridayJourney to Churchill – Assiniboine Park Zoo Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

494701_MASON JAR MEASURING SPOONSAdd these to my Kitchen Gotta Have It List!   Mason Jar Ceramic Measuring Spoons

I hope you have a most fetching Friday.

Love your style!

From Coast to Coast: The Cuisine of Summer

From sea to shining sea, coast to coast, the hallmark summer celebration of freedom revolves around good times and great food.  The saltwater, freshwater and farm-raised cuisine of summer varies from coast to coast, but it is fried, boiled, steamed, blackened, poached, baked grilled and barbecued with this is how we do it love.  I love a good game of connect the food to the corresponding city and/or state.  When you think about it, food is the claim to fame of many cities and states.  Dedicated foodies travel coast to coast highways in search of gastronomy glory.  All gourmet restaurants, neighborhood cafes, seafood markets, crab shacks, beachside bungalows and river restaurants are open game.  Leave no oyster unshucked, no shrimp unpeeled, no stone crab unturned.

food-cities

I can’t tell you how many times I have begun a what’s for dinner conversation with the words, “I wish I had the recipe for insert memorable dish here we had when we were in insert memorable destination here.”

Gulf-CoastA misconception about Gulf Coast seafood dishes is that they are swimming in grease or hot sauce or both.  Granted, the key ingredient featured in many Gulf Coast region seafood dishes and recipes has been swimming at one time or another, but the measure of flavor, spice and heat varies from region to region.   I don’t need a map to tell me what part of the Gulf Coast I’m in-  just point me in the direction of the kitchen (indoor or outdoor) and the in-house spice cabinet. The pot and the spice potions tell the tales.  Get it?

pascals-manale-restaurantPascal’s Manale via Explore New Orleans

Barbecue speaks the universal language of fire it up, throw it on and c’est si bon! I became a seafood barbecue believer the first time I tasted barbecued shrimp at Pascal’s Manale Restaurant in New Orleans.  You can’t talk the cuisine of summer without talking barbecue, and BBQ naturally brings the conversation around to potato salad.  I have not tasted this  Potato Salad with Bacon and Barbecue Sauce Recipe from Food & Wine, but the words barbecue and bacon have my attention.

potato saladPotato Salad with Bacon and Barbecue Sauce Recipe via Food & Wine

Boiling shrimp and crawfish is a way of life down Southern states of the Gulf Coast way.  I’m totally convinced the throw it all in one pot principle of shrimp and crawfish boiling sparked the crock pot revolution.  When Dave the Builder was working in the corporate world we were active in the office supper club.

craw1

This group took a crawfish boil to new flavor heights, but the real deliciousness was surprisingly found in the “sides” that went into the pot.

Here’s what made the pot:

crawfish

whole yellow onions

garlic bulbs

lemons

celery stalks

whole carrots

link sausage

red potatoes

corn on the cob

cabbage

Let me tell you, the crawfish were tasty, but the vegetables were the hit of the night!  Our hostess whipped up a couple of skillets of hot cornbread and the crowd went wild.  Food for thought, people!  I found a great article, Crawfish Boil 101,  from NOLA.com that offers expert advice for the perfect boil.

catfish_cinnamon_chipotle1-710x1065Baked Cinnamon Chipotle Catfish with Sweet Pepper Slaw

Caught in freshwater or farm-raised, coasters love catfish.  Catfish is exactly what it is- a mild, delicious classic comfort food.  I’ve had catfish broiled, blackened, baked, poached, grilled, barbecued and stuffed, but given my plate of preference, I’ll have mine fried crisp with a side scoop of coleslaw, flour battered french fries, two lemon wedges and a couple of green onions.

classic-fried-catfish-lClassic Fried Catfish with Hushpuppies and Tartar Sauce

In the next Coast to Coast installment we’ll be going from Atlantic to Pacific, gee, the seafood is terrific!

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The Southern Dinner Table

The dinner table tells a story.  Gathered in regional reverence, devout worshipers of the dining divine keep time to culinary tradition, nourishing the soul as well as the body.  Taking a meal is a multi-layered celebration weaving through generations, tradition and culture. A sudden wave of news copy on the popularity, rediscovery and dare I say appreciation of Southern foods has not only resonated with my taste buds, but my memories as well.  I surely don’t believe nor make the claim that the South holds the patent on dinner table philosophies, but sitting down to the Southern dinner table is an intended event.  It doesn’t matter if the table is set for cornbread, red beans and rice or chicken fried anything with all the fixings- eating is far from simply a practice in sustenance.  As cliche as it might sound, food in the South is prepped, cooked, baked, fried or grilled from the soul.

the-fondest-memories

Culinary tastes, rituals and traditions of cooking and dining vary from state to state, dining table to dining table across the South, but the core principles of preparing and sharing good food are uncomplicated, simple and basic. If you cook, bake, fry, boil, grill, can, preserve or pickle it, they will come. The differences between the ways of my Texas, Tennessee and Louisiana relatives always seemed to warrant a they don’t do it like this in…,  much to my mother’s dismay.  The one shared commonality between the Texas and Tennessee masses to this day is that dinner is the meal eaten in the middle of the day and supper is the meal eaten in the evening.

belton-tx1

Breaking bread with the Texas family came with rituals and a throwback vibe all its own.  The dining room table was for the adults, and the kitchen table was for the kids. Soft white bread on a china bread and butter plate was as close to a bread basket as you were gonna get.  My Aunt Sis was as full of sass as she was wit and lightening quick with an answer and a serving spoon.  This firecracker’s table came equipped with its own GPS system-grease, preserves and salt. Grease was the answer for everything, a pressed glass compote dish filled with homemade pear preserves never left the center of the table, and salt was not an acquired taste, it was a required taste.

compote

The ladies in both my Texas and Louisiana family subscribed to the take down the china, fill the crystal to the rim and put a hint of silver on the situation school of thought.  When questioned why a middle of the week dinner called for a fine lace tablecloth and a china pattern worthy of royalty, Sis would shoot back with a, “Well, hon, what’s the use of having the stuff if you don’t use it?”  I knew there was wisdom in her words, and they resonate with me to this day each time I open the doors to the china cabinet.  Life is too short not to use the good china, crystal and table linens every day. You can quote me and Aunt Sis on it.

dinner-bellvia

 

Does any of this ring a familiar dinner bell with you?  In continuation and reflection of the traditions and tastes of the Southern dinner table, my Tennessee family round the Southern dinner table traditions will be the subject of my next post.

Love your style!

 

 

 

What’s Cooking In The Blue Pot: Homemade Chickenless Pot Pie

It’s cold  outdoors, we’re going to lose an hour Sunday (remember to spring forward), winter 2014 has been brutal and frankly, I’m in the mood for comfort food.  Dave the Builder gets the credit for this new series, What’s Cooking In The Blue Pot.  Today’s blue pot recipe is for Homemade Chickenless Pot Pie.

blue cast iron dutch oven

He asked me that question last night and inspiration struck.  Inspiration really is everywhere.  This recipe is not difficult and is made without chicken.  It’s a blue pot full of hearty and delicious comfort food.

chickenless pot pie

Homemade Chickenless Pot Pie

Ingredients

4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 whole carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 cup potatoes, cubed and cooked

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 package frozen green peas & carrots

½ cup frozen corn

1 cup pearl onions

1 large can mushrooms, drained

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 ½  teaspoons garlic powder

½ cup white wine

4 cups chicken broth

1 chicken bouillon cube

1½ cups milk

¾ cup flour

2 teaspoons Kosher salt or to taste

1 teaspoon fine black pepper or to taste

2 cans large biscuits or 2 packages cheese biscuit mix

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray four large or six small ramekins with cooking spray.  Heat chicken broth, milk and bouillon cube in saucepan over low heat until bouillon cube is dissolved.  In another pan cook cubed potatoes.  Set aside.

sauteed vegetables

Melt and heat the butter and olive oil together in Dutch oven.  Saute the diced onions, celery and carrots over medium heat until slightly tender. Season with Kosher salt, pepper and garlic powder. Reduce heat to medium low.  Add flour to sauteed vegetables, stirring with wooden spoon to prevent burning.  Cook for 2 minutes.

chicken broth and cream

Carefully add the heated chicken broth to dutch oven, stirring until incorporated.  Allow to simmer until thickened, about 6 minutes.  Next, add the white wine, parsley, frozen peas and carrots, corn, cooked potatoes, mushrooms and pearl onions.  Gently stir all ingredients together.  Reduce heat to simmer and heat through, approximately 5 minutes.

pot pie filling

Place prepared ramekins on a  baking sheet.  Divide pot pie mixture equally into each prepared ramekin filling to top.

 

***For cheddar biscuit mix option:  Prepare biscuit mix according to package directions. Adjust oven temperature according to package baking instructions.  Drop a 1-2 heaping tablespoon(s) of prepared dough on top of each pot pie to cover.  Bake in preheated oven until dough on top of pot pie is golden brown.

 

***For canned biscuit option: I pressed the biscuits in order to flatten. Place 2-3 flattened biscuits atop each large ramekin or 1 biscuit on each small ramekin. Bake in preheated oven according to directions on can until biscuits on top of pot pie are golden brown.

 

enjoy