Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Obsession!

Everywhere I look lately there they are those beautiful French Pots de Confit in a stunning off white color. Sitting on a sideboard or in a cupboard calling to me with their elegantly rounded shapes. Not to be confused with the mustard and green confit pots we typically see, no, both have similar uses but one doesn’t get buried.

Confit which is French and means “to preserve” the mustard and green pots were used for storing cooked meats and then buried in the ground or stored in stone-lined larders. This storage process preserved the cooked meat without refrigeration and could then be enjoyed throughout the winter months. The bottom halves were left unglazed for burying in the ground since the glaze would normally fall off sealed in the ground.

However, the term Confit can also refer to fruit or vegetables which have been seasoned and cooked with honey or sugar until the mixture has reached a jam-like consistency. Savory confits, such as ones made with garlic or fennel, may call for a savory oil, such as virgin olive oil, as the preserving agent.

White confit pots where made in the Albigeois region in the south of France and considered the poor man’s Faience. Faience is an expensive high-end form of tin-glazed ceramics made in France and the majority of people could not afford to buy Faience.  

Confit pots had a type of glaze called terre de fer or a type of ironstone giving it an off white hue because of iron being mixed into the glaze.

Because this type of confit pot was used for serving at the table the older 19th century pieces were typically smaller then nine inches. The ones you find today, ten inches and bigger, were made in the 1940’s  and have applied handles after the body was made.

I have a large collection of ironstone dinner and serving ware and these confit pots would fit in beautifully. Chips and small cracks are to be expected in this type of pottery because it was actually used for serving most days.

These stunning pieces were made in a small quantity and for a short time making them highly collectable today. Even though I’ve pretty much stopped collecting things I’ve been drawn to these pieces for a while. Thankfully my birthday isn’t to far off….hint, hint Mister man!

The ones offered above are from Loi’s shop Tone on Tone antiques. Oh Loi I want that small one in front I can’t resist! So tell me do any of you collect any type of pottery and do you actually use it? I know I probably won’t put one of these gems into use since I know the inside isn’t glazed and even if it was the iron that leaches out probably wouldn’t be a good thing but they’ll look stunning standing in my hutch.

I hope you all have a wonderful and beautiful week. We’ve finally cooled back down to where our temperatures should be in New England but I know many of you are still boiling from heat. Now all we need is rain! Please start doing a rain dance for us in New England.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

It was a great time!

Mister man’s birthday celebration and our Fourth of July was a huge success with everyone walking away very full and happy. Thank you to everyone for your warm wishes on his special day. One item I like to include during the summer is deviled eggs in my opinion nothing says summer like these tasty treats. But I don’t like them to be heavy and I like a lot of flavor so here’s the recipe I like to use:

One dozen eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
¼ cup plain nonfat yogurt or low-fat mayonnaise
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup finely chopped radishes
4 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
4 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

Additional chives and radishes for garnish. You get the idea mix everything together and you have a wonderful fresh modern take on deviled eggs!

I’ve received several requests for my tomato tart recipe so here it is: tomato tart. I’ve used this recipe for years and always make my own shell, shell recipe in my previous post since it has more flavor then a store bought one. The only thing I change a little is when I put the olive oil on my tart, half way through cooking and use a 1/8 of a cup rather then the whole quarter. Otherwise it leaks all over the bottom of the oven and turns into a sticky mess you have to clean up later.

Since I told you everything I was making in my previous post I thought I would show you how it looked all together and most everything can be prepared ahead of time.

The cabernet gelato that Mister Man requested ended up being a blackberry cabernet sorbet since the recipe I have for the gelato has chocolate in it and mister man prefers berries. As you can see the color is amazing and the only advice I can give for this simple but perfect recipe is make sure you blend your blackberries first and then strain to get all the seeds out before finishing your sorbet off. The recipe I used can be found here: cabernet sorbet

Last but certainly not least is Mister man’s birthday tart, he feels cake to heavy for hot summer months. Fresh fruit tarts are the easiest things in the world to pull together and you get to play with your food decorating the top. I’ve found over the years that most tart fillings are rather bland and sometimes not firm enough to hold the fruit up so here’s my tried and true recipe:

Tart filling:

1 package of cream cheese, softened, then whipped
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup realemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Be sure to whip your cream cheese first and then add the other items. Chill for two hours before decorating and you’ll have yourself a refreshing fruit tart. I didn't glaze the top of the tart since mister man prefers it without but you can simply glaze the top with melted jam.

Trust me there was nothing left of our dessert and it had Mister Man begging for a tart all his own.

Dylan wasn’t left out of the celebrations since Dad let him do his favorite thing…open gifts even if it isn’t for him.

So there you go, all these images are mine taken either during preparation or dinner so you know all these recipes are tried and true. Most of these recipes I’ve used for years, they’re simple to make and big on flavor. If you’re ever interested in other recipes click on my pinterest button most of the recipes in there I’ve personally tried. If they don’t work I delete them or I’ll add my tips onto the picture.

If anyone tries these out be sure to let me know what you think or if you have a tip yourself for improvement.

Enjoy your week enjoy and stay cool if you’re in heat. We’ve been very lucky up north and not baking at least outside!

Monday, July 2, 2012

4th of July Birthday!

Like everyone else come Wednesday we’ll be celebrating the Fourth of July but around our home we’re also celebrating Mister Man’s birthday. Talk about double the pleasure but I always make sure it’s all about him like he doesn't already think it is all about him.

I skip the regular barbeque fair since mister man likes having all his favorites served up. Since it’s going to be warm in New England all of the dishes I’ll be serving can be made ahead and served at room temperature.

I’ll serve several dishes all at once and let everyone pick. One of the dishes will be “Espresso Crusted Filet Mignon on Gorgonzola Crostinirecipe. Be sure to use a hearty flavorful bread for the Crostini I like to use a nice fresh made Toscano bread made locally. Looks great and so easy to make and the best part is you cook the steak in the oven to any degree of doneness you prefer.

Another summer favorite now that fresh grown tomatoes are showing up in the farmers markets is a Tomato and Mozzarella tart made with homemade pastry crust. Trust me it’s the easiest thing in the world to make a great light and flaky pastry shell following this recipe from Martha Stewart.


·         2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         1 teaspoon sugar
·         16 tablespoons cold (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
·         1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water


1.         In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
2.         Sprinkle with 1/4 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if necessary, add up to 1/4 cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time). To help ensure a flaky crust, do not overprocess.
3.         Transfer half of dough (still crumbly) onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form dough into a disk 3/4 inch thick; wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days). Repeat with remaining dough. (Disks can be frozen, tightly wrapped, up to 3 months. Thaw before using.) Makes 2 disks.

Important: Do not over process your flour mixture as this makes the crust thick and heavy. Never process it for more then 30 seconds. I like to count one thousand one method and it works perfectly.

I’ll also make a nice Greek salad to round things off!

Mister man prefers a fruit tart rather then a regular cake for his birthday. You can use the same recipe above for these tarts as well. I like to stick a sparkler in the middle to give his birthday tart a nice festive Fourth flair. Of course there can be whining at this stage since he has to wait for the sparkler to burn down before he can eat his tart….;)

One thing that mister man can’t seem to get enough of lately is cabernet gelato. So I’ll be making plenty of this to go with our fruit tarts. The color looks beautiful too with the color in the tarts.

So that’s what we’ll be doing on our Fourth of July, lots of celebrating for our country and Mister Man’s birthday. What kind of fun do you have planned for your Fourth?

I wish each and every one of you a Happy and Joyous Day!

Be well and be safe!

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