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Friday, October 21, 2011

Recipe: Potato Leek Soup

Okay, so if you have never used leeks before, you must try them...and this is the perfect way to lose your leek virginity. (Yes, I know that sounds wrong, but it made me giggle, so it stays. ;P)

One quick mention is that preparing leeks is easy, but you might be surprised by finding the pockets with sand and soil among the layers if it is your first time using them, so I am going to give you a link to help with prep: How to prep leeks. Now I do use more of the greens than is shown in the video, but that is just preference. Also, as much as I think lavender adds a beautiful flavor to this, it can be left out- especially if you don't live close enough to steal some from my herb garden.

Now to the fun part:

Ingredients 

2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp chopped fresh lavender
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp cornstarch
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
2 leeks, sliced
7 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
Gorgonzola cheese for garnish (optional)

Directions

In a soup pot, melt butter, add leeks, salt, peppers, and lavender, then saute for 10-15 minutes at medium to low heat.  some light browning from the butter is fine, but do not brown the leeks or caramelize, just let them become soft and tender.    Add white wine and stir, releasing any browning from the bottom. let cook down for about 5 minutes.  During this time, add the cornstarch to the stock and stir. Add stock and potatoes to the leeks, and bring to a boil.  Turn down stove to low heat and add milk and cream.  Let simmer for 30 minutes. When you are ready to serve, you can leave as is, or blend half in the blender and re-add to create a thicker, more velvety soup.  Garnish with Gorgonzola cheese if desired.

It tastes incredible, and is even better the second day...the perfect comfort food on these cold dreary days :)

Enjoy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Trying to play catch-up....

...and it's not working.  As many of you know, we came home from vacation to 5 holes in our roof from storm damage. Two left branches literally protruding from the ceiling of the boys room.  There was water damage on three floors...what a mess.  Thankfully, we have homeowners insurance.

With our exterior close to complete, and the interior now being worked on, I have been living in a construction area for absolutely too long already.  It has pretty much doubled my time in creating anything with the house an utter disorganized mess, and has been tough overall just dealing with not having my solitude during the day, 6 days a week, to work.  Also, my business has been growing at the same time, so if my blogs become thin, I hope you will understand that I am simply lost in the chaos, but it won't be forever.

What it has done is give me an opportunity to interior design the boys' room from scratch since it basically needed to be gutted.  (Silver lining, right?)  I am excited to say that after I had decided on the colors of the boys room, I stumbled across an artist that I absolute fell in love with- Darren Alejos.  He just so happened to have created the perfect Robot vs. Zombie art piece in the exact colors I needed.  I special requested a second one with variation so both Miykael and Jonathan could have their own over the bed.  The the room is now being designed around these two pieces that travel with me every choice I make- even changing the wall color plan from designer white to a light gray (but more on that some other day).  I consider Darren's work to be unique, on-trend, but not "trendy", quirky but not "cutesy", covered in a high level of talent that simply can't be learned.  His range of work is broad while keeping within his signature style, and I hope you will support him as an artist as well.

Here's the infamous print:

Zombie vs. Robot by Darren Alejos
That will be gracing this bedroom one day in the future:



There are other beautifully sophisticated pieces of his that  may end up in my studio and/or living room...we shall see! But I will say that this aventure into my home being a construction zone has opened me up to the opportunity of discovering artists and designers that may have gone unoticed had that sycamore branch not fallen in my path of life.  It really goes to show that sometimes we need a little boat rocking to wake up from our ruts.  It's embracing these times and trying to find the opportunity to discover, learn, and grow that make it personally valuable. (Though I will be very glad on the day I finally get my house back ;)  Looking forward to taking you on this little journey with me....

Have an inspired day!

Faith