November 06, 2013

In the Kitchen

I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen lately, a natural reaction to colder weather. The more I looked at those corner cabinet the more I thought I needed to paint the backs of them. The natural light isn't great today as we are enjoying a gorgeous rainy day. The backs are actually the same color as the studio. I love how that little bit of difference helps the dishes pop. I don't love how it makes me want to buy more dishes. Or maybe I do.

I'm always amazed at how small things like paint and knobs can make me so happy. Clearly a little of that paint needs to go on the cabinet doors too. ;)

This space is one long room with the kitchen being on the other side. This time of year we start to dream about redoing the fireplace. This is our only one and the nicest thing I can say about it is that it's better than not having one. It has gas logs and is very dated. We've updated it as much as we can without calling in the pros. Here's a nice before picture for you from when we were house hunting.

We want to convert it to a wood burning fireplace if that's even possible. I don't even know who to call to see about such things. We also want to have a real surround and mantle and maybe even a real hearth and built-ins on the sides. Big dreams for this space. Outside those french doors is our covered porch which we would like to turn into our dining room one day and keep this area as a hearth room with cozy seating and make it a great place for entertaining, reading and knitting. It's fun to dream.

I guess I promised you a soup recipe. First let me say that the number one most important tool for soup making is an immersion blender. Guard it with your life and do not let your moody teenage daughter use it and break it so that you are forced to use one that you bought at a garage sale for $2 until it finally, blissfully dies and your teenager moves out and you are able to justify buying a new, good quality one again. Just take it from me. And honestly you could use a food processor or blender but it's way more work and mess.

Potato Leek Soup with Pancetta

4 oz cubed pancetta (or bacon)
1 bag frozen leeks (Trader Joe’s)
3 baking potatoes, peeled and small diced
1 large onion
4 cloves of garlic
3T butter
4 c chicken stock
1 c water
¼ cup heavy cream
½ c half and half
Salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven or large pot cook pancetta over medium heat. When finished remove pancetta only and set aside. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to pot. Add leeks and onions and cook approximately 10 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add chicken stock, water and potatoes and simmer for about 20 mins or until potatoes are tender. Add heavy cream and half and half and use immersion blender to puree to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with pancetta and if you are anything like me you will want to also garnish it with blue cheese and homemade croutons. It will change your life. Or at least your dinner.

Tonight I'm making this recipe for Spaghetti Squash but with chicken sausage rather than bacon and I might make this bread again for the 27th time in 3 weeks.

Clearly I'm going to have to give up my cozy spot in the corner and spend 25 quality minutes letting Jillian kick my butt before I even think about baking that bread.


  1. Oh my - that soup sounds delicious! *pin! I love those sweet little spoon knobs on your cabinets! What a sweet touch!

  2. Oh those little spoon knobs are so cute! It doesn't surprise me at all that they make you happy. Those of us that love our home get extra happy by little things like that. A new cup towel can make me happy for a week! :)

  3. I love the pale colored paint inside your corner cabinet and the dishes are so sweet! Some cities have ordinances that prohibit the converting of gas fireplaces to wood burning, so check with your city hall first and your homeowner's insurance next. We had to convert ours to gas because the chimney height didn't meet fire codes. It's still nice, but nothing like a real wood fire. Good luck!

  4. I adore those corner cabinets :-) We have a gas fireplace also -- I love the ease of it. One of my neighbors had a wood-burning fireplace and got very frustrated because it can get very windy here and the smoke from the fireplace would back up into her family room. She converted it to a gas fireplace.

  5. I love how your home is coming along, the biggest compliment I can give you is I feel like it looks more and more like you!!!

  6. 1. I LOVE your dining room.
    2. Where did your find the spoon shaped cabinet handles?
    3. That quilt in the last photo is wonderful.
    4. The dishes in the first photo - great!

    Did you notice I didn't mention anything about the cooking? I am the world's worst.

    1. The knobs are from Anthropologie and a sweet sale deal but not recently I'm afraid!

  7. I love your built-ins and fireplace!! I would kill for both, they are on my wish list! I think hearth rooms are so lovely, that would be my goal, too! I am a dish person, so noticed those right away. Spoon handles are lovely!

  8. Love your beautiful house and those dishes -- gorgeous!! Going to a class on soups tonight so may have to get one of those fancy blenders too! Hope you have a great day!

  9. Hi Jen!! that soup sounds and LOOKS so good!! I always love a new and doable soup recipe to copy.......add me to the list of peeps that want to know where you got those cute shabby spoon knobs!!!

  10. Your transformation of that space is beautiful. The soup looks amazing!

    Amy Jo

  11. Love the little spoon handles! And your future ideas for the room are great and so cozy. The soup looks so yummy!

  12. so much cozy lovely here for the eye to rest on...bravo.

    hope you'll have a moment to stop by and see what i have been creating:

    smiles to you.

    hello lovely

  13. Mmmm. This sounds so good to my sniffly nose and scratchy throat! :) i don't think there's such a thing as too many dishes, do you? i love hearing about your dreams for your spaces...and must concur, we SO miss our wood-burning fireplace back in OK as well. but your fireplace now looks so much better than before! y'all have really transformed your cottage!

  14. Such a pretty space. The hazy blue is so pretty in the cabinets, and your update to the fireplace is so clever!! Just the bit of molding between the firebox and the mantel and it's like a whole new fireplace. I had to look at it a couple of times to see that it was, indeed, the same one, just updated.

    I love love love your vintage quilt on your chair, too. Adorable!


  15. Love the fall leaves out your window. Your home is so cozy and you can see it is so loved. Your dining room is very cozy!

  16. jen, i think that space and the fireplace are just perfect! but, the both blessing & curse of having a creative mind is the ability to see what could be and not being satisfied until your vision actually becomes a reality.

    immersion blenders are a must have, especially in the cozy season!! i am on my third one. i am usually a very convervative consumer, endlessly pondering, comparing prices, mentally listing the pluses & minuses of buying a new product. but, when i turned my last immersion blender into a bottle rocket, complete with melting parts, sparks coming out of the electrical end and a lot of hissing and loud noises, i just unplugged that whimpy thing, threw it outside to cool off and immediatly headed to the nearest big box store to replace it. immersion blenders are essential to my soup making happiness :).

    thank you for sharing the small, but lovely parts of your life.

  17. P.S. your post about wanting to re-do your fireplace & hearth inspired to put up a pic of a detail from my all time favorite fireplace on my IG :)!

  18. I think your fireplace is lovely, much improved over what it was. If it's against an outside wall, you have a much better chance of changing to wood. I can't take the smoke for long, so we went with a gas one. Also, no wood, ashes, or chimney cleaning to deal with.

  19. That soup sounds delicious! I've thought about getting an immersion blender but I don't know if I would use it very much. If I had a cute aqua one though I might be able to think of ways ;)

  20. What a beautiful space! It looks so cheery and cozy!

  21. Thanks for the recipe - it looks yummy! And a special THANKS for putting your knives blade down on your magnet - I keep mine down, but most of the time I see the blades stored pointing up - and it always makes me nervous!

  22. I really like your room with the built ins. That quilt is precious. They take so long to make. I have a grandmothers flower garden ( Vintage as well ) that I picked up at the mission store about 7-9 months ago. Pristine condition and they wanted 250.00 for it. I just hoped and prayed no on would buy it before the end of the month when everything sells for 1/2 off. Having recently visited a quilt show and seeing that a small hand pieced and embroidered wall hanging was selling for 500.00 I can only imagine that the TRUE worth of my quilt and yours is priceless. It saddens me to think that it is not in the maker's family as a precious heirloom but perhaps folks like us appreciate them more.

  23. I am making this bread as I type...Is it supposed to be liquidy? The recipe calls for two cups of liquid and two cups of!

  24. Your blog is so wonderful, I MUST leave a comment and nice ideas...lovely!!!!!
    Cheers from Germany, Silvia


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