Welcome to "A Mad Designer's Journey"

The comic, inspiring and always fashionable adventures of this "mad designer" as she navigates the reality of pursuing her dream...living the artisan lifestyle of a jewelry designer.

Phoenix Design, Artisan Jewelry is a one woman shop powered by zany energy, midnight inspirations and the support of my friends.

Stay tuned this is going to be interesting....

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Friday, January 27, 2012

My first Raclette

Have you ever heard of Raclette??? I hadn’t but melted cheese over potatoes with ham…what’s not to love! This is how it works: An electric raclonette is placed on the table which has individual cups that fit under the grill. 
The guests grill a slice of cheese, which may be topped with a raw quail egg in individual cups then pour the now melted cheese and cooked egg over sliced potatoes on their plate.
This is eaten with charcuterie, assorted pickled vegies and a simple green salad.
This was absolutely delicious; however, I will defiantly have to add another day to my workout schedule to combat the calories consumed, LOL. Totally worth it thought!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tomato & Apple Soup…an old favorite all grown up


I just got the January issue of INSTYLE magazine (and in English - oh joy!) and found some updated “comfort food” recipes. Today is a typical cold and rainy January day so I decided to try out this new recipe for tomato soup. The reason I am calling this version of tomato soup "all grown up" is because the apple cider I have found so far in France is the alcoholic kind. It is not too potent only 4% alcohol but in addition to the wine in this recipe I thought this may not be for kids, LOL. 

I have to say I usually do not enjoy fruit in savory dishes or really fruit in general; however,  in addition to apples this recipe’s ingredients also include Dijon mustard and chili paste so I figured that would balance it out without making it too fruity. 

I couldn’t find my chili paste so I used 3 small red chili peppers, chopped and a dab of Harissa.  I like the warmth the chili’s give to this recipe and the sweetness of the apples cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Now I just need a grilled cheese sandwich, a good book and I am all set!


2 T butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 T Dijon mustard
1 tsp. sambal (chili paste available at Asian markets)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 16oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes and juice (I used diced tomatoes and their juice)
4 cups apple cider
3/4 cup liquid crème fresh (or heavy cream), divided in half

  • In a large soup pot, melt butter over medium/low  heat. Add onions, garlic and a pinch of salt. Sauté 10 minutes until pale and tender.
  • Add apples, tomato paste, mustard, chili paste and white wine. Let reduce by half (5-7 minutes).
  • Add tomatoes and cider; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer (partially covered to let steam vent) for an hour stirring occasionally.
  • Pour half of soup in blender. Purée with one part of cream until smooth. Repeat with the second batch and combine it all together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

ROCK ON! by Phoenix Design Jewelry