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....

Click on Phoenix Design Button for...

Click on Phoenix Design Button for...
Immediate Satisfaction for your fashion craving!

Etsy Shop Preview

Monday, March 26, 2012

Penne Pasta with Chicken, Lemon, Garlic and Fresh Tomatoes

This is my adaptation of the Angele Hair Pasta with Lemon and Garlic from “IN THE KITCHEN WITH ROSIE”  by Rosie Daley cookbook. It is a perfect fresh and easy  Spring dinner!
Servings 4 or 2 with leftovers Smile

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3-4 T pesto sauce
1/2 lime juice
2 c dry penne pasta
Black pepper; to taste
A couple handfuls of arugula
1 med. to large lemon juiced
2 c  Fresh Tomatoes; 3-4 medium, chopped
1/4 c. Freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 T olive oil
1/4 c Fresh basil; chopped
2 cloves Garlic; peel and mince
1/2 c Dry white wine
  • Marinade boneless skinless chicken breast in pesto sauce for a couple of hours. I usually do it in the morning and let it sit all day in the pesto.
  • Add pesto used to marinade to small stick proof skillet pan; no need to add any oil if using a stick proof skillet pesto already has enough; sauté stovetop.
  • After the chicken is lightly browned on both sides cut into bit sized chunks and return to skillet to finish. Stirring to coat all sides of chicken in pesto sauce, set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and maintain at a boil.
  • Put the olive oil and garlic in a sauté pan and cook over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown.
  • Remove the sauté pan from the heat and pour in the wine. Return it to the heat. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the wine has been reduced by half.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and tomato.
  • Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Place the pasta in the boiling water and cook to desired doneness, with a bite, al dente.
  • Add the basil, a couple of handfuls of arugula, cooked chicken, black pepper, and parmesan cheese,  along with the tomato mixture. Toss and serve immediately.

Spring in Barbizon, France…

…planting the first flower pots…


…red, orange and yellow buttercups…


…adding new herbs to garden outside the kitchen with citrus thyme, rosemary, thyme and coaxing back the existing parsley and thyme from last year…


…adding basil and parsley to the bed in the back to go with the chives…


…watching the first flowers of spring bloom in the yard…


…enjoying the sunshine!!!


Soupy Black Beans & Rice with Blackened Chicken

Spring is finally coming to Barbizon, with the sun shining on my face I am remembering Miami, FL. This is my shout out to Miami flavor, and bringing all my memories of South Beach to France!!!  Hint: soak the dried black beans the night before you want to serve this meal.


Blackened Chicken Recipe

I am still looking for the perfect blackened chicken recipe but this one is defiantly in the runner up!  At first I thought the mayo based mop for basting was  weird but it really worked to keep the boneless skinless chicken breasts moist while cooking. I did this under the broiler (it started to rain) vs. the grill but it would defiantly lend itself to grilling. 

Rub Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 4 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 clove fresh garlic (through salt in mortar and pestle) or 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • zest of one lemon & 10 turns of freshly ground black pepper ( add to fresh garlic and grind then add to the rest of the rub mix) or 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Basting Mop Ingredients:
  • 1 1/3 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 large green onion, chopped
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  1. In a small bowl, combine dry rub ingredients and add wet rub ingedients (garlic & lemomn zest) mix will and sprinkle over both sides of chicken. Set aside.
  2.  In another bowl, combine Basting Mop Ingredients; cover and chill 1 cup for serving. Save remaining sauce for basting.
  1. Grill chicken, covered, over indirect medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until juices run clear, basting frequently with remaining sauce. Serve with reserved sauce.
  2. OR put broiler close to the heating element and cook chicken until the top is looking done and the spices have set, flip and do the other side.  Then put the rack down one from the broiler element and continue cooking and basting on each side until chicken is done in the middle, approx. another 3 min. per side.  The basting mop will bubble and blacken and that is what you are looking for in the final product.
Soupy Black Beans ( my favorite recipe from the Miami Spice Cookbook)

Initial Black Bean Cook
  • 1 pound black beans, picked through and washed
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cored and seeded
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • quarter pound country thick cut bacon, cut into slivers or 150 grams smoked lardon
  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 green pepper , cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 scallions,trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 T dry white wine or white wine vinegar to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Rinse and pick through beans, pull out any foreign matter. Put beans in pot and cover with 3 inches of water.  Soak overnight.
  • The next day drain beans and put back in pot. Cover with 3 inches of water. Add halved onion, garlic cloves, bay leaves, bell pepper, cumin and oregano to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and skim off any foam that rises to the surface.
  • Reduce heat, cover, and gently simmer beans, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Add water as necessary to keep beans submerged. Remove onion, garlic, bay leaves and bell pepper with a slotted spoon and discard. 
  • Meanwhile: Prepare Sofrito.
  • Brown bacon in a heavy frying pan over medium heat.
  • Add remaining sofrito ingredients. Cook over medium heat until just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir the sofrito into the beans along with the wine, vinegar sugar and salt and pepper. Cover and continue simmering bean, until very soft, about 20 mins.
  • Just before serving correct the seasonings, adding salt,pepper, cumin, oregano, or vinegar. The mixture should be highly seasoned. Spoon the soupy black beans over rice.


ROCK ON! by Phoenix Design Jewelry