Archive of ‘Entertaining’ category

“Modern Pioneering” by Georgia Pellegrini + 30-Minute Fresh Mozzarella

Today we’re excited to share the release of chef and author Georgia Pellegrini’s new book, “Modern Pioneering: more than 150 recipes, projects, and skills for a self-sufficient life.”

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Georgia has been a regular visitor to the Paul Michael store through the years and has featured a number of our items on her website. She has also done several book signings in our Lake Village store and will be doing one in our Lafayette store in April, so stay tuned! Today we’re having her share a recipe from her new book as well as tell you more about her food philosophy. First, be sure to watch the Official “Modern Pioneering” Video Trailer:

In Georgia’s Words:
I read a quote somewhere recently that said: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.”

For the last few years I’ve been offering women a chance to try new and daring things, giving them a safe space to fail and laugh-until-it-hurts in the process, to cheer each other on, and embrace each other when they had success. My Adventure Getaways have continued to motivate me to find new and accessible ways to offer a broader audience the opportunity to “step off the grid” in their own way, even if it’s just from their own studio apartment in the heart of the bustling city.

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I set out to create more recipes and projects for a self-sufficient life, with the idea that self-sufficiency is not only the ultimate girl (and boy!) power, but also brings you immense joy whether you are a full-time homemaker, a busy professional, or simply looking to do more by hand.

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My new book, “Modern Pioneering” is full of recipes, projects, and skills for a self-sufficient life. This is your guide for how to delight in the vegetables growing on your fire escape, to mark the seasons by the scents of the herbs growing on your windowsill, lit by the mason jar lantern you’ve made with your own hands. Whether you’re living on your rural homestead or sharing a studio apartment, Modern Pioneering is all about learning how to step off the grid in your own way, one that is uniquely yours.

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Divided into four parts, The Garden, The Home, The Wild, The Rest, Modern Pioneering includes more than 100 recipes, small space gardening advice, DIY projects, and superwoman skills.

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I hope the book empowers you to be more self-sufficient and brings you a ton of joy and fun in the process! It is available wherever books are sold for the first time today and can be ordered HERE.

As a bonus incentive, anyone who sends a screenshot of their order by midnight on March 4th to info@georgiapellegrini.com, gets free bonus content sent to their inbox!

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To get you all started and into the Modern Pioneering spirit, I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes, Fresh Mozzarella Cheese.

Silky, stringy fresh mozzarella really can be made in only 30 minutes, so long as you have the right kind of milk. In general, the key to cheese making is to find the purest form of milk possible, one that has not been ultra-pasteurized, since the high-heat treatment of the milk will prevent curds from forming. Raw milk is the best option if your state allows it; otherwise, search at farmer’s markets and health food stores for whole milk that is as unadulterated as possible. Even organic milks can be ultra-pasteurized, so read the labels.

Cheese-making kits are available with everything you will need other than milk, but you can also buy citric acid tablets and rennet online. If you want to make the curds in advance, store them in an airtight container for two weeks, or freeze the curds and reheat them. Save the whey, which you can freeze and use for baking high-protein bread or even scones.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Inactive Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Makes 12 ounces

1½ teaspoons citric acid powder, either tablet form or powder form

¼ cup nonchlorinated water, such as spring water, distilled water, or filtered water from a Brita or other filtration system

1 gallon whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized; raw milk works best)

¼ rennet tablet (vegetable or animal) combined with ¼ cup of cool nonchlorinated water (also comes in a liquid form, and the proportions remain the same)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Fresh herbs, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, chopped garlic, or other optional seasonings

Sprinkle the citric acid into a large, nonreactive stockpot. Pour in the nonchlorinated water and stir to dissolve the powder, with the heat off.

Pour the milk into the citric acid solution and stir it vigorously to combine. Turn the burner to medium heat and let the milk’s temperature rise to 88°F if it is raw/unpasteurized and 90°F if it is pasteurized (use an instant-read digital thermometer). You may see the milk begin to curdle, which is what you want.

Remove the pot from the heat and pour in the rennet solution. Give the mixture a gentle, circular stir for about 30 seconds. Then use the spoon to stop the motion of the milk so it will be still. Place the lid on the pot and walk away for 5 minutes if the milk is pasteurized, 10 minutes if the milk is raw or unpasteurized. When you return, the mixture will resemble a very soft custard, with a clear separation between the curds and whey (the liquid that separates from the curd). If this hasn’t happened let it set for a few more minutes.

With a long knife or offset spatula that reaches to the bottom of your pot, cut the curd into a 1-inch checkerboard pattern. This will separate the curds, making them easier to stir.

Return the pot to the burner and stir it gently over medium heat until the temperature of the whey reaches no more than 90°F for raw or unpasteurized milk and 105°F for pasteurized milk. Remove from the heat and continue to stir for about 5 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the curd to a colander set over a large bowl. It will look stringy. Slowly spin around the colander once the curds are in it to allow the whey to drain from the curd, which will now have a soft-cheese consistency.

Remove the curds from the colander and gently squeeze them a few times to drain off more excess whey. Then transfer the curds to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds.

Remove the bowl from the microwave and pour off as much whey as you can into another container, pressing the curd together with your hands to get more whey out. Add salt to the curds at this point, if you wish.

Return the curds to the bowl and microwave them again on high for 30 seconds, then remove the bowl from the microwave and drain the whey, pressing the curds together. The more whey you can get out, the more dense the cheese will be and the longer it will store in the refrigerator.

Stretch and knead the curds like taffy to drain more whey, then microwave them one last time for 30 seconds. The cheese should be at an internal temperature of 135°F at this point in order to stretch properly. If at any point it feels too hot or too liquid to stretch, run it under cold water to help it cool slightly before working with it.

Roll the cheese into a neat ball, or into smaller balls for bocconcini. You could even braid it or turn it into string cheese–sized pieces.

Fill a medium bowl with tap water that is at a temperature of about 50°F. Set the cheese ball(s) into a water bath for 5 minutes to cool.

Fill another medium bowl with water and ice, then transfer the cheese into it and let it rest until totally cool, about 15 minutes. This step will ensure that the texture stays silky rather than grainy.

Remove the mozzarella, pat it dry with paper towels, plate it, and top it with your favorite seasonings, like chopped garlic, fresh herbs, or red pepper flakes, along with a drizzle of olive oil. It is best to eat the mozzarella within a day, or it can be kept in water in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Report from the Road – Las Vegas Market Part 1 – All Play

Las Vegas is a lot of things. You can basically do whatever you want whenever you want.  Just hang out in a hotel lobby for 5 minutes and you will undoubtedly hear, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

buyers toasting in vegas

That’s me on the left with Debbie Michael, & Lucia Deen toasting.

After 20 days in Atlanta and Dallas, our buying team stepped off our 3 hour non-stop to Las Vegas exhausted. Our bittersweet arrival meant five more days of work, but with the promise of Vegas-sized activities at night.  Certainly more exciting than Dallas or Atlanta, right?

Aria Lobby - Year of the Horse

Aria Lobby – Year of the Horse

We had high hopes of productive days and parties at night.  We only made it out two nights. One night to see Cirque du Soleil’s Love and then another night to see Carlos Santana.

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Truth.

The shows were amazing, but what really entertained us were all the new looks unveiled at market.  You probably didn’t think we would ever get to the market trend report, huh??? Stay tuned for Part 2!

How-To Simple Mardi Gras Wreath Video from PMC Lafayette

Mardi Gras is upon us. For some of us, King cakes replace breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Krewes prepare for elaborate balls and parades. Decorative wreaths adorn the front door. Outfits are planned. Meals are made. Beads are thrown. Some of you may wake up with the rare French disease, Le Hangovaire.

If you haven’t put your Mardi Gras swag up, don’t fret! Just check out this Simple Mardi Gras Wreath How-to video filmed in our store with our customers & staff by Lafayette’s local newspaper, The Advertiser.

Thanks to reporter Sundra Hominik & Mardi Gras aficionado / PMC customer Sandra Booher for letting us show you how we do Mardi Gras. Check out the article about our fab decor here. Hope y’all find the video by Sundra featuring our own designer, Jordan Guidry, super helpful! Contact us at help@paulmichaelhome.com for more instructions. All Mardi Gras decor and materials can be found in our Mardi Gras section online.

Purple & Gold Mardi Gras Mesh

Purple and Gold Mardi Gras Mesh

Colorful Ball Work Wreath

Colorful Ball Work Wreath

6"x10yd Mardi Gras Ribbon

6″x10yd Mardi Gras Ribbon

Set of 4 4in Mardi Gras Ball Ornaments

Set of 4 4in Mardi Gras Ball Ornaments

4"x10yd Fleur De Lis Ribbon - NOW 50% OFF

4″x10yd Fleur De Lis Ribbon – NOW 50% OFF

21"x10yd Purple Mesh

21″x10yd Purple Mesh

4"x10yd Fleur De Lis Ribbon

4″x10yd Fleur De Lis Ribbon

Share with us your Mardi Gras on Facebook & Twitter! What simple Mardi Gras tips do you have to share?

-Elizabeth Michael

How PMC does Mardi Gras

It’s never too early to start decorating for the next holiday. Mardi Gras is just around the corner and it’s a PMC favorite. Our stores have all the swag you need to get your “krewe” ready for the festival!

For those of you who don’t know, Fat Tuesday falls on March 4th this year. Personally this does not leave enough time to consume all of the Kingcake I would like but it does leave me plenty of time to decorate!

Here’s a little inspiration from out Lake Village store.

PaulMichaelCompany_MardiGrasTreePaulMichaelCompany_MardiGrasTreeCarry your tree from Christmas to Carnival by replacing the red accents with purple. Carnival season actually began January 6th on King’s Day which is the Feast of the Epiphany.

photo 2PaulMichaelCompany_MardiGrasWreath

Need a little more “pinspiration”? Check out these photos from Pinterest!

BurlapMardiGrasWreathIf you like to celebrate but prefer a more toned down version try adding a few flashy elements to a burlap base.

Below are a couple of great centerpiece ideas for that fabulous Kingcake feast you know you want to host!MardiGrasBowl MardiGrasCenterpiece Laissez les bons temps rouler! Let the good times roll!

PMC 2013 Review

2013 was a busy year for the Paul Michael Company! We did so many things that I’ll just hit the highlights.

Our partnership with P. Allen Smith got some of our sweet merchandise into Southern Living Magazine. PaulMichaelCompany_SouthernLiving PaulMichaelCompany_SouthernLiving PaulMichaelCompany_SouthernLiving PaulMichaelCompany_SouthernLiving PaulMichaelCompany_SouthernLivingSee the article about P. Allen Smith’s Smaller But Smarter Cottage with Style.

We amped up our Houston Nutcracker show by adding a custom made gazebo to display some of our beautiful and unique furniture pieces.PaulMichaelCompany_StructureBegins PaulMichaelCompany_StructureComplete

We launched our website!!!!!! It was like birthing a baby but we couldn’t be prouder of the result.PaulMichaelCompany_Website

Lucia, our lead buyer, became a grandmother!PaulMichaelCompany_LittleGeorge

Jake Michael, Paul’s youngest child, proposed to his girlfriend of nearly seven years!PaulMichaelCompany_Leigh&JakeEngaged

How was your year? We would love to hear some of the amazing things you accomplished in 2013!

 

PMC Presents Designed in the Delta

PaulMichaelCompany_DesignedInTheDeltaLadies and Gents! I’m happy to report that our first “Designed in the Delta” Blogger event was a success! We had the loveliest ladies attend. They were a true delight to host! Those in attendance were Creative Outpour, Delta Moxie, Dining with Debbie, The Park Wife, and Ramblings of a Little Wife. These talented women traveled far and wide to spend three days in Lake Village designing, dining and discovering the Delta.

Thursday evening began with cocktails at Paul’s newly renovated office on Main Street in Lake Village. After cocktails we headed to the Paul Michael Company’s Holiday Party; an after-hours event held annually in appreciation for our customers. Our guests shopped, nibbled, giggled, and “got to know the locals.” Our night ended at the Lake Chicot State Park around a fire with friends and some exceptionally funny conversation. It is safe to say that this group of ladies was not lacking in class clowns!

PMC-Pauls-OfficeThe-LadiesPhotos above borrowed from Creative Outpour :) Thanks, Jacqueline!

The next morning our guests wanted to know “where they could find wifi in Lake Village”… and that is how we ended up having breakfast at our local McDonald’s. Kellee, aka Delta Moxie decided to take one for the team and ride in the back. She’s so tiny and precious that it seemed like the logical choice.

photo(63)After breakfast we drove the ladies to our woodshop in Dermott, AR where Paul’s son, Jake, showed them the lay of the land and how we make our cutting boards.

PaulMichaelCompany_WoodshopPaulMichaelCompany_LaserEngraverPaulMichaelCompany_CuttingBoardEach blogger got their own custom engraved cutting board to take home with them. We hope they “serve” as a reminder of their trip to the Delta :) Below is a picture of the group posing by some of our raw materials. Jacqueline was our girly girl that decided “appropriate footwear” meant pumps! So stinking cute!

PaulMichaelCompany_GroupPhotoPaulMichaelCompany_WoodshopWe decided to eat lunch at the Amish Store in Dermott. The owner brought out fresh baked bread, fed us lunch, and sent our guests home with goodies.

PaulMichaelCompany_AmishStorePictured above are a few of the homemade treats we noshed on while we waited for our delicious deli sandwiches.

Once we filled our bellies we headed back to the store for a wreath making demonstration led by the super talented, Tanna! Most of these ladies had never worked with deco mesh, I know…crazy, right?!

PaulMichaelCompany_CreationStationPaulMichaelCompany_CreationStationThe Park Wife made sure to get tips from Tanna about adding ribbon to her wreath.

The next leg of our adventure led us deep into the woods for a little campfire dinner. Paul graciously offered to cook dinner for our “hen party” at his camp EVEN THOUGH it was hunting season and the men had to wake up super early the next morning.

PaulMichaelCompany_CampDinnerPaul and Jake gave the ladies a little lesson about cooking deer steaks over an open flame. While the men tended to the meal we gave lessons on what exactly it meant to dress “Delta Casual” and how to set a table for a dinner party at “the camp”.

PaulMichaelCompany_CampDinnerPaulMichaelCompany_CampDinnerWe woke up early the next morning to say farewell. The ladies indulged with biscuits-n-gravy and omelets as big as their smiling faces from our favorite cafe, JJ’s. It was such a treat to host these fantastic and talented women in our little corner of the state. Y’all come back now ya hear!

I wonder if everyone would be as brave as these ladies? Would you eat Venison or take a trip to our woodshop in pumps?

 

 

PMC Cooks: Delta Duck Wraps

DeltaMeal_PaulMichaelCompanyGrits + greens + duck wraps = party in yo’ mouth!

The cold weather can’t stop us from having a good time or a good meal for that matter. Since it’s been so chilly the last few days we decided to bring a little heat to our meal time festivities with spicy cheese grits and bacon-jalapeno duck wrap kabobs.

DuckBreast_PaulMichaelCompanyCube duck breast on cutting board.

Jalapeno_PaulMichaelCompanyCut jalapeno into 1/4 inch thick rounds. If you place slices of jalapeno in between duck wraps on skewer they will be spicy but not overwhelming.

DuckKabobs_PaulMichaelCompanyPlace cubed duck breast and hunk of cream cheese on bacon slice. Roll and place on skewer. Add slice of jalapeno between each wrap for a little kick!

CuttingBoard_PaulMichaelCompanyBaste your kabobs with a little honey, then it’s time to put them on the grill. Cook bacon on one side then flip.

Grill_PaulMichaelCompanyOnce bacon is crispy on both sides remove from grill and enjoy.

DuckWraps_PaulMichaelCompanyIngredients for Spicy Cheese Grits:

1 cup yellow stone-ground grits

2 large creole tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped bacon

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup sliced garlic

3 cups water

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp salt

2 tbsps canned chopped green chiles

1/4 cup mild Cheddar cheese

Recipe:

In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, cook bacon until crisp. Reserve drippings in pan. Add tomatoes, butter, and garlic. Saute until garlic is tender. Mix in water, cream, salt, and chiles then bring to a boil. Gradually stir in grits, blending well. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. Remove from heat and then blend in cheese until melted.

 

 

 

Toddy Time: A Southern Tradition

As the mercury rises and falls this holiday season inevitably so will your temperament. Take a few minutes at the end of the day to relax and get back in that good head-space with an adult beverage or as we south of the Mason Dixon like to refer to it as…a toddy! The recipe I will share with you today can be enjoyed warm or cold.

Recipe

2 parts Apple Cider

1 part Cranberry Juice

1 part Bourbon- Bulleit is my preference!

Squeeze of lemon

*Thyme simple syrup to taste- this isn’t necessary but it sure is a nice touch! (recipe at end of post courtesy of Debbie Michael)

Garnish with Rosemary

PaulMichaelCompany_Ingredients

PaulMichaelCompany_PrepOnce you have combined all of your ingredients pour over ice in shaker. Shake and pour into glass.

PaulMichaelCompany_Combine

PaulMichaelCompany_PourAdd lemon slice and spring of Rosemary for garnish. Sip and enjoy!

PaulMichaelCompany_BourbonToddyIf the cold weather has you down try drinking this holiday treat warm. Heat seems to make the Rosemary more pronounced so I left it out of this version.

PaulMichaelCompany_HotToddy

 Thyme Simple Syrup Recipe

2 parts suagr

1 part water

1 package of fresh thyme or grab some from your garden if the cold hasn’t killed it

Preparation

  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Dissolve the sugar into the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  3. Place thyme in cheesecloth and drop in pot
  4. Once the sugar is dissolved completely, remove the pan from the heat. (Note: Do not allow the syrup to boil for too long or the syrup will be too thick.)
  5. Allow to cool completely and thicken, then bottle.

Thanksgiving Table Decorations

This is the time of year when we all venture into that sacred area we call the dining room. Nowadays it seems people reserve this room for only the most special of occasions i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, graduations, etc. Since we so rarely enter this room why not show it a little extra love by dressing it up for the party?

First I will give you a little inspiration from our holiday shoot earlier this year!

ThanksgivingTable_PaulMichaelCompanyThanksgivingDining_PaulMichaelCompanyTurkey_PaulMichaelCompanyPlaceSetting_PaulMichaelCompanyIf this seems a little more involved than you were thinking. Here are some ideas I found on Pinterest that look pretty easy to throw together. Plus you can always ask one of our super talented employees for a little help with your holiday decor…we’re basically elves.

PumpkinGlass_PaulMichaelCompanyArtichokesGlass_PaulMichaelCompanyWe are all so busy this time of year that sometimes decorating seems unimaginable but I’m positive I can find enough time to throw some of our pumpkins and artichokes into a piece of decorative glass (which we also carry).

Pumpkins+DoughBowl_PaulMIchaelCompanyIt would also be fairly easy to put some of these items in a dough bowl surrounded by votive candles.

TwigPumpkin_PaulMichaelCompanyAnother great way to jazz up the table is by adding a few pumpkins down the center. Luckily we have a great selection of pumpkins to choose from. Now throw some battery operated candles in the mix and you’re in business!

Simple Holiday Survival Tips

Words like “peace”, “joy”, and “noel” surround the Christmas season and are motifs in Christmas carols and decorative themes.  No one usually associates the words “panic”, “frantic”, or “busy” with the season of good tidings, even though buying the gifts, preparing the house, planning the meal, and finding babysitters usually puts people in a bit of a frenzy.  Holiday entertaining and decorating tips & trends this season can make it easy on your wallet and your sanity.

Paul Michael Company Rustic Chic Christmas

Paul Michael Company Rustic Chic Christmas

Don’t have time to light up the house like the Griswolds?  Don’t fret!  Adding subtle hints of lighting to your front patio will still create a Christmas feel without the weekend commitment of installing lights.  Lantern vignettes and clustered pendant lighting are the perfect way to get the Christmas glow and can be used all year round.

holiday-lanters-front-entry

Image via Rocky Mountain Hardware

When your lanterns aren’t being used for lighting, use them for display cases, indoor greenhouses for your small plants, or use them to store your bathroom accessories, like perfumes.  We love these DIY faux terrariums by Pewter and Sage.

faux terrariums_07

Image via Pewter and Sage

  When the Christmas season has come and gone, disperse your pendant lights in various rooms to change things up a bit.   Another idea would be to use pre-lit topiaries. Just plug ‘em in and voila! Your house has instant holiday cheer.

image via Thistlewood Farm

image via Thistlewood Farm

 Using mercury glass is an easy way to get the holiday spirit and also invest in items that can be used year round. Mercury glass adds just enough sparkle for Christmas and New Year’s when paired with natural elements, like pine greenery.

pallensmith mercury glass

via P. Allen Smith

You can use mercury glass vases or bowls with fruit, acorns, and pecans.  Use “home-grown” nostalgia to tie in new elements and make the look your own. Here in the Delta, we all have tons of pecans in our yards. Pecans make great centerpiece & vase fillers.

Mercury Glass Vase

Image via HGTV

 When the Holiday season ends, mercury glass can be tied into a number of different looks like a rustic or vintage home, homes with a French flair, or even a pop of shine in traditional homes.

Image via Elle Decor

Image via Elle Decor

Here is our Luxe Lodge look styled by our lead designer, Lucia Deen. This look incorporates mercury glass and transitions so easily from Holiday to everyday.

Paul Michael Company Luxe Lodge

Paul Michael Company Luxe Lodge

Now that the stage is set on the inside and out, you are ready to accept your family and friends into your home and make new holiday memories. A lot of times, holiday memories are made around a meal, by hand and out of time honored, family recipes. Unless you have a small army of Christmas elves to help, you should always try to make things as simple as possible. Porcelain bakeware imported from Portugal can go straight from the freezer to the oven up to 500 degrees to your table, so you can prepare in advance.

Paul Michael Company Porcelain

Paul Michael Company Porcelain

The Paul Michael Company imported porcelain from Portugal and took extra care to ensure the highest quality and design.   

Paul Michael Company Porcelain

Paul Michael Company Porcelain

These are just a few basic tips to get you started inside and out. Stay tuned for more! If you cannot wait until our next post about Holiday decorating, visit one of our stores to consult with one of our talented team members :)

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