Everything But Books
Fun and more fun, but none of it relating to books (because I have another page for that)

September 24, 2012

Cousin Terri’s Coq Au Vin

My cousin Terri Day McJunkin, in addition to being brilliant and beautiful, is also quite the cook.  In keeping with our French theme a la Becoming Clementine, here is Terri’s recipe for Coq Au Vin.  As she says, it’s “one of the very best classic French recipes ever (absolutely to die for).”

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
(2 tablespoons good olive oil for searing meat)

4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy (I use Merlot)
1 cup good chicken stock
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Lay chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle chicken on both sides w. salt and pepper. When bacon is removed, brown chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove chicken to plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly browned. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add wine and put bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover pot with a tight fitting lid and place in oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just ‘not pink’. Remove from oven and place on top of stove.

Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to stew. Bring stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

September 20, 2012

Sweet and Savory, French and Tasty!

The French people sure know how to eat wonderful foods, and with only 5 days till the Becoming Clementine release, we thought it was time for some French flair in our recipes. From cheese to chocolate here are 2 french inspired recipes to keep you wishing you were sitting right in Paris.

Baked Camembert with Garlic Bread

1 whole Camembert, in its box

1 clove of garlic, sliced

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

1tsp olive oil


Garlic Bread

1 small ciabatta loaf cut in half

1 tsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, peeled



1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Remove any plastic packaging from the cheese and then return to box, leaving the life off.

3. Pierce the top of the cheese in several places and insert pieces of garlic and thyme into the slits.

4. Drizzle with olive oil and leaving cheese in the box. place into oven for 10mins or until center of cheese is melted.

5. FOR GARLIC BREAD: Drizzle cut side of bread with olive oil and place onto hot pan until toasted. Once toasted rub toasted side with garlic clove.

6. Serve camembert with garlic bread for dipping.


French Chocolate Bark

8oz semi sweet chocolate

8oz bittersweet chocolate

1 cup dried apricots

½ cup dried cranberries

1 cup roasted cashews (also good with pistachios)



1. Melt chocolate in a heat proof bowl over water. Can melt in the microwave but be sure to stir frequently to avoid burning.

2. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a tray. Pour the melted chocolate onto the paper and using a rubber spatula, create a rough rectangle about 9×10 inches.

3. Sprinkle remaining ingredients all over.

4. Allow to cool for at least 2 hours. Cut into small rectangular bite sized pieces.


If you have any wonderful french recipes be sure to send them over to us!


September 2, 2012

Ten reasons I could live in an Anthropologie

The first Anthropologie store opened in Pennsylvania in 1992.  It was begun by the group who runs Urban Outfitters and Free People, folks who have “a love for making things that inspire the imagination.”

Unless you’ve been inside one yourself, their special brand of colorfully feminine vintagey stylish-yet-homey magic is hard to describe and do justice to.  Inside Anthropologie, I am Alice in my very own real-life version of Wonderland.  Every time I set foot in one, I think:  Ahhhh… I could live here.

Here are just a few of the reasons why:

1. It’s so much neater and tidier than my apartment.  And it is filled with pretty things everywhere.

2. I would always be fabulously dressed, as if I were just out for the day at a Left Bank café or a charming Parisian market.

3. The dressing room mirrors make me look better/thinner/younger than the ones at home.

4. Being there makes me want do crafty, homey-type stuff like sand down the wood of an old table and switch out the drawer handles with vintage knobs, or build a mobile out of twigs and pretty colored paper.  Things I would never do in real life but that I like thinking I might attempt if only I weren’t writing books round the clock.

5. Speaking of books, Anthropologie has so many good books to read—big fat regional cookbooks (with adorable aprons to wear while cooking, and an endless stock of cute kitchen accessories), colorful coffee table books on style and design, as well as big and little books on all things beauty.

6. It smells good.

7. It sounds good (the music is usually very retro, very Parisian, very groovy-hip).

8. My cats would have plenty of room to run, and so much fun climbing displays, as well as playing with ribbons, jewelry, scarves, buttons, and various other baubles.  It is Cat Paradise.

9. I would never run out of Christmas and birthday presents for my family and friends.

10. People could come visit me and I would be able to entertain hoards of them at a time with the sweetest, niftiest serving ware in my well lit, gorgeous space.  But no matter how much fun they were having, my guests would need to leave by closing time, no matter what.  After all, the hours are posted on the door.