Many years ago, a friend of mine gave me a ceramic rooster to keep in my kitchen. I think at first I said “Thank you,” and then I thought “Huh? That’s weird.” She simply told me that every kitchen should have a rooster in it for good luck. I put the little rooster on a shelf and didn’t really think about it for a long time.
Then one day, when I was moving and packing up the kitchen, I wondered about the rooster again. Why would a rooster mean good luck in a kitchen? I started doing a little research on roosters and their symbolism. Wouldn’t you know, having a rooster in the kitchen has been a sign of good luck, health and prosperity for centuries. I found references to roosters and good fortune in Greek, Chinese, Japanese and Christian symbolism, and having a rooster in the kitchen has been a French tradition for years and years. If you give it just a little thought, it starts to make sense.
Roosters crow at the same time every morning. Indeed, people have trusted roosters to get them out of bed in the morning for years. Roosters, therefore, represent trust and clearly have a very good sense of timing! This crowing in the morning also represents victory in many cultures. Roosters have triumphed over the dark night and are a sign of hopeful beginnings. I don’t know about you, but most of my hopeful beginnings start with a good meal!
Roosters share their food. When they find food, they often call the chickens over to eat it first. That is so very generous, welcoming and shows a lot of patience. This really endears roosters to me and symbolizes what a kitchen should be all about – sharing food and welcoming in loved ones.
Roosters are watchful and protective of their brood. In this regard, roosters became a common sign on the top of weathervanes. I believe a kitchen is a place where watchfulness really helps out when you are cooking. In fact, Chinese symbolism says that people born under the sign of the rooster are practical, quick-thinking and pay attention to detail – all great qualities in a cook!
So… when thinking about designs for beautiful Blue Jean Chef kitchen ceramics, how could I pass up the opportunity to include roosters? Again, I asked my artist friend, Arlene Theiss to design a rooster for me. I wanted my rooster to have a little attitude, to be proud but welcoming, and to be fun and whimsical at the same time. Arlene came up with a rooster that I love! She designed a rooster with different colored feathers, some with patterns inside, one who stands tall and yet invites you to get closer for a good look. Arlene also finished the family, adding a chicken to the mix. We put these designs on the ceramics dishes by etching the design into the ceramic first and then hand painting them. This gives the ceramics an artisan look, which doesn’t have perfect paint, but shows human imperfections and makes every piece unique. I’m really pleased with the result and I hope you are too when you see them on QVC on Sunday, September 9th at noon ET.
Included with the first set of these ceramics are two recipe cards. Here’s one of them, to get your mouth watering. I had this for dinner the other night and truly felt that I had some good fortune.
Chicken Pot Pie with Leeks and Lemon
- 5 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup butter
- 3 large leeks, cleaned, light green and white part sliced (½ -inch slices; about 6 cups)
- 4 to 5 carrots, sliced (¼-inch slices; about 1½ cups)
- 3 ribs celery, sliced (¼-inch slices; about 1½ cups)
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 roast chicken, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Pre-heat the oven to 400º F.
- Place the garlic in a small saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for a minute and then drain. Peel, chop and set aside.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter and once melted, add the leeks, carrots, celery, thyme and garlic and sauté for 8 minutes, or until the leeks are soft. Stir in the flour and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and lemon zest and bring to a boil to thicken. Add the heavy cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the green peas, fresh parsley and the shredded chicken and transfer the mixture to the Blue Jean Chef 2.5 quart Round Ceramic Casserole.
- Cover the top of the mixture with the puff pastry. You can leave the pastry in a square and drape the edges over the side of the casserole, or you can cut the pastry into a circle to fit into the casserole, OR you can cut small circles and place several circles on top of the pot pie. If you fully cover the casserole, make small vents in the pastry with a knife.
- Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and transfer the casserole on a cookie sheet to the 400º F oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375º F and continue to cook for another 20 – 25 minutes, or until the top has browned nicely and the pot pie mixture is bubbling. Serve and enjoy.