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Oh bother.  It's the last day of the month and I am unable to show off a new dress.  It seems I sent my visiting parents back to California with my camera.  Ooops!  That's what I get for planning and then forgetting to capture my family Thanksgiving on (digital) film.  

Until I get my camera in the mail I'll distract you with a picture of Bustur the Puppy.  It's a cheap trick, I know.

 
 
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If you have been around for a while you may remember the Erin Elizabeth Dress (December 2010)  Well, now some lucky lady in Cincinnati, OH will have one for her very own . . . just in time to pack it away for next spring.  

Longtime DotMC friend and supporter, Catie, is spearheading the annual Annual Dinner and Silent Auction for the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless this year.  If you happen to be in the Cincinnati area around December 7th, you may want to check it out and support a good cause.  

Also, just for Catie's special event, I have brought back DotMC's signature bag.  I was making these, like, a million years ago (2006).  This bag is a graphic black and white houndstooth with a colorful, silky lining.  I am actually inspired to whip out some more of these bags.  

They are fun to make and pretty much good looking.  Not to mention highly functional (pockets!) and unique.  I always thought the metal rings were a nice touch.

So, have you bought your airfare to Cincinnati yet?

 
 
All I wanted were vegetarian enchiladas.  Not too much to ask.  A quick swoop of the internets presents ka-billions of options.  And I am sure all those recipes are great.  Great for people who know the difference between Chili Powder (2 tbsp) and Cayenne Pepper (1/4 tsp).  Not so much for those who guess that the two spices might be interchangable. [Woe!]

The most major of fails came in my attempt to make enchilada sauce from scratch.  If only I would have gone with the can!   Why was I too snobby for a can?  Dinner could have been so good.  Just think about it - tofu, onions, zucchini, carrots, olives  . . . all diced and baked in tortillas?!  But then I poured liquid fire on top.  Of course I didn't realize what I had done until it was too late.  It looked so good.

I think Adorable Boyfriend pretty much summed it up when he said,  "I think cayenne is used in weapons.  You basically manufactured pepper spray and made me eat it for dinner."  For the record he ate everything on his plate.  Which wasn't easy.

I'll just leave it at that.  Let us never speak of this again.

Liz - 2
Kitchen Gods - 1
One saving grace was the kale salad we had just before filling our mouths with molten lava.  I am trying to copy the wonderful salad at my favorite pizza place, Dove Vivi.  It's just kale with a lemony olive oil and some cheese.  I am still working the whole business out, but am making progress.  Yum.  
 
 
Welcome to mid-November.  How did THAT happen?  Now that I am properly moved in, have hosted a housewarming, and figured out the fastest routes between work and new house . . . I think it's time to get back to dressmaking.  (Not that there won't be forays into other areas.  Because there will be.  Lots.  I like foraying.)

I am picking up for November something that I left by the wayside in August.  You may remember this pretty little hand painted silk number?  It's coming along.  Cute for New Years', non?

The dress and I will be checking in soon.  
 
 
I had a really delicious and ambitious plan for my second ever night of premeditated dinner making. I realized my mistake when I couldn't find half the ingredients at the market (Although I did find oriechette on accident.  Oh well.).  

Rather than begin a hunt for the missing pieces, I chose to find something a little more simple for tonight's meal. The only requirement was that the recipe contain arugula, which I already bought.   

And so that's how dinner came to be Roasted Portobello, Red Pepper, and Arugula Salad (more a description than name) which I found at allrecipes.com after a not very extensive Google search for "arugula".

This is quite a delicious recipe, especially if you are in the mood for a lighter meal - which we were.  Of course, I am also pleased that it was so easy to prepare.  I did have a moment of disappointment when I pulled the mushrooms out of the oven as they were totally stuck to the foil.  I thought that the whole meal was all burnt up.  It wasn't.  Phew.  Note to self (and to you too):  Don't use the bottom rack.  Beginner's error.  

And here are a few more notes:  1)  I used an onion instead of a shallot because I had already bought that too.  Totally worked.  In fact, I would put more onion on it as they are so tasty.  2)  I would also add more roasted peppers.  A salad for dinner is really good now and again, but it wouldn't hurt to beef it up a little.  Arugula only fills you up so much, you know?  3)  What about using balsamic vinegar?  Admittedly I have a sweet tooth, but I'll bet it would be really good.  4)  Romano cheese is salty, so be conservative when salting the mushrooms.

Now I'm done with cooking for the week.  [sigh of relief]

Liz - 2
Kitchen Gods - 0
Your turn?

The Recipe:
2 Portobello Mushrooms
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
salt & pepper, to taste
1 roasted red pepper
6 cups arugula leaves
2 oz. grated Romano cheese
2 tbsp. Greek salad dressing

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2) Remove mushroom stems.  Brush both sides with olive oil and place gill-side up.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil, vinegar.  Sprinkle with sliced garlic and shallot.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Top with roasted pepper.  Wrap foil tightly around mushroom.
3)  Bake until mushroom is tender - about 30 minutes.
4)  Toss arugula in Romano cheese and salad dressing.

Prep Time - 15 minutes
Cook Time - 30 minutes
Servings - 2
 

Flats Fall Flat

11/09/2011

 
I wore a new pair of flats today.  Flats that I really like.  Then this conversation happened:

BOSS:     (to client) You remember Liz.

CLIENT:  Oh yes.  (Looking at Liz's new shoes, that Liz really likes, by the way)  But she's not wearing those cute flats like last time we met.

LIZ:            Uh . . . no.

Cue sad trumpet.
 
 
It is common knowledge among my nearest and dearest that I am probably the worst (or laziest) cook in the world.  And that's the whole WIDE world I'm talking about.  In fact, I am still trying to live down the Grape Cookie Incident of 1989.  (Raisins.  Grapes. I think you get the idea.)

My issues with cooking are, I believe anyway, 1) an inability to read directions.  It's the same with sewing patterns, kids.  I just have a rough time following.  I don't know what the deal is.  It's not like I don't love to read.  I love to read.  I read books all the time.  2)  I have no idea what spices/herbs/combinations of ingredients taste and/or look like.  Seriously, would you be able to recognize fennel if you saw it?  Would it be good in a taco?  3)  I can be a little too creative.  Creativity is not a bad thing - but if you don't have butter or flour and are still determined to make sugar cookies . . . well that spells problem.

Fortunately for me, I found myself a fella who knows his way around a frying pan.  And while I am most definitely NOT complaining that I have nothing to do at the end of the workday but clean a few dishes, part of me feels like I should do some kitchen learning.  So here we are.  I have successfully negotiated my way into two nights of dinner a week.  (I wanted three.)

It's Monday and I am starting off easy.  I found this recipe in Sunset Magazine and have (all indicators point to hoarding here) been "saving it to try" since July 2010. 
My first meal is Tomato Orecchiette with Brie and Basil and I kicked it off with problems because I couldn't find anything called orecchiette at the store and I started getting panicky because I hate crowded grocery stores.  I have since learned that orechiette gets its name from the Italian word, orecchio, which means ear.  It's made from little cubes of dough which are (or were, I don't really know if this is still the practice) pressed into a dome shape with one's thumb.  

Too little, too late.  I bought gnocchi (nocca which means knuckle, for those of you wondering).  Not like those round potato blobs, though.  This gnocchi is whole wheat and hollow. I guess I do know something about what type of pasta not to buy.  (Motto:  No potato blobs!)  It'll be fine.  I got "a true artisan pasta" if the packaging is to be believed.

So basically you make pasta.  Chop up tomatoes, basil, and brie.  Toss it all together.  Add olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  And you're done.  Hurray!

It's pretty tasty, if a little lacking in the flavor department.  Part of this could be because it seems we have no pepper in the house.  Oops!  

Even though I have no idea what I am talking about, I have a few suggestions.  First, cook the garlic a little before tossing it in the pot with the rest of the ingredients.  Bites of raw garlic are pungent and sometimes bite you back.  Also, make sure you have pepper in your house.  Last, throw on some Parmesan.  I know, this whole dish is already about cheese, but brie is a little bland and the sharpness just might bump things up a notch on the Flav-O-Meter.

All in all.  Very easy and kinda good.  

Liz - 1.  Kitchen Gods - 0.
If you want to try it for yourself:

Tomato Orecchiette with Brie and Basil
12 oz. orecchiette pasta
2 lg. tomotoes, chopped
4 oz. brie
1tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and return to pot.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Servings:  4
Time:  30 minutes