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1  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / In which I make mushroom bourguignon (vegetarian or vegan) on: October 23, 2010 06:53:01 PM
This is a recipe I've made once before. This time I halved it, because I'm the only mushroom eater in the house. I certainly hope it has been posted here before, because the recipe is an amazingly hearty option for mushroom lovers (and it's great for fall or winter cooking), but if you've never seen it, I hope I've made your day!


The recipe as posted is vegetarian (if you do veggie broth instead of beef broth, both options are given) but with a few simple substitutions it could be vegan.

The recipe starts with searing portabella mushrooms...

Next, you carefully brown onions, carrots and thyme. I wish I could capture the smell in a photo, it's absolutely out of this world. Then you throw some garlic in at the end.

Deglaze with red wine, and make the sauce. I used veggie bullion and broth from cooking kidney beans to give it some extra depth. The mushrooms go back in and simmer until melty and perfect.

Next, you add pearl onions (go with the frozen ones, seriously) and thicken the sauce. By the way, halving the recipe and using a big pan made moisture control a non-issue for me, but last time I made it my pan was really crowded and it drove me nuts. YMMV. Sour cream or vegan substitute if that's your thing. My chives aren't doing so well, so no garnish! Serve over your choice of noodles.

I know my pictures don't add much, but even the talented creator's photographs don't do justice to the amazing depth of flavor that is achieved here. Bon apetit!
2  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Karin's Incredible Chocolate Pie on: November 30, 2008 02:09:54 PM

I encountered a BIG box of ripe raspberries at Sam's Club, which inspired me to make this pie again. It's from this cookbook, which I can't recommend highly enough. It's my go-to cookbook, and if you only have one vegan cookbook on your shelf, make it this one!

The pie has five ingredients, including the raspberries. Four steps. No bake. And the taste is fantastic. The chocolate cookie crust is sweet and rich, the chocolate mousse filling is thick and creamy with a less-sweet contrast to the crust, and the tartness of the raspberries just brings out the love in it all. So. Good.
3  UNITED STATES / Virginia / Hampton Roads SnB Attendance? on: August 24, 2008 07:55:20 AM
There are several SnB's/knitting groups here in the Hampton Roads area, but it's hard to get a feel for how well attended they are. Does anyone on Craftster attend any knitting group in the area regularly? Or mixed craft, etc.
4  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Discussion and Questions / Soysilk: NOT WORKING! on: July 02, 2008 03:07:50 PM
I have been attempting to dye soysilk roving with Wilton's and vinegar. Most of the colors will not stick... they look gorgeous, but when I try and rinse the vinegar out of the roving, the blues and yellows run out, leaving hot pink.

I tried overdyeing, and using longer and longer cook times with more and more vinegar to get it to stick. The result? I turned portions of the roving into rubber. No, really, you pull on it and it stretches and snaps back. I'm about ready to slit my wrists over this stuff! I've never had this problem with any other protein fiber, using exactly the same methods.
5  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Handspun Art Yarn Wrap on: June 24, 2008 07:20:36 PM
This project grew from an art yarn kit I received from laminathegreat in the Handspun Art Yarn Swap 2. She sent me some gorgeous blended batts consisting of tencel, ecospun, and various other things. For components, she sent scraps of satin, ribbon yarn, grey thread, beads, fluffy trim, and a single artificial rose.

Here are the components all together:

The batts were labeled "memories/That Dress." There wasn't a ton of explanation as to where the bits came from, so I just used my imagination. The scraps of satin (mostly white with a light blue flowered print) seemed to be torn from a dress, while the beads when strung on the grey cotton thread made a good metaphor for memories. I decided that the yarn would be too busy if I combined it all into one (I'd never done an art yarn before... what can I say? couldn't quite get over myself) so I spun up all of the batts into singles, then plied some of it with the grey thread and beads until I ran out. The rest I plied with cotton crochet thread I had in my stash, occasionally taking bits of trim or satin or ribbon yarn and twisting and twirling them in. I also tied the ribbon yarn into bows here and there. I put in the occasional coil/rosette, and the bits of trim wound up resembling doves.

The yarn:

When I set out to knit it up, I started with stockinette on huge needes (actually I started with garter, hated the look, raveled it, and started over). I knit it plain for a while before experimenting with textured stitches, and wound up with the following pattern: two rows reverse stockinette, three rows stockinette, four rows knotted openwork lace, three rows stockinette, two rows reverse stockinette, eight rows stockinette, repeat etc. I am completely delighted with how this articulated the yarn. I also made every effort to keep design elements on the right side of the fabric, and unwound the ends of the satin strips if they were too bound up in the yarn. Whee!

I had originally started with a provisional cast on, because I didn't know if I'd do a beaded trim on both ends of the stole or just one. As it turned out, I bound off the terminal end when my yarn ended, and went back to the provisinal cast on to add trim on one side only. I joined the beaded yarn and knit a simple yo/p2tog lace for six rows (offset, knitting back so the reverse side shows), then switched to yo p1 for a few rows to make ruffles. Then I did one more row of the yo/p2tog pattern (because, let's face it, I couldn't fit any more stitches on my needles) and was out of yarn, so I bound off. Serendipitous ruffle! I did the beaded lace with the reverse showing because the beads were always winding up on that side and I wanted it to sparkle.

Then I glued the rose to a pinback. Finito!

6  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Using Fresh Sage? on: May 04, 2008 05:13:36 PM
My sage plant is going like gangbusters. I have leaves going tough bcause I can't use it fast enough. Aside from drying it, what can I do with it?
7  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Dinner: Trader Joe's Style on: April 06, 2008 04:24:14 PM
Thai-Fusion Stir Fry:

I whipped this up tonight, and the beauty of it is that the veggies are frozen and the tofu is sealed up and keeps for a really long time, so I have had the ingredients on hand for weeks now!

1 package Trader Joe's "Asian Vegetables with Beijing-Style Soy Sauce" (frozen section, here's what it looks like)
1 package Trader Joe's Thai-Style Baked Tofu (refrigerated section, I found it next to the soy meats)
Panang Curry Paste (found in fancy supermarkets or health food stores in a tiny jar)
Sriracha Sauce (aka rooster sauce)
Vegetable oil
Toasted sesame oil
Thai-style basil (totally optional, mine didn't even have it but I know it would be good)

Chop up the tofu in small pieces.

Heat up a generous amount of vegetable oil (I'm guessing three tablespoons or so) with a splash of sesame oil, over medium-high heat.

Stir fry the vegetables until they have mostly melted apart from one another. Add in the tofu and stir again.

Mix in a heaping tablespoon of the curry paste. Snip a corner of the sauce packet from the veggies and add to taste. I used about 3/4s. Squirt some rooster sauce in there. Yummy! Stir it all up to incorporate the flavorings.

Cook a little longer if you want to. The vegetables should still have some crunch to them. Add in the shredded basil if you are using it, right before taking it off the heat.

Serve over basmati rice.


Easy Vegan Fajitas:
1 package Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chikin Strips (found in the frozen section of most conventional grocery stores, frequently next to the frozen breakfast stuff)
1 package Trader Joe's frozen tri-colored peppers.
1 medium or large onion, sliced into... fajita-y cresent shaped pieces.
Chili powder
Cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil

Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat (I have no idea how much... use plenty, maybe 4 tablespoons or more).

Sautee the onion briefly, then add the peppers. Cook until the onions are starting to go translucent and the peppers are no longer frozen. Add the chicken and cook so that it breaks up and gets un-frozen. You'll have some liquid from all the melting frozen stuff, and that's okay, but try and push stuff around so that it evaporates as much as possible.

Add chili powder, cayenne and salt to taste. For me, this means oodles and oodles.

Serve with warm tortillas (you can heat them in the microwave or toast them in a dry skillet, which is really delicious), and assorted condiments. If you don't do dairy, spring for Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream - it's so worth it with these! Plus guac, pico de gallo, chopped lettuce, cheese or soy cheese.
8  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Can't find the right pattern! on: March 30, 2008 05:35:23 PM
Hi folks,

I'm spinning up some lofty wool yarn. It's thick and thin, but let's say a DK weight on average. At least, that's how I'm guessing it'll fluff up when finished.

I want to make a... bolero! Cropped and minimalist, cap sleeves at best, using little yarn (since I won't have much, but fortunately I am a size S or XS). The closest I've found is this, but the overlapping panels are too much. I think ideally, I'd like it to just have a neck closure and sort of flare away fro. m the bust. Hardly more than a one-skein wonder.

Anyone have a link to a pattern that's like that? I am willing to pay for a pdf if it's just right.
9  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Completed Projects / Experimenting with Dyed Roving on: February 03, 2008 05:52:55 AM
I just got a BIG box from paradise fibers (had to take advantage of that free shipping offer, right?) and finally managed to dye some of it up yesterday. I'm totally thrilled with the results.

Lagoon, 2 oz. Columbia/Dorset blend:

Blueberry Guts, 2 oz. Merino:

Box of Crayons, 3 oz. Columbia/Dorset in a coordinated rainbow of colors for needle felting, wet felting, or just spinning:

Lagoon and Blueberry Guts were by request from the Swap the Shop people, but Lagoon was the happy result of trying to coordinate leftover dyes.
10  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Is Firestar top different from Faux Cashmere? on: January 12, 2008 11:23:47 AM
Both firestar and faux cashmere are nylon. I used a batt once that had something I think was firestar in it, and it was more coarse and sparkly than the soft faux cashmere, but I can't be sure. Not as coarse as angelina by a long shot, so it wasn't that.

Bonus question: Paradise Fibers also has faux angora roving, and I'm pretty sure that is also nylon, but still I wonder if it's somehow processed differently or a different staple length. Has anyone tried both?
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