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11  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Spicy Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms! EDITED w/Balsamic Dressing recipe on: November 10, 2007 06:09:37 PM
I was dismayed when I did a search on Craftster the other day to find out how few recipes we have involving portobello mushrooms!  I actually had to come up with my own recipe (gasp!) instead of just turning to my fellow craftsters.  Luckily it came out beautifully, so I'm sharing the results with you.

Spicy Stuffed Portobellos

5 portobello mushrooms
1/4 large onion or 1/2 smaller one
3 cloves garlic
1 red chili
2 tomatoes on the vine (chopped)
garlic chives
balsamic vinaigrette
vegetable broth
feta cheese
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Start by cleaning the mushrooms.  Cut off the stems and use a dull knife to scrape out the gills from the inside of the cap.  Rinse them thoroughly.  Next douse each mushroom in vinaigrette, and put them aside.  I turned the mushrooms over and spread the vinaigrette to make sure they were completely covered.  Cut up all your ingredients.  Put the mushrooms in the oven and let bake.  Using a little olive oil, saute the garlic and onions.  When they start to brown, add everything else.  Saute for a little bit, and then add vegetable broth to cover.  Let stew.  Add seasoning to taste.  I used salt, pepper, dried herbs, and a dash of chili oil for extra spiciness.  Crumble the feta cheese.  When the mushrooms have started to become soft (about 15-20 minutes), take them out of the oven and spoon your tomato mixture over each mushroom and cover with feta.  Put the mushrooms back in the oven.  I left them in for about 5-10 minutes, and then put it under the grill on medium-high heat for another 5 minutes until the cheese had started to brown a little.  Eat and enjoy!

I like this recipe because it's quite spicy and perfect for warming up on a dreary day.  Also I think stuffed mushrooms are usually pretty bland, so this was a nice change!

EDIT: I made this dish again recently, so I'm modifying the original recipe to add some improvements.  First, I find it's best to use the smaller portobello mushrooms, which are meatier and will hold their shape better while cooking.  Second, I used an improved homemade balsamic vinaigrette which uses mustard (recipe below).  This helps it stick to the mushrooms and keep in even more moisture.  Third, the second time I made a non-spicy version of this dish which I think turned out just as good.  For less spice, try stewing a mixture of fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic.  You can bulk out the sauce with pasta sauce or salsa.  Add a dash of red pepper flakes for a hint of spiciness.

Homemade Balsamic Dressing

balsamic vinegar
olive oil
garlic cloves
dijon mustard

Pour olive oil into a bowl and add balsamic vinegar to taste.  Mix together with a fork.  Add mustard until the dressing becomes thick.  There shouldn't be an overly mustard-y taste.  If the mixture is too thick, add more olive oil.  Taste it again and add ingredients as needed.  Use a garlic press or a small grater to crush the garlic cloves and add a liberal amount.  Mix until it emulsifies.  I used approx. 1/2 a clove per mushroom.  You may want to use less if you are putting garlic in the sauce.

This recipe is extremely versatile. It tastes lovely in a salad with bitter greens and goat cheese!
12  U.K. AND IRELAND / SCOTLAND / Hellooooo, Edinburgh! on: September 23, 2007 05:41:14 AM
Just wanted to say hello to everyone.  I've recently moved to Edinburgh and am just getting settled into the crafty atmosphere here.  I plan on going to the SnB - City Knitty - but I was wondering if there were any other upcoming events or groups to meet other craftsters?  Also just wanted to see who else is in the area!
13  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / itchy yarn! what to do? on: September 23, 2007 05:37:57 AM
I have two beautiful skeins of 100% pure wool yarn, given to me as a gift by my mother.  Unfortunately both skeins are extremely itchy.  They're also fresh from the sheep, which means they smell kind of...sheep-like, and have a slightly greasy/waxy feel, as well as bits of straw stuck in them.  I would really like to use these, but I don't want to end up with something I can never put near my skin.  Any thoughts on how to make my yarn soft and nice smelling?  Should I wash it?  Failing that, any ideas for projects where it won't matter?
14  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Making an item of clothing that WRAPS...probably a stupid question! on: March 08, 2007 03:37:50 PM
Ok, this might be a stupid question.  But I really want to make a simple wrap top for summer (yes, my mind is already jumping ahead!).  I want something along these lines:


I know this is probably the easiest thing in the world to make, but I can't figure out the wraps!  When you have two pieces like that, one goes over the other.  So what happens to the tie on the piece that goes underneath?  Should I make a hole in the fabric so it can come out on the side, or should it be really really long and just go around underneath the top piece...eventually emerging...somewhere?  I don't actually own anything that wraps, so I'm having the hardest time visualizing it!
15  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Rowan Polar substitute/Cover my tattoos PLEASE. on: March 06, 2007 05:04:55 PM
I've realized that in order to complete anything in time to wear in the season they're meant for, I really need to start a whole season beforehand.  Thus, I'm already thinking about my summer knits.  I have tattoos on my chest and want to knit a little shrug/bolero thing to wear over my tops so that I don't shock everyone I work with.  So I actually have two questions.

1. Any good pattern suggestions?  I want something that won't make me look like a grandma, but has good chest coverage and is work appropriate.

2. I was thinking about Julsey's Anthropologie capelet.  What can I sub for Rowan Polar that won't make me sweat like a pig when it's 90 degrees out?
16  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / yay, it's spring! I need to go pick some flowers now. on: February 21, 2007 08:58:01 PM
Ok, I know it isn't quite spring yet, but the warmer weather has got me excited.  So excited, in fact, that I finally finished up this jumper that I've been working on for about two months.  Unfortunately I don't have any before shots.  It started out as an incredibly hideous maternity dress in a kind of icky baby blue color that would only have been cool about twenty years ago, if ever.  Also it came down to my knees.  And it had these weird strap/buckle things across the front fastened with (yucko!) white plastic D-rings.  But!  I had a vision.  I ripped off the weird buckles, brought in the sides, and hemmed it to be a LOT shorter.  I then spent about four hours in front of a hot stove dying it to a darker shade.  The front was a little torn up from the former buckle things, so today I finally got off my butt and stitched some of this lovely ribbon I found across the bodice.  Yay!  I'm really happy with it!

Hanging up:

Detail of the ribbon (it's so pretty!):

Me modeling it and looking sleepy:

Doesn't it just make you want to dance in a meadow?
17  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / built by wendy pattern sizing? I need reviews! on: February 21, 2007 12:04:34 AM
I just bought two of the Built by Wendy Simplicity patterns.  Can anyone who's used these comment a little on the sizing?  I've heard rumors that the cut tends to be pretty generous, and I don't want to end up with a shirt that's enormous on me.  Any thoughts/comments/suggestions?  I'd appreciate input before I start cutting!
18  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / the PERFECT wintertime party dress - I win at life! on: February 14, 2007 09:00:49 AM
I made this dress over a month ago, but I'm just now getting a chance to post pictures.  I LOVE it.  I hesitate to even post these pictures because they don't do this amazing dress justice.  I wanted something that would be warm and comfortable to wear, but still look cute for the slew of holiday parties.  The solution?  The cutest flannel shirtdress ever!

On the dressmaker's form:

Action shot:

I started out with a men's XL flannel shirt (thank you, value village!), which I then proceeded to make a LOT smaller.  I put the sleeves back on and shortened and gathered them.  And finally I moved the breast pockets down to the hips.  Worn with a long sleeved shirt, it is both stylish and warm!
19  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / on my quest to find the perfect slouchy hat! on: February 14, 2007 08:53:27 AM
This is probably my favorite thing I've knitted so far.  I accidentally felted my favorite hat in the wash...so then of course I had to make a NEW favorite hat.  I haven't done any of the finishing yet, but I was just way too impatient to take pictures!

on the ironing board:

on me (excuse my appearance):

I based the pattern off the e-town hat (http://www.littleturtleknits.com/pithyhat.htm), but I made a LOT of modifications.  I used Rowan Kid Classic on US 6 needles.  CO 100, then increased to 120 for the body.  For the cable pattern I did: p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k5 for 3 rows, then on the fourth row I did: p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, cable 5 back.  The decreases are the same.  I'm so proud of it!
20  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / good pattern for convertible mittens/glittens - SANS ugly seams? on: February 14, 2007 07:54:26 AM
I've been wanting to knit some of those convertible mittens (aka glittens) for myself, but I can't seem to find a pattern that I like!  I'm looking for something that's meant to be worn with the top part mostly flipped up.  All the patterns I've seen have ugly seams running across the front of the mitten.  Any way to make this seamless or to graft the top on so it appears seamless?  Or disguise the seam in some way so it's not so obvious?  I saw a great debbie bliss pattern like this, but it was part of a subscription offer to IK...no way am I shelling out $50-60 just to get my hands on a mitten pattern!

Any suggestions?
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