Friday, February 21, 2014

Leek and Potato Soup!

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In keeping with my promise for more recipes, I bring you my favorite winter soup. Some days are just made for soup, and in Chicago, that means any day where the windchill factor starts with -10 or more! This recipe is (very) loosely based on Julia Child's Potage Parmentier or Leak and Onion and Potato soup. (How decadent can you get! French soup with wine in it!)

So, on to the soup!

Julia's recipe says it will feed 6 to 8, this is scaled down, and will probably still feed 4 to 6 people, but if its only you eating, it does keep in the fridge well for about a week.
You will need:
  • A big leek
  • 3 average sided potatoes, I like Yukon golds, but anything about the size of a baseball will work
  • a couple shallots (or one really big one like I found!)
  • heavy cream
  • a dry white wine, cheap chardonnay works great
Chop everything up fairly small, going for pieces about the size of a nickle for your leek and shallots, and 1cm cubes for the potatoes. You can peel the potatoes if you like, but I like the color the skins add.

Put everything together in a large stock pot and add water to cover. I don't recommend using a non-stick pot for this if you can avoid it. All metal is best, because later on you will be mushing, and its a bit easier if you don't have to worry about scratches. Boil for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes check and see how your vegetables are doing. If you have a stick blender 30 minutes should be plenty of time. If you don't have a stick blender, keep checking every 10 minutes until you can mash everything up with one of these lovely potato mashers. 
If you don't have a potato masher, I suggest picking one up. 
You can do this with a fork, but it takes a lot of extra time and effort. 
Once everything is mashed up, add in about a half cup of wine, and simmer until the soup doesn't smell... boozy. (That's classy). You want to cook the alcohol off, or your soup will be very bitter, I like to add a little unsalted butter at this point too, but that is optional. Once your soup is officially cleared for the under 21 crowd, add some cream. I have never measured how much cream goes in, but this is the color you're going for.

If you want to mix it up a little, you can add a little bit of bacon, sausage, or some cooked kale to this soup. Its an easy soup to make, and aside from the mashing part, you pretty much just leave it to simmer. What is your favorite lazy winter day dish?

xoxo Kimberly   

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Peek in My Closet

For those unaware, the EGL livejournal community does a monthly theme post, which invites the members to participate in some activity and then share their experiences. For this last January, the task was to photograph your lolita wardrobe and share it with the community. You can check out the awesome results here. I rarely participate (read never) in these monthly events, and I will confess generally just lurk on forums, but I felt like this might be fun. I never posted my photos. I was to embarrassed.

I never thought about it before, but my wardrobe is pitiful. I have worn lolita on and off since 2007, and I really wear the same 3 pieces over and over. So lets bring on the goods! Never before on display, my entire lolita wardrobe:

**~** OPs and JSK **~**

Anna House OP
For a long time this was THE dream dress.
Sadly when it got to me the bow was torn, and I repaired it by adding the sash  under the bust to cover the hole.
Bodyline Rose Print JSK
One of two Bodyline pieces I own. I wear the heck out of this JSK.
I learned that Bodyline is too short from me, so both pieces I own from them I added some extra fabric at the waist.
Bodyline Rose Print OP
The second of my "too short in the middle" Bodyline pieces.
I removed a LOT of scratchy lace from this piece, and its not bad, but I don't wear it much.
Handmade White Sprig OP
This is my second attempt at sewing for lolita. I have always liked the idea of this dress,
but something in the execution has always felt... disappointing. 
 **~** Skirts **~**

Handmade Black Skirt
Plain black skirt, nuf said.
Handmade Black Bustle Skirt
But that plain black skirt has some tricks! I actually love that skirt bustled in the back with a bow,
and layered over this ruffly goodness. I wear this a lot in a Kuro look, but my style has shifted a little sweeter,
and it gets less use.
Handmade Rose Print High Waisted Skirt
This is possibly the most boring skirt I own. It has a good cut, but nothing else. It was also the first lolita piece I ever made. Terrified of making an "ita lace monster" I didn't use a single scrap of trim. The result is not great either.
Mottled Green Skirt
This is probably my most worn lolita piece. It has a rather long history in my wardrobe. This WAS my very first brand piece. It started its life as this. Yes, a Meta OP. I was in love with the shiro/kuro look, and I snapped it up cheap on the sales com, as this dresses 4th (yes 4th) owner. It never fit right, and was the victim of a tea stain I couldn't get out, so I dyed it and cut it down. Now it gets more wear than any other piece I own,
and I love the marbled effect I got with the dye.
**~** Tops **~**
Cardigans, All Off Brand
Left to right: Mudd, Talbots, and Sweetness
Both thrifted and remade. I swear the left one is black, but it photographed very poorly.
**~** Accessories **~**

Except the white hairbow and the black headband that are off brand,
everything is handmade here. The ring off to the right and earrings are hard too see,
but the ring is a spoon ring, and the earrings are cupcakes!
Shoes, Left An*tai*na Right Bodyline

So that is it. 7 years of lolita summed up in 12 pictures. Somehow all laid out, my beloved wardrobe seemed very small, very beginner. It doesn't LOOK like I have worn the fashion ever before. I see the wardrobes of girls who become lolitas when I did - after I did- and their wardrobes span pages, full of brand and perfectly chosen handmade frills. A week, then two, then three went by and I never posted my wardrobe to the EGL comm. I nearly deleted all the pictures without ceremony, but then had second thoughts.

Why should I hide the wardrobe that a month ago I loved so dearly? Clearly my tastes have changed over the years, and early pieces aren't so bad. Aline is in again, I have lots of fabric left over from sewing projects. Perhaps my disappointment with my wardrobe should be a call to action, to revisit each piece and try to bring out its full potential. A rose sprig skirt with neat ribbon trim would be darling! A white dress with frothy ruffles, and brown trimming would put new life into my spring coords. Why should I stew? There is work to be done! Stay tuned for new outfit snaps as dresses get new life!

<3 kimberly="" p="">