recipe for the wicked

Last evening we entertained a motley crew of rogues and misfits in order to celebrate the birthday of the lovely Noelle. The main course was a creamy, mushroomy, wine-y, chicken-y concoction served over focaccia and sautéed, multi-coloured bell peppers.

As requested, kittens, here is the recipe for the chicken portion of the dinner from last night, condensed to serve 4 rogues and/or misfits, rather than 9:

What you need:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 lb of mushrooms (I used a combination of oyster, shiitake, and cremini) cut/broken down to bite-sized pieces

2 shallots, thinly sliced

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 cups of dry, white wine

1 cup of half and half

1/4 cup of butter

1/4 cup of grated parmesan or romano cheese

1 cup of chopped, italian parsley

black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 °F.
  2. In a large skillet (if you have an oven-safe skillet, you can use it to cook the entire dish), brown the chicken breasts in 1 tablespoon of the butter.
  3. Remove the breasts and deglaze the skillet with a quater to half of the wine.
  4. Return the chicken breasts to the skillet.
  5. Top the breast with the mushrooms, onion, shallots, and garlic.
  6. Add the remainder of the wine and the butter.
  7. Cook the lot of it in your oven-safe skillet at 350 °F for about 30-35 minutes, or until your meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 170 °F.
  8. Remove the chicken from the skillet and move to a dish that will catch any drippings while they rest, leaving the mushrooms, garlic, onion, shallots, and remaining sauce in the skillet.
  9. Reduce the sauce in the skillet by about half, over medium heat.
  10. Slowly stir in the cream and cheese until completely combined.
  11. Stir in the parsley.
  12. Return the breasts to the skillet and heat briefly until warm.
  13. Serve the breasts and sauce over focaccia slices, halved lengthwise with grilled or sautéed vegetables of your choice.

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going west

The lovely litte film was created for the New Zealand Book Council. Watch it.

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one size fits (almost) all

All images via V Magazine.

I’ve had a few days to chew on these images, a sneak peek of V issue #63’s One Size Fits All article, and their attempt to break through the size barriers by showcasing the clothing on one ‘model-sized model’ (Jacqulyn Jablonski) and one ‘plus-sized model’ (Crystal Renn). I’m decidedly undecided about it, so I’ll leave you with my initial thoughts.

The good:

  • The clothing: I love that all of these ensembles are unapologetically bold, bright, patterned, & skin bearing.
  • The styling: both models look amazingly fresh and right now.
  • The modelling: fierce + sultry. my favourite.
  • The photography: so very, very clever.
  • The models don’t appear to be that much different in size: I suppose this could be a bad point, but I appreciate that, even though there’s quite a large distance between their sizes, both bods are completely stunning (all of those LEGS! *drools*)

The bad:

  • The comparison: while I suppose this could be a good thing, I feel like I’m forced to make the comparison in every image. I’m not allowed to just be happy about these beautiful clothes on beautiful women. 
  • The lack of variety: though the message is heard, it’s kind of a drop in the ocean. this shoot really only goes about a quarter of the way. a variety of models in a variety of shapes and sizes workin’ it the way these two do would make for better delivery.

All in all, I think it’s a good effort and I sincerely hope other vashion mags take their cue. What do you think?

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for the mens (or the womens who love their shoes)

Last weekend saw us frantically trying to find a decent pair of winter boots for the extra-large footed, amazonian who is my daughter. She gets this from me. As a 5’11” brick house (I swear that song was written for me) with size 12 feet, I learned very quickly to embrace all that the menswear stores have to offer: pants with higher rises and longer inseams, great printed button up shirts that don’t gap over the girls, with sleeves long enough for my gorrilla arms, and that can be given darts for a more fitted, flattering look (seriously, if you have the gapping issue, this is where it’s at, sistah-friends), shoes and boots that not only fit, but are also stylish. If you can get past the idea that it’s menswear (this seems to be much less a big deal for women than it is for men) and have some level of sewing talent, then pretty much any woman, no matter the size, can find menswear departments/stores a veritable fashion goldmine.

And to the men’s department we promptly hopped, skipped, and cartwheeled when looking for boots for the also-size-12-footed-at-least-5’8″ daughter last weekend. It was the first time we had to do that for her and, in the interest of full disclosure, I was kind of worried about the response. She’s hit the age (12) when she wants cute and has really taken a vested interest in developping an aesthetic all her own. Me = mortified. Not out of embarassment or anything, simply because I remember being there for the first time and was worried we wouldn’t find cute or that she would be completely closed to the idea. But, you know what? She was cool. She knew what wanted and what she wanted was what we found. For 40% off, no less. Me = happy mama.

The experience lead me to the desire to inspire. I know that my daughter and I are not the only women who struggle to find cute, fashionable, comfortable shoes. I rejoiced when the local business K&C Costumes opened their storefront because they cater to the drag community and that meant sexy shoes that fit, but when it’s not necessarily sexy, over the top, clear stillettos (FUN!) or stompy gearhead boots (LOVE) I’m looking for, I still turn to men’s shoes. In that spirit, I’ve put together some outfits, all of which I would wear in a heartbeat, that fully embrace the place of men’s shoes in women’s wardrobes.

Et voila:

I adore that Rodarte rib cage top. One day I’ll have one. The cute little bottines are Stacy Adams.

Another pair of Stacy Adams in the forefront here. Love ’em and would put them with just about everything, but I like the way this look is all about contrast (and my favourite red + teal combo). Stacy Adams shoes again.

I think this is my favourite of the bunch, being the total texture junky that I am. Riddle me this: how does Marc Jacobs make leather look like wearable candy? I want to lick that coat. Boots are Double-H. Oh. And imagine that Tarina Tarantino bit as a bracelet, attached to more gros-grain ribbon, or a bit of brown velvet ribbon, or something. That’s how I see it in my head.

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feel the love

I was questioned about my propensity for flattery yesterday. Kind of one of those ‘do you try to butter everyone up?’ digs from someone who hasn’t spent enough time with me to know all my inner workings, but enough time to notice the habit. I took it with a grain of salt at the time, but it had me thinking about the rammifications of my liberal sprinklings of compliments and whether maybe, just maybe, I overdo it.

I decided that I don’t.

While I thoroughly enjoy receiving compliments, and after many years of agonizing, have finally developped gracious ways of accepting them, I also thoroughly enjoy giving them. I think it’s in my nature as a creative and a card-carrying people-watcher. I like to let people know that their unique traits have not only been noticed, but appreciated. If I had a religion (I don’t), this would be it, as every bon mot I deliver is like a little prayer, an affirmation that, even though humanity makes me feel misanthropic and leaves me with a general sense of malaise, people, individuals like you, and you, and you, rock my tiny universe.

I think I need to add a ‘warm fuzzies’ category to this blogue.

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quiche x infinity x 1000 cubed

I’m poorly today and thinking about quiche. I’m sure there’s some psychological sound explanation for why I’m thinking of egg-based foodstuffs when I can barely keep anything down, but if not, you’ll at least get some good recipes out of my neurosis.

Quiche is definitely a main contributor to me managing to maintain a well-fed family on an OSAP budget. It’s basically all you need in a meal in a convenient pie format (and well all know that pie format is THE BEST format). Below is a basic quiche recipe and a multitude of ways to switch it up and make it different.

What you need

While I used to make the crusts myself, back when I was a poor, not-so-starving student, they were pretty terrible, so I won’t pretend like I know how to make one and offer you someone else’s recipe from the internet. Instead I’ll tell you to do what I do know to do, which is to toddle off to the grocer’s and buy some. So much easier. No tears involved. If you have a great pie crust recipe, please feel free to share, but know that I’m not likely to try it myself because I’m lazy/have given up/understand that this is a weakness I feel no desire to overcome.


Anyways. You’ll need a pie crust. If you’re going my route you will like end up with two, in which case you can double the basic recipe plus the frills, or you can save one for a rainy day. You could also opt for phyllo or puff pastry. Both excellent choices as well, and you’ll probably end up with enough doughy goodness to make two pies in that case as well.

6 eggs

1/4 cup of buttermilk

pinch of nutmeg

salt & pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 35o. Whisk everything above (except) the crusts together. Toss all of your Frills (see below for some ideas)together and add to a crust. Pour in your egg mixture. Cook for about 45 minutes or until the eggs no longer jiggle when wiggled.

The Frills

This is where quiches get fun. If you think about it, you can use pretty much all of the same options in a quiche as you can in a pizza. I like to keep them simple, so I generally stick to a 1 meat (please remember that ‘meat’ is used in the loosest sense of the term in my world as my favourite meat is mushrooms), 1 cheese, 1 veg, 1 aromatic formula. Here are some favourites:

fruit de mer

1 can of crabmeat

2 cups of baby spinach, shredded

2 shallots, thinly sliced

3/4 cup of swiss cheese, grated

details: dill is great with this, but oregano is wonderful as well. please don’t mix dill & oregano. good bedfellows they do not make.

best breakfast

1/2 pound of bacon, fried and roughly broken

2 cups of spinach, shredded

1 bunch of green (spring) onions, finely chopped

3/4 cup of old cheddar cheese, grated

details: oregano + chili spice in this is delicious. don’t be afraid to be liberal with them.

for fungis

1.5 cups of mushrooms, quartered or roughly chopped

3/4 cup of leaks, thickly sliced

3/4 cup of asiago cheese

1 tomato, sliced

details: mushrooms + rosemary = bliss. float the tomatoes on top of the quiche.

al fresco

2 cups of parsley, roughly chopped

3/4 cup of mozarella cheese, grated

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/4 cup of red onion, finely chopped

details: this one calls for basil. fresh if possible. loads of it

not-quite florentine

1.5 cups of uncooked salmon, cubed

3/4 cup of zucchini, finely sliced

3/4 cup of smoked gruyère

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

details: add some chervil if you’ve got it. also, a sprinkling of paprika on the top makes it super pretty/tasty.


2 cups of roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup of cilantro, roughly chopped

3/4 cup of manchengo cheese, diced

3/4 spanish onion, finely chopped


1/5 cups of shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 andouille sausages, diced

1 cup of okra, thickly sliced

1 pkg of cream cheese, cubed

details: bend this a little by adding some finely chopped chipotles and about a tablespoon of their adobo.

pico di gallo

1 cup of roma tomatoes, diced

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped

1 jalepeno, finely chopped

juice of one fresh lime

splash of olive oil

3/4 cup of sharp, old cheddar cheese

details: this is seriously just taking the salad/salsa, adding a little cheese and making it into a quiche. don’t over-complicate it by adding anything else. it’s a great way to use up leftovers.


1 can of littleneck clams, drained & rinsed

2 cups of asparagus spears, broken/chopped into 1 inch bits

2 shallots, finely chopped

3/4 cup of provolone, grated

details: dill again. and chili flakes. yum.


3/4 cup of proscuitto, shredded

1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes, reconstituted if actually dried

1 bunch of flat-leaf (italian) parsley, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/2 cup of fresh parmesan or romano cheese, grated

details: oregano! that’s all.

I think you get the drift that the possibilities (I had to type that word three times as I kept typing ‘pissabilities’) are almost endless when it comes to quiche.

Make some!


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I am absolutely smitten with the idea of using easels as stands for flat screen televisions.

Check it:


We have not (yet) got a flat screen, but the mister keeps threatening to get one and the idea of trying to mount one on our 160 year old plaster walls gives me the heebie jeebies. This looks like a perfect solution.

But look what others are doing with the idea:

via dsaslaw’s flickr set.

So swanky, but this is more my pace:

via stylenorth via Metropolitan Home and House Beautiful respectively. 

Now I’m wishing I hadn’t given away the big brass easel I had three lifetimes ago.

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