Monthly Archives: July 2010

A Day In the Life

It was a typical day in Liz Carey’s life.

 She slept until 10. Watched an episode of Degrassi. Drove her Honda Civic  to her retail sales job at noon. Stopped by Target for a late lunch where she grabbed a Caesar salad, queso dip and chips and a hard boiled egg. (Look, we don’t judge these things in Quirkyville.)

Then, she wrapped her workday around 8 p.m. in time to zip down the Westport Flea Market to join her friends and family (lots of them) to watch her brother’s improv comedy troupe, the Stitchtactics perform a 10 p.m. show.

And when she was selected from the audience to have this entire day reenacted in front of the audience, she thought nothing of it.

She honked her little horn when the comedians got her day grossly wrong (No, she didn’t take a shower in bed. Just because she didn’t say the shower was in the bathroom means she literally showered in the bed.)

The team used wigs, props and live people to play innate objects (Liz’s brother, Joe played her Honda Civic.) And it was all very, very funny.

But we weren’t laughing at the skit, as much as we were laughing at what we knew.

Because despite the fact that Liz had been on the phone for the past day, texting and calling people to come see Joe’s show, that’s not why they were there.

They let her think that she invited them. We let her think that we all came to support Joe’s show.

Quite frankly, we were all a little stunned that she honestly believed her parents, her sibblings (both of the two not in the show), their spouses (one 8.5 months pregnant) , their neighborhood friends, her boyfriend’s parents, her boyfriend’s aunt, her best friend and her co-workers all came to show their support for her brother. (At the same time.)

But she did.

As the Day in the Life Skit wrapped up, Liz started to head off stage…

But Joe announced that there was more and he needed her to close her eyes so he could spin her around.

She has probably seen this act a handful of times and no one has ever gotten spun around at the end.

But she didn’t question that either.

Oh, that crazy Joe! He must be up to something new.

When she opened her eyes, she saw this…

And then she made this face (as she quickly slipped off a fashion ring she was wearing that night on that finger.)

She said, “yes!”

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F&W: Mediterranean Portabella Mushroom Pizzas and a Chunky Monkey ice cream run

It was a quiet Fire & Wine night this week. Mr. Quirky met the boys to hang out and do nerd things. And we had no special guests.

Just the three of us girls….

and the fun guys.

The Mediterranean portabella pizzas were the bomb diggity. Yes. Diggity.

I blatantly stole the concept from one of my favorite pizzas over at Kansas City Minksy’s Pizza. Their Mediterranean pizza sports lamb sausage, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and a mix of feta and mozzarella cheeses.

Well Minsky’s, love you and all, but I’ll take your doughy crust and raise you portabella mushrooms as the vessel for delicious toppings.

My mushrooms were dressed up in their Sunday best: walnut pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, turkey Italian sausage and a mix of feta and mozzarella cheeses.

More please.

And as if these decadent pizzas weren’t enough for our spoiled little tummies, we decided to make an ice cream run to a local Quick Trip to pick up my favorite pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

But if you dare call me a chunky monkey…no recipes for you!

Thank you. You may now have your recipes:

Walnut Pesto

2 large bunches of basil, torn

1/2 cup walnuts

3 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup of olive oil (may need more or less depending on thickness desired)

Kosher salt to taste

Pulse basil leaves to chop. Then add walnuts and garlic. Pulse until ground. Pour in olive oil, pulsing to blend until desired texture has been reached. Salt to taste.

Greek Portabella Mushroom Pizzas

1/2 cup of dry white wine

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dried, not in oil)

3 links Italian sausage (I used turkey)

6 large portabella mushrooms, stems and gills removed, washed

Olive oil for brushing

Walnut Pesto (see recipe)

3 cups fresh spinach

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese shreds

1/2 cup feta cheese

If your sun-dried tomatoes aren’t already chopped (I purchased mine that way), you’ll want to cut into strips. Heat wine in microwave for 30-45 seconds. Add the tomatoes to wine to rehydrate and allow 30 minutes to an hour for them to soak. Preheat oven to 350.

Remove sausage from casing and brown in a pan, crumbling. Once sausage is browned, set aside. (If you used traditional sausage, wipe pan of excess grease.)

Brush mushrooms with oil and bake for 10 minutes.

While mushrooms are cooking, pour tomatoes and wine into warm pan from sausage. Cook off most of the liquid and then add spinach and wilt.

Remove mushrooms from oven.  Top as follows: spoonful of pesto, spinach and tomatoes, sausage, sprinkle of mozzarella and finish with feta.

Place mushrooms into oven and turn on broil for 5-7 minutes.

Do your monkey mushroom happy dance!

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A bumpy wagon ride

In college I made a mental rule for myself – once I put a sports bra on, a workout or run must take place before I can remove the sports bra.

It’s worked pretty well for me, forcing me into workouts when unmotivated, or perhaps I would have otherwise “opted out.”

Tuesday, I found myself climbing back on the running wagon after recently falling off. (I fall off that doggone wagon so often, you’d think they’d put a recall out for it.) Apparently it had been so long since I’d even put on a sports bra that I had forgotten how to get into it.

I found myself flaying about my room like a drunk octopus, sticking my head into holes that didn’t fit it, trying to find my arms and in general very confused about where everything was going to fit once the arms/head were free. It turns out, it was on backwards.

FYI, the back side of the sports bra does not cover much.

Lest this blog turn into the bra blog, I digress on this matter. But not the run I was suiting up for.

I have another pre-running ritual.

Gertie, my running partner, must do ALL her business prior to departing.

Because nothing will ruin a run faster than having to carry with you a swinging  bag of your dog’s poo.

That’s what home is for.

But this day, I didn’t monitor her goings outside, so I found myself having one of those really awkward moments.

My dog was doing her #2 and I didn’t have a bag.

I HATE that.

Gertie, no! Fumble. Party Foul. Running Fail.

So we did the only thing I could do in that moment.

Ran away. Faster.

And now I have blogged about bras and dog poo today. Do not fear. This blog is not going to turn into Dooce. (I mean, the book deal and popularity would be nice, but it’s not really my shtick.)

What I really wanted to share was, I ran. Despite a few fumbles. No more excuses for not running. At least not this week…. I’m hanging onto that stupid wagon for dear life.

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A very quirky Independence Day

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F&W: Dine & Dash

One minute we were dining alfresco. The next, I was alone-o.

That’s what happens when your friends dine & dash on you on a Fire & Wine night.

(For those of you who are new, Fire & Wine is our weekly girls’ night cooking event wherein I try to create something new without burning down the kitchen. )

To be fair, everyone had a legitimate reason to cut out early this week.  And they told me in advance. 

What I loved about this week’s Fire & Wine creation is that the fire risk was very low. In fact, had I managed to start a kitchen fire on this dish, we would probably have to ban me from ever stepping a toe in any kitchen again.

And that would be a sad thing.

Kind of like when your friends leave you after dinner.

I kid. I kid.

Back to the meal. I decided to try my hand at Salade Niçoise. I love nicoise salad. I’m pretty sure I first tried it in Germany when my folks  lived there. It’s really much more than a salad. It’s quite the meal. And it’s nice and refreshing in the summer.

I served it family style, but you could plate it in individual portions.

I started looking in some of my cookbooks , but then I saw Elise at Simply Recipes had one. It was kind of over then, because if Elise has tried it, then it’s going to work and be delicious. It’s just that simple.

So I went with the Simply Recipes Nicoise Salad. And it was perfect. The only modification I made was a little extra Dijon in the dressing because I love Dijon. Also, do to a unfortunate incident, I only had five eggs.

But wait! You think I’m done yet?

In a unprecedented Fire & Wine occurence, I made dessert!

The perfect dessert for a summer meal. I’m pretty sure it will be a regular in future Quirky household meals.

Behold: raspberry sherbet.

 Sherbet is something I’d never considered making because I don’t have any of that high fangled ice cream machinery.

This is not a statement of complaint. I don’t have room for any more gadgets, gizmos or processors in my kitchen.

But when I was searching for a salad recipe, I found myself reading one of my first cookbooks. Remember Anne from the bra party? (Don’t forget- special custom bra offer for Queen of Quirky readers!) Years ago, her mom introduced my mom to this fantastic cookbook gem out of Kansas City.

Image courtesy of Amazon.com where you can still buy it used

It’s called Beyond Parsley and it was published in 1984 by the Junior League of Kansas City. I call it a cookbook gem because it is really rather remarkable – both in the recipes and the photography.

When I got married the first time, Anne’s mom gave me my own copy of the book. It’s moved all over the country with me, but rarely been used. I wasn’t much of a cook in my first marriage. (My ex-husband would snort if he read that. But seriously. He was a picky pants and cooking just wasn’t fun with him. Mr. Quirky loves to try my food — even foods he historically hasn’t liked. He encourages me all the time, even in my mistakes. He’s kind of Mr. Amazing Quirky.)

So the cookbook was really just waiting for me to find myself in the kitchen. I’m so glad I did.

I’m also glad I tried the raspberry sherbet recipe. I’m even more glad I doubled it. You are going to freak out when you see how easy it is.

Ingredients

1 10 oz bag frozen raspberries, thawed

1 scant cup sugar (I love saying “scant cup.” My recipes never sound so fancy.)

1 cup of sour cream (I used light)

1/2 tsp of vanilla

Directions

Mash berries (I used a potato masher.) Combine ingredients. Stir well. Freeze.

You should really make this for your Fourth of July gathering. But be sure to double it because this only serves four, and I don’t know what kind of portion size they were  thinking because my doubled recipe served five of us and there isn’t very much left.

Enjoy and keep it quirky this weekend!

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