Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Something old, something new...

I think I love this, I absolutely positively love this pattern.   I made it back in May as a dress for the first time (Simplicity 3678 in a solid color with more details ) and last week I wanted a lighter weight summer dress.  Here it is!  No zipper and the hardest part is marking and then pinning the darts. 

Speaking of darts, I did have to do a FBA and spread the pleats to do that:

I mark my pleats with Saral tracing paper then at my cutting table I pin them together before moving the pattern pieces over to my machine.  Years ago when I was sewing I was much less careful about marking and handling my pattern pieces and my results were less than pleasing.

 I used a large print ITY knit from the Northern VA Sewing Guild NYC visit to Kashi at Metro in May.  For some hem weight I used my coverstitch machine and did two rows of hemming on the bottom and sleeves.  

It's the kind of dress that can go to church or dinner with some accessories but can also run errands with flats and be wonderfully comfortable.  Next on my list is a sleeveless version to wear with my collection of little cardigans.  Have I said that I love this dress pattern?

Ok, since this pattern is now officially an oldie and a goodie, here are two things which are new and are goodies.  Remember all those peaches from last week?  Not all of them turned into peach preserves.   (Oooh, you should taste the the second batch of those preserves.  I added a dash of Penzey's Spices  Double Vanilla  Penzey's  at the very end...peach vanilla perfection!)  
Here's what else I made with the peaches since we had plans to return to our outdoor picnic and dancing venue on Saturday night.

The recipe is a little fussy since it's from CI but it's the best peach cake I've ever made.


To crush the panko bread crumbs, place them in a zipper-lock bag and smash them with a rolling pin. If you can't find panko, 1/4 cup of plain, unseasoned bread crumbs can be substituted. Orange liqueur can be substituted for the peach schnapps. If using peak-of-season, farm-fresh peaches, omit the peach schnapps.


  • 2 1/2pounds peaches , pitted and cut into 1/2 inch-thick wedges
  • 5tablespoons peach schnapps
  • 4teaspoons lemon juice
  • 6tablespoons plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4teaspoon salt
  • 1/2cup packed (3 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 2large eggs
  • 8tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled
  • 1/4cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3cup panko bread crumbs , finely crushed


  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Gently toss 24 peach wedges with 2 tablespoons schnapps, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in bowl; set aside.
  2. 2. Cut remaining peach wedges crosswise into thirds. Gently toss chunks with remaining 3 tablespoons schnapps, remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in bowl. Spread peach chunks in single layer on prepared sheet and bake until exuded juices begin to thicken and caramelize at edges of sheet, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer sheet to wire rack and let peaches cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  3. 3. Spray 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. Whisk brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and eggs together in second bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter until combined. Add sour cream, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract; whisk until combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
  4. 4. Transfer half of batter to prepared pan; using offset spatula, spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth surface. Sprinkle crushed bread crumbs evenly over cooled peach chunks and gently toss to coat. Arrange peach chunks on batter in even layer, gently pressing peaches into batter. Gently spread remaining batter over peach chunks and smooth top. Arrange reserved peach wedges, slightly overlapped, in ring over surface of cake, placing smaller wedges in center. Stir together remaining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and remaining 1/8 teaspoon almond extract in small bowl until sugar is moistened. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over top of cake.
  5. 5. Bake until center of cake is set and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool 5 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of cake to loosen. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve

The unfortunate unexpected part was that we were thunderstormed out of going so we had to stay home with cake, homemade whipped cream and DVR'd episodes of "Rescue Me." Am I the only one who gets weak in the knees at that bad boy Dennis Leary?  I blame  my early years of Catholic school where I learned to love wise-acre, smart-mouthed Irish Catholic rebels. 
Since we spent our carbs on dessert, we had a low carb dinner with these great Thai Lettuce wraps.  The recipe is scrumptious and the best part is the terrific peanut sauce.  I've made several peanut sauces over the years and this one is my favorite.  

 The recipe source:  The Cheeky Kitchen Blog
 Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Serves 6 as an appetizer or 3-4 for dinner, alongside quick fried rice or noodles.
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice (from 2 fat limes), divided
  • 1 Tbsp lime zest
  • 2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste, divided
  • 6 Tbsp brown sugar, divided
  • 3 lbs chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup water, plus a few tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 small cucumber
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 head boston or butter lettuce, washed and separated into leaves
Make marinade.  In a food processor, whiz 1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice, 4 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp red curry paste.  Pour into a large bowl and add chicken slices to the bowl.  Toss well to coat evenly and set aside for at least 10 minutes (up to an hour).
Make peanut sauce.  In same processor bowl (no need to wash it out), add remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice, all the zest, remaining 1 Tbsp curry paste, remaining 2 Tbsp brown sugar, water, peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, and fish sauce.  Whir until smooth and combined, about 30 seconds.  Pour into a small serving dish and set aside.
Assemble fixin’s.  Wash red pepper and cucumber.  Slice each into thin, long strips (think of a french fry – you want them to lay alongside the chicken strips neatly in the lettuce wrap).  Wash the lettuce and carefully separate each leaf, taking care to leave them whole.   Arrange lettuce, peppers and cucumbers on a platter with the peanut sauce.
Grill chicken.  In a grill pan (alternatively, thread onto skewers and grill outside), grill chicken strips for 1-2 minutes on each side or until well caramelized and cooked through.
To serve, use a lettuce leaf like a tortilla to wrap up 1-2 chicken pieces, a slice of cucumber, and a slice of pepper.  Drizzle with peanut sauce, roll up, and serve.

OK, enough of my favorites today.  I'm working on a new pattern and will be asking your opinions in another post.


  1. Your dress is pretty in a print and in the solid color.

  2. Your dress is lovely, but it's those recipes (both of them!!) that I'm copying! My taste buds are already thanking you in anticipation :)

  3. Your dress is lovely, Love that double hem thing you did.. I am not very up on a cover stich machine. I have just learned of those since I started sewing clothing! Sometime when I am in town, I must go to a sewing center and see one work first hand.

    Your food looks so yummy.

  4. Terrific dress! It looks so nice on you.

  5. Love this version of the dress, too!
    Those recipes look absolutely scrumptious.

  6. The dress looks fantastic on you and that peach cake looks delicious.

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  8. Wonderfull dress, loks terrific on you. Must remember this pattern. The food looks delicious.

  9. The dress is lovely. I really like the four rows of stitching on the hem. I will have to give that a try.

  10. You look fabulous in your new dress. The food looks delicious too!


Love your comments, opinions, advice and questions. I just ask that we all "play nice."