Friday, February 26, 2010

Knit PH at Freddy's, Feb. 2, 2010: Casserole Night

Brrrrr. Another snow storm? Enough already! When I think of being trapped in doors on a day like today, I fondly look back at Knitting & Casserole Night at Freddy's bar.

I was a bit late from teaching a class. As I walked in to the crowded back room I heard "Plates? Did you bring the plates?" Yes I did. What a feast, people brought their casseroles, salads, pastas, and breads. My favorite was the classic tuna, the official symbol of Casserole Night.

I made my Uncle Greg's iceberg salad with Thousand Island dressing. It was actually difficult finding iceberg lettuce. Has it really left the American dinner table? I also made smoked pecan pralines instead of bacon bits.

A damp mild winter evening was warmed up over conversation with good friends, a libation, and of course knitting — but nothing completes a hearty meal like a table of sweets. On the desert island Meg brought her chocolate chip-apricot cookies, and Sara made a spiced ginger cake laced in powdered sugar.

We shared the room with the German Language Studies Club. Cathy (far left) also knits. Fraulein Heather brought her vegetarian enchiladas, very good but I would never turn my back on meat. Mariam, also a vegetarian, made something I called veggie duck skin — twice-cooked baby potatoes topped with cheese and pan seared to a perfect crunch.

After dinner team Tutonic went online to read and post CraigsList missed connections in Berlin, assuming a fictional character of course. Somewhere in das Reichstag, a single wealthy blond woman's eyes met with yours — "Cal mich..."

This month we all said goodbye to Naomi, she's moving to Austin Texas. Not wanting to miss this last night, she biked all the down from Greenpoint with her three bean salad.

She finally put the new sleeves on last year's sweater and gave us a parting wave. Aloha Naomi and good luck.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Yes, Anyone Can Toilet Train a Cat...

But you have to wonder how many cats have drowned this way.
Photo: Stephanie Wissinger

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Snowed in and Stewing All Day

Well, I made an all-day-simmer beef stew today. I always think it's funny how I never crave this until those long cold winters, and we are in the middle of a blizzard (again). My friend Maxcine asked me for the recipe. I told her that this was one of those clean-out-the-fridge meals. Here's a rough description.

1 pound cubed beef
1 whole onion
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp madras curry
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 cups minced parsley
1 gallon water
1 beef bullion
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

Any left-over vegetable. I used:
1 cup sliced carrots
2 medium potatoes (cubed)
1/2 cup asparagus stems, shaved and cut into 1" pieces
1 sliced cups mushrooms
1/2 red bell pepper
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes

Large stock pot, with lid
Long wooden spoon

Sprinkle salt, sugar, and pepper onto beef, rest for 15 minutes, drain liquid. Heat stock pot to medium heat and add 2 tbs olive oil. Put flour into a small paper bag, combine flour and beef and shake. In small batches, brown the cubed beef. Remove from pan and set aside, reserve all liquid.

The only trick to a good beef stew is slow cooking and stirring about every 30 minutes. Slow cooking takes care of the rest. And if you're stuck indoors in blizzard conditions... what else are you going to do?

Reduce heat, add 2 more tbs oil the pot and clarify onions. Add all spices and vegetables, except potatoes (mushrooms, bell pepper, and carrots, cook for 10 minutes). Add water and bullion bring to boil, reduce to simmer, add beef and cover stock pot. Cook on a low heat for about 4 hours on until beef forks apart easily. Stir occasionally. Add cubed potatoes and cook for 45 more minutes, add more water if needed. The liquid should be thick and silky, if not add more olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to set for an hour. Serve with crackers and beer.

Casserole Night at Freddy's, Sunday Feb. 21 '10

How can you call a neighborhood blighted when it has a casserole night and knitting? The Casserole Preservation Society of Prospect Heights and Knit Night at Freddy's Bar share the evening to celebrate the annual winter event: Casserole Night at Freddy's Bar. Put on some warm duds, bring your best cheer, your knitting and casserole... salad, desert, or bread, and a clean take-away container.

When: Sunday, February 21, 2010
7:00 pm and onwards

Where: Freddy's Bar and Backroom
485 Dean Street (corner 6ave. & Dean St.)
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Tel: (718) 622-7035

To participate...
1. RSVP for this night via the Knit PH MeetUp group or by email (subject: Casserole Night).
2. Bring a classic casserole, a hearty salad, bread or dessert
3. Label dish as meat or vegetarian, or if it has nuts or shrimp... etc.
4. Bring a take-away container

All food will be served at room temperature. Bring your own clean take-away container for the exchange. Paper plates, napkins, plastic ware and serving utensils will be available.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Knit PH at Prospect Perk Café, Feb. 2, 2010

It didn't snow as reported earlier on the news. We're expecting another winter storm. Brooklyn street soon become gray rivers of sludge. Winter can make owning a car a liability. The other day I heard a woman yelling at a traffic cop for the ticketing a hill of snow — which was her car.

Silke has been working on a baby blanket in warm sepia stripes. It's for her daughter. Sara's tea cozy is coming along, I promised Sara I'd quit asking her if she had sent it to her parents yet.

We hadn't seen Naomi since last year, and this might be her last night with Knit PH. She's moving to Texas. She will be missed.

She finished that Berroco sweater but accidentally felted it leaving the sleeves at three-quarter length. We all pitched in with suggestions. The consensus was to rip out the sleeves out and make new ones instead of adding a long cuff.

I coached Valerie through the granny square pattern. I think we've got this Afghan project is well covered. Mariam showed me off the new hat she crocheted from my old skien of bulky oatmeal colored.

This leftover ball was always a bane to me — not enough for a scarf, a bit too bulky to combine with other yarns, taking up valuable bin space...etc. But I love her hat. This one-skein wonder looks like a classic cartoon bee hive.

Luise is hooked on something interesting, she's crocheting miniature fruit for an craft exchange project. Kiwi, apple, banana, star fruit — each one is less than a half inch in length made with a very fine hook. I wish I had taken better pictures, they did no justice to her fine work.

Eliza's baby is due soon — ETA two weeks? I'm amazed she made it, she said she needed to get out of the house. So far she and Chris haven't settled on a name.