Saturday, February 26, 2011

Meatloaf: Slow Cookin’ for Two

On this quiet balmy Saturday in Prospect Heights, I finally planed, scraped, and painted the hallway doors a soft Naples Yellow while Steph was out. Why would anyone use sand paint on a door? These doors now look less like a David Lean prop from Great Expectations. Meanwhile in the news the Middle East has been in turmoil. Egyptians have overthrown their regime. Libya has followed suit as is much of the Middle East. Social media lead their revolution. In the U.S. social media is more often used by an anonymous person to girl-bully another, i.e. Sarah Palin's online ghost writer Rebecca Mansour circa the "bullseye map" incident.

Here in the U.S., economic unrest is becoming more apparent as we trudge through an unpunctual economic recovery and growing unemployment and inflation. Gasoline is said to go up to $5.00 per gallon. Are we now headed into the revolution with out a car? The only thing good about slow going is a slowly cooked meal. I made a meatloaf dinner in my Crock Pot — slow going but always moist and delicious with little effort. I used beef, pork, veal, bell pepper, onion, garlic, celery, basil, fresh parsley, ketchup, bread crumbs... practically everything in the fridge. My Parmesan & chive mashed potatoes were actually more work than the meatloaf.

To get my slow cooker meatloaf recipe visit I think everyone can figure out how to make Parmesan & chive mashed potatoes. was created by my friend Eric Rochow, a social media guru who advocates greener living in New York. is a how-to blog that features podcast commentaries, video interviews, DIY projects, cooking segments, and original recipes. I'm a regular content contributor. Eric and I often explore Brooklyn neighborhoods and promote the fine local fare, and to reconnect with a more human way of living.

...oh, and shortly before dinner our neighbor Justine D. brought over her delicious brown-butter carrot cake with lemon cream cheese icing for dessert — she's quite the chef. Brooklyn revolves with the flavor of life.

Monday, February 21, 2011

When Life’s a Beach

Enough with this cold weather! I've got my Square Peg mitered hat on, and I'm ready for a day at the beach. It's 17° outside and bitter cold, but I think of warmer days and I can almost feel the sand crushing beneath my feet. How good is that Sunday BBQ when its aroma hangs heavily and drifts seductively on a warm slow breeze?

Island culture was a big part of my upbringing, sometimes I can hear the beach calling me when I pull my hat low, over my eyes. I  hear the laughter of gulls and the surf clapping sharply onto the shore. I think of picking star apples while looking for Lost Pond. I remember how the salty Pacific air feels on my skin and how sweet and tart a ripened Indian mango tastes, especially when you've picked it yourself.

Square Peg beach hat is knit entirely in linen stitch, a slipped stitch pattern that has the appearance of a course weave — making for a very firm fabric. It brindles variegated yarn into a much more interesting, softer texture.

Short-row corners make for a perfectly square brim. The Crab Stitch trim defines the crown and also fortifies the edges. Square Peg is made for serious play.

There's a few bugs in the pattern, but my Square Peg will be ready before spring. Thanks Justin B. for modeling my hat.

KnitPH @ Prospect Perk, Feb. 12, 2011

This winter weather has been all over the map. After a deep freezing storm, we had some 50° days. The banks of ice that line the streets are staring to thaw. Probably be due to that recent solar flare.

We had an intimate MeetUp at Prospect Perk Café, just we five. I hadn't seen Patricia in a while, she's just come back from a retreat in India — singing, dancing, village walks, and of course great Indian food. She's working on some Chemo Caps for Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

I brought my "rustic" green yarn from Marrakech. There's just enough to make a long skinny Brioche Rib scarf. I hope the color stays as bright after it's washed. My hands and needles were stained green from working with it. Meredith told me about some the rustic yarn that she bought in Scotland form a cottage craftsman. It is so rustic that she's picking out the thistles.

Mai is modifying a hat pattern to suit her taste. She's using a yarn that she bought when she and Ken were in Mexico. The natural colors are very handsome — varying shades of taupe and cream. Jeremy finally made it to our MeetUp. He's recently moved here from North Carolina to join his fiancée. He's still adjusting to New York, and as luck would have it, he found work right away. He's a marionette operator. Jeremy makes jewelry by crocheting patterns over river rocks — each one is unique and beautiful. I like the way the smoothness of the rock peeks out from the texture of black mercerized cotton.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Egg-centric Accent

Breakfast in bed? This is Ovopillo (oh-voh-pìh-lo), an egg-shaped bolster that I designed for the couch. Can't you see yourself laying down in a nest of these? It's very plush. This zippered sham fits snugly over an oval form. The bold Fair Isle pattern is inspired by curry leaves.

Fair Isle construction requires concentration and a steady hand. I wouldn't watch Netflix while working in Fair Isle, but I'd catch up on my PodCasts. The long strands that lay on the back (aka, floats) must be woven and managed as closely as the pattern side. I own a few different types of knitting bridges and thimbles, but I prefer to use my ring to steady the strands as I work.

It's the prefect size for resting your head — 19" tall by 9" diameter. This would a hit with kids. Phillip the cat seems to like it too, although he may not be as egg-cited about it as I am.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ain’t it Sweet

Valentines Day treats — box of chocolates, ginger ice cream, heart-shaped brownie's, and an evening of Netflix on the Roku Player with Stephanie and Phillip. Here's to the sweet things in life!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Freddy’s Bar Rises from the Ashes, Feb. 3, 2011

It's been one hell of a weird year and a miserable winter in New York — blizzards, ice storms, deep freezes, a deep recession, and all. It's been a while since I've posted on this blog. I vowed not to post until Freddy's Bar re-opened its doors.

And like the crocus that peeks through the black ice, Freddy's Bar rose like a sign of hope. Although the official opening night was February 4th, friends and family gathered for a private evening on February 3rd in South Slope... that's right, Freddy's Bar is now nearly two miles away from its original location (and nine months) since that day.

I was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying “It’s a bizarre feeling of old faces in a new space...” ("A Displaced Dive Bar, Reborn in Brooklyn," by Pervaiz Shallwani). The experience was somewhere between a class reunion and an odd dream where everyone you knew milled about in a large Joseph Cornell box.

I stood in awe of a room packed completely from front to back. I knew every face if not most of their names. Everything from the old Freddy's location was transported to the new space... the entire bar, the booths, the massive captains chairs, art, artifacts. But for a few new things, this is in fact the former Freddy's Bar laid out in a new space.

Over a packed bar, Eva handed me a beer and winked, "First one's on us." Mike pushed my money away. Don and Kimmet ran up and down the bar serving drinks, Matthew Kuhn was busy giving hugs, and at some point there was a call for "all hands on deck" to all bar staff. A few of us even bussed glasses from the tables and the evening poured on.

Steve, Gersh, Andy...
But this was by far fairy tale — the road to the new Freddy's Bar was a white knuckle ride down a rocky path lined with obstacles. New York State's misuse of Eminent Domain claimed an entire section of Prospect Heights, forcing then owner Frank Yost into a nominal buyout — it was this or leave with nothing. The only one who benefits from all this is a billionaire developer and his private arena built on public funds. Amidst plans of reforming business, Frank backed out of the partnership and moved on leaving Don and crew in the lurch.

Matt, Adrianne, Bleu, Bill, Tim...
But the dream didn't die on the floor, everyone pitched in and I mean everyone — old patrons, new neighbors, friends, news media, bloggers, online communities. If Freddy's Bar left with anything it left with an incredible collective good will.

Vadeem, Gail, Steve, Pat, Katie, John, Ian, Lex, Millie, Marlene...
Former employees Don O'Finn and Matthew Kuhn formed a new partnership with seasoned bar professional Matt Kimmet. They raised capital and with friends and family they built the new space — from the wiring and plumbing to the wall paper on up to the new tin ceiling.

A hollow void is filled once more with music, dancing, laughter, and the sound of glasses clinking — a toast among a table of friends. John Pinamonte warmed up the new music space with country rhythm and blues, and what a sweet sound it was.

Nancy Drew's artwork graces The Silver Gallery walls. The regular Freddy's entertainment will soon fill this room... opera divas, independent film, stand-up comedy, sketch comedy, original live music, H.A.M., the country jam... and of course Knit Nite.

Beneath the bar crest, Kellum and crew were finishing the exterior of the bar — pegged woodwork made from a weathered barn donated from upstate. The same weathered wood also adorns the interior.

That whole ugly mess that is New York State's abuse of eminent domain and misappropriation of funds still makes my head throb. It's a disease borne from generations of cronyism, true greed, and paid favors for the wealthiest from the wealthiest... How much does a judge's vote cost these days? As long as someone upstate is still padding their purses behind a locked door, this horror we call Albany may never change.

The proponents of the Atlantic Yards Project continue to manufacture hype about an arena that fills a need in a community, and how it will bring jobs to all... etc. Our borough president insists we need this basketball team from New Jersey to be the heart of Brooklyn. What's he been smoking? Bull crap I say. They barely know what do with the blight and traffic they've created. They all could a take a tip from some real people and a real community.

Meanwhile, somewhere in South Slope Brooklyn, in the tiny neighborhood called Greenwood Heights, hope for the small guy is reborn in the year of the Golden Rabbit. Three cheers to Don O'Finn, Matt Kimmet, and Matt Kuhn, and thank you so much for hanging there!

Freddy's Bar is located at 627 5th Avenue between 17th & 18th streets. Drop in and say hello.