What happens when I die-hard yarner doesn’t participate in World Wide Knit in Public Day?
I had every intention of knitting in public on June 8, 2019, even if it was just in the damned park by myself. I didn’t realize until it was too ate that I had scheduled the Colfax Stitch ‘n Bitch for a roadtrip to Truckee on that exact day. When I did find out what I’d done, I put public knitting on the itinerary.
That didn’t pan out; however, I did my part for the yarn industry by purchasing my first organic linen yarn and pattern by Quince & Company. The shop? Atelier in Truckee, California, a great place with art supplies and books in the front and yarn in the back.
All in all, I don’t feel too bad for not knitting publicly. I do it twice a week at the local Starbucks so I feel like I do my yarnly duty all the time. Besides, this was fun also. We’re now trying to figure out another venue for our next road trip, perhaps next month?
What did you do for World Wide Knit in Public Day?
On January 26th, the small town of Colfax lost part of its soul. A perennial favorite of the locals and hungry travelers on I-80 for seven years, Cafe Luna closed its doors for the last time.
It was the sopas with carnitas that hooked me. The very first time I ate at the cafe in 2015, it was located on Depot Street, in a hole in the wall. Well…an even smaller hole in the wall. Mario’s music was playing, Lauren was still nursing Lola, the vibe was super cool and casual, the food was great. What more could a customer want? For those of us who were regulars, it was as comfortable as hanging out at a friend’s house. We got excited when the back of the building was opened up for more seating options – (yay!); we counted the days as Lauren waddled around, working right up to her due date with Mael, who then became the town baby; we watched in dismay as the news of their separation and divorce ultimately became public knowledge.
But life goes on, and Mario continued the business, experimenting with different ideas. Some of them were hits, some were misses. He was just about to re-open the back after a massive redo to what was surely going to be a hit when he discovered his lease wasn’t being renewed.
Moving, no matter how well planned, is generally a messy endeavor. Locating another site for your business can be tiresome, very expensive and usually requires lots of time. The new owner of the building, for whatever personal or business reasons, gave Mario three months to vacate; Mario chose to end it after one month.
The last business day, Saturday, I ordered a favorite of mine. I would have liked to order the whole menu so I could make the savory goodness last…but it wouldn’t have. The food was always made with fresh ingredients and wouldn’t have kept well. Instead, I ate it slowly, trying to remember the textures, tastes and smell.
Monday rolled around and I was back at the cafe with my camera to take pics for Mario on a different project, so I snapped a few while there of the progress being made. All the little knick-knacks that made the place so homey were packed up, the walls were uncharacteristically bare, and an empty McDonald’s bag sat on a table, a telling sight in this room. The cooler that normally held the drinks and salsa and other condiments was turned off, no happy music came from the kitchen where Mario normally spent his work day. It was, after all, just a place with four walls, a roof and a floor.
I have asked Mario several times if he plans to continue looking for another local site. His response is general and vague, and he assures me if something good comes up, he’ll pursue it, but for now, he’ll be working at Dine ‘n Dash.
So ends that chapter of Cafe Luna on 38 N. Main Street. We will miss you.
It’s been awhile since I’ve made an entry, because I have been so frustrated with my little “fan art” project, not even a third of the way through. I was just going to make three beanies with a design. That was it; however, I have tried two separate methods to achieve the
look I want, and have failed miserably! I tried intarsia in the the round. The method used a modified short rows hook up, and you actually went back and forth. Not good. The site of the join was lumpy, bumpy and quite easy to see. I went to my LYS where I was told to use duplicate stitch instead. So I tried the duplicate stitch which, apparently, I’m not that good at. Stitching on fabric knitted with fingering weight yarn is beyond what my eyes want to do anymore, even with reading glasses! The hat itself is fine. The pattern that I attempted to duplicate stitch over the fabric, not so good. As you can see, I am in the process of recycling the hat itself and someone (my husband) will get a nice, bright red toque.
That was actually the first time I’d worked with fingering weight yarn for something other than a pair of socks, and the process took way longer than I thought it would. So, learning from this disaster, I changed the design, and employed worsted weight yarn. The results? Not as fancy as I would have liked, but at least it was completed, and I can carry on with my life! Will I try fingering weight yarn again? You bet. Will I try the same design again? Yes, because it was supposed to be correct. Will I post it? Eh. Maybe.
If anyone out there has successfully created designs with duplicate stitching on fingering weight yarn fabric, please let me know what your secret is!
Now, on to one of my favorite subjects – food! The title of this blog is referring to the food, not the knit fails! I thought I would share this with you, as it is a good all around pork recipe that can be incorporated into many other foods, and is not seasonal, even though it’s cooked in a crockpot. I originally posted this on Cafe Luna’s blog to see if I could get some other fab recipes from locals here in Colfax using Mario’s salsa. So far, I’ve been the only one. Maybe that will change? For those of you not fortunate enough to live in the area, substitute your favorite green salsa in lieu of Mario’s blend. You guys have any good recipes that uses salsa? Post it here!
Glenda’s Gringo Slow Cooker Pork Chile Verde
2 lbs. pork, preferably a little fatty, cut into one-inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint Tenderfoot Salsa Verde
flour for coating
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high, then add onion and cook until almost transparent; add the garlic. Cook another minute, careful not to burn the garlic. Remove the onions and garlic from the skillet and put into your slow cooker. Add more oil, if necessary; should cover the bottom of the pan. Coat the pork in salted and peppered flour and brown the meat in two separate batches. You’re not trying to cook the meat at this point, you’re just caramelizing the proteins to give the verde a richer flavor. Mix all ingredients together in your slow cooker and pour the Tenderfoot Salsa Verde over the mix. Remember, the slow cooking will render out meat juices, so you may not want to use the whole pint. That’s up to you. Anyway, cook on slow for 6 – 7 hours, high for 3 – 4 hours. Makes a nice meal with leftovers!
I am in a mood to share recipes recently! I don’t know if I should add a tab just for recipes or not! Eh, probably not. A lot of the recipes I have posted have been reviews. Or maybe I should do a review tab? Hm.
Anyway, this recipe was devised during the late 80s, meant to fill up a young child and a hungry husband and be nutritious on a meager budget. It ticked off all those requirements and managed to be delicious! While the budget has expanded somewhat, this dish is a perennial favorite and still ends up on the dinner table for busy evenings.
8 oz. dry egg noodles
1 pound broccoli
½ red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 10 ½ oz. cans cream of chicken soup with herbs
1 can milk
1 can chicken broth
1 tsp herbs de provence
1 ½ – 2 cups cooked chicken, cut up
1 ½ cups of grated cheddar
Preheat oven to 350°F, spray a 9 x 13 baking with oil.
1.) Fill Dutch oven 2/3 with water and 2 tablespoons of salt. Put on the stove to boil.
2.) In the meantime, chop the onion and put into a medium-hot pan. Mince the garlic while onion is cooking. Sauté onion until almost tender, then add the garlic. Cook for another two minutes, turn off the heat and set aside.
3.) Water should be close to boiling by now. Prepare the broccoli and chop off the big stems, then put in the water with noodles and stir. Let those cook by themselves for about 8 – 9 minutes.
4.) While that’s cooking, mix the chicken soup, milk, chicken broth and herbs de provence in a large bowl until well blended; set aside.
5.) For the chicken, I use leftovers or you can use canned or rotisserie. It just makes things easier. You can also cook up two medium sized chicken breasts. Either way, chop it up at this point.
6.) Check the noodles and broccoli; they should be done. Let drain for a few minutes – nothing worse than a watery casserole!
7.) You now have time to grate the cheese.
8.) Everything is ready to put together! Dump the noodles and broccoli back into the Dutch oven, along with the sautéed onions and garlic, sauce, chopped chicken and about 2/3 of the cheese. Incorporate the ingredients well. Pour into the prepared baking dish, then top with the rest of the cheese.
9.) Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges.
For those of us who love our chile rellenos, but cannot handle actually making them (gringos), I’ve concocted my own recipe. In my version, I put this together with the intent of staying as true to the original dish as possible. Of course, since we’re talking about a casserole here, there are elements that would feel more at home in a Yorkshire pudding than your favorite Mexican restaurant, but I think this captures the spirit. Do not be discouraged by the detailed instructions! That’s mostly the chile handling and preparation.
I’ve also thrown in a newly discovered favorite of mine, green rice. This is a variation on the more common red Mexican rice that for some reason I’ve just really taken to.
Will feed about 4 people with lunch leftovers!
Don’t be afraid to get them burnt.
Seal it good and tight!
I didn’t have all the cheese on top when I took the pic – you will have more.
Not a gorgeous picture, but who cares! It was delicious. Those are pinquito beans made with onion, garlic and some salt.
This is what makes the rice green and tasty!
Chile Rellenos Casserole
9 Poblano, Anaheim or pasilla chiles
10 oz. casera cheese (queso fresco)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup flour
½ cup milk
Char your chiles on a comal, or in a cast iron frying pan or over an open flame. Do not be afraid to toast these suckers good. What you are doing here is giving the chile flavor and making it possible for you to skin the chile with ease. When they are burnt to your liking, put them in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap and let them sit for at least 30 minutes.
During this rest time, grate the cheddar cheese and make the batter for pouring over the peppers. Get your favorite 9 x 13″ pan and spray it with oil or grease it down, then turn on the oven to 350F.
Now that the chiles have sat, they should be ready for prepping. Important: If you are not accustomed to handling peppers, BE CAREFUL. I’ve handled peppers all my adult life and by and large, they don’t bother me, but they may bother you. To be on the safe side, get yourself some medical gloves or rubber gloves or whatever and make sure you DO NOT rub your eyes with the gloves still on! It hurts!!! I know, this may seem a bit basic for some, but having to flush your eyes with water and possibly damaging your cornea is not worth it. Granted, these are mild peppers, but you’ll notice as you’re seeding and skinning, you’ll need to sneeze, or you’ll feel it in the back of your throat, so there is some heat there.
The chiles will be limp and require no special paring tools, especially if you’ve given them a good char. Because they can be fragile, carefully remove the skin – I like doing it over a clean sink under some cool, running water. They can be very slippery! – with your hands, and then, if you need to, make a slit in the pepper using your finger and remove the seeds and any fascia. This is when you’re going to notice the burn, if any.
Now comes the easy part. Bring out your casera cheese and cut into sticks to fit in your chile. That’s why I didn’t have you do it earlier. Each chile will be different, and you want it to wrap around and completely cover the cheese. This may not be 100% possible, as there will most likely be some tearing in the earlier cleaning process, but do what you can. They’ll be covered up anyway! Arrange them in the baking dish and cover with the batter. Top with the cheese and put them in the oven for 30 minutes.
For an extra kick, I like using El Pato Mexican tomato sauce. I didn’t have any at the time, or the pictures would have looked different! Also, just to let you know, the casera cheese will not be melty – it’s fresh, so it won’t melt. But there, I was being true to the spirit. If you must have melty cheese, use a decent Monterey Jack.
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 tsps. salt
2 cups medium grain rice, if possible
½ bunch of fresh cilantro
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
½ of a medium onion, peeled and wedged
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth, water and salt to a boil. Stir in the rice, and wait for the water to boil again. Reduce the heat to low, stir one more time, and cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
Toss your cilantro, garlic and onion into a food processor and puree to your heart’s desire. I actually pureed some more after taking the picture because I noticed a little chunk of onion.
After the 15 minutes is up, remove the rice from the heat and let set for another 10 minutes – do not lift the lid!
When the rice has set, you may remove the lid! Fluff the rice, and put in your puree at that time. I used maybe 1/4 cup. You may want more or less – it’s up to you.
This must be one of the most simple recipes you’ll find. The potatoes aren’t even peeled, you just have to make sure they’re clean and you have most of the spices. I say “most” because I never have garlic salt. I just use garlic powder and salt. Why bother with a review? I really like french fries and any short cut is right there on my list of recipes to try.
While there isn’t much to critique in the concoction itself, I would beg to differ about the use of the term “French fries”. They are tasty, but the crock pot method makes the potatoes a bit too moist for my liking. Maybe the slow cooker used for the presentation cooked on a hotter “high” setting. I ended up using a fork to eat them instead of my fingers, but as you can see, I ate all of them.
Will I make them again? Yes and no. I’ll use the preparation and seasonings, but I’ll pass on the slow cooking method and just toss them into the oven for 30 minutes!
At my home, we’ve been incorporating more and more organic foods to our pantry and fresh fruits and vegetables. This means we have had to severely curtail our intake of meat, as there just isn’t the room for it in our budget. But that’s ok. As I’ve talked about before, I’ve been trying to cut it out of my diet as much as possible anyway. That means I’ve had to get creative, and sometimes, the results haven’t been so good. But we keep trying.
And then, out of the smoke haze of failed dinners past, comes a creation so good, it’s worthy of sharing. Not only that, it makes a goodly amount so there are delicious leftovers for lunch.
But I wax poetic and you just want the recipe! So, without further ado, here it is.
MexiCali Squash Casserole
2 lbs yellow or zucchini squash, cubed or sliced
½ cup of milk
1 lb. Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
3 tablespoons flour
½ cup chopped cilantro
4 roasted, chopped poblano chiles
1 ½ cups of crushed tortilla chips
Cook squash in water until barely tender. Drain. While squash is cooking, combine all the other ingredients, minus the chips; pour into a greased or Pammed 9 x 13” baking pan. Put half of the chips on the mix, then top with squash, then sprinkle the rest of the chips on top. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.
Serves 6 – 8-ish
I served it with my version of Mexican rice. If enough of you want the recipe to that, let me know and I’ll post it also. That is a tried and true dish that is sure to please.