Thursday, January 15, 2009

Knitting Along

Gathered Pullover is really moving along. The body is finished, and I'm half-done with the first sleeve. I wish I'd known how fun and easy cables are! They always seemed so mysterious, but like lace, it turns out that you just follow the directions. This is obviously a simple cable motif, so we'll see if I still like them when I try something more complex. I'm a little afraid I've made the body of Gathered Pullover too long--I was just happily knitting along and knit it longer than I had planned (I'm making the body and sleeves longer than called for, and knit an extra inch or so above the cable to move the placement down a bit. I'm also doing hemmed edges, though I haven't decided if I'll modify the neckband or do it rolled. I think I want to do it in the round, at least.

Reading: Lots. Of special note are Savvy, a YA tall tale/coming of age story by Ingrid Law, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, and a really fantastic novel called The Disappearance by Efrem Sigel.

Writing: Nope.

Cooking: I got inspired by the freakishly cold weather (relatively speaking; in Wisconsin, this would be a warm spell) to make a pot pie. I quickly shifted my interest to shepherd's pie, which is crustless and topped with mashed potatoes, when I realized I was not inspired to make pie crust. I had in mind something akin to Amy's Organics frozen Shepherd's Pie, veggies and chickpeas in a tomatoey broth, with mashed potato topping. But Matt actually volunteered a suggestion of using...tofu. I know! Weird. So I thought of Amy's Vegetable Pot Pie, which has tofu and veggies in a creamy sauce. Hey, I can make that, but without crust and with the mashed potato topping, I thought. I googled around, not liking to reinvent the wheel, and found this recipe at Mollie Katzen's site. (You can find the mushroom sauce recipe in a crepe recipe if you go back to the recipe index.) But that wasn't quite right. I didn't want the sauce on the side, and the vegetable hash seemed overly involved, so I winged it. What else is new? You could make any or all of the components ahead of time, or assemble the whole thing and bake later. If you don't like my mashed potatoes, make your favorite recipe instead. I really liked this, but it was pretty liquidy, so I have you use half the sauce as a gravy on the side.

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Mashed Potato Topping:
About 6 medium Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and diced
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup milk (more if needed)
1/2 tsp salt (more to taste)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Place potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain. Add milk, salt, and Parmesan and mash well. Set aside.

Mushroom-Tofu Filling:
1 TBL olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 ribs celery, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
1 pound mushrooms, washed, trimmed, and quartered
1 pound frozen mixed vegetables (mine had carrots, peas, corn, and green beans)
1 package tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt (more to taste)
black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, celery, bay leaf, and thyme. Cook until onion is translucent. Add mushrooms and cook on medium heat until mushrooms begin to give up liquid. Stir in vegetables, tofu, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Spiked Mushroom Sauce (you will use HALF in the casserole dish and half on the side):
1 TBL butter
1 pound mushrooms, washed, trimmed, and very thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt (more to taste)
3 TBL vermouth (you can substitute sherry or brandy)
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed
3 TBL flour
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms begin to give up liquid, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add bay leaf, salt, and vermouth. Cook 5 minutes. Whisk the flour into the milk; add to mushrooms. Cook 5-10 minutes over low heat, until slightly thickened. Add black pepper, remove bay leaf, and stir HALF into Mushroom-Tofu Filling. Serve the other half, warm, on the side as gravy. (Or just cut the recipe in half if you don't want extra sauce.)

Place in a large casserole dish or 9x13 pan. Top with mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until top is golden brown and edges are bubbly.


YarnThrower said...

Your Gathered Pullover is looking great so far! I am wondering -- I recall noticing something in the magazine in the photos, that there are some odd looking "lines" or something or other coming out of each side of the motif, which I vowed that if I ever made the sweater, I would not include. I notice that yours doesn't have them, either, and am wondering if it is a mod, or if maybe I'm just looking at the picture in the magazine without my reading glasses and not seeing things correctly. Anyway, love the color (I'm always sold on a nice blue), and will look forward to seeing how your mods work out, because I thought that I'd add an inch or so to the top before starting the motif, will be watching to see how that works out.

mle said...

Ooo! your Gathered Pullover is looking fabulous!

KnitPastis said...

Well done on the Gathered Pullover! I think it looks so pretty.
Also wow on how many books you are reading. It's such a nice escape.

Holly said...

Oh, the gathered pullover looks great! I LOVE the color! I'm sure the length will be okay. It's much easier to get away with a sweater being a bit longer rather than too short! ;-) Why oh why do I let my Google Reader get backed up....okay back to my 93 posts waiting for me...since Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Loving your cable-y goodness. Isn't it fun? And simultaneously impressive-looking.

Tummy is rumbling, so your veggie pie sounds yuuuuuuummmm.

Mary said...

The sweater looks great. Turns out the only magic in cables is how uncomplicated they are. Almost disappointing the first time you make one, but so pretty you forgive them :)

String Bean said...

Hello!! The Gathered Pullover looks great! I love the color you chose and the cables do look complex. I'll stick to my color work.

Tofu in pot pie sounds yummy.

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