Lejla Kazinic Kreho, a Croatian nutritionist that studied at King’s College in London, claimed in her book Nutrition of the 21st Century that sauerkraut, or pickled cabbage, could help eliminate erectile dysfunction if it is eaten twice a day. During World War I, sauerkraut makers in America feared that the public would reject a product with a German name so the condiment was temporarily renamed “Liberty Cabbage.” Every New Year’s Day the Pennsylvania Dutch (myself included) enjoy a feast of sauerkraut in hopes that it will bring good luck in the New Year. Love, Liberty, Luck…all in the form of sauerkraut. That’s what January’s playlist is all about. Down on your luck, striking out in bed, feeling oppressed by the powers that be…cook up a big batch of sauerkraut and watch the world turn: Track Listing:
There is an old adage that suggests “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” If that truly is mired in fact than my recent birthday celebration will keep me going strong until I am 120 years old (of course if sugar is detrimental to health than I am in trouble).
Breakfast: Vegetarian Times’ Apple Cinnamon French Toast (recipe)
Dinner Dessert: Cheesecake Factory’s Apple Crisp (I didn’t have my camera along so here is someone else’s photo)
In between I squeezed in some Greek Artichoke Salad (which I heard is also good for you).
As I enjoyed apples and my 30th birthday I wasn’t far from the music. One song I have been listening to on repeat is Once Upon a Girl’s “Oh no not again.” The catchy chorus is something that I can in no way relate to (I need a man, not a boy) but it still is fun as hell. Thanks to Absolut Noise for this one. Listen to it here.
I was also moving around the kitchen to Iceland’s Mordingjarnir. Their song Manvisa not only is fast, catchy punk rock, but it includes an appearance by Kata from Mammut (previous) another band that I enjoy.
The Hoodlum Shouts first appeared on Write.Click.Cook.Listen with their song “History’s End” on a mix about Roux. Within days I received a message from the band about how they loved roux and haute cuisine and were influenced by Careme. My mouth dropped. Not only were they a band that was making good music but they seemed to know their cooking as well. A perfect fit for this blog. Recently I had the chance to correspond (via email) with Sam Leyshon (vox and harmonica), Josh Leyshon (drums), Luke Robert (bass) and Mike Caruana (guitar & vox) to find out what is cooking with them.
The Hoodlum Shouts (who actually took their name from a line in one of their first songs called “Hoodlum Settlers”) released their debut EP, Horses and Human Hands, in late August and early September. The EP, a six song affair that includes the aforementioned “Hoodlum Settlers” and “History’s End” has a wide open feel to it. It reminded me of a person who is walking through rural terrain with no other human in sight. I asked the band if this feeling was something that they were going for while writing and recording the EP:
Definitely, that was the idea. We come from a little city (well, large town) surrounded by a sparse, dry landscape and we wanted that record to sound like where it came from.
Another track off the EP that caught my attention was “Tony Mudgee.” When bands name songs after people, especially ones that I’ve never heard of, it intrigues me. I listened to the song lyrics a number of times and couldn’t get a sense of who the track was about. So I brought it up with the band:
Tony Mudge was actually a teacher of mine. There is a country town in Australia called Mudgee where I’m sure they like country music. We put the two together as a bit of a joke.
The band went on a short tour after releasing the EP (and they will return to the road early next year). They realize the importance of enjoying themselves while putting on a good show as they suggested that live gigs are where “all the hard work pays off.” In between performances the Hoodlum Shouts are writing new material in hopes of having a new album sometime soon. They don’t anticipate much of a departure from the EP because they feel like “that’s still the vibe” they want. Rightfully so as the the EP has been reviewed favorablly by a number of sources (this one, that one) and earned the band a spot performing at Triple J’s Trackside Festival. If you don’t own Horses and Human Hands yet purchase it here.
After talking music, the Hoodlum Shouts and I ended our correspondence with a question about what’s cooking (in the more conventional use of the word). Turns out, it’s a recipe for a Japanese dish called Okonomiyaki that two of the band memebers used to serve up for the staff at the restaurant they worked at. Unfortunately, for now, the dish remains a secret. When I get the recipe, I’ll let you know.
The pie that saved Tampa came from La Prima Pizza, a corner store in a Target strip mall. J-fur and I stopped there once on a whim and I wasn’t expecting much. After some deliberation we decided to go with La Prima Pizza’s Sicilian (which is square with thick crust). That was a decision that neither of us would regret. The pizza was extremely doughy and soft with just the right blend of cheese and sauce. Adding in some garlic and basil provided just enough kick to keep our taste buds honest. The best part of the deal? Between the two of us we were only able to finish three slices. That meant that six more went home with us. If you ever in Tampa with a craving for Sicilian style pizza make La Prima Pizza a destination. I’d love to vouch for their subs or thin crust slices but I’ve never tried them. The Sicilian just holds too much clout.
On the pasta side of things I posted an interview with Frederik from Solander almost two months ago and in the interview he provided us with a recipe for Cannelloni (original recipe here). Frederik checked back in with me last week and asked if I had tried it. I told him that I hadn’t yet but I would do so shortly. I made some modifications to Frederik’s version in order to better fit J-Fur’s tastes (I did not include the white sauce which would’ve been too creamy for her) and it came out wonderfully. So wonderfully that I awarded it my recipe of the week.
-1 Tbs olive oil
-18 oz spinach
-4 cloves garlic
-6 oz neufchatel cheese
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 box manicotti (about 14 noodles)
-20 oz tomato sauce
1. Preheat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.2. Heat the olive oil in a wok or non stick frying pan. Add spinach and garlic and heat until spinach is wilted. Stir in neufchatel cheese to create a creamy spinach mixture. Add salt and pepper. Remove from heat.2. Cook pasta according to directions on the box. After draining the pasta, cut open and place laid out pasta on wax paper. Begin stuffing the noodles with the spinach mixture and then placing in a 9×13 glass dish. Repeat until all noodles have been filled with spinach.
3. Cover the noodles with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. Add just a little mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes.
In order to prepare for our upcoming Christmas trip I have been tossing together some dishes using things that have resided in our freezer and refrigerator for a long time. That means lots of corn, vegetable stock, peas, frozen fruit and okra. The only dish worth mentioning is the Peanut Okra that I made this weekend (although the broccoli, corn and veggie stock is worth mentioning, not because it tasted great, but because I left it out in the Florida heat for twenty-four hours before refrigerating as a test to see how long the food could hold up in extreme conditions).
Peanutty Okra (printable version)
-1-16 oz package of frozen okra
-1/2 cup of chunky peanut butter (I used Crazy Richards)
–1/4 cup of water –1 Tbs of soy sauce
-1 tsp of lime juice
-1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
-1 Tbs of garlic powder
-1 Tbs. Sesame Oil
1. In a sauce pan mix peanut butter and water. Stir often until the peanut butter becomes sauce like.2. Mix peanut sauce with soy sauce, lime juice, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and garlic powder. Stir until smooth and heated through. If sauce is too thick add more water.3. Fry the okra in sesame oil until slightly browned (about 3 minutes). Divide onto plates. Top with peanut sauce. Eat.
Peanut Sauce tastes better when concocted over the rock-hip hop fusion that is The Slew. The band mixes one part Kid Koala and two parts ex-Wolfmother (Myles Heskett and Chris Ross). “It’s All Over” is a political anthem from the recently released album titled 100% (purchase here).
I hate that I post so much Swedish music but what can I say, the Swedes know how to do it. My most recent addition to my MP3 collection was the band Satan Takes a Holiday. While their song is great “Missy” is great, Satan Takes a Holiday sends it to a whole other level with the video. I’m not the only one who recognizes STAH’s greatness because the band has been nominated for a P3 Gold Award in the Best Rock/Metal category. The P3 Gold Award is a awarded annually by Swedish National Radio. STAH’s debut, self-titled album is out now on I Made This Records. You can purchase it here.
Last month I was lucky enough to conduct two interviews. The first with Sweden’s My Sunrise (interview can be found here). The second is with another infectious Swedish band, tadatata. tadatata is the poster child for everything I am trying to do here. They are a band that makes great music (like “Hit the Wall” that was part of our November Let Them Eat Pie Playlist) and takes inspiration from cooking and baking. The eighth installment of our Baker’s Dozen series on Write.Click.Cook.Listen.
TB: Tadatata’sMyspace page suggests that the band is made up of “a lot of people, but mostly just tata and the friend.” Who are tata and the friend and how did the two of you wind up making music together?
tt: As a kid I (Tanja) was called tata by my family, somehow it stuck,on my mum’s mailing lists for example I’m still called tata. “The Friend” is a friend whom I’ve known for 10 years now. We met in a suburb to Stockholm where I moved when I was 12. Years later we found ourselves living in Finland and started to make music together with a band called Buns & Beans. But…the music I wrote didn’t really fit with Buns & Beans and that’s pretty much how tadatata started off. The Friend has been my key helper since then cause I was too shy to do it by myself.
TB: “Hit the Wall” caught my attention the first time I heard it because of the catchy lyrics and instrumentation. What is the story behind the song? Why did you choose the instruments you did for the music?
tt: I spent some lazy weeks in the British countryside and had too much time to think. My mum was burnt out from work, I heard of people from ground school who were getting plastic surgery, I thought of those people who run in escalators and I had a lot of problems with my emotional relationships etc…just the usual stuff.
In the beginning it was just a ukulele and I. The final instrumentation was not predetermined, a friend and I just played around with things and instruments laying around when we recorded it.
TB: “Hit the Wall” is one of seven tracks that appears on a self-titled EP released this year. Was this your first EP? When it was all said and done, songwriting, recording, releasing, how long did it take for the EP to be made?
tt: This is the very first EP by tadatata.
At first we were supposed to release it as a 7″ on a British indie-label but economical crisis and such came (and got) in the way. Then we released it on Cosy Recordings, which I’m very happy about. The whole EP is recorded in different cities with different people during a 2-year period because I’ve been moving around so much. I guess it ended up pretty well after all, but if we make another release I would like to play and record with the same people and work more simultaneously.
TB: A lot of bands are fine with getting on stage and recreating the recorded versions of their songs. I’ve read that tadatata feels it is important to re-make songs and do something new for each live show. What is your reasoning behind this?
tt: To begin with I guess I’m a pretty restless person. I don’t really feel like a complete musician since contemporary dancing is what I’ve mostly been practicing during my life, where “live performances” plays a bigger part.
It’s not extremely important to remake the songs but I think performing live has more to it than recreating what’s on the EP/record. Around the time of the release I met new friends who are musicians that I enjoyed working with which led to new ideas about the songs.
TB: Your influences include “release technique, Goosebumps, cupcakes and coffee breaks, postcards, naivete, snapshots. How do each of these shine through in your music?
tt:Release technique is a technique in contemporary dance…
It would be quite splendid if someone got Goosebumps just by listening…
Cupcakes & Coffee breaks makes our rehearsals more fun…
Since I’ve been moving around between countries and cities so much, Postcards have become some kind of signature for me. I feel that songs are a bit like postcards; you send them away to unknown people in unknown places.
I think it’s important to be naive sometimes just to manage, especially musically.
Snapshots inspire me when it comes to recording; a good snapshot is mostly better than those 78 arranged photos you took…
TB: When I think of tadatata I think of cake. Perhaps it is the description of the music or the influence of cupcakes or the colorful outfits and instruments you’ve been photographed with. Are you big bakers? What role, if any, do cakes play in tadatata?
tt: Both me and the Friend are big bakers, the Friend makes the best cardamom buns, her nickname is in fact “the Bun” (Bullen in Swedish), that’s how most people know her. For me baking ‘s like therapy. I hang out a lot in my kitchen with my boom box on full volume while trying to convert regular recipes into vegan ones.
I guess the whole thing about cakes and other sweet stuff in tadatata mainly has to do with the fact that I have problems considering my personal views or myself too serious. I somehow derive from the 90’s ironic generation, if I however would take things very serious; tadatata would be some sort of ambientemo-band constantly circulating in minor.
If you wrap the serious stuff in cakes or such maybe people won’t notice, but if they do…that’s just great.
TB: Your about me on Myspace says “Sometimes it is harder to say and a bit easier to play.” Do you find yourself saying sings through songs that you wouldn’t otherwise say?
tt: It’s a bit like the answer above. When I read, listen to music, watch dance or any art form I like those shrewd undertones. I believe it’s more interesting to be left with a thought than to get it all served on a plate.
TB: As 2009 nears an end if/when tadatata look back at the year what will be remembered most?
tt: We have a lot of nice memories from when we played in Paris; 6 Euros Coffee, traffic stockings, Session en appartement, Oliver Peel, MiLK & Fruit Juice, an oddly placed beach, all those lovely people we met…
tt: I will move to Stockholm for about 6 months and study sound art and also make some music for contemporary dance. The Friend spoke about coming as well, if she does we’ll probably make some songs and release an audio cassette. A guy called Jonas & Kapstaden who makes really nice electro music might remix some of the songs.
TB: Tell me about Umea and Falun. What are the must sees?
tt: In Umea:
Umea is a dream for vegans, the 50-style cafe “Schmack” who also runs a vintage shop have the best vegan cakes and they also arrange small, really nice gigs.
If you go to Umea make sure you get a hold of a bike, that’s the best way to transport yourself in this town. Take a trip to On or just bike alongside the river, or do as the Friend; buy a cheap rubber boat at the supermarket and sale away.
Everyone who visits Falun speaks about the great Copper Mine, I haven’t been there yet but I heard it’s quite an experience. Personally I would say that the area called Elsborg is a “must see.” It’s a well-preserved area with really old, small, typically Swedish Falu-red houses. One time a year they hold the annual flea market where the locals invite people to there yards and sell stuff, coffee and cakes.
TB: Are there any local bands that we should keep our ears peeled for?
I’m a dichotomy kind of guy. It’s either black or white, cat or dog, one side of the fence or they other. My latest obsession is the Philadelphia Cheesesteak dichotomy, Pat’s or Geno’s.
Unfortunately, as most of you know, my vegetarianism does not allow me the opportunity to conduct my own experiment (although I will someday get the guts to walk up to those two stands and see which one is willing to cook up a veggie sub) so I have to live vicariously through others. The score card from my Thanksgiving trip to Philly, Pat’s 2-Geno’s 0.
Growing up relatively close to Philly made cheesesteaks (and soft pretzels, and butterscotch krimpets) a staple in my household. Along with meatball subs, cheesesteaks were the hardest food for me to accept that I would never eat again when I went meatless a little over ten years ago. Just like the meatball sub, I needed to create my own version. While this sub won’t ever be confused with the real thing, it certainly serves its purpose.
Vegetarian Cheese Steak Recipe
-6 portobello mushrooms sliced
-3 white mushrooms sliced thinly (optional)
-1 green pepper, sliced
-1 onion, sliced
-1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
-shredded cheese (or cheez whiz if you want the authentic Philly taste)
1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place the green pepper and onion in the skillet and cook until onion is translucent (about eight minutes).2. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional five minutes.3. In the pan, separate the veggies into four or five different piles (depending on sub roll size). Top veggie piles with cheese and allow to melt.
4. Scoop up veggies and melted cheese and place in a sub roll. Top with ketchup, mustard, and a pickle if you desire.
It would be easy to dismiss Unicorn Kid (aka Oliver Saban) as, well, a kid. Afterall he just turned 18 years old. But Unicorn Kid has done things before the age of 18 that some of us have only dreamed of. Among other things, he was asked by the Pet Shop Boys to remix one of their singles, he was the youngest person ever to perform a live session on the BBC Radio 1, he’s toured the US, Canada and Britain and…you get the point. Look for Unicorn Kid to bring his act back to the US next year when he performs SXSW. Hopefully he does this danceable ditty, “Talk to animals (wolves remix).”
What would a Philly post be without the Philadelphia Grand Jury? Don’t be confused by the moniker, these guys reside continents away from Philadelphia in New South Wales, Australia. Doesn’t matter. Philadelphia Grand Jury embodies exactly what I would expect from a Philly jury: they are fun, exuberant, poppy and unafraid to celebrate the shuttlecock. Here is the video from their latest single “The Good News.”
Souvenirs from Fiji remind me of Tripping Daisy circa Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb with their Lo-fi speed rock and distorted vocals. My favorite track from their latest album, Acupuncture (purchase here), is “Waterslides are fun.” No videos for that one yet so here is another song off of the album, “Grown Oblivious.”
While you are at it…check out my friend Becca’s 2010 calendar. It is limited (and whatever is leftover I promised to buy) so grab one for someone special this holiday season.
The first time I ate Yucca Fries was at a local Tampa joint called the Lime. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I took that first bite, looking back I probably should’ve thought twice about it. Afterall, I have craved nothing else since that first day. I had not ventured to cook the plant myself until a recent trip to the grocery store when I found Yucca for less than two dollars a pound. I had to try it.
Not wanting to ruin one of my favorite sides I researched the best way to prepare yucca fries and found that there isn’t one best way. So I tried two. My research also turned up something else very interesting. There is a lady somewhere in Indiana that will be divorced by her husband if she ever tries to make Yucca fries again (at least that is what she posted in some message board). Poor chap, doesn’t know what he is missing.
Baked and Fried Yucca Fries
-2 foot long yucca plant peeled and sliced into wedges
-3 cups of peanut oil
-2 Tbs. of sea salt
-2 Tbs. of garlic powder
-2 teaspoons of paprika
-1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
-1 Tbs. of lime juice
-black pepper to taste
1. For the Fried Fries: Pour 3 cups of peanut oil into a frying pan. Heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, drop the fries in and cook until golden. Remove fries from oil with a slotted spoon. Wrap in a paper towel and remove excess oil. Season with spices and serve.
2. For the baked fries: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put 2 tablespoons of oil and spices in a metal bowl. Top with yucca. Using your hands maneuver the yucca around until fries are completely coated with oil and spices. Put on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes (yucca should not be sticking to the pan, if so bake longer). Flip and cook another 10 minutes.
*Note: When I make regular French Fries I prefer the baked method. With the yucca I preferred the second batch of fried yucca. For the first batch the oil wasn’t hot enough so it didn’t come out as crispy. The second batch of fried yucca came out crispier. The baked version just seemed to be textually inferior. Also use a sharp knife when cutting yucca. I used a dull one and almost hacked my fingers off ten times.
As I cut and fried my way through the yucca plant I was reminded of a simpler time when knives were sharp and fryers were at my grasp. I get the same sort of simpler feel when I hear Seattle’s Pufferfish. Don’t let the song title, “Wrecking ball,” fool you. These guys don’t have a metal bone in their body, they do all their damage with poison. “Wrecking Ball” is from the album Swell which was released on November 16th. You can purchase it here.
From further north on the western coast comes Victoria’s Jon and Roy. I’ve heard that Victoria is a beautiful place and I’ve had an offer to visit there. If the scenery is anything like Jon and Roy’s “Another Noon” then count me in. Here is a short excerpt of the song from a Volkswagen commercial:
I’ve never used Crisco, the hydrogenated cottenseed/soybean oil shortening that has been available since 1911, for baking. In fact, the only time I have ever used Crisco was for an experiment with my second graders mimicking whale blubber. As far as I am concerned, that is all it is good for, remaining outside of the body, not being ingested. But not everyone agrees. After gorging ourselves at Thanksgiving, my friend Sarah began contemplating making cookies. She was perusing recipes in a cookbook called “The Black Family Reunion Cookbook” and every dessert called for Crisco. She had it on hand in case the motivation struck her. As outdated as Crisco seems to me, somebody somewhere is scooping a handful of hydrogenated cottenseed/soybean oil shortening right now in preparation for Santa’s arrival. Crisco scoopers, this playlist is for you: Track Listing:
Download Playlist Here My favorite holiday cookie recipe which contains nary a trace of Crisco. These are called Reese’s Peanut Butter Temptations and are wonderful fresh out of the oven or frozen. My mom is probably madly baking them at this very moment in preparation for my return home for the holidays.