Apple Pie Samosas Kishmished by Horse Feathers and Future History

Apple Pie Samosas Kishmished by Horse Feathers and Future History

Anytime I go for Indian food I make it a point to get at least one samosa. I love those things. Stuffed with just the right amount of potato, onion and spice and wrapped in a nice crispy shell, I have yet to meet a samosa I didn’t like.

So I started thinking the other day (as I eyed an outgoing Caribbean woman who was toeing the line a little too closely) why not a samosa sandwich? One samosa to start the meal as an appetizer, one to finish it as dessert. I thought it an excellent idea. The only question that needed answered was what dessert should get the privilege of my samosa sandwich experiment?

I tossed that thought around in my head for a few moments before deciding to go with something that captures the essence of America. The apple pie. The apple pie with oval fruited kishmish (raisins) and cinnamon. That sounded about right.

Apple Pie Samosa
(printable version)

-1 Tbs. flour
-1 Tbs. butter + 1 Tbs butter, melted
-2 granny smith apples- peeled, cored and sliced small
-1/8 cup white sugar
-1/8 cup brown sugar, packed
-1/4 cup water
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-dash nutmeg
-1/2 Tbs. vanilla
-4 Tbs. raisins
-20 sheets phyllo dough
-Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a cast iron skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter. When the butter is melted, add the tablespoon of flour. Constantly stir to create a roux.

2. Add the water to the roux along with the white and brown sugar. Stir until the sugars, water and roux have all become one.

3. Gently spoon the apples into the mixture. Using a wooden spoon, constantly manipulate the apples until they have been covered by the sugar sauce. Heat for four minutes, stirring constantly.

4. Add the raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Continue to heat and stir for another 2 minutes (or until the apples are soft). Remove the filling from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

5. Lay out four sheets of phyllo dough and cut in half (lengthwise). Place a spoonful of apple filling at the top of each strip. Fold over to form a triangle (or a square if you just can’t seem to fold phyllo right like me). Brush with melted butter. Fold again and brush with more butter. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the other phyllo half. Pull out four more sheets and follow the same steps. Continue to repeat until all the apple mixture and phyllo are gone.

6. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. You want the phyllo crisp and golden. Top with vanilla ice cream. Remove your cap, warble the star spangled banner then make your momma proud by cleaning your plate.

*I think I’ll try these again using puff pastry to see which shell is better.

While the Star Spangled Banner is America in song form, the stuff that Horse Feathers does isn’t far behind. Blending backwoods banjo country with south side strings and lyrics that discuss turmoil in relationships and the nation as a whole, Horse Feathers does it all from that warm spot to the right of the campfire. “Fit Against the Country” is one of the stand out tracks on the band’s new album, Cynics New Year (out now via Kill Rock Stars).

Horse Feathers-Fit Against the Country (via Consequence of Sound)

Future History is an experimental alternative rock band from Toronto who will be releasing their first full length Loss:/self in the near future. The album explores human relationships, technology, anti-social media and the growth and dominance of false ego over the true self in a concept format. Taking cues from Pink Floyd, Radiohead and psychedelia the album is, as the band puts it, special. It uses 40 different instruments, at least 35 different people lending stomps/vocals/drum circle sounds and an ostracized whale. But none of this matters if the songs don’t go down sweet and rustic like an apple pie. They do. Especially “Surrounded by Faces” (which is being offered as part of a pair of free downloads for the month of April and May).

Food Flavored Song of the Day: Honey Honey by Fallon Cush

Food Flavored Song of the Day: Honey Honey by Fallon Cush

Despite not being a honey fan, every spring I take my class through a writing unit on advertising. Their goal? To create a brand new type of honey, make a jar for it, write a commercial and videotape it. The group of kids I have this year have taken it further and done more with it than ever before.

My honey fandom is improving though. After giving up agave nectar because of its false advertising I’ve been using a little more honey to sweeten things. I know it isn’t vegan but the health food guru I know mentioned that if I’m not a stringent vegan than raw honey is the best. So I’ve done it.

While Fallon Cush most likely was writing a sweet, catchy ode to their lover with this track it also applies currently to my life. Double honey, in school and out. In my granola, on my crackers and all over my desks and bookshelves.

Fallon Cush-Honey Honey

Deconstructed Hummus Tattooed by The 65’s and Ourlives

Deconstructed Hummus Tattooed by The 65’s and Ourlives

A few years back I was at a karaoke party that catered to academics. In between bad renditions of Bob Dylan songs I could barely make out a conversation between two people I didn’t know. They were going on and on about the deconstruction of something really boring. I yawned a few times, audibly like Chris Farley in a chimpanzee movie, but they didn’t seem to pick up on how dull they were. When I finally was able to escape, I went right up to the karaoke microphone and had the DJ put on some Meatloaf “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).” I dedicated it to the world of deconstruction.

Fast forward a couple months and I’m sitting in front of my television trying really hard to be interested in Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry. For me, Woody Allen is one of those directors that is either really good or really long-winded and dull, there seems to be no in-between. This particular film didn’t interest me. Around halfway through I finally managed to rouse myself enough to turn off the DVD. I remember thinking what was that I was watching? My conclusion was that it was an extension of that night at the karaoke party. Deconstructing is not my thing. Ripping something apart so unmercifully, down to the finest detail, in order to seem intelligent is the essence of tedium. I was the anti-deconstructionist (and if my chest was broader I would’ve gotten that tattooed across it so everyone would know). Give it to me whole and let me just enjoy it.

Despite my love of food, hummus in particular, when I came across this recipe for deconstructed hummus salad on Umami Girl’s blog those familiar feelings began to creep in. My eyes started to close, my brain slowed down, I began to lose myself. I slapped myself. I did it again. I regained my mental edge long enough to reason that this was an old friend, hummus, and it didn’t matter if it was deconstructed or not. It was probably a good thing.

It was. I did make some slight changes based on personal preference and what I needed to get rid of in my fridge. Here’s what I did:

Deconstructed Hummus (adapted from Umami Girl)
(printable version)

-4 1/2 cups chickpeas
-juice of one lime
-juice of one lemon
-zest of half a lemon
-1/3 cup olive oil
-2 garlic cloves
-2 Tbs. sesame seeds, toasted

1. Cook the chickpeas according to directions (or drain and pat them dry if you are taking them from cans). Set aside.

2. Mix the citrus juices, zest, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley in a food processor. Pulse until garlic is chopped and everything is well blended. Taste. Adjust salt and pepper accordingly.

3. Pour the sauce over the chickpeas. Spoon the sesame seeds over top. Stir so that the sesame seeds, sauce and chickpeas are spread throughout. Eat with a prostitute, a friend and your kidnapped son.

I will always have an association of pretense when it comes to deconstructing. That’s why the new single from The 65’s “Greatest Pretense” wafted through the air during this hummus making experience. The 65’s, who also go well with peppered seitan and mustard sauce, are New Jersey punk veterans who made waves last year with their album Strike Hard!. It was a finalist for the People’s Choice Category of the Hoboken music awards. It also led to some raucous live shows at Maxwell’s. “Greatest Pretense” is the third single from the album to be released and it coincides with another show at Maxwell’s (tonight with Stuyvesant and Wyldlife). You can get your hands on Strike Hard! here.

Ourlives, an Icelandic quartet, have made a living off of music that is soothing, soaring and emotional without being over the top. They go with the less is more approach. Perhaps they should be the ones with the anti-deconstructionist tattoo (without knowing their chest size, four seems easier to fit it on than one). Their new single “Where is the Way” comes from the band’s international debut EP, Out of Place. It is available now on Spartan Records.

The band also just put out a video for the album’s title track:

Lentil and Irish Cheddar Soup Fueled by Real Grass, We Were Evergreen, Work Drugs and the Glammers

Lentil and Irish Cheddar Soup Fueled by Real Grass, We Were Evergreen, Work Drugs and the Glammers

Each morning I awake from my sleep, stumble around for some clothes and then take my dog outside to do his thing. I try to remain on the sidewalk, not wanting my feet to touch this horrible thing that Florida calls grass. It isn’t the grass from my youth. It most certainly isn’t the grass they have in Ireland.

According to this article in the Daily Meal most first-rate Irish farmhouse cheeses are not easy to find in the United States because they come from small producers. One cheese company, Kerrygold, is big enough to make the trek across the ocean and has done so since 1989 (probably because it is the one run by the Irish Dairy Board). Having heard the virtues of Irish cheddar (and a taste that is largely attributed to the grass the cows feed on), I purchased some Kerrygold for our trip to Asheville. I understand that this is possibly the cheese equivalent of a German buying Budweiser but you make do with what you have access too. We ate most of the cheese on bread and crackers but returned with a small hunk that sat in our refrigerator for a few days. Not wanting to wait until more crackers were purchased, I decided to throw it in the lentil broccoli cheddar soup I was in the process of making. It gave the soup a nice smooth body and stepped up the creaminess.

It also made me dream of grass fed cows for the next two days.

Lentil and Irish Cheddar Soup
(printable version)

-1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
-1 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed
-6 cups vegetable broth
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 bunch of broccoli
-1/2 head of cauliflower
-12 baby carrots
-1/4 cup white beans
-1 can of cream of broccoli soup
-4 ounces Irish Cheddar cheese, shredded
-red pepper flakes

1. Place the lentils and vegetable broth into a slow cooker. Heat on low for 2 hours until lentils are soft.

2. Put half of the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and all of the white beans into a food processor. Process until the vegetables are minute. Add to the lentils along with the remaining broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Cook for 15 minutes.

3. Pour in the cream of broccoli soup and shredded cheddar cheese. Heat for another 15 minutes. Add the salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Slurp it down.

The right grass is a beautiful, dark green color. Like the leaves of an evergreen. We Were Evergreen is a Paris band whose name simply does not fit. Evergreen evokes images of snow covered trees and warming fires. We Were Evergreen’s music is nowhere near this season as their rounds, harmonies and upbeat music seem more reminiscent of a lazy day on the beach. Dirty? Yes. Cold and frigid? Not so much. Here is “Baby Blue” for your earballs:

About the only thing Irish in Coral Gables is John Martin’s Pub. But one can’t pass up the opportunity to pimp Miami’s drunk brother especially when Work Drugs are involved. This song is about things that happened between May 23 and June 5, 2007. The innocents have been protected. What is left behind is sexy, seventies style pop. This single is just another reason to circle the whole summer on your calendar (Work Drugs will have an album out sometime this summer).

Lyric wise there isn’t much going on in the Glammers “Six Hours Later.” Imagine a constant refrain of “six hours later” with a few extra words thrown in here and there and you’ve pretty much got the gist. But the song is still a fun time because of the straight forward rock and glam they bring your way. This is what happens when a Scot, Frenchman and an Argentinean decide to take over Myspace during its heyday. Beware…google +, you are next.

West Side: Sam Densmore, Anabot, Urban Fries and a BBQ Portobello and Cheese Sandwich to Bring it all Home

West Side: Sam Densmore, Anabot, Urban Fries and a BBQ Portobello and Cheese Sandwich to Bring it all Home

It wasn’t that long ago when J-Fur sat me down at our kitchen table and said “We need to talk. Seriously. You have a kitchen gadget problem.” I stared into our crowded kitchen and thought for a second. There was the immersion blender but that thing really helps make soups without the mess of pouring into a food processor. I’ve had one two many nights of cleaning broth off my floor because it leaked from a tiny food processor crevice. I wasn’t going back to those days. There was the food processor itself but that was helpful for when I wanted to ruin pickled daikon. The bamboo steamer makes vegetarian sausages possible. The dutch oven made barbecued stuck pot rice a reality. Then my eyes viewed the greatest kitchen gadget of all, the mandoline. J-Fur saw me peering in that direction and she nervously pushed her hands together. “Do you really want to go back to imperfect fries?”

I had her. Time for the reverse psychology. “I really can’t think of anything to get rid of except maybe the mandoline. But I do love perfect fries.” So we agreed. I could keep my kitchen gadgets as long as I promised to store them in a closet and not to buy anymore. Not a problem. Of course, since this conversation took place, she has purchased a rice cooker, pressure cooker, popcorn popper and a juicer. Might be time for an intervention.

Back to those perfect fries. I put together a batch on Friday night right before the Flyers game. These were to go along with the BBQ Portobello and Cheese Sandwich that I was making from the Chubby Vegetarian¬†(this is what is pictured as the fry shots weren’t very good). It was my second time making the sandwich and I wanted some crispy fries to go along with it. I decided the crispy fries would get a little Urban makeover. Urban Fries were made famous by a place in Sacramento named Jack’s Urban Eats. I have never been there but I’ve heard the online raves from fans. These fries are your typical fries drenched in a sea of ¬†blue cheese, chili oil and fresh parsley. That was my kind of treat.

Urban Fries
(printable version)

-4 potatoes
-garlic powder
-onion powder
-vegetable oil
-blue cheese dressing
-hot chili oil
-flat leaf parsley

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Scrub the potatoes and slice with the mandoline until perfect. Place the fries in a large metal bowl. Add the vegetable oil, paprika, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir with your hands to completely coat the fries with oil. Lick your finger to make sure the spice mixture is what you want (I never measure, just sort of dump and taste).

2. Place the fries on a baking sheet and bake for twenty minutes. Flip over and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes. The fries should be golden and crispy.

3. Mix blue cheese dressing with a small amount of hot chili oil (again, I based this on taste and didn’t really measure). Pour over the french fries. Top with the flat leaf parsley and something spicy (I added some red pepper flakes). Eat and wonder if they taste anything like the real thing.

To go along with these California inspired fries I chose artists that reside on the West Coast. This was made easier by Green Light Go who sent out a West Coast inspired email a few weeks ago. First up was Sam Densmore. Densmore is a Portland resident that crafts folk rock in the same vein as R.E.M, Cat Stevens or the Mountain Goats. His new album is called Ku-Thar’-Tik and is scheduled for release on June 19, 2012. Here is “She’s Going to Want You” from the upcoming album:

Sam Densmore-She’s Going to Want You

From Boulder, Colorado is Analise Nelson who performs under the moniker Anabot. She makes a hybrid type of music that she dubs retroelectric rock ‘n’ swing. It combines electronic pop with a retro outfit. Or, borrowing from Anabot herself, it is a “pop time machine with a rock engine.” “I Am Not Afraid of the Dark” comes from the Anabot’s self-titled album which is also due out June 12th.

Anabot-I Am Not Afraid of the Dark

You can find out more about both of these artists (and hear more music) at Green Light Go’s website.

Avocado Pasta with Vegetables Mudslided by Beast Makes Bomb

Avocado Pasta with Vegetables Mudslided by Beast Makes Bomb

Something I’ve learned through this blog is that food that you are going to share with someone else needs to not only taste good, but it has to look good. If something doesn’t meet the eye test of the eater than it is going to be difficult for them to swallow. Pasta, in my opinion, goes south quick. What looks beautiful and delicious when it is fresh can transition to gummy and unappetizing in no time. This avocado pasta was no different.

It started off light and fresh looking when it was first pulled off the stove. I had no idea that J-Fur wasn’t going to be home for a few a hours or that she wouldn’t be eating the dish for the first time until the following day. I also didn’t realize the mushrooms and avocado would change the color so quickly. Probably didn’t help that I put it in a container that had no lid so it met with the natural elements of the refrigerator. All of this led to a pasta that, on day two, still tasted good but looked like a giant mudslide. J-Fur had a hard time eating it because it reminded her of a childhood disaster that almost took her family’s house. I kept trying to get her opinion of the taste but she couldn’t separate the two.

So I ate it all, save for a small batch I gave to my co-worker. Not that I minded. I kind of like mudslides.

Avocado Pasta with Vegetables
(printable version)

for the sauce:
-2 avocados
-1 cup cannelinni beans
-1/2 cup walnuts
-3/4 cup fresh basil
-2 cloves garlic
-3 Tbs. lime juice
-1 Tbs. olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste

for the pasta:
-16 ounces ziti
-1 cup of reserved cooking water
-3 stalks broccoli, chopped
-1 green bell pepper
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 pound asparagus, ends removed and cut into thirds
-10 ounces baby bella mushrooms
-1/4 cup basil, ripped
-1 Tbs. olive oil
-optional toppings: Parmesan Cheese, chopped walnuts

1. In a food processor, add all of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides and continue until the sauce is creamy. Taste it. Adjust to your taste. Set aside.

2.In a large pan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for about a minute. Pour in the broccoli and asparagus and cook for about 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for another four minutes, stirring frequently. Finish with the red pepper. Saute for another 2 minutes until the bell pepper is slightly softened.

3. Cook the pasta according to directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water during straining. Add the vegetables and avocado sauce to the pasta and pasta water. Stir until everything is well combined. Heat for a couple minutes (you want everything to be warm). Place in bowls and top with basil and any additional toppings. Eat immediately whether your wife is there or not.

The first I heard of Beast Make Bomb was their cover of Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta.” I love, love, love the original version of this song and I just wasn’t sure about the cover. I didn’t hate it but…I didn’t really enjoy it either. But I kept it around. When their single “Coney Island” hit my inbox I decided to go two for one. I would listen to “Coney Island” and give “Flagpole Sitta” another chance. If it worked, fine. If not, no problem. It works. Beast Make Bomb use a distorted version of punk snobbery over top fuzzed out guitars to craft songs that call to college life in the concrete jungle. As high spirited as their singles are, rumor has it that their live performance is even better. Their new EP, Double Dipper, will be available on May 15th. Hopefully a full tour takes place shortly thereafter. For now, if you live in the New York area, you can catch them at the Mercury Lounge on May 13th.

“Coney Island”

Video for “Coney Island”

“Flagpole Sitta”

Beast Make Bomb on Facebook, Twitter

Kimchi Soup Soured by The Neighbourhood, Modern Faces and Hana Kim

Kimchi Soup Soured by The Neighbourhood, Modern Faces and Hana Kim

I finished my triumvirate of kimchi recipes (here and here) by posing the question what does one do with kimchi that has sat for so long that it is beginning to sour? In the name of daikon I couldn’t just dump it out. By the same token stuffing it in a quesadilla or on a reuben was out of the question.

I decided to hit the internetz and check out what it would do (WWTID?). Turns out that the internetz suggested, in a rather resounding manner, that soured kimchi was perfect for soup. They even claimed that the sour flavor would go away. I thought not. But to prove the internetz wrong I had to give it a try. They were right enough to make this my almost favorite of the three dishes.

That reuben was mighty fine and hard to top. But we’ll say that this soup made it a lot tougher to decide than I ever thought possible.

Kimchi Soup
(printable version)

-3 cups of kimchi, extra sour (reserve juice)
-1 block of tofu (I meant to use silken but didn’t have any so I went firm), small cubes
-4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, ripped roughly
-6 and 3/4 cups of vegetable broth
-6 Tbs. kimchi juice
-1 Tbs. Thai style light soy sauce
-salt to taste
-2 Tbs. Shaoxing (Chinese) Wine
-2 Tbs. dark miso
-dried chili flakes (to taste)

1. Place kimchi in vegetable broth. Bring to a boil.

2. Add the mushrooms, tofu, kimchi juice, soy sauce, Chinese Wine and miso. Return to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Season with salt (to taste).

3. Top the soup with dried chili flakes and ladle into individual bowls. Put soup to tongue.

I served my kimchi stew with a side of the Neighbourhood, Modern Faces and Hana Kim. The Neighborhood is a California quintet that recently announced the release of their debut EP. It is scheduled for May 7th. The first single from it, “Female Robbery”, brings to light everything that is dark in the world (you like that?). It screams paranoia in the same vein as a trip to an abandoned mental institution would. At the same time, you can really sing along with it. I dare you to try and not litter your cubicle mates eardrums with the infectious chants of “die, die, die” that make up the last few lines of the song.

The Neighbourhood-Female Robbery

Modern Faces are an indie rock band that is steered by punchy guitars, political lyrics and dark, militaristic drum pounding. One can see a little Kasabian or the Stone Roses in their music. Look for a debut album later this year. Until then, check out the second A on their double A side “Cynical Brother”:

Hana Kim is an indie soul songwriter from Los Angeles, CA. She recently put together a live EP that features 3 original songs and one cover. Each song has an accompanying music video as well. The title track “Mexico” is a slightly sweaty ode to transgressions in the south (namely going there for singing purposes). It is full of swagger, attitude and a hint of subtle sexiness. This is what all soul should sound like.

Hana Kim-Mexico

The accompanying video:

Eat Me: Arancini Brothers in Bushwick

Eat Me: Arancini Brothers in Bushwick

There are few things that I can’t do halfway decent in the kitchen. I used to not be able to fry, now I’m getting pretty good at it. I can’t make a good rub. I also can’t do Arancini.

Arancini Brothers, located in the Bushwick section of New York, specializes in what I can’t do. They fry little balls of Sicilian rice with various flavors and the end result is something that is so edible, it can even be sold for money. That’s pretty impressive. Arancini Brothers makes about 30 different flavors of rice balls daily. These range from the traditional to the, well, pretty strange. Popular flavors include spinach ricotta, carbonara, nutella, 3 cheese, buffalo chicken with Gorgonzola, chicken Fontina, pistachio pesto, mushroom Taleggio and squid ink with spicy shrimp. These are just a few of the many different flavors that Arancini Brothers have rolled out over the last few years.

Now I’ve never eaten at Arancini Brothers myself. I don’t know any bands that have eaten there either (thus this is not a where we eat or where they eat post). So why the post? Arancini Brothers is owned by a guy named Dave Campaniello. Dave used to play in Black Taxi. When I featured them on the blog he contacted me to show me how much better his Arancini looks than mine. I bit.

So Dave invites you to come in and eat his balls. What does one listen to while eating Arancini? Dave’s recommendation is AC/DC’s “Big Balls”:

Arancini Brothers on: Facebook, Twitter, Yelp