Uppama, 7 Psychopaths and Taking the Rest in a Hammock Circa the 1975

Uppama, 7 Psychopaths and Taking the Rest in a Hammock Circa the 1975

On Tuesday I caught a premier for 7 Psychopaths (pretty ridiculous/bloody movie, I enjoyed it immensely). One of the psychopaths is created when his daughter is murdered and he decides to follow the murderer around. He follows him through 15 years in the penitentiary. He follows him out of the joint to his home. He follows him to his new home (as he relocates to escape the father). He continues to trail him until, well, you’ll have to see for yourself. I immediately knew what the murderer was feeling as I connected it to the Farina in my pantry. I bought it a while back for a recipe and it has been creeping behind me ever since. When I went to St. Pete Beach, it was there. On my trip to Mexico, it hitched a ride in my carry-on. Many Christmases in Pennsylvania have come and gone and that farina has been there for each. It has helped celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, births and deaths, through thick and thicker it has been there. This week (before seeing the movie) I decided that I had had enough of that farina. It was time for it to go. I was going to cook that entire box.

During my research I stumbled upon a recipe for Farina with Vegetables (Uppama) from All Easy Recipes. It sounded interesting enough. I made it, with a few slight adjustments, and then sat down to a nice steaming bowl. I took a bite and my face immediately fell. There was one huge f***ing problem. Th Uppama was so damn good that I knew I would be stopping on my way home from the work the next day to buy another box of Farina. So much for ridding myself of it.

Farina, psychopath number 1 in my kitchen.

Farina With Vegetables (Uppama) (adapted slightly from alleasyrecipes.com)
(printable version)

-1/4 cup peanut oil
-1 Tbsp Moong Dal
-1 tsp yellow mustard seed
-1/2 an onion, finely chopped
-2 thai chilis, seeds removed, fine dice
-1 cup farina
-1 tomato, finely chopped
-15 baby carrots, diced
-1 bunch green scallions, small dice
-3 cups water

1. In a dutch oven, heat the peanut oil until a haze begins to form. Add the dal and stir constantly for forty five seconds. Pour the mustard seeds in and stir until the oil begins to sputter (be careful not to burn).

2. Add the onion and chilis and stir continuously while pouring the Farina in using a slow stream. Fry the farina for five minutes, stirring about every minute. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Add the carrots, scallions, water and salt and stir to combine. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat as low as possible and cover the dutch oven. Cook for 10 minutes until the Farina is thick.

3. Add any seasonings you desire. Serve at once. Have a counselor on hand if you are prone to addiction.

Hammock has been creating their brand of atmospheric, southern ambient, shoegaze since 2005. As a senior band, these guys have long ago past most of their firsts. But October 2nd marks them heading into uncharted territory. The band’s fifth LP, Departure Songs, will be released and it is the band’s first double album. The new single from the album, “(Tonight) We Burn Like Stars That Never Die,” is featured below:

We’ve been following the 1975 for a few months thanks to their acclaimed EP Facedown. The band has followed that release with an even darker affair. The single, entitled “Sex”, explores the disappointment one feels when meeting missus or mister right only to find they have a lover they aren’t willing to leave. You can do what Sam Rockwell does in 7 Psychopaths and, well, you’ll have to see it or you can right an anthemic, fist pumping fight song. 1975 did the latter. Check it:

And what is a discussion of sex (hey, how did we get here from farina) without copulating puppets. You heard me right, puppets that roll around in the hay. The Rest took their single “Hey! For Horses” and made it happen. I used to only dream of such things, now I see it right in front of me. It is even more magical than I imagined:

Baker’s Dozen Interview: Slam Donahue

Baker’s Dozen Interview: Slam Donahue

(photo taken from Slam Donahue’s Facebook Page)

Take a moment and think about your parents having sex. Now thank Slam Donahue for that image. We talk sex lives of parents, the difference between New York and Connecticut, styrofoam mixed drinks, gunshots to the stomach and the band’s new EP in our latest installment of the Baker’s Dozen Interview series. Without further adieu, I give you Slam Donahue:

TB: Slam Donahue was born when the two of you (Dave and Thomas), playing in rival bands at the time, decided to collaborate. What was it that caused the two of you to gravitate towards each other?

Thomas: We started hanging out more and more as both of our bands at the time were dissolving. Writing songs came from showing each other ideas, little bits of melody. We kind of just crashed all these pieces together into whatever and eventually figured out how to do it better.

Dave: Also I think that Tom and I were the only ones who really took music seriously and wanted to take it to the next level. If I had asked my band at the time to move to New York to pursue our music career, I think they would have declined. You want to work with someone as ambitious as you are.

TB: Part of my desire to be a better cook is born from trying to outdo my friends. Your music takes the same approach, like a game of one-upmanship. How has this helped get you were you are? Do you ever foresee a time when this way of doing things will no longer work?

Thomas: Working with each other made us cut out so many bad parts. Having each other to edit is the best thing we’ve got. It can work forever as long as we don’t end up living in opposing fortresses, only talking through mediators.

Dave: Well we live together right now, so it’d be weird to only talk through a mediator.

TB: You’ve got a new EP out, Hemlock TeaWhat were you going for with this release? Were you able to accomplish it?

Thomas: A record full of bangers; just big song after big song. We did a good job, yeah.

Dave: I just wanted some recordings I could be proud of. We had had studio experiences before but I never felt that we had really hit the nail on the head. I think we got pretty damn close this time.

TB: Hemlock Tea traditionally has been used to fight a number of medicinal battles (diarrhea, vaginitis, canker sores and scurvy to name a few). Why choose it for an EP title?

Thomas: There is the kind that kills people, conium. I heard a story about a man who was paranoid that people were poisoning his food with hemlock. I know he is in an institution now and they weren’t really poisoning him. The story just stuck with me.

TB: My favorite track from the EP is the upbeat, anthemic burner “I Turn On.” In it you pose the question that I’m sure every kid has faced at some point, “Do you parents still have sex?” What were you thinking when you penned this line? Were you ever fearful that the image you might put in some people’s heads might not be a pleasant one?

Thomas: It is about a specific set of parents. I couldn’t ask the person outright so I suppose I was fearful. It’s an uncomfortable thing to be sure but like you said, it’s a question everyone can relate to.

Dave: It’s arts job to pose those uncomfortable questions. Usually those are things reserved for close friends, but some people don’t have anyone to talk to about things like that. This song says “hey, some things are fucked up, but we’re all going through it too.”

TB: I will forever associate “I Turn On” with beans which is probably not the most flattering association. When you hear “I Turn On” what is your first association?

Thomas: Well now beans but before that, and sorry to be a drag, people just putting up with each other; just barely putting up with each other.

Dave: It’s interesting you say beans, because that is actually how I measure the creative value of an idea or piece of work. Home many ‘beans’ it has. True story…

TB: One thing that seems to stand out in your music is the ability to write a chorus. It doesn’t matter what style of song you are going for, the chorus always seems to be right on. Is there a secret to your chorus writing success?

Dave: Yes.

TB: You’ve got a couple of shows coming up. One at Pianos as part of the Win Win residency (show occurred last week), a second at Swat Bar with Devin (Sept. 27th) and another at the Studio with Hits (October 5th). Anything big in store for these shows?

Thomas: We have two new guys in the band, Renzo and Alex playing drums and keyboard. It adds so much, our first show with the setup was our EP release and it turned into a freak out.

Dave: Hopefully we’ll be out touring the east coast or New England by the end of the year, maybe early next year. Just have to wait for the EP to gather some momentum.

TB: Speaking of shows, Slam Donahue played a dinner set at the Soho House last month. What was this experience like? Was this the strangest place you’ve ever played?

Thomas: Liam Gallagher told us to have a good show, mates. But it was great. We abused the privileges. We’ve played weird places. Ice cream shops, this chicken place where Dave insulted a table of nine, a comic book store where we had to wait for a card tournament to finish, a plywood room in an empty warehouse. This was one of the better ones.

Dave: I liked it a bunch. Free food and drinks all night. Most of the crowd was really great besides a couple of ‘suits’ that floated away with a gust of wind.

TB: You guys originally met in Connecticut before relocating to New York City. In what ways does New York fit you better?  Are there any moments where you feel if only we were still in Connecticut…?

Thomas: We wouldn’t have what little we do without being here. Connecticut is fine to visit but I wouldn’t want to live anywhere but New York. We’ve been here for such a short time and it has given us so much.

Dave: We got prettier girls and more opportunities. NY is king. I’ll always have a soft spot for a very small portion of CT called “my father’s house.” I don’t care much for the rest of it.

TB: Seeing that you are from Connecticut and are big XBOX basketball fans I have to ask about Jim Calhoun. Any feelings about his legacy and recent retirement?

Dave: Nah.

TB: Does Slam Donahue get the chance to do much cooking? Any special recipes you care to share? 

Thomas: From UrbanDictionary.com:

-Promethazine w/Codeine VC <-Sizzurp (active ingredient)
-Original Sprite Soda <-Mixing ingredient (although different flavors of sprite are now used, such as sprite remix)
-Jolly Rancher Candy <-flavor additive
-Put it all in a styrofoam cup and enjoy.

TB: Any final thoughts? 

Thomas: When I die from a single gunshot wound to the stomach, I want the song “Dirt” by the Stooges playing.

Dave: Remember to vote fool!

Check out the aforementioned “I Turn On”:

And another EP favorite “Bug in the Sun”:

Both tracks courtesy of Cantora Records.

Find Slam Donahue on: Web, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp

Where We Eat: Cilantro Indian Cuisine and Vaadat Charigim

Where We Eat: Cilantro Indian Cuisine and Vaadat Charigim

On one of my last weekdays off of the summer I set out to conquer a twenty mile bike ride. This ride was unlike the others I took this summer because it would be along main roads and through trailer parks rather than winding in the woods. I had gone about seven miles when I blew out my tire. I flipped the bike and tried to perform some mouth to mouth techniques but the back just kept falling flat. A closer inspection revealed the culprit, my tire had been cross checked by a nail. I called J-Fur who was on an interview at the time and left her a message. Then I began walking. One mile. Two miles. Three miles. I had almost walked the entire distance to the University when J-Fur pulled up alongside me. I threw the bike in her car and followed her, hot and sweaty, into a dissertation meeting. Afterwards we decided to get lunch at Cilantro Indian Cuisine.

That was the long way of saying, I didn’t mean to wind up at Cilantro on this particular day.

It had been years since I last ate Cilantro’s Lunch Buffet. Back in the day it was this huge affair, with all kinds of different vegetarian samplings. It was hot. How hot? Let’s just say that wasn’t ghee in some of those dishes, that’s how hot the buffet made me feel. Samosas, naan, gobhi manchurian, dal, vegetable fritters, your say it in Indian and it was probably on that buffet.

On this day, three years later, I noticed right away that things had changed. What was once a ginormous feast had now been relegated to a corner office vending machine. It was so small and unimpressive that I almost ordered something from the menu. Still, with at least six vegetarian dishes on their bar, I decided that it was worth the fat bill for the buffet. If nothing else, I could try a little bit of everything (except dessert, that stuff was bad).

One of the highlights of the meal was the chickpeas and spinach. Seeing as it was a combination of two of my favorite foods, it would’ve been hard to leave me either disappointed or impressed. But the latter is just what the dish did. The spinach was creamy and buttery and the chickpeas were perfectly cooked.

Next up was the gobhi manchurian, a crispy cauliflower with sweet and sour sauce. The sauce was slightly sweet, not overly done, with beautifully textured cauliflower. It was either battered or cooked to the point that it took on an almost battered feel.

I didn’t really care for the moong dal which was spicy lentils in a curry sauce or the mixed veggie fritters. The fritters were just too much starch, especially the battered potatoes and the veggies didn’t stand out much. They needed some kind of sauce to enhance their flavors.

The final buffet item I spent a lot of time with was the bombay aloo. This consisted of creamy potatoes with a kick of spice at the end. Much better than the veggie fritters but not quite as impressive as the gobhi manchurian.

I’ve had a number of great meals at Cilantro. Once I got over my initial disappointment of a smaller buffet, I was able to enjoy (some of) the food on this occasion as well. Still, the buffet is pricey and the few options seem to be not worth the price. I think one is best served skipping the lunch buffet and going with some of the a la carte dinners the restaurant has to offer (unless they’ve changed those too…).

Cilantro Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Cilantro Indian Cuisine on Foodio54

I went Indian to the sounds of Israeli rock trio Vaadat Charigim. The band’s new single “Odisea” is a sonic guitar experience that reminds me of cloudy, reverb-huffing, krautrock. I wish I could tell you more about the band but my Hebrew is a bit shaky.

Apple Butter Oat Bars and Yardvarks

Apple Butter Oat Bars and Yardvarks

For months the apple butter I bought was tucked somewhere in the vast void that is our refrigerator. It came up for air about a week ago and I grabbed it to make sure it didn’t get away again. I planned some apple butter barbecue sauce, some ribs and maybe a dessert. Although I went in reverse order, dessert first. I chose Community Cucina’s Apple Butter Oat Bars. This recipe called for 2/3 a cup of apple butter. That would pretty much take care of the jar. I dumped out the spread and…only managed half that. I cut the recipe down accordingly and baked up a batch. Guess the barbecue sauce and ribs will have to wait until I have another year old jar of apple butter needing to be used. For all I know there may be one in there now….

Also getting lost, this time in my spam folder, was the new single from Illawara band Yardvark. “Loud, Loud” is a nice single, a great introduction to a band that puts a lot of emphasis on strong instruments and catchy choruses.Check it:


Cheap Beer, Cigarettes, Bookworms and Roasted Brussels, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Stew

Cheap Beer, Cigarettes, Bookworms and Roasted Brussels, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Stew

There’s a clip at the end of NOFX’s 1997 album So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes where the band is played on the Howard Stern show. Stern cuts off the song as soon as Fat Mike starts singing and says something along the lines of What is this? The producer replies “NOFX.” Stern plays that in his mind a few times, thinking up a shock jocky  thing to say and then finally states “NOFX? NOFX? More like no talent.” Then the album fades out.

A similar scene played through my mind when I tried this sweet potato recipe that I came across. The picture is beautiful and I knew at once that I wanted to make it. I gathered the five ingredients and put it together in the way I was instructed and gave it a taste. Then I gave it another. “No other ingredients? No other ingredients? More like no taste.” My kitchen experience faded out.

I’ve eaten enough vegan food to know that it doesn’t have to be bland and tasteless. Healthy doesn’t have to be a turn off. If I put something like this in front of my brother he would take a taste and spit it out (or add a sack load of salt). Still, I liked the idea of roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes. I went back to the kitchen to try this dish again, Tender Branson style. I roasted brussels sprouts along with the cauliflower, added some vegan bacon and veggie broth and thickened the whole thing with some hearty orzo pasta. That was the more I sought.

Roasted Brussels, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Stew
(printable version)

-1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into squares
-11 Brussels sprouts, halved
-olive oil
-onion, diced
-2 garlic cloves, pressed
-5 cups veggie broth
-8 ounces orzo
-vegan bacon
-fresh pepper (to taste)
-crushed red pepper (to taste)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the cauliflower, sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes (until sweet potatoes are soft).

2. In a stockpot, heat some olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent. Pour in the veggie broth and bring to a boil.

3. Add all the roasted sweet potatoes and some of the cauliflower and brussels. Use an immersion blender to smooth it out.

4. Add the orzo and cook, stirring often, until orzo has desired texture. Stir in the remaining brussels, cauliflower and veggie bacon. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add more stock if necessary/desired. Eat it like a tasteless joke.

This dish has that punk attitude, though a bit stronger than the poppy sounds put forth by NOFX. It needs something like Angels Heart. These Los Angeles natives have taken the traditional punk rock sound of DIY, stripped down, rebellious rock and amplified it with their own creative edge. Throw in some screaming guitars, classic cars, tattoos and cigarettes and a chorus that leaves you breathless and you’ve pretty much nailed their new track “Under the Black Light.” 2012 will see Angels Heart release three records featuring 27 songs including their full length album Tattoos and Cigarettes.

PAWS track “Miss American Bookworm” has been working its way around my stereo for the past month and barely missed the cut for my Hill of Beans mix. But with their props from MTV and Japandroids, I think it is well past time to feature them here. “Miss American Bookworm” is posted courtesy of SlaptheBass:

Fidlar wants you to know they actually like cheap beer. Give them the Old Style, the Beast or PBR and they’ll make a night of it, they don’t need the microbrewed, locally spiced stuff. If you aren’t ok with it then f*** you.

Food Pairing 101: What Goes Well With a Smokey Tofu Muffuletta?

Food Pairing 101: What Goes Well With a Smokey Tofu Muffuletta?

This week’s cooking priority is to get rid of the olive salad in my refrigerator. For the past two weeks, every time I open the door of the fridge my eye catches the big green bowl that houses that salty king of  condiments. It is just your typical pyrex bowl, yet it has taken on an ominous appearance like grandma’s outdated holiday china. I dread coming face to face with what sits in that bowl. Now don’t get me wrong, it has nothing to do with the taste (as the salad is quite good). It has to do with the fact that I’ve made portobello muffulettas three times, ate it slathered on crackers as an appetizer/snack, baked it into bread and it still sits in that bowl. Like a pyrex virgin. Barely touched.

Today I did some touching. It wasn’t easy (I think it required three pep talks and overcoming some wicked gag reflexes) but I spread that salad all over some ciabatta bread. I then topped it with smokey tofu, a tomato slice, red pepper, spinach and another slice of bread. It was pure bliss. Separate the tofu and olive salad are both super salty. Placed together on a bed of ciabatta and nestled amongst some fresh veggies, the two taste divine. Before I knew it, it was all done. Some might call the speed at which I inhaled that sandwich a “bit premature” but for me it was exactly what I needed (the inspiration for this recipe came from an unrefined vegan blog).

So what do you pair with this part time lover of a sandwich? How about the 60’s pop stylings of Hot Freak Nation. “Everything is Everything Else” is the wild teen dream lover of the bunch. “Sunshine from the Heart” is the more sophisticated MILPBW of the group (Mother I’d Love to Play Bunco With). Both tracks come from the band’s 13 song debut album entitled Lifetime to Lifetime. You can get it in tape form from Trashy Creatures/Burger Records or digitally through Trashy Creatures.

Hot Freak Nation-Everything is Everything Else

Hot Freak Nation-Sunshine From the Heart

Sexy Orange Chili on Top of Vegan Corn Bread and Pesto Muffins with the Valery Trails, the Caretakers and Cruiser

Sexy Orange Chili on Top of Vegan Corn Bread and Pesto Muffins with the Valery Trails, the Caretakers and Cruiser

J-Fur’s cousin and her husband spent a few months living in two places. They had a unique mountain home in Colorado and a nice river front place in Sarasota. Eventually bills caught up to them and they had to decide which one to live in permanently. They chose Sarasota. They packed up the house in Colorado, bought a trailer, and headed straight for the land of oranges. Upon arrival they realized they had a small dilemma. They owned two of everything. Before hauling half of their possessions off to a good will, they decided to offer free things to anyone willing to come by. We wasted no time in accepting their offer.

This Saturday we made the hour long drive from Tampa to Sarasota. Here we gathered kitchen gadgets galore. From knives to casserole dishes to weird shaped cups to the beast mother of toasters. But the best score, in my opinion, was a blender. Now I could make homemade rice milk and quit shelling out so much in order to enjoy desert (aka sugar cereal).

The blender succeeded where the food processor failed and I was able to make a large pitcher of rice milk. My first challenge with the homemade rice milk was to veganize some corn bread muffins and serve them underneath some sexy orange chili.

Vegan Corn Bread Muffins with Pesto
(printable version)

-1 1/2 cups corn meal
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1 Tbs. sugar
-1 flax egg
-3/4 cup rice milk (or other vegan milk)
-3 Tbs. vegetable oil
-3 Tbs. Pesto (or to taste)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet. Halfway fill muffin cups with the batter.

3. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

Orange Chili
(printable version)

-3 cups black beans
-1 cup black eyed peas
-1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
-1 onion, diced
-4 cloves of garlic, pressed
-14 ounces of diced tomatoes
-juice and zest of 1 orange
-4 tsp. chili powder
-4 tsp. cumin
-salt and pepper (to taste)

1. In a large stockpot: saute the onion and garlic in olive oil. Add the tomatoes, beans, rice, spices, and orange and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for twenty minutes.

3. Serve over pesto cornbread.

Some other things that taste real good smothered in chili are the new tracks from The Valery Trails, The Caretakers and Cruiser. When last we saw the Valery Trails they had just put out an album and were busy brewing beer, making salsa and cooking up their own vegan chili. Fast forward a few months and they are prepping for the release of an EP while chilling like a “man crouching naked at the bottom of the world.” The four song EP, entitled Feline, will be released on October 1st. Take a moment to check out the moody “Too Soon Forgotten”:

The Caretakers are a two piece band that “wears their political motivations on their sleeves.” Basically they make music for the 99 percent. “Killing Me, Killing You” is a track from their second album Love, War + Propaganda. It was originally called “Make Love Not War” and was written as a response to the wars and conflict in the Middle East over the past decades. The song references two of the world’s most notable biblical prophets, Jesus and Muhammad, as well as peace advocate Mahatma Gandhi. The song seeks a society where people live together without the threat of judgement, condemnation or killing. Listen to the entire EP at the band’s bandcamp page.

Cruiser is the solo project of Philadelphia native Andy States. It came into existence buried in a walk-in closet of a crowded inner city loft. The walk-in closet demos eventually landed in the hands of Jeremy Park, producer of Youth Lagoon’s The Year of Hibernation. Park offered to produce Cruiser’s EP after hearing the songs. Cruiser crafts beachy songs with infections melodies and a carefree attitude that suggest summer may be slipping away, but you can hold on to it for just a few more minutes. Check out the entire EP at Cruiser’s bandcamp page.

Too Much of A Good Thing (Almost): Polenta Crusted Roast Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic Tapped Out by New Hands and Farewell Luna

Too Much of A Good Thing (Almost): Polenta Crusted Roast Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic Tapped Out by New Hands and Farewell Luna

I remember thinking as a child that there are some things that I would never get tired of. Oddly enough, most of these thoughts revolved around condiments. First it was mayo and butter. I would put these on everything. Then one day, famished and alone after returning home from first grade, I decided to start spooning right from the mayo container and licking the butter stick. A hardcore vomiting session later and I was done with both of them. Next it was ketchup. I was dared to drink an entire cup full of ketchup. If I was able to do so I’d make a dollar (probably should have charged more). I filled the cup and was only able to take about an inch off before I started to suffer from incredible heartburn. There were similar episodes of insanity that involved wasabi, soy sauce and mustard. Not once have I learned my lesson.

My latest episode of  “there are some things I will never get tired of” involved the most precious oil in my kitchen, olive. Now that J-Fur and I have been placing a lot of bills into getting a high quality olive oil, I can put that stuff on anything. Vegetables, bread, cereal, you name it, I can douse it in olive oil. This weekend I decided to make Polenta Crusted Roast Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic from Simple Bites. I didn’t even balk at the 3/4 cup of olive oil. But after dropping in the rosemary, garlic and potatoes I began to see just how much 3/4 of a cup of olive oil really is. I cooked and cooked and cooked the potatoes. I also stirred and stirred and stirred them. The end result was a pile of steaming golden browned potatoes with beautiful pieces of garlic and a hint of rosemary. It was awesome. But the bottom of the pan was filled with a bunch of potatoes that were (gasp!) too oily. After eating, I felt slightly weighted down like I imagine a penguin caught in an oil spill might feel. I looked in the mirror and was hit with a depressing realization…I was sick of the olive oil. I finished the pan (that’s how good they tasted even with the ridiculous amount of oil) and vowed that next time I would cut the oil down to size. Two days later (due to my extra potatoes and rosemary) I made them again, reducing the oil level. There was no feeling weighted down during this round. I ate my way through the entire pan of potatoes without so much as a greasy napkin.

Pair these potatoes, especially the oil heavy original version, with something that you can’t get enough of (to offer a little balance). I’m thinking something like the “Whichever Way You’ll Have it” by New Hands or “By the Morning” by Farewell Luna. New Hands’ new single sounds a little like the electro-dance jams that Diamond Rings has been releasing out into the world with a spacier feel. Think Diamond Rings on Jupiter. I, for one, can’t get enough of Diamond Rings. Therefore, something that reminds me of him will never be a bad thing. With each subsequent release New Hands dishes out something a little different and a little better. I can’t help but wonder what they’ll do next.

“By the Morning” is the title track and kickstarter for Jared Wohl’s new four song EP. Released under the name Farewell Luna the former N.O.O.E front man plays a brand of soul fused alternative rock with a wrestling edge. Its peaceful, slightly electronic and full of tap outs. You can check out the rest of the EP at Farewell Luna’s bandcamp page.

Packing the Heat: Thai Chili Tempeh with Noodles, Jez Dior and Kopps

Packing the Heat: Thai Chili Tempeh with Noodles, Jez Dior and Kopps

J-Fur and I visited a new Farmer’s Market this weekend. It was much more impressive than the one we’ve been frequenting (although it was also more expensive). As we were checking out, I glanced back at a table overloaded with ginger and I caught a glimpse of a sinister looking bucket. On the side, scrawled in blood, were the words “Ghost Peppers: Hottest in Tampa.”

The first time I heard of this horrifically hot pepper was on the Boston Episode of Man vs Food. Host Adam Richman was eating at the East Coast Grill in Cambridge, Massachusetts during their Halloween celebration dubbed Hell Night. It is here that the restaurant breaks out their spiciest foods. Before tackling the hottest pasta in the world, Adam bounced around the restaurant serving “antidotes” to people that couldn’t handle the heat (ice cold creamsicles) while chanting “Wimp, wimp, wimp.” The boyish exuberance that he displayed during these “Wimp” chants made this one of my favorite moments of the show (Adam himself wimped out later when he tried the pasta).

These were the images seared into my brain as I started walking towards the container to grab a few. Suddenly other memories flashed before my eyes. In one scene I was vomiting at work after trying a jalepeno (about 200-500 times less spicy than a ghost chili pepper). In another I laid crumbled on the bathroom floor after a bowl of thai chili tempeh (from my co-workers garden). I slowly backed away realizing that what rested inside that bucket was nothing that I wanted f*** with.

Here is the recipe for the very tame thai chili tempeh that was so devastatingly “hot” that I had to eat it cold:

Thai Chili Tempeh and Noodles
(printable version)

Red Sauce:
-15 thai chilis
-1 Tbs. Sesame Oil
-1/2 tsp. red curry paste

For the Noodles:
-1 package of tempeh, sliced into cubes
-2 cups shelled edmame
-1 package of rice noodles
-1 bunch of scallions, diced
-1 cup Napa cabbage, sliced into thin strips
-2 garlic cloves, pressed
-1 inch piece of ginger, small dice
-soy sauce (to taste)
-lime juice

1. Place the chills, sesame oil and red curry paste into a food processor of blender. Blend until smooth.

2. Saute the garlic and ginger in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions, cabbage and tempeh. Pour in a little soy sauce to keep the veggies and tempeh from sticking. Cook for about five minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain. Dump into a large metal bowl.

4. Pour the red sauce and tempeh mixture into the noodles. Stir. Add more soy sauce and lime juice (if desired). Place the large bowl into the refrigerator and allow to cool. Eat it.

Someone who knows a little something something about bringing the heat is Jez Dior. Jez is a Los Angeles based hip-hop artist who is preparing for the release of his first solo mixtape titled Scarlett Sage. The initial single from the mixtape, “Candles,” burns somewhere around 2,000,ooo scoville (making the ghost chili seem like an ice cube). It pairs Jez’s catchy rhymes with a hook sampled from Daughter. With this being a first release, I can’t even imagine the heat this man will bring in the future.

In visual form:

It is hard to imagine a dance track that offers an angrier chorus than “You are the bastard baby. You’ve killed us all so now we haunting you.” That is what flows from the nintendo laced speakers of Kopps new track “Bastard Baby.” The best part (aside from that mighty fine saxophone) is that as angry as the lyrics seem to be, one can’t tell from the music. In fact, it is hard not to shake your head and move your feet too this track. I’m envisioning a future where this song pours from the dance club speakers and the gyrating sexed up booty dancers seek out the nearest midsection offering a massive shot of adrenaline. I can’t help but laugh at that.