Potato Pancakes Artistically Arranged with Basil and “Scallops” and Discoteka Yugostyle, Macklemore & Lewis and the Dirty Nil
When I was a teenager the town my grandmother lived in opened a French restaurant. At the time I hated everything French. This was basically because one guy from France, let’s call him Pierre, used to make out with my girlfriend backstage at their acting shows (he also snuck into movies and belted out Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun” at the most inappropriate moments). I now realize that I didn’t give French culture a fair shake. I mean my hating it because of one guy is like a person disliking all teachers because of one they had in grade school or if a female hated all men because of a bad relationship. Hell, what if I hated all llamas because that one that just happened to spit in my eye caused me irreparable retina damage. Eventually I dumped the girl and became more receptive to what the French had to offer. This phase even included a trip into the restaurant. While there, I made it a point to refrain from any type of judgement. I sat politely with my family and new girlfriend (who happened to be J-Fur). I said nothing when the waiters came out in these odd looking outfits (bow ties and tuxedos with towels draped over their arms). I bit my tongue as our particular waiter strung together a whole bunch of words I had never heard before. I nodded calmly at the clearly overpriced menu. But when my meal came out, a pork chop, I could no longer contain myself. “Excuse me sir,” I said waving my hand in the air “where is the rest of my food.” Plopped in the middle of my plate was the smallest pork chop I had ever seen surrounded by some artistically cut vegetables. This couldn’t have been worth 22 dollars could it?
That visit, along with the need to use some matzo that had been in my pantry for a long time, were the inspiration behind this dish. I wanted something small, yummy and artistically plopped in the middle of a large plate. I adapted the recipe from a Chef John instructional video.
Potato Pancakes Artistically Arranged with Basil and “Scallops”
-3 potatoes, grated
-1/2 an onion, grated
-1/4 cup matzo meal
-1 flax egg
-2 king oyster mushrooms, sliced into circles
-20 basil leaves
-2 Tbs. capers
-1 roasted red pepper
-1 cup water
1. Roast the red pepper by covering it in olive oil, placing it in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit and cooking for 45 minutes. Flip the pepper every 10-15 minutes to char each side. When appropriately blackened, dunk into an ice water bath. Once the pepper is cool, remove the skin and slice into thin strips. Set aside.
2. Heat some olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Mix the potatoes, onion, matzo meal and flax egg in a large metal bowl. Form into patties and place in the skillet (2 or 3 at a time). Fry for 7 minutes. Flip the patty and fry on the other side for 7 more minutes. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to remove any excess oil. Repeat until all the potatoes are gone.
3. Scrap any remaining potato bits from the skillet. Add a bit more olive oil and increase the heat to high. Sear the mushrooms for about a minute on each side. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Add a little more olive oil to the skillet. Drop in the red pepper slices. Stir constantly for a minute or two. Add the capers and basil leaves. Continue stirring until everything has been heated and well combined. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour in a cup of water. Stir until you have a sauce.
5. To arrange, place the potato pancakes on a warm plate. Top with two or three mushrooms. Spoon some red pepper, capers and basil over each mushroom. Find a guy with a bow tie and tuxedo to bring the plate to your table.
When talking art, one needs to go no further then the brand new video for “Eagle Dangers” by Discoteka Yugostyle. I haven’t seen a video like this in a while. The whole video revolves around an eagle chasing the band members and killing them one by one. Through in the fact that the band plays instruments that aren’t your typical run through the forest ones and it makes for a funny chase scene. “Eagle Dangers” is no lyrics, everything is created by the band’s large ensemble of musicians just doing what they do best, playing instruments. The band would like to apologize in advance for anyone that they have ignored on the street or walked through without a second glance. They are huge rock stars now and spend their time doing rock star activities like “watching TV on very big TVs and drinking chocolate milk while laying in swimming pools wearing ridiculous sun glasses.” I think we can add running from eagles to that list now.
Speaking of videos, check the new one from Macklemore & Lewis for “Same Love” their call to arms to the hip hop community (and everyone) to quit the hate when it comes to homosexual relationships. Its about love, nothing more. Mary Lambert provides the beautiful chorus. “Same Love” comes from Macklemore & Lewis’ debut album, The Heist, out next week (October 9th):
Back with a new single is the Dirty Nil, basically the complete opposite of the hoity toity cuisine posted above. These guys are loud, dirty and raw (I’m thinking they pair nicely with a big plate of wasabi dipped sushi) and dependent on anti-waiter in tuxedo things like “beer, blood, broken bones, broken instruments, broken ears, inescapable loudness, screaming, unresolved girl problems, exposed wiring, no pants, no shoes, dirty basements, drunk producers, beer, fuzz, real Italian pizza, ladies night out and a dozen donuts.” The new track “Little Metal Baby Fist” is my favorite so far. It is part of a three track 7 inch of the same name (it also includes “Hate is a Stone” and “Moonage Daydream”). Get it here.