On June 10th of last year, a visit to Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe provided me with two things: some of the finest fried green tomatoes these tastebuds have ever enjoyed and an Edward Sharpe remix by Little Daylight. In time, the fried green tomatoes faded to just another food memory in a long line of them. But Little Daylight wouldn’t go away. They followed Edward Sharpe with a remix of St. Lucia. Then there was Temper Trap, Niki and the Dove, Freelance Whales, Passion Pit and the Mowgli’s. Each email was littered with assurances that eventually the band would be sending original songs my way. True to their word, Little Daylight has finally jumped in and gone original. Stylistically speaking “Overdose” has many things in common with the band’s remixes. The pulsating beats remain. So does the bounce your head rhythm (call it Tribal Flair), the catchy breakdowns and pop affinity. What is not to love?
But that’s not all. Paired with the new track is a video. This is all just a setup for the real big deal which is the band bringing their live show to the SXSW Festival. By bringing, I mean premiering. First live show. First original song. First “Overdose” that is actually enjoyable. That calls for a celebration.
How did I celebrate? With an ode to my first original recipe that I paired with Little Daylight. Remember the Chicago Style Italian Seitan Sandwich? It was topped with the brilliant condiment known as giardiniera. For “Overdose” I returned to the giardiniera. This time, instead of seitan, I loaded it up on a pile of oven roasted broccoli and cauliflower. I then smeared onion barbeque sauce across the roof and slammed it shut with some whole grain bread. My wife had to grab an Epipen, that’s how intense this sh** was.
When I was six I had some pretty bad nightmares. These were to the point that my mom actually asked the doctor about them. I remember him suggesting that she shouldn’t give me money (like that was the root of my nightmares?). For a few weeks she would lay in my bed until I fell asleep. If I woke up, I cried out to her. These nightmares took the form of spiders, snakes and Brussels Sprouts. I dreamt that the snakes were slithering under my covers looking to eat my eyes and toes, the spiders were dropping from the ceiling and crawling into my mouth and the sprouts were, well, they were just on my plate. I recovered quickly from the spider and snake thing. The Brussels stuck around much longer.
I’m a fan of these guys now. Like little mini cabbages that combine Halloween, Christmas and my birthday all in one. Recently Brussels have been in the news a bit. First they were included by Public Polling Policy as part of a popularity test. The idea behind the poll was to take some rather unpopular things and compare them to Congress. People then gave their opinion of which was more popular of the two. Brussels Sprouts won with a resounding 69 to 23 (the sad thing is that lice was only a few behind at 67, how could people prefer lice to Congress at nearly the same rate as Brussels Sprouts?). A couple other interesting things from the poll: Nickelback barely edged Congress (39-32) as did Cockroaches (45-43). Some of the things that Congress proved more popular than were Lindsey Lohan, playground bullies, the Kardashians, Fidel Castro, Gonorrhea, Ebola, Communism, North Korea and meth labs. The second bit of news came a few days ago when Lara Rabinovitch (who? I don’t know. She seems to be from So Cal so I thought she might be important) called Brussels Sprouts the new “it” vegetable. Her reasoning being that they are becoming increasingly more popular on menus as chefs rethink what they can do with them. Now I’m not a chef, but I did rethink them over the past few days. I put them on a sandwich. And then I did it again. And again. In fact, I’ve done it six times in the last four days. That’s as “it” as it gets as far as I’m concerned. I need to remember to call off the party for a few days to ensure that I don’t OD.
-Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
-sea salt and black pepper
-2 cloves garlic
for the hummus:
-1 cup chickpeas
-2 garlic cloves
-6 sundried tomatoes in oil
-1/2 Tbs. miso
-1 Tbs. olive oil
-3 Tbs. water
-dried basil, oregano and salt (to taste)
1. Rub the Brussels Sprouts in olive oil. Place them in a wok, flat side down. Sprinkle salt and pepper over top. Cook for about five minutes, until the Brussels begin to lightly brown. Flip them and continue cooking for a few more minutes. When they are nearly down, press the garlic into the pan. Stir and continue cooking for two minutes. Set aside.
2. Toast the sub rolls in the oven for a few minutes.
3. Combine all the hummus ingredients (except water) in a food processor. Pulse to break up the big chunks of sun-dried tomato. Process on high until everything is smooth. Add the water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, to reach the desired consistency.
4. Spread a spoonful of hummus on the sub rolls. Add the Brussels Sprouts. Top with any additional toppings you like (I also added some cabbage to give it a bit of a crunch). Slide it down your esophagus.
Cooking Brussels Sprouts turn these dull colored plants into bright green orbs. Add a little blackened crispiness and you’ve got a very colorful sandwich. One worthy of the paintings that Denny White creates on his new EP. “Colors” is a soulful, indie rock exploration into taking chances when your back is against the wall. You’ve got nothing to lose, so go for it. Get your hands on his entire EP, here.
I don’t know why I sat on Josef Salvat’s “This Life” for so long. I guess I had plans that fell through or something. “This Life” has a lot of Gotye in it and a little Lana Del Rey. It is pure, laid back, moodiness.
And since I’m on a Jay Reatard kick and it is rather appropriate…how about “Nightmare”:
I’ve got a huge aloe plant on my porch that seems to keep multiplying (aw man, I just looked out the window and it increased in size again). Every time I look, there’s more. Because I am so meticulous and fluid in the kitchen, I don’t burn myself enough to use more than a stalk of aloe a year. What do I do with the rest of it? Drink it.
I’ve held off on aloe drinks for the longest time. How could that gel that soothes burns be something that tastes worthwhile? But, a few weekends ago at the farmer’s market, I heard one of the employees talking up an aloe drink to a customer. When it was my turn to be checked out I asked him what the best aloe drink was. He gave me an answer and I jumped right in. And boy did I enjoy that swim.
Strawberry juice with little balls of gel that slide smoothly down your throat, cooling as it soothes your insides. I liked it so much that moments after I finished the bottle (and tossed it away for recycling) I tried my own. This wasn’t a made from scratch, super involved recipe but more of a use some things in my refrigerator to make it work one. Next time I’ll go all in and make the juice from scratch and see where that goes.
-1 cup grape juice
-1/2 stalk of aloe
1. Pour the grape juice and strawberries into a blender.
2. Slice the green part off the outside of the aloe plant. Use a spoon to scrape the gel from inside the leaf into the blender. Continue until all the gel has been removed.
3. Blend it all. Drink it.
For Descendents fans, this is a big year. Milo turned 50. To celebrate Filter Magazine put together a compilation of various bands performing Descendents songs. Included on the album are reinterpretations by Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses, Yacht, Mike Watt, FIDLAR, The Henry Clay People and Good Riddance (as well as others). Grapeberry Aloe juice fits nicely alongside “Sour Grapes” (which was covered by Good Riddance on the album).
Since we are punking it up for this post. I’ll leave with the new one from Baby Baby. “Keep On Dancin'” is the band’s Martin Luther King day release and it is good. Real good. I know the style of singing will turn some people off, but if you are a punk fan it is hard not to move to this sh**. “Keep on Dancin'” is Baby Baby offering a taste of their upcoming album called Big Boy Baller Club.
The 1975 aren’t ones to rest on their laurels. Just a few short months after their SexEP went straight for the g-spot (which came a few short months after their Throwdown EP hit the ring), the band is prepping for their next one. Music For Cars EP is set for release on March 4 and will mark the third and final EP leading up to the band’s debut full length. The first single from Music For Cars dropped today and it is a sweet one. Literally. “Chocolate” doesn’t differ much from the standout songs on Sex (referring to the title track and “You”). It features the same upbeat, ethereal, synth pop sounds showering the prominently positioned vocals of Matt Healy. It is a combination that has, over and over, been successful at crafting catchy pop tunes.
What does one pair with the single? I’m looking for something that blurs the line between edgy and run-of-the-mill. Since I’m on a bit of a brownie high, I think these Chocolate Cherry ones from 101 Cookbooks does the job.
Unless you have been sleeping (or against seeing movies that are award nominees) you’ve probably heard about Argo. It is the story of a far fetched, ridiculous, off-the-wall plan by the United States government to go in and save six of their embassy workers who are stuck in Iran. The plan? To make up a movie and pretend they are scouting a location to film it. Ben Affleck directed the actual film (not the one in the movie).
There is a scene in Argo where Ben Affleck, a government employee, is talking to Alan Arkin, a Hollywood director. The two of them are talking about their family life, trying to avoid the sobering reality of how difficult the task is that lays ahead of them. What you see is a couple of vulnerable men sharing the shortcomings that have already littered their lives. Perhaps it is a bit of reverse psychology. Like talking about wrecked marriages and wasted relationships will cause the looming failure not to come to fruition. This conversation occurs while the two men are eating tacos on some large stone steps.
I knew before the scene was even over that I would be making some Iranian tacos dedicated to Argo when I arrived home. In honor of the fabricated movie’s unofficial slogan I call these Argo F*** Yourself Tacos.
-1 cup walnuts
-1 1/2 cups chickpeas (do yourself a favor and make them fresh)
-1/2 an onion
-2 cloves of garlic
-1 cup panko bread crumbs
-salt and pepper (to taste)
-16 ounces spinach
-2 tsp. coriander
-juice of 2 oranges
-juice of 1 lime
-1 Tbs. flour
-1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice
-2 cups of water
-2 cups mixed herbs (I used garlic powder, parsley, oregano, basil, rosemary)
-6 Tbs. olive oil
1. Place the walnuts, chickpeas, onion, salt, pepper, garlic and panko in a food processor. Blend until all the ingredients are relatively smooth (a few small chunks are okay). Form the mixture into meatballs.
2. In a cast iron skillet, heat some canola oil. Fry the meatballs for five minutes on each side. Scrape up any parts that stick to the pan and push them back into the balls. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meatballs and place them into a square (8×8) oiled baking dish.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the orange juice and lime juice. Whisk in the flour. Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the oven and flip. Spoon the sauce (which will be much thicker) over top of each ball and put back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat the Jazmine rice and water. Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, for 12 minutes (or until the water is all gone and the rice is fluffy). Add the olive oil and herbs and stir until everything is uniform.
5. Remove the meatballs from the oven. In a saute pan, heat the spinach with a bit of oil. When about half of the spinach has wilted add the meatballs and sauce. Gently stir to combine. Sprinkle in the coriander and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
6. To construct the tacos. Lay a bed of herb rice down the middle of a tortilla. Spoon a few meatballs and spinach on top. Add a layer of salsa. Wrap and roll. Eat beneath your bed or hidden deep in a closet, avoid stairwells and open air areas.
Have you ever wondered what the Kings of Leon might sound like if they overdosed on speed right before joining the Toadies on a boy scout camping trip? I give you the Cadres and their single “Young Ones.” This is a rollicking good time. Fast, lighthearted and fun, “Young Ones” is the kind of thing that makes you want to shake your hips. It is what music should be.
The band also knows how to slow it down. I imagine a live performance with a couple of speed demons like “Young Ones” followed by a slower track like “Horizons” to let you catch your breath. A catchy chorus and some sing-a-long antics make this one memorable in a way that differs majorly from “Young Ones.”
The video for “Horizons”:
Since we are talking videos, here is the new colorful one for Daddy Lion’s “The Scientist’s Lament” (a favorite from last year):
Put an apple in front of a shark and a bunch of weird shit happens. Namely acid drops become tender toilet paper affairs, drum sets are the new grass naps and raccoons tattoo themselves with pot leaves. At least according to Sex Jams.
Sex Jams are a raucous party punk band that knows how to get the beers in the air and the acid on the tongue. They are prepping for the release of their new album, March 1st, called Trouble, Honey. It is due out on Siluh Records. “Shark Vs Apple” is the first single. Check this food flavored ditty out below:
For fourteen hours last Sunday (or at least my brain’s equivalent of fourteen hours) I heard the same red carpet interview over and over again. The main gist was an opening question about who was being worn. There was an answer which was followed by the reporters fake gushing. Then the follow-up focused on viewing the nails/jewelry/purse of the star in sight. I quickly bored of the tedium. I don’t give a broken blood vessel about what out-of-my price range fairy tale Anne Hathaway is trying to tell. I want some real stories. Like what did she eat earlier that day. Or what was playing on the limo ride over. Imagine a red carpet that went something like this:
Reporter: I’m here with Anne Hathaway, star of that new movie where they sing a lot. Anne. I see you have a beautiful dress on that is pretty white and sparkly. It probably went perfectly with what was playing on your limo ride over. Which was…? Anne: I’m glad you asked. I was humming Thrift Shop by Macklemore. Because, you know what the main rhyme in the whole thing is? This is fu**ing awesome. Reporter: And right you are. Let’s check in with Bob on the other side of the carpet.
Reporter: In my sight right now is Jonah Hill. Excuse me, Jonah. I see you are wearing some shitty tux designed by a pretentious French dude and you smell like lilies that have just been brushed by rabbit whiskers, but I’m not here to talk about that. I want to know, what did you have to eat before you arrived? Jonah Hill: Interesting question Bob. I ate a burger from Fatburger. I probably should’ve skipped it because I spilled some mustard on the tie I was originally going to wear so I had to put this bow on. It makes me look like a twit. I washed the burger down with a cocktail made from equal parts Hawaiian Punch and Moet. Just enough Moet to ensure I didn’t walk in here with a mustache like one of those little third graders that Tender Branson teaches. I finished everything off with a champagne brownie truffled with pure gold dust and an ice cream sandwich. It was divine. And pricey. Reporter: You do know they are serving food inside right?
According to Daily Dish, Jonah really did chow down on some gold speckled brownies. Which leads me to what I made today, brownies. From black beans. I tried to melt down the gold chain my grandfather used to wear when he boxed to drizzle over the top but I quickly realized the gold was only paint and it looked much better on the inside of my pot than on top of a brownie.
-1 1/2 cups black beans
-2 Tbs cocoa powder
-1/2 cup quick oats
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/2 cup maple syrup
-1/4 cup canola oil
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-2 tsp ginger powder
-1/2 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a food processor. Pulse the ingredients until they are completely smooth.
2. Pour in the chocolate chips and stir until everything is uniform. Scrape the batter into an oiled 8×8 square pan.
3. Bake for 16 minutes. Let cool before serving. Krylon a plate gold and eat from it (after the paint has dried, of course). If you own gold china, just go with that.
If we are talking black gold, we must find a place somewhere near the end of the conversation to bring up Alan Ho. He of the moniker, Midnight Gold, writes songs that have very simplistic lyrics with poor rhymes. But what he lacks in lyrical creativity, he makes up for with his memorable bed of music. That’s the place you want to lie. Especially on those nights when it is cold and you are lacking any semblance of soul. Hiyah!
Jez Dior follows his last single, “Candles” (which went all the way to the top of Hypem and garnered over 400,000 plays across YouTube and Soundcloud), with a slow burner that is just as catchy as its predecessor. While “Love Me to Death” takes a little longer for the flame to burn to the bottom, it still features Jez Dior’s brand of catchy hip-hop, top notch production and distinct visuals. The first might have been written off as a fad but this follow up proves otherwise.
We interrupt the regularly scheduled broadcast (which is me cracking nut jokes as I make various milks in my new Vitamix) to share this important recipe. It came about because on my last trip to the Asian market I needed some miso. Instead of buying a small container, I opted for the largest one they had. This meant I actually needed to seek out miso recipes in order to use what now amounts to somewhere around a half gallon of fermented mash.
First in line was this Curt Johnson inspired dish. Along with the recipe, Mr. Johnson posts a slight rant about needing to reduce carbon emissions, the way a vegetarian diet supports that and all kinds of leftist/hippy propaganda. To make matters worse he goes on to quote a study by the misguided international organization known as the UN. We all know they do nothing (and if I didn’t know that, I learned it last night watching 30 Rock reruns with weak garlic hating Transylvanian council members who wilt under pressure). If you can maneuver through all this you will find yourself looking at a pretty good recipe. I made some slight (ok, very slight) alterations to it.
Udon Noodles and Tofu in Miso Sauce (adapted from Curt Johnson’s recipe)
-1 package of Udon Noodles
-1 block of tofu, cubed
-1 /2 an onion, diced
-2 cups spinach
-1 Tbs. lime juice
-1 tsp. sesame seeds
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-2 Tbs. ginger
for the sauce:
-2 Tbs. miso
-1/4 cup mirin
-2 Tbs. brown rice vinegar
-1/4 cup water
1. Cook the noodles (or if you bought cooked ones like me, don’t).
2. Heat some vegetable oil in a large wok. Add the tofu and cook on medium high until the tofu begins to brown. Flip the tofu every once in a while to ensure the color is consistent on all sides.
3. Meanwhile, in a flat pan, heat the sesame oil. Add the onion and cook for fifteen to twenty minutes stirring every so often. You want to caramelize them.
4. Add the garlic (sorry Mr. Transylvania) and ginger to the onions. Mix the sauce and pour it in as well. Stir to combine. Dump in the spinach and noodles. Stir constantly until the noodles are heated through (if it is too dry, add some water to keep them from sticking). Toss the noodles with the tofu and serve immediately.
Since the United Nations were a strong influence during this cooking session I filled out my listening with some bands from around the globe. First is the darkly courageous new single from Tel Aviv’s Vaadat Charigim (Facebook), “It’s Ok to Be Afraid.” This is the first single from the band’s upcoming debut album.
Another band that is well known on this blog is Tasmania’s Lyke Giants. These guys have a new album out Fires Thieving Time. The album includes previously singles “The Reins” and “I’m Home.” The newest single “Slowly Sinking” follows its predecessors with the same soaring shoegazey textures, soaring lyrics that echo throughout your speakers and a billowy wall of sound. Be careful. Once you are in it isn’t easy to leave.
Sydney’s Bell Weather Department play a brand of kaleidoscope rock and roll. This can best be seen through their single “Asterisk.” Catchy as hell with hooky guitars and marching beats, “Asterisk” covers all the colors, shapes and designs that pop music is capable of and has them swooping into your ears at an audacious pace.
For the visually impaired:
Those who want to see:
Finally, while my kids seem to think that Canada is just a large ass state in the US, I assure everyone that it is definitely its own country. Back with their first single of 2013 is Jambone Scuzz and the rest of Toronto’s Janitors. “Party Time” is a kazoo laden scorching punk attack that reminds me of some of the great hardcore bands of yesteryear (although it clocks in at a marathon like 2 minutes). Hello? Is anyone in there?
Americana Folk-Artist Jay Nash recently emerged from his home studio (nestled somewhere up in the great state of Vermont) with a new album in tow. Letters from The Lost is an album free of constraints. His own studio meant less pressure and more time to experiment. New sounds and instruments found their way between the CD sleeve including a mandolin, baritone electric guitar and ukulele. The result is a “poignant concoction examining the emotions and experience of getting lost and subsequently found.”
Yielding comparisons to Lyle Lovett, Bruce Springsteen, Ray LaMontagne and anyone else that sounds both rugged and soulful at the same time, Jay has forced the music world to stand up and take notice. He has already been tabbed for this year’s SXSW.
Letters from the Lost is officially slated for an April 2013 release.
So what does one pair with Jay Nash’s slice of Americana? Pie? That would be too easy. No, I opted for a pile of mushrooms bathed in Beer (Slovakian beer, doesn’t get more American than that) and ladled over an unsuspecting potato mash. This dish is the essence of a poignant concoction aka the food sibling to Letters from the Lost.
Check out my favorite track from the album “Sailor”: