Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cook: Roasted Veggie and Cashew Goat Cheese Quesadilla

I've got a buddy who has been running a cashew farm for over a decade. During the time that he has run this farm he has been very good to me. At least twice a month I would receive a package in the mail that was stuffed with two pounds of cashews and one of his eccentric letters (which he calls "liner notes"). I used those cashews to make things like exotic vegan cheeses, meat free meatloaves and dips. Those liner notes? I read those to my daughter before she goes to bed. Never too early to start on the next generation of eccentric warriors.

This month the packages stopped. I picked up my phone and gave my friend a call to make sure he was okay. He picked up and immediately began apologizing for not sending me a package. Turns out he's in the process of "selling" the farm. By selling, I mean he plans on running a bit of an essay contest. The person who writes the best essay explaining why they would be a good person to run the cashew farm will get it, free of cost. 

With the last batch of cashews that I received from his farm I made a roasted veggie and cashew goat cheese quesadilla. Enjoy it. I've got an essay to write.

Roasted Veggie and Cashew Goat Cheese Quesadilla 

-1 eggplant, peeled and cut into tiny slices
-1 zucchini, cut into slices
-1 onion, diced
-1/4 cup green olives, diced
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-2 Tbs. olive oil
-1/2 tsp. chili powder
-1/2 tsp. paprika
-8 small tortillas

1. Make the goat cheese according to directions.

2. Place the veggies and spices in a rectangular glass baking dish. Pour in the olive oil and stir until all the veggies have been covered by the spice mixture. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes (or until tender).

3. To make the quesadillas: lay out a tortilla. Spread the cashew goat cheese to cover the entire thing. Spoon enough veggies on top to cover the tortilla. Place a second tortilla overtop. On a griddle (or in a flat pan) cook the quesadilla until the tortilla is browned. Carefully flip it and repeat on the second side. Top with salsa and eat while writing an essay to a cashew farmer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Food Flavored Artist: "Feel Alright" by Lime Cordiale

What if Janet Jackson was actually five dudes from Australia? And what if she decided to make music that was more electro-pop and less rhythm and blues? And what if her favorite drink was something that involved Lime Cordiale?

If things had rolled a bit differently for Janet Jackson, I could see her penning the track "Feel Alright". But because Janet isn't a dude from Australia (let alone five), doesn't focus much on electro-pop and didn't name herself after a drink ingredient she continues to pander along in an abyss of moths and flaming desires that are completely irrelevant (at least as far as Write.Click.Cook.Listen is concerned).

Lime Cordiale, however, is not irrelevant. This Australian five piece first hit my radar back in January with their sexualized single "Hanging Upside Down". Where "Hanging Upside Down" created its sexiness through its lyrics, "Feel Alright", turns up the heat thanks to the music. It's all driven by a Janet Jacksony beat that, despite all the song's changes, remains prominent throughout. Throw in schoolyard chants, dancefloor rhythms and a club vibe and you've got 2015's best song to grind to as voted on by me. It should come as no surprise that the track draws from Lime Cordiale's "emphatic live show". Over the last eighteen months this live show has hit local and international stages and has made the Lime Cordiale experience one not to miss.

Click (Music): Unnecessary Parentheses, Exploding Televisions, Criminal Clowns and Other Music That Caught My Ear

For a rundown of the sights and sounds that caught my attention this past week, just scroll down.


"Don't Stop (Playing With My Heart)" by EXROYALE

EXROYALE's new track proves once and for all that "(I'm Totally Down) With Songs That Have (Unnecessary Parentheses)". I think if I was the dictator of a well liked polka punk band I would absolutely litter my album with parentheses. Hell, I'll even throw in some brackets. Unless we have to pay the insert creator by the character, then I'm calling a punctuation boycott.

"New Empire" by Brutalism

I remember when I went all "New Empire" on my television back in '98. I tossed that thing into a huge burning fire and ran fifty feet away so that when it exploded I was out of the line of fire. Wouldn't you know it, nothing happened. The "New Empire" was a huge let down. At least it was until Elmo set himself on fire.

"Some Boys" by Mirror Talk

Every time Mirror Talk belts out "some boys will never let go", I do a shot of unsweetened almond milk that is a month past its expiration date. I tend to hold on and stick around way too long. Mirror Talk seems to know that about me.

"Vision" by Prints_

We used to go to the park, breathe heavily for a few moments and then cut off our air supply. This led to us passing out. Coming to was a thing of magic. For just a couple seconds you woke up wondering where you were and how you got there. Then reality seeped in. "Vision" by Prints_  takes me to that same place. That's the magic of it.


"Yer Not the Only One" by The Underground Railroad to Candyland

Clowns committing crimes. Yeesh.

"Best of Everything" by Van Damsel

Who would've thought that Van Damsel's idea of the "Best of Everything" is heavily rooted in people eating people. In the battle of clowns stealing food from the cafeteria vs people eating fruits that are shaped like the head of another person, I'll always side with the painted face.

"Frayed" by Waterstrider

I've always wondered why seven years bad luck is only divvied out when a mirror is broken. Aren't windows pretty much the same thing? Not that I'm complaining. If windows counted I would just now be passing the halfway point of my bad luck.

"Gates of Dawn" by Heartless Bastards

Our protagonist in "Gates of Dawn" is sort of like Samson. The difference is that he doesn't get strength from his hair, he gets it from water. I think I'm the same way. I can beat the s### out of anyone during my morning shower but as soon as its over I'm back to just being a normal, pasty skinned, too frail blogger.

Get All of 2015's Click Tracks (when available) in One Spotify Playlist:

Monday, May 18, 2015

Where We Eat: Stage Left

Stop me if you've heard this one. Two lovers walk into a bar. Its a dark, dingy place that smells of alcohol even though it is only two o'clock in the afternoon. The stage that was occupied by a singer-songwriter last night, now sits empty and barren. The two lovers don't drink. They aren't here to, what's the lame ass word proper drinkers use, imbibe, they have come for the food.

No? Keep going? Alright.

The food isn't your typical bar food. Its healthy and fresh and locally purchased from other small businesses when possible. There is no frying in the kitchen. Instead of burgers and onion rings, you'll find the menu covered with African Peanut Soup, Thai Noodles, Mexican Gumbo and a Mediterranean Plate. This is the story of Stage Left.

Stage Left is a relatively new bar located in the Lutz area. It is the brainchild of husband and wife duo  Brian and Isabelle Dunleavy. According to an article in the New Tampa Neighborhood News, Brian is the one with the restaurant experience but Isabelle is the one who inspired the menu. The couple modeled it after the way she cooks at home, fresh ingredients with lots of vegan and vegetarian options.

Ever since I first visited, to celebrate myself, I've been been trying to find a time where J-Fur and I could go there together. We were finally able to arrange it last week. After being seated, the waiter gave us some time to look over the menu. We were buried pages deep when he returned and told us about their new guacamole. It was so new that it wasn't even on the menu yet. That sounded good to us, so we put in an order.

       The Chips and Guacamole

The guacamole had a nice lime and garlic flavor. I was absolutely ecstatic that they didn't ruin it by putting that terrible, no good, downright rotten, cilantro in it (and if they did, they masked it well). I felt like the ratio of chips to dip was great. I ran out of both of them at the same time (and this wasn't me skimping on the guac either, I was really digging in). On my previous visit, I settled on the Mexican Gumbo as a main course. I was stoked to see that a restaurant in the area offered a rice dish that wasn't fried rice. It was a good dish, certainly something I'd do again, but it didn't have that epic feel to it. I wanted to branch out and try one of their other vegan offerings so I went with a bowl of African Peanut Soup and the Mediterranean platter. The platter wasn't my first choice. I had my heart set on the COLD Thai Noodles (cold is emphasized as it seems a lot of people mistakenly order them expecting a heated dish). But, alas, they were all out. J-Fur chose the Farmhouse Melt (mozzarella, tomato, basil, and balsamic reduction on farmhouse bread).

       The African Peanut Soup

The African Peanut Soup is both gluten free and vegan. It consists of sweet potatoes, ginger, peanuts and fresh veggies. With that combination, it should come as no surprise that the soup was sweet. I was fine with the sweetness but my mother-in-law, who visited earlier in the week, thought it was too much. Just take note, if you aren't into sweet soups, steer clear. The consistency was smooth, save for the peanuts that were bobbing on the surface.

        The Mediterranean Plate

With Mediterranean Plate's you never know what you are going to get. I'm not talking about what's on the plate, you pretty much know it will be some combo of flatbread, tapenade and hummus, I'm talking more about the quality and portions. There are too many places that skimp on the flatbread, serve you a ton of dip and wonder why you ask for more. Actually, no they don't, they just take your money as you pay for a second helping to finish off the dip. Is it really that hard to give me enough pita for my dip? Thankfully Stage Left doesn't have that problem. As you can see in the picture, there is ample flatbread to go around. If, by some chance, you do run out...well, that's where the carrots and cucumbers come in handy. I was a big fan of the tapenade, all chunky and easy to handle. I liked the flavor of the hummus, a grand little flair, though I prefer mine to be a bit creamier in consistency.

        The Farmhouse Melt

J-Fur's sandwich certainly looked good. The bread was pressed and crispy and provided a fabulous contrast to the gooey cheese and tomato interior. Based on the ingredients, J-Fur expected a memorable sandwich. By her estimation the Farmhouse Melt was good but not memorable. She craved an exotic pesto to elevate it deity level.

There is a lot to like at Stage Left. They've got drinking and live music. On top of that, they have a unique menu that offers a lot of quality food that tastes fresh and homemade. The bar has options y'all. Especially for people with extreme diets as their menu has a number of gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options.

Will I be back? You bet ya. I need to find a way to get my hands on those Thai Noodles.

Stage Left on Urbanspoon
I'd pair Stage Left with a side of Yukon Blonde's "Como". The track is all about spending the night together. Stage Left was just the beginning of a full day affair for us, one that saw Yukon Blonde repeated over and over. That is until the evening ended in a former ice hockey rink dancing to Passion Pit.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Click (Food): Feetpies, Cavities, Vegan Mini Malls, Red Lentil Doughnuts and Other Food Items That Caught My Eye

Vegan's supposedly get more cavities. They say it is because some amino acid that's in meat and dairy helps protect teeth. Of course they also say that vegan dishes are "moisture-deprived and flavor-free" and I certainly know that's not true. But, just to be on the safe side, I'll change up my mouthwash. Here's some other foodie things that caught my eye this week:



Winter Rainbow Panzanella from My New Roots

Got the wintertime doldrums because your food is only one color? Sarah does. She combats those blues by creating a rainbow of colors and flavors with this Panzanella. 

Cinnamon Chai Baked Red Lentil Doughnuts by The Plant Strong Vegan

Red lentils for dessert? I know my local tea house does it but will it really satisfy? 

Spicy Chickpea Burrito Bowl from the Whole Serving

I think burrito bowls are so lame. One of the best parts of the burrito, save the guacamole, is the burrito itself. I probably feel this way because most burrito bowls are just globs and globs of lettuce with some beans and rice on top. Enter the Whole Serving's version of a burrito bowl. It is chock full of tofu, chickpeas, avocado and tomatoes with only a tiny smattering of lettuce. It has really changed my opinion of burrito bowl culture.

Mexican Chocolate Tortilla Chip Pie from Our Four Forks

Wait, you mean to tell me I can make pie crust from tortilla chips? Hold the salsa man. Why haven't I seen this before? It's definitely not for lack of trying. I've had a subscription to Mexican Food Illustrated since 1996. I've oogled every single centerfold that has been featured. Not once were tortilla chips used to make a dessert pie. Thank you Our Four Forks.

Lentil Hand Pies with Walnut Pesto from Delish Knowledge

Alex's handpies are gorgeous. I'm not sure how she was able to get them to sit on a cloud in her top picture but she honestly could've sat these pies on top of a back alley trashcan and they'd still look divine. The clouds just promote them to supernatural status. My handpies never come out so perfectly. They are always misshapen and deformed. I should probably just start making feetpies. That way I have an excuse for why they look wonky.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Listen: Newish Tracks From Fast Romantics, Corsica Arts Club and White Reaper

A stromboli fundraiser sounds best when accompanied by:

Shove over "Layla". Make some room "Mary Lou" and "Betty Sue." Come out from behind that curtain "Eloise". There's a new girl that has been immortalized forever in song. This girl's name is "Julia" and she seemed a bit thick headed. I mean from the band's name, Fast Romantics, I can tell these guys are used to coming in and making things happen quickly. But for Julia, it takes a bit of time before the band is able to "get through to ya". Guess that's why the song's character is able to sneak of with Mary Magdalene pretty easily.

One of the most unique lyric videos I've seen:

Corsica Arts Club's self-titled debut EP will be coming out next month. The four-song recording  is meant to celebrate all that the west coast summer has to offer. I've already shared my thoughts on "Untamed" (although you won't know it because the porn has washed it all away). The band's follow-up single Don’t You Drift On By" is slightly darker. Think of it fitting perfectly not on a hot, west coast, summer day but rather a slightly less hot summer evening. The entire EP was written, recorded and mixed by Corsica Arts Club in their home studio. It was there that they blended modern recording technology with pawnshop finds (a handful of vintage synthesizers, and an analog mixing console) to create the EP's unique sound. The album is perfect for counting down the days until school lets out and summer begins.

As I've been messing around with trying to backup my previous blog incarnation, I've found myself waxing nostalgia over deaths, desserts and drums. One such death that came to mind was that of Jay Reatard. I've been listening to him a lot lately because of this nostalgia. When I took a Jay Reatard break to catch up on some of the new songs in my inbox I was quite ecstatic to find that White Reaper's new track "I Don't Think She Cares", has so much in common with Jay's work. This is the second track I've heard from the album and the second one I downright loved. I am eagerly awaiting the July 17th release.

Cook: Buffalo Tempeh Stromboli

(Originally posted August 2011)

Give me a moment while I get out of this here rocking chair. There. That was some battle gravity put up but ultimately these old bones came out on top. Now, give me another second while I try to stand on this here box made of soap (?). Kids now-a-days, they don't know what it is like to have to work. I am reminded of this every day at school. I thought at first that it was just because of the locale (I went to school in Pennsylvania and now live in Florida) but I think it has to do more with the state of education (and society) today. 

What is this old man rambling about? I'm here for the stromboli. I promise, we're getting there. One huge difference between my schooling and the schooling of today is the amount of door-to-door fundraising that takes place. As a kid, it seemed that we were always participating in fundraisers that required us to sell something to my neighbors. Candy, sandwiches, cookies and trinkets were the norm. My favorite fundraiser was selling stromboli (see, told you I'd get there).

On a typical visit to the grocery store, my parents would pass right by the stromboli saying it was way too expensive. But once a year, during the stromboli sale, my parents would buy one for my brother, sister and I to eat. It was a huge to do for the three of us. We made it special by putting on our best Sunday outfits and cranking up my mom's Ray Stevens tape. I think that is why, even after becoming a vegetarian, I have always enjoyed stromboli (though it has taken a while to match my memories of how good they were to what's cooking in my kitchen). Thanks to Dionne, I’ve finally reached that point.

Buffalo Tempeh Stromboli
(printable recipe)

-1 batch of stromboli dough
-1 block of tempeh
-Frank’s Hot Sauce
-fresh mozzarella or Daiya
-2 onions, sliced
-olive oil

1. Make the stromboli dough according to directions.

2. While dough is baking, slice the tempeh into small, thin strips. Place in an oiled frying pan and cook over medium-low heat. Add the hot sauce and swish the tempeh around in it until completely covered. Continue cooking, adding hot sauce when necessary, for fifteen minutes. I used about a quarter of a bottle of hot sauce but this step should be based a lot on your preference.

3. In a separate frying pan, (preferably one with a large bottom) heat about two teaspoons of olive oil. Place the onions in the pan. Cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure they
don’t dry out. Sprinkle some salt on the onions. Cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes. The onions
should be allowed to stick to the pain slightly so that they brown but not so much that they start
burning. Constant stirring will not allow them caramelize.

4. Roll out the stromboli dough into two rectangles. Line the dough with the tempeh. Place
the caramelized onions on top and then finish with the mozzarella or Daiya. Fold the stromboli dough
over to seal in the filling. Bake for 25 minutes in the oven. Devour.

Buffalo Tempeh sounds a lot like this.