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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Excuse all the Blood...I've Moved From Here

In case you missed it, I moved to This will allow me to do a little bit more than I can do here. Please come visit.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thai Bird Chili Tofu and Noodles Spiced with Wise Blood and Capital Cities

The second stage in chili pepper domination found me knee deep in a familiar place, Thailand. Now I've never officially been to Thailand but I've eaten enough "Thai food" to be an adopted son of the country. With that adoption comes legal papers that allow me to cook food and deem it "Thai" no matter how inauthentic it is. I guess that is a long winded way of saying I don't know whether they would eat this in Thailand or not but in my visions of the country this is all anyone eats.

Thai Bird Chili Tofu and Noodles
(printable version)

-sesame oil
-1 block of tofu, drained and cut into small squares
-1 cup baby carrots, small dice
-1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
-1 clove of garlic
-1/4 cup Thai Basil
-1 cup spinach
-5 Thai Bird Chilies
-2 Tbs. Tamari
-1 Tbs. Lime Juice
-1 tsp. ginger
-1 tsp. brown sugar
-1/2 box Vermicelli pasta

1. Heat the sesame oil in a saucepan. Drop the drained tofu into the oil and heat until beginning to brown slightly (about seven minutes).

2. In a different pan heat a little more sesame oil. Add the baby carrots and bell pepper to warm oil and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the garlic and saute for another minute. Combine the carrot mixture with the tofu and cook for 5 minutes. Add the Thai basil and spinach and cook an additional five minutes.

3. In a bowl combine the five chilies (seeds removed and diced small), tamari, lime juice, ginger and brown sugar. Pour the sauce over the tofu and cook for ten more minutes.

4. Meanwhile heat the pasta according to the directions on the box. When the pasta is down, drain it. Combine the noodles and tofu mixture in a large bowl and stir until uniform. Grab your chopsticks and go.

This dish isn't ridiculously hot but it is about as high as I go on the hotness scale. I'm the guy who goes medium at the Thai restaurant and then sweats profusely. In that sense, Wise Blood's new track "Penthouse Suites" is the right fit. After all, you can't go much higher than the penthouse.

Penthouse Suites by Dovecote Records

Now if you are looking to sweat profusely outside of the realm of food, you need to look no further than Capital Cities "Safe and Sound." It's a lot of bounce, a little J Geils Band and smatterings of new wave drenching boasts that would make Henny Penny proud.

Capital Cities-Safe and Sound

Also Check Out:
Eggplant Po' Boys with Wise Blood
Miso Horny Mix with Wise Blood
Peanut Butter Stuffed Hot Peppers

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ms. Smith Comes to Tampa Boiled Peanut Hummus Slow Roasted with The Vaccines, General Fiasco and Male Bonding

It was suggested one time in Cedar Key that, "A person hasn't experienced Florida unless they've tried boiled peanuts." It took me seven years but I finally "experienced" Florida. As I slurped one peanut down after another I was surprised to find the texture and taste oddly reminiscent of a bean. I thought nothing more of this similarity until a Facebook response suggested that if I made boiled peanut hummus there would be a willing taste tester. Brilliant idea! So that's exactly what I did on Sunday (between the potatoes and homemade Oreos).

Ms. Smith Comes to Tampa Boiled Peanut Hummus
(printable version)

-1 lb of peanuts
-pot of water
-Cajun seasoning
-1 Tbs. olive oil
-1/4 cup water
-2 garlic cloves
-Cajun seasoning (to taste)
-salt (to taste)

1. Place peanuts in a huge pot. Fill the pot almost to the top with water. Pour in some salt and Cajun seasoning. Place a lid upside down on the pot (if you filled the water high enough this will hold the peanuts under). Boil for six hours adding more water as necessary.

2. Drain the peanuts in a colander. Allow to cool. Remove the nuts from the shell and place in a food processor. Once all peanuts have been removed, discard the shells.

3. Pour olive oil, garlic, water, Cajun seasoning and salt in food processor. Pulse until peanuts are smooth (add more water if you would like the hummus smoother). Garnish with parsley.

4. Serve on top of toasted pita. Open wide and experience Florida.

What if Katy Perry had been an Englishman in an indie rock band? Then "Last Friday Night" would've sounded something like what the Vaccines did and boiled peanut hummus would probably be something mothers tell their kids to scare them straight.

The Vaccines-Last Friday Night (Katy Perry Cover)

With seven hours of boiling, a person has plenty of time to dance. They simply must find the right song. General Fiasco's new one "The Age that You Start Losing Friends" fits the bill. It is guitar driven and fast but also features enough rhythm to make Andy Reid happy. Be on the look out for General Fiasco's new album, Waves, set to be released in October.

General Fiasco - The Age That You Start Losing Friends by Dirty Hit

"Tame the Sun" by Male Bonding has been out there a while. I still can't get enough of it:

Male Bonding-Tame the Sun(via Pitchfork)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lazy Man's Tempeh Bierocks Crescent Rolled with The Absent Center, Big Black Delta and Dangerous!

"Laziness grows on people; it begins in cobwebs and ends in iron chains."
-Thomas Buxton

I'd like to think I don't have a lazy bone in my body, that I am always willing to give everything I have to whatever it is I'm doing. But the truth is that I load myself up on projects and activities that are rather time consuming and require a lot of effort. There are moments where I need (and take) a quick fix in order to maintain my sanity. These Bierocks are an example of that. I could've made the dough from scratch and figured out how to make homemade tempeh, gathered my own caraway seeds and plucked my own cabbage from a garden...but I didn't. I took the easy way out. And I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Lazy Man's Tempeh Bierocks
(printable version)

-1 block of tempeh, cubed
-1 onion, chopped
-1 clove of garlic, minced
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-1 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
-1/2 head cabbage, finely chopped
-2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
-2 tsp caraway seeds
-1 package of Pillsbury Crescent rolls (or vegan biscuit dough if you aren't lazy)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Saute the tempeh, onion, garlic, salt and lemon pepper in a large skillet for five minutes.

2. Add the cabbage, Worcestershire sauce and caraway seeds. Cook until the cabbage is no longer stiff. Drain any excess liquid from the mixture.

3. Lay out the crescent rolls or biscuits. Roll until they are flattened. Place the tempeh mixture in the center of the dough. Pull one side of the dough to the other and press together (use a fork to ensure they don't come apart during baking if you aren't lazy, I was). Place filled dough pockets on a baking sheet.

4. Heat the bierocks in the oven for about fifteen minutes (or until the dough begins to brown). Shove it down.

Bierocks are best began with The Absent Center playing on your stereo. They are a lo-fi band from Richmond, Virginia that write the type of dirt fantasies that will have you singing in front of your third graders all day long. The band will be touring this fall to promote their debut album All that is Solid Melts into Air. These shows include appearances with the Black Rabbits, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and Asobi Seksu. Check out the Video for "In the Valley" (the third track on their new album):

Big Black Delta (aka Jonathan Bates) make music that is millions of times bigger and darker than I am. I would think that if Mika somehow wound up performing a concert on the backside of the moon that was attended by only robots and microscopic creepy crawlies, this is what it would sound like. I would hope that when Transformers 16 comes out next year, a Big Black Delta song would be on the soundtrack. It is the perfect fit. September will find Big Black Delta in residency at the Satellite in LA (every Monday) as well as releasing his debut LP BBDLP1 (on the 26th via Coming Home Records). "Capsize" will be somewhere on that LP:

Capsize by Big Black Delta

Epitaph was a staple through my teenage years. Best known for their loud rambunctious punk rock releases, the label and I have taken on a more long distance relationship in recent years. I still check in, just not as often. During our last update I got wind of Dangerous! and their track "Movers N Shakers." While this song is everything that Epitaph has come to be known by, it also features some techno sounding samples that help create a melodic undertone. Ultimately though it is the tracks aggressiveness that gets me fired up. "Movers N Shakers" is from the album Teenage Rampage which will hit stores on September 20th.

Dangerous! - Movers N Shakers by Epitaph Records

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Licking Thai Basil and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream to the Sounds of New Navy, Mild Mannered and Macklemore and Lewis

Seven years ago two words,"Alright, gaaaay," changed everything I thought I knew about humor. Three years later the trio responsible were back cursing little green insects. What you may not know about Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are that they are part of a planned trilogy that revolves around Cornetto ice cream and blood. The third installment, currently titled The World's End, is scheduled for release sometime in 2014 (though at one point it was planned for 2011 and we see how that didn't come to be). While the Cornetto flavor for The World's End has already been revealed by director Edgar Wright (it will be mint chocolate chip) I would suggest the company get on creating something a little more exotic, something like Vanilla Bean and Thai Basil. I've done the hard work Cornetto, now you just put it together, mass produce and sell. Then it won't be long before Simon Pegg licks it on the big screen.

French Vanilla and Thai Basil Ice Cream (adapted slightly from Eats Well with Others)
(printable version)

-2 cups whole milk
-1/2 cup of sugar, divided into fourths
-1/4 cup chopped Thai basil
-pinch of salt
-2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
-4 large egg yolks
-1/2 cup whipping cream, chilled

1. In a heavy sauce pan, over medium heat, bring the milk, 1/4 cup of sugar, basil, salt and vanilla beans to a boil. Remove from heat and cover. Allow the milk mixture to steep for 30 minutes.

2. Put the milk mixture into a blender and process until basil and vanilla beans are smooth.

3. Beat the egg yolks and remaining sugar in an electric mixing bowl for about a minute. Add the milk mixture using a slow stream. Continue mixing until the milk and eggs are well combined. Pour the resulting custard back into the heavy sauce pan.

4. Over moderate heat, warm the mixture to 175 degrees stirring constantly. It should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

5. Using two stainless steel bowls, one that fits inside the other, create an ice bath (ice and water in the big bowl with the other bowl resting in the water). Strain the custard through a strainer into the chilled metal bowl. Allow the custard to cool completely.

6. Once the custard has cooled, stir in the cream and place it into an ice cream maker. Churn for thirty minutes. Freeze in an air-tight container overnight. Cone it.

"Zimbabwe" by New Navy did not immediately stand out to me. I think I went to delete it from my hard drive five or six times. But the more that it accidentally played, the more the jungle beats and echoed lyrics began to percolate in my brain. I still can't say it is great but it is hard to get rid of.

New Navy-Zimbabwe

When I think of Cleveland I think of the song at the beginning of that one sitcom that announces "Cleveland Rocks." In the case of Mild Mannered, a son of Cleveland, the song would require a slight alteration to "Cleveland Indie-Pops." At one time the band was just a duo made up of Jennifer and Pat Casa. Realizing they needed to push their music further they recruited a guitarist (friend Tim Parnin) and bassist (Tony Bunce). The results are glowing. "Mild Mannered" comes from their debut album Believeland (due September 27th on Finished Basement Records).

Mild Mannered-The Demand

"Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore and Lewis (featuring Ray Dalton) starts like most of their brilliant songs, with a piano intro. But it isn't far past that intro where you start to see something different. This song spits, fast. Despite the speed, the power of Macklemore's lyrics and Lewis' production is not lost. In real life, that's hard to do. In the world of Macklemore and Lewis, its just another piece of evidence offered up to the hip hop court. "What say you Macklemore and Lewis to the claim brought by the defendant that states you are amazing musicians?"
"Guilty as charged."

Macklemore X Ryan Lewis - Can't Hold Us Feat. Ray Dalton by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Peanut Butter Stuffed Hot Peppers Covered in Chocolate Melted by Andy Gibbard, the Handcuffs and Goodman Brown

I was presented with a gift from my co-worker Renee today. It was a bag of these baby chili peppers from her garden. They stared at me throughout our morning meeting and about halfway through I decided to have me a sample. I wanted to check the Scoville Heat Unit on them. The heat was a little too much for my water bottle to handle so I grabbed the only other thing that was in my reach, a mini Hershey's Dark Bar. That's when it came to me. Hot peppers, chocolate and some....peanut butter? Why not?

Peanut Butter Stuffed Hot Peppers Covered in Chocolate
(printable version)

-chili peppers
-natural peanut butter (it is moves easier)
-dark chocolate
-milk/soy milk

1. Cut the top off the chili pepper. Remove the seeds and discard. Drip the peanut butter into the center until the pepper is filled. Place on wax paper.

2. In a sauce pan heat the chocolate over low heat. Add the sugar and milk or soy milk (I used a ratio of three chocolate squares to one teaspoon of milk and sugar). Stir constantly until chocolate is melted into a ganache like topping. Get a spoonful of chocolate and drip to cover the pepper. Continue until the entire pepper has been covered. Repeat until all the peppers and chocolate have been used.

3. Refrigerate the peppers until chocolate is hardened. Eat, squeal, love.

Imagine a piano player providing the music for a main card melee fought at half speed between the Arctic Monkeys and Frightened Rabbit and you are somewhere in the vicinity of Andy Gibbard. Gibbard is an English singer-songwriter who is preparing for his full length album, Focus, by offering a prologue, Prefocus. This five song EP can be yours by paying a visit to his bandcamp page. Especially fruitful is "The English Rose."

Andy Gibbard - The English Rose by

I've been enjoying the Handcuffs' garage glam hit "Baby I Love You" for a couple of months now. I should probably move on to their new single "Miss You on Tuesday" but this one is so hard to leave behind. Look for their new album on September 6th.

The Handcuffs-Baby I Love You

When that day comes that I've gone and killed myself I hope that it is half as cheery as Goodman Brown makes it sound. "Done and Killed Myself" is about exactly what it says. But instead of a depressive Xiu Xiu tear fest this one's got cheery pianos, screaming guitars and a celebratory sounding chorus. East Coast dates are quickly approaching (NY, Philly, Delaware at the end of this month and Connecticut and Massachusetts in early September) as the band supports their Free-P (available here).

Done And Killed Myself by Goodman Brown