Thursday, July 2, 2015

Food Flavored Video: "I Do What I Want" by Secret Club

I remember learning in music class with my elementary school teacher that back in the days of the cave people, neighboring caves would both set up parties on the same evening. Usually the parties were so different that two completely unique sets of personalities wound up inhabiting the exact same area at the same time. This led to some pretty interesting conflicts and inventions. I think she mentioned something about a cave in France being soundproofed?

Yep, the story told by Secret Club in their video for "I Do What I Want" is a story that is pretty much as old as mankind. The food flavored piece of the video comes out right at the beginning as three of the partygoers, two who are heading to a rock and roll smash them up party while the other is heading to a wine and cheese gathering, find themselves in a grocery store purchasing items for their respective parties. The characters awkwardly cross paths entering the store, exiting the store, in the parking lot, in an elevator at an apartment building and then outside the doors of the apartments they are visiting. This is when you find out that the two parties are taking place right next door to each other. Of course we know who wins, the wine drinkers are the ones left seeing red.

Just the sounds:

Listen: Magical Numbers from New Arcades, Flor, TAT and Stuart Newman

I just got down with some ghostly brisket fried rice action. Here's the tracks I fried to:

Since we are talking about a food that came out of things both ghostly and magical, let's start with London synth-pop duo New Arcades and their brand new single "More Than This (featuring Lula)". Like its predecessor (the fabulous "Let's Get Away"), "More Than This" has a grandiose 80's pop feel. Lula's vocals add that slight bit of magic, what some might call tenderness, to the single. Its like the bachelor pad that becomes a little more inviting after the woman moves in (or the fried rice that tastes better once you decide to learn how to cook it).

"Warm Blood" by Flor details some of the fabulousities that occur when you get the chance to learn about someone new, someone younger. Their is a bit of fire that burns in this person, something that you yourself have lost (or maybe never had). Despite this fire, there is an underlying sweetness that attracts you to the person. It's the perfect song to be paired with my brisket fried rice considering that underneath all the sauces and rice, the brisket has the same gentle hint of sweetness.

TAT's new track, "Anxiety," came attached to an email that describes the band and their sound. In said email, TAT is called a "punk inspired" band. Immediately I feel something in my loins. I considered myself a fan of punk more than anything else through my teens and early twenties and despite the fact that I now blog about lo-fi and garage and techno and whatever else people send me that sounds good, that's my first love. But "Anxiety's" beginning doesn't sound much like the punk I grew up on and so I dismissed it as one of those new school "punk songs" that incorporates tiny pieces of punk but leans too heavily on other genres. Because of the email said punk, though, I didn't instantly shut it down like I would've other tracks, I let it play through longer. Boy am I glad I did. That chorus, f***ing killer dude. That's the punk stuff I've come to know and love. It's not completely like the old school punk, but it's got the energy and the delivery of punk. What muddles things a bit is the background music. It's slightly dancier, more rhythmic and fun. It's like punk for punks that like to dance and not just run full force into another human being. I'm digging out my born to dance punk patch right now. "Anxiety" was made for me.


Don't fall for it. Despite the fact that in "Love's Off the Hook" Stuart Newman sounds like he has crafted an intriguing, American pop song, realize that this is all part of the ruse. Stuart has an interest in themes of the USA and the human condition. That's why he has conditioned his vocals to sound so Americanized. As his twitter states, "If it's okay for an actor to put on an accent, so can I."  In reality, Stuart is a Brighton based artist. The charming nature of "Love's Off the Hook" comes from Stuart's quirky use of repetition. Throughout the first half of the song, Stuart chooses words to highlight with repetition. Generally these words appear at the end of a phrase but occasionally he would latch on to something in the middle. Words like round, subway, tambourines and means get the multiple hit treatment. A little over halfway through, Stuart dials back the echo and focuses more on capturing you with catchy phrases that get repeated. He also throws more backup vocals into the second half as well, some oh's and ah's to get the crowd going, before closing with the line "and that's enough." I'm not sure if I've gotten such a feeling of finality from a song before. I sort of like knowing that things have come to an end in such a straightforward way. I might just have to steal that.

And that's enough. Oops, already did.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cook: Tempeh Brisket Fried Rice

Last night I was awakened from my sleep by a rustling sound. I opened my eyes and blinked a few times to remove the sleep from them. Eventually things cleared up enough for me to see what made the noise and it wasn't what I expected. I figured my dog, my cat or possibly my sleep walking daughter. I did not expect to see a gigantic bottle of soy sauce with wings flittering around the room.

"About time you woke up," the flying soy sauce bottle announced when it noticed me sitting up in bed. "I'm not going to mess around here, I'm the ghost of fried rice past and I'm here to take you on a journey." With that we were whisked back fifteen years. There I was living in Addison Park in Chicago. My kitchen was in disarray, dishes everywhere, half empty cereal boxes and whole foods desserts littered the counter space. I was in the process of making fried rice. I watched myself grab a minute rice package, cook it, combine it with some soy sauce and then saute it in a pan for a few moments. I then threw in some frozen veggies, poured more soy sauce on top and served it in the only clean bowl left in the kitchen. The giant soy sauce bottle looked at me and said "See what you did there?" I replied with a cringe.

Next we were whisked forward to 2005. I was living in Gainesville. The kitchen wasn't nearly the mess it had been in Chicago. Every once in a while you would see a roach skitter out and in the finger of of pot holder glove. Aw, the joys of living in Florida. This time my fried rice is brown, it has just spent forty minutes cooking on the stove. I take it, all fresh like, and dump it into a pan that has some tofu browning. I stir the rice and protein around a bit, toss in some frozen veggies, add a sauce and let it simmer out. "See what you did there?" the soy sauce bottle mockingly asked. I nodded.

Suddenly I was back in my room, present day, and the soy sauce ghost was flittering around again. "There is an art to cooking fried rice, young, well...middle aged grasshopper. Please follow that art or don't bother trying." With that he was gone. Today, I made sure to heed his advice.

Tempeh Brisket Fried Rice (adapted from an Adam Richman Recipe)
(printable version)

For the brisket:
-1 pound of tempeh
-1/4 cup of coffee
-9 ounces of ginger ale
-3 ounces of coke (not drugs, soda)
-1/4 cup of soy sauce
-1/4 onion, diced
-3/4 tsp. garlic powder
-salt and pepper (to taste)

1. Mix all the ingredients for the brisket in a large ziplock bag. Crumble the tempeh block and put it in the bag. Seal it and place it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the brisket in a large roasting pan along with the marinade. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast the tempeh for 3 hours. Remove the aluminum foil and cook for another 30 minutes. Take the tempeh out of the oven and let it sit in the marinade for  another 30 minutes.

For the fried rice:
-1 pound of tempeh
-2 ears of corn
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-four garlic cloves, sliced thin
-3 cups of day old brown rice
-2 Tbs. soy sauce
-1 Tbs. sesame oil
-1 bag of frozen carrots, peppers and asparagus, thawed
-1/2 bag of frozen peas, thawed

1. Roast the corn until it is cooked. Allow it to cool. Cut the kernels from the cob.

2. Place the oil in a large wok. Spread it around to cover the entire wok. Warm it over medium high heat until the oil is glistening (do not let it smoke). If it starts smoking, turn the heat down. Once the oil is at the right temperature, place the thawed veggies and corn into the wok. Heat them for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until warm. Remove them from the wok and set aside.

3. Using the same wok, pour in the tempeh brisket. Heat it in the wok until it begins to caramelize and brown. Add the tempeh to the veggies that you previously set aside.

4. Using the same wok, pour in the rice. Stir until the rice has been coated in oil. Smooth the rice out to cover as much surface area of the wok as possible. Allow it to cook for two minutes. Stir it and repeat. Keep doing this until the rice has the texture you want. Pour the soy sauce and sesame oil around the outside of the wok. Stir until the sauces have been combined. Add the veggies and tempeh brisket. Continue stirring for a minute or two, just enough to get the rice uniform. Dole out servings on plates and give a nice big smile. A certain soy sauce dude might just be bringing you back to this moment at some date in the future. If that happens, you want to be looking your finest.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Food Pairing 101: What Goes Well With Chicken Fried Seitan?

On the surface, Lamesa may seem like just another hole-in-the-wall county seat in Texas. It is home to about 10,000 residents, boosts an economy driven by cattle and cotton and houses a prison named after a former Texas governor. But taking a spade and slamming it just a little deeper into the dirt causes one to find out that Lamesa is about much more than just cotton, cattle and prisons. That much more is chicken fried steak.

According to the town (and echoed by H.C.R 134 which was signed into law by the Texas House of Representatives in April 2011) two kids, one dressed as a clown and one wearing pink cowboy boots, somehow played a role in creating Lamesa’s legendary flour battered steak. I don’t know how it all fits together, mostly because the author of the original story has come out and declared it a yarn, but thank god it does.

A few weeks back, on a rainy day, I decided to skip a trip to the pool and hang in my kitchen to pay tribute to Lamesa. I battered a bunch of seitan, smothered it in gravy, and repeatedly said that “Everything is bigger and better in Texas.” I followed the amazing trail that was forged by Vegan Aide over at the Weekly Vegan Menu, who has since relocated to Zsu's Vegan Pantry. My only complaint was that the trail she forged was just a little too creamy for my taste. I know, I know, that is the authentic Lamesa way but for me it wasn’t the best. I would’ve enjoyed the dish much better had I gone with this vegan gravy (which I was in the process of doing before I ran out of nutritional yeast).

So what does one pair this little taste of Texas history with? How about a band whose name just screams Texas, a state that acts as the final frontier between the US and Mexico. That would be hotly tipped Hull newcomers FRONTEERS. This foursome, collectively, has just 76 years to their name. But what they lack in experience they make up for in fun. The four joined forces after bonding over girls, music and soccer near the tail end of 2014. The time for the debut has now arrived. It's the aptly titled "Youth":


(The food portion of this post was originally written on September 9, 2011. An updated version with music was written today.)

Artist's Cookbook: Chipotle Chicken Pasta Salad from Adam Hill

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Traditionally, these "four somethings" are used to describe what a bride should wear on her wedding day for good luck. But my lifetime motto has always been one of bucking tradition. So today we are going to talk about those four somethings as they pertain to Canadian folk artist Adam Hill's new album called Old Paint.

Adam Hill isn't one for living in the past. Maybe that's because modern day amenities help to take care of him. Maybe it's because he creates music using paper, pencils, instruments and computers (which didn't exist in the recent past). Whatever the reason, Adam likes where he is now. But that doesn't mean he won't reach back into the past for inspiration which is precisely what occurs on Old Paint. The concept behind his fourth album is that Adam takes twelve old tracks and reinvents them. Or, for those of you scoring at home, he makes something old into something new. As he likes to say, these are tunes that your grandparents might have sung performed in a way that they wouldn't have.

Take, for instance, the album's opener (and my favorite track) "The Cuckoo." While this track, and much of the album for that matter, creates its music with organic acoustic sounds, Adam adds a sort of present day playfulness as part of his re-imagination. This playfulness is meant to not only keep the folk music path from becoming overgrown and obscured but to help widen it so that more people can begin to appreciate these old time traditional tracks.  The playfulness in "The Cuckoo" is created by a spastic recorder. Its appearance serves two purposes, it is meant to invoke the sounds of a cuckoo bird while also paying homage to the British Isles (from where the song originated). That's your something borrowed my fine feathered friends.

Even though Adam incorporates some playfulness into his delivery, Old Paint doesn't completely turn its back on the feelings of hopelessness and despair that a lot of these tracks were trying to capture in their original form. On "Rye Whiskey" Adam tells the story, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, of a person who is suffering from alcoholism and its effects. The main character sings out "Rye whiskey, rye whiskey, rye whiskey I cry, if I can't have rye whiskey then I surely will die." On another track, "Bentonville Blues," Adam addresses wage slave culture and the "mean old Bentonville blues" that come from working a lifetime for Sam Walton. In both songs the characters recognize what is wrong in their life. They know that their actions, or lack thereof, have contributed to the situation they find themselves in. Yet, instead of going out and trying to change things, they have come to terms with it and are resigned to forge a future that looks a lot like their present. That's surely something blue.

Adam's pairing this album up with his version of pasta salad. This one has a chipotle chicken twist to it. Enjoy the second recipe Adam has ever written out in his life. You can find it here.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Click (Food): Vegan Dating Shows, Snackrilege, John Salley's Vegan Wine and a Portobello Banh Mi

Vegan Metalhead foodcarts, former NBA players making vegan wine, vegan singles for dating shows and lot's of food wrapped in bread. That pretty much sums up the last two weeks. Let's take a deeper look: 



Vegan Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Caprese from The Chubby Vegetarian

The Chubby Vegetarian has never let me down. He is one of the few internet people I trust completely. This means I rarely mess with his recipes. If he calls for Japanese eggplants, I look around until I find them. No matter what the cost. So I was planning on doing the same with this dish. No substitutions baby! But then I read 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro leaves on the ingredient list. That seems like a mistake? 1/4 a cup of cilantro? Why would someone ever want to do that to another human being? I mean don't we all have that abnormal twist in our genetic makeup that makes eating cilantro taste like that time your mom washed your mouth out with soap because you called your brother a name better left unwritten?   

Portobello Banh Mi by Kiss My Bowl

Ha, ha, ha. Shanna, of Kiss My Bowl blog fame, is just like me. No, I'm not saying she is egotistical. No, I'm also not suggesting that she is obsessed with fantasy role playing video games and keeps visiting that one site because the anime girls are super "fascinating". I mean we are the same in the sense that Banh Mis (is that the plural form?) make her wax nostalgic for a childhood memory that doesn't exist. Her mom never slaved over a hot Vietnamese oven to craft a sandwich of epic proportions, yet every time she eats one she remembers her childhood. My mom also never slaved over a Vietnamese oven to craft a Banh Mi. In fact, when I requested she make me one for Christmas dinner, I caught her looking for a Banh Mi mix in the Hamburger Helper aisle. I'm kidding, mom (no I'm not). 

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream Bites from Vegan Does It

I'm not a chocolate fan unless you put it with peanut butter or bananas. Then I'm a chocolate fan. This recipe goes one better and puts chocolate with both peanut butter and bananas. Please excuse me while my head explodes.

Mushroom and Lentil Sliders from Tinned Tomatoes

I have a certain bit of amnesia when it comes to veggie burgers. I have to, otherwise I would quit trying. Wait, this sounds familiar. Didn't I write this exact same thing two weeks ago? A sucker never learns. I like the thought of these because they are sliders. That means the burgers themselves are smaller. So the chances of them leaking everywhere and ruining my bread (or bed as auto correct would have you think) has to be greatly reduced right? RIGHT?

Chickpea Salad Sliders from Milking Almonds

More sliders. More little morsels wrapped in tiny bread. As Trine, of Milking Almonds, suggests any excuse to eat something wrapped in bread is definitely the way to go. I think that's where my is at.

Click (Music): Ballet for the Grand Theft Auto Generation, Double Shots of Little and Home, Typhoid Rosie and a Sam Smith Cover

PETIC, staring contests, swimming as sex and economy pop. Here's some of what has caught my eye over the last two weeks.


"Better to Know Now" by Typhoid Rosie

This is for my college professor who wanted us to dig deep into the symbolism of Western Culture arts. My thoughts on "Better to Know Now" by Typhoid Rosie is that the lyrics involve a lot of water, wine and swimming references. These are symbols that Rosie uses to explore the question "why do we let ourselves be deceived?". Water and wine speak to the religious part of the exploration. Swimming works as sort of a double entendre. On one hand it fits the idea that people don't know what lies beneath the surface. On the other, swimming explains a sexual encounter, when fluids and bodies merge. How'd I do professor? Gold star? (Yeah, I went to a college that assigned gold stars instead of grades. People make fun of me for it but, you know what, I'm actually quite proud of it.)

In truth, I had some help from Rosie. According to her, there isn't anything more intimate than trusting and letting another human into your body. "Guys don't have to let someone in the same way we do." That's why the song is also about attraction and the things that lure females into situations that might hurt them. She has learned to never let her guard down and always be in control of her body. She learned this, as well as her other feminist ideals, by loving herself inside and out. Now she passes it on to you via song.

"Eye to Eye" by Astronaut, etc.

"Eye to Eye" is the Honda Fit of 2015 pop songs. I say this because the track runs on just one vocal melody that covers both the chorus and verse, one guitar riff and one perpetual drum beat. Some might suggest that is boring, I just think its economical.

"Home" by Little Wolves and Little May

Wow, in a matter of days both Little May and Little Wolves released tracks called "Home". How confusing. I didn't realize something was up until I listened to Little Wolves while looking at a picture of Little May. I just kept trying to figure out who the dude was that was singing and why the press release didn't even bother mentioning it. Then it dawned on me.

"Here to Stay" by Bad Rabbits

"Here to Stay" by Bad Rabbits, is the fourth in a series of tracks by the band that were produced by new jack swing creator Teddy Riley (who has also produced music by Michael Jackson, Blackstreet and Lady Gaga). Teddy describes new jack swing as a "new kid on the block who's swinging it". I would describe that as Piers Morgan.


"I Want You to Know" by Zedd featuring Selena Gomez (Esh Remix)

Esh would like you to know that he isn't a donkey. He also doesn't like weed. Just cookies and music. Now if you are wondering whether he is referring to internet browser cookies or the ones you dunk in soy milk, I can't help you there. Our conversation didn't run that deep.


"Stay With Me" by Little Wander (Sam Smith Cover)

Ever wanted to take your canoe out into the middle of a lake, kick it with a few ducks and belt Sam Smith from the top of your lungs so that only the fish and wildlife can hear you? Just ask Little Wander how its done. They are pros at this kind of thing. Check out their "folktronix flip" below:


"Last Days of Dancing" by Maja Francis

Speaking of canoes, Maja Francis goes all American Beauty in her canoe in her "Last Days of Dancing" video. This scene, along with her soaking in a colorful milk like liquid, best symbolizes the song's growing up and old versus staying young theme. On another note, I don't often think about being colorblind but watching this video made me so thankful I'm not.

"Meme Generator" by Dan Deacon

"Meme Generator" is like ballet for the TI/Grand Theft Auto generation. If all ballets were of this nature, you'd find me attending them on a daily basis. Since they are not I'm going to put my time to better use, like starting a Dan Deacon does Swan Lake website. When he finally realizes that is his calling, I'm going to strike it rich.

Just a note: "Meme Generator" comes with its own video game. You can play it here.

"The People Are Home" by The Underground Railroad to Candyland

I just contacted PETIC (People for the Ethical Treatment of Ice Cream) about The Underground Railroad to Candyland's "utter disregard for frozen delicacies" (that's me quoting me). For those of you that don't know, PETIC is the group that is responsible for bedazzling music videos with those fancy ribbons that say "No ice cream was harmed in the making of this video." Speaking of ice cream, where's my soy delicious chocolate peanut butter swirl container that I was eating from yesterday? *Searches the freezer and the entire house, goes out to porch finds a melted puddle on his patio* Cue the Alanis Morrisette.

"Staring Contest" by Mates of State

What happens when you ask a kid to bring in a book to share and instead they chose to sing an Adele song? A party breaks out. "Staring Contest" is the re-imagination of this event.

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