Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cook: Couscous, Cauliflower and Toasted Almonds

Back when I was just a wee little laddy, I was invited to play soccer in Amsterdam as part of some sort of world wide tournament. Since it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, my dad scraped some money together so my mother, grandmother and I could go and see the world through the lens of a pair of soccer cleats. During that trip I experienced many things: I met my first prostitute (by met I mean I saw one through a glass window as one of my teammates went in and ordered a number two), witnessed a gay marriage, saw some weed dispensed in a cafe like it was a latte and had my first pat down by a military man holding a huge gun. But the one thing about the trip that stands out to me the most is my back alley pasta dealings with a shady, shady character.
I met the man after one of my soccer games. He did the whole suspicious get my attention thing and I, thinking I was hot shit, assumed he was some college recruiter who wanted me to go to his school. I jogged over to him and he said "Kid, come with me into this alley." I followed him and as soon as we rounded the corner he asked "Do you want to buy some pasta?" He opened his jacket and I saw something that didn't resemble pasta in the least. It was a bag full of tiny little balls. I now know that pasta to be couscous but at the time I was none the wiser. "No, I'm cool. We eat differently in 'Murica." I sprinted back to join my team.

You are probably wondering why this pasta exchange is such a big deal? One, I thought this guy was so full of shit offering me little balls and calling them pasta. For years I said to anyone that would listen that the Dutch have no clue what pasta is. Two, years later I realized that the man who tried to sell me that bag was none other than Mr. Couscous himself. Seems that his shady couscous selling was just the beginning. It eventually led to a life full of possession of false documents, money laundering, assault and attempted murder.

Moral of the story: mothers, don't let your kids grow up to be couscous salesmen. That's bad, bad news.

Couscous, Cauliflower and Toasted Almonds
(printable version)

-1 cup uncooked couscous
-1 head of cauliflower, finely chopped
-1 shallot, minced
-1/2 cup of almonds (whole or sliced or slivered)
-2 tsp. smoked paprika
-salt and pepper (to taste)
-1 1/2 cups + veggie broth

1. Dump a tiny bit of veggie broth into a large bottomed pot (you can use oil if you aren't on a strict diet like my wife is). Pour in the almonds. Toast until the almonds become fragrant. Set aside.

2. Pour in a little more veggie broth. Add the shallot and saute for two minutes. Add the cauliflower. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and two teaspoons of smoked paprika overtop. Stir and cook for ten minutes.

3. Stir in the couscous. Continue stirring for another minute or two after you have added all the couscous.

4. Pour in the 1 1/2 cups of veggie stock. Swish it around until all the couscous have found their way into the stock. Put a lid on the pot and bring the stock to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer that baby. Cook the couscous, without messing with it, for five minutes.

5. If your almonds aren't sliced or slivered, go ahead and cut them up now. Once the couscous is done cooking add the almonds to the couscous and stir that pot. Spoon the mixture into bowls, sprinkle some fresh parsley overtop, put the bowl onto your tv tray and turn on a gangster movie while phoning your mom and telling her you are thinking of getting into the couscous selling business.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Food Flavored Video: Hobart by Sail On! Sail On!

We all know them. Maybe. They are the beefy guys at the party who show up with a bag of chips, do a couple of bro hugs and start raising the roof while the other party goers chant "Dip! Dip! Dip!" They are the slimy greasers who take an ice cream scoop of pureed chickpeas, slop it on some lady's breasts and proceed to dip those babies clean. They are the loud male sports fans at the bar high-fiving and plinking Sabra tubs together when their team scores a point. They are the people that suffer from hyper toxic hummasculinity.

Over the last week Sail On! Sail On!'s social media has been besieged by these hummus bros bragging and belching about how they can eat more hummus than the band. It all came about because of the band's video for their single "Hobart." Skinny, one of the members of Sail On! Sail On! asked some friends to bring a plate of vegan food over to his house. 90 percent of them brought hummus. So Skinny and Ethan (another band member) decided that during the 2:50 song they would attempt to eat 1kg of hummus while also taking turns singing the lines of the song. The band completed the video in one take, no way they would be able to eat that much hummus again, and uploaded it to Youtube. Then the hummus pissing contest began. Vitriol like "DZ and Dunies were at least impressive. This just nasty and music doesnt suit :/" and "mate, you can't even finish a 1KG tub of hummus between the two of you" was sent their way. The band calmly suggested that if people wanted to try the challenge themselves they could film it and send it to the band. If anyone could successfully sing the lines in the song while finishing a 1kg tub of hummus in 2:50, Sail On! Sail On! would send them a free record. Just by attempting the challenge a person could earn a free download of the album.

Watch Sail On! Sail On!'s hummus challenge:



Hummus Free Version:



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Click (Music): Veggie Both, Panama, BANNERS and Sealing Things With a Kiss

"Undertow" by Panama

Traditionally my cooking "undertow" of choice is a big glob of semi frozen olive oil. Pop that thing into almost any pan and watch the crispy, caramelization take hold. With the doctor ordered fat drive shifted way down to low, olive oil has been off the table. It's been veggie broth for days. I can't say it has been easy, it definitely took some readjusting the way I handle certain things, but I'm finally feeling like I'm getting the hang of it. As for Panama's "Undertow," this track is a beautifully written, slow burning, heartbreaker. The track is actually a letter that Panama wrote to a friend who committed suicide. "Undertow" can be found on Panama's sophomore EP, Hope for Something, which hits the streets on June 23rd.

 

"Let Me Down Easy" by Gangs of Youth

One of my social media sites caught fire last week when I suggested that veggie broth is where vegetables that have made nothing of value are "given a platform to take things of value and treat them as nothing." Some of my veggie loving friends were super pissed. Of course their straw man arguments kept returning to cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. I let the haters down easy by relaying that everyone knows you don't put those veggies in a broth because it leaves it bitter and lonely.

In a similar vein, Gangs of Youth spent some time internet dueling last week after they suggested that the internet is "the place where those whom have made nothing of value are given platform to take things of value and treat them as nothing." A follower fired off a long, angry response, only to eventually realize that a) he was demonstrating their point and b) they were quite possibly in agreement with each other but had trouble conveying that over the interwebs.

Grab some popcorn (simmered in veggie broth of course), fire up Gang of Youths Facebook page to watch the fireworks and turn on "Let Me Down Easy." Trust me, it will fill in the missing piece that is needed to complete your day.



"Someone to You" by Banners

I've pretty much spent my last two days riding my bicycle around town, handing out free quarts of veggie broth and blasting “Someone to You” by Banners. This track is uplifting and magnetic. It captures all those warm, cozy feelings that are associated with falling in love/pouring a fine veggie broth into a steaming hot pan. "When someone loves you (and your veggie broth), you feel like a rock star, like a hero. This song is about that, about wanting that and about making someone else feel that too,” says BANNERS.



Covers:

 "Sealed With A Kiss" by You Are Number Six

You Are Number Six celebrated the 30 degree first day of Summer by releasing a cover of "Sealed With A Kiss." The track is sung in half-french / half-english and features Anissa's innocent voice over a bed of dark melancholic melodies. Now, where have I heard that description before? Oh yeah, I used that same description in my first cookbook when introducing my veggie broth recipe.



Videos:

"I Still Wait For You" by XYLO

First, it's the official video for XYLO's "I Still Wait For You." The video was directed by Daniel Iglesias Jr. The band wanted to create a voyeuristic, slightly psychedelic, caricature of broth band life.



"I Still Wait For You (acoustic)" by XYLO

As a change of pace, XYLO does "I Still Wait For You" all over again in acoustic form. The stripped-down video highlights how the band's mesmerizing vocals and hypnotic chords can play anywhere, even a garage.



"We Could Run" by Beth Ditto

"We Could Run" is the third single from Beth Ditto's upcoming debut album (Fake Sugar, due out on June 16th). The song highlights Beth's powerful vocals and resonating lyrics in an 80's power ballad sort of way. I can definitely see one or two similarities between "We Could Run" and say "Pour Some Veggie Broth On Me."



Get All of 2017's Click Tracks (when available) in One Spotify Playlist:

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Listen: Good Kid, VHS Collection and High Signs

Nothing spices up a simple vegan vichyssoise better than a pinch of:

Five computer programmers from the University of Toronto competed in a programming competition. The group won first prize. As fate would have it, first place meant a free trip to Asia. It just so happened that one of those programmers had grown up in Shanghai. So while the five programmers traveled through Asia, they made a stop there. The programmer who was from there led the other four on a tour. He took them to some cool places. He also took them to some shady places. One of those was a fortune teller psychic lady who told the five of them that they were going to die very, very soon. The group freaked out hearing their fate and decided to write a song about trying to make it out of Shanghai alive. Those computer programmers go by the name of Good Kid. The song detailed above? It's the band's new single called "Witches."

"Witches" is a mile a minute wild, wicked ride over a spiceless landscape. It's the kind of track you'd find those creepy female pepper smugglers that hang out in public restrooms at midnight listening to. It's definitely something you want to keep hidden when those "good girls" you like to hang with come over to play.



After the frenetic pace of "Witches", we need a few minutes to catch our breathe. That's where NYC-based VHS Collection and their new slow burner "So I Met Someone" comes in. "So I Met Someone" was written to capture the space that exists where an old relationship ends and a new one begins. It is a bittersweet spot to stand. VHS Collection does an awesome job of exploring both of those tastebuds. The track starts with by delivering a verse that is low key and moody. Using both the lyrical delivery and music, the band successfully evokes sadness from the listener. This is the end. When the band hits the "so I met someone" chorus and the "away, away" portion of the track the listener can't help but feel upbeat. This is where the new beginning takes shape. Its up and down throughout the rest of the song, probably signifying that life itself is a bunch of stops and starts when it comes to relationships and human interactions.



Ok. Let's shake off the laziness, reroughen the edges, and head back to Toronto where High Signs (formerly Write Click Cook Listen favorite Terrorista) is busy getting their energetic punk sound on. When the band's debut single "A Much Larger Ocean" starts, it offers a sound that is both vigorous and throaty. Punk fans will immediately start tapping their thigh, nodding their head and whispering "this is the shit" (this is probably the punkest thought I've had today). Then, somewhere around the thirty second mark, "A Much Larger Ocean" veers into the world of lo-fi melodic pop. For ten straight seconds the track becomes just you and your thoughts over a bed of lo-fi instrumentals. Just before you fall down some sort of emo rabbit hole, High Signs returns with their throaty lyrics and, from here on out, blends the punk with the melodic in a way that early 00's emo bands only wish they had done. Damn, if this was the type of music that sold eyeliner, I would've f**king played the part.

Substance wise, "A Much Larger Ocean" is a song about the struggle to remain positive and hopeful while going through that rough patch in life that requires you to just take things one day at a time. If you were wondering about the title of the song, it references an overview effect that was provided by an allegedly inebriated astronaut when answering about the possibility that the moon landing was a fake.

Cook: Vegan Vichyssoise

Other than some blueberry lavender jam and watermelon kombucha, I've mainly spent the last seven weeks subsisting on foods that others have prepared for me. That is the beauty of a new baby and a mother-in-law that loves to cook. But alas, yesterday, it came time for said mother-in-law to return to her homeland. This meant my long anticipated return to the kitchen.

So what was I going to dazzle with first? I had big plans that I festered over for the last seven weeks. These plans involved exotic vinegars, acidic citrus and major fatty foods. Unfortunately, these plans were foiled by J-Fur's body. She is still dealing with some health issues that arose during Special K's delivery process. As a result, she has been ordered by her doctors to eat a diet that includes very little fat, no spice and no acid.

Hamstrung hardcore, I decided to reannounce my presence with a simple vegan vichyssoise. This dish included just five ingredients: leeks, potatoes, vegetable broth, salt and an avocado. I'm not sure that you can get anymore basic than that. I spruced things up a bit by throwing in some hunks of baguette (store bought of course). When J-Fur wasn't looking, I further spruced my bowl up with pepper and olive oil (shh...don't tell her).

It wasn't the fanciest of nights but it satisfied all the internal organs that were involved. At this point, that's all I hoped to accomplish.

Food Flavored Video: Barf Day by Diet Cig

Ever wondered what a birthday party featuring members of Diet Cig, Daddy Issues, Pardoner and Plush would include? Well wonder no more. Diet Cig gives you a little taste, excuse me, a giant vomit dripping taste in their video for "Barf Day."

The birthday starts dull enough. There is some burgers being flipped by a grill master who definitely has better places to be. Then the crew joins each other in a kum ba yah half circle around a juggling clown (who also acts like he has better places to be. Come on man, look alive. Do you know who you are performing for? That's Diet Cig, dude. That person there? Daddy Issues. Yep, Pardoner and Plush as well). The clown is so dull that one of the party goers, I believe it is Alex from Diet Cig, resorts to digging in dirt.

At this point, the ballon circled cake comes out and everyone pledges allegiance sends happy thoughts to the birthday girl. Here's where things go a bit awry. Instead of slicing the cake and sharing it, Alex smashes it on the table and runs from the party singing "I just want to have ice cream on my birthday." As she leaves the party, of course, she finds an abandoned ice cream truck (ok, there is a driver in front but seriously, he doesn't put up much of a fight at all). She climbs in through the window and starts doling out cold sweet treats to the party goers who have followed her. Then, Diet Cig steals the truck and proceeds to turn it into a moving concert vehicle. This signifies the end of an absolutely perfect "Barf Day."

See it all yourself:



Just the sounds:


Diet Cig Upcoming Tour Dates
June 08 - Columbia, MO @ Rose Music Hall #
June 09 - Indianapolis, IN @ Musical Family Tree #
June 10 - Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe #
July 23 - Seattle, WA @ Capitol Hill Block Party
Sep 07 - Hamden, CT @ The Ballroom at The Outer Space *
Sep 08 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom #
Sep 09 - Providence, RI @ Columbus Theatre *
Sep 10 - Portland, ME @ SPACE
Sep 11 - Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall *
Sep 12 - Ithaca, NY @ The Haunt *
Sep 13 - Pittsburgh, PA @ The Funhouse at Mr Smalls *
Sep 14 - Gambier, OH @ Horn Gallery - Kenyon College
Sep 16 - Lancaster, PA @ Lizard Lounge *
Sep 17 - Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery *
Sep 23 - Tourcoing, FR @ Le Grand Mix
Sep 25 - Paris, FR @ Supersonic
Sep 26 - Antwerp, BE @ Trix VZW
Sep 28 - Lausanne, CH @ Le Romandie Rock Clubl
Sep 30 - Osimo, IT @ Loop
Oct 02 - Vienna, AT @ B72
Oct 04 - Munich, DE @ Orange House
Oct 05 - Berlin, DE @ Berghain Kantine
Oct 06 - Denmark, CP @ Stengade
Oct 07 - Hamburg-St. Pauli, DE @ Molotow
Oct 09 - Köln, DE @ Blue Shell
Oct 10 - Münster, DE @ Gleis 22
Oct 12 - Norwich, UK @ Norwich Arts Centre
Oct 13 - Nottingham, UK @ Rough Trade Nottingham
Oct 14 - Lancashire, UK @ Lancaster Library
Oct 16 - Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
Oct 17 - Edinburgh, UK @ Sneaky Pete's
Oct 18 - Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast
Oct 19 - Leeds, UK @ Headrow House
Oct 21 - Bristol, UK @ Simple Things Festival
Oct 23 - Cambridge, UK @ Portland Arms
Oct 25 - London, UK @ Moth Club
Oct 26 - Brighton, UK @ The Hope & Ruin

# = with SPORTS
* = with Ratboys

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Food Flavored Song of the Day: Coca Cola by Animal House

Special K and I were out stroller walking this morning when we noticed a Pepsi truck up ahead. There was a man in the process of emptying said truck. He stopped and eyed us suspiciously. I gave him the universal symbol for "don't worry, I'm not here to steal your emoji covered soda because I'm much more interested in the brand with the bottle that can act as a detachable festival bracelet." He still seemed a bit dubious. So, to better ease his mind, I pulled out my phone and loaded up "Coca Cola" from Animal House. I let the chorus rip:

"With Coca Cola we know how to party, with Coca Cola we know how to sing."

This seemed to do the trick. The truck worker nodded and returned to unloading while Special K and I continued on our emoji free way.

"Coca Cola" by Animal House is cheeky as a baby, raucous as an inebriated seaman and catchy as the flu. It, along with the rest of Animal House's catalog, seems to exist to show/remind people that it is ok to get off your ass and dance wildly to guitar music. The band is gearing up for the release of their new EP Hot Bodies. The EP, which features "Coca Cola", is a cohesive and well-thought-out barrel of guitars, shakers and raspy, sexy vocals. It is also marvelously stupid and perfectly satisfying on a hot day.