Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy 25th Birthday, Paul's Boutique.

On July 25, 1989, something amazing happened. A couple of years after the amazing success of their album Licensed to Ill, Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch convinced the group to release an album completely unpublicized. Not like the last one. Completely different style. But don't tell people.

"Just let people find it," he said.

And they did.

Paul's Boutique

I cannot express how much this album means to me.
It changed my life, even though I only really listened to it a few years ago.
It was the first time I really delved into the Beasties.

It is the most incredibly dense mash-up of samples and rhymes and fresh beats, and... yeah, food.

Track listing:

1. "To All the Girls"   1:29
2. "Shake Your Rump"   3:19
3. "Johnny Ryall"   3:00
4. "Egg Man"   2:57
5. "High Plains Drifter"   4:13
6. "The Sounds of Science"   3:11
7. "3-Minute Rule"   3:39
8. "Hey Ladies"   3:47
9. "5-Piece Chicken Dinner"   0:23
10. "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun"   3:28
11. "Car Thief"   3:39
12. "What Comes Around"   3:07
13. "Shadrach"   4:07
14. "Ask for Janice"   0:11
15. "B-Boy Bouillabaisse"  

So to celebrate, we had the following:

5-Piece Chicken Dinner

... It was either that or something with eggs.

I really... can't articulate how much my life has changed since I discovered this album. So, thanks, Boys. And Happy Birthday. 

(I can has chicken dinner?)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

MCA Day 2014


I know yesterday was Derby Day for a lot of people, but for the moment I care more about hip-hop than I do about big hats, horses, and mint juleps. ... Plus, Matt forgot the bourbon for the juleps. 

But anyway. 

For me and millions of other people around the world, yesterday was MCA Day. In which we celebrate the life and legacy of the amazing Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the Beastie Boys.

There are a thousand different things I could say here. But I'll try to keep it simple and to the point of this blog.

The Beastie Boys rock.

And one of the major reasons for that was, is, and will always be Adam Yauch. He is the visionary. The force of movement. The REASON they are so beloved and will be remembered through history. A director, a writer, a father, a brother. The one to say: Hey, let's do THIS, and we'll make it work.

And they LOVE food.

One of the reasons they took so long to put out albums is that they were too busy eating and goofing around with each other.

Delivering Colonel Sanders down to Davy Jones's locker. 
Eating crazy cheese like you'd think they're from Paris.
Popping open a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-pap.

Hell, even letting some chef boyardee cool in the pot.

One of their albums -- 2004's To the Five Burroughs -- actually makes you hungry. If you're not drooling by the end of that thing, something's wrong with you.

Witness this intro to "Shazam," from that album:

I sneak a chicken tikka
Masala at a gala event;
I represent that stupid, that's for sure.
You be like "oh yeah Adam, real mature."

I'd like a lettuce, tomato, and muenster on rye.
All this cheese is gonna make me cry.
Gorgonzola, Provolone...
Don't even get me started on this microphone.

And that's most of the way in, for pete's sake.

So... I celebrated the life of Adam Yauch by listening to his music, watching his films, and eating a damn good sandwich. I'd say rest in peace, but I have a feeling he's still here. Spreading his crazy positive go-for-it energy to everyone who dares receive it.

New York State Senate Resolution J4637-2001

Sunday, April 6, 2014


At last -- 
Something in my sightline that doesn't make me actively depressed!

Hello, warm weather and green grass and beer on the deck and all that.
For today, at least.
Tomorrow it's supposed to be rainy and cold.




But anyway, today I planted some of the loveliest geraniums I've ever seen, and some seeds for tomatoes, serranos,  eggplant, and papayas.

I don't have any idea how to grow papayas, but I guess we'll find out. 

As for Spring, regular readers might know I have a traditional meal of peas and mint and eggs. And you also know that I always forget when the vernal equinox is coming up. Which makes me a very bad witch. 

So this year I just went with this: 

Which I think is pretty darn springy.

aaaand, it's still in the high 30's right now. 
What the hell?

Monday, September 16, 2013


Traditional mashed potatoes beneath some pan-seared salmon, topped with some mushed-up peas and mint (recipe of which is mentioned earlier on this blog), drizzled with some olive oil and topped with some homemade potato chips made out of the cutest baby purple Peruvian potatoes EVER. 

It was my first time trying this out, but... isn't it pretty? The clean flavors melded together amazingly, too, as well as the textures of the different components. You probably can't tell, but that largest potato chip up there is the size of an American quarter.

And it was delicious.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Okay. For those who don't know, marzipan is an almond-based confection that basically consists of blanched almonds, sugar, and a teeny bit of water. It's usually a paste-like consistency, usually sculpted into the shape of fruit for some reason, and usually... really boring.

But I recently heard about a way to make marzipan at home that sounded like it could have rather interesting results. And if you let your imagination run wild, incredibly interesting results.

Seen here coated with lime zest, toasted almonds, and saffron.

I came across the basic technique on a cooking show, but when I looked it up on their site the recipe was vastly different from what was televised, so I just sort of took the idea and improvised. 

What I did was:

1/2 pound blanched, peeled almonds
1/4 pound confectioner's / icing sugar
2 tbs + tiny bit extra water
1 plum pit kernel 

That's right. 
The inside of a plum pit.

Marzipan traditionally calls for bitter almonds, which are kind of hard to find here, so the kernel of stone fruits (plums or peaches) can be used as a substitute. They're also probably poisonous; haven't really looked into that. But if the tv says it's an acceptable substitute, I believe it! 

Put the sugar and water in a blender jar and whiz it up to dissolve the sugar. You want enough water so that it doesn't look like icing, but you don't want it to be too watery.

Then add about 2/3 to 3/4 of the almonds, a handful at a time, blending until smooth before each addition. You'll end up with a rather stiff, workable paste. 

Crush up the rest of the almonds and the plum kernel by hand, either in a mortar and pestle or with a knife or the bottom of a pot or something. This part's all about texture, which most store-bought marzipan is lacking. Fold the crushed stuff into the prepared paste by kneading it, so that it's fairly evenly distributed. 

Then... You fry it!!!

Toast the mixture in a dry skillet until it's warmed through and you can smell the almond-y goodness. Then soak your skillet in hot water for an hour and pray it comes clean and you don't have to buy another piece of cookware.

After the whole frying thing is done, wrap the stuff in cling wrap and fridge it overnight. It'll keep in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, and in the freezer pretty much indefinitely. 

That's the basic set-up but the fun part is deciding on what to put on the outside. In addition to the pieces pictured above, we've also tried herbs de provence, which was interesting because the lavender and fennel contained therein accentuated the sweetness of the almond paste, while the savoryness of the basil and other herbs added sort of a pungent kick.

Next to try: lemon zest, orange zest, toasted coconut, cardamom, cinnamon, macha, curry, lavender, cocoa nibs, and possibly black pepper.

Open to more suggestions if anyone has any...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Picnic at Hanging Rock.

So, you know that ultra-creepy movie from the mid-1970's called Picnic at Hanging Rock?

... There's an ultra-creepy movie from the mid-1970's called Picnic at Hanging Rock. It's Australian. It's directed by Peter Weir, who later went on to direct stuff like Witness and The Truman Show. But first he did weird, creepy, disturbing stuff in Australia.

Picnic is about a group of school girls who went on an outing and wound up getting... something. They disappeared or got killed or raped or sucked into a temporal displacement or something. One of their teachers disappeared, too.

Told you.

So when we found out there was a place titled Hanging Rock National Natural Landmark within two-hours' driving distance of our house, naturally my first instinct was:

Let's go on a picnic!!!

We loaded up our picnic basket with stuff to make ham & swiss sandwiches on sweet brioche with whole-grain mustard and those little individual bottles of wine that you don't have to bother resealing. Two flat stones provided natural benches on the banks of the Wabash River.

I really don't have much to add beyond that, except --

 It's pretty.



Mmmm..... petroleum-based dessert at the summit of Hanging Rock....

 Next stop -- Blair Woods!!
 Who's with me?!?!

...Yeah; okay. That's understandable.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Peaches 25 - 36

We have a peach tree in our yard. 

Usually we manage to get about a dozen peaches in a year, if we're lucky.

And then, there's this year.

We haven't done a thing different.
Seriously. Not a thing.

This winter, a big wind storm blew a third of the thing down. The poor tree's been struggling since we bought this place, and we'd pretty much given the thing up for dead.  We've even considered cutting it down.


This is the third dozen peaches we've harvested in three weeks. Not counting the ones stolen by birds and squirrels over the last month, or the dozens rotting on the ground. 

We've had parfaits and crumbles and just... sliced peaches, and I'm happily running out of ideas.

 Definitely pickling some of these babies.

Happy end of summer, peoples!