(photos by Dominick Mastrangelo)
Sometime around Christmas, I learned what a buche de noel was as I watched the Food Network’s Robert Irvine mess one up on an episode of Iron Chef. A few days later, I trekked from Bushwick all the way down to Sunset Park (about an hour on the subway) to my friend Eleanor Whitney’s apartment for a lovely New Year’s Eve party (with cupcakes in hand). When I arrived, she was pulling a thin sheet of cake out of the oven. After letting it cool, she covered it in chocolate maple buttercream frosting, and then I watched her roll it into a buche that put Irvine’s to shame.
In 2009, Eleanor and her boyfriend Sharif launched 2 Cooks in the Kitchen, a blog of yummy and practical recipes, like the aforementioned buche de noel and veggie stock. Eleanor also plays guitar and sings in the indiepop band Corita, and she writes about music. Basically, she is awesome.
Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, coated in sugar sprinkles and gold stars (recipe links at bottom of post)
THE STYLE INSPIRATION
In the past couple years, Florence and the Machine’s Florence Welch has gone from barely-known British singer to international pop powerhouse. Her debut LP Lungs got her nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy Award, and she also performed in the awards ceremony’s Aretha Franklin tribute alongside the likes of Jennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera. Her style is as dynamic as her music; Welch’s outfits are often either long, light and billowy, or shiny and sparkly. The cupcakes are red velvet for her fiery red hair (and also because it matches the color on her album cover), and the sparkly sugar sprinkles and gold stars are because she’s glamorous (and the gold also because of the photo below).
This recipe has absolutely nothing to do with the band (the oh-so-un-Googleable !!!, pronounced “chk chk chk”); it was just what I ate for lunch most of this week and I wanted to use the name! !!! on MySpace
ABOUT INDIE ROCK DELI
It all started here, with a normal day at work that turned into an hours-long giggle fit. Indie Rock Deli dishes are inspired by punny takes on band names and song titles. Leave your own suggestions in the comments and they might be used in a future post! (No, they definitely don’t have to actually be indie rock.)
Healthy-ish DIY Dunkaroos (recipe at bottom of post)
Breathe Owl Breathe are magical. I’m still kicking myself for not having gotten into them when I was living in Michigan (they’re from there, too), but it’s definitely better late than never. They’re an inventive, whimsical folk trio that sings about love, fear and humanity, disguised as stories about dragons, lions and various other creatures. I chose this recipe because, just like their music, it’s something that’s kid-friendly but it’s just as rewarding for the grown-ups, too. (The band also just used Kickstarter to fund a children’s book and record.)
On their phenomenal LP Magic Central (one of my favorites of last year), the song “Dragon” is, on the surface, about a dragon and a princess who are pen pals, but the princess doesn’t know the dragon is a dragon because he has good handwriting. But beyond that, it’s a song about loving someone that other people don’t think you should love, even though their hearts are in the right place. So these treats are also fitting because kids will love them (c’mon, they’re animal crackers!), but they’re actually pretty healthy, thanks to whole wheat flour, flax seeds, and raw sugar. The frosting isn’t quite as healthy (lots of powdered sugar), but still uses low-fat cream cheese and plain low-fat yogurt instead of butter, so it’s at least a step up from typical frosting. And, unrelated to the band, apparently February is National Snack Food Month! Breathe Owl Breathe on MySpace
“I was in the kitchen on my own making chili/
You came in with an onion and got dicin’/
It seems silly that this chili has two heartbeats in the recipe/
So come over, give your heart to me.”
— “Heartbeat Chilli” by Allo Darlin’ (from last year’s Allo Darlin’)
Heart-healthy veggie chili with heart-shaped tortilla crisps (recipe at bottom of post)
Allo Darlin”s self-titled debut was one of my favorite records of 2010 — it’s indie-pop that’s sweet and earnest enough to make me all warm and fuzzy every time I listen. Elizabeth Morris’s lyrics are unbelievably witty, and she occasionally mixes her own lines with snippits of songs like Weezer’s “El Scorcho” (“Kiss Your Lips”) and Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line” (“Heartbeat Chilli”). This ukulele-based song is pretty perfect for Valentine’s Day, and this chili is a perfect dish to warm up with in the hell that is mid-February. I made sure the chili had plenty of heart-healthy ingredients like beans and spinach — beans are great for their omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and fiber; spinach for its potassium and fiber, among other things. The heart-shaped tortilla crisps are kinda self-explanatory. Allo Darlin’ on MySpace
Working in the music biz sometimes means eating out a lot — whether it’s meetings with others in the industry or taking artists out before their shows. Andrew Steinthal and Chris Stang are the music-industry dudes behind the NYC restaurant reviews site Immaculate Infatuation. (Steinthal does publicity at Warner Bros. and Stang is the director of marketing at Atlantic Records.) The site is great for anyone in the city looking for a new restaurant, but it’s especially awesome for those wanting to grab a bite before checking out a show: You can search reviews by neighborhood or cuisine, but you can also check what restaurants are closest to the music venue you’re headed to.
Sugar cookies with buttercream and royal icing (Recipe below)
No CALL ME’s or HUGS & KISSES here! Each cookie has a different love-themed song title. I know they’re not all mushy love songs, but it’s more based on the titles than the lyrics…To make these even more precious, I had help from the cutest music-biz couple I know: Heidi Greenwood and Bryan Vaughan, who run Brooklyn’s Paper Garden Records. Paper Garden is home to one of my favorite discoveries of the past year, Peasant, as well as Danish up-and-comers Alcoholic Faith Mission, and several other acts. Heidi and Bryan were gracious enough to spend more than four hours with me on these … they are amazing and I can’t thank them enough! Enjoy some super-cute photos of them below.
Tracklisting is at bottom of the post.