Avocado tacos, guacamole, and avocado fries
When Laura asked for guest posts for Eating The Beats, I was all in — until I realized that I am much better at making puns than I am at cooking. So I went to my talented friend David Anthony and asked for inspiration. He responded with 23 recipe ideas playing with band names, album titles and song titles, some of which were so funny that our lack of cooking skills or experience could not stop them. The clear frontrunner was We Jam Avocado, avocado-based recipes inspired by The Minutemen documentary We Jam Econo. And since a joke doesn’t start to get good until it reaches the ground, we decided to do a trio (GET IT?! LIKE THE BAND!) of avocado recipes with a California twist (‘CAUSE THAT’S WHERE THEY’RE FROM). A twist that, to us, means adding limes to everything, and to David means twists of lime and another pun. We stumbled through most of these recipes, by adding things we liked — Bacon! Cheese! Frying! — as we went, but the tacos especially are open to experimentation. We also included very few procedural photographs, because no one needs to know about our knife skills.
The Best Music Writing series needs our help! My friend Daphne Carr, who edits BMW, is starting a publishing company so this beloved yearly music-writing anthology can continue independently, and there are just 5 days left in the Kickstarter campaign to make it happen. As of yesterday one of the backing options is for me to make you treats inspired by your favorite music — there’s only one (of two) left, so check out the details! Even if you can’t drop $50 for that, please consider preordering a copy of the book for a mere $15, or choosing one of the many other donation options. UPDATE: WE DID IT! Best Music Writing will be funded. And, the two custom-made ETB treats have been purchased, so you’ll be seeing those when they’re made in the next couple months.
Chocolate cream cheese fudge with everything but the kitchen sink mixed in (recipe here)
By now you’ve probably heard Gotye, and if you haven’t, I promise you will soon — not just in this blog post, but everywhere. A few months ago, my editor sent me the Australian/Belgian singer’s song “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and we both agreed that it was pleasant and, for better or worse, he was going to be huge. His album Making Mirrors is out in the U.S. soon (or already?), and it seems like every other day I’m seeing a different friend post a video on Facebook, mention him, etc. While Making Mirrors has some undeniably catchy pop songs that I don’t hate (“Easy Way Out,” “Eyes Wide Open”), overall I think it’s sort of a mess, and I think he’s confused about what he wants to sound like. Aside from the aforementioned decent songs, there are a couple fake-Motown/soul tracks out of nowhere (“I Feel Better,” “In Your Light”), and a bunch of terrible lyrics (in “I Feel Better”: “There was a time I was down, down/ I didn’t know what to do/ I was just stumblin’ around/ Thinking things could not improve/ I couldn’t look on the bright side of anything at all/ That’s when you gave me a call”).
This fudge is inspired by Gotye because I made it with whatever random things I could find on my baking shelf (dried cranberries, graham cracker crumbs, ground coffee and crushed candy canes?), just like he put together a bunch of totally disconnected songs and called it an album. And the fudge is very rich, which means it can only be handled in small doses. Or at least I can only handle it in small doses, though some of my friends didn’t seem to have a problem with it — just like how I can only handle a few of Gotye’s songs, but the rest of the world is just eating it up. EESH. (I liked this fudge more than I like Gotye.)
(Arcade Fire at Madison Square Garden, August 2010)
Here we are, at the fourth (!!) installment of seasonal music and beer pairings! It’s kinda fitting that we’re posting this a little later in the season than usual considering it’s just now starting to feel like winter here in New York and it still hasn’t snowed! Except for that one time in October. WTF? (Let’s be honest, I’m not complaining.)
As usual, I wrote a few words about five songs perfect for winter, and my friend Bret Stetka, who writes about food and drinks for Time Out New York, Metromix and MSN.com (he also has a doughnut blog — yes, a doughnut blog), paired them each with a beer that complements the music, and explained why they work together.
I launched this blog exactly one year ago today! Kind of crazy, right? I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who’s landed here in the last year: Your support and knowing that anyone actually reads this is what keeps it going, and I’m excited to head into year two! And special thanks to the amazing friends who have helped me cook, taken photos, and taste-tested so many of these recipes, as well as everyone who’s given me feedback and ideas to make this site better.
Also…I know I’ve been a little lighter than usual on recipes lately, and while I’m quite certain no one is on the edge of their chair waiting for new stuff every day, I just want to assure you that there’s some cool stuff on the way, including more collaborations (like BB Songs and the beer + music guides) and, for the first time, I’ll be posting recipes and features from some really great guest contributors.
Lastly, I’m having a party next month to celebrate, and you’re invited! Details to come, but it will be in Brooklyn and there will be treats, music-themed cocktails, and music.
So, all of that is on the way, but I’d also love to know: What do you want to see more or less of this year? What have you especially liked so far? Please leave any feedback in the comments, or shoot me an email at laura [at] eatingthebeats [dot] com.
About a year ago, British singer/producer Ghostpoet put out a Mercury Prize-nominated album called Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam; it’s low key and usually sorta sleepy-sounding, consisting mostly of songs about being down on your luck, but with a hint of optimism. “Cash and Carry Me Home” is about a hangover (and in the bigger picture, asking for help when you’ve hit a low place in your life): “Morning’s approached and I wrestle with a headache/ That was spawned in hell by the devil himself,” he says. And if you follow his Twitter, you’ll learn that he sometimes lets wine get the best of him. (Hey, don’t we all?)
A good hangover cure requires protein (and therefore energy), so I made a smoothie inspired by the album name, with peanut butter and berries (instead of jam, because I think that’d be even weirder than this already sounds). I think blackberries are fitting for the “melancholy” part, since I usually have to pick through the sour to find the sweet. And uh, I have to be honest, the flavor of peanut butter and jelly in liquid(ish) form tastes about as strange as it sounds — but then again, if you’re trying to shake off a massive hangover, is anything really going to taste good?
Every month or so, I partner with one of my favorite local sites, Brooklyn Based, to bring you an exclusive song by a Brooklyn band, recorded at Nadim Issa’s state-of-the-art recording studio in Gowanus, Let ‘Em In Music. Then, I create a recipe with — or inspired by — the featured artist. This month’s mp3 is Pearl and the Beard, performing Bon Iver’s “Re: Stacks” (get the free mp3 and read my feature on them here), and here are the butternut squash pancakes with maple-goat cheese sauce I made with the band. All photos by Dominick Mastrangelo.
Spiced butternut squash pancakes with maple-goat cheese sauce and candied walnuts (recipe + tons of photos here)
Within five minutes of Pearl and the Beard (Jocelyn Mackenzie, Emily Hope Price and Jeremy Styles) entering my apartment, I felt like they were old friends. All three of them are bundles of smiles and energy, and they came prepared to make delicious cocktails, which always gets points in my book. I first heard of the band through Dave of Backyard Brunch Sessions and was instantly won over by their simple but creative instrumentation and strong harmonies that often lean more toward cabaret than Americana (though there’s plenty of that, too).
When I asked them to do an installment of BB Songs, they decided to cover Bon Iver’s “Re: Stacks” from his debut album For Emma, Forever Ago (listen to their gorgeous version of the song here), and they wanted to make “stacks” of pancakes served with goat cheese sauce. From there, I decided on rich butternut squash pancakes and a spread made with goat cheese, maple syrup and yogurt. We topped our stacks with candied walnuts for an extra bit of sweetness — except for Jeremy, who is allergic but still insisted on flirting with danger and stirring them over the stove. Bon Iver’s music, especially For Emma, is a perfect match for the cold — and while we ate these pancakes for dinner, they’d be incredible as a comforting Sunday-morning brunch while holed up in a cabin in the dead of winter. The pancakes are filling, and the sauce — which we spread in between each layer — turns it into a pretty decadent meal. They’re still pretty healthy, though: The sauce is made with goat cheese, maple syrup and Greek yogurt, so there’s plenty of protein and not too much fat. And the butternut squash has got to count for something, right?