Golden Beet Salad (Inspired by the Wilderness of Manitoba)

THE DISH
Salad with golden beets (and a bunch of other things)

THE INSPIRATION
Toronto band the Wilderness of Manitoba make lovely folk music based on hushed harmonies and lush, organic arrangements. Their album When You Left The Fire was made for this time of year: They mention breezy nights (“Orono Park”), devils dancing in the trees (“November”), and crashing waves (“White Water”). There’s also a song called “Golden Beets,” so I wanted to make a dish centered around those lovely beets that do not make a big, fuchsia-colored mess. It needed to be hearty and have a lot of components (kale! pomegranate seeds! apples!), because their songs have many textures and layers; but it had to be made from simple, natural ingredients, because the instrumentation is mostly acoustic. And we added sunflower seeds because Manitoba is Canada’s largest sunflower seed producer (and they taste good). Check out the video below; obviously quite perfect for ringing in November.

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DIY Business Association Conference + Red Pepper Hummus and Beet Dip

Alternately titled The Little Food Processor That Could OR No One Girl Should Make All That Hummus
(skip to recipes at bottom)

I’m starting this post shortly after taking a way-too-expensive car ride home from the first (but definitely not last) DIY Business Association Conference in DUMBO, and I am glowing because WHOA, I am full of inspiration from a day of panels and chatting with friends, past and present colleagues, and new acquaintances who are all working on amazing creative projects.


In my running around all day, I failed to take photos; I’m sure other people’s will surface soon…

The DIYBA was started this year by Amy Schroeder, a close friend who began as my mentor; she founded the now-defunct women’s music and culture mag Venus Zine when she was a student at Michigan State (also my alma mater, though we’re 10 years apart). When I was in college, Amy took me on as an intern and soon after hired me as an editor, and it’s because of that experience — and the constant support from her and the other colleagues, mentors and friends I met because of it — that I truly believed I could make a living writing about music in New York. Just four years later I was able to make it a reality. Anyway, Amy put on an incredible conference (I helped out most of the day and with the help of Stefanie of The Petite Soiree and a kickass volunteer team, it was like clockwork) and every single person left with something new.

“Ideas need to have sex with each other”
Most of the conference focused on collaboration — Grace Bonney from Design*Sponge talked about seeking out people in communities outside your niche who share the way you think; Molly Neuman, who I work with at eMusic, talked about how Ted Leo (who she manages) has started collaborating with comedians to reach new audiences; bassist Gregory Jackson, who’s played with countless reggae, soul and R&B artists, talked about getting gigs that combine music and art. The conference today was a clearing for new ideas and inspiration, and I know there will be some cool projects related to this blog that came out of today. (Jessica H. Lawrence talked about ideas needing to “have sex with each other” and it’s true.)

Among the people I met today: Journalists Niema Jordan and Annie Reuter, who wrote concert reviews for me at VZ back in the day but I’d never met them in person; Shondes drummer Temim Fruchter; comedic songwriter Jessica Delfino; BUST Magazine designer Erin Wengrovious; Brian Merchant from the Utopianist; photographer (and fellow former State Newser) Eleanor Templeton; Patrice Fehlen at September Gurl PR and quite a few others. I definitely have some cooking and wine-drinking dates and collaborative ETB posts ahead of me.


Journalist Niema Jordan (of Essence magazine and others) and Temim Fruchter of the Shondes

So, speaking of food (of course), the other notable part of the day is that I offered to make snacks for the drinks and mingling hour at the end of the event; which was about 150 or so people … which I had never done before. Considering the logistics — I had to make it a day ahead of time and it had to sit in a fridge or at room temperature all day — I decided on roasted red pepper hummus and beet/goat cheese dip, with pita, carrots and cucumbers, and a huge fruit salad. I also have no perception of how much food should be made for that many people, and I spent Saturday hovering over my tiny, tiny food processor, making my weight in hummus. (I don’t even wanna talk about it. The morals of my story are 1) I need a bigger food processor, and 2) I should never make that much hummus again.) And before the conference I chopped up two watermelons, four cantaloupes and combined them with six cartons of strawberries and about four pounds of grapes. WAY TOO MUCH FOOD.

In my frantic planning and errand-running and food-making, I completely freaked out. I thought, “I’m representing my food blog and this food is totally nothing fancy and people are going to think I’m super lame” … and then I realized it actually doesn’t matter. At all. What I do on ETB is not fancy. OK, I guess sometimes it can get a bit elaborate — but it’s usually not, and that’s a lot of what this site is about. I’m a home cook, not a business. I’m not trying to sell you anything; I just love to make food and share it with people. And reminding myself of that made it totally fine that I was making two dips and fruit salad. And then at the end of the evening when people said they liked my hummus, I realized how silly I was for thinking people would judge me in the first place. It was a great learning experience. And since I made WAY too much of everything, I pushed hummus-filled Greek yogurt containers onto other volunteers and conference-goers, and I can only hope they eat it.

Anyway! If you tasted these at the conference or they just sound good to you anyway, recipes are below. Both are very simple, though I recommend using a large food processor if you plan to make more than a few batches.

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Beet-Avocado “Tartare” and a California playlist

THE DISH
Beet-avocado “tartare”

THE INSPIRATION
At the end of February I took my first trip to Los Angeles, to visit my cousins for a week. I did lots of yoga, went hiking, saw a not-so-hilarious improv show, played with puppies, and wandered around Santa Monica. I also ate lots of awesome food, like spinach and corn tamales from Hugo’s Tacos, a lemon bar from Big Sugar Bakeshop, an insanely fresh egg salad sandwich with avocado at The Trails in Griffith Park, and a huge veggie plate at Border Grill.

My most memorable meal, though, came from Madeleine Bistro, a fancy vegan place in Tarzana (run by Chef Dave Anderson) where I ate with my cousin, my yoga teacher and her daughters. I didn’t actually have a choice in what I was ordering — the girls just told me, “OK, you’re getting the beet tartare and the bigger mac.” The bigger mac is like a vegan version of a McDonald’s Big Mac, and it was awesome, but the beet tartare was gorgeous and something totally different (beats over a tofu “cheese crouton” with cucumbers, some kind of sauce and a balsamic).

This dish is inspired by that (a photo of the real thing at the bottom of the post — mine pales in comparison, but I am not a chef so I guess that’s OK! I also wasn’t trying to recreate exactly the same thing…), and also the other foods I ate on my trip: perfectly-ripe avocado, alfalfa sprouts, tangelos, and blood orange balsamic vinegar (the latter two I brought back to Brooklyn with me). And it’s vegan because hoooly smokes were there a lot of veggie/vegan restaurants there! (Not a complaint.) Anyway, I need to make this again and make it better because it’s not totally amazing, but it was yummy.

THE PLAYLIST
I spent a lot of time driving around with my cousin, which meant plenty of time to share music. These are some songs that were significant to my trip for various reasons — some are obvious/cliché California jams, some are songs my cousin and I both love, and others just found themselves running around my head while I was there.

http://listen.grooveshark.com/widget.swf

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Indie Rock Deli: “She Don’t Use Jelly” Toast (Inspired by the Flaming Lips)


Top row from left: Lox; curried apples; cinnamon/sugar
Bottom row from left: Apples/honey; peanut butter-caramelized banana; beet/egg/avocado salad

“I know a girl who thinks of ghosts/
She’ll make ya breakfast/
She’ll make ya toast/
She don’t use butter/
She don’t use cheese/
She don’t use jelly/
Or any of these/
She uses vaseline”
— “She Don’t Use Jelly” by the Flaming Lips

http://listen.grooveshark.com/songWidget.swf

THE DISH
Six variations of butter-, cheese-, and jelly-less toasts (recipe + close-ups at the bottom)

THE INSPIRATION
See the lyrics above; pretty self-explanatory!

ABOUT THE ARTIST
Do I really need to tell you about the Flaming Lips? If so, you should probably just read this.

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.)

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