Egg and Smoked Salmon Sandwich (Inspired by Ida Maria)

“I eat boys like you for breakfast/ Where’s my salt and pepper now?/ Oregano, basil and thyme/ And my Tapatio” — “I Eat Boys Like You For Breakfast,” from Ida Maria’s album Katla

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THE DISH
Frittata and smoked salmon sandwich with hot sauce (Recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
Norwegian rock singer Ida Maria’s songs are typically about drinking booze, being heartbroken, kicking ass, and getting it on. Her first album, Fortress Round My Heart (home to the song “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”), soundtracked my summer between college and moving to New York, so a couple months ago my mind was blown when I learned she had already released LP No. 2, Katla, in Norway late last year, and I didn’t already know about it. It’s finally out in the U.S. tomorrow (June 7) and it’s fantastic.

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I teamed up with Missy and Mariel, the lovely ladies of What We Wore To Work Today (who are just as sassy as Ms. Maria) to make a dish based on her song “I Eat Boys Like You For Breakfast,” in which Ida shuns a dude for pissing off her dog, insulting her mother, groping her sister and crapping on her father (!!). We made a frittata served on a sandwich with smoked salmon (a nod to her Norwegian roots) and a side of potatoes, and it uses all the foods she mentions in the song: tomatoes, potatoes, onions, oregano, basil, thyme and hot sauce. It’s also linked to Katla‘s super-fun and sorta-raunchy first single, “Cherry Red,” with the cherry tomatoes and Mariel’s lipstick in the photo.
Ida Maria on MySpace

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Berry-Banana Muffins (Inspired by tUnE-yArDs + my food issues)

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THE DISH
Banana muffins with strawberries, raspberries and lemon (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
I have a problem with sweets. It’s something that’s tormented me my whole life, and even though I now have more control over my health than I ever have, and I feel comfortable in my body and confident in who I am as a whole (yep, it took 23 years to make that happen), I don’t think my sweet tooth is going away anytime soon. I struggle the most when my lack of self-control gets the best of me and I eat, say, four cookies, and then I instantly feel totally disgusting — not just physically, like there’s a huge bomb hanging out in my stomach, but I’m also emotionally disgusted with myself for not having the control to just tell myself no, and then I feel gross and embarrassed.

tUnE-yArDs’ mind-blowing new record, w h o k i l l, brought some of this up for me: In the song “Es-so,” the band’s mastermind Merrill Garbus mentions a piece of cake and says in a sort-of Valley girl tone, “I gotta do right if my body is tight, right?” In the next verse she talks about sticking “a fucking fork in” and then speaks in total disgust, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” It reminds me of my relationship with food and the types of excuses I make to myself for why it’s OK to eat more than I really need to: I’m hungry when I’m really not; I was “good” earlier in the day; I’m stressed; I’m sad because my boyfriend broke up with me, etc. etc. I’m sure I’m not the only woman who relates to that song, which is why I’m so glad it’s there.

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Other tracks on w h o k i l l have really been hitting home for me lately, too. The whole record is pure power: The music is confrontational, fearless, adventurous and loud, but it’s also melodic, influenced by African music (the percussion is especially great), and built up with layers of looping. Garbus’s lyrics are strong and she delivers them with intensity (watch the video below). On the album’s last track, “Killa,” she sing-raps, “I’m a new kind of woman, I’m a new kind of woman, I’m a ‘don’t take shit from you’ kind of woman” and then melodically sings, “So buckle up, ’cause we’re gonna move fast/ Drivin’ through things that you gotta get past.” (Seriously, ladies, if you need a post-breakup pick-me-up, however amicable the split, you should probably listen to this record.)

Yourstru.ly Presents: tUnE-yArDs “You Yes You” from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

But back to the food… Even though my self-control now is the best it’s ever been, I’m still in a constant battle with it. But the truth is that I ultimately can still be healthy (and even lose weight, which I’ve done thanks to changing my eating and exercise habits — not dieting) without completely cutting out sugar. Part of how I do that is that I very rarely buy sweets to keep in my apartment, because they definitely will not stay there for long. I’m much more likely to make them instead because that way I know exactly what’s in whatever I’m eating, which cuts down on the fake and processed foods, even if it doesn’t always cut down on the calories. But I often do try to make sweets that are at least a little bit on the healthy side, so even if I am indulging, it’s not always as bad as it could be. (As you can see from plenty of recipes on here, that is not always the case — and that’s OK too.)

As for this recipe: The texture of these muffins didn’t come out quite the way I hoped they would — they’re super, super moist and don’t puff up a whole lot. I think I got a little too creative when modifying the recipe — but they are still tasty. The fruit is because Tune-Yards’ music is colorful, and it has a tropical feel to it (she also mentions the jungle in “Es-so”).
tUnE-yArDs on MySpace
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High-Energy Apple Muffins (Inspired by The Apples In Stereo)

“And the world is made of energy
and the world is possibility
and the world is made of energy
and there’s a light inside of you
and there’s a light inside of me.”
— “Energy” by the Apples in Stereo, from their 2007 LP New Magnetic Wonder

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THE DISH
Apple-nut-quinoa muffins

THE INSPIRATION
The Apples in Stereo’s perfect spring anthem “Energy” is guaranteed to make you feel great, and these muffins might make you feel even better. They are delicious (I wanted to eat spoonfuls of the batter), but you don’t have to feel bad about eating them because they’re packed with high-energy, high-protein ingredients like quinoa and walnuts, and the sweetness comes mostly from shredded apples, plus raisins, coconut, cinnamon and just a little bit of raw sugar. (Yep, they are vegan.)
The Apples in Stereo on MySpace

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Sunny-Side-Up Egg Breakfast (Inspired by a classic folk song)

“Keep on the sunny side,
Always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life.
It will help us every day,
It will brighten all the way,
If we keep on the sunny side of life”

— “Keep On The Sunny Side,” originally by Ada Blenkhorn and J. Howard Entwisle in1899, made famous by the Carter Family in 1928, and performed here by The Low Anthem on their 2007 album What The Crow Brings

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THE DISH
Spinach, onions and quinoa topped with a sunny-side-up egg (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
I never skip breakfast. Ever. My everyday morning meal isn’t usually super elaborate, but I always need something to wake me up and get my day going. More often than not, I eat homemade granola with Greek yogurt and berries, but in a recent effort to use up what’s on my shelf and in my fridge (more on that later this week), I’ve been changing it up this week. This classic song (performed above by The Low Anthem, though it dates back to 1899) is about keeping on “the sunny side of life” — which made my sunny-side-up egg an obvious pick, but living every day on the sunny side, to me, also means having energy and feeling great. Quinoa is known as a superfood because it’s a complete protein, a good source of fiber, gluten free, and easy to digest — not to mention it’s tasty, it cooks quickly (in about 15 minutes), and can be used in a bajillion different dishes. You really can’t go wrong with spinach (tons of vitamins, iron, and calcium), and topped off with a runny egg, sunny side up? Yeah, that’ll keep me on the sunny side for the rest of the day.

ABOUT THE ARTIST
The Low Anthem are an indie-folk group from Providence, Rhode Island, made up of musicians who switch instruments with nearly every song — guitar, string bass, organ, bells, clarinet, strings … One of my favorite live folk bands.
The Low Anthem on MySpace

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Teatime Scones with Rosewater Icing (Inspired by Betty & the Werewolves)

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THE DISH
Buttery scones with rosewater icing (Recipe + photos here)

THE INSPIRATION/ABOUT THE ARTIST
The British group Betty and the Werewolves are a band my coworker Jayson discovered last summer while browsing the Freshly Ripped page on eMusic, and they are awesome! They make bouncy, fuzzy indie pop with lines like “I don’t want dinner and a movie/ I just someone that’ll move me” and “My bedroom’s covered in photos of David/ I have 5,000 if I’m estimating” (in reference to David Cassidy). For fans of Allo Darlin’, Ida Maria, The Raincoats and The Breeders.

Their LP is called Teatime Favourites, so I made scones — a perfect treat for a cup of tea — with rosewater icing, which I thought would be a pretty and dainty complement to the scones, but it actually tasted more like a mix of bubblegum and soap (the scones were great, though!). Turns out I am not a fan of rosewater!
Betty & the Werewolves on MySpace
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A Decadent Post-Show Brunch (Stuffed French Toast) + Lazy Sunday Songs

THE DISH
Champagne-dipped Challah French toast stuffed with mascarpone, chocolate and banana (Recipe and photos here)


There’s nothing I love more than waking up after a big night out and cooking up a huge brunch with the people I was out with. It was the morning after the final LCD Soundsystem show at Madison Square Garden, and my friends and I decided to spend the morning/afternoon cooking and eating entirely too much food. Tony and Paul made a huge batch of biscuits and sausage gravy, we ate a bunch of cheese Tony bought at Murray’s Cheese Shop, and I took on the most amazing, decadent breakfast dish I have ever made. I never order this stuff when I’m at a restaurant — I always stick to the egg dishes — but my roomie Petra sparked the mascarpone idea and I went with it. I should also give props to James, who had the brilliant idea to add champagne to the egg mixture, which makes it a bit lighter and fluffier than normal French toast. This stuff was so amazing that Missy told me it ruined French toast for her — because now any time she eats it, she will only be thinking of this. (Photos: Thank you Joe and James, although I’m not sure who took what!)

A LAZY SUNDAY PLAYLIST
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Food From The Road: Davey’s Biscuits and Gravy (Frontier Ruckus)


(Dave Jones of Frontier Ruckus)

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THE DISH
Classic biscuits and gravy (recipe at bottom of post)

ABOUT THE ARTIST
I don’t think I can say anything about Frontier Ruckus that I haven’t said before in other places, but in case you’re not familiar, they’re a Michigan band that writes lyrical folk rock songs about the suburbs, with guitar, banjo, drums, singing saw, melodica … It’s creative Americana music that hits so close to home and will always remind me of college (most of them went to my alma mater). They’re also just really great guys, and Dave Jones, who plays banjo in Frontier Ruckus, was generous enough to share his infamous biscuits & gravy recipe (more on that below). The song above is from Deadmalls & Nightfalls, the incredible record they released last year on the amazing Ramseur Records (home to the likes of Samantha Crain and Langhorne Slim; formerly home to the Avett Brothers).

I should note that I didn’t actually make this recipe because I don’t eat meat (if you couldn’t figure it out from the other recipes from the last two months), but it looks really easy!

Frontier Ruckus’s MySpace

A NOTE FROM THE BAND

A WARNING: Biscuits and gravy is neither healthy nor is it a delicate combination of eclectic flavors. It gets its flavor from the not-so-subtle blend of salt, pepper, pork sausage and rendered fat (from the sausage). The dish arose in the American South as a means to maximize the amount of sustenance that can be gleaned from meat and some type of bread. As a result of this philosophy, B&G is incredibly filling and quite cheap to make — it is perfect if you’re feeding a troupe of touring musicians and their kind, gracious hosts. This is why I’ve made it dozens of times on tour; from California to London (where I was forced to improvise and use croissants instead of biscuits). It always seems to please, and introducing the recipe to people can almost become a cultural experience, especially in a foreign country.

I rarely have the time to make biscuits from scratch — it’s a process that can be very involved and has quite a few idiosyncrasies I haven’t yet learned. For the purposes of this recipe, you can use store-bought biscuits if you’d like. They’re usually tasty enough, albeit lacking a certain authenticity. I apologize to any foodies reading this! — Dave Jones, Frontier Ruckus

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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

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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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Hippie hash and an ode to a summer in East Lansing, Michigan

THE DISH
Hippie hash — my take on the signature dish at Lansing, Michigan’s Fleetwood Diner

THE INSPIRATION
When I think of Fleetwood Diner, I think of summer 2009, my last three months before I moved to Brooklyn, during which I had two classes to finish, but few other responsibilities aside from a couple shifts a week at the newspaper, some freelance work, and planning my big move. That summer consisted of plenty of group trips to breakfast after late nights out at house parties or at our favorite bars — most of which ended in friends sleeping on my couch or floor, occasionally with Taco Bell wrappers on the floor next to them. By the time we’d meet up at Fleetwood in the morning, some of us were usually hungover, and all of us were always hungry.

Aside from post-party breakfasts, the whole summer was filled with great food. My friends and I started a restaurant club — a last chance at places we needed to try before leaving East Lansing (more great breakfast at Golden Harvest, Ethiopian at Altu’s, Mexican at Mango’s); we squeezed as many as six of us into my Oldsmobile grandpa car and drove 20 minutes to the most amazing produce market/grocery store, Horrocks; we took over the huge kitchen at my co-op house to cook big meals and have potlucks.

That summer, as well as the two years I lived in that house (with 13 other students) played a huge part in my love of cooking. There were so many times when at least five of us would be in the kitchen making dinner at the same time — we’d share cooking tips, try each other’s food, and eat together. In New York, the nights I’m usually happiest are when my closest friends in the city come over for what we call our “family dinners.” We pick a theme (sushi, dumplings, holiday cookies, soup), pitch in ingredients, maybe drink a little wine, and make a meal together. It’s the best.

I should also note that I made this for brunch with my friend Missy, one of my best friends and creative partners in crime, who made the move to New York just a few months after I did. (She definitely was not the one sleeping on my floor next to the Taco Bell wrappers. And that definitely did not happen two nights in a row.)

Anyway, this playlist is a bunch of songs my friends and I spent a lot of time with that summer — there’s nothing groundbreaking here, and any music nerds listening will not be impressed, but that’s not the point. Summer ’09 = great food + these songs. You can even listen as you make this dish. Enjoy!

THE PLAYLIST

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