Carrot Spice Madeleines (Inspired by Karaocake)


All photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

THE DISH
Carrot spice Madeleine cookies (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
Karaocake is a dreamy, synth-heavy French indiepop band who one of my coworkers discovered last year on eMusic and the rest of us quickly fell in love with. For a long time I’d been wanting to collaborate on a recipe with my friend Eleanor Whitney (of the cooking blog 2 Cooks in the Kitchen and the Brooklyn band Corita), and this was a perfect fit because of her love of all things French. Karaocake got their name through a silly joke involving carrot cake, and Madeleines are a French pastry as lovely and delicate as the band’s music, so carrot cake-flavored Madeleines were a perfect fit!

I’m really proud of this one, and have to salute Eleanor for the fact that we very loosely followed a recipe but they still came out perfectly. They were a blast to make, mostly because between Eleanor, our friend Dominick (who took the amazing photos) and me, there was lots of giggling and goofing off — the best way to do anything in the kitchen. We also devoured almost the whole first batch of these tiny cookies before the second tray went in the oven…

I should also note that my amazing roommate Sneha returned from Indiana after Labor Day weekend with a KITCHEN-AID STAND MIXER. IN HER SUITCASE. It was given to her a couple years ago and she didn’t really use it, but now it is here, in Brooklyn, making my kitchen dreams come true. This was my first time using it!

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DIY Pop-Tarts with The Shondes (Inspired by Pat Benatar)

Every month or so, I’ll be partnering 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’ll create a recipe with — or inspired by — the featured artist. This month’s mp3 is The Shondes’ cover of Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” (get the free mp3 and read my feature on them here), and here are the homemade Pop-Tarts I baked with drummer Temim Fruchter.

THE DISH
Homemade Pop-Tarts (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
When Shondes drummer Temim Fruchter and I were brainstorming what we could make inspired by Pat Benatar, she suggested Pop-Tarts as a nod to the ’80s (so, Pop-Tarts were actually introduced in the ’60s, but kind of like I associate creamsicles with the ’90s, Pop-Tarts are her ’80s) — not to mention the obvious pop pun, and sugary sweetness of that era’s music. While writing their new record, Searchlights, The Shondes spent a lot of time listening to ’80s pop/rock for its “punky, defiant exuberance,” she said. (You can read more about that over at <a href="Brooklyn Based.)

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Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes (Inspired by No Doubt/the ’90s)

THE DISH
Orange cupcakes with orange buttercream frosting (recipe at the bottom)

THE INSPIRATION
On Saturday I went to a ’90s-themed birthday party, and with the RSVP I had to include a favorite ’90s song, which made up the playlist (perhaps it’s worth noting that the party was for two music writers?). I have many favorites, but for this my pick was No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” from their 1995 album Tragic Kingdom. Just to give you the context of my personal 1990s: It was more or less my entire childhood (I was born in the late ’80s). I started watching MTV in about 1997 when Tragic Kingdom was at the height of its popularity, and the video for “Don’t Speak” won an MTV Video Music Award (it was also the year of Fiona Apple’s famous “the world is bullshit” speech; my 10-year-old self was mad that she beat Hanson for Best New Artist). So, I made cupcakes vaguely inspired by No Doubt, as well as the my ’90s in general.

“Just A Girl” is about Gwen Stefani being fed up with stereotypes of women — that we’re bad drivers, men are always gawking at us, we are all the same, and we’re supposed to be “pretty and petite.” I figured cupcakes — especially cupcakes that are, well, pretty and petite — were about the most stereotypically girly treat I could make. (And I have to say, these are probably the cutest cupcakes I’ve ever made.) I decided on orange for a couple of reasons: The cover of Tragic Kingdom has an orange tree on it, and there’s also one in the video for “Don’t Speak,” but also when I think of treats I consumed in the ’90s — particularly right after I got my tonsils removed at age 8 — I think of creamsicles. At the party, it was brought to my attention that, “Geez, Laura, creamsicles are so ’80s, too!” (and then I learned that they were actually invented long before that) — but the ’90s were when I ate them. So there! Anyway, these were a hit (enthusiastically named Best New Cupcake by an editor at Pitchfork), as was my T-shirt from my grandpa’s 75th birthday in 1995 and my Angela Chase bottlecap ring (photos below…).

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Peach-Blackberry-Ginger Popsicles (Inspired by We Are Augustines)

THE DISH
Peach-blackberry-ginger popsicles (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
It isn’t super often that I totally fall in love with a new band; mostly because I hear so much music every week that a lot of it starts to sound the same (my friend Amanda summed that feeling up rather perfectly on Pitchfork this week; I’m not quite at that point of jadedness or whatever you want to call it, but you get the idea). But for some reason when my boss recommended listening to Brooklyn band We Are Augustines (who essentially used to be the band Pela), something clicked and I’ve been listening to their album Rise Ye Sunken Ships more than anything else in the past couple weeks. I can’t even really explain why it gets to me more than a lot of other rock bands, but parts of the album remind me of the National and Against Me! (I know, kind of a weird combination).

The story behind Rise Ye Sunken Ships is pretty heartbreaking; you can read it all on the band’s website, but in short, much of the album is based around singer/guitarist Billy McCarthy’s brother James, who was diagnosed as schizophrenic and committed suicide while the band was recording what was originally going to be a new Pela record. Apparently (at least, according to Wikipedia), the band was named in part for the month of August; the month of two bandmembers’ birthdays, as well as McCarthy’s brother James.

Popsicles perhaps sound a bit too sunny to represent an album with so much pain behind it, but with the pain came a lot of healing. In the song “Augustine,” McCarthy sings, “Keep you head up kid, I know you can swim, but you gotta move your legs.” Ginger and honey are known for their healing powers, while peaches and blackberries are perfectly in season in August (and I got what I used for these at the Greenmarket in Union Square). Anyway, check out the album; it’s pretty great.

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Indie Rock Deli: I Love You But I’ve Chosen Dark Chocolate (Inspired by I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness)

(All photos except main by Erik Erikson)

THE DISH
Dark chocolate caramel cups, with homemade caramel (recipe here; and here is a video of me making these — though not all in chronological order — and chatting about this site)

THE INSPIRATION
No connection to the band (I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness), just a play on the name! I’ll admit that there definitely are some people I’d choose dark chocolate over, though …

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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Indie Rock Deli: We Were Promised Snackpacks (Inspired by We Were Promised Jetpacks)

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

THE DISH
Chocolate pudding with caramel sauce and shortbread cookie crumbles (recipes here)

THE INSPIRATION
The food’s not totally related to Scottish indie-rockers We Were Promised Jetpacks (as with most Indie Rock Deli posts), but I wanted to do a play on the classic Snack Packs pudding cups with a connection to the band’s roots, so I used flavors that make up this tasty-looking treat.
We Were Promised Jetpacks 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.)

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Mom’s Apple Struedel + a Mother’s Day playlist

THE DISH
Apple struedel (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
I mentioned in my Family Dinner/Mandel bread post in March that my mom was a really great cook and baker. I think that’s what I remember most about her: waking up in the morning to the smell of zucchini muffins or banana bread, eating a home-cooked meal every night, and seeing her cookbook out on the kitchen counter. I have always, always been a passionate eater, but it wasn’t until college that I developed an interest in making my own food; and because I was 12 when my mom died, it means I didn’t get to learn it by watching her in the kitchen or hearing her cooking secrets.

Before she died she started writing cookbooks for my sister and me, with a bunch of her and other family members’ recipes, along with blank pages so we could add our own. I got my mom’s cookbook just a couple days before moving to New York in fall 2009, so I’ve slowly been testing out recipes I remember growing up with (significantly tougher for me now as a pescatarian, considering how much I loved her meatloaf), as well as adding others that I’ve found on my own and use often. One treat I always loved was my mom’s struedel — apple or apricot — so I pulled out the cookbook and gave it a go. Not surprisingly, it’s not exactly like I remember it, but that’s probably my fault (her recipe was a little bit more vague than the one below, so I had to do some guessing).


My mom with my sister Joey (left) and me, 1989

THE PLAYLIST
Most of my memories of my mom in relation to music are of me telling her to stop singing (clearly I was a little snot), and of her playing piano — always by ear, usually Disney songs at my 5-year-old self’s request. She’s the reason I started playing music; piano lessons at age 8, which eventually led to getting my hands in every musical outlet I could through high school. My other musical Mom memories are of a cassette tape of Loggins & Messina’s album The Best of Friends, specifically the song “House at Pooh Corner,” and I only really listened to the side of the tape with that song on it. That’s to say I don’t really know what music my mom loved (and I’ll spare you the Loggins & Messina), so this playlist isn’t a reflection of that. Instead it’s music by powerful women (some of them mothers), including just a couple that remind me of her. [Edit: Since originally publishing this, some of the songs have been removed from my playlist here; sorry about that!]

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

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Caffeinated Coffee-Chocolate Cookies (Inspired by TV on the Radio)

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

THE DISH
Coffee/chocolate chip cookie sandwiches with chocolate-coffee filling (Recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
There are two parts to this (both super literal — sorry dudes, more-creative things coming soon!): TV on the Radio have a new record out, Nine Types of Light; I admit I haven’t spent a ton of time with it yet, but the album closer is called “Caffeinated Consciousness”; that combined with the band’s excellent 2006 album Return to Cookie Mountain? These cookies shouldn’t come as much of a surprise! And yes, they are in a mountain on the plate.

ABOUT THE BAND
For the past decade, TV on the Radio have been making electro-rock music that makes me think of college dance parties and the sea of fist-pumpers that flooded half of Grant Park when I saw the band at Lollapalooza a few years ago. Their 2008 LP Dear Science won that year’s Pazz & Jop critics’ poll, and they’re simply an all-around awesome band. (On an incredibly upsetting note, bassist Gerard Smith passed away from lung cancer about a week ago … I had this post planned before then but still wanted to share it; my heart goes out to the band and Smith’s family and friends.)
TV on the Radio on MySpace

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

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

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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Black & White Cookies + Saying Goodbye to LCD Soundsystem

And to tell the truth
Oh, this could be the last time
So here we go
Like a sail’s force into the night

And if I made a fool, if I made a fool, if I made a fool
On the road, there’s always this
And if I’m sewn into submission
I can still come home to this
— LCD Soundsystem, “All My Friends”

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

On Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, James Murphy and the rest of LCD Soundsystem got that song out of the way early — near the end of the first of three hour-long sets that made up their last hurrah. I could feel the tears swelling up in my eyes, but my jumping up and down and singing along kept them from actually falling. If I had stood still, though, I would’ve lost it — just like I almost did the last time I saw them, last year with some of my best friends. That band means a lot to me, and while I’m sad it’s over, the night was one hell of a celebration with some of the people closest to me, made even more exciting by the really awesome folks we met throughout the night. I won’t recap the whole thing, but I’ll at least say that the show was equal parts phenomenal and exhausting. By the end of it, I was so worn out that I didn’t have much energy to even be sad anymore — which perhaps was the plan. Some random thoughts: I flipped out when Win, Regine and Will from Arcade Fire joined the band on stage for “North American Scum” (fun fact: I tried to get that song’s title engraved on the back of my iPod, but Apple decided it was inappropriate); “45:33” didn’t feel as long as I expected it to; and I sorta wished James was a little closer in drunkenness to LCD’s show at Music Hall of Williamsburg last year. Anyway, even though we nearly froze waiting three hours in 15-degree weather to buy the tickets, and then got in line way earlier than we needed to, it was all totally worth it. Very excited to see what James Murphy does next.


(Me with my ticket; photo by my buddy Dominick Mastrangelo, on Brooklyn Vegan)

THE DISH
Classic black and white cookies (recipe link + photos from the show)

THE INSPIRATION
I made classic New York black and white cookies for a classic New York band, and a nod to James Murphy’s request that everyone at the last show wear all black and white. A lot of people followed it but, to the girl in the teal jacket, and the other in the floral dress: WTF? The silver behind the main photo is because of LCD’s amazing 2007 album Sound of Silver. “I was there” is from the band’s first single, “Losing My Edge” (got this idea from Evie, who joked about people selling T-shirts with that on it), and the lightning bolt is the logo of Murphy’s record label, DFA.

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