Maple-Mustard Roasted Veggies + a post-Thanksgiving playlist

THE DISH
Maple roasted carrots, butternut squash and Brussels sprouts

THE INSPIRATION
I’ve said this before, but it certainly bears repeating: I am obsessed with the circle of friends I’ve found myself in in New York. And I was thrilled to learn that most of them — all of us transplants to the city, mostly from Michigan — would also be in town for Thanksgiving weekend, because obviously that meant it was yet another excuse to spend time together, making tons of food and eating (and drinking) ourselves silly. I’ll save my ramblings about how much I love them for a post I have coming up in a couple weeks, and instead I’ll share my contribution to our Thanksgiving feast: a simple mix of roasted veggies that, of course, I made way too much of. It has absolutely nothing to do with music, but I’m giving it to you anyway, along with a playlist of some songs I’m thankful for this year — not a best of 2011, as a few of them aren’t from the past 11 months, but songs that, for various reasons, have made my life just a little bit better this year.

THE PLAYLIST
Listen on Spotify here; tracklisting (and recipe) below!

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

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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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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

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

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