Friday, February 26, 2010

This will break your heart

Lucy from Radiolab on Vimeo.

Go to This American Life for the story. It's the third part of the show. If you don't already follow This American Life and Radiolab, you don't know what you're missing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

D'oh! Donuts are Rad

I made donuts the other day. I was inspired by the memory of walking to the train when I lived in Park Slope. There were two women who sold little donuts in the morning on their stoop. I never bought them, sadly, but they did inspire me to DIY this Homeric delight.

How did I do? I think they came out alright, perhaps a bit better than alright. I will let you know how I made them, but I think there is something missing to really raise them to the level of greatness. I think that they needed something to push against the sweetness to give their flavor some focus. I am thinking perhaps salt, but I would have to test the idea out. If you have suggestions, ideas, or anecdotes of your own attempts to conquer making donuts, please share in the comments.

The recipe is from Donna Hay's Modern Classics Book Two and I will give you a generalization of what is found in that book. If you want specifics, email me. To begin gather your materials:

Most of the ingredients are household staples.

package of active yeast
luke warm water
luke warm milk
melted butter
all purpose flour
3 eggs
powdered sugar
ground cinnamon
neutral oil

Equipment you will need (what I actually used):

rolling pin (I used an empty tin that was used to package fancy spaghetti; an old wine bottle also works nicely).
spice grinder, if you don't have ground cinnamon (I did not so I put two cinnamon sticks in the blender and hit the grind function then I transferred to a small bowl and then scooped contents into a a metal tea strainer and tapped contents back into bowl, shaking out the finely ground cinnamon and discarding the larger bits. A lot easier, if you have it, is a coffee grinder. Clean well and then grind).
baking paper
tea towel (I have a lot of dish towels so I used that, but paper towels can work too).
sauce pan (I used a frying pan, but sauce pan would be better)
donut cutter (I used an empty jar and an empty cap, washed of course)

Donuts in three relatively easy steps:

Step 1: Make doug

That knife is your dancing baton, use it well.

This is pretty basic stuff. It's also time consuming, oy! Okay, put the yeast in the bowl with the milk and water at stated temperature and add sugar. Leave in a warm place. I put bowl over an unlit burner. Cover, and let the yeast gorge. Ten minutes later you'll have some happy foamy yeast. FEED THE YEAST! What I mean is add the rest of your materials to make the dough. You're going to add more sugar, flour, eggs and the melted butter. Work it like baby! Use the knife as your dancing prop.

Okay! Cool it. The dough is well combined and kind of sticky. Flour the spot you're going to knead it. Do what you gotta do. place the doug in an oiled bowl and let it rest for 40-45 minutes, basically until the dough has doubled.

This is a great time to tackle those dishes. Double oy!

Step two: Make the tires

Your dough has risen and now you're ready to knead it out and make your donut shapes. You are supposed to leave the donuts alone for 3o minutes before frying. What I found was helpful was to fill a plate and let them rest over an unlit burner. Then I would fill another plate. When I had made all the donuts, which took some time! I started frying the first plate of donuts I had made. Remember you will have to re-roll out all the holes you cut out. You'll end up with about 30 donuts in the end.

Don't they look like they have some doughlicious potential?

Step Three: Fry baby, fry

Ok! So you are at the home stretch. Heat your oil and put a test scrap of dough in there to find out if the oil is hot enough. If the oil isn't hot enough the dough will absorb way too much oil. You want the dough to be lightly golden. Leave donuts in oil for one minute on each side. The virtue of using the frying pan was that I could do four at a time. My sauce pan could only hold two tops. When you take them out, drain briefly on paper towels. After you do that dip them in sugar. I dipped some in granulated sugar and cinnamon and others in just powdered sugar. That's it. Easy as, well, donuts!

Go ahead and grab one!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

HOT DOG! A Salad You'll Want to Gobble Up

How could you not love that face?

I am naming the salad below in honor of my favorite little dog Leroy; he's a dog with a lot of love and character and I used to live across the hall from him in Memphis. Today on my way to work I bumped into him and his owner Jeff. They now live in Greenpoint. What a small world huh? It was a great surprise and really made my day.

Leroy's Salad

What you will need:

Thin sliced pork loin chops
1/3 avocado
a green pepper
mesculen greens
black pepper
olive oil
sherry wine vinegar
red pepper flakes

What to do:

First you will put all of your meat in a pan. On one side you will sprinkle the meat with adobo. On the other side you will sprinkle it with salt and pepper. If you only have salt and pepper, use that. Turn heat on medium high and cover. Then wash and slice your green pepper and heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a new pan. Then throw in the peppers and cover. Clean your mushrooms and also slice. Rinse and dry the salad and set aside. Then put the mushrooms in the pan with the green peppers, add cumin, cayenne and salt to taste.
Next, turn the meat and leave uncovered for a minute or two. Slice the avocado and sprinkle over a teaspoon of vinegar. When chops look about done, then raise the heat very high for a bit over a minute to brown. Don't burn them! Use your nose and your gut to know when to turn it off. While the pork is browning set up your plate: salad greens first, then the avocado slices followed by the sauteed vegetables with their liquid. Leave the plate and remove two chops, or one if you got larger chops, and slice up. Put on top of salad and finish with olive oil and red pepper flakes.

Ladies and gents this is not a side salad

I hope you enjoy it. I sure did and I know Leroy would have gotten in on the action if he had the chance.

I Found You Some Awesomeness: Pitchfork Video Concert of Beach House

You're welcome

Pitchfork Digs Morning Benders Too, Not Surprising

Their making me want to see the Brady Bunch

Go check out what Pithfork thinks of the Morning Benders and catch these westcoasters in NYC on the 27th of this month, see my post below.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The 15th is Behind Us, Pay Your Bills, GO SEE MUSIC!

Alright! I haven't gone to see any music since the Haiti benefit at Bell House, but there's plenty of time and lots of good shows left this month. Also, some of the acts I missed the first two weeks of the month are playing more shows in the next couple of days. Yeah!

Below my definitive list of where your cute ass should be the next few days:


El Perro Del Mar and Taken By Trees, Le Poissson Rouge 9PM, $15
This show is all about beautiful female voices that are airy but also plush like velvet. Check out Taken by Trees' spin on Animal Collective's My Girls (she inverts the idea).

Wavves, Brooklyn Bowl, 8PM TBA
I like Wavves' punchy distortion. They make me want to bop my head and hop around like an awkward rabbit.

Bear Hands, The Studio at Webster Hall, 8PM, $10a/$12d
I know about these guys from Will, who just discovered I have this blog, so I'm giving you props, in case you read this.


Class Actress, Brooklyn Bowl, 9PM, Free!!!
If you like Chairlift, I really think that you'll be into Class Actress and the line up generally.

El Perro Del Mar and Taken By Trees, Knitting Factory, 8PM, $12a/$15d
Okay, so you have plans today, no problem. You get another chance to check these ladies out. Lucky you!


Freelance Whales, Bowery Ballroom, 8PM, $12a/$15d
Imagine me making gansta *Queens* signs with my dainty little hands.


Secret Machine, Bear in Heaven, and Mon Khmer, Glasslands, 8:30PM, $12a/$15d
Bear in Heaven is the highlight here, at least for me. If my life was made into a movie or the subject of a highly acclaimed TV series, Lovesick Teanagers would be on the soundtrack.

Dirty Projectors, Linlcon Center-The Allen Room, 8:30PM, $40.00
Okay, so everyone is talking about these guys and you've got some money in your pocket, so go see what all the talk is about.

Xylos, The Studio at Webster Hall, 8PM, $8a/$10d
Xylos boy/girl vocals are infectious and I think they have a knack for lyrically capturing a moment, see: "You want to know him, but he just like your face/takes down your number, he'll ask you on a date/but there's nothing wrong here, granted you like his face too/when you're drunk you tend toward loneliness you do..."


Mates of States, The Bell House, $16a/$18d
Bright, poppy music, the perfect annecdote to February in New York.


Jeff the Brotherhood and Sreaming Females, Death by Audio, 8PM, TBA
I have never been to Death by Audio and this looks like a good excuse to check it out.


Regina Spektor and Patti Smith, Carnagie Hall-Issac Stern Auditorium, 7:30PM, $30 (for Tibet)


Morning Benders, Market Hotel, 8PM, TBA


Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers, Cameo Gallery, 8PM, TBA
I also owe Will for knowing about Shilpa. She is small, but her presence and voice completely fill a space. It's crazy, off the chain even, as Beth would say.

Right on Dynamite, Knitting Factory, 8pm, $10
Cute, charming guys making good music. Need I say more?

Okay, so my goal is to sqeeze in as much of this as I can, hit me up if you want to check any of this out.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Something New from Arletti's Tiny Test Kitchen

The main attraction


shrimp cocktail
kale chips
frozen grapes
accompanied by Dancing Bull Sauvignon Blanc

Some of your raw materials

What you will Need:

frozen shrimp
black pepper
horse radish
sunflower sprouts
mesclun salad mix
sherry wine vinegar
olive oil
Romano cheese
grapes, placed in freezer earlier

*A short note on the salt: I use gourmet Himalayan salt and I really feel it makes a difference. You don't have to invest in fancy salt, but I think it's worth it.

Prep work:

Begin by setting your oven to 425 F, then boil salted water; you will be steaming the shrimp so don't fill the pot too much. Thaw the shrimp in a colander under running water. peel off most of the shell, leaving only the last segment. Leave shrimp in a bowl until your water is hot enough to produce steam.

Wash and dry your kale. If your kale is small like mine was, you don't have to trim and cut it. If you get more mature kale, remove the tough stem and cut into smaller pieces. Lay out your kale on cookie sheets. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Finish by shaving Romano over the leaves. If you don't have a cheese grater, a knife works great, especially one with a serrated edge.

I paid too much for this kale

The shrimp and kale will cook really fast, so I recommend making your salad before you put shrimp in pot and kale in oven. Also, if you don't have a device to steam as I do, you can also use your microwave; that's what they do best. If you make shrimp in microwave, just put in a glass bowl and sprinkle with water. I don't know what the time would be, but I would be conservative and put back in microwave if you have to.

For the salad, clean your salad and sprouts and dry in salad spinner. Slice avocado and pour a teaspoon of vinegar over the avocado. Wash and dry your raspberries. Combine everything in a bowl and add olive oil. Grind black pepper over it. I suggest skipping the salt, the other parts of the meal are very salty.

Pretty greens

At this point, if you haven't started cooking the shrimp and kale, go ahead and do that. Both will take under ten minutes to cook. While that is cooking, put ketchup in a small bowl. Mix about equal parts ketchup with horseradish. Scoop mixture onto the center of the plate you'll be serving dinner on.

Check your shrimp. Take them out with a slated spoon and transfer to a container. If you have time, place in fridge for a bit. Take out the chips too and let them cool for a little bit. This is a good time to set your table and pick up some of the mess in your kitchen. Five minutes is sufficient.

Now place your shrimp around the cocktail sauce and then the chips around the shrimp. Serve with a bowl of salad and wine.

This is what it will look like

I hope you enjoy this. I found that frozen grapes with a second glass of wine are a nice palate cleanser. I really had a great time putting this together and now I am ready to head to my pottery studio to conquer some clay and make pretty things to put yummy food in. I sincerely hope you give this a shot. I think it would be a nice meal for a Valentine's date, if you have those kind of plans.

This is what it will look like in the end if you followed my directions

A Scramble You Could Put in Your Burrito!

What's in your burrito?

What you need:

Rice and beans
garlic clove
tempeh (I used a variety from Light Life that is 'garden veggie' flavored)
baby portabellas
goat cheese
neutral oil
taco sauce

To begin, warm up the rice and beans. If you don't have this on hand you can make instant rice and/or warm up some Goya beans. If you are reheating them, as I did, then add a little water and heat with low flame.

Prep your veggies. Mince the garlic, dice about three slices of onion. Dice up about a small bowl's worth of tempeh. Additionally, slice the mushrooms; about half of a carton will do. Leave the slices thick. Heat the oil in a separate pan from the beans. About a tablespoon or two is enough oil. Add the garlic and onion to heated oil. Your pan should be at about a medium to high heat. Sweat contents for about a minute, then add the mushrooms and two generous sprinkles of salt, stir and cover for a minute.

Next, check your rice. If it's warm, turn off heat and leave covered. Add the tempeh to the pan with the mushrooms. When the mushrooms look like they are beginning to cook, stir and cover, lower heat a tad. Then, crack the egg into a bowl. Scoop a few, maybe two or three, spoonfuls of goat cheese into bowl. Add a generous splash of milk. Then season with cumin and oregano to taste. Beat this mixture.

Check your pan. If everything looks just about done, then add the egg batter. If not, hold off for a minute until you get to that point. You may slice some slivers of avocado while you wait and roughly chop the cilantro. If you have the chance, squirt a little lime on the avocado to keep it from turning brown.

When you do pour egg batter on, let it set ever so slightly and then stir, as you would with scrambled eggs. You are done, when the eggs are cooked. I prepared the plate by serving equal parts of rice and beans and the mushroom tempeh scramble. On the side with the rice and beans, I dressed the top with the avocado. Then sprinkle cilantro over everything, added a slice to the plate, finishing by swirling on taco sauce over the scramble.

Whether or not you pack this in a tortilla to make a burrito, what you will end up with is a quick, flavorful meal that is high in protein and heartiness. The scramble has a great texture and it is a way to give vegetarians more options for burrito fillings. I didn't make a burrito tonight, but I will definitely try it out soon. Okay, hope you guys try this out. Let me know what you think and how you put your own twist on it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cleo Grew a Mustach 'cause It's Hip

Hey, hey! So, it's been a good week. There is some burrito experimentation coming up this weekend and I'm pretty excited about that. I will post my findings. Also, I need some volunteers to taste test and take notes as I embark on this odyssey. Anyone care to chill at my house with some coronas and hopefully tastey food? Weekend nights (TH,FR, ST,SU) work best. If so, hit me up! We'll make a date.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bday Pics, Creatures of the Forest and More

Two of my favorite ladies, yuki and Laura

Laura and Steph enjoying food and beverage.

The winner of the contest celebrating with Maurice, one cool cat.

Cupcakes and a dangerous raccoon.

Smile! Allison and Abby

Coolest tree I know. Nice Beth!

Abbey, Abby and Jared having a good time.

Maybelle and I testing out the camera.

My mom making dinner for me. Thanks Mom!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cleo & a Pirate, Argh!

Hey all,

Meet my new plant, Cleo. My crew here at PBG gave it to me for my bday. Speaking of the bday, thanks all for coming out on Saturday. It was a chilly, chilly night on a G-less Saturday and more than one of you was fighting a cold, so I know it was not an easy trip to make, but you all looked magical and amazing! Thank you! I will post pictures soon!

Sooooooooo......I need a new project and this is what I was thinking. Mexican! As in yummy Mexican food. I want to put together the mother of all burritos and I want your help. Please get back to me with your ideas and tips for the ultimate burrito. I will test, tinker and record here until I get it right, and will give credit to who it is due too.