Saturday, February 21, 2009

"Hip-Hop Debut"

I've been recording sort of a rap this weekend. It guest-stars Sam. I put it on MySpace. The lyrics disparage MySpace. Modern life is full of contradictions. Anyway, you can listen to the track here, on my stupid MySpace page.


Beyond MySpace being a tacky and annoying website, I suppose my problem with it is a somewhat narcissistic one, which is that I don't like the feeling that when I make music, I'm competing with everyone else in my entire generation. The good thing about MySpace is that it empowers people to make music and share it, but that's also what irritates me about it.

Part of the problem is that not everyone should make music. I know this is really snobby to say (not to mention very un-punk), but imagine if a website came out that made everyone think they could just wake up and be a lawyer.

There is a difference, I think, between the assertion that anyone can make music without corporate appropriation--the punk and indie phenomena--and the opportunity for anyone to make music and then whore it out on the internet while Rupert "The Boston Herald" Murdoch makes fat bank off of obnoxious advertisements.

Obviously, I can't completely condemn something in which I continue to participate, but I'll say this: I hate that thing bands do where they friend strangers who like bands that they like, probably using some sort of robot. Fuck that.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dream, 2/15/09

I was standing with my father and his work buddy somewhere in the Southwestern US at dusk. The moon was gigantic. We could see the moon and the Rockies as if they were on a gigantic HDTV.

My father was telling his work buddy about my trip to Chicago (I think to explain to him why I've been drinking so much), making fun of me for chasing after this college ex-girlfriend of mine. "He was hoping there'd be a--what's the word I'm thinking of, Steven?" He was looking at me like I was in on the joke. "It sounds like the name of an exotic bird, I think it starts with an 's'..."

I finally got fed up and threw a rag in is face. "Why do you have to mock everything I ever care about?" With that, I stormed off, wishing I could enjoy this majestic evening in the field behind the power plant.


Later, I got out of bed to go to the bathroom. The bathroom was like a camp bathroom--it had rows of urinals and curtained-off showers--and it was hospital green. There was a boy in a big t-shirt at one of the urinals, and I started toward him thinking it was my brother. I wanted to complain to him about our father.

But it wasn't my brother. He looked like my cousin David, but he was much thinner and didn't recognize me. I backed off and went to a urinal at the opposite end of the bathroom.

A second later, I heard him coughing very intensely, and from the corner of my eye, I could see that fluid was flying from his uncovered mouth.

After hesitating a little, and without looking right at him, I asked if he was okay. He said "Yes, I'm fine" very indignantly.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Whiskey BLT

Today I was just fed up with going to places that had delicious tempeh BLT's and then getting home and not being able to make one for myself. I went to the North Star Cafe in Portland for the Tuesday night slam--delicious tempeh BLT with sunflower seeds. I stopped into Good Earth when I was in New York on my way back from Philadelphia after my show at The Fuze--delicious FBLT with avocados and this ridiculously excellent bread. They all had their own spin on it.

So I went out to Star Market (well, WholeFoods first, just for the vegenaise) and got what I needed, because this was happening. I was just about to make my tempeh bacon with apple cider vinegar, but then I said, "No. Not apple cider vinegar--they'll be expecting that. I'm using whiskey." So here is my take on the vegan BLT.


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 8-ounce package of tempeh, sliced lengthwise into very thin strips
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey (Maker's Mark is delicious and eco-friendly, but I just used Jim Beam because we had some lying around)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil

  • a tomato, sliced
  • crispy green of choice (I used baby arugula because I felt like being a fancypants)
  • avocado (optional, but again, fancypants)
  • vegenaise
  • bread of choice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a trey or large bowl, mix up the soy sauce, whiskey, syrup, and garlic, then place the tempeh strips into the mixture. Let them marinate for about 15 minutes while you slice up the tomato and maybe some avocado.

  2. Fry the tempeh in oil over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes a side, until browned. Meanwhile, you can toast the bread if you want it toasted (I keep my bread in the fridge, so I did this).

  3. Spread vegenaise on both sides of the bread, then pile on the tempeh, lettuce, tomato, and avocado, in that order. Chop that thing in half and eat it with some chips and a soda pop. A pickle would be a really nice touch.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Beer Flowers

I took this recipe for Cauliflower Pakoras and pretty much just changed out the water for beer.

INGREDIENTS:

  • about 2 cups of cauliflower florets, sliced 1/2 inch-thick (other vegetables such as broccoli could work as well)
  • /2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup beer (pilsner or ale preferable)
  • canola or vegetable oil for frying

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, chili powder, salt, baking powder, and beer to make a smooth, thick batter. It should not be runny. If necessary, add more beer 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. Mix well.
  2. Warm 1/2 inch of oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. The oil is ready for frying when a drop of batter quickly crisps.
  3. Coat the cauliflower slices in the batter, and carefully place them in the pan to avoid splashing the hot oil. Don't crowd the pan.
  4. Cook until golden on both sides, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  5. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Serve as soon as possible.



This cheese-like sauce from Veganomicon works well as a dipping sauce. I increased the amount of flour to make it thicker and more of a dip. I also added minced olives because I had some leftover olives to use up. Incidentally, I used the leftovers of this sauce in my breakfast burrito this morning. It was a good idea.

Cheezy Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of dried thyme (crumbled in your fingers)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • a few olives, minced (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Whisk together the broth and flour until dissolved.

  2. Preheat a saucepan over medium-low heat. Place the oil and garlic in the pan and cook about 2 minutes, stirring often.

  3. Stir in the thyme, salt, and pepper.

  4. Add the broth, turmeric, and nutritional yeast, and raise the heat to medium. Stir constantly for 3 minutes, until the mixture bubbles.

  5. Once the mixture is bubbling, stir and cook for about 2 more minutes, then add the lemon juice, mustard, and olives. Keep covered until ready to serve.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

my birthday is next Wednesday

In six days, it will be Wednesday, February 11th, and Sheryl Crow and I will both be another year older. I'll be 22; Sheryl Crow will be 46 (I looked it up on Wikipedia).

I don't know what you should get Sheryl Crow if you're going to her party or whatever, but here's what I want:
  • A job. I've been applying at local places here and there. The ones I'm really hoping for are line cook or waiter at Veggie Planet or clerk at Brookline Booksmith. I would be open to doing other things, but mainly I want to work at a place that offers goods or services that I believe are "good," like vegetarian food or books. I don't really want to work at an office and be unclear about what I'm helping accomplish, but I guess that would be acceptable at this point. Just help me be able to pay my rent and I will not have very much room to complain.

  • A small-to-medium amount of fame. I don't really want to have to be on TV or go to huge award ceremonies; all I want is for more people to listen to my music and/or read my poetry. I want to achieve the level of fame where knowing my name makes people feel hip. If you help me accomplish this, maybe by burning my CD for some of your friends, that would be really cool of you. I'd tell people you're cool.

  • A band. This would help me achieve the level of fame aforementioned. If you play a percussive instrument, you'd be especially valuable to me as a bandmate. Raya, do you still have your xylophone?

  • A robot servant. My first girlfriend got me an awesome little wind-up robot for my birthday the year after I broke up with her. It carries a little tray that I think I lost.

  • Negative-one heart. No heart, no feelings. It's simple math. Don't make me explain why this would be good.

  • A Maker's Mark and tonic with a lime. Come to Cantab Lounge for erotic poetry night and buy me this to drink, then maybe remind me not to use my phone until tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Breakfast Burrito

I've been doing this lately, when I wake up too late for a light breakfast but early enough to make brunch. It's really easy and good. This serves one because I wake up alone.

COMPONENTS:

  • a tortilla
  • Sweet Potato Hash Browns
  • Tofu Scramble
  • Black Beans

before you do anything, heat the tortilla on a big pan for like a minute. This will make the tortilla nice and pliant and a little crispy. That sounds contradictory, but it makes perfect sense--we call that a "paradox."

Sweet Potato Hash Browns

INGREDIENTS:

  • vegetable oil
  • a sweet potato, grated
  • choice of vegetables, diced (I do onions and red peppers, but you could probably just not even do any if you wanted)
  • a dash of cumin
  • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Fry the sweet potato in the oil over medium heat. You could use the same big pan from the tortilla. Just make sure the shreds are all spread out. Leave it frying for a few minutes.
  2. Dice up the vegetables, if you didn't already. Stir the sweet potatos and let them fry for a few more minutes.
  3. When the sweet potato looks like it's starting to soften up, throw in the vegetables, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir periodically until it looks done, probably about 10 minutes. DURING THIS TIME...

Tofu Scramble

INGREDIENTS:

  • half a block of extra-firm tofu
  • vegetable oil
  • a clove of garlic
  • choice of vegetables, chopped (I do onions and either carrots or spinach. You'll probably want to use at least one vegetable in this, or at least I would.)
  • a pinch of thyme
  • a dash of turmeric
  • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Press the tofu to remove excess moisture.
  2. Crush the clove of garlic and fry it in the oil in a big pan or wok over medium heat. Leave the skin on the garlic--that keeps it from burning, and then you just take the whole thing out at the very end (I learned this from a cooking show I saw at Raya's house).
  3. Throw in the vegetables and fry them until, for example, the onions are starting to carmelize, if you're using onions--until they should look like they'll be done soon.
  4. Smash the tofu and stir it vigorously into the vegetables.
  5. Add the thyme, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook for just a few more minutes. ALSO DURING THIS TIME...

Black Beans

INGREDIENTS:

  • about half a can of black beans

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Just cook some black beans in a pot.

TO ASSEMBLE:

  1. Put the sweet potatoes, black beans, and tofu scramble into the tortilla (I do it in that order because I find it the least messy). Make sure not to overstuff.
  2. Fold two opposite ends of the tortilla into the middle.
  3. Holding those ends in, roll another end over the stuff, to the opposite edge of the stuff.
  4. Fold everything, as is, on top of the remaining end. The burrito should be finished. Put some guacamole or salsa or something on it. Delicious.

I find it particularly therapeutic to cook myself a big breakfast. Big dinner and even big lunch has more of a stress factor because it feels like the day is going to end and be totally over if I don't finish this meal in time, but when I cook breakfast I feel centered. I feel like anything is possible today, so I might as well start by making myself some delicious food. I recommend this to anyone who doesn't have to get out of bed and immediately hurry to work or something.

I really need a job though.