Lazing the Summer Away

I'm on vacation! First order of business was to attend a fabulous wedding and reconnect with some of my bestest friends from home. Then, 4 days all to myself wherein I did a ton of languishing chores and set up a little basement workshop area for myself where I can sew and be crafty any time. I have already hemmed one entire pair of pants. The weather has been perfect--high clear summer days shading into fall (that is, not too hot). There are still a lot of things on my to-do list for the week, thanks to Labor Day I still have 3 more days off coming my way. Being on vacation is really, perhaps inordinately, exciting. If only I could take off weeks and weeks like a French person.

Here are a load of Beef Jerky Time playlists, for the record...
Music for Calculators show, 8/13/08--your multi-function calculator from high school came to life and DJ'd this show
  • Mobira: Printed Circuit
  • Number 1: Goldfrapp
  • Married Young (The Glass remix): Robbers on High STreet
  • The Move: Boom Bip
  • Nobody Lost, Nobody Found: Cut Copy
  • Disco Infiltrator: LCD Soundsystem
  • IMpossible: Figurine
  • Escaping the Game Grid: Technicolor
  • Disconnect the Dots: Of Montreal
  • Mecha-Mania Boy: Devo
  • Around the World: Daft Punk
  • Casium: Marumaki

Show from 8*20*08, including a Gorilla set
  • Sad Song: Au Revoir Simone
  • Pom Pom: Matthew Dear
  • I Was Never Young: Of Montreal
  • Think I Wanna Die: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
  • Sky Saw: Brian Eno
  • Blue Black Jack: Mos Def f/Shuggie Otis
  • Breakdance: Irene Cara
  • The Gorilla: Dee Jay & the Runaways
  • Gorilla Girl: The Dead Milkmen
  • Kids with Guns: Gorillaz
  • Warlock: Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Oh Sheila: Ready for the World
  • Cold Star: The Hectors
  • Astronaut: Shy Child
  • Bag of Hammers: Thao Nguyen
  • Think: Medeski Martin & Wood

Show from 8*27*08, 80s nite
  • You Spin Me Round (Like a Record): Dead or Alive
  • I Would Die 4 U: Prince
  • Tarzan Boy: Baltimora
  • Can't Fight This Feeling: REO Speedwagon
  • Let's Go all the Way: Sly Foxx
  • Good Thing: Fine Young Cannibals
  • PYT: Michael Jackson
  • Hello Again: The Cars
  • Sunglasses at Night: Corey Hart
  • I Wanna Be a Cowboy: Boys Don't Cry
  • Things Will Only Get Better: Howard Jones
  • Bizarre Love Triangle: New Order
  • theme from "Crocodile Dundee"

Cold soba salad with eggplant

One of my favorite flowers, the nasturtium.
Better because you can eat it!

I was reading a back issue of Cook's Illustrated and saw a recipe for sesame noodles with chicken. It reminded me of another recipe for eggplant and buckwheat noodles (that is, soba) in Laurel Glen's Quick Food. I studied both recipes and invented this mashup to serve cold on a summer's evening. I threw in a zucchini because I always need more ways to get rid of zucchini. And I recommend using one of my favorite garnishes: nasturtiums! Here are some of the main players: farmer's market eggplant plus herbs and nasturtiums straight from the garden.

8 oz soba (buckwheat noodles)
sesame oil
4 T toasted sesame seeds
1 thumb ginger, coarsely sliced
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
5 T tamari
1 T rice vinegar
1 T honey
1 T lemon juice
1/4 c peanut butter
2 T pasta water
2 T oil (peanut or canola)
1 Japanese eggplant, sliced into thick sticks
1 zucchini, sliced into thick sticks
parsley, chopped
chives, chopped
nasturtiums, 10 or more

  1. Cook the soba according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Splash on sesame oil to keep the noodles from sticking together. Set aside.
  2. Add 3T of the sesame seeds to your food processor. Put in ginger, garlic, tamari, vinegar, honey, lemon juice and peanut butter. Blend until well combined and even starting to emulsify--perhaps about a minute.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan or wok and stirfry the eggplant and zucchini until they are starting to brown but not floppy. Turn heat down and add parsley and chives.
  4. Stir sauce and vegetables into noodles. Serve and garnish with nasturtiums! Serves 4.

My fellow diner suggested I also add an "after" shot. Yes, it was really good!

I'm submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks celebrating the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient.

The host this month is Palachinka.

If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check who's hosting next month.

Dog Days of Aug

According to my playlists The Rosebuds have been around on my show since July 2007. They have been around in the real world for years longer. I mainly know their 3rd album "Night of the Furies," described as having been conjured during the wind and chaos of a tropical depression. Driving beats, pretty choruses (pretty in a good way), some dark slow vocals that sound a bit broken-hearted, a bit blasé. And there's just enough synth stuff going on for me to be contented. In fact "Night of the Furies" reminds me of the Cure. Not that it sounds like The Cure, but it's nice when good pop music comes with some graveyard themes. When I need to score a movie about vampires in high school, I'll use a track from this album.

Assorted facts: "Night of the Furies" has been remixed by various artists as "Sweet Beats, Troubled Sleep", including a track by--hey!--Roger O'Donnell from the Cure. They blog at Their new album "Life Like" drops in October!

Beef Jerky Time playlist, 8/6/08

  • E.M.P.T.Y: The Clientele
  • Quedate Luna: Devendra Banhart
  • I Ain't Saying My Goodbyes: Tom Vek
  • Pum Pum: Lee "Scratch" Perry
  • Stuck for the Summer: Two Hours Traffic
  • 3 Women: Stereolab
  • Leaves Do Fall: The Rosebuds
  • I Live for the Sun: Sunshine Day
  • Hearts on Fire (Knightlife remix): Cut Copy
  • Of Moons, Birds & Monsters: MGMT
  • Dancing Behind My Eyelids: múm
  • Until We Bleed: Kleerup f/Lykke Li
  • I Know But I Don't Know: Blondie
  • The Casio Fight Song: David Shouse & the Bloodthirsty Lovers
  • Snow Capes: Caribou

A celebration of Beck

Modern Guilt is out and I played an hour of Beck on WVEW-LP to celebrate. That was a good drum break. I note a fellow program host on Saturday mornings was digging Modern Guilt too. Rock on!

7/30/08 Beef Jerky Time playlist (album in parentheses)
  • Nicotine & Gravy (Midnite Vultures)
  • Walls (Modern Guilt)
  • Earthquake Weather (Guero)
  • New Round (The Information)
  • Youthless (Modern Guilt)
  • Tropicalia (Mutations)
  • Sissyneck (Odelay)
  • End of the Day (Sea Change)
  • Gamma Ray (Modern Guilt)
  • Hell Yes (Guero)
  • Pressure Zone (Midnite Vultures)
  • Think I'm in Love (The Information)
  • Where It's At (Odelay)
  • Modern Guilt (Modern Guilt)

A Walk in the Woods

It's been a wet summer. We decided to go for a Sunday morning walk this August 3rd. The almost-daily rain had not started yet... would not come for another 3 hours. The whole woods was moist and wonderful with leaf litter sun-dappled. The air smelled of fungus. Here are some snaps we took.

The first newt: I had promised we'd try to find one on our woods walk. There were so many dogs on the path I thought we should go into the woods a bit to find a newt. So veering off-track and heading toward a bright orange toadstool, we very soon found our quarry.

Almost immediately, my companion begged for another newt. I had my doubts. But we soon came across one right on the main path.

My companion then requested a third newt. I thought we were pretty lucky to have found two. As I was explaining this, we came upon #3. This one had a very long tail and was on its way somewhere.

Other things we saw: many stands of Indian-pipe. It was growing everywhere. I have always been rather fond of this chlorophyll-less plant. I like its other sometime name, "Ice plant." It does look like it will deliquesce in the hand if touched--right down to the beads of water clinging to its cold blossoms. My Peterson's Guide tells me it's related to wintergreen, and called monotropa uniflora.

Below: I was amazed to find these next to a stand of regular white Indian-pipe. Rather than a pure translucent white with single bell-like flower, these were cream-colored with multiple bells. Looked it up when I got home and it's a relative called "Pinesap" ( monotropa hypopithis).

Here is a little flash/without flash study. First, lovely white toadstools taken with flash. They're so bright that it works OK--they look like a "specimen."

But using flash in the woods makes everything look sorta artificial, so I try to get away with no flash. Usually things just turn out blurry, but with these white toadstools, the flashless effect is more a ghostly glow.

Here are some red toadstools with flash. These are moist and vibrant-colored. Use of flash makes them look like they've been caught in the act.