Welcome fall! Music list-o-mania

Picks of the season

My subscription to Latina has been rubbing off on me. Besides Bomba Estereo, I've also been enjoying Maluca and Madera Limpia, but most especially the Rudo y Cursi soundtrack song "Prefiero el Asfalto" by Niña Dioz. It has been BURNING up my iPod. Love this song, and always happy to find another lady rapper along the lines of M.I.A. or Lady Sovereign. My favorite part of the song is the wierd subterranean distorted robot voice--it sounds kind of like if you dropped a cell phone down a well and the other person kept talking while the interworkings of the phone warped and melted and drowned. (Side note about Latina—I also liked their recent list of "25 Books Every Latina Should Read.")

I'm also happy to find more stuff from Jack Peñate, whose "Tonight's Today" totally rocked my June. "Be the One" is not as phenomenal, but it's fine and has a nice little disco chorus going on. Also you can hear his cute British accent pretty clearly in this one, like in his early song "Seconds, Minute, or Hour". He's got some videos on his site for these and other songs.

I just discovered Bibio and can't stop listening to "S'vive." I can't quite describe the sound of this track except to say it's like Tomita+Joanna Newsom+acid and totally awesome. And he's from Wolverhampton. (This tickles me for Monty Python reasons.) Other songs on his 2009 release Ambivalence Avenue are not as crazy, more mellow, possibly broadening its appeal. The title track is very nice, it has a Jefferson Airplane-by-way-of-African drumming thing that I like.

Speaking of African sounds, a la Vampire Weekend (new pop rediscovers secrets of Paul Simon's catchiness), have you heard of Fool's Gold? I've been obsessed with "Nadine (Memory Tapes Remix)," and just now checked out Surprise Hotel which sounds fabulous. Their album comes out in 5 days (9/29) and I'm thinking it'll be delicious. Go listen on their myspace--link above!

Finally, everyone seems excited about Miike Snow, Sweden's latest supergroup (or whatever). I love the jackalope-in-ice mascot they've got going, and the song "Animal" is indeed very very good, as others have pointed out. I like the little reggae tinge to it--just enough to funk things up, not enough to annoy. For a group that has performed at least once in scary masks, their music sounds pretty confectionery. I also like "A Horse is Not a Home," though I wonder if the incessant plunking of the piano is just hypnotizing me into thinking I like it.

8*9*09 Beef Jerky Time playlist
  • Salsa: Madera Limpia
  • El Tigeraso (Sticky K remix): Maluca
  • Prefiero el Asfalto: Niña Dioz
  • Fancy Dancer: The Commodores
  • Here to Fall: Yo La Tengo
  • Boogie that Be: Black Eyed Peas
  • Human Nature: Toro y Moi
  • Happy: N.E.R.D.
  • When They Fight, They Fight: The Generationals
  • Terminally Chill: Neon Indian
  • No Reasons: VEGA
  • The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid: The Decemberists

8*26*09, folk/bluegrass/mountain/frontier show
  • Buster Voodoo: Rodrigo y Gabriela
  • Knockin' On Your Door: Old & in the Way
  • When Shrimps Learn to Whistle: Leo Kottke
  • Cigarettes, Whisky & Wild Women: Sons of the Pioneers
  • Way Down the Old Plank Road: The Mammals
  • There'll Be Some Changes Made: Knopfler & Atkins
  • Alabama Jubilee: Chet Atkins
  • Scratchy Fiddle Boogie Blues: Mike Cross
  • Summer Heat: Bert Jansch
  • When the Sun Comes Up: Bert Jansch w. Beth Orton
  • On the Edge of a Dream: Bert Jansch
  • Swing '39: David Grisman Quintet
  • Harvest Song: Harvey Tuft
  • Red Cat Til I Die: Ry Cooder
  • Sailin' Up, Sailin' Down: Pete Seeger
  • Orange Stomp: Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys

9*2*09 Beef Jerky Time playlist
  • Nadine (Memory Tapes version): Fool's Gold
  • Hit the Wall: Broken Social Scene
  • I Think I Like You: Donora
  • The Envy Corps: Screen Test
  • Steppin' Out: Lo-Fi-FNK
  • Oh My My: Jill Barber
  • Happy Up Here: Royksopp
  • Can You Tell Me (The Kids Are Radioactive remix): Ra Ra Riot
  • No Time: Colin Hay
  • Two Dots: Lusine
  • Overkill: Men at Work
  • An Anniversary Away: Reverie Sound Revue

9*15*09 Beef Jerky Time playlist
  • Playgirl: Ladytron
  • Great Five Lakes: Buffalo Daughter
  • Pulling Our Weight: The Radio Dept
  • Greens, Grays and Nordics: Deastro
  • In Search of: Miike Snow
  • Rain Dance: The Very Best f. M.I.A.
  • Be the One: Jack Peñate
  • Love Train: The O'Jays
  • S'vive: Bibio
  • Oh You Pretty Things: David Bowie
  • Love Is Sold: Panther
  • Love & Romance & a Special Person: Joakim
  • Another Likely Story (Neon Indian remix): Au Revoir Simone

9*23*09 Beef Jerky Time playlist
  • I Wasn't Made for Fighting: Woodhands
  • Kiss Me Deadly: Lita Ford
  • All Thoughts Are Prey to Some Beast: Bill Callahan
  • Animal: Miike Snow
  • Stillness Is the Move: Dirty Projectors
  • Memories: David Guetta f. Kid Cudi
  • True Stories: Datarock
  • Seven (Crookers remix): Fever Ray
  • Bring It On Home: Led Zeppelin
  • Don't Leave Me This Way: The Communards
  • Killing An Arab: The Cure
  • Shoulders & Arms: Tokyo Police Club
  • Laideronette, Empress of the Pagodas: Tomita does Ravel's Mother Goose Suite

Bowties with pine-nuts, feta & greens

I saw a version of this recipe in a magazine recently, though I can't remember where. What made it memorable was the photo. Its apparent deliciousness seared itself into my brain and had me running out for bowties and pine-nuts. With our big eater off at a meeting tonight, I decided to whip this together. Took about 20 minutes tops.


about 1/2 pound bowtie pasta (OK, "farfalle")
olive oil
large handful of any hearty greens, I used beet greens
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 ounce (or more) feta, crumbled


1. Boil water for pasta. Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients, including washing and slicing up the greens.
2. Put pasta to boil. At the same time, toast pine nuts in a pan (no oil needed).

Just move them around until they just start to brown and look a little greasy. Then remove from heat.

3. Next, heat some olive oil in the same pan and flash-steam the greens. You can cover with a lid if they start spitting. (It's good if they're still a bit wet from washing.)

4. Once greens have wilted, throw in garlic and stir everything around. I sluiced on some more olive oil at this point to make it a bit saucy. (That matter in the middle is the garlic I just added.)

5. When pasta is cooked per directions on package, drain and toss with more olive oil. Then mix in your greens and your pine nuts. Crumble feta over all. Serve!

My picture is not as pretty as the magazine's, but this was a fast and easy (and vegetarian) dinner!

Fresh Rolls, Vermont Style

Some call them Summer Rolls. Some call them Salad Rolls. I'm going to call them Fresh Rolls, and I am currently obsessed with their simple execution and complex flavors. It started when a family friend was explaining how easy it is to use rice paper wraps. Simply dip the paper in water, fill, and roll it up. Dip in peanut sauce or whatever. Easy as pie. This reminded me of a favorite food blog, Wandering Chopsticks, which has a helpful post about the use of rice paper for Vietnamese Goi Cuon. With all this knowledge, I finally made my own. I was blown away by how easy (and also inexpensive) these are to DIY. These cost $5 for 3 at the local co-op, but I think that would get you about 10+ homemade ones if you play it right! Here's what I did:

1. From Thai store, get 1 pkg of rice paper (they're round and cost $2.49) and a small jar of fish sauce.

2. Prep sauces. For peanut sauce, take about 2 T peanut butter and mix with water, just a sprinkle of water at a time because pb doesn't mix well with larger amounts. Once it's kind of runny, you can add splashes of tamari/soy sauce for the last mixing (instead of water). For fish sauce, combine about 1/4 cup warm water with 1/4 cup sugar and stir. Then add about 1/4 cup fish sauce. I also put in a generous squeeze of Sriracha hot sauce. (This is based on Wandering Chopsticks fish sauce recipe.)

Fish sauce left, peanut sauce right.
Fish sauce isn't normally that red;
I had hot water from boiling beets
so used that as my liquid base. (Tasty.)

3. Prep fillings. I used the following:

fresh mint, fresh basil, and fresh cilantro

strips of cooked egg (make an omelette
but don't turn it, then cool completely and slice),
strips of blanched carrot, strips of raw cucumber

4. Assemble. You'll need a wide shallow bowl or dish of water. Put a single rice paper sheet into water and press down so it's all wet. Then take it out and put on plate or work surface. As Wandering Chopsticks points out, it's OK if the rice paper is still a bit stiff as you start work. Arrange fillings and pour some peanut sauce over all.

Roll as described and illustrated at the Goi Cuon post.

Serve with fish sauce for dipping.


Here's the lunchbox I took to work. Such a fresh, healthy meal. Fresh rolls!

Keen on Fruit

The verdict is in. I knew it in one bite. I have now decided on my favorite fruit.

Once upon a time Facebook invited me to make a quiz about myself so that my Facebook Friends™ could consider how well they know me. Here's one of the questions I made up:

I have some issues with:
a. ants
b. driving
c. fruit
d. the Dutch
e. the ZIP code system

I must be keeping my fruit problems to myself because not many guessed that "c" was the correct answer. Here's the deal: if it were left to me, I'd eat fruit about as often as I eat cake--maybe 4 times a year. I LOVE cake. And fruit seems similarly exotic. It's not something you'd eat every day, good heavens! Is this the expression of some northern European gene? I feel like I spent a previous lifetime on some windswept sheep-laden island where all we ate was sheep products and kale and seafood and potatoes and more sheep products. Fruit is just... not my type.

Also, fruit is cold and not usually covered with melted cheese, so there's two more strikes against it.

An exception to my fruit problem is that when I was pregnant I craved and consumed fruit all the time. My body-mind seemed willing to waive the usual hesitation about squishy fruit so as to provide vitamins or something to my baby. Is there more to this fruit thing, I wondered? Could it be... good for me?

I made a resolution. I would Eat More Fruit. Maybe even every day. (Sometimes.) And maybe I would get to LIKE fruit. Here are my findings so far:

Strawberries: very yummy. They are a good size for getting several bites in, a nice texture, and not too seedy. However, their natural season in Vermont seems to be about 3 weeks long, which is not really enough to form a steady relationship.

Blueberries: nice, but there is something a little snail-like about their insides. Blueberry flavor is not a big winner with my taste buds. They seem a little insipid, frankly, plus they are covered with a tough little skin.

Raspberries: frontrunner for my favorite fruit. I LOVE the flavor, also the color. But the seedy texture is a little annoying, and they are also very small. If there was a large seedless raspberry the size of an apple, it would get my vote.

Apples: too cold and too crunchy for my taste. The amount of chewing you have to do makes them practically a vegetable--that's a whole 'nother blog post. When apples are baked and warm (with melted cheese!) that's another story, but I'm trying to love a fresh fruit here.

Peaches! I LOVE PEACHES. A free-stone peach that just melts in my mouth and drips down my arm and takes many bites to finish is my fruit perfection. There's enough of it to really worship (not gone in a gulp like a little berry). A peach is an afternoon picnic in France, pulled from a shiny paper bag where it was nestled with sister peaches. It's a walk in a summer meadow dappled by sun and shade, listening to the cicadas chainsawing in the trees and the crickets bleating earnestly among the grasses. It's a simple breakfast on a cool misty morning when others are sleeping and the pure blue day is still waiting for the sun to burn off the fog. It's a tart, it's a cobbler, it's for cereal, yogurt, pie, it's this summer's To Grill Item. It's generous yet silky yet meaty. It's a peach.