Sunday, April 22, 2012

I could spice things up with red pepper flakes... or with you.

And that's when food pick up lines took a weird cannibalistic turn. Game over. 

My parents spent 5 weeks in Thailand over this past winter, where among other exotic things, they took cooking classes.
They brought me back a scarf.
I'm not jealous... at all.

Yoga Steve then came to New York and tried to show me the ropes.
It turned out okay.
I think I'll just have to go to Thailand to learn for myself. The sacrifices I make for KDP.

Kitchen Sink Thai Stir Fry with Rice Noodles

You'll need:
1/2 yam- peeled and chopped
1 potato- chopped
handful of snap peas- washed
couple of bunches of bok choy- wash, chop off the ends so they're in single leaf form
1 inch ginger- peeled and minced
1 Serrano chili- remove the seeds and mince. DON'T TOUCH YOUR EYES.
4 garlic cloves- minced
1/2 head broccoli- chopped
1 red onion- chopped
handful of cilantro- chopped
2 tbsp Thai paste (depending on how spicy you want it)
red chili flakes- couple shakes
1 c vegetable broth
2 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Amino's
1 tsp corn starch
2 Tbsp sesame oil
8 oz tofu- marinated over night in braggs and Thai paste.
1 handful rice noodles- cooked 1/2 of the time listed on the package and rinsed in cold water

-Chop and prepare everything before you're ready to cook- wash and chop all vegetables, cook noodles, lay everything out within arms reach. Trust me.

-Mix vegetable broth, Braggs and cornstarch in a bowl, set aside

-Heat sesame oil in large wok over high heat. Add potato, yam, garlic, onion, broccoli, pepper, Thai paste and ginger in wok. Cook for 3 mins, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn.

-Add in the noodles and tofu, cook for about 2 mins

-Add bok choy and peas, cook for about 2 mins

-Pour in the vegetable broth mix, add water if there isn't enough. Cook until it thickens slightly, so it's a sauce, just a few minutes longer.

-Be warned, it's a sinus opener.


Val sent me this very text the other night:
"I know there is a shark on the cover art, but if you haven't already been listening to Dry The River's 'Shallow Bed' you need to. Right now." 

I am terrified of sharks, but very rarely do I disobey Val. 

Here's the backstory- they're an English folk rock band, formed in 2009, with a hardcore and punk background. This album was released on April 17th. 

Folk rock sometimes rubs me the wrong way. I have to be in the exact right mood. It can too slow and sad for everyday listening, too hard for a "sit in a hammock, drink PBR and cry" session, but folk rock can often make me want to lie on my living room floor and stare at the ceiling. 

But this isn't that. sort of. 

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around Dry The River's solid and sweeping soundscape. In one moment it feels a little too whiney for my tastes, but I also can't stop listening. Their sound is pretty unique and tells strong, lyrical and sad stories.  
Val describes it as "civil war-y, but not so twangy." 

Epic and sweeping are the only words I can scramble for to describe their sound. 
I'm going to spend some time marinating with them. the more I listen, the more it grows on me. 
Sure, I want to stare at walls (or the rain) while listening, but there's nothing wrong with that. 
If I were a bettin' gal, I'd put some money down on these guys getting big. 

Here is a stripped down version of their song, BIBLE BELT (they explain why). Give it a whirl, then listen to the full version. It's very different, but each holds it's own. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Packing a fiber punch.

Who doesn't love Lara Bars? 

They're simple, delicious and so organic you can still taste the dirt. 
The only downside is the cost, at $1.30 per bar or over 20 bucks for a box of 15, these once were a special, "I've been a good girl", "I went to the gym today (yesterday, last week, will go tomorrow etc)" treat. 
But no longer!

I figured that with so few ingredients, they would be pretty easy to make. 
Year 2 means a new leaf with the KDP experiments! They work!
I also had some awesome cookie cutters, of the ninja and Alaskan animals variety. 
So now my afternoon snack is made even better by being in the shape of a whale. 

Almond Cookie- makes 6 ninja's
1/2 c pitted whole dates
1/2 c pitted whole prunes
1/2 c almonds
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
dash of sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Cuckoo for Coconut- makes 6 whales

1/2 c pitted whole dates
1/2 c pitted whole prunes
1/2 c almonds
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
dash of sea salt
1/4 c dried coconut

Pumpkin Pie- makes 6 squirrels

1/2 c pitted whole dates
1/2 c pitted whole prunes
1/2 c almonds
1/3 c pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
dash of sea salt

-Place the dates and prunes in the food processor, blend until it's a paste and put in a bowl.
-Add the nuts and seeds to the processor and blend until finely chopped (stop before it's a flour). Dump in the bowl
-Add the nuts, sea salt, coconut oil and spices to bowl, Knead the nuts into the paste
-Transfer to a surface covered with plastic wrap. Shape into bars (I used cookie cutters, you can also roll into a ball, if you aren't as awesome as I am). Wrap individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat (Let set for 20 mins in the fridge before eating).
Be warned, the process does make a mess. 
That's a porcupine. It's an Alaska thing.  
The flavor options are endless. Here are some of the other Lara flavors, but you can really throw whatever you want in there. Just get some dried fruit, spices, nuts, nut butter, chocolate chips and go to town.
Apple Pie
Banana Bread
Blueberry Muffin
Carrot Cake
Cherry Pie
Pecan Pie
Tropical Fruit Tart
Peanut Butter Cookie
Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie
Ginger Snap
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Lemon Bar
Coconut Cream Pie
Cashew Cookie

Get your kitchen dance on to this:

Carolina Chocolate Drops new album, Leaving Eden came out in February.
I'm still listening to it everyday.
Now granted, the sounds of the CCD's are completely and utterly my jams, but there is a raw, unprocessed, jam session quality to this CD that is really lovely. It really takes me back to being at the Alaskan Folk Fest, a Juneau relic that I missed and pinned for this year.
They are experimenting more and more with meshing their old time, black string band sound with beat boxing. It's interesting and gives them an update, I just fear that this gimmick will become too over used.
Check them out, they are definitely on the cusp of the bringing back the Americana Roots movement, with a modern spin.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy Birthday KDP!

Kitchen Dance Party is one year old. 
To celebrate, we made you a present. 

Ode to cookie butter;
Trader Joes should come to Juneau; 
We don't know how to use a webcam, or edit videos;
We secretly desire to become Youtube sensations. 

Moral of the story, KDP video blogs are only going to be a special occasion event.
Here are some pics from the day (especially of the camera shy Liz and Mags)

Matzo Brei
Yes, it looks like cat vomit.
(serves 2)

You'll need:
2 sheets of matzo (or 14, depending on how you roll)
2 eggs (or 8, see above)
2 tbsp vegetable oil

-Break the matzo into 1/2 inch pieces. Put in a bowl. Rinse under hot tap water for 30 seconds. Drain.
-Whisk eggs in another bowl. Mix matzo and eggs, season with salt and pepper. -
-heat oil in a skillet. Put batter in skillet, either in one fell swoop or in smaller pancake style discs.
-Fry into golden.

Cookie Butter
Tasty things to make them taste like something:

cookie butter
peanut butter
peanut sauce

Music Land: I just posted about this, but we legit spent the weekend listening to Of Monsters and Men. See my previous post.
Sorry, I had to learn my way around iMovie (let's be honest, Mag's did the majority of it). 
But video blog easter egg- There might be some David Bowie love in KDP's future. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

So organic you can still taste the dirt

Why eat fresh greens when you can cover them in oil and make them better!
The bok choy was an experiment... It kind of tasted like dirt, but that's my own fault for not washing it enough. Roasting it did get relieve some of the bitterness, but not all of it.

PS- I recently had fried kale at a restaurant. It was the best thing EVER.

Bok Choy and Kale Chips
1 bunch kale
several bunches baby bok choy
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
cumin, paprika to taste (or anything else you want).

- preheat oven to 375. Wash the greens, chop into bite size pieces (removing the kale stem).
- Mix greens with oil and whatever spices your little heart desires
- Bake for about 30 mins, until the greens are crunchy.

Note- eat it all. Right now. This doesn't store very well.

As some of you know, I finally figured out how to use Spotify. My music listening style has been forever changed. I can sample everything and no longer commit to buying (a huge plus for a major commitment-phob, and a intern/starving theater artist (10 bucks could feed me for 3 days)).

I recently listened to Of Monsters and Men's first album, "My Head is an Animal" because Spotify told me it was new (It was released on April 3rd).
They're from Iceland, which has a great musician track record (read Bjork).
I'm gaining trust in Spotify's recommendations. I really dig this. It's easy listening, (sometimes a little too) twee indie pop. It's pretty charming and hard not to fall in love.
I'm a sucker for joy filled call and responses and sing alongs. It's a good album to welcome the spring.

If Bjork is the Icelandic standard, you can see some the references in the music video.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

How do you get your protein?

Yes, that pick up line is weak. I know. But you try and come up with one about hummus. 

One of the biggest things I've had to adjust to with living in New York is that the produce goes bad.
Fruits and vegetables in Alaska are flown in. Meaning they are picked early and chock-full of preservatives to make sure they survive the flight and grocery shelf time. I've sat on avocados for 2 weeks waiting for them to ripen.
That's not the case in NY.
It still surprises me when my bananas turn brown after 2 days.

I'm learning the art of using up rapidly fading produce, fast.
I'm learning the art of the kitchen sink salads, stir fries and....

(Kitchen Sink) Spinach Hummus
-2 c chickpeas (or 2 15 oz cans)
-Leftover Spinach (or leafy greens, roasted red pepper, roasted onions etc...)
-2 tbsp tahini
-1/2 c pine nuts- toasted if you have enough forethought
-6 cloves garlic- see above.
-Olive Oil
-Cumin, black pepper, salt, cayenne, paprika, chilies, sun dried tomatoes, feta, cilantro, caramelized onions, whatever your heart desires and needs to get used.

-(if you are starting with uncooked chickpeas- soak overnight, boil in water for about an hour, cool).
-Put everything in a food processor. Blend until smooth. I like to use cayenne and paprika to kick it up a notch. Use within 3 days or freeze.

Note- make sure the garlic cloves get blended in or face the wrath of your co-workers the next day when you eat a whole one.

I finally gave a listen to The Shins new album, Port of Morrow

Like everyone else, I was a fan of The Shins in college. I went to the capital of easy listening, where people slack lined, long boarded, smoked bowls in the arboretum (not a euphemism) and listened to Dave Matthews like it was their job.
This is posted on the un-named schools website. 

Unsurprisingly, The Shins were very popular and in an attempt to be "cool" I jumped on the bandwagon. I wanted to shun the bluegrass, folk and klezmer music upbringing (with some Sound of Music to nurture the budding theatre nerd) and "get with the picture." I wanted to talk about seeing The Shins at the Gorge during Sasquatch and discuss how excited we all were to go camp for 3 days, with 80,000 people to see them again next year. 
I desperately wanted to be a part of pop culture and The Shins were my gateway. 

Being at this meant you were cool. 
I gained clarity in leaving undergrad, embraced my "local-yokel," back-country, frontier-esque upbringing and let go of The Shins. They were just a little too twee, too emo and too indie for me. I shunned The Shins and embraced the bluegrass. 

So when I saw they had a new album (and I just figured out how to use Spotify), I decided to give them a second chance. 
Still not doing it for me. 
They sound exactly the same, in style and in each individual song. There's nothing new and I don't feel the urge to sing along and cry (because that's what everyone does with The Shins..right?). 
I'm sorry to any Shins fans. But seriously!? Seriously. 

But... If I ever decide to try and embrace the long-boarding, rock climbing and drinking on the dorm roof to avoid the RA's lifestyle again, I might give them a 3rd chance. 

In other news. I saw Andrew Bird, unplugged and live on WNYC's Soundcheck this past week. 
A. Dream fulfilled
B. Inner fan girls (all of them) are running rampant
C. I can die happy
D. In no way am I hip enough to meld into this audience base here. But I'm now okay with my "I'm not from here" persona. 
You can listen and watch the webcast here