Monday, January 31, 2011

On Repeat: Au Revoir Simone - Shadows (Bostro Pesopeo Remix)

Remixes are a bit of an old hat these days, with creative ones few and far between. Most are all too satisfied to toss in a guest verse or crank up the tempo and call it a day. Effective remixes are those that actually manage to reinterpret the song, while leaving the nuts and bolts in place. It's harder than it sounds. What many don't realize is that reinvention of a song doesn't have to mean transforming the song into some tranced out club-banger. Indie remixes have a higher batting average than most, and Bostro Pesopeo's remix of Au Revoir Simone's "Shadows" is a shining example of how to make a song your own.

The original version of "Shadows" is a zippy affair, feeling considerably faster than its 4-minute run time. The shuffling beat and keyboard twinkle leave the lyrics no choice but to take on a rushed delivery. Perhaps this was intended to be exhilarating, but is exhausting instead. With such a beautiful voice at the helm and sensitive subject matter, it's an odd production choice to say the least.

Pesopeo gets the pacing right from the very start, using a beat that is decidedly slower than the original, resulting in a remix with a 6-minute run time. But slowing down the beat doesn't necessarily mean he is sacrificing any of the energy of the original, it simply gives him the flexibility to fill in the new gaps with interesting sounds. The vocals are pulled and stretched like soft taffy, going from out-of-breath to looped ghostly whispers that are layersed alongside an urgent synth sample that would fit nicely in a car chase scene.

He also brilliantly teases the chorus throughout the song, repeating tiny snippets of it revealing piece by piece until it evolves into a full sentence. At this point, an new layer of stirring synths signify the song is still building towards something. They coalesce and then break like a wave, leaving a see-saw horn part to shuffle the song  through the bridge. The entire song can't use more than 2 lines of the original yet is still faithful and unique, the hallmark of a good remix. We should all be so inspired.

Au Revoir Simone - Shadows (Original)

Au Revoir Simone - Shadows (Bostro Pesopeo Remix)
I looked everywhere online for a streaming version of this song, and could only find small snippets. I'm devastated, but I believe it is on iTunes. Track it down, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Inspired by the United States of Movies map (below) and the TV show map that followed (further below), I've decided to take it upon myself to make a United States of Indie music. I know the challenge sounds daunting, and I don't have high hopes for some states, but I'll see what I can scrape up from Google. I think it's only fair that hipsters get in on the act, and I'm as good a man as any to lead the charge.   

The United States of Movies

The United States of Television


Authors Note: This was a lot harder than I thought. I very nearly made this a map of Indie and Hip-hop, since the pickings were so slim in the south. But that still would have left me with Donny Osmond in Utah. On that note, remind me to never travel there. Some states have no music culture to speak of, so I had to go with artists who have some degree of street cred (Bill Withers and Lawrence Welk) or bands with hilarious names, some awful (TruEmotion) and some awesome (We All Have Hooks For Hands). Also, it's hard to tell which state is which on a blank map. Sorry Colorado and Wyoming, but culture is attracted to squiggles. Enjoy.

Alabama - Drive by Truckers
Alaska - Portugal. The Man 
Arizona - Zola Jesus
Arkansas - Gossip
California - Pavement
Colorado - DeVotchka
Connecticut - MGMT
Delaware - Television
Florida - Iron and Wine

Georgia - R.E.M.
Hawaii - Bruno Mars (since he wrote Fuck You for Cee-Lo, and he's a better option than Jack Johnson)
Idaho - Built to Spill
Illinois - Wilco 
Indiana - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Iowa - TruEmotion
Kansas - Mates of State
Kentucky - Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Louisiana - Neutral Milk Hotel
Maine - Ray Lamontagne
Maryland - Beach House
Massachusetts - Passion Pit
Michigan - Sufjan Stevens
Minnesota - The Hold Steady
Mississippi - The Weeks
Missouri - Uncle Tupelo
Montana - Colin Meloy
Nebraska - Bright Eyes
Nevada - The Killers
New Hampshire - Okkervil River
New Jersey - Titus Andronicus
New Mexico - Beirut
New York - Too many to count. I'm going to just say The Strokes because I can fit that text into the state.
North Carolina - The Love Language
North Dakota - Lawrence Welk
Ohio - The Black Keys
Oklahoma - The Flaming Lips
Oregon - Elliot Smith
Pennsylvania - Girl Talk
Rhode Island - Les Savy Fav
South Carolina - Band of Horses
South Dakota - We All Have Hooks For Hands
Tennessee - Kings of Leon
Texas - Spoon
Utah - Donny Osmond
Vermont - Doveman
Virginia - Wild Nothing
Washington - Modest Mouse
West Virginia - Bill Withers
Wisconsin - Bon Iver
Wyoming - Cary Judd

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What Up With That? Pizza Box Edition

Last week, the greenest person I know (AG) and I discussed what to do with our corrugated bundle of joy after enjoying a tasty pie. I tried to put it out with the recycling, AG insisted that I did not. I had heard that pizza boxes are not "recyclable", but I assumed this was an old wives tale in the same vein as stepping on a crack. Far more versed in recycling codes than I, she insisted that they cannot be recycled and should go out with the regular trash. I remember reading that as long as the box was grease-free, it could be lumped in with paper goods, but sure enough, the wax-paper diaphragm underneath had done nothing to contain the drippings. The box was soiled, and was on a one way train to a landfill incinerator, an unacceptable end for a box which had nobly served its purpose and still had a lot to give.

Science has allowed us to recycle nearly everything these days. Glass and plastic bottles can be thrown into recycling bins still smeared with mayonnaise or peanut butter, and no one blinks an eye. Even paper completely riddled with staples is no problem. Recycling plants use spectroscopic scanners to differentiate between types of plastic and paper by the chemical absorption patterns. Massive magnetic fields create eddy currents to sort and eject "non-ferrous" metals like aluminum cans. Yet the smallest droplet of oil renders a cardboard box completely beyond the grasp of modern science? This is unacceptable, and we'd best start harnessing the untapped power of pizza boxes before the Chinese or the Russians get to it first.

Just imagine the hundred of thousands of pizza boxes that fill dumpsters on college campuses Monday mornings. Tons and tons of paper that could be recycled or at least repurposed. Just as old shoes are used to build basketball courts and running tracks, pizza boxes can find a new lease on life in innumerable ways. We can't wait for those nerds in labcoats to figure this out, we've been waiting for hoverboards decades! Let's roll up our sleeves and do things the American way. Cheap and inefficient. Together we can hire other people to build cardboard treehouses for underprivileged children, cardboard backboards to revitalize abandoned basketball courts. I am envisioning a new society where pizza boxes aren't just a disposable pizza transport material, but the ONLY material. A corrugated world of tomorrow. If a precocious kid can turn a cardboard box into a Transmogrifier, there's no limit to the possibilities. Come join me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Just because I haven't posted any soups lately doesn't mean I've been shirking on my vow to make a new soup every week this Winter. In FACT, I think I've actually eclipsed the one soup per week benchmark I had been angling after. It's just that compiling an EDU for every little one is a bit of a hassle, especially when the soups aren't mind-blowingly awesome. You then find yourself left with 8 servings of a crappy soup, and the last thing you want to do is compile the pictures and share it with the world. "Look at me! I'm an abysmal cook who butchered something that three thousand people gave five stars on Allrecipes!" I'd just assume pour it down the drain and pretend it never happened, but I would be letting my adoring readership down, and doing myself a disservice if I didn't blog the HELL out of it. I'll spare you the gruesome details of the soups, instead offering a link to the recipe, a couple photos, and an overall rating.

1. December 12th, 2010 - Avegolemono Soup


  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 6 tablespoons chicken soup base
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 cup diced, cooked chicken meat
  • 16 slices lemon
  • 8 egg yolks

I don't know WHERE I went wrong with this soup. I wanted to make a lemon-chicken soup. This Greek soup seemed right up my alley: lemon juice, Chicken, Rice (I used Orzo instead, which some people recommened). After these three ingredients, the recipe took some bizarre turns. First, it urged me to make a roux in a pan, and then add it to the soup. I did this diligently. Why, I have no idea. It looked the same. I couldn't taste it (more on that later), and now I had another dish to clean. Next, I had to furiously whip 8 egg yolks (by hand mind you) and add these to the soup. I could definitely taste these, but not in a good way, just in a are-there-raw-eggs-in-this? way. I will concede that it would have been better if I had owned an immersion blender at this juncture, but alas, I would not be receiving this from my parents until Christmas. I could deal with unique cooking techniques, but where the recipe went wrong really chapped my hide. HALF A CUP OF LEMON JUICE IS A LOT. It doesn't sound like much, but the soup puckered my mouth like a warhead. It overwhelmed the soup, and gave everything an acidic edge that I had to will myself to swallow. AG loves lemon and she said it was too much, although she said it had "potential" if it weren't so potent. I have since learned that I may not have botched the recipe after all, and this is in fact how the Greeks like their soup. That may be true, but I shan't be making it again.

2. December 28th, 2010 - Puree of Split Pea Soup (from my new soup recipe book, thanks Mom!)

I know I bad-mouthed "blended" soups in my maiden soup post, but I got an immersion blender for Christmas and really needed to try it out. I wanted to make a white bean blended soup, but my recipe said that I needed to buy a bag of beans, soak them overnight, and then simmer them for hours the next day. Fat chance, I said. I don't like peas, but I thought maybe this recipe could change my mind, since I put bacon in it, and did it "by the book". What does by-the-book mean exactly? Sort of like this:

This is a ham hock. The hock is the area below the wrist or ankle bone of the big. It has a large amount of flavor and some yummy meat (so they say, I couldn't find anything palatable), and is essential if you want to make a good split pea soup. The recipe told me to toss this in while I was boiling the broth and veggies so I did. If you thought it looked terrifying before, wait until you see it after it did its "thing". 

Terrifying. At this point, I decided to run over to Foodmaster and buy one of the thick ham slices and chop it up, because there was no way on Earth I was going to fish around in that pig foot and try and salvage pieces of meat. I prayed the soup tasted better than it looked. After making a Turkey stock that precipitated in a soup that I still dream about, I tried not to judge a soup by it's carcass, but being someone that doesn't like peas to begin with, I took this as a bad omen. On the bright side, the immersion blender worked swimmingly and quickly changed the soup into a smooth puree. So did the soup change my opinion about peas and blended soups as a whole? No. Nononono. It had the texture of watery baby food, and while the hock definitely added flavor, I had a hard time getting over the image of it bobbing around in my pot. The ham pieces saved the soup from being a complete loss, and having a crouton in each bite was the only way I could finish a whole bowl. AG said that "if you like split-pea soup, it was a good soup". So take that for what it's worth.

3. January 5th, 2011 - Cha Cha's White Chicken Chili

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans white beans
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

I do not know Cha-Cha, but I like her style. This was supposed to be a chili, but it became a soup. It was tasty, so that was fine by me. It was also quite spicy, which was also fine by me. It involved canned jalapenos, 2 cans of green chilis, cayenne pepper and pepper jack cheese. It was a very straightforward soup, no blending, no roux, no ingredients that gave me night terrors. It only took about 45 minutes. With a dollop of sour cream on top, it was really fantastic. The shredded chicken and white beans made it hearty and substantial, and the sour cream helped cut some of the spice and acid of the peppers. AG said it was "delicious" and not too "spicy". She ranked it with the Lentil Soup as her favorite, until I reminded her about the Turkey soup I made, and then she made it a three-way tie. 

4. January 15th, 2011 - Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 slices preservative-free, all-natural bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced thinly
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 15 oz. can of cooked chickpeas, preferably organic
  • 1 28 oz. can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes, with juice
  • Salt
  • 1 cup kale, chopped fine
  • 1 9-ounce package of high quality, all-natural cheese tortellini
  • Aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling- optional
  • Grated parmesan cheese for garnish- optional

This is my most recent soup, I just finished it for lunch today, and it was great, and almost vegetarian! I say almost because I cooked up some Pancetta (in place of bacon) in the pot before I added the veggies and broth. I was wary of the chickpeas, but they were soft and complimented the other elements of the soup quite well. I was also worried about the kale, because I wasn't sure how it would wilt (I usually saute it), but it fell in line and played along. The potatoes were cooked without being mushy, and the other vegetables maintained their consistency and flavor admirably. I left out the zucchini because all the ones at Foodmaster were wimpy and floppy, and I don't think it would have added much. The cheese tortellini was also a nice texture addition.  The recipe suggested adding a spoonful of pesto on top, which I did, and it really opened up the flavors even more. I love soups that have a lot going on, but become greater than the sum of their parts, and this soup fit the bill. 

So there you go ladies and germs. 4 soup, 4 weeks. I also made the lentil soup again, but I forgot the cumin and I already blogged about it, so cool it. I hope this inspires you to try some soups out yourself, there really are a lot of great ones out there, and there's not much better after shoveling out your car for the 14th time.   

Saturday, January 15, 2011

EDU: Running On Ice

Winter provides some daunting challenges when it comes to exercising, leaving the casual runner with precious little daylight and bone-chilling conditions. As if those two strikes weren't enough, Mother Nature completes her ensemble by casting her sunny glow just long enough to melt snow that swiftly turns into ice when she looks the other way. This is quite a conundrum for the average person, leaving few palatable options. The first option,and by far the most popular is joining a gym for the season. Here you can take spinning classes and drink Margaritas in hot-tubs and never feel drop of discomfort (outside the normal agony of exercise). The other option is HTFU-ing and adapting your running methods to the elements. The following are critical instructions to follow if you wish to keep your fleshy parts intact.

DO NOT: Run After Dusk - All the following tips are useless if you can't see where you are going. Running in the dark is dicey under normal circumstances, and a death wish in the winter. Luckily, days are getting longer now and I don't have to rush home from work and immediately change into my running clothes. I can dilly-dally on my computer for a few minutes and even make a cup of tea beforehand. Much of this depends on your running speed and distance, but if you aren't out the door by 4:30, you should take a raincheck. If this means you have to push your longer runs to the weekend, so be it.

DO: Wear real shoes - I don't have a dog in the race of barefoot running vs. running in shoes (though they look absurd), but I do know that something that professes to feel "just like running barefoot" is not a huge selling point when you are running on shards of ice and sheet-of-glass sidewalks. Do yourself a favor and wear some shoes with traction and protection.

DO NOT: Follow too closely - Ask SS to tell you the story of our bike trail runs and the time I slipped and took him out at the same time because I was running too close to him and have an appalling lack of body control ("MIIIIIIIIIIIIKKKEEE!"). I treat running on ice like I do driving at night and biking on the bike trail: I assume everyone is drunk.  I give people wide berths, and expect the unexpected. If a lady is pushing a stroller, I assume the kid inside of it would like nothing more than to stick out his pudgy foot and trip me up. If an old woman is walking gingerly, I have no choice but to treat it as an act of aggression and preemptively cross the street.

DO: Run in a straight line - Most runners a like Billy in a Family Circus cartoon. They shift and dart all over the damn place. This is fine and dandy for a 5k, but angles and shifting weight is not your friend on an icy sidewalk. This is the hardest part of ice running to master, because it is the most counter-intuitive. Logic says that you should jump from one island of clean pavement to the next, but one of those leaps will be your last. Tis better to maintain a steady pace and a straight line. You will inevitably slip and may even look like a cartoon character in a chase scene, but you will not fall. It's only when you struggle that you fall. When you flail or try to change position or stop that your weight balance is compromised. Once you understand this, your elbows and knees will thank you.

DO NOT: Bother with Hat/Gloves - I know it's freezing out, and I know you think that a hat and gloves are the perfect way to combat this AND tell everyone how much you love Twilight, but resist the urge. Sure your first 5-10 minutes might be unpleasant, but you will quickly equilibrate once you start breaking a sweat. Once this happens, you will have to carry your stylish gloves and hat for the duration of your run. If you are extremely sensitive to cold, I will allow you to wear those 180 earmuff things (ears don't really warm up), but that's it. Anything else you will be cursing inside of twenty minutes.

Well there you have it. With these tips in mind, you can HTFU and save yourself a pretty penny in the process. I'm going on 25 years without a gym membership, and am no worse for wear. Resist!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On Repeat: Diddy Dirty Money - Ass On The Floor

In all the "Best of 2010" and "OMG KANYE GOT A 10.0" hubbub of December, some pretty stellar releases were glossed over. One such release is Last Train to Paris, the Diddy-Dirty Money (I have no idea who/what that is) album that came out December 13th, to very little fanfare, at least to my knowledge. Which is a shame, since there are a ton of fantastic bangers that would fit nicely on any year-end list. I'm sure you've heard "Hello Good Morning" a bajillion times, but that doesn't make it any less addictive, and Nicki Minaj's verse on the remix any less scintillating. There are oodles of other singles-to-be on the album, but Ass on the Floor is the hardest to rattle out of your head once it burrows itself in. I'll forgive Diddy for dressing like some S&M Spartan on the artwork, trying so hard to not look 41 it's a little silly. It's ok Diddy, Jay-Z's 41 too, just go with it. Most of Last Train to Paris plays as an interesting counterpoint to Kanye's MBDTF, as bombastic as Kanye is introspective. It may be a little shinier and more Top 40 friendly, but it's proof positive that the vast diversity of Hip-Hop in 2010 only amplified innovation.  

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Who Do You Write Like?

I heard of the website I Write Like a few months ago, but it wasn't until this afternoon that I finally decided to give it a whirl and see if I am the second coming of Hemingway as I have been told. The premise of the site is simple. After a brief explanation of their service, you are instructed to paste some of your most recent musings, the longer the better. In fact, the site explicitly says "No Tweets", which should be self-evident. 140 characters is barely a sentence Couple that with the fact that most Tweets are unintelligible nonsense, and you can understand their policy. Sorry boys and girls, you don't Tweet like Shakespeare, although you both like to make up words. Long story short, I pasted in a few of my most recent blog posts to scope out my competition. To be fair, I also threw a few other things at it, to see if its algorithm had any merit. Well, I guess that wouldn't tell me anything, but I was curious. The results were intriguing.

Sample 1: My previous Gigantor Bike blog post.


I write like
William Gibson
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I had not planned for this. I had no idea who William Gibson was. In fact, after Googling, I'm still not sure if they mean the playwright Gibson or the sci-fi writer Gibson. Either way, I was disappointed. I was hoping for a Fitzgerald or McCarthy, or at least someone notable that I could point to and say, "SEE!? This website understands me!". Maybe something to validate all those blog posts I wrote when I didn't know if anyone was reading it. Nope, William Gibson it is. I think it's probably because I used the word Gigantor like 8 times, and that sounds like a sci-fi sort of word.

I didn't think the first entry I used was a fair sampling of my writing style, so I went back to find a piece that I was really proud of. I sifted through the recipes and song reviews (which as it turns out makes up 80% of this blog), and decided on my review of Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It's four paragraphs long, and feels hearty and thoughtfully written.

Sample 2: Album Review: Kanye West - MBDTF

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Lovecraft is the cult author responsible for some early 20th century horror and sci-fi writings. Well there you have it folks, I am abandoning this blog to become a sci-fi writer. If only I checked this website earlier I could have spared myself all the wasted hours! Verdict so far: this website is trash.

Obviously I'm not getting anywhere by plugging my own blog into the machine, but perhaps others might be received more favorably. To test this theory, I ran Ms. AG's most recent blog post ( through the website:

Sample 3: How to Sink a Sub Post #24


I write like
Stephenie Meyer
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

HA! HAHAHA! I shouldn't know who this author is, but I do, and I bet you do too. She is the woman who created the Pandora's Box called Twilight that has infected the brains of most women aged 14-60 and made them get tattoos like this. This is most unfortunate, and I agonized over whether or not to tell her. Since she was working on her resume, I decided to spare her.

I also tried a sample from SS's long defunct blog, Adventures of a Bat. He claims he deleted any evidence of it, but thats not how the internet works! Google Reader quickly directed me to his entire post archive. I used his epic review of NYC's Carnegie Deli.

Sample 4: Adventures of a Bat: Carnegie Deli Review


I write like
Chuck Palahniuk
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Pretty awesome if you ask me, but I'm not convinced SS knows who this is. Palahniuk wrote Fight Club, Choke, and many other deranged pieces that have no business coming out a normal human brain. So of course he has a massive cult following and was one of my favorite authors in college. You win again SS.

Obviously my feelings are conflicted at this point. As I saw from AG's  submission, things could have been a LOT worse, and if that came up for me I would probably end this blog, become an Alaskan hermit and refuse to pick up another pen for fear of unleashing another Twilight-sized plague upon the earth. SS's redeemed the website, but also made me grumpy and jealous. I decided to throw the site a curveball and submit a few Lil' Wayne verses. It probably almost crashed the website, but here's the result:

Sample 5: Lil Wayne - A Milli


I write like
James Joyce
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

WHAT?!?! Lil Wayne is brilliant and all, but there must be some mistake. His verses are most comparable to the man who wrote Ulysses, the 1,000 page novel widely regarded as one of the greatest novels of the 20th Century? Well I'll be. Now my only hope is to destroy the credibility of the website with trickery and tomfoolery. I picked a random paragraph from Huckleberry Finn with the hopes that the site would say something ridiculous and we could all have a laugh.

Final Sample: Mark Twain - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


I write like
Mark Twain
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What Up With That? Gigantor Bike Edition

Inspired by the recurring SNL sketch of the same name, I'm going to embark on my own "What Up With That" series of blog posts that will shed light on something strange and attempt to tease out why it is how it is, sort of like Balderdash. Today's installment: Gigantor Bikes

I have seen these Gigantor Bikes a lot around my apartment, and I can't say that I approve or understand. If my eyes serve me, there appear to be two bike frames set on top of one another, with a very long chain connecting the two. They are probably 7 feet tall, making the person riding them nearly ten feet tall from wheel to noggin. This allows them to see great distances and over most vehicles, but also quite wobbly and difficult to maneuver. The cons outweigh the pros in this regard. Perhaps they are a gateway bike, a tricycle for those wanting to learn unicycle, but with shoddy balance. The Gigantor bike allows them to feel as though they are riding atop a unicycle, but without the fear of imminent death. Here's another young man aboard his Gigantor:

An alternate theory is that this is a clever game of hipster oneupmanship. Hipsters are known to be a competitive bunch, and while their competitions once revolved around mustaches, times have changed, and they have set their sights on fixies. Being that every hipster worth his salt has a fixie chained outside his apartment, it is only logical that one sect of hipsters should attempt to "raise the bar", in hopes of leaving helpless posers below. It is a classic power play of which no one can claim immunity. In olden days, hip-hop artists measured themselves against one another purely on the basis of the hydraulics and "lift" of their vehicles. It wasn't until a vehicle bounced completely onto its roof that the fad began to fade. I'm afraid it will take a tragic accident of this magnitude for hipsters to realize the error of their ways. Historians say that even Civil War Generals William T. Sherman and Robert E. Lee spent many days "pimping" their horses before battle in the attempt to gain "cred" from allied forces. Unlike war and rap, hipsters follow no rules, so I can only hope that the following image is striking enough to shame them back into a single story bike.

This is where you are headed. This man is still stuck on top of this bike somewhere in rural Canada, subsisting on rainwater from gutters, and whatever flies into his mouth. It is a miserable existence, and I fear, and inevitable one if this trend continues. Boneshakers though, I wouldn't seeing those make a comeback.

Monday, January 3, 2011

EDU: Chipotle Beef Short Ribs


This was my first meal of 2011. You were probably cleaning champagne off your carpet or praying that nobody was making an horror movie mess of your bathroom. I was just settling down for dinner. It wasn't supposed to be this way, but as you can see from the photo above, everything turned out a-ok. While I would like to take credit for this recipe, it was in fact a gem from Chez Paul, as translated through Gmail and SVS's capable hands. I was the simple photographer, and sous chef when the situation called for it. Mostly, I drank and did as I was told. Perhaps I should try this more often.

What you need for the Short Rib Rub:

1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin, 
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander

Combine these spice and rub onto meat (Approximately 8 Short ribs). Refrigerate the meat for a couple hours. This would be a good time to go to another party like we did.

These are the items you will need when you actually start cooking:

2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 large Onion
6 Cloves Garlic
14 oz can of Chicken broth
1 cup of drained diced tomato
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp Chipotle (Adobo) Chilis 
2 Large Anaheim Chilis (seeded and cut into small rings)
Cilantro and Lime wedges

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While you wait for the oven to heat up, feel free to enjoy
Hors D'oeuvres that your guest brought, like delicious brown sugar Bacon-wrapped breadsticks or a variety of cheeses (below).

Also at this time, you should saute the short ribs in Olive oil and set aside. Lookin' good and smelling better! In case you were wondering, I think ribs were what the waitress puts on the Flintstone car in the opening credits of the cartoon. This realization only heightened the excitement. 

Then, using the same pan, chop up your Onion and mince your garlic, and saute until fragrant (~5 mins). Here is SVS demonstrating the Mike Liberati technique. 

Once these are done, add the Chicken Broth, canned tomatoes, lime juice, and Chipotle chilis. Chipotle chilis come in cans that look like this and are often misspelled Chilpotle, which wikipedia has just informed me is an acceptable alternate spelling. Apologies. SVS chopped up 2 whole chilis, which were quite spicy. I asked him what he intended to do with the remainder of the nearly full can. His response "I have no idea.". Maybe he will make it into a hummus because that's his "thing" lately. 

Of course, it's was impossible to fit 8 3-inch short ribs into a single pan, so SVS needed to start another smaller pan for the last 2. Here he is scooping some of the sauce.  

This is where that oven comes into play. Place your ribs* back into the pan. Cover the pan and place in oven for approximately 1.5hrs.

*from here on, when I say "your ribs" I mean the 8 Beef short ribs and not those enclosed within your chest cavity. 

Just wow. I was ready to eat them at this point, but SVS insisted that we "cook" them. I told him our ancestors didn't have ovens and often ate raw food. He mentioned their average life span of 30 years. I conceded the argument. During the 1.5hrs, we ate more cheese, listened to music and played several rounds of Blokus. 

Blokus is just about the best 4 person game I know of. It's faster than Monopoly, and more strategic than cards. Also, you can really f people over, which is a crucial part to any fun game. Here were the scores when we finished playing. Note: Lower = Better

Let it be known that KK was just learning and was unfairly ganged up on. I have no excuse for my score. After 1.5hrs, the pans are removed from the oven and uncovered, cooking another 25 minutes on the stove-top to allow the sauce to thicken. Anaheim chili slices are added following this step, and cooked for 10 minutes or until soft. Here is the finished product just before plating. While the recipe mentioned nothing about waiting for the ball to drop, we decided not to steal Dick Clark's thunder and wait an extra two minutes. It was served over mashed potatoes and paired with champagne.  

It was fantastic. The ribs were unbelievably tender and slid right off the bone just like they say in all those commercials. The sauce was spicy and oily, and was sopped up admirably by the mashed potatoes. I'm sure the leftovers were the envy of everyone at SVS's work this morning.