I blame the holiday this time around...regardless, be sure to listen to and download this week's Song of the Week, Mykonos, by Fleet Foxes. The Foxes have always given us a great, ultra-smoothed out throw-back sound, but I'm hearing a lot of Neil Young in this one, especially once it breaks down into a bit more of a rocker near the end. Great song from a great 7" and highly recommended. Have a great (short) week.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
News on the Quick
First off, apologies for the lack of a Thursday Preen yesterday. We had something in the works but then found out the company we were going to feature is sort of made up of jerks. And that's no fun for anyone. We'll make up for it next time though. So on to the end of week bits.
A Yard Grows in Brooklyn
Opening day at the canal-side outdoor party site, BKLYNYard, is this Saturday. Brainchild of MeanRed Productions, the parties usually feature DJs and/or a choice live act, lots of beer and sangria, and a ton of cart food, a fair amount of which is or can be made vegetarian. The opening day is free (FREE!) and features DJs Chris Annibell of Afrokinetic and DJ Emilee from the record shop Halcyon. Good times, good times.
BAM is hosting a massive outdoor bazaar with over 250 vendors from around the world as part of the DanceAfrica program. It'll feature food, crafts, and cultural stuff from Africa, the Caribbean, and the good ol' US and is billed as 'rain or shine.' So take THAT 30% chance of thunder storms! Goes from noon to night Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
Everyone Heard You Were Terrible in Bed
Still gotta gripe with that jerk-ass you used to date? Let the world...er...at least the LES know next week when NYC collective Illegal Art erects The Break Up Wall. From their event description: "...write down the name of someone you broke up with or who broke up with you. First name. Last name. Or both. Think of it as the "Wailing Wall of Relationships". The names of the participants of the collective broken relationships of the neighborhood, the city and world." The wall's going up in front of our favorite LES eco-boutique, Kaight, at 38 Orchard Street, between Broome and Grand, this Monday and will remain up until the following Sunday, May 31st. We suggest full names, horrid details, and, preferably, email addresses.
REALLY Late Brunch
Speaking of Orchard Street, right across the street from Kaight, the always awesome vegan super store, MooShoes, will be holding an event with super-chef and vegan cookbook extraordinaire, Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She'll be on-hand to give out some goodies from her cookbook, Vegan Brunch, like mini-muffins, biscuits + gravy, and mimosas, so don't miss this one. Monday, June 1, 7PM. Be there sharp. Vegans will EAT UP some free food, no joke.
Vegans in Space
Magazine favorite, Bust, is holding a contest to give away tickets to an exclusive listening party for that lovable vegan techno dude, Moby, being held at the Hayden Planetarium next Tuesday (spacey, man). Details on how to enter here, but the deadline's Monday, so you better get Rushing and start to Bodyrock. Sorry. I obviously just have the Play album...
Tim Gunn, Superhero
Tim Gunn + Marvel Comics = Models Inc., a new mini-series comic where the fashion industry battles evil super-villains!... No, really. Checkout this quote from the Times: "In the debut issue’s second story, Mr. Gunn becomes an action figure — jumping into Iron Man’s suit of armor to save a fashion exhibition from evildoers." More here. Illustration: Phil Jimenez/Marvel Entertainment.
That's it from us. Enjoy the long weekend, and remember: In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape his sight! Let those who worship evil fashion's might beware the power of Tim Gunn! I'm looking at you, Karl Lagerfeld.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Okay, okay, okay. You know how you constantly want to eat mashed potatoes all the time, but you also want to be able to move without having to roll yourself across the floor? Yeah, yeah. Me too. That's why this recipe rules. It's got the consistency of mashed potatoes without all those pesky carbs. And, to top it all off, it's got a really nice, nutty taste that goes great as a side with a whole array of meals. And it's pretty easy.
So here's what you need:
• 1 Head of Cauliflower
• 1/2 large Parsnip
• 4 cloves Garlic, smashed, peeled
• 1/4 cup Vegetable Both, preferably home-made
• 10 very thin slices of Purple Potato (garnish, optional but fun)
• 10 very thin slices of Parsnip (garnish, optional but fun)
• Olive Oil
First, get the garnish going, if you're into that. It mainly adds a little color to the dish, some texture, and, you know, a lil pizzaz. Slice the potato as thinly as you can and fry them in a small, deep cast iron pan with enough light oil to cover them as they cook. You only need to do this for a few minutes until then start to brown and crisp up. Once they do, transfer them to a dish, patting them with a paper towel to get some of the excess oil out. Repeat withe the parsnip chips. Set both aside for the time being.
Now, on to the C-flower. Ooh, by the way: turns out cauliflower's pretty good for you. Don't believe me? Then how about taking a look at this completely user-edited site that says it is. Wait.... Anyway, start by separating the leafy green part of the cauliflower and the green stalks from the white flower parts. If you like, you can save these and use them for a broth. Wash the cauliflower thoroughly and chop it into chunks, maybe 2-3 inches square. Wash and slice the half parsnip into slices, about 1 inch thick. Now chop up the smashed garlic into medium-sized chunks and throw all this into a large cast iron skillet with a little bit of warmed olive oil. Add a dash of salt, more to your taste. Then add 1/4 cup of water and cook covered for 17-20 minutes, stirring occasionally and letting everything brown pretty evenly.
After everything's turned a golden brown and softened up a bit, remove form heat and let it sit for 10 minutes or more uncovered to cool. Once it has, add it a little bit at a time to a blender or food processor, adding a little bit of your vegetable broth to it each time, and process until smooth and creamy, then transfer the blender/processor contents to a new pot. Keep doing this in batches until you've processed everything, used up the broth, and added it all to the pot.
If you've never made your own broth before, I highly recommend it. It's totally easy and very rewarding, especially if you find most broths either too salty or not flavorful enough. VeganYumYum has a great recipe here with lovely photos to boot. We do a similar one, minus the tamari and with some other vegetables (like parsnip).
So, once that's all done, just warm the pot a bit and stir to ensure consistency. Give it a taste, see if it needs any salt or other spices, and you're good to go. Serve on a plate or in a bowl with the garnishes stuck into the top.
Hope you enjoy!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Woolverton Inn - Stockton, NJ
Visiting a bed + breakfast as vegans, we usually just go for the bed portion of things, making sure we tell the proprietors that we're vegan and they don't really need to do anything special for us. We're not huge breakfast people anyway, truth be told. But every now and then, we'll stay at a place that seems to take the whole vegan guest thing as a bit of a challenge.
This past weekend, we had the pleasure of loading in a minivan with a bunch of friends and driving out to New Hope, PA for the wedding of our pals, Deirdre + John. The wedding was grand: we drank too much, danced too much, saw way too many people we saw far too little of normally, and talked way too much to some slightly crazy family members. All the hallmarks of a great wedding. But that, we expected. We didn't expect to totally fall in love with the random place we found to stay across the Delaware River in Stockton, NJ.
The Woolverton Inn is an old country estate pretty much out in the middle of the woods of New Jersey, a stone's throw from the surprisingly quaint, quirky, fun town of New Hope, PA, which happened to be having their local pride festival this weekend. The main estate is made up of a big old stone house that dates from the late 1700s and is surrounded by preserved forest and farmland. They even have some resident sheep and goats whose sole job is to hang out, eat, and look cute. In this economy, man.... Sheesh.
And, as hinted at above, they totally kicked ass on the whole vegan breakfast thing without even the slightest request. Gimme Lean vegan sausage patties, grilled tofu mixed with onions and peppers and all kinds of other good vegetables, sautéed greens, and this little vegetable salad. SO nice. Especially after a night of celebratory drinking on their back porch. Oh, Overholt...
To top it all off, they were all super nice. And, though we didn't have time to partake in any additional fun, they evidently have some nice steam train country-side tours and area wineries to visit. In short, if you're in New York or Philly and looking for a little country get away, we totally recommend this place...that is, of course, after you've visited Farm Sanctuary's renowned and superbly blissful bed + breakfast in Watkins Glen, NY. More on that later though.
Yes, yes. I know it's not Monday. But it's close, right? Regardless, today we have a nice track from one of our favorite bands from last year, Windmill. If you've never heard them before, it might take a little getting used to. Matthew Dillon's voice can be a bit off-putting at first, but 2008's Puddle City Racing Lights was one of our favorite albums of the year, so we're really excited about the follow-up planned for later this year, Epcot Starfields. We hear it's Epcot Center themed...? Alright, then. Check out the first, very, very sad track, Epcot Slow. It'll auto-download when you click on the image down and to the right.
Posted by Troy Farmer at 9:22 AM
Monday, May 11, 2009
Hi ho. Sorry to inform you all: it is Monday. But, on the upside, it's bright and sunny right now in New York? At least, this minute... I'm sorry, it actually clouded up and is raining in the time I typed that. Crapfest.
Anyway, also on the upside, love love love this new band out of Minneapolis, Now, Now Every Children. Check out their Song of the Week, Cars, to the right.
Also, if you're in the mood for even more superb music, and a recipe to boot, head over to our entry at The Discerning Brute.
Posted by Troy Farmer at 10:24 AM
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Fresh Egg-Free Pasta
Many people who know us personally know that there was a good few years there where Katie and I fell off the vegan wagon. It's true. Sad, but true. The big difference, we found, in not being vegan prior to college and then not being vegan in our adult lives was that we ate much better food in our adult lives. So, instead of being vegan in college and choosing not to eat, say, Cheetos and jalepeño poppers, we were older and choosing not to eat, say, this amazing ten-year cheddar from the cheese shop down the street in Park Slope. I know, I know, it's in poor taste for a self-proclaimed ethical vegan to talk about really good cheese. And yet, that's now what comes to mind when my thoughts wander to the foods I choose not to eat because I now, again, have rid my life of animal products. So, sadly, if we had never fallen of the vegan train after college, we likely wouldn't have that much to miss, in our minds at least.
On the positive side though, I feel like that same period of time has now given us much more to strive for in our vegan cooking. So I'm not trying to recreate that new pasta-filled bread bowl from Dominos, for instance (genius, by the way), I'm instead trying to create much more...I don't know...classy, traditional foods in a vegan, animal-free manner. Case-in-point: fresh pasta. I had never had fresh pasta, pre-college. Then, on this brief non-vegan stint, I experienced fresh, newly-made pasta and I never wanted anything else. Like, literally nothing else. Which, obviously, sucked when I got my shit together and took up the vegan banner again. It troubled me so much that I started searching the vast resources of the interweb for some tangible clue, a crumb on the pathway through the meaty, cheesy forest (...ew, sorry), that would lead me to this oasis of cruelty-free, yet awesome fresh pasta.
Turns out, it wasn't that hard to find a recipe or two. Actually, I found out that much of southern Italy traditional makes pastas sans eggs due to their lack of availability in much of the region. What was harder to do was find a really good, simple recipe—because, c'mon, this is pasta, it should be simple and superb because of its simplicity—that brought with it the expertise and instruction needed to correctly create this confection (yayliteration!). Then, somehow, I stumbled upon it: a blog from a London-based foodie, very much a carnivore, but married to a vegetarian. She took this recipe from her husband and, in addition to spelling out what went into the recipe, provided very detailed instructions on how to make it.
I wish I could claim this recipe/technique as my own, but I can't. But I can say that I've used it upwards of a dozen times now, at first with a little difficulty and now with consistently great results, and have made everything from fresh linguine noodles, to lasagna noodles, to fresh ravioli. Not only is it rewarding to know that you made pasta completely from scratch, it's also delectable. And it's tons of fun, especially if you base a dinner party around it, like we did recently. I highly recommend giving it a try. And if it doesn't work out well right away, keep at it. It's worth it.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
When Katie and I got married, way back in 2003, we came to the rather earth-shattering realization that most of the wedding invitations out there totally blow. Torn vellum, pansy-ass fonts, doves and church steeples...it was a rough scene. So, at the time, we were left with no other option than to take matters into our own hands, designing and hand-printing our own invites, programs, etc.
Eventually, we took that experience and folded it into our design company, creating custom pieces for weddings and the like. We used to print the invites ourselves, but we quickly learned that doing so meant sacrificing a lot of economic and environmental sustainability. So we started outsourcing our designs to various letterpress shops in and around New York. The great thing about letterpress is that the plates that are created from your designs can give a really nice, old-world feel of quality to your work. Plus, since it's such a hands-on, small-batch process, it makes room for a lot of customization and individual care.
One of the shops we started outsourcing to was Thomas-Printers, a printer-owned shop in Carlisle, PA. We liked Thomas because, like many letterpress printers, they not only had a great eye for detail, they were also concerned with creating as little impact on the environment with their trade as possible.
Though creating fully customized art and layout with clients is a superbly rewarding approach to doing wedding invites, it's also very involved and can be pretty pricey. With Yonder Yest, Thomas-Printers and owner Kseniya Thomas have attempted to offer a more affordable, still customizable letterpress option for invitation printing. They tap establish designers (raven + crow studio, for instance), ask them to create designs that will translate to letterpress well and be easy to customize, and produce straight-forward, easy to price out finished products. It's a nice business model that marries (hah, get it?) economic sense and ease of use with the level of detail and individuality that I think everyone wants to be able to afford for their wedding.
Plus no doves flying off into the sunset or footprints in the sand, man.
Posted by Troy Farmer at 10:09 AM