Modern music is good for plenty of situations. For instance, it has been well over a year since The Walkmen’s Lisbon came out, and we still cannot listen to the track “Victory” in the car without singing ourselves hoarse. But the kitchen is another domain, where spontaneity and creativity need spurring. We try to deliver the unexpected when we are at the range, and like to listen to the unexpected.
The best bet for doing so has always been the world of music blogs—though the blogs we love aren’t the ones posting hot new shit at the ire of the music industry. No, we like the blogs run by oddball heroes bent on keeping obscure music from every continent and era from slipping down into the cracks of history.
After the jump, our seven favorite cooking blogs and a sushi recipe.
We recently got on the phone with this blogger—one of our favorites, he’s named Nick. “I started the blog when my son was an infant and I was home a lot at night needing something to do,” he told us. “When I started I didn’t understand the ramifications of posting certain things—posting a rare Art Blakey album is going to get a complaint. I moved to the fringes because it seemed like safer territory. I’ve never really been happy settling with prescribed tastes.” Great stuff; newer posts have slowed lately, but the archives are full of gold. Suggested use: we wouldn’t think of cooking Irish stew with out the Eileen Aroon mix tape he made with fellow-blogger Owl Qaeda (see below).
Awesome Tapes From Africa
This is just what the name suggests: rips of awesome cassette tapes form the continent we most want to visit next. The informative briefs and clever observations have it: “Traditional instrument parking only today. All others will be crushed.” Suggested use: real-ass rice and beans.
Lots of exotica and bare caramel-colored breasts on album covers here. Top-notch, really. Suggested use: mixed drinks and/or desserts.
Lots of cool biographical notes from this well-traveled blogger. Our favorite of which so far being a trip to Uganda where he asked a cab driver to take him someplace where he’d buy music. The cab driver had a dude in a strange shop burn him a mix. Suggested use: a steaming pot of something no one will see coming.
Great Thai music from lots of eras. It is nice and easy to get lost in the exoticism of music when you don’t understand the language (as we do not here), which makes for great moves with the pot in-hand. Suggested use: something with heart and curry.
HONORABLE MENTION: Holy Warbles
This one sort of started it all for us. A beautifully curated blog, from the selected music to the artwork on the various mix tapes host Owl Qaeda frequently crafted. As noted at the top, he worked a lot with Nick of Ghost Capital before Holy Warbles was killed by Google.
“I really have always been interested in pushing past what’s easy to come by,” Nick told us. “That’s how Owl and I totally jive. We have this weird psychic connection. Going down the same paths and thinking about things in the same time.”
So, with weird psychic connections in mind, we offer a recipe in tribute to the fallen Owl: The Owl Qaeda Roll
Ingredients for Owl Paté:
1 c almonds (soaked overnight in water)
2 sheets of roasted seaweed
1 c dulse (a type of kelp from the coasts of Maine; easy to find at a health food store)
2 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp ume plum vinegar
juice of six lemons
This is a modification of a Mock Salmon recipe that came with our Vitamix blender, though you can make this in a food processor as well. Put everything in except for the almonds in and process on high until a paste starts to form. Throw in the almonds and return to high until a peanut-buttery consistency is achieved.
Ingredients for sushi roll:
1 c cooked sushi rice
1 sheet of organic seaweed
2 cucumber rods
1 Tbsp spicy mayo (2 parts mayonnaise; 1 part Srirachi sauce)
There are lots of videos online that will show you how to roll sushi—and we are going to go into it a little deeper into it in an upcoming post—but for now, the basics. Put the sheet of seaweed onto a rolling mat. Cover all but one end of the seaweed with the sticky sushi rice—spreading it to the edges with the back of a spoon. Lay the cucumber rods across the spread. Next, take some of the owl paté and roll it in your hands to form long tubes of the stuff. Lay those next to the cukes. Then spread some spicy mayo across the top and begin rolling. We like to wet the empty end of the seaweed so that sticks to the body of the roll—not unlike twisting a joint. Slice the roll and serve on a platter with some soy sauce and pickled ginger. Play some good music.