My Emu Is Emo

I cook. I listen to music. Mayhem ensues.

Irish Puttanesca Fish and Potatoes

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Irish PuttanescaLast week’s adventures in potato pancakes had left me with a surfeit of little red potatoes. This week’s adventures in grocery shopping had left me with a pack of mild white fish that I bought solely because it was 50% off.

By a process of reasoning to be detailed below, this led to the entirely obvious decision to invent Irish-Italian fusion cuisine, starting with Mild White Fish Puttanesca.

My original plan was to accompany this with Celtic punk rock, as I’ve been known to like that sort of thing. However, every band I tried on Thursday night seemed to be attempting Celtic metalcore… until I stumbled onto the ultimate fusion band. Can you say “Celtic-Slavic-Klezmer-Cajun fusion”?

Yeah, it is kind of a mouthful. The band is Zydepunks (listen). Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Boxty Me In! With special guest Lemon Trout.

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the boxty adventureIn honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I was determined to tackle new Irish cuisine.

I ended up inventing Jewish food.

I guess it’s not just the corned beef that the two ethnic cuisines have in common.

Having stumbled down the path of the unpredictable, I feel no responsibility to provide a nice Celtic-influenced rock band or such. Instead, it’s time for Beth Ditto because I’m still in the mood for electronica and I need a sultry chick to enliven my shattered nerves. Ditto — ordinarily the lead singer of Gossip — has a new four-song EP out, and if you want to know what I’m talking about, you need to just go buy it. Really truly. Impulse purchases of this nature are what iTunes is for. Read the rest of this entry »

Year-End Wrap-Up: 2010 in Food

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sticky buns!My favorite bun-in-a-bowl is some of the provocation to review my favorite recipes since starting the blog. A few caloric goodies are going to be featured in the early weeks of the New Year just to wrap up the holiday baking, but I’m thinking lasciviously about salad these days. So shed a tear for some of the more caloric goodies but take a listen to their accompanying soundtracks.

Best Breakfast for One
Philadelphia Sticky Buns

It requires getting up early in the morning for the last rise, but these buns in a bowl are worth the effort. Cocoa in the filling is the necessary touch of sophistication. Read the rest of this entry »

Rommel’s rosy potato salad

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healthful german potato saladI loathe regular potato salad because of the mayonnaise, but I have this notion that I like German potato salad, which is served hot with a sweet-and-sour dressing. Here we have an earnest attempt to make it healthful by involving yams, thus implying that it was inspired by the German invasion of North Africa.

Earnest changes to the familiar implicate The Rosebuds (listen), a folk/dance band from North Carolina that sounds vaguely like OMD. Read the rest of this entry »

Pear-cranberry relish

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pear relishThis pear relish is dietetic because it is not pie. It was going to be pie until I read the pie crust box, which states that a single serving (1/8 crust) is 110 calories. No big, right? Except that on a double crust pie, a slice is 1/8 of two crusts. I’d intended to make turnovers, at 1/4 crust each. 440 calories on dough? Not a chance.

In line with the theme of simple recipes going awry, today’s topic is MacGruber, which a girlfriend and I belatedly watched on Pay Per View because hauling ourselves to a theater for the serious new action-adventure movies on offer seemed like too much trouble. A key point of characterization occurs when Our Hero hops in his red convertible — to the swell of the usual sort of overwrought action-adventure “rock me like a hurricane” music — and then switches his car stereo to the Adult Contemporary listen-at-work station. Every time the movie wants to imply “we are being deliberately cheesy, wink-wink, nudge-nudge”… cue soft-rock hits of the 1980s. Read the rest of this entry »

Heavy Metal Mac-and-Cheese

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mac and cheese with shrimp and blackberry saladMy discovery in embarking on Normal American Cooking is that we possess a hefty culinary heritage. And I mean that literally. I’d promised Curious_JG that macaroni-and-cheese was a must-do… before I looked at the recipes.

In keeping with the theme of classic American bands, today’s entry is Queensrÿche. Note the umlaut. I’ve wondered if it would be appropriate to use “my little umlaut” as an endearment. Read the rest of this entry »

Almost Fried Chicken with Precisely Fried Strawberries

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fried chicken, strawberries, and biscuitDoes eating chicken from a rooster-patterned plate count as cannibalism?

As part of my week of cooking Normal American Food, I’d committed (with trepidation) to khatoun‘s suggestion of fried chicken. The mere thought of deep-frying makes every fat molecule in my body want to blimp out, so a musical theme of Led Zeppelin (brought to my notice by the day’s Twitter trends) seems to fit. When I went looking for music–once again relying on The Covers Project for covers, though I’m not sure why I’m doing covers this week–I realized I had no idea what this band was. None. Its heyday was before I was ready to rock and roll. Read the rest of this entry »

Blackeyed Pea Soup and Cheesy Stickers

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blackeyed pea soup and cheese stickersIt’s time to start giving a box score on how many of my World Cup Food Challenge entries contain yams versus how many contain bananas.

Do not be misled by the lack of visible bananas. I came down with the notion of memorializing the Australia-Ghana match with giant banana jaffa cakes, using shortcake cups. When I say “kids, don’t try this at home,” I’m serious. But the survivors of the experience include a Denmark-Cameroon blackeyed pea soup and Netherlands-Japan cheesy potstickers chips, along with Dutch indie pop band The Sheer (listen), the 2004 winner of the Zilferen Harp for contributions to Dutch culture. As a break from multicultural influences, there will be no clogging in wooden shoes, nor does the band sing about windmills, tulips, or James Ensor (no, wait, he’s Belgium’s famous painter). Read the rest of this entry »

Feeling gaucho with Korean beef, feta yam fries, and onion flan

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Beef, yams, onion flan--what more d'ya want?Yesterday’s World Cup Food Challenge plans ran aground on a 99-cent taco special at a restaurant between the Phoenix Public Library and the freeway. I blame the combined presence of Chile, Honduras, and Uruguay.

Today’s menu is beef with pea pods (Argentina-Nigeria), yam fries with feta (Greece-Nigeria), and onion flan (France-Mexico).

And I have a shameful confession to make. While I do my utmost to be open-minded about music and try new things… I cannot get into Argentine rock. I’m on my fourth band tonight, and it’s not happening. We’re going to listen to Dalmanerea (listen) as the most interesting pick, and afficionados of the Argentine indie scene can leave irate comments to tell me why I’m a philistine. Please leave them in English so I can appreciate the vituperation. Read the rest of this entry »

Fried bananas, poached fish, and fado

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fish, bananasYes, we have bananas! To my relief in tackling today’s World Cup Food Challenge, the utterly incompatible cuisines of Côte d’Ivoire and Brazil have one food in common: fried bananas. It’s kismet.

Portugal and North Korea are equally difficult to combine, and my solution turned out somewhat fishy. For New Zealand versus Slovakia, I had planned a complicated but somehow uninspired salad. The prospect of making it could not compete with the presence of the luscious red grapes, so that project was consigned to the land of regrets. And for regrets, there is no more appropriate musical match than Portuguese fado, represented tonight by one of it mainstream stars, Mariza (listen). Read the rest of this entry »

Hip hop potstickers yam what they yare

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pea soup, milanesa, yam potstickersShame is supposed to be a great regulator of Japanese society. It’s therefore weirdly appropriate that it regulate discussion of the first World Cup Food Challenge meal that includes Japan.

The planned menu was fresh pea soup (Denmark-Netherlands), Milanesa (Paraguay-Italy), and yam potstickers (Japan-Cameroon). Unfortunately, while flouring the steak for Milanesa, it occurred to me that this is essentially chicken-fried steak. And we know what happens when one loses faith in the middle of a recipe: disaster. The steak tasted great but looked like a crime scene (and I wouldn’t make it again). The soup looks pretty and tastes like an overpriced restaurant (and I wouldn’t make it again). The lone success of the night was the potstickers, which I would recruit 8-year-olds to make in vast quantities. In a spirit of humbleness, let’s try out feminist Japanese rapper Hime (listen) and get sticky. Read the rest of this entry »

Lime Chicken w/ Hip-Hop Southwest Dressing

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look at that chicken and beans!Look at those glossy boneless, skinless, featherless, characterless chicken breast strips! Could they… taste like food?

They could. They stand up against my hot sidedish variant on black-bean-and-corn salad. Since the key ingredient is lime drink and the “salad” is sultry, today’s act is Shwayze (listen), a hip-hopper so hot that the song about impulsive intercourse in uncomfortable locations is the one not labeled “explicit lyrics.” Read the rest of this entry »

Cowell’s exit package with Norman Gentle, bangers & mash, and surprise musical guests

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bangers and mash teaserIt is time to prepare Simon Cowell’s exit package from American Idol: the touching musical journey in which the highs, the lows, the tragedies, the triumphs, the moments are reduced to 3-1/2 minutes of video clips.

This is a job for Norman Gentle.* It also calls for a proper British supper of bangers and mash. And since Mr. Cowell looms large in popular culture, there will be two surprise guests that have already been spoilered. Read the rest of this entry »

This marmalade’s no lady, but we love it

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onion not peeledGiven the reputation onions have for wanting their layers gradually peeled away, I should be doing classic stripper songs with this one.

While over at The Kitchn looking for something exciting to do with excess deli roast beef, I chanced on the idea of pairing it with onion marmalade, which is the future of that very onion.

I’m also going to try out the Chowhound hypothesis that dump cake can be revamped as dump cornbread. And with novelty food, it makes sense to tackle novelty music. Read the rest of this entry »

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