Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Music from Nashville

Just in the last few weeks I've gotten hooked on the TV show Nashville, starring Connie Britton, also known as Tami Taylor, and Hayden Panettiere.  I think a large part of my engagement with the show has been the really excellent original music they have recorded, although my initial interest was driven by the highly entertaining recaps written over at Go Fug Yourself.

ABC has also recorded and posted really great videos featuring the songwriters behind some of the songs on the show.  While the songs themselves are great, I really appreciated getting a behind the scenes insight into the songwriters' process and the songwriting community in Nashville itself.

Below are some of my favorites from this first season.

Fade Into You:

No One Will Ever Love You:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Asian-style Vegetable Mujadara

I started cooking last week intending to make something like this vegetable barley soup, but somewhere along the way it morphed into an Asian-seasoned and vegetable laden version of this mujadara.  So much so, that when my sister got home and asked what I had cooked my only response was, I don't really know.

It all took a left turn when I decided to use coconut oil instead of olive oil to saute the onions, and the smell of the coconut oil reminded me of Asian flavors and that we had some leftover lotus root in the fridge from the bibimbap Megan had made.  So instead of continuing on with an english vegetable barley soup, I thought I would just make an asian vegetable barley soup.  However, I don't know that there are any asian dishes that use barley, so it morphed into what was intended to be an asian vegetable rice soup, but then I added lentils to the pot after adding the rice and before I knew it, I had something more similar to mujadara.

Asian-style Vegetable Mujadara, adapted from here and here:

1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 spicy pepper, de-seeded and chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup brown rice
2/3 cup green lentils
4 cups broth (or water)
5 leaves kale, de-ribbed and chopped
Lotus Root, to serve

Saute onion, parsnip, and celery in coconut oil in a medium saucepan for just a minute or two, and then added ground spices to fry a little in the oil.  Saute for about 5 minutes until softened and just starting to brown, stirring often to keep from sticking.  Squeeze in lemon juice to de-glaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom.  Add the rice and lentils, to let toast a little before stirring to mix thoroughly and adding stock (or water).  Bring to a boil, and then cover, lower heat, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep bottom from sticking.  (This dish is done once the rice is cooked through.)  If at any point it gets too dry, add some more water and give a good stir.  Check at 30 minutes for rice doneness.  If not done add some more water and cook for another 5-10 minutes, checking until the rice is cooked to your preference.  Once rice is cooked, stir in kale and cook for just a minute or two, until the kale wilts.  Serve with lotus root, if you happen to have some on hand.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fashion Inspiration - Bright Winter Coats

As all the street style photos from NYFW have been trickling in, I've been so impressed with how much a bright winter coat livens up an outfit.  I usually tend to gravitate towards neutral colors for outerwear, with the mindset that it makes them more versatile, but maybe I just need to go for it with a bold color.

{Via Brooklyn Blonde}

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Alex Clare - Up All Night

I heard this on the radio the other day and was so surprised to hear that it was Alex Clare, of  "Too Close" fame, since it sounds so differently, that I identified it through SoundHound twice.

Turns out this was his first single, which was re-released after the popularity of "Too Close."

Album cover via.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quinoa Chard Bowl

I haven't been cooking much lately, but after Megan did the heavy lifting of cooking bibimbap while I was out of town, I figured I had better help out.  Inspired by this recent post and this old one, and by the vegetables piling up in the crisper drawer, I decided to make a grain and greens bowl, throwing together whatever we had in the house that needed to be used.  With that objective in mind, you should feel free to substitute to your heart's content.  I have written below what I did, but this is a dish to throw in whatever you like.  Don't like chickpeas?  Black beans would be delicious too, or the beans could be omitted entirely if you don't think you need the protein or want to substitute an egg instead.  Any kind of winter greens would work in this dish, whether you have chard, kale, or spinach on hand.  You can also play around with the grain, using rice, farro  quinoa, polenta, whatever.  Also, we topped ours off with Yumm sauce and Chalula hot sauce, since we usually have some sitting in the fridge, but you could just as easily whip up the quick tahini sauce from this recipe instead.

Quinoa Chard Bowl

1 cup quinoa
2 cups broth (or water)
2 pinches of salt

1 yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 bunch rainbow chard, ribs chopped small and leaves chopped
1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Yumm sauce and hot sauce to taste

Rinse quinoa and put in small saucepan/pot with broth (or water) and salt.  Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Pull off the heat and cover for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, chop your vegetables.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet/fry pan, then add onion and spices cooking for a few minutes to fry the spices.  Add carrots, celery, and chard ribs and stir to mix, cooking for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally.  (You can add a little bit of water if you pan gets too dry.)  After about 10 minutes total, or when you vegetables are cooked to your liking, add the chard leaves and chickpeas, stir to mix and cook for just another minute or two to wilt the chard and warm the chickpeas through.

Serve over quinoa with Yumm sauce and hot sauce to taste.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Currently Craving: Liberty Jeans

I have so far been resistant to buying any more brightly colored or patterned skinny jeans, because I feel like they're such a trendy piece that they're bound to be out of style shortly, and look really dated.  I already have red, green (that I sold to Aggie), and gray polka dots jeans, so what other color/print could I possibly want?  However, I tried the J. Crew Liberty of London jeans on last time I was in the store, and they fit beautifully, and now they're on sale.  Queue indecision.

I also was kind of swayed after seeing how Gayle styled them in the look book, with an oxford shirt and updated puffer jean jacket.  She just looks so good.

In my defense, I wasn't so interested in the Isabel Marant Aztec printe jeans.

Or those leopard print jeans that were popping up everywhere for a while.

It's just these Liberty jeans that I find so appealing.  Steph thinks I should buy them while they're still in stock in the my size, because I can always return them.  However, usually once cute clothing items enter my house, they don't end up getting returned.

Images via 12, 3, 4.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Harlem Shake & The Harlem Shakes

Have you guys heard of this internet meme yet, The Harlem Shake?  You make a video to this specific song, that starts out with one person in a mask dancing while everyone else in the shot goes about their business, and then at a certain point, everyone puts on costumes and dances like crazy.  My sister's office did one on Friday, which is how I heard about it, although there was some confusion at first because of the now defunct band named The Harlem Shakes.

The Harlem Shake:

After being reminded of the band for a totally unrelated reason, I've been listening to their album Technicolor Health again, and it's just so good.  It is still a big regret of mine that I missed them when they played in Portland in 2009 as part of their tour with Passion Pit, since they broke up shortly thereafter.

I've mostly been trying to post new music, but I might try and institute a once a month or so throwback song.  Sometimes I think it's so easy to get caught up trying to only listen to new music, when there's a lot of good stuff out there from the last few years, not to mention that sometimes it's nice to go back to old favorites.  So here's an old favorite of mine.

The Harlem Shakes - Strictly Game:

Tour poster via.

Monday, February 11, 2013


I didn't actually make this, but I've been traveling the last couple of weekends trying to decide where to go to business school, so I'm taking advantage of my lovely sister and posting something she made for Sunday Night Dinner.

Bibimbap is a great Korean dish that basically means mix it up, so you top rice with a bunch of different vegetables and/or meat and then a friend egg and then mix, resulting in an almost fried-rice like dish.  Incidentally, this is a great way to trick your younger brothers into eating vegetables.

There is a lot of flexibility in this, as you can use almost whatever toppings you would like and/or have around.  For this version, starting at the front of the bowl and working around clockwise, Megan made lotus root, sauteed baby bok choy, kimchi, bulgogi-style flank steak, green onions, mung bean sprouts, sauteed carrots with sesame oil, and lap xuong (chinese sausage).  She also crisped up the sushi rice in a pan after cooking it in a rice cooker.  (I also think this is a brilliant idea to get more crispy rice by throwing it in a waffle iron.)  Finally, on top of all of this went a fried egg (with a runny yolk) and some more hot sauce.  She didn't have time for an extra stop at the asian market to pick up gochujang (which is traditional) so we just used sriracha, which is delicious.  For more background and general instructions, you can check out here and here and here.  Thanks Megs!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Hungry Girl Salad

Sometimes, like after a walk with the dog to the library and grocery store, you need a really big, filling salad. To that end my sister came up with this hungry girl salad which uses Yumm Sauce, hot sauce, and lime juice as the dressing.  I was trying to think of a replacement for anyone who doesn't live in the NW, but it turns out you can buy Yumm Sauce over the phone.  It's basically a lemon-garlic tahini sauce.

Also, according to Megan you have to make and then eat each portion in its own huge bowl, for sufficient mixing.  There's a little bit of rice and beans and tortilla chips mixed in with the lettuce for protein and to make it filling, but the end result is that there really isn't a graceful way to eat this salad.

Hungry Girl Salad, made up by Megan:
Serves 2

1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped and washed
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked (or canned) black beans
1 cup tomato, diced
2-3 Tbsp. Yumm Sauce
1-2 tsp. hot sauce
juice of a lime
handful of tortilla chips, smashed

Split all ingredients except for tortilla chips between two large bowls.  Mix until dressing is sufficiently coating ingredients.  Taste and add more Yumm Sauce, hot sauce, or lime juice to your taste.  Crumble tortilla chips over salad.  Eat!  You're hungry!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Mowgli's - San Francisco

The Mowgli's are an L.A.-based, 8-person band.  They have another song getting some radio play in Portland and are playing here for only $0.94.  They're playing a couple of other spots on the West Coast as well.  They also should have a music video for "San Francisco" coming out soon. Their EP "Love's Not Dead" came out back in October 2012.

Having gone to school near San Francisco, where a bunch of my friends still live, I have a soft spot for this song.

Image via.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Gray & Pink

{Sweatshirt: Target (old, similar here), T-shirt: Nike, Skirt: J. Crew, Tights, Socks, & Boots: Target (old, similar here), Earrings: Harlow, Watch: Anne Klein}

Another all gray outfit, but with the benefit of a bright, Pepto-Bismol, pink skirt (and a messy room).

Friday, February 1, 2013

Apple & Pear Crisp

While we've mostly been drinking green smoothies for breakfast, sometimes it's nice to change it up a little.  To that end, I threw together a quick apple & pear crisp the other day because we had some pears that were about to go bad, and by keeping the sugar to a minimum, rationalize that it's totally breakfast food with the addition of some yogurt.

This recipe is another that's highly adaptable, so you can use whatever fruit you have on hand, just varying the sugar and liquid amounts depending.  You can also vary the spices, subbing anything you like for the cinnamon and ginger, or omitting one of them all together.  The only real key I've discovered is to make sure your topping is wet enough and that the butter is really worked in, otherwise the flour never really cooks and stays too blond on the top.  To that end, I never really actually measure when I throw together a crisp, so below is my best estimate.

Apple & Pear Crisp, adapted from Laura Creager's recipe

2 pears, peeled and diced
2 apples, washed and diced
2 Tbsp. flour (white or whole wheat)
2 Tbsp. sugar
1-2 tsp. each of cinnamon & ginger
zest and juice from one lemon

3/4 cups flour (white or whole wheat)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, diced
water, if needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a baking dish, combine fruit, flour, sugar, spices, and lemon zest and juice.  Mix together with your hands until evenly combined.

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, oatmeal, and salt and give a quick stir to mix.  Add in the butter and work together with your hands until the butter is well-integrated and no pieces are larger than the size of a pea.  Now grab some of the topping in your hand and squeeze it, if it holds together in a clump, it's ready.  If it is still super crumbly and falls apart once you release pressure, add a tablespoon or so of water, and work it into the topping mix.  Keep testing and adding water if needed until mixture holds together.  Scatter evenly over the fruit.

Back 35-45 minutes until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly.  Serve the next morning with yogurt for breakfast.
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