Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Calling down the thunder

Twenty-five is a nice round number, so I gave considerable thought to exactly what type of mix I should throw together to celebrate it. I've been dabbling a lot lately with the downtempo thing (where my heart and soul truly lie), yet I thought something more exciting might be appropriate. Fortunately, I stumbled across two very strong drum and bass tracks and this got my head on straight. The first: Seba's floating and beautiful "Blaze And Fade Out", which I came across during a MySpace visit. The second: Noisia's remix of "Painkiller" by The Freestylers, which ended up in my lap thanks to another mix I'd been listening to off a German dnb site.

I get around.

Anyway, the frenetic beats, cavernous bass rumbles, and wild intensity of drum and bass proved entirely too much to resist and here are the results: DJ Abstract 25: Miasma Mix. This is a gloriously punishing mix, easing in slowly and then dropping the hammer emphatically with amen breaks and techstep assaults galore. Hang on for this one and enjoy the ride.

01 Seba - Blaze And Fade Out
02 Calyx - Get Myself To You
03 Freestylers - Painkiller (Noisia Remix)
04 Visage - Fade To Grey (Noisia Remix)
05 The Upbeats - Monsta Mash
06 Shimon And Sparfunk - In The Shine
07 Cause4Concern - Dub Funk
08 Black Sun Empire - B'Negative (SKC & Chris.Su Remix)
09 Panacea - Panik Orchestra
10 Unknown Error - Fear No Evil
11 Rregula - Shit's Dope
12 Nocturnal - 3rd Rail
13 Rawthang - Scorned

You can revel in the cacophony by clicking here or head on over to the DJ Abstract website to check it out along with a bunch of my other audio main dishes. Take a hot bath in audio!

Sold a quart of blood and bought a half a pint of:

Various - DJ Abstract 25: Miasma Mix
(bone rattling, gut rumbling goodness)

Tom Waits - Bad News Out Of A Pretty Mouth
(forty of my faves)

Daft Punk - Homework
(bring the funk back to the punk)

Lee Scratch Perry - Secret Laboratory
(dub organizer supreme)

Jesu - Why Are We Not Perfect
(because we are no longer Godflesh)

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Miasma Mix is coming...

Nuff said.


Vorpal - The End
(epically quirky)

The Sales Department - Runs On Codeine / Freebies
(the spirit of the terminal lives on)

AFX - Compilation
(the results of a desperate raid on rapidshare....)

The Bug - London Zoo
(crushin' de dancehall dubsteppas)

Various - Misc DB 9
(bass for your face and the whole human race)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bring the yummy IV

Why is it that stuff that tastes good tends to be bad for you? Story of my life, I suspect, because although I was ranting on about my love of Italian food, I do feel obliged to detail one of my favorite meals. Not only is it really bad for you, but it is also as American as apple pie, which may explain why we are the fattest nation in the world. Good for the occasional cheat meal, may I present:

Oven Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Corn on the Cob

2 cups milk
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup unsifted flour
2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
4 whole chicken legs

2 lb red bliss potatoes
3 tbsp butter

4 ears corn, preferably Silver Queen, although yellow will work

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter well a deep baking dish. Pour the milk into a large bowl. Whisk the meal, flour, and spices together in a separate large bowl. Dip the chicken pieces in the milk and then dredge in the corn meal and flour mixture. Reserve the milk for use with the mashed potatoes. Place the dredged chicken in the baking dish, placing a pat of butter on top of each piece. Cook for 55 minutes, turning and applying another pat of butter at about 30 minutes in. Or you can baste about every 10 minutes, but I tend not to have the patience.

While the chicken is cooking, place the potatoes in a large pot and add water until the potatoes are completely covered by at least an extra inch or two of water. Place over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Continue to boil, covered, until potatoes yield easily to a fork (about 20-25 minutes). Then drain the potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl. Beat lightly with a mixer for about 20 seconds to break up the potatoes. Keep in mind they WILL BE HOT. Add the butter and blend for another 15-20 seconds, distributing the butter evenly. Now slowly begin to pour in the milk until the mash is at the desired consistency. Some like them thick, some like them thin.

(As an aside here, I often add mustard or Caesar Salad dressing at this point to add some extra zing. Experiment and find out what works. Also remember to time your potatoes with the finish of the chicken. Nothing is worse that sitting around with cold mash potatoes waiting for hot fried chicken. I’d recommend starting your potatoes about 20 minutes after the chicken, depending on how hot your stovetop gets.)

Likewise, you should time your corn appropriately. Pour about 4-5 inches of water into a pot large enough to hold all four ears. I would suggest starting the water on low heat when you start the chicken. This way, it will be ready to boil at a moment's notice. Once you're ready to go, bring the water to a boil over high heat and drop in the ears. Let them stand there uncovered until the water returns to a boil, but not for more than 5 minutes. Drain or remove from the water with tongs and serve immediately with the chicken and mashed potatoes.

If you’re feeling really adventurous, I’d recommend pouring some juices from the pan over the potatoes; fattening as hell, but SO tasty.

So go get chubby but happy.

Weight loss anthems:

Seba - Return To Forever
(ambient drum and bass goodness)

Breaks The Blank Day - Breaks The Blank Day
(melancholy glitch experimentation)

Enduser - The End
(give me more, give me more, give me more breakcore)

Bjork - Debut
(leaving the cubes behind)

Dead Can Dance - Within The Realm Of The Dying Sun
(I still think Brendan sounds like Sinatra)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ain't it the truth

Solvent - My Radio

it doesn't seem so long ago
when i loved you, my radio
you promised me so much, but now you've changed
you always played my favorite songs
those robot-disco marathons
inspired me to buy my first machines

you've changed and i don't know why
so strange you never said goodbye

i felt betrayed, and so i turned
to television, yet i've yearned
for you, my radio, you complete me
you used to play my favorite tracks
those basslines and synthetic claps
oh, radio, i miss those sounds the most

you've changed
you've changed
you've changed and i don't know why
so strange you never said goodbye


Nostalgia in a case:

Afrika Bambaata & The Soulsonic Force - Don't Stop... Planet Rock
(revamped, renewed, reviewed)

Fuse - Dimensional Intrusion
(nothing sounds quite like an 808)

Gary Numan - The Best Of Gary Numan (1978-1983)
(unappreciated in his time... but only by Americans)

Joy Division - Closer
(before the New Order, there was the good stuff)

Plastikman - Musik
(minimal on the jiggy)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bring the yummy - Part III

So Susan and I have taken the day off and I plan to cook the entire day. Our swing dance teacher, the inestimable Michael Jagger, will be joining us around 6pm for a lesson and then dinner, so timing will be tricky. If I succeed in my mission, this evening's menu should looking something like this:

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Baby Green Salad with Endives and Mustard Vinaigrette
Veal Shank Osso Buco with Couscous
Frozen Passion-Fruit Parfait with Kiwifruit-Pineapple Salsa and Strawberry Coulis

Perhaps the recipes for these in-depth yummies with be posted here in the future (as I seem to be on a SERIOUS food kick of late). However, giving the complexity and length of those recipes (barring the salad, of course), I've decided to post something relatively simple. It's my adaptation (and rebranding) of a classic.

Brookyln Heights Chicken

4 tbsp olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup white wine (preferably Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc)
3 tbsp Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 marinara sauce
2 tomatoes, diced
3 small cloves of garlic, crushed
2 cups baby spinach leaves

Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.

While the pan is heating, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, and salt and peper in a large bowl. Pound the chicken breasts to a 1/4" thickness. Once flattened, dip the breasts in white wine and the dredge them in the breadcrumb mixture.

Place the chicken in the pan and saute for 2-3 minutes per side. Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, along with a splash of wine. Cook over medium heat for 3-5 additional minutes.

While the chicken and tomatoes are simmering, combine the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and garlic in another nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, turning frequently with tongs until it is wilted (about 6-8 minutes).

Serve over brown or wild rice, placing the wilted spinach atop the rice first, followed by the chicken and tomato mixture.

It's quick, it's simple, and it's yummy, so this is a regular go-to in our house. That being said, I haven't made it in ages, so perhaps this weekend after we've recovered from the osso buco...

The nickles rattling around in the boxcar that is my brain:

Ulrich Schnauss - Far Away Trains Passing By
(IDM-ambient-glitchy gudnis)

The B-52's - The B-52's
(because we all come from Planet Claire)

Miles David - Sketches Of Spain
(tight trumpet brushstrokes)

Curse Of The Golden Vampire - Mass Destruction
(because sometimes dead is better)

Esquivel - Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bring the yummy - Part II

My ancestry is about as whitebread as it comes: Welsh, English, etc.; British Isles mutt. However, there lurks within me the spirit of Italia. I've no idea how I got it, but I can say without hesitation that if I was forced to pick an everyday, go-to food, it would be Italian. Fortunately, my Susan shares my passion for god's greatest seasoning: garlic. Otherwise this could have lead to some awkward olfactory moments. As it happens, we operate under the assumption that if a recipe utilizes garlic, the amount listed should be at least doubled. However, to do so with this recipe would be ill advised...

Garlic Pesto with Spicy Chicken

3 cups fresh basil
6 garlic cloves
1/2 cup pinenuts
1 1/2 cups fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
extra virgin olive oil

1 lb dried pasta

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 lb boneless chicken breast

Combine the basil, garlic, pinenuts, and cheese in a food processor (Note: you can reduce the amount of garlic if you wish, even though that's missing the point. I've used as little as 2 cloves and it's still tasted good).

Pulse until mixture becomes grainy, stopping to wipe the sides with a spatula to ensure all ingredients are evenly mixed. Once the mixture is grainy, set processor on high and slowly pour olive oil into the mixture. Continue pouring until the desired consistency is reached. 1/2 cup to 1 cup of oil is usually enough, depending on preference (I prefer my sauce a bit thick, so I tend to use less oil). Using a spatula, empty the pesto sauce into a storage container and set aside.

Pour approximately 2 tbsp of oil into a large skillet and place over medium heat. While the oil is heating, combine the remaining spices in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Once mixed, rub small amounts of the mixture onto your chicken breasts. Think of dry rubbing a steak. Personal preference and experimentation will dictate how much to use, but this stuff is hot, so go easy at first; a thin coating is best.

(Place any remaining spice mixture in a plastic bag for later use. It goes well on just about anything: steak, pork, shrimp. I've even mixed it into mashed potatoes.)

Once the oil is smoking slightly, place the chicken breasts in the skillet and cook for 9 minutes on the first side. Then turn and cook the second side for about 5-8 minutes. Watch for juices to come out the top. Once those juices run clear (not cloudy), it’s done. If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be at least 170 degrees.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the pasta as directed. What pasta you choose once again depends on your preference. I've used everything from a combination of spinach and white linguine to large shells to ziti. Regular spaghetti is also a classic for this recipe; anything that will hold the sauce. I’d recommend against smaller pastas, as they’ll be overwhelmed by the heaviness of the sauce.

Time the pasta to finish cooking a couple of minutes after the chicken is finished.

Once the chicken is finished cooking, remove it to a cutting board and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Quickly place the pieces back in the skillet over low heat to baste with the remaining juices.

Place one serving's worth of pasta into a large bowl. Add one serving's worth of chicken to bowl and combine with enough pesto sauce to adequately coat both the pasta and chicken. Again, personal preference rules here. I like my pesto fairly thick. Others may prefer a lighter coating. Transfer to a pasta bowl and garnish with some additional shredded cheese, a leaf or two of basil, and a small handful of pine nuts. Repeat this process for each serving and take it to the table and enjoy!

On a side note, I've found that this dish is best served with a fairly robust/rough red wine that will cut through the thickness of the sauce. Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale has always served me well in the past, regardless of vintage. I've also found that you are guaranteed a homerun if you spend a little extra and get yourself a Brunello di Montalcino. A 2004 would be great, a 2001 or 1999 even better. A 1997 from Biondi-Santi? Pretty damned near perfect. Then again, if you're buying $550 bottles of wine, you don't need my advice.

Living in a gourmand's paradise:

Venetian Snares - Detrimentalist
(buzz bang pow!)

Twine - Violets
(hear the sound a nationwide gap makes)

Prince Paul - Itstrumental
(big ups to the black italiano)

Prince Douglas - Dub Roots
(down dem in de dancehall)

Puzleboy - That Peculiar Gentleman
(another of my all over the place rekkads)

The Economy - A Visual Demonstration