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FD 12/14/2011 – Mushroom Bourguignon

Posted: December 18th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: family dinner meals | 1 Comment »

Mushroom Bourguignon served with egg noodles, a semi-made-up green bean recipe and the world’s greatest peanut butter cookies!

I cooked the entire mushroom dish the night before and reheated it on Wednesday. When I make this next time I will do the same thing. I think it gets a lot better over night.

Mushroom Bourguignon. I basically just did what she said. I used a combo of portobellos (gills scraped out), crimini, and button mushrooms. The proportions were roughly 2:1:1. Next time I think I would use fewer portobellos and more of the other two. I like their consistency much more in the finished dish. The searing step took the longest and is the only reason it might be a pain to make this the same night you want to eat it. Also, it uses an ungodly amount of oil/butter. Just deal with it.

I cooked the pearl onions separately and followed Julia Child’s instructions. Because I am lazy, I used frozen pearl onions and added them frozen to the pan of butter and oil. It didn’t take nearly as long to make these as the recipe suggests, probably only 25-30 min. When the onions were finished I put them in the fridge in their own container and only added them to the stew the next da. I didn’t want them to fall apart if I could help it.

Trust the Smitten Kitchen lady with the flour and butter thickener at the end. When I did this step I was convinced I had ruined dinner, but in fact I think it is the key to the whole dish. Also, personally, I think sour cream is a requirement for dishes like this.

Green bean and fennel salad. We skipped the mushrooms, skipped the water, and used just one bunch of parsley. We also added some mustard to the dressing.

And finally, the World’s Greatest Peanut Butter Cookies. First, let me say that I think it is annoying that this site is now written primarily in grams. I know that it is more accurate and that it feels fancy and European, but most of us do not own scales. Also, it was hard for me to find white pastry flour so I settled on whole wheat. For the “chopped milk chocolate” I just got some good quality milk chocolate chips. I agree with the author, Molly Wizenberg, that milk is better than dark chocolate in this one.

One batch of these cookies makes a LOT of dough, and these cookies are rich. So, I suggest you follow Molly’s suggestion and freeze some of the dough. I just scooped about 3/4 of the dough into balls and froze them til solid, then I wrapped them in saran wrap, put them in a ziplock and baked them just before FD. I thought they were tastier when cooked from frozen. Be extra careful not to let them dry out while baking, you want them to be chewy. You will probably need a cold glass of milk, it really improves the cookie eating experience.

Caturday Covers There Is a Light

Posted: November 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers | Comments Off on Caturday Covers There Is a Light

As it is a freezingly cold Saturday morning I must once again force us to return to our old Moz-friend, our old Mozpanion through life’s very constant lows. (I could fill a year with nothing but Smiths/Moz covers but I resist! I am aware of an audience beyond myself! I space them out to ambush you with!)

The Smiths – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (off of The Queen Is Dead, but the amazing recently-remastered enormous discography box set that has caused me to surpass my poor ipod’s available disk space). Bless the “ten ton truck” sentiment for capturing the nihilism of young love. Bless the “darkened underpass” almost-was, the fear of rejection that may immobilize but nevertheless can’t crush the graspy, sweaty, crumpled hope in the chorus.
Loquat – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. Here’s a meh-inducing blast from the PPP past. There are some nice keyboard turns in here, though, to think upon.
Dum Dum Girls – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. With their second album these buzzed-about young people begin to grow (up)on me. I can appreciate the surf schtick.


The Smiths – Panic (off of Louder Than Bombs)
The Smiths – Panic (live, from Rank)
Spoon – Panic (live). I like this because who wouldn’t, but my feeling is that if you’re going to cover the Smiths you need to get the place names correct. That is the only rule. Even if you’re faking a geographical understanding of this song, which most of us are. Also, is Britt Daniel’s pre-performance ritual to eat a giant peanut butter sandwich?

Caturday Covers – I meant to post this video a long time ago who cares

Posted: October 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers | Comments Off on Caturday Covers – I meant to post this video a long time ago who cares

Big Black – Kerosene

St. Vincent – Kerosene

Dear Santa,
How long before I become one of those people that drills into their skull to vent the evil spirits? I would drill into my spine with a hole saw! Is Saturday your least favorite day? Everything that happens feels like it leaves particles in my eyelashes.

Annie Clark on the guitar is the only codeine available to me this afternoon, and I accept it though I am aware of the moderate hideousness of appreciating a woman’s skills at a “stereotypically masculine” endeavor. In general I try to avoid verbally splooging my male gaze upon you here. Sometimes I feel like my own preferences have been advertised into me. Santa, you Zoloft neuter, you weirdbeard! Today I feel like I’ve been sewn together out of nine terrible bodies.


Caturday Covers

Posted: October 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers | Tags: | Comments Off on Caturday Covers

Lana del Rey – Video Games
Leavves – Video Games

More importantlish, the video for Video Games:

So, I’ve been waiting for an excuse to come out of semi-retirement and publish the Treatise on Lana del Rey I’ve been writing in my head for the past month, though of course by this point the wave has crested and we’re already excavating the backlash. (To bring you up to speed, here is an Abbreviated Timeline of Salient Events:

– Apparently homemade music videos by something called Lana del Rey start appearing on the wienernet
– Music press discovers them, sees that there is a prettyish Frankenstein in them, gets very mildly excited
– Music press discovers that Lana del Rey is not her real name (LOL), that those are not her real lips (LOLOL), that she already recorded an album of pop(!) music under her real name (since dis-released), that she’s been massaging these songs and her image for years with the help of (PREPARE FOR HORROR) “lawyers and managers.” (LOLOLOLOLOLOLO)
– Music press goes WEIRDLY APOPLECTIC, far out of proportion to her initial lukewarm reception (which, honestly, if you’re pointing to that hipsterrunoff post as the beginning of THEE BACKLASHING you probably don’t “get” hipsterrunoff)
– I see a press image on FFFFound, realize I’ve been seeing the image in the corner of the internet for weeks, go “huh” and click through to her video.
– Song gets stuck in my head forever
– I read a bunch of articles chronicling the “divisiveness” of this “new” “internet sensation” and laugh the shit out of my heart-butt at the idea of anyone debating the “realness” of a cultural product in the year 2011 AD #occupyWallStreet
– Death)

So but setting lightly aside the well-worn internetmusicjournalist timeline of “she seems cooWE HATE HER!!!!!slut,” the weird sense of betrayal that her seemingly independent and fully-formed aesthetic apparatus (THE VERY FUCKING PICTURE YOU GET WHEN YOU LOOK UP “PASTICHE” IN THE WIKTIONARY fuck you) might be (gasp/gulp/fart) calculated, and because I do not have the wherewithal to establish connective tissue between the following threads, here is a loose collection of STRAY OBSERVATIONS ON WHY THIS IS A SPECTACLE WORTH STAYING APPRISED OF:

– We are 60 years past the point where we might worry about the “authenticity” of an artist’s aesthetic project, yet we do it anyway (and despite the fact that from the outset this plasticized humanoid would have to have sprung from some kind of 1950s trailer park time warp in order to be in any way “authentic,” which means we are getting huffy over whether her cultural appropriations are her idea “because she likes them” or someone else’s idea “because something is being sold to us” which I just laugh and laugh)
– Any “pop” “artist” who references David Lynch as an influence is automatically more culturally relevant and legitimate than your Ke$has, I am allowed to be prejudiced in this way
– She pronounces “only” with 3 syllables
– Her total inability to focus her eyes in the video suggests a sort of precocious ruined-ness–the idea of being an addled fallen star even before fame has fully materialized–which strikes me as hyper-contemporary in this Post-Kardashian Future Era
– The videos, with their shuffle of random Americana, webcam footage, Old Hollywood and oddly prescient footage of (similar tragic-plastic-surgery-victim) Paz de la Huerta’s infamous public rock-bottoming seem to be SAYING SOMETHING about Our Dumb Time, even if they do not intend to, and even if I have not yet figured out what the SOMETHING is.
– On the subject of these videos: the seemingly naive combination of super-8 footage and webcam video, which again seems to be SAYING SOMETHING, and makes me think about our children who will grow up in a world of high-definition video phones, and what the future visual referents of “nostalgia” will look like when film grain, analog VHS and 480p are equally flattened into WHAT THE PAST WAS.
– The zeitgeisty combination of references: Soul, 50s/60s Mad Men nostalgia, glamour/fame/shame all on the pointedly adolescent subject of playing videogames with your boyfriend, and the way she cannily distills this into “Lolita got lost in the hood.”
– The way (like a very, very, very watered-down Nicki Minaj) she schizophrenically switches voices/personalities in the song–from weary soul to plastic pop to babytalk–and how this represents the young person’s TOTAL COMPRESSION OF TIME and ability to select identities as outfits
– The way the song itself seems aware that its protagonist is hanging out with the wrong tough guys, even as the protagonist is not aware of same (dramatic irony)
– The cover is pretty pointless, but the original is really pretty great, all shadowy and downcast, and she seems to have invented the genre of “Hollywood Sadcore” which I applaud
– Do you think there is a sub-genre of humans that looks at Paz de la Huerta and says “I want my face to look like that”? Like, have we reached a point where young people are aestheticizing plastic surgery disasters?
– I will never not like it when you can hear that someone is smiling while they sing a line
– The tom-sound that starts at 2:28
– I’m realizing that the videos can be read as basically equivalent to a 12 year old’s aspirational mood board, which is sort of depressing
– But (much like with Ryan Trecartin’s videos) I’m fully aware that I’m watching something inarticulably indicative of the horrifying and unknowable mindset of people younger than me but I am also well-educated enough to resist my initial disgust and appreciate its cultural significance even as it horrifies me and my first inclination is to toss it on the campfire


Caturday Covers – 1926

Posted: August 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers | Comments Off on Caturday Covers – 1926

1926 by V; – vocals by Susan Anway, who was in The Magnetic Fields for a while.
1926 by Thalia Zedek, from Come.

I don’t know what is going on in this song, but I do know that sometimes Thalia Zedek’s voice is how my hair looks / body feels, at the end of a day that is F F F F WORD.


This song sounds like someone has coughed themselves inside out and now they are trying to live a reasonable life with organs on the outside of their skin but all anyone wants to look at is the organs on the outside of their skin. #GOODNIGHT

(Actually it’s the afternoon, and what I am listening to right now is another legitimate topic of discussion for Caturday Covers, Sharon Van Etten’s cover of REMs Strange Currencies, no original needed I assume:

You know, Sharon Van Etten:


Caturday Covers – True Love Will Find You In The End

Posted: July 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers | Comments Off on Caturday Covers – True Love Will Find You In The End

Daniel Johnston – True Love Will Find You In The End
I’m semi-immune to the charms of Daniel Johnston, typically preferring my outsider artists a little more minstrilized or inscrutable, apparently. This song is such a perfect encapsulation of his worldview, songwriting style and overall cuteness, though, that it’s irresistible. Hence all the cover versions. But none of them can ever really achieve what the original does; the combination of his vocal perma-quaver and the lo-fi, airy bedroom recording is so inevitable that it already sounds like a cover: like some ancient standard that all 9-year-olds learn to play on the guitar and record on their Fisher-Price My First Portastudio. Or whatever. It sounds timeless, is what I guess I’m saying, and also perfectly in tune with what we understand Daniel Johnston to be.

Beck – True Love Will Find You In The End
This has that great shitty-old-guitar sound that Beck is so good at, and the harmonica is a nice touch, but the sad-Beck voice (90% adenoids, 5% phlegm, 3% Scientological training, 2% actual human sadness) gets a little cloying.

Wilco – True Love Will Find You In The End
Wilco gets the maddest props for actually turning this into a Wilco song rather than doing a Daniel Johnston impression (see below). Like the entire Beatles catalog, this was already screaming to be turned into a country song, so there’s an obvious inevitability to it. Though with a full band you do lose the ghostly, bedroom-recording quality–like, you find yourself thinking, “Well, at least he has friends to play in a band with!”

Spiritualized – True Love Will Find You In The End
Spiritualized has never really grabbed me, either, and this is such an obvious attempt to sing like Daniel Johnston that it’s presented here as a disgraceful footnote. Or it would be, except that the keyboards in the background are kind of nice.

Parenthetical Girls – True Love Will Find You In The End
Wonderful synth organ, and 100 points for being the Parenthetical Girls, of course. And Zac Pennington isn’t exactly trying to sound like Daniel Johnston, since he’d have to make a greater effort not to. I mean, it’s not like he’s faking a speech impediment! Is what I’m saying. This is sort of like what the song would sound like if Daniel Johnston controlled the mood deliberately and competently, rather than the mood being created as a side-effect of his musical/personal weaknesses. That sounds harsher than it’s intended–Editor, please fix!

Caturday Covers – Parenthetical Girls

Posted: July 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers | Comments Off on Caturday Covers – Parenthetical Girls

Parenthetical Girls – Here’s To Forgetting, off of (((GRRRLS)))
Parenthetical Girls – Here’s To Forgetting (Xiu Xiu Mix), off of (((GRRRLS))) Alternate Mixes
Au – Here’s To Forgetting, off of Covers.
Nestled amongst the Parenthetical Girls’ usual songs about mother/sondaughter relations and inauspicious sexual encounters there are a very few deep cuts like this one where the typically florid lyrical braingasms paint a non-horrific picture (maybe sweet, even!) about awkward young love. What gives this one that Parenthetical Girls ineffability is that the remembering itself is clearly an attempt to exorcize the vividness of the memory recounted–in other words, the floridity is both a symptom and attempted cure of whatever makes this particular episode so hard to forget. In other, other words, it’s that thing of trying to make art out of something lodged in your consciousness that you hope the art-making will un-lodge forever so that you can move on and start being a grownup. Why are we still talking about this?

SPOILER ALERT: the Xiu Xiu remix is the best version. Which is NOT usually the case, BEING AS THAT a typical Xiu Xiu remix removes every hook and most traces of melody, hoses the whole thing down with a mixture of meningitis and contempt, and wraps it up in a bow made of broken machine noises. HOWEVER, in this case the simple addition of those, like, plodding bloops adds a metronomic regularity to the song that makes the whole question of forgetting absurd, instead highlighting the endless, looping quality of obsessive remembrance. The Au version is just ok.

Parenthetical Girls – This Regrettable End, off of Entanglements (previously made available in the place where we make things available)
No Kids – This Regrettable End, off of Covers.
This Regrettable End is the final song on Entanglements and lyrically and melodically ties the entire album together like a Lebowski rug. I for one love the dual crescendoes of “red as fresh-stretched post-fuck flesh” and (my favorite) “I’m oh so glad to go” [one of the album’s many Smiths references, this one to Asleep] / “what with woe-soaked underclothes.”

The No Kids cover sounds a bit like if Antlers covered the song with Da Da Da accidentally playing in the background, which is what I think I thought this was when it came up on shuffle the other day and prompted this entire digression.

If I have as usual failed to make you like the things that I like by not liking them hard enough, maybe I can ply you with this more traditionally “rocking” song, Young Throats, and its alarming video. This song is from my favorite ever Parenthetical Girls release, the Privilege pt. II EP, which has just now been made available in the place where we make things available (though not by ME officer! note the passive voice, officer!):

PARENTHETICAL GIRLS // Young Throats from theartof agency on Vimeo.

Caturday Covers

Posted: July 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers | Comments Off on Caturday Covers

The Verlaines – Death and the Maiden, off of Juvenilia
Stephen Malkmus – Death and the Maiden, off of some Flying Nun tribute you can’t get


Schubert – String quartet no. 14 in D minor “Der Tod und das Madchen”


Caturday Covers

Posted: June 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers | Comments Off on Caturday Covers

Violent Femmes – Good Feeling
White Hassle – Good Feelings

Andy Kim – Rock Me Gently
White Hassle – Rock Me Gently

(To begin with, please assume that I am using the band names “Railroad Jerk” and “White Hassle” interchangeably, and that both are meant to refer primarily to the human name “Marcellus Hall.”) Though I came to them a few years late, Railroad Jerk have always seemed to me to hit a mid-90s sweet spot between early Beck’s ramshackle, tin-pan clang and Pavement’s mildly sneering sloppiness. Add in just a drop of Lower East Side punk and you have something purely evocative of a particular time in music. Or maybe it’s just that the combination screams “Matador Records” that leaves me with such warm feelings of brain-eating nostalgia.

Anyway, they’ve probably had a greater reach into my life-force than the Violent Femmes ever did, but we’re nevertheless dealing with one of my favorite Violent Femmes songs here. It kills me the way Marcellus Hall rolls over the phrasing around “have to find a bed / that can take this weight,” totally destroying the most important part of the original song. Otherwise I love the thrift store charm of this cover, the way Marcellus Hall’s voice approaches Gordon Gano’s weary whine while still retaining a certain distance. He’s good for this kind of constant wavering between warmth and possible contempt, so that you can never quite be sure whether to take the song seriously. These two covers, though, are remarkably faithful despite nevertheless sounding perfectly at home with the rest of the Railroad Jerk / White Hassle discog.

(What can we say about the Andy Kim version of “Rock Me Gently” that hasn’t already been captured in the sound of a million cats barfing and then eating their barf (do cats do that?) and then barfing again?)

Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
Violent Femmes – Crazy

Caturday Covers

Posted: May 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers | Tags: | Comments Off on Caturday Covers

The Beach Boys – Hang On To Your Ego, off of Pet Sounds, and also featuring pet sounds. Originally released as “I Know There’s An Answer” (with the chorus changed) out of fear that the original title seemed too “LSD-related.”
Frank Black – Hang On To Your Ego