Some days, we're let off the hook far too easily. Nothing requiring any real brainpower commands our attention, and our limits for comprehension go tragically untested.
Fortunately, there is the Trentonian, and their often beguiling headlines. Grasping this one introduced me to a part of my brain I'd never known to exist, and for that (and very little else), I am grateful to their staff.
My wife and I are way into the experiential birthday gifts (wine school, cooking classes, that sorta thing). This year, I decided to do a home-cooked version of the fancy birthday meal, which, in better economic times, we probably would've sought in some foodie/goodie Brooklyn restaurant. In spite of Springtime's arrival, the ugly coldsnap we had last week stepped perfectly in tandem with Alpine Rabbit Stew and the amazing bottle of South African pinotage we marked the occasion with.
Rabbit? You mean wike a widdle bunny wabbit?
The very same, my friends. And acquiring this one was no easy task. I went in and out of three butcher shops, four specialty grocery stores, crossed state lines, and finally wound up acquiring the goods at a market exactly 3 minutes from our house. Although this hours-long journey was wildly aggravating, I did wind up learning a couple of crucial things in the process:
1. The demand for rabbit is higher than I expected, and the farmers who raise them are quick to speak of the many problems with keeping them. (They require special feed, they often escape from their pens, etc.)
2. Whole Foods is a bad place filled with mostly bad people.
Anyway, faced with a whole rabbit splayed out on my cutting board, I turned to YouTube for instructions on how to cut it up. Search data? How to cut up a rabbit. First result? How to trim your pet rabbit's toenails.
Ouch. I knew that was gonna be source material for all kinds of bad jokes during dinner.
I eventually found a pretty good demo, and I must say, cutting up a whole rabbit for cooking is much easier than doing the same for a whole chicken. Rabbits essentially have only a few parts—2 hind legs, 2 smaller ones up front, 2 paper-thin "steaks" (of a sort) called wings, and a fleshy strip that runs along the spine called the saddle. Separating them out from one another is as easy as dismantling one of those screw-tight bookshelves from Ikea. The grim deed took only a few minutes and was utterly devoid of any kind of mess making. Granted, my rabbit arrived home with the head already thoughtfully removed by the butcher, so perhaps that engendered me with a certain confidence and gusto that might otherwise have been lacking. After all, with a small child in the house, I have read my share of Beatrix Potter books lately.
Aloud, I might add.
But no matter—the results were incredible! The smell that wafted through the house was unlike any we'd experienced before. Once plated over a generous dollop of Parmigiano Reggiano-doused polenta, Alpine Rabbit Stew immediately revealed itself as an amazingly hearty dish which warmed us both from the inside out. While dining, we felt a bit like rugged mountain people instead of the urban limp-wristies we more truthfully walk in stride with, so three cheers for using the passing of another year as an excuse to mix up the cultural stereotypes a little bit.
Here's the recipe I followed. The only variation I utilized was switching out the
Juniper berries for a jigger of gin. This guy's photos are way better
than mine, though possibly more gory if you ever kept a rabbit as a pet
or are just generally squeamish about eating characters from children's storybooks. With that in mind, our plans to eat Santa Claus for next year's birthday celebrations remain under review until further notice.
Click here to listen with your preferred media player.
Citay - "Mirror Kisses" - Dream Get Together * The Black Heart Procession - "Rats" - Six Gang of 4 - "To Hell with Poverty" - 12" Prince - "Controversy" - Hits/B-Sides 3xCD Nappy Roots - "Ho Down" - Watermelon, Chicken, and Gritz La's - "Doledrum" - La's * Brother JT - "Celebrate Your Face" - Any Stort in a Porm * Personal & The Pizzas - "Brass Knuckles" - Personal & the Pizzas
Fresh & Onlys - "You Owe Your Life to the Streets" - In A Cloud: New Sounds from San Francisco (V/A) * John Cale - "Adelaide" - Vintage Violence Wanda Jackson - "This Gun Don't Care who it Shoots" - Best of the Country Years Dosh - "Airlift" - Tommy * Pan Ron - "I Want to be Your Lover" - Dengue Fever Presents Electric Cambodia * [compilation] Linear Movement - "Way out of Living" - The Minimal Wave Tapes Vol. 1 * [compilation] Bitch Magnet - "Americruiser" - Umber Sensational Nightingales - "My Sisters and Brothers" - The Sensational Sensational Sensationals!: Sinner's Crossroads 2009 Marathon Premium *
Nudge Squidfish - "Goodbye Princess" - 20,000 Leagues Under Nashville * Faces - "Ohh la La" Reigns - "Mab Crease" - The House on the Causeway * Rulers - "Wrong 'em Boyo" - 7" Willie Williams - "Armagideon Time" - 7" Benga - "Music Box" - Warrior Dubz Gang Starr - "Step in the Arena" - Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr 2xCD [RIP Guru] Gang Starr - "Credit is Due" - Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr 2xCD
Styrenes - "Anything" - We Care, So You Don't Have To Calexico - "All the Pretty Little Horses" Monolake - "Far Red" - Silence * Serge Gainsbourg - "Lunatic Asylum" - L'Homme a Tete de Chou * [Re-issue,1976] Gabbyfortea - "Arnold Layne" - [YouTube Rip] [Pink Floyd cover] Miller - "Baby, I've Got News for You" - 7" Adam & the Ants - "Digital Tenderness" - Dirk Wears White Sox * [Re-issue, 1979] Wooden Shjips - "Loose Lips" - Volume 2 * Iggy unt das Stooges - "I Got a Right" - I Got a Right EP [Happy Birthday, Iggy!]
Jawbreaker - "Imaginary War" - Unfun * [Re-issue, 1990] Penelope Houston - "The Ballad of Tiger Woods and Happy Friday" - Tongue [I have been waiting years for this song to be topical. Thank you, Tiger Woods.] Sade - "The Moon and the Sky" - Soldier of Love * Roxy Music - "Avalon" - Avalon Scuba - "Beauty and Warmth of an Ultraviolet Memory" - OM_100 2xCD [compilation]
Now that more people are admitting that CDs totally suck and that vinyl and MP3s are the formats of the future, this is kind of a fascinating model to fund lavish box sets for legacy acts like Kleenex/LiLiPUT. In short, Kill Rock Stars is looking to release a 4xLP discography of the all female post-punk group, but can only do so if enough people pledge their support to the project in advance. In other words, if enough pre-orders are taken by the deadline date, KRS will go ahead with the project. However, the financial "backers", as it were, will only be charged if the 20 grand goal is met. If the endeavor falls short, no one gets charged, and the box set doesn't happen. As with public radio fundraisers, there are many different pledge levels, each of which earn you a different set of rewards. (For example, a $50 pledge entitles you a copy of the box set, MP3s, and a poster sent via Media Mail to any U.S. address, whereas a simple ten buck show of support gets you a poster and Kleenex/LiLiPUT MP3 of your choice.)
Use the WFMU player to hear the band perform "Ain't You", and then use the Kickstarter link for more info on the box set project. Count me in!
It's just a fan video (and not specifically relevant to Tiger's recent troubles) so I re-sized the YouTube embed to resemble a Flash audio player. The song is from a folky Penelope Houston record called Tongue, which you can buy here. Ignore the false start -- the song begins properly at the 16 second mark.
Bela Koe-Krompecher just posted an astute explanation of all the reasons that so much great music has come from Ohio. I used to regularly hear from Ohio ex-pats tuned into my radio show wanting to know what part of their beloved Buckeye State I hailed from. After all, only one of their own could possibly have cultivated such a deep admiration for sounds ranging from early Devo, Pagans, and Electric Eels to 80s college radio milemarkers like Scrawl, Easter Monkeys, Death of Samantha, and My Dad is Dead, and then finally finding their own generation of sonic miscreants via Gaunt, the Slave Apartments, Guided by Voices, New Bomb Turks, and Prisonshake.
I'll tell you now as I told those dismayed callers back then: I'm not from your country, but your art scene makes me green with envy. With the possible exception of 1980s Washington DC, I'd be hard-pressed to name another region of the lower 48 that bred and nurtured a more distinctly regional aesthetic than Ohio did. And the true beauty of it, then as now, was that none of the bands sounded anything like one another (i.e. there was no "regional sound" in effect), but there seemed to be an army of smart and dedicated people hanging around to make sure it was all meticulously documented. That sentiment resonated strongly with me back when I was still DJing at WPRB and was one of the few programming manifestations that followed me to WFMU.
Not to steal his thunder, but I practically wept with joy when I read Bela's moving and scholarly summation of Ohio's well-deserved status as a musical fertile crescent:
Nobody got famous, nobody ever really made a dent in any product counting
mechanism like Billboard, The College Music Journal or MTV but we loved
and cherished one another as if our lives depended on it, night in and
night out. What we discovered was the result wasn’t the prize; the prize
was the friendship and the making of art for fuck’s sake. That is what
an Ohioan does, not always stylish but always sincere.
Bravo! Now go read the whole thing here. And in the interest of being seasonally relevant, here are the Easter Monkeys blasting their way through the epic "Nailed to the Cross". (Recently re-issued on Smog Veil Records. You need it!)
Like politics, lamb is a topic that nearly everyone is willing to share their opinion of without invitation. I've never understood why lamb occupies such a divisive area on the meat index -- "it tastes earthy" is what the haters often say, and perhaps that's true to some extent... But not so much that I'd ever make a hasty declaration to banish it from my grilling rotation. Like duck breast, a rack of lamb can be a magnificently rewarding feast, albeit one that's likely to annoy the neighbors and local fire department for all the smoke created when preparing it on an outdoor grill. But on the upside, this Middle Eastern preparation is super fast, super easy, and can be seasoned up in the same container as a skirt steak for the haters.
1 partial rack of lamb, comprising 8-10 individual chops. salt pepper olive oil juice from 1 lemon lots of oregano (optional) 1 skirt steak, for the haters
In a plastic bag or resealable container, douse the meat with the above ingredients and let marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. When grilling time arrives, you may elect to slice the rack into individual chops, but I prefer to grill the entire thing as a single piece both for the ease of turning, and also for the enviable brawn associated with maneuvering such a huge hunk of flesh and bone over an open flame. (Drinking a beer and blasting the third MC5 album at the same time will really intimidate your sissy hipster neighbors.)
Spiced yogurt sauce (also optional, but soooooo good):
1 small container of plain Greek yogurt. (I prefer Fage brand, but if you can't find that at your local Korean grocer or ghetto C-Town, I suppose plain old Dannon would suffice.) 1 big handful fresh mint 1 big handful fresh cilantro 1-3 cloves garlic
If you love the taste of raw garlic, one clove is probably enough. But if you're so inclined, I recommend fake-roasting two or three cloves by coating them in olive oil and microwaving them for a minute or two. This makes them buttery soft and much more mellow-tasting. Of course, if you have the time, it's always better to properly roast the garlic in the oven, which takes about an hour. Apologies if my corner-cutting ways suddenly seemed reminiscent of that horrible woman from the Food Network who's always carrying on about her "tablescape", or whatever. (Aside: I didn't realize the internet was obsessed with said woman's breasts until just now. (See above link.) Actually, now that I think of it, Anthony Bourdain pointed this out a while ago and I'd just forgotten.)
Dice up your fresh spices in whatever quantity and balance of distribution you're happy with. I like lots of both -- in fact, my love of cilantro can perhaps only be matched by my love of fresh mint. If that sounds like you, this will turn your yogurt a beautiful shade of green that's sure to attract the attention of whomever you happen to be cooking for. Don't forget to dice up the garlic and whisk that in as well.
Grill meat to desired degree of doneness, and don't be shy about getting a crispy black exterior happening. Lamb is fatty, and therefore scorch potential is high -- keep the rack moving around, flipping it periodically, and then slicing it in half (thusly creating two smaller racks) when you think you've hit your mark. Serve with grilled vegetables, crusty bread, and heaping dollops of yogurt sauce. A big and bold red wine is also a nice touch, but then again, when isn't it?