Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bouillon, Baby

I recently came across one of those "aha" moments, when I discovered a perfectly simple idea that fills a need. It is the easiest way in the world to make your own bouillon. I've been going through Knorr vegetarian bouillon cubes like crazy, since I cook greens many nights a week. Bouillon cubes surely fall into the category of non-food items, plus I'm paying money for mostly sodium.

So anyway, I read about this simple recipe for making your own:

Get a gallon size zip lock bag. Whenever you're preparing food, throw scraps such as veggie peels, carrot ends, onion scraps, wilted greens, stems, and veggie tops into a bowl. (Don't use bitter greens such as those found on celery, carrots, etc., and throw your really nasty stuff straight into your compost bin.) When your food prep is finished, throw the contents of your scrap bowl in the zip lock bag, and stash it in your freezer. After 5-7 days you'll likely have a full bag. Dump it in a pot of boiling water and simmer the goodies for an hour--it will boil down to about half. Strain off the solids, and voilá! You have enough bouillon to last until your zip lock bag fills up again. What could be easier? And the flavor will vary a bit each time.

(I'm really sorry to say that I can't remember who I should credit with this great idea.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Andrew Bird and St. Vincent

I think it was Peter who introduced me to Andrew Bird, the violinist/whistler. I now have him on one of my Pandora feeds. He was recorded along with the chanteusey Annie Clark (known for some reason as St. Vincent) in a nice video that is a comfortable 30 minutes long. Go play.

Friday, September 11, 2009

If you like Dylan and the Band (and if not, are you crazy?), go check out the current week's offering at Wolfgang's Vault for some sound goodness.
It's Bob Dylan Week here at the Vault as we're featuring some newly released material from him as well as concerts from performers with various connections to him. On Tuesday, we featured the 2/14/74 afternoon show from Bob Dylan and the Band ... This weekend, we bring you the evening show from the same day ..., which is the last concert of the tour and features a nice tribute to Bill Graham. These are historic shows with superb sound quality and top-notch performances from all involved.

We're also putting up an entire show from the Rolling Thunder Revue, a benefit concert for Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter recorded at Madison Square Garden in 1976. The end of Set 1 features Dylan fronting the ensemble, while Set 2 features a mini-set from Dylan & Joan Baez before the entire cast eventually joins together on stage again.

For a wonderful tribute to Dylan, check out performances by The Roots, My Morning Jacket, Yo La Tengo, Calexico, and many more from the 2007 I'm Not There Concert, given in support of the movie of the same name (go rent it if you haven't seen it!). Or, head back in time to hear sets from two of his biggest influences -- folk legends Ramblin' Jack Elliott and "Spider" John Koerner. Both sets are available for download.
 Here's the lineup:
Bob Dylan & The Band
LA Forum / Late Show, Set 1 2/14/1974
Bob Dylan & The Band LA Forum / Late Show, Set 2 2/14/1974
The Rolling Thunder Revue Madison Square Garden / Set 1 12/8/1975
The Rolling Thunder Revue Madison Square Garden / Set 2 12/8/1975
I'm Not There Concert Beacon Theatre 11/7/2007
"Spider" John Koerner Ash Grove 2/1/1967
Jerry Garcia Band French's Camp / Set 3 8/29/1987

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hot Stuff!

When John and I were in Harrisonburg today visiting Peter, we went out for Ethiopian food at the Blue Nile. The decor there was exceptionally nice, and they have a very attractive performance venue in the downstairs bar. The food was as delicious at the Blue Nile as it always is at one of our favorite Richmond restaurants, The Nile, where we often eat before choir practice.

Peter and I loved the berbere sauce, and I told him that my cousin Leslee had recently posted a recipe for it. Her adopted Ethiopian children love this sauce--on everything! Pete has requested some of this when I make it--I think I'll make the dry version as it will store longer. I have a feeling that Pete and I will enjoy it on everything too!

This picture is of Celeste and Elyse, who visited in August--we went to DC for the day and they sampled Ethipian food for the first time, at the wonderful Etete, which has recently expanded.

BERBERE (pronounced bear-BEAR-eh)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 to 6 tablespoons of a combination of ground cayenne pepper (red pepper, dried chile peppers, or red pepper flakes) and paprika
1 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon ginger, fresh (peeled and grated) or dried (ground) use dried ground ginger if making dry berberé
2 tablespoons finely chopped onions or shallots, omit if making dry berberé (optional)
1 teaspoon minced garlic, omit or use dried garlic if making dry berberé (optional)
1/4 cup oil, water, or red wine (omit if making dry berberé)