Monthly Archives: November 2010

Greenpoint Girls Group: Thanksgiving Potluck

Last Sunday I organized a long overdue Greenpoint Girls Group gathering. For those unfamiliar, GGG is a group of kickass ladies who come together and share happy moments chattin’ it up, swapping ideas and projects, and gossiping the way only ladies do. We all live in Greenpoint and dip our sticky hands in a variety careers, activities, and hobbies. Artists, farmers, beekeepers, ice cream makers, hair stylists, yoga teachers, puppet makers, and the like, the diverse group represented in GGG makes for one hell of a good time.

It’s been months since the get-together, which involved dinner at Paulie Gee‘s and dancing afterward at No Lights No Lycra. For this edition Thanksgiving was around the corner and what more fun to share thanks and food than a potluck. The ever so lovely hostess Lauren opened her cozy sweet apartment and twenty or so of us gathered around, talking and eating our brains out.

I felt obligated and impelled to roast a turkey and accompany it with a side and dessert. I looked no further than the November issue of Bon Appetit to find the perfect recipe to use for the dinner. I’ve roasted a turkey once before and don’t remember much other than it tasted pretty good. Flipping through the turkey recipes one immediately caught my attention, that of Malt-Beer-Brined Turkey with Malt Glaze. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? I was skeptical of malt as I didn’t really even know what it was and what store could carry such a rare product. For convenience purposes I live in a city with bountiful resources and didn’t have to go far to find barley malt syrup at Whole Foods. I paired the dish with Wild Rice Stuffing, Mushroom Tarragon Gravy, Cranberry-Orange Chutney and Vanilla Spiced Caramel Pear Tart.

I followed the Turkey recipe to a T and had a minor anxiety attack when Lauren’s oven temperature reader wasn’t doing its job and I swore in 30 minutes I thought I burned the skin. Turns out temp meter was fine and 3 hours later the turkey was juicy and cooked to perfection. The skin was sticky and chewy, sweet with malt and beer. A pastry chef at the dinner first complimented me for having made 1 of 3 best turkeys she’s ever had and then later told me it was actually THE best turkey she ever had. BLUSH! I was surprised myself that it came out as good as it did considering I didn’t quite know what I was doing, I guess that’s what recipes are for.

The wild rice stuffing wasn’t as popular, the wild rice probably could have used a bit more cooking but the pine nuts add a nice savory touch to the dish and a slightly crunchy texture that compliments the chew of the turkey. The mushroom gravy was standard and the cranberry chutney with orange peels and serrano pepper was probably the best (and only) chutney I’ve ever made. I learned that cranberries don’t actually have pits as I thought they did and imagined the nuisance of pitting it all before or after cooking.

The pear tart I’m not so proud about since it’s not a homemade crust, it’s puff pastry that I was required to purchase. I’d like to know why puff pastries are usually frozen and store bought and rarely attempted to be made from scratch in most recipes. The pears were underripe and the finish product was difficult to split and slice since giant half pears were sprawled belly up between the puffs. Not to mention one side was completely burnt. Fail.

Folks brought an amazing medley of veggies and starchy goods with mac n’ cheese, brussel sprouts, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets and the like. The dessert table was teeming with goodness with pear tart (a much yummier version than mine), chocolate bark, caramel popcorn and more. I was so full by the end and so ready to take a nap.

The drink of the evening was warm apple cider rum punch. I watched with admiration as Ruth poked an orange and stuck on whole cloves, voodoo doll style, and let the cider and juice seep out with clovey hints. It was divine.

It’s a relief to think I don’t have to do this again tomorrow, just make apple cake and join the fam and call it a day. I’ve made a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the family once and never again will I labor over an All-American dinner when all they request is some rice and kimchi. I’m looking forward to next year though, getting the ladies together again and feeling all home and family nestled together like little chirping birds.

Recipes are all available online:

Malt-Beer-Brined Turkey with Malt Glaze

Wild Rice Stuffing with Pine Nuts

Mushroom Tarragon Gravy

Cranberry-Orange Chutney

Vanilla Spiced Caramel Pear Tart

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Reader: November 23, 2010

Great Idea

The Tournament of Cookbooks

Scratchbread needs to raise a big chunk of money to secure equipment for his storefront. Help a brotha’ out, he just wants to make bread. Donate $10 on Kickstarter.

– In more pressing issues, Pablo, owner of the newly opened Greenpoint Bikes, is fighting a deportation case IN JAIL. He’s detained for god knows how long and needs folks to sign petitions and attend benefits to help raise funds to hire a lawyer to get his ass outta there ASAP. It’s absolutely frightening and deplorable the circumstances in which this happened. Lend a hand and come to the hearing or donate a couple bucks. You can even send Pablo a letter or a picture, not dirty pictures though, it’ll probably be taken away by the pervert pig police.

– Enjoying this sneak peek as I consider moving into a bigger better apartment.

– Brooklyn card makers to prepare for the holidays.

– Slice Magazine is hosting writing workshops in January.

Brooklyn Bread starts its weekly publication. I’d love to write for them.

– Check out the list of books on the side. I want to read them ALL. I miss reading so damn much.

Six stores that grew out of Artists & Fleas.

– My hero Brent Burket of Heart as Arena curated a series of crazy, buckwild, off the chart youtube videos for my other hero Hrag’s show #socialgraph at Outpost. I missed the screening events, but here are the videos he presents in one, two, three parts. Jeffrey Deitch cursing in his pink suit is the bomb.

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Afrocubism

Last week I stumbled upon an album. An album that was supposed to have been made some 14 years ago. In its stead Buena Vista Social Club was born resulting in a decade of solo albums, a grammy, and eight million copies. The original intention of fusing Cuban and African tunes was delayed due to visa delays and after much anticipation (and I’m sure regret and disappointment for not having done this in the first place), AfroCubism was born. Released this month and the center of a whirlwind of media attention and international touring, prominent and painstakingly talented players from both worlds have joined and made a most tearfully good album.

While listening to this album I didn’t associated AfroCubism with AfroCuban. I actually forgot that afrocuban existed as a genre. I drooled over the prospect of listening to Eliades Ochoa’s husky voice and country strumming alongside Toumani Diabate’s angelic kora and Bassekou Kouyate’s ngoni and Kasse Diabete’s tickling vibrational voice. Listening to it for the first time I was greeted with the familiarity found in listening to BVSC and the African’s instrumental masterpieces. It always brought about a sense of comfort, calm, depth, soulful & heartfelt eagerness, and genuine beat-to-the-heart jamming. Listening to any individual player’s albums over the last couple years I’ve learned plenty about my own preferences in music and how it completely reflects my mood or sentiment at any given moment. Whenever I listen to these guys my mind is at ease, it’s at peace.

AfroCubism mindbogglingly fuses the two worlds together, who’ve been of much influence to each other for decades and every other song is focuses on some regional or historical classic. The most moving song for me is Al Vaiven de Mi Carreta, a typical guajira with soulful & earnest voiceovers and a mix of instruments from both cultures. It’s so damn fucking good. How Ochoa’s words lingers for a few more seconds than perhaps intended gives me goosebumps, then only to be followed by Kasse Mady Diabete’s singing with that same lingering is divine. And reading the lyrics, a simple one about the suffering of farmers, gets me overtly pathetically sensitive and makes me tear.

Also of note is the album design. The crude singular drawings with the color scheme and jarring geometric cuts are modernism all over again. I’m attaching the pdf here so you can save and admire. There’s plenty information about each song as well. I highly recommend you put these songs in your ear as soon as possible and tell me you love it too.

Digital Booklet – AfroCubism

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Interview with Hrag and #thesocialgraph

Art Critic and Editor of art blogazine Hyperallergic, Hrag Vartanian is curating an upcoming show titled #TheSocialGraph, an “evolving exploration of the burgeoning field of social media art and the relation of contemporary art with this populist tool as a medium, facilitator, and subject for art”. Here, he speaks with me about the show, which opens TONIGHT at Outpost and runs thru Nov 27th.

What IS social media art and how does it differ from the ranting, rambling, abbreviating, hash-tagging, and sharing-info-I-don’t-care-to-know found in the likes of Twitter and Facebook?

LMAO…It isn’t, it’s part of the conversation that includes rambling and ranting. Art is simply something professional artists do (doesn’t matter where). Some part-time artists create art in their leisure time and let’s just say that many of us spend lots of leisure time on social media so it’s a nature fit.

But the short answer is social media art is art created, inspired, facilitated, or influenced by social media, social networks, and the social graph.

How is it art when the only medium used is language? Is it conceptual? Is it socially-conscious? Is it self-deprecating (as in the likes of William Powhida) and/or self-promotional (as in the thousands of Jerry Saltz’s “friends”? Is it ironic?

That’s not really true. Tumblr, for instance, is predominantly visual. Facebook is dominated by as many photos as words. Twitter is often littered with links to images or videos and then there is Flickr, YouTube, and other visual services. So social media isn’t only text. It’s in fact just a medium for communication in all its manifestations.

Illustration by Stephanie DeVincentis of Nate Hill’s “Punch Me Panda” (2010) performance, image courtesy the artist

How does social media boost or add onto contemporary art? Isn’t it a tool, a means to an end, that may be in the same category of a showcard and not a medium to create?

Well, that’s what the show is exploring. I’m trying to avoid the obvious Twitter or status update art (which I find played out) and looking at other ways it is used. Surprisingly there are some interesting experiments out there and some are more successful than others.

Performance artists — like Man Bartlett and Nate Hill — use it as a way to connect with a broader audience, some use it as subject matter for their art, like Jennifer Dalton who dug through critic Jerry Saltz’s crazy Facebook profile, and others were banned from it, like the Seychelle Allah of Space Slave Trade who was kicked off Facebook for sharing images deemed inappropriate.

Then there are street artists and street art photographers, like Elbowtoe, Luna Park, Jake Dobkin, Sam Horine, and Becki Fuller, who are having pretty amazing dialogues in real time on the streets and virtually on Flickr (which is the social media site of choice for street art) that involves images of each other and their art, and I’m not even getting into the topic of artists using the social media startup as a medium … which #TheSocialGraph will explore too!

The fact is that most people — including art people — have a very limited idea of social media art. In other words, it’s not what you had for breakfast. Though, if you’re curious, I had a sausage sandwich today and some left over mac ‘n cheese & a cold onion ring…Wait, am I oversharing?

Does this mean the already blurry lines of art and life are just totally fucked now? Is this even a relevant question?

Yes, life is fucked but art is great, so we’ll be fine. I think.

What can be found in the exhibition at Outpost?

There will be some projections, some virtual performances, a social space where events will take place or you can simply hang out. There will be … wait for it … an oil painting!! You’ll find plastic underwear you can take as long as you sign a contract and post an image of yourself with it on social media — that’s James Gilbert‘s brilliant “Tweeted, Googled & Inappropriately Touched” project, which explores the nature of privacy.

There will be installations and Nate Hill will be sleeping in the gallery as Punch Me Panda until someone tweets him to come over to their house so they can slug him for a penny. That’s just some of it. It’s going to be a blast.

Space Slave Trade, “Nuclear Tropics” (2010), image courtesy the artist

What are some events we can look forward to?

There will be a “retrospective” of James Kalm‘s (aka Loren Munk) YouTubes videos, which will be the first ever of the popular online art series. The dude has done an amazing job documenting and infusing his personality into the local art scene so we’re holding a night of communal viewing, which will be introduced and curated by Austin Thomas (who is another major Brooklyn personality). She will then lead a discussion afterwards about the videos and what they mean, inspire, etc.

We’re also curating, with the help of Brent Burket, a retrospective of YouTube videos, which is fun and will explore memes, cat videos, and black metal (one of Brent’s passions). There’s a listening party planned for the closing party, which will feature Paddy Johnson‘s awesome Sound of Art DJ battle record, and there’s more but you’ll just have to wait and see. The full schedule is still evolving and will be available at Hyperallergic.

Are you moving the Hyperallergic office to Outpost because you’re too lazy to commute? By setting up shop at the space will you be considered a performance? Will the office be available for viewing by the public?

Yup, we perform everyday, so why not in the space, right?

Actually, I’m treating Hyperallergic as an object and social hub. The art blogazine was conceived with social media as an integral part of its identity, so we wanted to plop that in the center of the action and generate content for the blogazine, tumblelog, podcast, etc. right from that space.

Social media is as much about revealing layers that aren’t normally seen from our relationships and connections, so we’ll be there and you can watch us work. If you want to show up and watch me peruse Chatroulette, be my guest! Though that’s really started to suck since they are asking people to stay fully clothed … boring. I’ve moved onto VYou.com, which is just bizarre and all the rage with the tech geek community of New York. So, come watch me answer people’s stupid questions if you wish. Or ask me one at http://vyou.com/hrag

Ok, I’ll come clean. It’s because I’m lazy, sorry for lying to you.

Can you give us a sneak peak of Man Bartlett’s site-specific work? Can it be described in color, shape, space, and material?

Man will actually be doing a residency in our Williamsburg office while we are in the Bushwick gallery. He’s going to be creating work for the show! LIVE! Don’t you love the World Wide Web? Btw, shouldn’t you have been asking me all this on social media instead of email? I mean, get with it, Joann!

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Kimchi Rosemary Chicken, Honey Glazed Potatoes, and Mustardy Carrots

It’s been about 2 months since I’ve started a new job which conveniently happens to be around the corner from my house. Before then I was commuting an hour to Chelsea and I hated it with all my guts, especially considering how much I hate the claustrophobic clusterfuck that is the subway. I now save two hours of my day (not to mention the added stress and anxiety) and have been taking full advantage of the extra time. This of course means I just spend a whole lot more time wondering what I should do with all my time, considering there’s just so damn much to do (classic case of New York neuroticism).

I’ve slowly been starting to cook regularly again after months of avoiding the kitchen and one of the best meals so far was made last night, on the whim no less. Angel and I share many a meals together and I’ve stuck to simple recipe-less dishes with generic ingredients like chicken, roasted veggies and pasta and haven’t been inspired enough to browse through food blogs and cookbooks to find meals to cook. Tonight was yet another one of those nights and I just happened to make an exceptional delicious meal.

May I present to you KIMCHI ROSEMARY CHICKEN. It’s dazzling perfection, a nice fusing of tastes with spicy and sweet mixed in with savory wholesomeness of sesame oil on slices of chicken tenders. The kimchi provided a great crunchy texture to the soft delicate chew and was the perfect amount of hotness to compliment with the dab of sweetness from sugar and sesame oil. I love adding sesame seeds when I can as it totally fulfills my oral fixation with their tiny yet generous popping-in-your-mouth experience.

I bought these giant reddish purple potatoes thinking they were sweet potatoes and was quite disappointed after peeling to find its white body. I am in love with sweet potatoes and have been obsessed with them lately but this would just have to do. I roasted it with some honey (I love roasting with honey), thyme, garlic, and salt & pepper. Simple as that. It came out to be a perfectly glazed toasted crunchy bite with soft and moist innards.

The sauce I mixed in with steamed carrots comes from a Bittman article where he lists 101 recipes to make your Thanksgiving cooking experience easier. The problem with this is portion. In making this mustard sauce I just played around with what I wanted to bring out more, mustard flavor, or a citrus-y cider effect. I went with the mustardy and lavished it with a bed of chopped scallion. It was soft and tangy and perked up your tastebuds a bit.

What a great meal.

Recipes

Kimchi Rosemary Chicken

6 pieces chicken tenders

1 cup chopped kimchi (napa cabbage variety)

olive oil

1/8 cup sesame oil

2 tbsp sesame seeds

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 minced garlic clove

3 rosemary sprigs

I used my cast iron skillet, warmed up some olive oil, lay down the chicken and sprinkled all the remaining ingredients, covered it up and let it simmer under medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. That’s it.

 

Steamed Carrots with Mustard Sauce

1 bunch of carrots

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 scallion stem finely chopped

Peel and slice whichever way you’d like. Steam until soft, let it cool on the side. Mix together remaining ingredients to make sauce and lather it with the carrots.

 

Honey Glazed Roasted Potatoes with Thyme and Garlic

3 giant purple potatoes, peeled and chopped into squares

2 tbsp honey

3 springs fresh thyme

olive oil

3 cloves garlic

salt & pepper

Lay out all ingredients in a baking pan and stick in an over at 450 degrees for 40-45 minutes til edges are nicely toasted.

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Reader: November 11, 2010

– Hypnosis by runway model Maeva. This ain’t a shabby idea. I was considering hypnosis to quit smoking and alleviate my anxiety. And what better way than to cozy it up with a french kitty model whispering into your subconscious? meow.

Korean on Korean. Hilarious. She has a new fan.

Chef’s tips for the Thanksgiving Meal: Cut up the bird before cooking, have an abundance of chicken stock on hand, use a thermometer.

101 Head Starts to Thanksgiving.

– GOOD on Four Loko, Eddie Huang on Four Loko.

– On Kindle and Project Gutenberg.

– Illustrated key to good cooking.

– How to order a burrito from Chipotle.

– Hipster Run Off on Jared Leto.

Meatball Shop may be coming to Willyburg.

– Thomas Edison’s 1899 video going over the Brooklyn Bridge.

– DIY project: paper frames.

Katie Madeline. Alas, ’tis too true.

– DIY wedding updos: classic Chignon.

– A Love Blog.

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Five Makes a Day

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