Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sauce Hollandaise: Pour la Darcette

Darcy tweeted the other day that she was going to be cooking up some Julia Childs' recipes and thus also learning some French.
Here is a tried and true recipe for la sauce hollandaise, or as we call it chez moi, œuf sauce, or butter still: lardendaise sauce.  The recipe was taken from a book called Les Sauces, which is a compendium of nearly every sauce known to French cooking:

1 & 1/3 stick butter
3 egg yolks (throw the whites away or feed them to your dog)
2 Tbls water or dry white wine
1/4 tsp white pepper
ca. 2 Tbl lemon juice

Melt the butter in a pan then set aside (a microwave is fine too-just get it hot enough to melt).

Mix the egg yolks and the water or wine in a separate pan (I use a double boiler and this pan serves as a place to keep the sauce when finished). Whisk the yolks and the wine with one of those wire whips just until the yolks begin to thicken. This is why harsh direct heat should be avoided (they are worth having if you make lots of sauces). At this point, begin adding the melted butter little by little all while whisking. Add the lemon juice, pepper and a dash of salt according to taste.

If the sauce crashes (separates into oil and solids) remove from the heat immediately. It is sometimes possible to save the sauce by adding more white wine: the ethanol in the wine acts as an emulsifier, helping to mix the oil from the butter with the protein/water from the egg.

This recipe makes enough for 4 people on a diet. Scale accordingly.

bon appetit!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Roots Of Grunge (part 1)

Authentic garage band. Lurve it!

And there's these guys:

"A pretty face can hide an evil mind"

One more!

Is that MomDarcySport one of the "dancers" on the platform behind Johnny? ;)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

When it's my turn, I turn...into a loon!

Watch Fred skunk some snotty kid...and entertain the hell out of us at the same time!

Some Aussie Surf for Chickelit!

They did 45 years ago...and they're still doin' it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Long (but Cool) Woman In A Black Dress Song

Always liked this song from my youth and I thought I'd riff on the title of Haz's last post. Here are the lyrics which tell a good story. The Hollies [added: they were inducted into R&R Hall of Fame this year] singer/guitarist Alan Clarke seems to garble some of the lyrics, so here they are for an easy sing along:

Saturday night I was downtown
Working for the FBI
Sitting in a nest of bad men
Whiskey bottles piling high
Bootlegging boozer on the west side
Full of people who are doing wrong
Just about to call up the DA man
When I heard this woman singing a song
A pair of 45's made me open my eyes
My temperature started to rise
She was a long cool woman in a black dress
Just a 5-9 beautiful tall
With just one look I was a bad mess
'Cause that long cool woman had it all
I saw her heading to the table
Well a tall walking big black cat
When Charlie said I hope that you're able, boy
Well I'm telling you she knows where it's at
Well then suddenly we heard the sirens
And everybody started to run
Jumping under doors and tables
Well I heard somebody shooting a gun
Well the DA was pumping my left hand
And she was holding my right
Well I told her, "Don't get scared
'Cause you're gonna be spared"
Well I'm gonna be forgiven
If I wanna spend my living
With a long cool woman in a black dress
Just a 5-9 beautiful tall
With just one look I was a bad mess
'Cause that long cool woman had it all
Had it all, had it all, had it all...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An Interesting (But Long) Story

I want to tell an interesting story; interesting to me, at least, since I heard it from a friend and it's about musicians.

My friend, and I'll call him Mr. B here, called Friday to ask if I'd like to meet at our favorite bar for a beer.  Of course I would; that's what friend are for, and I always enjoy spending time with Mr. B.

Mr. B is an interesting guy.  He's a high-powered lobbyist with offices in several of the fifty-seven states as well as in DC.  He's also an amateur musician with a garage band and is a fan of rock and roll.  We're the same age and like the same kinds of music.

We were talking about rock and I mentioned having received an email from my son telling me that Levon Helm is going to play near Chicago this summer and asking whether I'd like to go with him to the concert.  Mr. B's eyes lit up and he said "Let me tell you how I almost met Levon Helm."

Back fifteen years or so, Mr. B's student intern approached him at work and said "Boss, my girlfriend Amy and I are graduating from the U in a couple of weeks.  Amy is a music major and wants to sing for her family and friends, about thirty people, after the graduation ceremony.  She reserved a back room in a bar near campus, but they've canceled the reservation because they expect a large crowd that day.  Would it be okay if Amy sang in your sun room or on your patio instead?"

So Mr. B said "okay", and ordered some food, beer, wine and rented some extra chairs for the event.

On graduation day, after the ceremony, Mr. B's intern and his girlfriend Amy arrive at Mr. B's home.  The intern says "Mr. B, I'd like you to meet my girlfriend, Amy Helm."    Mr. B says "Very nice to meet you, Amy, and congratulations on your graduation."

The intern says "Mr. B, You probably didn't know this, but Amy is Levon Helm's daughter."

Whoa.  Mr. B. asked Amy if her parents were going to be at the party, and Amy explained that her parents had divorced many years ago.  Her mother remarried and would be at the party with her stepfather, but not her dad.

A few minutes later Amy walks up to Mr. B and says "Mr. B, I'd like to introduce you to my mother and my step father, Donald Fagen."  Mr. B damn near passes out.  He's a life-long Steely Dan fan, and here's Donald Fagen in his living room.  The exchange pleasantries and Amy begins to sing.  She sings and plays guitar for an hour and it's wonderful.

Donald Fagen hangs out at the rear of the crowd, shy, not really interacting.  He disappears for a while and goes upstairs where a babysitter is taking care of the B's young children.  Mr. B learns later that Donald Fagen sat on the floor with his kids and sang nursery rhymes.

The Amy Helm concert ends and the guests drift out.  When there are only a few people left, Donald Fagen asks Mr. B if it would be okay to play the B's piano.  Mr. B says okay, and Donald Fagen sits down and plays Steely Dan songs for thirty minutes.  At Mr. B's piano, in Mr. B's family room.

At the end of it, the extended Helm family offers their thanks and everyone leaves.

Two weeks later a FedEx parcel arrives.  It's from Donald Fagen and includes a lovely letter, an autographed picture of Donald Fagen with Mr. and Mrs. B, two tickets to a Steely Dan concert in NYC, several CDs and a photo of Donald Fagen playing piano in the B's family room.

How cool is that?

Here's a great vid of Levon Helm singing "The Weight", a song made popular when Levon was the drummer for The Band.  You'll see Amy Helm singing backup in this vid, right next to Sheryl Crow.  Sing along with the chorus.  You know the words.

You might notice a guitar player who's wearing a fedora.  That's Buddy Miller, one of the best studio musicians in Nashville, or the world for that matter. Buddy has several CDs of his own, some with his wife Julie.  Buy one.  They are exceptional.  Buddy writes and performs "roots" music; music that harkens back to the beginning of country, rock and blues music.  How good is Buddy Miller?  Well, Robert Plant picked him to tour with Plant and Alison Kraus when they toured for the Raising Sand CD (another CD you should own).

Levon Helm has been in declining health of late.  He has suffered two bouts of throat cancer that silenced his voice for quite a few months.  He's touring again this summer, and I hope it doesn't become a "farewell" tour.  If you don't have a recent Levon Helm CD, I suggest "Electric Dirt", another paean to roots music.  The title song "Dirt Farmer" can be viewed on YouTube.

And since part of Mr. B's interesting story is about Donald Fagen, here's a vid of a song you'll no doubt remember.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

These Three Guys Are Related

We've all heard of musical families, right?  The Carter Family, The Nelsons, The Marsalis brothers, and many more.

This one may be a bit of a surprise, unless you're really into music (and I know you are, which makes this so fun).

three musicians, all cousins, all about the same age, all learned to play on a piano that their respective families mortgaged their homes to buy.  And all have a similar style.

First, Jerry Lee Lewis.  Who doesn't know ol' Jerry Lee, one of the founders of rock and roll?

Man, I need to cool off after that.  But not with this guy, Jerry Lee's cousin Mickey Gilley.

I was once in Mickey Gilley's saloon in Fort Worth.  I was in Dallas on business, had an evening free, and wanted to see where urban Cowboy had been filmed. It was the twenty scariest minutes of my life.  Fights, smashed bottles, mechanical bull riding, tobacco spitting, swearing; and that was just the cowgirls.  I vamoosed.

And now the third cousin.............Jimmy Swaggart, the evangelical preacher of some repute.  Try has ol' Jimmy may, there's some of the family boogie woogie in hiskeyboard, even at service.  Watch for the riffs beginning at about :25 into the vid.

Whoever taught them did a fine job.  Except for that thing about how to treat women.  that was a disaster for all three.