It’s no secret that I’m super into food and cooking, but not too many people know that I’ve got a very deep love for music as well. Cooking gets me thinking, but music… music gets me feeling. I’ve gotten in a rut recently. Not an emotional one, mind you, but a creative one. I’d been making a lot of my favorite dishes over and over again, and playing all my usual playlists ad nauseam. But, I gotta give a monster shout-out to the app Spotify for introducing me to all kinds of songs and artists I’ve never heard—or often even heard of—through its “Radio” and “Discover” features, not to mention the countless recommendations friends have sent to me via a collaborative playlist or through the in-app messaging system. And now, I’ve discovered another really cool tool within Spotify that’s not only gotten me even more excited about finding new music… it’s also gotten me excited about cooking new dishes.
It’s called Geotunes, and its purpose is to help people “locate and listen to songs written about cities, landmarks, events and more using a giant interactive map as your musical playground.” My buddy Tim Herscovitch is actually the one who introduced me to it; he’s been working as the Interactive Content Lead on it and suggested I could use it to put together themed playlists for when I’m cooking a dish from a particular region for friends. After Tim gave me a quick little tour of the Geotunes app within Spotify—all of which is free to use by the way—I felt inspired to start listening to music from some of the countries with my favorite foods. I clicked on India and set it on shuffle for a while and got to dreaming about what I wanted to make.
Sure, I could pop in some Ravi Shankar while whipping up some chana masala, but I like that Geotunes doesn’t just find music from your selected city/region/country, it finds songs that are about your chosen location. Sure, they aren’t all going to be to your liking since it spans all genres, but you’re able to isolate the songs you like on your own playlist and skip those you don’t enjoy. And every so often, you come across a little stylized “g” (the Geotunes icon: ) next to a track, which lets you know there’s some bonus information about it and how it ties into your place of interest.
Now then, about India. I’ve got my Spotify account and I’ve downloaded Geotunes on my desktop… so what food do I want to make now? Here are a few of my favorite Indian recipes that I think would be GREAT to cook alongside the Geotunes India playlist on shuffle:
This recipe is straight out of Anupy Singla’s celebrated cookbook, The Indian Slow Cooker. It uses quite a little list of different spices, but that tends to be the nature of the beast when you’re dealing with Indian cuisine. Seriously, this just screams comfort food to me. Bonus that it’s vegan and gluten-free! (Photo & recipe via The Perfect Pantry)
Sample track I liked from the “Geotunes: India” playlist — “India Pindia”, by Tøyen
My good friend Melissa, the mastermind behind one of my favorite blogs, has been on a roll lately with her delicious ayurvedic-inspired recipes and this latest one of hers looks no different. Chock full of mung dal (split mung beans), beets, beet greens, and basmati rice, I’m getting hungry all over again just looking at her beautiful picture.
This kitchari recipe is vegetarian, but can easily be made vegan by using coconut oil in place of the ghee (clarified butter) that’s called for. Bonus that it’s also gluten-free!
(Photo & recipe via Vegenista)
Sample track I liked from the “Geotunes: India” playlist — “Hunting Tigers Out In India”, by Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
I love Heidi Swanson’s original recipes and her wonderful cookbooks, but I really love when she tweaks other people’s dishes. Here, she transforms chef Suzanne Goin’s potato-tomato gratin simply—by using curry in place of thyme.
Vegans: Feel free to use coconut oil instead of butter and unsweetened coconut milk for the cream. (Photo & recipe via 101 Cookbooks)
Sample track I liked from the “Geotunes: India” playlist — “India Sleeping”, by Mars
I’ll be putting some more of these cooking and music posts up in the coming weeks, since I think it’s kind of a neat idea. Any cuisines in particular you’d like to see? Leave a note in the comments section or hit me on Twitter: @RandyClemensEsq. Hope you’ve gotten inspired too!
For months now, I’ve been talking about going to the farmers market to buy some local, seasonal, organic vegetables and coming up with a spontaneous recipe that utilized my haul. But I’ve been procrastinating big time, and one of my excuses was that the my nearest farmers market didn’t have ANY organic farmers present. So here I am walking to Whole Foods Market instead and I see a poster announcing that the Downtown Glendale Market had just moved to a new location with a whole bunch of organic growers! (Bonus points that Carole Gallegos is the new market manager; I used to love chatting with her and shopping at the Studio City Farmers Market when she was there.) (more…)
Yes, it’s true! I’m putting together a Sriracha Festival in downtown Los Angeles with my good friend Joshua Lurie from FoodGPS.com!
The 1st Annual L.A. Sriracha Festival is taking place on Sunday, October 27, from 3 pm to 6 pm at LOT 613 in the downtown L.A. Arts District. This chef-driven, all-inclusive, 21+ event spotlights the world’s most iconic hot sauce in a casual industrial setting. Multiple stations allow guests to enjoy a variety of Sriracha themed dishes, including desserts, at their own pace. Local craft beer, cocktails, and sodas help tame the heat while a live DJ set helps create a fun and unforgettable food and drink experience.
Some of L.A.’s best chefs and restaurants participating in this year’s event include:
- Wesley Avila— Guerrilla Tacos — “Best Tacos in LA Under $10”, Time Out LA (2013)
- Nadav Bashan — Bashan — “Most Underrated Restaurant in LA”, Eater
- Neal Fraser — BLD, Fritzi Dog, ICDC, Redbird at Vibiana, The Strand House —Top Chef: Masters (Season 5)
- Gabe Gordon — Beachwood BBQ & Brewing — “Best Brewpub in Southern California”, RateBeer.com (2013)
- Eric Greenspan — The Foundry on Melrose, Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese, The Roof on Wilshire — Iron Chef: America, The Next Iron Chef
- Tai Kim — Scoops — ”10 Best Ice Cream & Gelato Shops” (#8), LA Weekly (2011)
- Esdras Ochoa & Javier Fregoso — Mexicali Taco & Co. — “The Best Tacos in Los Angeles”, laist (2013)
- Christian Page — Short Order — “5 Reasons to Get Out and Explore LA”, Bon Appetit (2012)
- Tui Sungkamee & Jazz Singsanong — Jitlada — Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants (#9), LA Weekly’s 99 Essential Restaurants (2013)
- Chloe Tran & John Vu Cao — East Borough — “One Perfect Day in Costa Mesa,” Sunset Magazine, opening restaurant in Culver City
- Ernesto Uchimura —Plan Check Kitchen + Bar — “Chef of the Year”, Los Angeles Magazine (2012) — also featuring a cocktail from Matthew Biancaniello
To drink, Eagle Rock Brewery, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, and Firestone Walker Brewing Co. will be pouring craft beers throughout the event. Inventive bartenders Josh Goldman (Soigné Group) and Matthew Biancaniello are serving creative cocktails in the main festival area and at the Plan Check Bar booth, respectively. Los Angeles Ale Works has created artisan ginger ale (with or without Sriracha!), Pure Water of Los Angeles is providing beyond-green purified water from their water systems.
Huy Fong Foods, Inc. has generously come on board as a presenting sponsor. David Tran, founder of Huy Fong Foods and mastermind behind their Sriracha, will be making a rare, special appearance at the event. Uber is offering festival guests a free ride valued at up to $20 for first time users, and Ten Speed Press is giving a copy of The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook to all VIP guests.
A portion of proceeds from the L.A. Sriracha Festival will directly benefit Food Forward; a North Hollywood-based charity whose mission is to rescue and donate fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste. Over 1.6 million pounds of food has been gleaned since 2009, which goes to local food pantries, helping feed over 40,000 hungry Southern Californians each month.
General Admission tickets are $49 per person in advance, and $59 per person at the door, if still available. Tickets are all-inclusive, and enable attendees to sample freely from all food and drink vendors as they please. Tickets are only available for people 21+.
VIP Tickets for the event are $80 in advance, and $90 per person at the door, if available. They include reserved seating, one-hour early admission from 2 pm to 3 pm, and a signed copy of The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook. Tickets are only available for people 21+ and are for sale exclusively at LAsrirachafestival.nightout.com.
Valet parking is available at nearby 619 Imperial Street for $10 per car, and free street parking is also an option.
LOT 613, 613 Imperial Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90021,www.lot613.com
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About The Sriracha Cookbook: Randy Clemens released The Sriracha Cookbook in January 2011, incorporating his favorite hot sauce in 50 unique recipes. The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook recently launched in July 2013 with an additional 50 recipes, all plant-based in nature.
About Food GPS: Josh Lurie founded Food GPS in 2005. Since then, his Los Angeles-based website has remained dedicated to pinpointing the highest quality, best-tasting food and drink, regardless of price or cuisine, and sharing stories of people behind the flavor. Food GPS, Inc. also produces unique culinary events.
FOLLOW THE 1st ANNUAL L.A. SRIRACHA FESTIVAL UPDATES ON:
Welcome to the most personal thing I’ve ever written.
Yes, I’m an open book when it comes to answering questions, but surely we all have things in our lives we aren’t immediately forthcoming about… things we consider trivial that we don’t wish to trouble others with. But I’ve been faced with a great many questions lately—rhetorical mostly—as has my wonderful, beautiful mother Bonnie, who is currently battling Stage IV diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. (Very aggressive cancer, in layman’s terms.) And being here now, in this unforeseen reality, the questions we began asking weren’t yielding any kind of reasonable answers. So, we backed up, and started asking all new questions. (more…)
Have you ever made your own almond milk? I hadn’t until about a year ago, and I knew instantly that I’d never go back to the store-bought stuff in the cartons.
This… this had flavor! It actually tasted like almonds, wasn’t cloyingly sweet, and was far more nutritive than anything you might find dead on a shelf.
For optimum flavor and nourishment, I always use raw almonds that I’ve sprouted myself. It’s a fun little science project in a way, and it really is easy to do.
And a word about those raw almonds before we proceed: make sure they’re truly raw. You see, the fine folks at the USDA (in partnership with the Almond Board of California) saw fit to pass a ridiculous law that required all almonds grown in the United States to undergo pasteurization, even those that are labeled as “raw.” And while “raw” organic almonds have to be steam pasteurized, conventionally grown almonds are often sterilized with propylene oxide, a compound that the USDA’s homies, the EPA, call a “mild [central nervous system] depressant” and a “probable human carcinogen.” There is a small loophole that does allow consumers to still buy truly raw almonds directly from a farmer at a farmers’ market, or by purchasing imported raw almonds. (Do try to find and support local growers, even if our government doesn’t extend the same courtesy with legislation like this.)
Anyway, on to how to make the almond milk.