Y∆CHT

….not to be confused with a recreational boat or ship.

Last week I was enticed into attending a hipsterfied gathering of fans to listen to a Portlandia band, Y∆CHT and as Y∆CHT states aka;
“YACHT, Y∆CHT, Y△CHT, Y▲CHT, & Y.A.C.H.T. Capitalization of YACHT is crucial. The name is an acronym which stands for “Young Americans Challenging High Technology;” without proper capitalization this important layer of meaning is entirely lost. It also looks silly — just as “FBI” and “CIA” are senseless without proper capitalization (Fbi, Cia), so Yacht is unacceptable. The optional delta character (∆) represents change, which we believe is relevant since change is the only true constant in YACHT’s artistic output also YACHT.”
In my third decade of life I deemed myself thoroughly un-hip to attend said show but as an eternal optimist I went and loved.

Shangri-LA

Good people, great music and of course dancing were all had at the GD Rapids, Pyramid Scheme.  I would like to make mention that in order to up my hipsterness I did fashion myself a black-outlined, glitterized triangle tattoo on my forearm….BADA$$, Michelle {horrified? no judgment.}

My friend who suggested I attend, is sensational and designer-ed so I set aside my conviction of attending a bands’ performance of whom I was not already a fan of and now I have new music to enjoy and perform solo, kitchen, dance parties to!

Y∆CHT is a two-some: a chic tomboy {Claire L. Evans} and a guy {Jona Bechtolt} with the best coiffed hair of evah with a bizarro resemblance to Napoleon Dynamite.  Pitchfork describes Y∆CHT as “nervy, spastic electro-funk”

We {as in the fans} were greeted to the stage by triangular smiling emoticons, planted on white columns = makes you want to smile back.  Y∆CHT performed an electrifying set complete with fun hand-motions, general microphone sassiness and even a question and answer session.  Definitely a live show filled with energy, funk and serious GOODNESS!

Two faves of the evening:
Shangri-LA

Psychic City

Catch up with Y∆CHT on their blog dig into their experimentation, ideas, thoughts and utopian no placeness!

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Rustic Cabbage Salad Scented with Orange Peel

I recently acquired a green cabbage which could quite easily be the same size as my very own head.  Thinking about what to do with a cabbage of this stature, my thoughts processed, cabbage rolls, stew, slaw….and then I remembered a fabulously, simple salad that a dear friend had made for me years ago. I believe it is Italian in origin with rustic roots and a taste that hits home.

Rustic Cabbage Salad Scented with Orange Peel

As the cold weather begins to settle in, cabbage is plentiful and the orange peel adds not only flavor but zest and brightness.  Eating the cabbage raw lends to a greater intake in vitamins and nutrients especially vitamins C and K.  In addition, this salad is a welcomed contrast to the darker, heartier vegetables of fall and winter.

Rustic Cabbage Salad Scented with Orange Peel

Half a head of Cabbage, shredded finely
Drizzle of good olive, to coat salad
Drizzle of good vinegar, to coat salad
Sea Salt, to season
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to season
Rind from (1) Orange, grated

Toss together, the shredded cabbage (red or green, but I don’t recommend mixing the two because the red bleeds into the green and it is not as beautiful!) Then add good olive oil and vinegar, sea salt, cracked black pepper and grated rind from an orange. Allow the flavors to meld before serving.

Lemper: Indonesian Sticky Rice Rolls

Parcels of goodness.

Found in all corners of the world, in different forms, tastes, and textures: Latin America boasts empanadas, Eastern Europe takes pride in pierogis, China devotes itself to dumplings and Indonesia likens their lemper or sticky rice rolls.
I tasted my first lemper over one year ago and it would not be my last, at first bite I needed to get my hands on a recipe.

Lemper are popular Indonesian snacks that are great or the go or served as an   appetizer. I’ve eaten them at room-temp and warm (warm is my preference) yet, I would not hesitate packing these for a road trip, plane ride, or hike!

The base of lemper is glutinous rice, commonly known as sticky rice or sweet rice, this does not mean the rice has gluten in it, it has a high starch content causing it to “stick” to itself, which is helpful when rolling out the lemper. The filling is typically chicken, but fish or pork are also used. Everything is finally rolled inside a banana leaf and steamed or wrapped in plastic wrap to hold its shape and serve.

The ingredients for lemper can be found at your local Asian market. It is important to note that in American-Asian markets, sticky rice is typically sold as sweet rice.
**For GRapidians my go-to market is Asian Delight Market

These parcels are so much FUN to prepare, and the recipe makes enough for you to freeze or share with friends.

Get to your local Asian market and start rolling.

Lemper, Sticky Rice Rolls

Lemper: Indonesian Sticky Rice Rolls

Makes 30
Prep: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30-45 minutes

Ingredients:
2.2 pounds sticky rice
1 cup coconut milk
2.2 pounds chicken (I use a whole one, but use what you like)
6 garlic cloves
1 hunk of ginger, peeled
1 onion
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 pieces galangal (each 1/2 inch) –I typically find galangal in the freezer section, if you can’t find it you may substitute fresh ginger
6 kaffir lime leaves–if not fresh these are also found in the freezer section
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Preparation:
For the Filling:
**Tip: Rub the chicken with lemon or vinegar to clean, then wash with cold water.
In a large pot, boil the chicken until tender then remove. Reserve some of the liquid (about 1 cup) to use later on. I like to have a large bowl of cold water ready to submerge the cooked chicken in to cool.This will not only cool the chicken for preparation, but it guarantees a moist bird by stopping the cooking process.

I shred (with a fork) but you may chop the chicken very finely and set aside. Meanwhile, make a spice paste with the garlic, onion, ginger and coriander (I prefer using a mortar and pestle, beginning with the dry ingredients and adding the wetter ingredients in batches. If you prefer, a food processor or blender may also be used.

Once everything is ground down to a paste-like texture, heat oil in a pan and add the spice paste. Fry until fragrant, then add the chopped chicken, reserved bouillon water (about 1 cup or so–I also enjoy adding some coconut milk and adjust liquid accordingly) galangal, kaffir lime leaves (squeezed before you use them to release fragrance) salt, sugar and chicken bouillon powder. Stir the mixture occasionally and let cook until the water is completely evaporated. The filling is ready to use.

For the Sticky Rice:
Wash the rice a few times allowing the water to become clear. Drain and set aside.
If you have a rice cooker by all means, but if you are like me and do not have one you can do one of two things:
1. Follow this genius idea from She Simmers or
2. Grab a big pot. Fill the pot with about 7 1/2 cups of water — for each 1 cup of glutinous rice you need 1 1/2 cups water, (2.2 pounds of rice equates to around 5 cups of rice which means you need 7 1/2 cups of water) Bring the water to a boil and add the rice. Cover and steam about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the coconut milk, but don’t let it boil. When the rice is done cooking, add in the warmed coconut milk and stir until combined. The rice and coconut mixture may need to steam an additional 30-45 minutes, taste test for doneness, the texture will be sticky.

For the Rolling:
Okay, this may sound complicated, but it’s really NOT!
Have ready a sushi roller, plastic wrap or steamed banana leaves and a knife.

Lay out a square of sticky rice and place chicken filling atop
Rolled Lemper with Plastic Wrap
Cut the Lemper into size-able pieces

Take a sheet of plastic wrap or banana leaf and place it on the sushi roller.
Grab a handful of sticky rice and pat it into a square shape atop the sushi roller.
Add a few tablespoons of the chicken filling and roll.  You did it!
Now cut it into sizeable pieces and keep on rolling.
**If using banana leaves be sure to place rolled lemper into a heated skillet to roast/blacken the banana leaf. Doing this releases a great flavor from the banana leaf.  I’ve done lemper both ways (plastic wrap and banana leaf) taste-wise I enjoy no banana leaf, however aesthetically the banana leaf takes the cake!

Ready to store {Refrigerate or Freeze}

Eat what you like and refrigerate or freeze the rest.

Mash it up!

It rained the other day, and the smell of fall-dampened leaves was poignant.  To me, this weather calls for comfort food, a warm kitchen and soul-satisfying eats. I turned to some pantry staples: potatoes, kale, butter = mashed potatoes, by no means ascetic but fun to cook and good to eat!  I’m sure kale does not cancel out butter but it is an added nutrient!

Mashed Potatoes with Kale

Mashed Potatoes with Kale
2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed (I prefer to leave the skins on and use half red-skinned potatoes and half yukon gold)
Salt
1 bunch kale, with the ribs removed and the leaves washed
3 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 heaping tablespoons chopped green onions (about 3)
freshly ground pepper
1/2 stick of butter + some for sauteing
3 heaping spoonfuls of Greek Yogurt (you can also use sour cream)

1. Cover the potatoes with water in a saucepan, add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover partially and cook until tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 to 45 minutes.

2. While the potatoes are cooking caramelize the shallots and garlic in butter or oil in a hot skillet.  Remove the shallots and garlic to a large bowl and add the chopped kale and green onion.  Saute the kale for 4 to 6 minutes, until the leaves are tender but still bright green. Add to the large bowl with the caramelized shallots and garlic

3. Once the potatoes are mash-able remove from heat and drain.  Add to the large bowl with the caramelized shallots, garlic and now kale and green onion.  Add the butter and greek yogurt.  Using a potato masher or an electric mixer, beat until fluffy. Add salt to taste and freshly ground pepper. Serve hot, right away! Yield: a big bowl