Latin Falafels with no one (I blame the neighbors) [PICS + AUDIO + RECIPE]

I cooked this one solo.  The reason being the neighbors of my friend who hosted us decided to have a photo shoot in their shared backyard.  The worst part is that when we finished up everything in her living room (we made an audible to host inside), they hadn’t even taken a single photo, so basically they’re awful hipsters/human beings.  Being inside, with the bands loading in and soundchecking, made filming the cooking portion unrealistic, so to save time I just did everything myself.

A month or so prior, I came back to my apartment one Saturday afternoon after some morning errands and decided to cook something.  The problem was that I didn’t have much.  What I did find was a can of chickpeas and sweet plantains.  Inspired by mofongo, I thought to myself, what if I mashed them together and pan fried the mush in a skillet.  The result was a bizarre yet tasty sweet and savory patty that was far from complete, but something I knew I’d want to experiment with and use for the show.


Now back to the day of.  I had Philly’s The Lawsuits come up especially for a session and got Field Mouse last minute after another band pulled out.  Field Mouse sound like Beach House and My Bloody Valentine together.  Lawsuits sound like an indie version of traditional folk meets rhythm & blues.  But you can hear a song from their sets below.

As for the food, I made some changes to the initial on the fly recipe.  The below recipe makes 5-8 patties depending on how big you want them.

  • 1 can of garbanzo beans aka chickpeas
  • 3 plantains
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup unbleached white flour
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying
  • 1 tbsp butter


The process is as follows:

  1. Add chickpeas, plantains, and avocado to a bowl
  2. Mash them together with a potato masher until all the individual ingredients are indiscernible
  3. Add shopped garlic cloves, flour, salt, and pepper to the mush and continue to mash
  4. Heat pan to medium  (I used cast iron skillet)
  5. Add oil and butter
  6. Once oil is heated, scoop out 1/2 cup size portions of the mush and place in pan
  7. Once the first side has a nice crispy brown color, flip
  8. When it’s cooked through and crispy on both sides, add the sauce (see below)


Some people HATE cilantro, so I made two different yogurt sauces, which consisted of

  • Greek yogurt (roughly 16 oz)
  • lime juice (2 oz)
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • Either mint or cilantro

Mix everything together in a bowl then pile a heaping spoonful on top of your patty for a delicious meal.




The Lawsuits were up first.  They offered up a fun mix of rock, honky tonk, folk, and r&b.


The highlight for me though was Long Drive Home, which I wished they included in their focus tracks for us to film.  Well…so it goes.  You can still listen to it below.


Finishing things up for the afternoon was Field Mouse.  As mentioned earlier, guitarist Andrew hurt his finger.  Throughout the set, you could see that it was getting to him, but he was a trooper, powered through it, and delivered an amazing set.  It was loud.  Quite loud.  Louder than any other BBS to date.



Photos by Steve Alexandre.  Audio by Jonas Blank.

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NEW VIDEO: “Necessary Evil” by Modern Merchant

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Latke Waffles with Elizabeth & The Catapult (PICS + RECIPE + AUDIO)

We were fairly dormant over the summer. Well there’s a good reason. I got married for one and then it was a matter of finding the right artists that worked in our schedules. Ironically enough, the first session of the summer was on the first day of Fall. But I digress. This is about delicious Latke Waffles, smiles, and good music as opposed to excuses for hosting a summer concert series in the fall.

The week prior to this session, I went to see Kishi Bashi at Irving Plaza and happen to get there early to catch Elizabeth & The Catapult and was blown away. As it turns out, about 30 minutes into cooking, Elizabeth and I realized we had met 4 or 5 years ago at a mutual friend’s loft party where she was singing in an unrehearsed impromptu Talking Heads cover band.


What exactly are Latke Waffles? Well exactly what you’d think…a potato pancake made in a waffle iron. But there’s more. To top the waffles, I made my bourbon apple sauce (RECIPE HERE).

Now’s the bigger question: how’s it made?


Ingredients (to make two)

1/2 cup grated potatoes
1/8 cup grated onion
2-4 chopped garlic peels (depending on preference)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 egg
1/8 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp oil
Butter for greasing the waffle iron


  1. Before you start, turn on the waffle iron. If you can set the heat, I would put it somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of the max heat
  2. After grating the onions and potatoes, make sure to grain out as much water as possible and place into a mixing bowl
  3. Chopped the garlic and place into the same mixing bowl
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pepper
  5. Add the milk, maple syrup, oil to the large bowl
  6. Crack the egg white into a separate bowl and add the yolk to the larger bowl before beating the white until fluffy
  7. Add the egg whites by folding them gently into the batter.  If you mix too hard, the whites will lose their fluffyness
  8. Once the iron is preheated, smear butter on the top and bottom of iron.  Outside of butter making everything better, it’ll give it a scri
  9. Take a 1/2 cup measure and scoop batter into iron
  10. Once the buzzer for the iron goes off to indicate the waffle is ready, lightly open the iron to check the color of the waffle.  Based on your preferences on how well done you like, you can keep it in another minute or take it out
  11. Scoop some bourbon apple sauce on top and ENJOY!


Once we had all filled our stomachs with Latke Waffles, the first band hit the “stage,” which was Modern Merchant.


They were in the small group of bands who cold emailed me to perform who I thought it’d be a great fit and would add a new sound to the list of styles and artists who have previously performed.  Also, they brought an upright bass, which is just awesome.


The sound was perfect for the day.  A quote from their initial email to me explains it all: “The album was recorded in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, in an old blue house deep in the woods of Connecticut.”

They have a Grizzly Bear meets At Dawn-era My Morning Jacket vibe to them.  The music is simple yet complex.


Stream “Be That As It May” before and download their full set for free via NYCTaper.


Elizabeth was joined by her Catapult for the day:  guitarist/keyboardist Dear Georgiana and guitarist Jonno Linden.  They seem like family through their chemistry in both conversation and performance.


Elizabeth has a delicate way of being serious and fun at the same time.  She can crack jokes in between songs with names like “Go Away My Lover,” but that’s the sign that she’s able to use songwriting as a cathartic tool to move past whatever is ailing her.


Stream “I Wish I Didn’t” below and download her full set for free (including an awesome cover of Dawes “When My Time Comes”) on NYCTaper.

Photos by Dominick Mastrangelo.  Audio by Jonas Blank.  And last but not least, big thanks to Analuz for hosting!!!

NOTE:  Eric and I should be able to finish a bunch of videos before the end of the year.  Stay tuned!  For now, (re)watch what we got already.

Posted in Backyard Brunch Session, Brunch, Cheap Cooking, Events, Live Music, Organic Food, recipe, Vegetarian meal | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

EatWith a Stranger [PICS + RECIPE]

Six weeks ago I attended TechCrunch Disrupt in NYC.  While browsing through “Startup Alley,” I noticed a company called EatWith and spoke with this guy Joel who runs the business in Spain.  Essentially, EatWith is like airbnb, but instead of connecting locals and travels for a place to stay, this connects them for a place to eat. This was very fortuitous as I would be going to Spain in a few weeks time.

My initial thoughts were:

  1. I can’t wait to do this in Spain
  2. I can’t wait to meet up with Joel in Spain after we’ve experienced an EatWith meal to tell him what I thought
  3. When can I host a dinner in Brooklyn (more on that later)

Two weeks later, we were leaving Lisbon for Barcelona and getting excited for our EatWith meal that Joel recommended with Raki’s best friend (+ boyfriend Ryan), Yves (pictured below to the right), his wife, and his two boys.


Our 5-hours of preparation, meal, post-meal chat, and 2am wild boar hunt (more on that later) began at 7pm when Yves picked us up from the metro station to drive us to his house.  At this point, I must reiterate:  we had never met or spoken to this man before, but if you trust the filtering process EatWith has as well as your ability detect crazies online, there should be nothing to worry about if you’re considering this.

We started off the meal with some San Miguel beers and sangria.


For me, the most excited part of the meal was the paella.  To kickstart the process we made a fish stock from large/small crabs and about 5 different kinds of bottom feeder fish that you wouldn’t normally eat regularly.


On the side, we cleaned mussels, squid, cuttlefish, and prawns (not pictured).  For the squid, it’s important to note that we kept the ink sack to color a side sauce and we sauteed the egg sack just to have on the side (it tasted like egg).


While I was prepping everything for the paella, Ryan was on Romesco sauce duty for the salad.  I had never heard of or tried Romesco sauce before, so I had no basis for comparison, but the one we made was delicious.  It’s a combination of nuts, paprika, garlic, tomato, and anchovies.


To go along with the sauce was lettuce, olives, tuna, rehydrated salted cod.  As for the latter, I had always seen it at markets, but never knew what to do with it, but it’s exactly as one would think.  It’s salted for preservation and to rehydrate it for cooking use, you simply soak it in water overnight.


Back to the paella. While the stock was simmering, I toasted the pasta (correct.  not rice) in a pan to brown it.


Then I placed the pasta on the side and sauteed the squid and cuttlefish in sofrito sauce.


Once the seafood was cooked enough, I added fish stock.


And then you add the mussels, prawns, and pasta.


Once the pasta absorbed most of the sauce, it was ready to eat.


But the meal wasn’t over because we poached pears in lemon, wine, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, clove, and orange peels.  Very very very tasty way to end the meal.


After we were done, we were chatting with Yves and his wife for everything from how they met to life in Spain and politics.  As I always say, nothing brings people together better than good food.  Around 1:30am, Yves walked us out and helped us find a taxi at which point we noticed the below sign and got intrigued.  Don’t feed what pigs???


Apparently in Yves’s neighborhood there are a lot of wild boars.  These wild boars are the exactly opposite of Babe, so we began wondering around the neighborhood with precaution to track one down.  We found one after 10 or so minutes.  It was over 100 pounds easily.  Camouflaged in the darkness of a bush except for it’s bright eyes and large teeth.  Needless to say, we kept our distance and made our way back to find a taxi and PASS OUT.

EatWith was a huge success.  Also, it’s important to note that they’re launching in NYC.  As soon as I get my act together and submit all the paperwork, I’ll be hosting a few meals at my place for travelers throughout the world to see what life and people are like in Brooklyn as told through out food.  Very exciting!

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Another one from the vault: Lady Lamb The Beekeeper

Hard to believe a year and a half ago Aly aka Lady Lamb The Beekeeper made Grilled Cheese French Toast with me.  Anyways, to help her promote her brand new album Ripely Pine (out now on Ba Da Bing Records), we thought we’d go into the vaults and cut up this gem:  Florence Berlin.  Watch the video below, feel free to download the full BBS set for free here, and check out the premiere coverage on Consequence of Sound.

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Googa Mooga is BACK!

The press release for this year’s Googa Mooga made my day.  I had so much fun last year.

Offering everything from duck sausage to grilled Maine lobster to Guinness stout brownies to foi gras doughnuts, GoogaMooga’s 2013 food lineup currently encompasses 85 restaurants (listed below). A few particularly exciting new additions this year, each epitomizing Brooklyn’s dynamic role in the culinary landscape, include Gywnnett St., Pork Slope, and Motorino. These join returning Brooklyn favorites such as Roberta’s Pizza, Calexico, Seersucker, South Brooklyn Pizza, Do or Dine, and Char No. 4. Manhattan restaurants new to the festival’s General Admission include Salvation Taco, Umami Burger, The Meatball Shop, Pig and Khao, Pok Pok Phat Thai, Jeepney, Eataly, Craftbar, Jeffrey’s Grocery, and Joe’s Pub. Fans can also look for Baohaus, Big Gay Ice Cream, Dinosaur BBQ, Momofuku Milk Bar, M.Wells, Colicchio & Sons and Crif Dogs, all returning. Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors will be on site with their famous dry-aged, prime beefs and acclaimed chef Ken Oringer will come down from Boston to serve Spanish tapas from his restaurant Toro. For those with dietary concerns, GoogaMooga has added more vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options to its menu.

As for music, the main highlights for me are Flaming Lips, Lee Fields, Sharon Jones, Sharon Van Etten, and my dear friends/BBS alumni Pearl and the Beard.

Tickets go on sale on April 1.  Don’t miss out!

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Homemade Duck Pastrami [RECIPE]

You read correctly. I made duck pastrami. That salty, spicy, sweet, and fatty delicious smoked meat, but with a twist that’s better than most M. Night Shyamalan movies: DUCK!

Wednesday night after work, I went to Hong Kong Market in Chinatown to buy two whole ducks. The thing about duck breasts is that they would run about $8 each if butchered. One whole duck in Chinatown would cost as much as 2 breasts in a fancy butcher. SOOOO I butchered them myself with over 5 lbs of leftover duck to make later. Win-win.


I rinsed the duck breasts off, dried them off with a paper towel, and applied a cure to it consisting of the following:

  • maple syrup
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ginger
  • coriander
  • chili flakes
  • allspice
  • nutmeg

I let that sit in Tupperware in my fridge until Sunday morning. I threw them in a large bowl and added cold water. Every thirty minutes for two hours, I dumped the water and added more to replace it. This is to brine the duck and rinse off the spices at the same time.

After two hours, I rinsed them off one final time, dried them off, and brought them over to my old friend Josh’s apt around the corner to be SMOKED.

Before prepping the fire, I reapplied the following to the entire breast:

  • Salt
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • coriander


We added wood to the makeshift smoker, lit it with Josh’s handy blow torch, and waited for the temperature to reach roughly 220 degrees. We placed aluminum foil over the grill and threw the duck breasts down. This would capture the delicious fat drippings.


After about 2 hours, the breasts were ready. However, the fat was still VERY thick, so we rendered it out in a cast iron skillet. NOTE: I did save the rendered fat, which I will use this week to make confit with the 4 duck legs I butchered.


Then we were ready to slice and taste!!!


Overall, it was approximately an 80+ hour process, but TOTALLY worth it. Next up, I’m going to make pastrami lox. Stay tuned.

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Brand New Givers Video

We went into the BBS vaults to complete this amazing performance from Givers.  If you remember, drummer Kirby and I made masala waffles.  And if you like the sound of this song, you can download the full set here.

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My First Batch of Homemade Mozzarella

For my birthday, my girlfriend gave me two surprise classes at Brooklyn Kitchen, the latter of which we would attend together.  The first class was Knife Skills and I ended up buying a fancy knife as a birthday gift for myself.  The second was, as it turned out, mozzarella making class.  The class was being taught by one of the cheesemongers at Eataly, so I knew during her introduction that she would be legit and I’d learn a lot from her.

My mozzarella turned out tasty (as you will see below), but surprisingly didn’t yield as much as expected given that we used 1.5 gallons of milk.

To make the conversions easier from the 1.5G recipe I used, below is the recipe for 1G.


Phase one is making the curd.

  •  Lightly pour 1G milk (creamline, lightly pasteurized) across the sides of the stainless steal pot.
  • Gradually add citric acid solution (1 1/2 tsp. in 1/2 cup bottled water) while you stir gently.
  • Turn on low heat and bring mixture to approx 88-90 degrees F (10-12 minutes)
  • Once the temp is reached, turn off the heat and add the rennet solution (1/4 tsp rennet in 1/4 cup bottled water)


  • After 30 minutes, a jello custard-like texture should be achieved.  Cut the curd into 3/4-1 in squares.
  • Let the curd sit for 5 min after being cut.


  • Heat to 105 degrees F.  Slowly stur the curds while they are heating (approx 10-15 min).
  • Once temp is reached, remove from heat and continue to stir for 3-5 min.


  • Ladle the curds into a colander lined with cheesecloth  and allow liquid whey to drain for approx 10-15 min.


  • To test, if it’s ready to stretch, lift up the cheesecloth and it should barely drip.


Phase two is Stretching

  • Remove the curd from the cheesecloth and cut into 1-2 in cubes (Note:  below pic is 1/4 of the cheese that was made in my batch as I was in a group of 4)


  • Cover the curds with hot water and let it sit for 3 min or until curbs are evenly warmed and malleable/stretchy.
  • Drain off water and pour more hot water over the curds bringing the internal temp in the curd to 135 degrees F.
  • Begin stretching the curd.  Vertically pull down lightly enough for gravity to do most of the work.  As cheese begins to cool down, dunk in the hot water until it once again hot enough for stretching.
  • Once the cheese is properly stretched, add 1/2 tbsp of salt and continue stretching until the salt is evenly distributed throughout.
  • To fashion a proper mozzarella ball, take vertical strand of stretched mozz, fold forward, fold backward, and then fold stacked portion into itself, tear, then repeat.  (note:  make sure cheese is still hot enough)


With this cheese I made homemade flatbread pizza…and I mean homemade.  The cheese.  the sauce.  The dough.  See below.

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I loved both classes at Bk Kitchen.  Learned a lot.  Got 10% off some awesome kitchen supplies.   Definitely recommend taking one if you can.

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Thanksgiving Beet Salad [RECIPE]

I made the entire Thanksgiving meal myself.  It’s not as bad as many moms and aunts say it is.  I enjoy cooking.  I enjoy seeing other people enjoy my food.  So Thanksgiving is probably the best holiday for me.  Plus my family handled all the cleanup, which is usually the worst part.

Thanksgiving Feast

To open up the meal, I completely winged a salad that ended up tasting delicious.

The night before, I roasted whole medium-sized beets for an hour on 500 degrees.  As soon as they came out of the oven, I peeled the outer layer.  Waiting until they’re cool will make them more difficult to peel, so bite a wooden spoon and get it done while it’s hot.  I then waited for the beets to cool down, cubed them, and put into Tupperware in the fridge.

Two hours before the meal, I made the dressing combining sliced strawberries with aged balsamic, olive oil, and Mike’s Hot Honey with salt and pepper to taste.  There should enough liquid to almost completely cover the strawberries in a bowl.  I let that sit until everyone was seated and ready to eat.

I added all the dry ingredients in a bowl together (beets, arugula, and toasted walnuts) then slowly tossed in the dressing.  I plated the salad with an additional drizzle of hot honey.

It was the perfect sweet, savory, and spicy start to the meal.

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