New year, new beginnings and a heaping helping of good luck!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 1st, 2013 by Babs

New Year's Day 2013

Yes, Virginia – that actually is Seattle on New Year’s Day 2013!

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I like the idea of January 1 providing a symbolic fresh start – and I love superstitions and good luck rituals. So it’s in that spirit that I (mostly) promise to buckle down and make Devil’s Apricot a more regular endeavor, and I do so with a traditional New Year’s Day offering – Hoppin’ John.

Somehow, it wasn’t until I was an adult that my grandmother mentioned the notion that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day was supposed to bring luck and prosperity in the coming year. I probably could’ve used the help prior to her revelation, but I’ll blame the oversight on the fact that her thoughts were more occupied with bowling than bouillabaisse – and the closet full of vintage bowling league shirts she gave me makes up for the delay in passing on that bit of lore.

I’m not sure if I dug into the can she sent home with me that year, but since I’d rather bring myself good luck through culinary pursuits than by forwarding annoying chain letters, I’ve (mostly) attempted to start my year off with some black-eyed peas ever since.

Hoppin’ John is the traditional way to accomplish that goal by doing more than just opening a can (but not much more). It’s also a great way to make sure you start your year off right – and by “right,” I mean “with bacon. “

If you want to get fancy, you can – but trying to turn low-fuss peasant food into some kind of gourmet endeavor misses the point and kind of makes you a dick. Besides, if you’re making this on New Year’s Day, the odds that you or someone under your roof are hungover are better than average – so let’s keep it simple, shall we?

What you’ll need:

Bacon (the more, the merrier) – chopped
Oil (whatever’s handy – vegetable, olive, canola)
Onion – chopped
Bell pepper (green is standard, red is eye-catching) – chopped
Celery (one stalk is fine) – chopped
Garlic (I don’t believe you can have too much – so you might want to start with a clove or two) – minced
Two cans of black-eyed peas (drained)
Creole seasoning (no sweat if you don’t have it – try a combo of cayenne, black pepper and salt) – to taste
Rice (cook it separately)

In a big pot, heat the oil and fry the bacon. Add the onion, pepper and celery and sauté them over medium-high until they look like they’d like to meet the garlic. Add it and let them mingle for a minute or two.

Dump the black-eyed peas in add the seasoning(s), stir and figure out how soupy you’d like your Hoppin’ John to be. Half a can of water is usually a good place to start – remember that you’re going to be serving this over the rice (which you should have already started).

Depending on how magnanimous, grumpy, mischievous and/or sadistic you’re feeling, you can either add the hot sauce now or let everyone adjust the level of heat to fit his or her particular tastes/condition/heat tolerance.

Make sure everything’s heated through and the rice is ready, and serve.

If there are leftovers, it’s fine to throw the rice and hoppin’ john into the same container. It’s also fine to eat ‘em cold – just grab a fork and help yourself to some delicious good luck!

Happy new year, everyone – here’s to peace, prosperity and a rockin’ 2013…

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Not Your Father’s Ordinary Kabobs from Not Amy

Posted in Uncategorized on June 3rd, 2012 by Babs

Oh, this tangled web we weave – and by ‘tangled,’ I mean ‘strangely interconnected.’


Spend even a tiny bit of time in the music world/community/biz/whatever-you-want-to-call-it and you’ll realize that six degrees of separation is pushing it – it’s usually more like a degree and a half, and even that might be stretching things. In my mind, it makes perfect sense that a good pal of mine from Portland moved to Yakima and ended up playing with a guy who used to be in a band with some of my favorite people in Seattle. We good people stick together – even if we’re relocated, our natural tendency is to gravitate toward one another.


(I’d say something witty here, but it turns out that sneezing your head off and being clever are mutually exclusive endeavors. On the plus side, my mildew-infected new desk has inadvertently led me to discover that Claritin and coffee are the springtime incarnation of the Seattle speedball…)


While I wait to see who wins the tea tree oil vs. mold battle in the war to reclaim a piece of office furniture (not to mention my physical and mental well-being,) I encourage you to check out Not Amy. And if you have any suggestions as to how to remove mildew from oak (in an unventilated basement office) without killing me, my co-workers or their two elderly dogs, my nostrils and I would be eternally grateful.


I met Chad Bault through the Derby guys back in ’05 and was blown away by his power, presence and pop-infused twangst – not to mention his sarcasm-tinged goodnaturedness. I can’t for the life of me remember how Navid first got in touch – whether he was sent my way through the Curtains For You fellas (who he used to play with) or Mr. Bault. But as I got to know him, it made all the sense in the world that the Nice Person Network would bring him and Bault together.


Claritin doesn’t pay for itself, so I’m going to be working backstage at the Daughtry gig tonight – but if you’re in Seattle, I’d highly recommend that you go see Bault, Navid and Jenny (aka Not Amy) at the High Dive.


It’s barbecue season here in the U.S. (and always BBQ season in Australia), so try out Navid’s killer kabob recipe at your next shindig – and look out for Not Amy. Their acoustic-driven, harmony-laden tunes are good year-round!


Navid’s family secret kabob recipe


You can put ANYTHING on a skewer and call it a kabob, but my dad is from Iran and from what I’ve gathered (over decades of eating this for 2 meals per week), this ground beef kabob is the go-to. Anytime you find yourself in a Persian restaurant, order the kabob-e-koobideh. It’s how they stay in business. Persian restaurateurs know that we are all fully capable of shoving chicken and onions on a skewer, but they also understand that most of us don’t know the secret recipes for making ground beef taste like something other than a hamburger or a meatball, so they open restaurants and serve this ground beef kabob. It’s their equivalent of the hamburger, and guess what, the Iranian Big Mac makes Ronald McDonald look like a jackass.


You need:

1-1.5 lbs ground beef

1 large white onion

1 large egg

2 stale pieces of white or French bread

garlic powder






-Take your stale bread and turn it into bread crumbs. Just rip it into pieces and throw it in the food processor. Use white or French bread, everything else is too flavorful. Make sure the bread is either stale or toasted and cool, otherwise the moisture ruins it.


-Put it in a giant mixing bowl


-Put your onion in the blender. Turn it in a kind of slightly rough puree. Like grits at Denny’s, where it looks like it should be smooth but there are still chunks lurking.


-Put beef in bowl with crumbs, put the onion in there, put the egg in there, then mix it with your hands, and don’t be a baby about it.


-Add a dash of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I know you LOVE garlic (because everyone LOVES garlic) but don’t go crazy… add a DASH, one dash. You aren’t making Italian food. Now add a palm-full of sumac. Sumac is this crazy spice you can find add all the uppity grocers in town, or at the diviest middle- eastern markets. I recommend the latter, because you will get 5 times as much for about 1/10 of the price. Now get your hands in there. Make sure you mix it until it’s consistent.


-Spread it out on a cookie sheet, until it’s about ½ inch deep. Cut it into rectangles.


-Heat your barbecue


-Grill your meat. Flip it ONCE. These are delicate little things so don’t poke and prod and flip them 30 times. Let the grill get hot, throw them on, turn the grill to medium/medium-low and let them cook.


-Serve with rice and torshi, which you should also get while you are at the seedy Lebanese grocery. It’s pickled everything, and it tastes good on everything.


Now you have kabob- the real Persian kind. You didn’t even have to get your skewers out.


Back In Black! (Con)fit to be tied!!

Posted in confit, erin franzman, procrastinate, recipe, seattle, the stranger, tomato, Uncategorized on May 19th, 2012 by Babs

I’ve decided to have new business cards made with the tagline “putting the ‘pro’ into ‘procrastinator.’”

Hell, I’ve been meaning to update this site for a year. But now the mercurial Seattle spring weather is warping my mind and causing neurons to fire in some amusing ways – so fasten your seatbelts and prepare for re-lift-off!

If anyone in my life is familiar with my tendency to wait until the last possible minute to do something, it would be the brave souls who have functioned as my editors over the years. I’m not joking when I say that the Portland Tribune probably allowed me to live part-time in Australia because I was 17-19 hours ahead of them (and, therefore, my deadlines…)

I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter a wealth of wonderful people who have given me the chance to express myself and who have made me a better writer, thinker and human being. One of my favorites is the incredible Erin Franzman.

As previously mentioned, sometimes the universe works in mysterious ways – dropping awesome people into your life in unexpected circumstances. When Erin moved to Seattle, she was my new editor at The Stranger. Call me crazy, but I kinda like knowing the people I’m writing for – so we made a plan to hang out and a lifetime friendship was formed. Our cats were sisters. We embarked on a hilarious odyssey of seeing random shows (ask either of us about Stumblebum sometime – just please don’t ask me to recreate their weird line dance because it still gives me nightmares…) I took her out to a birthday dinner during her (sadly) short tenure here and she returned the favor by flying out for my 40th birthday. She also allowed me the supreme honor of signing her marriage certificate. She’s one of the smartest, most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering – and an expert on so many topics that it never ceases to amaze me. One of those happens to be food.

I had the pleasure of hanging out with Erin and her husband Andy on a rare visit to Seattle at the end of last year, and indulged in awesome company, food, conversation and general all-around awesomeness. (Did I mention that it was awesome?) I’m currently plotting a visit to NYC because I’m already jonesing for a repeat encounter. In an era when ignorance gets held up like a badge (I originally referenced Herman Cain here, if that gives you any indication of how long this post has languished here waiting to be posted) Erin is a thousand points of light. In a good way.

She’s a wonderful human being, a lover of great food and a fellow misanthrope. What’s not to love?!?!

So without further adieu, here she is!

Tomato Confit

Julia Child was too nice for me: I’ve always been drawn to the badass side of cooking. I admit that sometimes I cook out of love, or for those that I love — I do enjoy cooking, and I do it regularly. But mostly, I cook from a place of white-hot burning rage at the world. I use a 12-inch knife, because SIZE DOES MATTER, and when I cook dinner on an average Tuesday night, I’m basically butchering every single person who annoyed me at work, on my way to or from work, over email, on Twitter and Facebook, or on TV that day. Cross me, and I’ll be thinking about how I could kill you and cook your bones for soup. I can get pretty cranky.

But by the time I’m done and dinner’s on the table, I feel fine.

Cooking calms me. I do everything by instinct – no recipes, very little measuring. I try to make things taste like the best version of themselves – the porkiest pork, the eggplantiest eggplant.

One of my favorite flavors is tomato. The annoying thing about tomatoes is that they’re fussy little fruits that’re only really in season from July to September. However, that July-September tomato flavor is basically one of the best things in the world. And it turns out you can coax that flavor out of the little buggers the rest of the year if you confit them. Yeah that’s right, I use “confit” as a verb. Get on it!

What can you do with a tomato confit? Fuck, anything! Spread it on bread. Toss it with pasta. Make it a sauce for basically any protein. Use it as a sandwich condiment. Put it in a taco. Put it over vegetables. Serve it with eggs. It works as a dressing for rice, couscous, faro, polenta, quinoa and any other obscure grain you’re into. You can tart it up with any kind of herb, or chili, or cheese, and it’s still gonna be awesome. It’s one of those super-versatile dishes that’s basically no effort and will have everyone licking the bowl.

So: First, go buy some tomatoes. Fresh, not canned.

If you’re buying plum tomatoes, you want about 6. If you’re buying normal, round supermarket tomatoes, you can get 4-5. If you’re buying fancypants hothouse tomatoes, or heirloom tomatoes: don’t.

They’re not worth it for this recipe.

This recipe calls for crap, off-season tomatoes.

Okay, so back to the tomatoes. Buy the reddest ones on the pile. It’s fine if they’re a little busted; they just need to be the deepest red of all the tomatoes the store is offering.

You also need to buy a clove of garlic. Buy the whitest, tightest clove you can. Once the papery skin of the garlic turns gray and peels off, your garlic is getting gummy. You don’t want gummy garlic – that shit is nasty.

The only other things you need for this recipe are olive oil, salt and pepper. If you want to add basil, or oregano, or thyme, or hot peppers, I can’t stop you, and your tomato confit will still be fucking delicious. You can’t mess this up.

So now you’re home and you’re ready to confit. Cut up the tomatoes into quarters (for the plum tomatoes) or eighths (those big round supermarket tomatoes) – no need to be precious about it. We’re going to cook the shit out of these until the shape is unrecognizable.

Now break off 4 cloves of garlic. If you looove garlic, make it six. If any of the 4 cloves is puny and pathetic, make it five. Take the flat part of your palm and gently press down on each clove until it flattens – that makes the papery skin easy to peel off, which you will do now.

Once your garlic is all peeled, take a look at it. Is each clove smashed so you can see its inside? You have a choice now. You can mince this garlic, if you are a person who likes mincing, or a person with impeccable, Top-Chef-Challenge-level knife skills, or a perfectionist, or have OCD.

Or you can just smash it up a bunch more, with either the flat of your hand or the flat of your knife or the bottom of a frying pan.*

*As badass as it is to bang shit with the bottom of a frying pan, I have done it after a particularly bad day and I can tell you, shit will fly out all over if you’re not careful. Like, for example, if you’re cooking to relax but really you’re still thinking about how that dumbass from marketing sent you that email asking you to do his work for him, without even looking at his OWN FUCKING WEBSITE first to see that he could easily get it himself and also how UM YOU DO NOT WORK FOR HIM and why is it his first instinct to ask you for something instead of just trying to GO GET IT HIMSELF because maybe his mommy left him with a boatload of entitlement issues and how does he even get DRESSED IN THE MORNING without a fucking detailed list of instructions? At this point you may want to return to your giant chef’s knife, because that asshole deserves the sharp edge!

So now you’re going to preheat the oven to 350 and glug some olive oil into a baking dish. This baking dish should be at least an inch deep (so like, not a cookie sheet) but if you don’t have one, use an oven-safe frying pan (aka, anything without a plastic handle) or, in a pinch, McGyver yourself a vessel from tin foil by folding up the sides about two inches and crimping the foil to create an edge. You want enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the dish.

Plop in the garlic and tomatoes.

Pour two-three more glugs of olive over everything.

Add about three pinches of salt and a thin dusting of pepper – doesn’t matter how much you put in now, cause you’re going to add more after you roast.

Now you wanna roast that for 40-50 minutes. Anytime after the 30-minute mark, you can pull the tomatoes out for a second and use the back of a spoon to gently smoosh the tomato chunks. They should yield to the touch of the spoon. When they’re fully done, the most gorgeous, peachy-pink tomato water will ooze out and mix with the unctuous, shimmering golden olive oil and soft garlic and the smell – sweet Jesus, the smell will knock you on your ass. Take a little taste, and then add salt and pepper until you’re happy.

This recipe makes enough tomato confit to mix with one box of pasta, and will comfortably keep in a covered container in your fridge for up to 5 days.

Angels love chocolate chip cookies (even gluten-free ones!)

Posted in Uncategorized on May 28th, 2011 by Babs

I initially met Holcombe Waller in passing – he was hanging out at our mutual friend Alicia’s new office digs and I came by to see ’em. I believe there was some tasty rose wine consumed, and our acquaintanceship was forged.

Flash forward to late last year, when Alicia sent me a download link to Holcombe’s album. She has exquisite taste, so I know better than to ignore something with her stamp of approval on it.

HOLY HANDGRENADE.  I was expecting to be impressed, not to have my world rocked.  Gorgeous, smart, conflicted, messy beauty.  WHOA – and WOW.  Holcombes’s angelic voice and all-to-earthly confusion.  The kind of music that scores an emotional bulls-eye and haunts you for months with its exquisite pain and soaring triumph. My computer says I’ve been living with this album since last November, but I feel like I’ve known it my whole life. It’s going to be in my top two albums for this year — something I’ve known since the calendar kicked over to 2011. I will knife fight you if you don’t love this record.  Or maybe I don’t need to — if you don’t love it, you probably don’t have a heart, much less a soul.

I’ve been obsessed with “Into the Dark Unknown” since I first heard it.  I’ve written about it in the Oregonian, done a “Song of the Day” for NPR and a live show preview for the Stranger.  If I had the funds, I might pay for skywriting to tell the masses that they’re missing out.  Their loss.  But it doesn’t have to be yours.  You should buy it IMMEDIATELY — or risk my wrath!!

As I’ve gotten to know Holcombe through email exchanges, the inkling that he’s a kindred spirit has grown into known fact.  Wickedly smart, hilarious and a huge fan of butter, I look forward to our exchanges — not to mention the day when I can smugly glare at anyone who ignored my advocacy of his genius and roll my eyes while muttering “I told you so.”

Not only does the man create gorgeous music, he also loves chocolate chip cookies.  As someone who baked her way through stress (Academic Decathlon state finals on top of mid-term finals = my legendary/epic Christmas baking spree) I heartily recommend this life-affirming (and belt-loosening) recipe – and I demand that you buy Holcombe’s album!

For those of you in Seattle, you should come see him at Chop Suey on Monday, May 30.  He’s also performing at On The Boards on June and back here at the Sunset in August. He’s got plenty of tour dates for the rest of you posted here.

Here’s Holcombe:

I’ve baked a lot of chocolate chip cookies in my life, and I’ve often said that the quality of the results is inversely related to how happy I am.  In other words, if I’m feeling frumpy, I bake really delicious cookies.  The activity just promotes more frumpiness, but if it involves lots of raw butter, sugar and a warm oven, at least it becomes cozy frumpy, and if you’re going to feel fat, you may as well be eating cookies.

I started making cookies in high school.  The recipe began with the standard Toll House formula, and once it was committed to memory, measuring cups gave way to “fist fulls” and other such amounts, and I started throwing in other ingredients.   Walnuts, oatmeal, and a mix of carob, grain-sweetened and dark chocolate chips (go to the bulk section, yo!). I generally put in wayyyy more vanilla, in part because I actually believe that adding expensive elements makes things better.  I unfortunately feel this way about records, videos and everything else, which is why I’m broke, but let’s move on.

Just five weeks ago I discovered I’m gluten-intolerant.  OH MY GOD!!!  That’s why I’ve been feeling so frumpy.  So I’ve substituted gluten-free flour mix and coconut flour for the regular wheat kind.  Surprisingly, it tastes awesome.  Here we go.



Take out two sticks of butter and put them on the counter.  Go about your day.

Come home, and with a fork, mash up the two sticks with 1 cup of packed brown sugar and half a cup of Sucanat which, according to Wikipedia, is a brand name for a variety of whole cane sugar that retains its molasses content – it’s key to have both mol and asses in your cookies, lest they be G rated.

Now, find some really expensive vanilla.  Put, like, more than a tablespoon into the butter/sugar blend and swirl it in.  Throw in two organic eggs, and quietly tell yourself that the fact these chickens grazed without cages will somehow protect you from salmonella poisoning later on when you scarf down half the dough raw.  Did I mention you’re feeling frumpy?  Just wait ‘til later, girl!

OK, put a pinch of salt in.  Blend the egg/butter stuff up, but not too smooth – lumpiness is godliness.  Now add about 1 and a quarter cup gluten free flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and ½ cup coconut flour.  Mix it all up til the flour is all absorbed in the dough.  Add about 2 cups of various chocolate chips, and a few fistfuls of walnuts, blending until evenly distributed.

Oh yeah, now go back in time, and preheat the oven to 360, cuz I forgot to tell you that.  While you’re waiting, watch my video for “Hardliners” three times.  I need the view counts.

Squash big spoonfuls of dough flat on a cookie sheet – sprinkle some coarsely ground Hawaiian sea salt on those suckers, and press it in with your palm.  Salt granules will both slowly kill you and please your taste buds with surprising “mouth feel.”  I learned this in home ec.  Bake ‘em for, like, 9 to 11 minutes, or until they’re nicely browned and not burnt on the bottom.

That’s it!!!  There you go!!!  You’ve made my cookies!!!  It’s better than smoking or drinking. Maybe…



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Whiskey, New Music & Curing the Hangover

Posted in Uncategorized on May 12th, 2011 by Babs

You’ve gotta admire fate (or the universe, or whatever you choose to call it) – sometimes it causes you to cross paths with people you probably never would have met on your own.

My pal Ashley recommended that Kris Orlowski get in touch with me about doing press on his album. He needed help promoting his new album and that same blasted fate (or universe, or whatever) likes to let me think I’m getting out of the publicity business and then cackles and pulls me back in.

Since Kris cares more about crafting great songs than being hip, him making it into the Stranger would be as weird as Steel Pole Bath Tub getting into Rolling Stone — but I pulled off the latter and I’m determined to keep trying on the former because his songwriting is so damned good. No, he’s not The Head And The Heart, but I have a feeling he’ll be putting out stellar albums of smart, emotionally resonant pop-rock long after this choral folk-pop thing is as dated as my high school perm.

I asked Kris to contribute because he’s awesome, and also because he’s releasing a new EP, which you should check out. Record release show is Thursday, May 12 at the Columbia City Theater in Seattle

Heeeeeeere’s Kris (and a little preview for the show!)


Being from Bellingham originally, Seattle was a bit of a change when I first moved down.  As I started touring, I got to see quite a few places and a few years back I had the privilege of taking a trip to a killer studio in Asheville, NC to record at Echo Mountain Studio.  I was really excited to record at the Echo Mountain, partially because I was really into a Seattle group, Band of Horses, at the time and they had recently recorded their last album at Echo Mountain.

Needless to say I was salivating when got a tour of the place before our session began.  Our producer for the album was the likeable, talented Steven Heller, who had an awesome Carolina accent and accompanying personable, laidback demeanor.  With that laidback demeanor (or maybe because of it) came a love for whiskey — and not just any whiskey:  Basil Hayden.

I was just young buck, with big brown eyes and shaggy hair, when I walked into that studio, but after sipping Basil Hayden every night for a week after our studio sessions, I basically became a man – or at least hair started growing more consistently on my chest.

After that experience, I was on a quest for a good bourbon whiskey, but I haven’t found another like it since.  I don’t recommend mixing it with anything (no rocks, no coke, no lime).  All you need is the bottle and maybe a glass.

I still listen to Band of Horses, but my playlist is always changing and lately I haven’t been able to stop listening to a few bands; James Blake, Fleet Foxes, James Vincent McMorrow and an old favorite Sufjan Stevens.   James Blake will actually be in town on the 19th of May at the Tractor and James Vincent McMorrow will be here on the 22nd of June at the Triple Door.  I saw the Fleet Foxes at the Columbia City Theater in April, thanks to a friend, and was pretty blown away.  Too bad Robin is moving to Portland.

As I’m sure all musicians know, the good and not so good part about being a musician is you are surrounded by booze all of the time at shows and usually drink for free.  After a late night show with some festive “celebrating”, I often wake up the next morning liberated, but super hungover – and in need of a kick start.  There is one dish that is my go-to for hangover mornings; it is the quintessential breakfast of champions.


3 eggs

¼ can of black beans

1 small fistful of spinach

1/2 Avocado (you can do a whole if you’d like)

1 tbs. balsamic vinaigrette (this is just a guide)

(optional) – pico de gallo.

(optional) – some SHARP cheddar…do yourself a favor, don’t use medium.

Add three eggs to a heated skillet and scramble them.  As they gain substance add spinach and black beans.  Once the eggs are done, put them on a plate, adding avocado and balsamic (might need a sprinkle of salt and pepper).

Enjoy and hope to see you May 12th for our release at Columbia City Theater!

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Posted in Uncategorized on May 6th, 2011 by Babs

One of the many perils of working with creative types is that sometimes people don’t meet deadlines. I’m fairly sure this played a huge role in my editors at the Portland Tribune deciding to allow me to seasonally relocate to Australia, where I was 17-19 hours ahead of them and, therefore, my deadlines.

So, as they say, paybacks are a bitch – and you, my friends, get to reap the consequences in the form of this favorite family recipe.

I was raised by Okies and Texans – neither of whom are regularly singled out for their culinary excellence (unless it involves barbecue sauce, of course.)

While my dad had an uncanny ability to freestyle teriyaki sauce and various exotic meals (well, exotic for Fresno) my mom adhered much more closely to traditional American cuisine. And by “traditional American cuisine,” I mean the kind of food consumed by REAL Americans – Spam, Vienna sausages and hot dogs.

How in the h-e-double-hockeysticks she found this recipe, I’m not sure. Did I look forward to consuming this kicky take on hot dogs? To quote Sarah Palin, “You betcha!!””

(As a general aside, under normal circumstances I would never quote Sarah Palin. The mere mention of her name usually induces a particular form of Tourette’s I developed during the VP debate of ’08 with the help of half a fifth of vodka – which, in my defense, was the only way I could get through the “there ya go, Joe” bullshit without inflicting thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to my laptop, the place I was living in and myself.)

But I digress. I’m supposed to be talking about saucy franks, not tarty skanks.

My mom pretends not to remember how many awesome hot dog recipes she had in her arsenal, but this one stands head and shoulders above the rest. Hot dogs are hip in Seattle (note to the corner of 10th and Pike – ENOUGH ALREADY. No corner needs three hot dog stands, no matter how many drunk Seattleites you pour into the equation) but you will impress many more people with this delightful twist on white trash cuisine than you ever will by ordering cream cheese on your ‘dog.

I give you SAUCY FRANKS!

So wrong, and yet so, so right…

A kicky red/orange sauce and hot dogs scored to plump up into corkscrews!  Add a soundtrack of at least 90% Barry Manilow with a little Rush or Journey for variety (maybe some U2 if you’re feeling rebellious), Kraft mac n’ cheese, some canned string beans microwaved with bacon bits (alternate serving suggestion: a salad of iceberg lettuce with a variety of Kraft dressings), and a a homemade wine cooler (for the grown-ups, of course, and concocted by mixing Gallo with 7-Up) and you have created a portal into my childhood. Just say “F***NO”!


The tangy, rich tomato sauce makes these a mouth-watering treat!

2 8-ounce cans (2 cups) seasoned tomato sauce

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon onion salt

Dash Tabasco sauce

2 pounds frankfurters

Combine all ingredients except frankfurters. Bring to a boil. Score frankfurters; add to the sauce and simmer gently until thoroughly heated, about 8 minutes. Serve with the sauce. Makes 8 servings.


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Look out – it’s JAWS!!!

Posted in jaws, music, seattle on April 29th, 2011 by Babs

Let me just say this up front – don’t ever get into a dance-off with Mike Jaworski.  I got coaxed into a) retrieving a forgotten laptop; b) delivering it to a hotel room during last year’s SxSW; c) polishing off a bottle of bourbon with Jaws and fellow Seattle booker/musician/friend Greg Garcia upon delivery and d) judging a dance-off between the two of them. No contest. Jaworski will kick your ass every time.


While he and Greg wouldn’t join me in polishing off SxSW by leaving to see the legendary Zeros (it was pretty freezing/blustery outside, but c’mon – I offered to pay for the taxi!) he’ll always be one of my favorite Seattleites. His old band The Cops kicked (and re-kick) some serious ass, and his newest outfit Virgin Islands continues that kick-in-the-ribs post-punk immediacy of amazingness.  They, too, will kick your ass every time.


Jaws (I will never cease to be amused typing/saying that) also books the incredible Sunset Tavern, where he curates great music.  No one is more perfectly suited – the guy CREATES great music. He also runs an incredible label called Mt. Fuji that has released records by The Maldives, amongst others.  Dude KNOWS good music.


Oh – he also bartends!  And calls Devi’s Apricot contributor/good pal Ian Moore out on PNW Mexican food!!


So here he is, weighing in on my favorite topics. Go see Virgin Islands’ record release show on Friday, May 13 at the Columbia City Theater. Just don’t get into a dance-off with him – and if you make me judge it, just know in advance that I already know that you will TOTALLY lose.


Let’s party with the good stuff, with JAWS!!!!



I suppose it goes without explanation that one of the many occupational hazards of being a touring musician (and tending bar) is access to plentiful amounts of booze. Throughout the years of both aforementioned endeavors, I’ve seen my tastes and habits in both food and drink change. Thankfully, mostly for the better… my early years of touring were spent guzzling as much beer as possible, all while taking any free shot given to me. As a younger man, I seemed more resilient to these long nights and late mornings of over consumption. The hangovers in the long van ride the next morning seemed much easier back then, or maybe I was just more tolerant to feeling like shit all day long. Either way, as the years passed, I gradually started listening to my body and refining what booze and food I could eat, and how much was enough. The years of shoveling any kind of fast food and cheep beer down my gullet are thankfully over. I really don’t profess to be an uber-pretentious foodie or booze snob. I just know what makes me feel good, and I just happen to like good booze and food. The act of consumption is one of the most holy things we can do to our body, so why fill our earthly temples with toxic crap. Let’s party with the good stuff!


Fortunately for me, my experience taught me that one of my favorite types of alcohol is also one that agrees with me physically and mentally. That lovely libation is tequila. Like a lot of people, my first tequila experience was tarnished in my early twenties after downing a few shots of crappy Cuervo Gold, and I paid the price. It was many years later on one of the early tours my band The Cops were on, when my bandmate John Randolph introduced me to Cazadores Reposado. He convinced me it was much better than the previous offender. I tried it and I was hooked. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing many more high-end tequilas (Casa Noble anyone?) but I will always come back to Cazadores as my go-to, mid-priced tequila. This tequila possesses a degree of smoothness with enough of a peppery bite to alerts the senses. Yes please, and thank you.


The aforementioned tequila is the tequila of choice in a shot I concocted called the “Caca del Toro” which is named after Paul Newman’s erstwhile fishing boat. It’s a simple and delicious shot that resembles a little margarita, but with more kick (as a shot should). I’m sure I didn’t invent this, but my version is good enough to pass on. Have at it:


Caca del Toro (r.i.p. Paul Newman)

2 fresh lime wedges, muddled with ice

1 ½ oz. Reposado tequila (Cazadores preferred)

½ oz. Gran Marnier liquor


Pour the tequila and Gran Marnier float in a pint glass full of ice and the muddled lime wedges. Shake and strain into a rocks glass. Enjoy!


My next drink invention is in the works. I call it the Lion Tamer. The three main ingredients are scotch, a pith hat, and a whip. I still haven’t found a bar willing to put this one on the menu. I guess it’s time to look into opening my own.


Lastly, Ian Moore is a wonderful, intelligent, talented and handsome man. However, he needs to look a little harder to find some quality Mexican food in the Northwest. I generally agree with him, but there are a few places worthy of praise. Ian, are you up for dinner? You’re buying, right?
Michael Jaworski

Mt. Fuji Records



Coming Soon:

– Point Juncture, WA – Handsome Orders – LP / CD / Digital – May 2011

– Follow That Bird – Wooden Bones – 7″ / Digital – spring 2011


Out Now:

– Wow & Flutter – Equilibrio! – LP / CD / Digital – October 19th, 2010

– Spiral Stairs / Long Winters -split 7″ / Digital – September 21st,  2010

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Mai Tai tell you what’s happening?!?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 22nd, 2011 by Babs


I’m not really sure precisely when I met Matt “Hurricane” Harris, but I’m pretty positive it was at Noise Pop in the late ‘90s. We just clicked. He’s smart, hilarious, loves his food/music/alcohol and we know all the same people. Family! Plus, he didn’t completely mock me for the great hula-hooping accident of ’02, for which he scores bonus points…


Flash to SxSW ’01, when I arrived in Austin a little early and spent quality time hanging with my SF posse – including the Hurricane. Hilarity ensued. Bonds were re-forged. There was a botched late night attempt to buy more beer and I think I ended up in the back of a pick-up truck very late in the evening, driven by the Hurricane and quite possibly involving our UK pal Johnno. Legendary.


I was managing the Posies at the time and happened to take Mr. Stringfellow to a party featuring Oranger, Matt’s primary band, a couple days into the fray. After a Posies tour of Spain that culminated in a disastrous shouting match in a hotel lobby in Mallorca that led me to point out we could find another bass player (not to mention a “do you have any rice” story that is the stuff legend is made of,) I pointed at the stage and said, “That’s your bass player.”


So Matt became a Posie. I also accidentally introduced him to Ian Moore, and now they’ve done an album together.  The story of how that all came about is classified, but the result is brilliant – a combination of their shared talents. Pop genius meets soulful, intellectual genius. Genius all around.


I’ve probably lost years of my life hanging out with the Hurricane, but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. The guy is a treasure, and – tissue damage aside – one of my favorite human beings on the planet, not to mention one of the more exceptional musicians out there. Plus, he’s curious enough to get to the heart of the Mai Tai.


Bottoms up – and if you’re in Seattle, come see him, Ian and Kyle at the Sunset on Saturday, April 23. If you’re not – buy their record!



Mai Tai and its mysterious ingredient, falernum.

Well…Ol’ Hurricane here to impart some wisdom on one of the Tiki world’s most fabulous cocktails:
The Mai Tai

After 3 months of touring the globe with The Posies, our last stop of the Blood/Candy 2010 Tour was Hawaii. One of the best planned end of tours, ever.
Being a lover of all things Exotica and Tiki you can imagine my excitement to embark on a Tiki drink bonanza while visiting the islands!
I had one thing on my mind…my quest simply was after the Mai-Tai. One of my favorite cocktails in the Tiki realm and just simply heaven on a beach, sizzling away in the winter sun.
I found that next door to the hotel was “The Mai Tai Bar” at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel…how convenient!

Now there is a ton of history with the Mai Tai which I will not go into but if you want check it out, it’s here:

At the Royal Hawaiian I was told they had 2 kinds of Mai Tai’s: the house recipe which was basically Trader Vic’s recipe, and the “scratch” recipe which they used Falernum, that was made in house ,which was a Don the Beachcomber recipe.
Of Course I tried both

The first was the Trader Vic’s  Mai Tai recipe(see below) in the traditional state.
•    1 oz gold rum
•    1 oz dark rum
•    1 oz triple sec
•    1/2 oz lime juice
•    1/2 oz Orgeat syrup
•    Garnish: maraschino cherry, pineapple, mint sprig

Pretty good!

The second was very different yet  similar to Don the Beachcomber recipe(see below):

Lots of spicy ginger, clove, lime and toasted almond flavors with dark and golden rum…and that mysterious FALERNUM!

•    2 oz (or 1/4 cup) water
•    3/4 oz or 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
•    1 oz or 2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
•    1 oz or 2 tablespoons sugar syrup
•    1 oz or 2 tablespoons dark rum
•    1-1/2 oz or 3 tablespoons golden rum
•    1/2 oz or 1 tablespoon Cointreau or triple Sec
•    1/4 oz or 1/2 tablespoon Falernum syrup
•    2 dashes or scant 1/2 teaspoon Angostura bitters
•    1 dash or scant 1/4 teaspoon Pernod or other anisette-flavored pastis
Shake all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into a tall highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with fruits and serve with a straw.
AMAZING! A different cocktail completely!
After a few “scratch” Mai Tai’s I managed to coax the bartender to tell me the house Falernum recipe, which specific details have be “misplaced”…

However…the basic recipe for Falernum dates back to it’s roots in Barbados.

Falernum Recipe
1 Part Lime Juice
2 Parts Sugar Syrup (simple syrup)
3 Parts Rum
4 Parts Water

As they said in the West Indies:
“One Pint of Sour, two of sweet, three of strong and four of weak!”
I’m sure that you can imagine with mixology’s popularity today, there are tons of variations and different recipes of Falernum!
This is a recipe from Paul Clark:

•    6 ounces Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum
•    zest of 9 medium limes, removed with a microplane grater or sharp vegetable peeler, with no traces of white pith
•    40 whole cloves (buy fresh ones — not the cloves that have been in your spice rack since last Christmas)
•    1 1/2 ounce, by weight, peeled, julienned fresh ginger
Combine these ingredients in a jar and seal, letting the mixture soak for 24 hours. Then, strain through moistened cheesecloth, squeezing the solids to extract the last, flavorful bits of liquid.
•    1/4 teaspoon almond extract*
•    14 ounces cold process 2:1 simple syrup (two parts sugar to one part water, shaken in a jar or bottle WITHOUT HEAT until all the sugar is dissolved)
•    4 1/2 ounces fresh, strained lime juice

Shake it all together and serve.
You can add many different ingredients to mix it up and make your own like these fellas:

I myself, prefer a beach, Quiet Village gently playing in the background and a fresh Mai Tai with homemade Falernum!!

-Matthew “Hurricane” Harris

Orgins of Falernum:

Go guac yourself!!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 15th, 2011 by Babs


I do believe I met Ian Moore in ’02, through an off-handed email/phone intro by a somewhat shady music attorney. We immediately connected (I have a tendency to do that with smart, funny people) and became fast friends.

I also became a fast fan. I had never heard Ian’s music the first time I met up with him in person at a show he played at the Sunset, but my jaw hit the floor pretty quickly. One of the most powerful, soulful voices I’ve ever heard, but with the skill and nuance to keep things riveting. Plus, he had a song about Abilene, Texas – my dad’s birthplace. It was like a sign from the Universe, y’know?

The first time I booked an evening show at Easy Street, I put Ian on the bill – along with Steve Turner from Mudhoney, Mark Pickerel, Jon Auer from the Posies and Sarah Shannon from Velocity Girl. It was a bunch of Seattle insiders and Ian was still a bit of the outsider. The audience was packed with folks like Mark Arm, Ken Stringfellow and Matt Vaughan (who owns Easy Street), not to mention a ton of hard-to-impress record store employees and various long-term Seattle music connoisseurs.

Ian stole the show, breaking a string in the middle of a medley of one of his own songs, “Today,” and the Carter Family’s “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” without breaking his stride. He went a cappella while he changed his string, stomping for emphasis, and came back in right at the most intense moment of the song. It was one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen and you could have heard a pin drop. Insider status accomplished. Here’s another version: today/circle

I’ve spent multiple Thanksgivings/Vashon hang-outs with Ian and his awesome family, not to mention countless (semi-)memorable nights in Seattle, Portland, SF, LA and Austin. I unintentionally introduced him to Matt “Hurricane” Harris and several of the characters listed below, thereby setting the stage for this post and his awesome new album/collaboration with Matt, the Lossy Coils, “El Sonido Nuevo.” I love the guy to death.

HOWEVER, he and I will never see eye to eye on the subject of Mexican food. He’s a purist; I grew up in the land of Mission burritos and migrant farm workers. If we’ve had any stress in our friendship, it’s been an ongoing debate/lecture about the topic.  See below.

But as it turns out, we see pretty eye-to-eye on the subject of guacamole.

Go buy his new record, and if you’re in Seattle, come see him, Hurricane and Kyle in person at the Sunset on Saturday, April 23. They kick some serious ass, in a rockin’ pop kind of way.

May the circle be unbroken…

Tell it, Ian – tell it!!


The holy triumverate: Music, Food, and Drink. Many much greater than me have fallen hard, a dumb smile implanted in the concrete below. I find that a majority of my life is filled with these three things, and i try to keep my concentration on them lest i get pulled into wasteful thinking about money, politics, and religion.

I am from Texas. Some of you may have noticed that i have been wearing my cowboy boots again. When i first moved here i tried shifting my footwear to a more Northwest-friendly shoe after slipping too many times on rainy moss-covered surfaces. I tried all types of different gripping soles, but finally just decided to take smaller steps and go back to my boots. They put me at the right angle, slightly forward, and help me keep going.

When i first moved up here i was determined to not be a typical Texan( a theme i have failed at all over the world). Seattle is a demure place, and being a newcomer, i was determined to soften my words, and soften my actions. Texas was settled by Germans and Mexicans; Seattle by Norwegians. I’ve been to Norway, so i did my best imitation. People saw right through it, and to be honest so did I. You are who are, and whatever it is it’s best to just put on your footwear and move on..So I am.

One of my favorite pastimes is complaining about the dearth of Mexican food in Seattle. I sometimes extend this argument to ‘lack of Mexican food on the West Coast’, but this is quite upsetting to folks so I keep it more regional most of the time. Being a blog, and being on the internet which is only half real anyway, i should go all the way. This is how i see it: The West Coast, filled with lovely seafood and omelettes, great vegan options, and spots with spectacular Indian and Asian food, is above a vast desert portion of Mexico. It’s true that there are great fish tacos in Baja, but the jungles and fertile vegetable-growing areas of Mexico, and most importantly, the state of Oaxaca, are more centrally located, and closer to Texas.

Thus, as the West Coast gets burritos (an American invention), Texas gets a cornucopia of regional cooking. By the way, ‘Tex-Mex’ was invented for people coming to Texas to eat Mexican food. None of my friends – at least the ones I will claim during my rant – would ever set foot in a Tex-Mex restaurant. We, and by ‘we’ i mean the people of the state i left 12 years ago, get not only amazing Oaxacan food, but also dishes from the Yucatan, central (Cuernevaca government style), and the simple but brilliant tacos of the ‘Norteno’ region with some of my favorite salsas(check out ‘mule drivers’ salsa).

When i was a kid we spent a ton of time in Mexico, mostly in Tepoztlan and Cuernevaca. My parents had fallen in with a group of amazing thinkers, part of the ‘El Grito’ literary scene that was a major shift in the literature/culture in Mexico in the late 60’s. I have some amazing memories from that time, most of them revolving around food. My brother’s godfather was a bullfighter, Fernando Corral, or “El Corralito” as he was known. He was also a lover of the holy three, and passed this recipe for making guacamole onto me.

Real Guacamole

The most important ingredient doesn’t go in the guacamole, but is what you grind everything up in. Its called a Molcajete, and it is a pumice-based grinding tool that goes back to the Aztec and Mayan people.

-avocado–(4-5)you want them almost too ripe, they get a nutty flavor right at the end that is pretty key (here is a pretty interesting story about the history of them and why they Haas aren’t the best)
-serrano chile–1-2 minced
-tomato- 1 chopped (believe it or not, the romas are often the best choice up here, unless you have access to some great heirlooms)
-garlic- 1-2 cloves minced
-white onion 1/4 minced
– cilantro- around 2-3 tbl minced
-salt-to taste
-limes-to taste

The first, and most important step, is to grind up the serrano, onion, garlic, cilantro, a bit of salt, and juice of one lime into a paste in the Molcajete.

Mash up the avocados into the paste. It can get kind of messy, but just eat whatever spills over. it’s your right.

Put in the chopped tomatoes and mix.

i then taste it and add more lime and salt as need.

The most obvious thing to drink would be either a Negro Modelo (with lime) or a real margarita.
I used to drink a virgin version of a Paloma, as a kid, running around Las Mananitas, chasing peacocks and raising hell. This is a fun drink and fits well with the 2 months of summer we get up here. Plus your stomach won’t be as acidic when you wake up after a long night of drinking and arguing.

SO music..We just came back from SXSW, where we just released our new record ‘El Sonido Nuevo’. We saw some amazing bands like Smoke and Feathers, the Jim Jones review, and the Lost Brothers, as well as many of our good friends from Austin/Seattle like the Black Angels and Cobirds Unite. Quite frankly, though, SXSW is less about music and more about hanging out with your friends. We had an A-team this year with our Brits (Jonno and Mark), lala Lydia, myself, Hurricane Harris, Tangborn, and an often expanded group of miscreants. If you don’t know these people your liver is better off, but your soul is wanting. Every night was an adventure in depravity and the inevitable spiritual renewal that came in the form of breakfast tacos and bloody marys. Matt and I, as well as our drummer Kyle, have spent a bit of time backing up Roky Erickson. I knew him as a kid as well, because he spent a ton of time in my dad’s store, Anableps Anableps. My dad, a Buddhist scholar, sold eastern artifacts, focusing largely on Tibetan/Indian art, and Roky spent a lot of time around the Tibetan sacrificial skulls. Roky sometimes had to leave when he would frighten the less open of his customers. Roky, and his music, are deeply woven into my being, like Doug Sahm, Townes, and the countless other people that we grew up with. I had been hearing stories about the Elevators and their exploits since i was a kid, and i had grown to despise the idea of Harvey Gant. One of the famous Elevator stories was about their trips to hide their weed from Gann, who was prone to break in during the middle of the night to bust them. they were so paranoid that they would bury it outside of Austin by the electrical towers. To get their they had to drive down 2222, which was a windy, hilly road, that wound west from Austin towards lake Travis. They called this the rollercoaster, and eventually like all good psychic travelers, the journey became the destination, and the Rollercoaster was an event in itself. The Elevators typically would do the drive under the influence of Psychedelics, but then again they did most things like that. They recorded a song about it, of course called “rollercoaster’. On Friday night, after a long night of music and too many people, we grabbed the Brits, and Jegar(Roky’s son). Lydia was driving, and Hurricane was watching from the back. Here is how we did it and how to do it if you are so inclined:

*You take Balcones north from 45th. Don’t take Mopac as that is a highway, wasn’t there in the 60’s, and won’t prepare you properly
*Do whatever you need to do the get your mind right. someone has to drive and the world is a stricter place with more people these days
*When you get to the light to turn on 2222 cue up the song.
*Turn, turn up, turn on..
*The song is a perfect length, and gets you to about 360 where you can turn and head back south if you want..If not continue on through the darkness towards the lake. From there you are on your own…

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Stew on this, courtesy of Kultur Shock

Posted in music on April 1st, 2011 by Babs

Val Kultur Shock

The only thing predictable about Kultur Shock is their unpredictability – whether that’s the maniacal, whiplash-inducing changes in their impossibly uncategorizable songs or the fact that the normally (overly) responsible band member is a week late getting you his contribution to your blog. Doesn’t matter – predictability is boring. And Kultur Shock is anything BUT boring.


I guess world music is hip and gypsy-influenced music is the new Tom Jones – the way to melt someone’s underpants, or get them to throw them onstage.  I missed Kultur Shock’s recent Seattle record release show thanks to a throbbing headache and an enduring hatred of Belltown on weekends, so I’m not sure if anyone tossed their tidy whities or trampy thongs (or, more probably, their SNL sketch-worthy Euro briefs/banana hammocks/budgie-smugglers) onto the Crocodile’s semi-recently renovated non-grunge-y platform. Doesn’t matter – this is not your grandmother’s gypsy music.  And I’m pretty sure we’re all grateful that her underpants didn’t make it to the stage…


In all seriousness (can I get away with that phrase?!?!) I fucking love this band as much as I find it 100% impossible to impart their brilliance through the use of mere words. It’s like attempting to explain the ecstatic poetry of Rumi to a bunch of Tea Baggers – er, Partiers. (I think the tea baggers would get it…)


Rude, crude, smarter than you, melodic, soul-searching, revolutionary, displaced, socio-political, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, (in)sane, brilliant. Incendiary – if you take that word to mean igniting thought and feeling.


America is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, right?  Nothing is braver than escaping oppressive regimes to come here and create music that tickles your cranium while it moves you to the core of your physical self. You NEED Kultur Shock, who have delivered their most direct and body/mind-bending missive yet in the form of “Ministry Of Kultur.”


Guitarist Val Kiossovski (former bar manager at the Croc – back when it ruled – and current co-proprietor of Lower Queen Anne’s Solo) decided to kick down a recipe not for the perfect cocktail or dish, but for perfect music. I’ll let you interpret.  In the meantime, I highly suggest you get acquainted with his band.


Like every good stew, the main body of it is the most important- it’s gotta rock and groove well, too. Cannot be too meatheady, but can’t be super dreadlocky, either. It’s gotta be just right and have raw texture, so you can taste the drummer’s sweat.


Then you add quite a bit of raw songwriting talent, along with big incontrollable pipes. Imagine it being the chunk of meat or tofu, whatever you taste is. Gotta give it time, simmer it on low fire, let the fat melt.

Then thicken the plot. Put the glue on. Put raunchy four and six strings, mix it to a point where you have no idea when one ends and the other starts, be sure they groove, wail, scream, riff, go million miles an hour, stop and go and generally- drive you nuts.


Then you add the stuff that makes it all spicy and tasty and different than any stew you’ve had. Put brass and or bow, or oboe for that matter, just put something to make the taste buds exclaim and freak out.

Whatever you do, find that secret ingredient that will make it like noone else’s dish.


And remember- the purpose of it all is for YOU to celebrate and love it.


Never worry what any famous chef is saying or the fact that you can’t go “commercial”- who cares, life is too short to imprison the art of cooking into dollar signs.


Now- share with your friends the gorgeous meal and as more people wanna taste it- keep cooking away!