Monday, May 20, 2013

Sunday Brunch: Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

*This recipe altered from Yammie's Noshery

1/3 cup Almond Milk, room temperature (I used part unsweetened, part would also work)
1 scant tbsp Dry Active Yeast
1/4 cup Vegetable or Olive Oil
1/4 cup Vegan Margarine, melted
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 Egg Replacers (I used Ener-G which as 3 tsp powder and 4 tbsp cold water)
8 oz can or 2/3 cup Canned Crushed Pineapple
4 cups Bread Flour (or all-purpose)
1 tsp Sea Salt

3 tbsp Coconut Almond Milk
1 Egg Replacer 
1/4 cup Water
1 tbsp Vegan Margarine, melted

In a large bowl, combine yeast and 1/3 cup almond milk. Let sit for 5 minutes to activate yeast (longer if milk is not room temp). Add oil, margarine, sugar, pineapple and egg replacers and stir until smooth (there will be some small pineapple chunks still). Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring in to mix each time. Dough should be sticky but not gooey at the end (may need a bit more flour). Cover with a damp paper towel or cloth to let rise to double in size (about an hour). Separate into 12 equal balls in a large glassware baking dish. Let double again until rolls fill up pan (another hour or so, see picture).

Whisk together the 3 tbsp coconut almond milk, egg replacer, 1/4 cup water and 1 tbsp melted margarine and brush on top as a glaze. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Tear out and enjoy!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Record a Week: Peggy Lee - Is That All There Is?



You know something? This project has stirred up something of a taste in this style of music in me. It's a kind of music that stirs the hips even if you're not in the mood for dancing. It brings to mind girls with wonderful dresses and 60's hair, their hands sticking out at their hips and swaying side to side.

It's just good music. In the past, I think I've made the mistake of lumping it in with smooth Jazz or other type of easy listening. I mean it is easy listening, in that it's easy on the ears, but not in that K-Lite FM type of sound. Is that all there is was Lee's biggest success, song-wise and it features that wonderful chorus that pretty much everyone is familiar with. Her cover of The Beatles' Something is a wonderful gem on the B Side.

All in all, another wonderful diamond in my collection.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Brunch: Fruit Salad Served in a Pineapple

When I was a teenager, this was my signature thing. Probably because it has inherent presentation and doesn't take much effort.

*Photo from, recipe is mine from many years ago.

1 large Pineapple, halved and diced (use a grapefruit knife to scoop middle into a bowl)
1 Starfruit, 1/2 sliced into 1/4 inch star slices and 1/2 diced
1 cup Strawberries, topped and sliced
1 Papaya, peeled and diced, seeds removed
1 large Mango, peeled and diced
6 Kiwis, peeled and chopped
1 Banana, sliced
1/2 cup Grated Coconut (optional)
1/4 cup Orange Juice (OR 1/4 cup Coconut Milk and 1 tbsp each Lime Juice +  Maple Syrup/Agave Nectar)

Halve the pineapple and scoop out the fruit using a grapefruit knife, creating two bowls (use more pineapples as needed per guest, adjust other fruit accordingly). Cover 1/2 pineapples with saran wrap and set aside in fridge, if preparing in advance. In a large bowl, combine all the fruits except starfruit slices and toss with the coconut, if using, and OJ or coconut milk mix. Store in fridge if making in advance. Right before serving, spoon fruit salad into pineapple shells and top with starfruit slices.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Random Movie Review: 12 Angry Men

12 Angry Men (1957)
Starring: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley

Every once in a while I come across a 'classic' (or at least highly regarded) movie that I don't know much about. This one is top ten in the 'Imdb top 250' and on several other must-see lists that I came across.

The movie starts off in a courtroom during the closing remarks of the trial of a young man on trial for murder. The jury then goes in to the deliberation room to make a decision on his fate, which it is pointed out will be execution if the decision is guilty. The 12 men of the jury sit at a table and hold a vote to see where they sit. After 11 guilty votes, one man (Henry Fonda) says he isn't sure and thinks they should at least talk it over before ending the man's life. He presents his doubts about the case to the other men and the numbers slowly begin to swing. The more they question about the evidence and testimony of the witnesses, the more votes begin to turn from guilty to not guilty, until eventually there are just a few stubborn men left. At that point, you start to see the various why the stubborn men feel the way they do.

The movie takes a great look at prejudice of different kinds. The men of the jury are so quick to believe the young man is guilty because of his race, the part of town he lives in and events from his past. They are unwilling to allow for the chance he might not have done it and some take a good deal of convincing. The term 'reasonable doubt' is well addressed, as Ford's character explains how some things might not be so certain when you take a closer look at it.

I thought this was an excellent film and I am glad I stumbled across it. I am making a concerted effort to visit more old films, especially ones of this ilk. I give this an 8.75/10.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Record a Week: Led Zeppelin - II


LIVING LOVING MAID (She's Just a Woman)

Well, here it is. My dirty little secret: I don't like Led Zeppelin. I always felt like I should like them, but I just caaaaaaan't with them. Maybe, I thought, I just haven't given them a fair chance. Well, this record sort of proved both sides of that. I should note that I do enjoy Stairway to Heaven for the first 5 or so minutes, but that is like saying you like the Stones because you enjoy Satisfaction if you don't enjoy anything else by them.

Zeppelin takes what could probably be 3-4 minute songs and just harps on some part of them until I feel uncomfortable. Whether it's a short guitar shot that they play 40 times instead of the 10 or 11 I expect, or a wailing vocal part (the ones with no instruments especially) that continues until my muscles begin to involuntarily twitch; I just can't do it. To be fair, this was greatly amplified from working at a place where the 'new rock' station was on all day and they would repeatedly play their songs throughout the day and rotate between only 2 or 3 of them.

This record contains a few of their radio play songs for sure, but I must admit there was one or two songs that were shorter and had none of the elements that I dislike. There was even one (Thank You, perhaps?) where the singing was in a lower register and it was a nice break. I also must admit that they do know how to rock. They have some good riffs and some parts of songs that are awesome, but then they run them into the ground by playing them over and over.

It was more tolerable than I had thought it would be and as mentioned, some killer riffs were in there. It also gets a bonus for having a locked groove at the end, something I love and have always wanted to do. Either that or an even bigger bonus for having the best-timed skip on a record ever.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Record a Week: Hubert Laws - Then There Was Light



What are the chances I come upon to flute specialist records in the span of a couple weeks? I can't imagine there are even more than three in my whole collection, but I guess this proves that I don't know much about that.

This record had fairly run-of-the-mill Jazz sounds at first, but then the flute solo kicked in. Flute in jazz is so much different than the flute I remember from high school music class. I always thought of it as a pretty boring instrument until its inclusion in jazz. I should know better, because years ago I saw an oboist who used a looping pedal and played some pretty neat stuff, including Smells Like Teen Spirit and that blew my conventional knowledge of instruments right out of the water.

Besides the flute solos, there are two very surprising drum solos that occur. One on each side of the album. The first one was on Restoration and the second (I think) on Come Ye Disconsolate. The one is reminiscent of speed metal drumming and really caught me off guard, as it seemed like a real departure in terms of genre. Definitely found this one a very interesting listen a a few different ways.