Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sound and Vision - Bouguereau and Scott Walker

Pieta, Adolphe-William Bouguereau

A few weeks ago I posted a Squarepusher track along with a Tchelitchew painting, and since then I've been thinking of other songs and paintings that go together. Bouguereau's "Pieta" is one of the most intense paintings I've ever seen in person. "Farmer in the City" is from Scott Walker's 1995 album, Tilt. The lyrics are from Pier Paolo Pasolini's poem, "Una tanti dialoghi" ("One of the many epilogues").

Farmer in the City by Scott Walker on Grooveshark

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shield Street

Shield Street

It's been a little under 4 months since I graduated, but despite the daily grind and almost total lack of job security, I'm still basking in the glow of not being in school any more. Every moment of freedom is like liquid heaven. These songs pretty much speak for themselves. They're about feeling stupidly happy and being free.

I love the guitar work in the Felt song and the end of Across the Shields and when Edwyn Collins quotes the guitar solo of the Buzzcocks' "Boredom" in "Rip It Up." "Bye Bye Pride" takes my breath away every time I listen to it. "Crew Filth" starts with almost everything I like, condensed into a minute, before it meanders into barely audible, nonsensical drivel. I like this image. After the big day, life goes on in its weird way.

I had a blast making this the past few months and am glad to get it out to my friends who still have some summer left to listen to it (i.e., nobody here in the bay area, where summer never begins or ends). Just unzip and drag the mp3 files into iTunes, and the album will organize itself as "Shield Street" under the "Mixes" genre.

The painting on the cover is "Support" by Sarah McKenzie.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Peach Cobbler

My landlords got a big box of peaches from the farm this week and unloaded a bunch on me, so naturally I signed into Cook's Illustrated and searched for "peaches". They started with one of their archetypal problem statements:
"Bad peaches, soggy biscuits, and syrupy filling were just three of the problems we had to solve in resurrecting this simple summer dessert."
My peaches were a bit overripe, so I blanched them to speed up the peeling step, then I drew out some moisture by soaking them in sugar for half an hour. Combining a portion of the peach juice with some cornstarch or arrowroot and lemon juice thickens the syrup and brightens the flavor of the peaches. I made some very simple biscuits and placed them on the peaches after they had baked for about 10 minutes. I'm not the biggest fruit dessert fan, but I loved this cobbler. It's easy and flexible. (I had to use Greek yogurt, because I didn't have any whole-milk yogurt on hand, and it worked fine.) Next time I'll have some vanilla ice cream.

  • 2 1/2 pounds peaches , ripe but firm (6 to 7 medium)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (1 3/4 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • pinch table salt

    Biscuit Topping
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Cube the butter and hold in the freezer while preparing the peaches and biscuits.
  2. For the filling: Peel peaches, then halve and pit each. Using small spoon, scoop out and discard dark flesh from pit area. Cut each half into wedges. Gently toss peaches and sugar together in large bowl; let stand for 30 minutes, tossing several times. Drain peaches in colander set over large bowl. Whisk 1/4 cup of drained juice (discard extra), cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt together in small bowl. Toss peach juice mixture with peach slices and transfer to 8-inch-square glass baking dish. Bake until peaches begin to bubble around edges, about 10 minutes.
  3. For the topping: While peaches are baking, in food processor, pulse flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. Scatter butter over and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer to medium bowl; add yogurt and toss with rubber spatula until cohesive dough is formed. (Don't overmix dough or biscuits will be tough.) Break dough into 6 evenly sized but roughly shaped mounds and set aside.
  4. To assemble and bake: After peaches have baked 10 minutes, remove peaches from oven and place dough mounds on top, spacing them at least 1/2 inch apart (they should not touch). Sprinkle each mound with portion of remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Bake until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 16 to 18 minutes. Cool cobbler on wire rack until warm, about 20 minutes; serve.