Soul Cocina

Eco Chef Roger Feely

Not the only dreamer

Well how was your Fat Tuesday?
Mardi Gras/Carnaval is a colorful time.

Tune: Agujetas de color de rosa by Los Pikadientes De Caborca

These guys have a huge tune on Mexican radio right now. I hear this song everywhere I go in San Francisco. Ring tones on the bus, taqueria juke boxes, low riders on Mission Street. Banda meets cumbia.

Tune: Cumbia Del Rio also by Los Pikadientes De Caborca

Not to be confused with the great standard Cumbia Hip Hop tune Cumbia Sobre el Rio by Celso Piña and Blanquito Man

Another interesting tune that gets a lot of play on taqueria jukeboxes is the Bollywood inspired tune from the kings of modern bachata, Aventura

Tune: Un Chi Chi by Aventura

Tune: Colorblind featuring Aloe Blacc by Afrodisiac Soundsystem

Tune: De Colores by Ismael Rivera

Get your carnaval fix over at Masala with a bunch of great soca and other Carribean tunes. And jump on the soca train over at the Heatwave blog. And for all things New Orleans check out Home of the Groove. And if you come to the Soul Cocina in search of food and music and I sleep [dream] like I did in the last few weeks, you can always check out the sidebar to your right under cuisine for other blogs with wonderful culinary tales and recipes. And check out the musica blogroll too. I have been meaning to post more stories from Shammi and I slept on sharing my thoughts on my three favorite holidays that came three days in a row in January. And I didn't comment much on one of my least favorite holidays, I let Shunna speak for me on that one. Oh and since I'm backpeddling all the way to christmastime... Have you heard QDog's Christmas tune from last year on Cardboard Sangria Records?

Tune: Punchy the Christmas Monkey by Emmett Quinn and the Cardboard Sangria Fam

A good friend of mine [who happens to be a great chef] recently said that they were anxious for spring and summer produce to make its way to the market. They said they were growing tired of root vegetables. I am also excited for new fruits and veggies, but I'll never get bored with root vegetables. And I love all the citrus we are blessed with, remember?

I've been working in the kitchen at Nopalito. The naranja salad is bliss. Slices of grapefruit, orange and blood orange with lime, house-made queso fresco, pickled red onions and Nopalito's special ground chile spice. As you can tell from this blog, Mexican Cuisine is close to my heart. And you don't have to wait for los fines de semana for birria and pozole anymore. Come visit Nopalito 7 days a week for these crudo cures. The meat is local and sustainable. The masa is ground in house from organic corn and the tortillas are made to order. If tomatoes are not in season, you won't be seeing any pico de gallo on the plates at Nopalito. Chantenay carrots for chiles en vinagre and watermellon radishes and cabbage to top the pozole. Just like abuela used to do it.

What to do with winter produce?
At home, I've been going through a few Pomelos a day. A few weeks ago I made a sunchoke soup and tossed in a few chopped mushrooms from the Alameny Farmers Market. it was like cream of mushroom soup from heaven. I often pass by the sunchokes aka Jeruselum artichokes because I don't feel like peeling them. But I discoverd that when you boil them, the flesh comes right out of the skin with ease. Then I saute onion and garlic in olive oil, add the boiled sunchokes along with some veggie stock and milk. Process with an immersion stick blender, toss in some chopped mushrooms and then season with herbs, salt and pepper. I encourage you to do the same, before they go out of season in the next week or two.

At our Monday Beacon cooking activity we made some veggie sushi with wonderful purple, red and yellow carrots and citrus spring rolls.

B.O.B was in town this month and he prepared a vegan feast with the season's bounty. He brought a bunch of stories from the farm in Wisconsin where they make there own wine and sauerkraut. He also brought ideas for a menu of grapefruit salad, vegan bbq sandwich with coleslaw, beets, and lentil soup. I added a colorful version of Aloo Gobi.

Toast cumin, fennel seed, kalonji, coriander and dried kashmiri chillies seperately. Grind to a powder and combine.
Roast yellow cauliflower, purple cauliflower, purple potatoes, yellow carrots, purple carrots with a little salt, peper and olive oil.
Puree onion, ginger, garlic and green chillies with a little olive oil.
Heat olive oil or ghee in 2 saute pans and cook mustard seeds until they start to pop then add the onion-ginger-garlic-chile paste [half in each pan]. In one pan add finely grated turmeric root and cook slow.
Add the spice mix to both pans.
Toss the yellow vegetables in the turmeric pan and the purple veggies in the other pan. Add a little veggie stock and simmer for 2 minutes until the stock evaporates and the flavors merge.
Finish with cilantro and julienne raw ginger.

*To avoid overcooking the veggies I like to roast them at high tempurature on a preheated pan to give them a nice golden sear and cook for a short while so they are still firm. Then after they simmer with the spices and stock for a few minutes they will be al dente. The authentic method does not call for roasting, the veggies are all cooked down in the pan with the spices. But I like the flavor/texture/color from my roast first method.

K'naan's new album Troubadour was released today. Buy it today.
I bought K'naan's first album when it came out based solely on the cover. I've been following along ever since. I have been excited for this album that was recorded at the marley family studios in Jamaica.
Here's what K'naan has to say about the album [from a few days ago on myspace]

Hey folks.

I wanna start by saying thanks to all of those who
have shared with me, in person or online, how much
you've been moved by my music. This great response
is encouraging. You must understand that a lot of artist these
days are losing motivation. I know intimately, many would-be
great artists who are being shackled by the business of music
today. Sales are low across the board, because most people
are not really interested in buying music. I had a theory for a long
time that, this is because a lot of the music being made today isn't
worth people's money anyway. But when an artist steps outside
the box, and puts his heart and soul into their music, ignoring all the
voices hoping he would stray, the weight of suspicion is greater than
you can imagine. A lot of people out there would like for me to succeed.
But there are quite a few also, who would rather say "I told you so".
"Listen K'naan" they would say... "You can't make genre-hopping music
with lyrics that actually have meaning and be successful". I've heard
this through out my entire musical life, even from people who wish me well.
But I could never lower myself to make music that I don't believe in. This is
why I made Troubadour, and there is a reason why I recorded it in Bob
Marley's home studio in Jamaica. You can now give the entire album a listen
on myspace. I'm very proud of it and I hope that it will mean something
to you for a long time to come. This tuesday, February 24th, the album
will be available on iTunes, music stores and all major on and offline
outlets. If you love it, I ask that you actually buy it. This is when supporting
real music becomes real critical. Trust me, the odds are way bigger than us.
Tell everyone you know also, because it's one thing to commend me for my
efforts and integrity, but it's another thing to help me continue to do it.

Thank you very much, and know that all the support is truly appreciated.

Let's celebrate, because Troubadour is here!


Dreamer - K'NAAN

Check out this tune from the album with Jr Gong, Damian Marley
Tune: I Come Prepared (feat. Damian Marley) by K'naan

Big tune from the album, Somalia, has a great video too.