Friday, June 27, 2008

Cantelope Ice Cream, Freezing

Use the standard, layer in the ice, shake liberally with rock salt, layer in the ice, shake liberally with rock salt method to begin the freezing. After about a half an hour you should hear the freezer beginning to slow as the ice cream inside stiffens.

As you can see, there are traces and creases left in the ice cream by the dasher, that means it's time to get the puree pulp that you reserved (chekov's gun is about to go off). Carefully wipe down the lid and top of the container to avoid any contamination by the salt and ice, remove the top and add in the reserved pulp.

Recap, and resume the freezing process until the ice cream is frozen through at the soft stage. Remove the container from the freezer and give it another quick wipe down. Take off the lid and remove the dasher.

Transfer the ice cream to appropriate freezer safe containers and freeze to set at least two more hours.

Now, serve, and enjoy.

A lot of folks have been dissing the "unity" thing between Clinton and Obama. Some of it is wickedly brilliant, like when Melissa McEwan talks about them "riding into Unity on their matching Unity Ponies. . ."

Thing is, I find myself believing that this is more than a bit sincere on Senator Clinton's part. Especially when I was working hard in the jingle game the competition was brutal, vicious and ruthless. That's how it was, there was a lot of money on the table and not a lot of time to make sure you got yourself a seat and had your long handled fork at the ready. More than once I found myself in competition with people that I liked. Most of the time, we all understood the game well enough to know that all of us would do what ever we needed to do in order to nail down the gigs we wanted. On more than one occaision I explained myself or had somebody else explain themself to me with the words "It's show business, not show friends. In the vast majority of those times as soon as the competition part of the thing was over, it was over, done, finito. Then it was time to move on, go out for tacos from the pushcart across the lot from the studio and quit being musicians and act like real human beings who possess stuff like feelings and consciences.

I imagine that politics is much the same. By the time the campaign rolls to a close I would expect that the politicians feel the same way. Who else in the world is in a position to understand what you have just been through than someone who was in the middle of it all right there with you?

I can understand how if you lose to a dickhead like George W. Bush by way of stolen Ohio votes or a Supreme Court Ruling from a court that was packed by that bastard's daddy there might be some residual hard feelings. In this case though the choice was clear. Obama won close, but he won, now it's time for Senator Clinton to make sure that we all have a friend in the White House. Good for her sez I.


Friday Random Ten

I'm lazing around today. It's been a fairly hectic week, but today's schedule involves washing the car, the old inside and out type of job, and then freezing the cantelope ice cream. Other than that, the day is mine.

Here's the morning's soundtrack:

Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings - - - Lucinda Williams
Hometown Blues - - - Steve Earle
Hawkins Country Jail - - - Hobart Smith
The Bullfrog Shuffle - - - Bela Fleck
Number One Heel - - - Buck Owens
Nel Flaherty's Drake - - - Tommy Makem
Badge - - - Cream
Whiskey Train - - - Procul Harum
My Oklamhoma Home Blowed Away - - - Pete Seeger
Small Fry - - - Louis Armstrong

Bonus Track: (what's on right now)

Up Against The Wall Redneck Mothers - - - Jerry Jeff Walker (live bootleg, me on snotty ass slide guitar)

What's on your soundtrack?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cantelope Ice Cream

So, let's recap the week so far. The 4th Amendment is on its way to being a thing of the past. Ralph Nader tries to get some attention by talking like an ignorant cracker who knows the level of blackitude that Barack Obama can demonstrate without making people feel all icky inside. President Bush insults the President of the Philipines and just about every Philipino within earshot by reminding them all that in his White House they are the fucking help. Oh, and let us not forget that maybe the North Koreans aren't evil crazy motherfuckers. At least we know that Stalinist dictatorships won't go all Muslim on us and shit.

At least Atonin Scalia and his brethern on the Supreme Court made it legal for folks in Washington D.C. to own firearms. It will come in handy should they feel like shooting themselves in shame over the shit they've pulled the last seven years.

Fuck that. Fuck them. I'm making ice cream. Right now in the deserts of Southern California we are having our crops of melon come in. One of the beautiful things about living where they grow this stuff is that when you see a field of cantelope or other melons being picked there is a great chance that there will be somebody by the side of the field selling the culls off cheap. Culls are the melons that are too vine ripened to pack and ship. They are bursting with flavor and juice and all kinds of wonderful goodness. The field workers sell them for a few cents each to raise beer money. I am glad to help. I used to spend every summer in these same fields. It was the way I could afford to buy clothes, shoes and books for the next school year. It's hard, honest work. Which is how republicans describe jobs that don't pay for shit.


2 large, very ripe cantelopes
2 lemons, juiced
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
4 cups heavy cream
2 cups 1/2 & 1/2
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond extract

Cut, seed, and slice the cantelope into chunks.

Puree this in a food processor and put into a large mixing bowl.

Halve and juice two lemons making sure that you remove all the seeds from the juice. *hint* If you roll the lemon before halving it you'll make it easier to release all the juice.

Add the lemon juice to the cantelope puree and put them both into a large strainer over a large bowl. Use a spatula to gently agitate the puree to release as much of the juice as you can.

Take the remaining pulp and put into an airtight container and refrigerate.

Set the juice aside.

Scald the cream and half & half in a heavy saucepan. While that's going on beat the eggs until lemon yellow and add in the sugar. Beat until very smooth.

Add in the extracts.

Temper in the scalded cream and half & half, adding slowly at first to avoid scrambling the eggs and ruining the consistency of the ice cream base. Then, add in the cantelope/lemon juice, put it into the freezer container for your freezer, cap and refrigerate overnight.

I'll cover the freezing process tomorrow. Think about the cantelope pulp like Chekov's gun.

big brass blog

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Maple Bread Pudding

This is a tried and true recipe that has been in my family for so long that nobody really knows who first started making it.

These are the ingredients, it's a very simple set. It's simple enough and flexible enough that you can play around with the balance of spice and sweet, egg and milk, bread and pudding with pretty good success.


4 cups very stale bread, cut into cubes (for this time I'm using a mixture of old cornbread and dinner rolls. *hint* cut the bread into cubes before it goes stale)
6 eggs, beaten
4 cups milk
1 cup maple syrup (real stuff, from a goddamned tree, pretend syrup will not have a good consistency)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher or sea salt, not iodized)
touch of almond extract

Butter or use cooking spray on a ceramic or glass baking pan.

Scald the milk on top of the stove.

Put the stale bread cubes into the pan.

Beat the eggs until they are lemon yellow. Add in the dry spices while the mixer is at stir.

Before you measure the syrup spray the inside of the measuring cup with cooking spray. This will reduce the amount of leavings in your measure.

Temper the scalded milk into the egg mixture a little at a time to avoid scrambling your custard.

Pour the custard over the bread crumbs and pat down smooth. Be sure to allow the crumbs 10 to 15 minutes to soak up the custard.

I like to spread a bit more ground nutmeg over the top right before

It goes into the 350° oven for 45 minutes.

Until it looks like that.

Serve warm, with ice cream, whipped cream, or hard sauce.


A Very Strange Skill

of mine that I developed in the music industry is my ability to get other people in the same business, but at different levels to tell me the truth. The fact that this is a skill you need to develop if you're going to survive in the business tells you a lot about how things inside music work.

Sometimes, I use it to satisfy my curiousity, other times I use it because I know that telling the truth to someone is not a comfortable thing for a lot of these folks. This morning I had an instance of the latter.

The setup for this phone conversation is that the producer involved is not someone I've enjoyed working with in the past. He tends to be very autocratic, not collaborative at all, and, worst case scenario for me, he tends to be very poor at communicating what he wants. He'll ask for another take endlessly and when you ask him how he wants it to be done he'll say things like You know, different."

Faster? Louder? Slower? Softer? What the fuck? Is usually my response. Since I view my main job working with a producer as one of giving them what they want, not being able to discern easily what that is can become very frustrating.

I've also totally scaled back all my work in the business since the writer's strike cooled off the jingle game. I noticed while I was doing other things, how much happier I was. I simply haven't gone back. I figure if I stay out of the arena long enough I'll soon be one of those forgotten folks who have no reliable answer to the eternal Hollywood question of "What have you done lately?

The phone rings first from my agent. Our conversation goes like this.

Agent: Feel like working?

Me: Nope, not much.

Agent: Look, kid, I owe this guy (insert name) a favor, you owe me and he asked for you.

Me: He asked for me?

Agent: By name.

Me: Why?

Agent: He's going to call in five minutes. Be polite.

Me: I'm always polite.

Agent: (sounds of coffee being blown out the nose) then click of hang up.

Five minute later the phone does ring. I do answer.

Me: Why did you call?

Asshole Producer: I really need your slide guitar sound.

Me: Why me?

Lying Motherfucker: Your sound is yours, it's unique.

Me: No, really, why me?

Motherfucker: Ry Cooder's wrapped up promoting that book/album thing, David Lindley's on tour, Pete's out of town, Bush is in Tennessee, I've called everybody I could think of and been told no.

Me: OK, I understand. Fax the charts.

No, I really don't miss the business end of things at all.


Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin Dead at 71

In keeping with, and in respect of Mr. Carlin's well known viewpoint of religion and his hatred of hypocrisy and euphemism, I will make do with Woody Guthrie's perfect wishes.

So long buddy, it's been good to know ya.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Birds Have Eaten All The Crumbs

Our clever, clever plan for beginning to find our way back from the disasters and incursions on our personal liberties made by the President and his minions is now come full circle.

Congress has seen fit to compromise our liberties to an extent that most of our founders would find unacceptable.

Patrick Henry said:

There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free--if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us! They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength but irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extentuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

While Barack Obama says:

I will try to remove the immunity.

John Adams said:

There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.
(journal entry on advice he planned to give his son, John Quincy)

Senator Kit Bond said:

When the Government tells you to do something, I think you all recognize, uh, that that is something that you need to do.

I really don't know if there is a way back from this. I'm certain that, as a fashion statement, jumpsuits have always sucked. I look horrible in orange.

Pretty soon anyone with a conscience, anyone with a thirst for liberty, will be in a jumpsuit and a prisoner. I hope I have the good sense to die before I have to watch the rest of this disgusting charade.

Hope? Not much anymore.

"When I was young I walked all over this country, east and west, and saw no other people than the Apaches. After many summers I walked again and found another race of people had come to take it. How is it?"