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Big Changes for Culinarie 2018!

Culinarie Kit is going quarterly.

Based on customer feedback, we’ve decided to move to a quarterly shipping plan and expand our box curation. Our new boxes will be larger, include more items, ship right when you order them (perfect for gifting), and renew every three months. You can also purchase a year’s subscription at a discount. The first NEW boxes will ship 12/19/17 for the holidays via USPS 2-day Priority Mail. Pre-orders are open as of today!

If you already have an active subscription or gift subscription, don’t worry! Your boxes will still continue as scheduled through the end of the year. After December’s box ships, your subscription will not renew unless you sign up. If you’d like to keep receiving or gifting our boxes, there is a coupon at the bottom of this e-mail to try the newer, improved Culinarie Kit! If not, you don’t have to do anything. Your subscription will end and we hope you enjoy all the ingredients you’ve received!

Same great boxes. More ingredients. Better schedule.

We’ve spent the last year building relationships with some of the best producers and finest artisans in the U.S. Because these relationships have been so fruitful, we are going to continue using several suppliers you may already be familiar with, such as Sparrow Lane Vinegars, Bibs’ Passion Oil, SoLA Deli, Two Snooty Chefs, and more. If you’ve been a subscriber since the beginning, you may see a product or two that you recognize–but rest assured, the majority are new surprises and any item getting a second round deserves it because of quality!

We really hope you’ll join us in celebrating our revamped boxes, brand new logo, and renewed commitment to bringing you or your favorite chef the best ingredients and cooking ideas from around the country.

The perfect gift for home cooks just got better. Pre-order yours now.

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Chorizo & Veggie Tacos (Recipe)

Who doesn’t love tacos? This hipster-style twist on a classic chorizo taco adds flavor, texture, and tons of nutrients from the veggies. Bonus: it’s easy as hell to prepare. One pan and some tortillas in the oven–boom, dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz chorizo (I used Cacique soy chorizo for this particular recipe)
  • 1 whole sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 1 Vidalia or sweet yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbsp Heckdust OR 1 tbsp smoked paprika + 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 8-10 corn tortillas

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°F.
  2. In a cast iron pan or heavy skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high. Add chorizo, sweet potato, brussels sprouts, and onion and sauté until everything is browning on the edges. Brussels may blacken; this is normal. Add seasonings and reduce heat to low. Hold hot.
  3. Arrange tortillas in a single layer on an unlined baking sheet. Place in oven for 5-8 minutes, or until tortillas have softened and warmed. Add to a plate and spoon in chorizo and veggie mixture.
  4. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and your favorite salsa.
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Vinaigrettes: Fresh Salad Dressing Made Simple

Few things are more refreshing in the summer than a bountiful salad. And while this Midwest-bred chef has a soft spot for creamier dressings like ranch and bleu cheese, these hot months call for an airy and bright take on salad.

Enter the vinaigrette. Marvelously flavorful, mind-numbingly simple. All you need to know is a basic ratio: 1 part acid to 3 parts oil. From teaspoons to cups, this ratio is perfectly scalable to make one single salad or to bottle dressing and make dozens.

Acid
Your acid will add the brightness and determine the flavor profile of your dressing. Various vinegars and citrus fruits can create a wide spectrum of dressings. Balsamic has a deep, often nutty flavor, and is great for salads that use hard cheeses. Red wine vinegar is more pungent and offers a permeating flavor, making it good for punchier greens like kale or arugula. Pure lemon juice is bright, fresh and unmistakably delicious with salads that are heavy on veggies such as radishes, carrots and cucumber.

Oil
It’s pretty standard to reach for some extra virgin olive oil when crafting a vinaigrette, but plenty of other oils can do the trick and add their own flavor. Grapeseed oil is incredibly pure-tasting and will highlight your acid more. Avocado oil is almost buttery, making your dressing richer. Sesame is aromatic and perfect to pair with soy sauce and an Asian-inspired salad.

Mixing & Storing
Vinaigrettes are easy to bring together. Start with your acid and seasonings in a metal bowl. Slowly pour in your oil while whisking vigorously. If you’re using fresh herbs, you can save time by using a food processor or blender. Most vinaigrettes will thicken when refrigerated, so store at room temperature if possible.

Try these easy combos to make some delicious vinaigrettes from ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen:

Dressing Acid (1) Oil (3) Additions
 

Lemon Pepper Vinaigrette

 

Fresh lemon juice Olive oil  

Salt & pepper to taste

 

 

Orange Sesame Vinaigrette

 

 Fresh squeezed orange juice  Sesame oil  

Splash of soy sauce for sodium, pinch of ground white pepper

 

 Vidalia Golden
Balsamic
 Golden balsamic vinegar  Olive oil  

1 tablespoon finely minced Vidalia onion, salt & pepper. Let marinate for 1 hour.

 

 Rich Garlic Herb  White wine vinegar  Macadamia or other nut oil  

Smash two cloves of raw garlic and rub on inside of mixing bowl. Add fresh chopped herbs like sage, tarragon, and rosemary. Let marinate & strain before serving

 

 Chimichurri Vinaigrette  Lime juice  Avocado oil  

Add finely chopped cilantro, parsley, garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.

 

What creative vinaigrettes have you made? Let us know in the comments!

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Avocado Plantain Toast

Despite rumors you may have heard, avocado toast is not the sign of end times that some old money financial advisors make it out to be. It’s actually quite delicious, inexpensive, and good for you.

For those seeking a little something different in their morning snack, or for anyone on a grain free diet, these twice-fried plantains stand in for toasted bread, utilizing garlic and sea salt to add depth to an otherwise simple breakfast. Bonus: this is naturally a vegan and gluten-free recipe!

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil

1 green plantain, halved width-wise, then halved lengthwise

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced

Sea salt to taste

Serves: 2

In a deep pan, heat vegetable oil on low. Add garlic and watch for it to turn golden. Using a strainer, remove garlic and set aside.

Raise the heat to medium-high so the oil is just barely bubbling. Carefully submerge the plantain quarters in the oil and allow to fry for 3-4 minutes, until they have started to brown.

Remove the plantain quarters to a sheet of parchment paper. Allow to cool slightly for handling, but not all the way. Using a rolling pin -OR- another sheet of parchment and a cutting board, gently flatten each quarter until it is about 1/4″ thick. Return these quarters to the oil and cook another 4-5 minutes, or until the outsides are a deep golden brown and crispy.

Remove twice-fried plantains from the oil and turn off the heat. Allow these to drain on a rack, parchment paper or paper towel. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and reserved, cooked garlic. Top with avocado slices, garnish with spices, cheese, or whatever you have on hand, and enjoy!

Garnish suggestions:

• Use a little shredded parmesan cheese and Helldust (or smoked paprika).

• Make a quick-n-easy chipotle slaw with shredded cabbage, mayonnaise, and chipotle hot sauce.

• Top with an overeasy fried egg for a messy but delicious treat.

• Add crumbled queso fresco, a few cilantro leaves, and a fresh lime for squeezing.

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Kim Collins: May Music Box Guest Chef #5

May’s Culinarie Kit will be filled with interesting, delectable ingredients like usual, but will also carry the songs of spring! All of the recipes in this month’s box will be written by Guest Chefs who are foodie musicians. In this mini blog series, you’ll get to know each of them a little better. Sign up for May’s Culinarie Kit here.

Kim Collins is a multi-instrumentalist in her Nasvhille duo The Smoking Flowers, a classic country/pop outfit that pulls at your heartstrings in one song and gets you out on the dance floor the next.

Kim’s also got the foodie bug, and she’s lending her healthy take on gourmet to our May box. We’re lucky she had time between working on her new album, running her very cool health blog, having shoulder surgery (!!), and curating Lotus Eye Interiors, her vintage rug and interior design company. Somehow she even had time to answer our interview! Check it out below, followed by a video from The Smoking Flowers.

Culinarie Kit: What inspired your love for cooking?
Kim Collins: In my case it would be a “who”. My mother. I’ve been around homemade cooking my whole life. But it wasn’t until I left home and decided to go all-natural with my life, including eating a vegetarian diet, that my cooking talents were really discovered. I had to cook for myself because in the south in the 1990’s there weren’t many healthy options. We did have two vegetarian restaurants in Nashville and one health food store though, which isn’t bad for that era!

CK: Do you have any professional cooking experience?
KC: I am a raw food, whole food and cancer diet at home cook, speaker and advocate. I get asked to do private events. But other than that, I don’t consider myself a “professional”. It’s more a lifestyle and passion for me that I love to share through my blogging or private and social events.

CK: What’s your favorite music to listen to when you’re in the kitchen?
KC: Chopin! Or old French music. Or even Opera.

CK: What’s the best meal you’ve had on tour? The worst?
KC: I have 2 bests:
I am a breast cancer survivor and cured my cancer holistically. This included cleaning up my diet and I went on a raw food diet for the first year of healing. When on tour, it was difficult, but not impossible to maintain my diet. But one festival we played deep in the North Woods of Wisconsin there was absolutely NO food for the bands! And the only thing they had on the premises was a microwave pizza in the cabin lodging. I was soooo hungry and was not prepared for this mishap so I ordered the pizza after being on a strict vegan (and no bread) diet for almost 2 years. I sat down with the pizza, looked at it, blessed it for my nourishment, and chowed down. It was the best pizza I ever had!

We met a badass chef (Justine Zegna) at a show in Maryland who owned a few restaurants. She took us in and fed us after our concert late one night. An amazing home cooked healthy vegan meal. I wish I could remember the details of that first dinner. Every time we tour in her city she has amazing food she makes for us at her home.

The worst? So many. Lol. Seriously, a lot of the bars we played had typical grease pit food. I end up getting the French fries.

CK: Name your favorite dish to cook. If it had a theme song, what would it be?
KC: My vegan Bolognese dish! It’s so hearty and I slow roast seitan as the meat replacement. Even meat eaters freak out over this dish. I guess the theme song would be something French of course, by Edith Piaf. Or Jane Birkin!

CK: What’s the weirdest/most creative way you’ve eaten on the road?
KC: I don’t know if I would consider this creative, but it was definitively the most memorable (almost orgasmic!) experience. We were playing in Seattle and took a fellow musician on the road with us sharing the bill, and he knew a fishmonger in Pike’s Market. On our way out of the city to head up north we popped in and the fishmonger threw us a freshly caught and smoked salmon that was the size of my thigh! I was still currently vegan/raw in my diet however (*sigh). So we took off on the road and I could smell the goodness in the van permeating. We had no forks or anything for the boys to cut this huge piece of salmon so they began just eating it barbarian- style with their hands… digging in like starving animals, letting the salmon juice drip down their faces. They were oohing and awing and I said, “Screw it!” and dug in because I couldn’t take their praises anymore! It was single handedly the most amazing fish (or any food for that matter) I have ever put in my mouth. We scarfed downed that fish like we haven’t eaten in a month. And the barbaric style was what made it that much more visceral and heavenly.

CK: If you could have anyone cater your next tour, who would it be?
KC: Justine Zegna! She owns a great restaurant in Berlin, Maryland called The Black Smith (and before that she owned the popular Planet X vegetarian restaurant in Rehoboth Beach). She’s a punk rocker musician from the original punk scene in DC and is a remarkable woman on many levels. It’s got to be family for me on the road.

CK: If you could cook dinner for anyone, who would it be?
KC: Leonard Cohen (if I could bring him back). Because, well, I just want to have dinner with him and I think he’d appreciate my take on the art of cooking because he was pure art.

OR more bringing back of the past:
Chopin, Beethoven, Edith Piaf, Billy Holiday, Salvador Dali. That would be the ultimate dinner party.

Living? Barack Obama. Because damn, that would be cool.

Checkout The Smoking Flowers’ beautiful live video for “Left of the Dial” below. Want to get Kim’s recipe along with a box of unique, artisan ingredients? Use coupon code KIM to reserve your Culinarie Kit before 5/12/17, receive the May Music Box, and save $5!

 

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Culinarie Spotlight: Jesse Layman of Sparrow Lane

You may have noticed that April’s box contained an ingredient from a new vendor, Sparrow Lane Artisan Vinegars & Provisions. Sparrow Lane is Culinarie Kit’s first vinegar supplier, and boy did we luck out! These vinegars are so aromatic and delicious that we’ve used them on everything, from proteins to greens to fruit salads. Hint, hint: May’s box will also have a vinegar variety from Sparrow Lane. Reserve yours here by 5/12/17 to receive May’s box.

Here’s an interview with Jesse Layman, head chef of Sparrow Lane:

Culinarie Kit: If your vinegars had a mission statement, what would it be?

Jesse Layman: Our mission is to be the one primary ingredient in every kitchen that is worth its salt. To bring out flavor naturally while adding an element that makes your taste buds want more.
Like the James Bond of ingredients, a secret agent, is the one you call to get the job done, smooth tasteful, bold, yet so subtle and suave.

CK: Did you always know you wanted to work with food? How did you end up producing artisan vinegars instead of, say, opening a restaurant?

JL: I was raised in restaurants and that is all I ever wanted to do. I love seeing people eating with friends and relaxing. It was my goal to own a chain of restaurants and although that didn’t quite happen I have owned several. Sparrow Lane vinegar has been an intricate part of my pantry for years, so when I was offered to come take over the marketing and sales and be the chef for them it was a natural choice.

CK: What’s your personal favorite vinegar that you produce and recipe to use it in?

JL: Wow, I always get asked this and it is really hard. They are like your kids, you love them all equally just somedays you like one a little more. It just depends on what I am making or how I want to create the outcome. I really like playing with more than one in a dish, like using Pear Raspberry to toss with baby greens and fresh fruit (pears, berries or apples) and then finishing lightly with Walnut Champagne, for a nutty essence that is allergy free.

CK: Do you have any new products in the works that we should be excited about?

JL: Yes, we are always playing with new ideas and vinegar based products. We are ready to launch our line of finishing sauces for the BBQ season. And we will have a couple new things, hopefully, come first of the year.

CK: If you could have one celebrity chef use your vinegars in a recipe, who would you pick?

JL: That is easy because many of today’s celebrity chefs already use Sparrow Lane and we are always in their pantry. But I would of liked to have had Madeleine Kamman and James Beard use it and we could have dinner and discuss the benefits of using acid.

CK: Lastly, tell us your favorite foodie/chef joke:

JL: I was cooking on a morning television show in Utah and being shadowed by the very attractive host. She kept looking over my shoulder asking questions as I intently stayed focused on what I was doing. I placed a sauté pan on the open flame and turned around to grab something when she excitedly asked me why, as she watched it start to smoke. Without a thought I said, “because when we are ready, its best to do it hot and fast.” She took a step back, blushed and looked at the camera and stuttered, “We will be right back.”

Want to give Jesse’s killer vinegars a shot? Order directly from the Sparrow Lane website or subscribe to Culinarie Kit to receive one in your May box (and more to come).

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An Exercise in Experimentation (+ Recipe: Confused Not-Mac & Cheese)

Every spring, I gain a substantial amount of energy. Sometimes I have full days where I can’t stop moving. Today was one of those days. I worked out, took the dog for an hour walk, rode my bike, bleached my hair, dyed my hair, and danced the entire time I cooked dinner… oh wait, dinner, that’s what I was getting at!

Sometimes you just have no idea what to cook. Sometimes you have a bunch of ingredients about to go bad in your refrigerator and you stare vacantly into that bright, chilled void wondering how to combine them to best get your dollar’s worth and put off a trip to the grocery another day. That’s how I arrived at what I can best call “Confused Not-Mac & Cheese” while making dinner for my husband and myself tonight.

Most of a head of cauliflower, half a can of white hominy, a small chunk of gouda, the end of a packet of cream cheese, one 5oz tuna steak, butter, an 1/8 package of chorizo, an avocado that may or may not still be good, and a full spice rack.

Sure, I got this.

I started by ricing the cauliflower. Then I got bored of ricing the cauliflower and threw it into a pan with just a rough chop. Added Goya Sazón (my go-to when I’m lazy-cooking), salt, black pepper, and a bit of Helldust. I let it steam in olive oil in a lidded pan while I danced around the kitchen like an idiot trying to remember what I was doing in the first place.

Somewhere down the line I added a tablespoon of butter, the half can of hominy (drained), chorizo, and a splash of lime juice. Removed the lid and let it keep cooking over medium heat. After another song & dance (literally), I broke up the gouda and cream cheese into the pan and stirred.

That’s when the magic happened: it almost instantly turned into a creamy orange sauce reminiscent of boxed mac & cheese (don’t lie, you know you remember it fondly). It’s got that childhood comfort food color with a very grown up flavor.

As the veggie half of the dish came together, I halved the tuna to create two thin filets and flash-fried it in a pan of hot butter with salt, pepper, and lime juice (not pictured). Sliced the avocado for garnish and sprinkled a bit more Helldust on top of everything.

Moral of the story? If you have no idea what to cook, sometimes it’s best to *just start cooking*. Experimenting without an end goal in mind can lead you to bright, beautiful, orange places of deliciousness.

Not ready to indulge your imagination? That’s fine, it’ll come in time. For now, here’s what I made tonight in easy-to-follow recipe form:

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
1/2 can white hominy, drained
1 oz cheese (I used gouda; anything will work)
1 oz cream cheese
1 tbsp butter
1/2 packet Goya Sazón con azafran (or 1 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, cumin for the basics)
2-4 oz chorizo (optional)
1 tsp lime juice
Salt & black pepper to taste
1 tsp Helldust (or Spanish hot paprika, ground chipotle pepper, cayenne–whatever spicy you have on hand)

Instructions:
Roughly chop cauliflower. Heat a large sauté pan with olive oil. Add cauliflower and seasonings. Cover and allow to steam for 10 minutes.

Add chorizo, hominy, butter. Continue to cook, uncovered, for another 5-10 minutes.

Break up cheese by hand and add to pan, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low to hot-hold. Garnish with avocado and a little more Helldust or paprika.

Serve with a protein such as skirt steak, tuna steak, or a fried egg on top.

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Will Gorin: May Music Box Guest Chef #4

May’s Culinarie Kit will be filled with interesting, delectable ingredients like usual, but will also carry the songs of spring! All of the recipes in this month’s box will be written by Guest Chefs who are foodie musicians. In this mini blog series, you’ll get to know each of them a little better. Sign up for May’s Culinarie Kit here.

Will Gorin is the drummer for Slothrust, an indie rock band with some interesting melodic twists and fascinatingly full instrumentation for a three-piece outfit. Will managed to take some time out of their busy touring schedule to peruse one of our advance Guest Chef boxes and help create a recipe for May’s Culinarie Kit.

Culinarie Kit: What inspired your love for cooking?
Will Gorin: Definitely my love of eating. When I eat something truly delicious I want to have the ability to recreate it at home so I can always have it.

CK: Do you have any professional cooking experience?
WG: Not really in cooking, but i’ve worked in several restaurants as a waiter and am no stranger to the kitchen.

CK: What’s your favorite music to listen to when you’re in the kitchen?
WG: Jazz, I listen to this Art Blakey and the Jazz messengers live at Cafe Bohemia album a lot when I really go for it.

CK: What’s the best meal you’ve had on tour? The worst?
WG: Best: Franklins BBQ [Austin, TX], Worst: Pizza Hut.

CK: If you could cook dinner for anyone, who would it be?
WG: Aziz Anzari, and I’d make my spaghetti alla carbornara.

Checkout Slothrust’s video for “Sleep Eater” below. Want to get Will’s recipe along with a box of unique, artisan ingredients? Use coupon code WILL to reserve your Culinarie Kit before 5/12/17, receive the May Music Box, and save $5!

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Chandon Vicarious: May Music Box Guest Chef #3

May’s Culinarie Kit will be filled with interesting, delectable ingredients like usual, but will also carry the songs of spring! All of the recipes in this month’s box will be written by Guest Chefs who are foodie musicians. In this mini blog series, you’ll get to know each of them a little better. Sign up for May’s Culinarie Kit here.

 

Much like our last guest chef, Chandon Vicarious loves to keep himself busy. And we mean busy. The guitarist, singer, and songwriter fronts three rock bands: 4 Aspirin Morning (video below), Not Dead Yet, and Dividing Line. Somehow he still finds time for a dozen other creative projects as well as cooking gourmet food on the daily. He’s a fan of the Ketogenic diet, so you can bet that his contribution will be a low carb recipe full of nutrients–as well as frikkin’ delicious.

 

Without further ado, Chandon in his own words:

 

Culinarie Kit: What inspired your love for cooking?
Chandon Vicarious:
My parents got me into cooking since before I could see over a stove, so I’ve always had a good amount of staple dishes. A few years of being single and living alone in my early 20s gave me a lot of time to hone my skills and try new/creative/poverty inspired things. Now, I’m constantly experimenting and (usually) delighting people with regular homecooked dinners.

 

CK: Do you have any professional cooking experience?
CV:
NO. I do it all for the LOOOOOOVE.

 

CK: What’s your favorite music to listen to when you’re in the kitchen?
CV:
If it’s a big project that involves a lot of prep, The Aggrolites. They’ve got so many spicy tracks that whatever I make is sure to turn out good. Otherwise, 90s gangsta rap, punk rock, or Frank Turner.

 

CK: What’s the worst meal you’ve had on tour? 
CV: Hands down, White Castle in Detroit. Man, that was the saddest pair of dime-sized burger patties paired with the soggiest, mushiest onion rings that I’d ever put in my body. I had never eaten White Castle before, but at 3:30 AM, it was the only thing open. Never again.

 

CK: If you could have anyone cater your next tour, who would it be?

CV: Not White Castle.

 

CK: If you could cook dinner for anyone, who would it be?
CV:
If it was up to me, no money requirements and unlimited time constraints, I would cook dinner for EVERYONE. We should all have the gift of great food at least once in our lives.

 

Want to get Chandon’s recipe along with a box of unique, artisan ingredients? Use coupon code CHANDON to reserve your Culinarie Kit before 5/12/17, receive the May Music Box, and save $5!

 

 

 

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Frank Orrall: May Music Box Guest Chef #2

May’s Culinarie Kit will be filled with interesting, delectable ingredients like usual, but will also carry the songs of spring! All of the recipes in this month’s box will be written by Guest Chefs who are foodie musicians. In this mini blog series, you’ll get to know each of them a little better. Sign up for May’s Culinarie Kit here.

Frank Orrall is an electronic and acoustic musician, vocalist, songwriter and a captivating frontperson to top it all off. He certainly keeps himself busy with legendary pop-funk powerhouse Poi Dog Pondering, his electronic project 8fatfat8, and as a percussionist for Thievery Corporation.

Despite such a busy schedule, Frank is as prolific in the kitchen as he is in the studio! Under the name Chef Franc, Orrall provides the entertainment and the edibles for fans’ and friends’ dinner parties. Culinarie Kit was lucky enough to snag him as a Guest Chef for this month!

Here’s a little more about Frank in his own words:

Culinarie Kit: What inspired your love for cooking?
Frank Orrall: I love a good dinner party. I love to sit down with friends over tasty food and nice wine, and talk and laugh, brainstorm and listen to music. I like what happens to conversation when people get lubricated and lifted by deliciousness. I like it when the guitars come out later in the evening.
We live in an amazing time for food. So many people doing interesting things with food. Produce is getting varied and plentiful. It’s inspiring.

CK: Do you have any professional cooking experience?
FO: No. I’ve worked almost every position in a restaurant (dishwasher, busboy, waiter, bar back, food prep etc.,) but never on the cook line. All my experience so far has been from watching people cook, experimenting with recipes, trying to re-create favorite dishes I’ve had at restaurants.

CK: What’s your favorite music to listen to when you’re in the kitchen?
FO: All kinds. But lately, Brazilian music for the most part. Big Band, 50’s and 60’s Jazz. Instrumental.

CK: What’s the best meal you’ve had on tour?
FO: We were in Bologna Italy, with a day off, on a Sunday. Many of the restaurants had closed. We asked the gentleman at the front desk of the family style hotel we were at, if there was a restaurant open in the area, he said “not really, I will make you something”. He sat us down at an outdoor table in the back yard of the hotel, brought out wine and water, and started to cook for us. Plate after plate of food. We didn’t order a thing. He just cooked what ever he had available in his kitchen and placed it on the table. It was beautiful. He just took charge. I love that he decided for us. We were in his hands. It was delicious. Simple and perfect.

CK: The worst?
FO: This past summer, on a Thievery Corporation tour, we played at the Wakarusa Music Festival in Arkansas. We got booked into some terrible “America’s Best Value Inn” in a depressing little town with nothing but a Taco Bell/KFC combo “restaurant” and a Love’s truck stop. That was it. I swore off fast food places a decade ago, so I was pretty much fucked. I went through the Love’s truck stop and tried to find something. Everything looked disgusting. And depressing: kids and grown-ups drinking giant sodas, eating microwave pizzas.
I asked if there was a grocery store around, they said yes, and gave me directions… walked the two miles to a grocery… which turned out to be a Wal-Mart(?!). There were no vegetables. No fruit. That was what they had for a grocery store. I bought some tortillas, Monterey Jack cheese, and tinned jalapeno peppers, walked back to the hotel, and made quesadillas in a microwave. That was a dark night of the soul, ruminating on how the USA is giving up the keys to corporate food, and letting them run things.

CK: Name your favorite dish to cook.
FO: I love to slow Braise/Roast OX Tails and Habanero. One of my girlfriend’s mom was from Jamaica, she made the best Ox Tails. I used to stand in the kitchen when she cooked them so I could learn. The meat is especially rich with all the marrow and natural gelatin.
CK: If it had a theme song, what would it be?
FO: Anything by Lee Scratch Perry or Wild Tchoupitoulas

CK: What’s the weirdest/most creative way you’ve eaten on the road?
FO: When you are on the road you are always having to come up with ways to get something tasty and non corporate. We would travel with a portable espresso machine and plug it into the outlet by the gas pumps at truck stops and make coffee right there, then get back on the road. We also often traveled with a grill, and would shop and pull over in some park and grill.
Sometimes when you are on the road a lot, you miss not being able to make your own food, so if I find a nice market, I will buy some nice cheese, bread olive oil, basil and wine, and just make a simple meal on the hotel balcony.

CK: If you could have anyone cater your next tour, who would it be?
FO: Chef John Manion (Chef of: El Che Bar / La Sirena Clandestina / MAS – he’s my favorite Chef)

CK: If you could cook dinner for anyone, who would it be?
FO: My Mom. She passed away when I was young. She was the Bon Vivant of the family; loved food and wine and music. Played guitar and was a dancer. I never got to cook for her. She would be really fun to cook for.

Want to get Frank’s recipe along with a box of unique, artisan ingredients? Use coupon code FRANK to reserve your Culinarie Kit before 5/12/17, receive the May Music Box, and save $5!