Archive by Author

Homemade Maple Vinegar

1 Apr

Dear Yolo,

My absolute favorite thing that came from making homemade red wine vinegar is the one we made after it, maple vinegar. It makes food taste incredible and is fairly easy to make as well. The idea came originally from the book Ideas in Food, which anyone and everyone interested in the process of cooking should read. It is an ongoing experimental process with food by Chefs Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot.

You need to start with some really good quality Grade A maple syrup. It’s expensive, but it is the best and substitutions really fall short. The list of the ingredients you’ll need are:

3 1/2 cups homemade red wine vinegar

3 cups grade A maple syrup

1 1/2 cups dark rum (gosling’s or any you approve of)

3/4 cup filtered water

Combine all and store in a dark place for a few weeks. Transfer as needed to a bottle with a pour spout or stopper and use on whatever you like (the recipe makes quit a bit). Maple vinegar can lift an ordinary pork tenderloin to heights of amazingness. I love it on pan roasted carrots and brussels sprouts. It gives many ordinary foods that extra umami flavor.  I’ll post some recipes in the future.

If you don’t feel like going through the process of making your own or you want to try a store-bought version first, you can always buy some at Dean and Deluca:

John Boyajian’s Malple Vinegar $8.50 for 8 oz.

Or you can go the more exotic and gourmet route and purchase some from Mikuni Wild Harvest (all of their products look pretty awesome):

Tonic 03: Maple Matured Sherry Bourbon Oak Vinegar $22.95 for 400ml

Enjoy!

Love,

Yolo

Advertisements

Inappropriate Street Art

30 Mar

Buenos Aires  Cunt Crew

Dear Yolo,

A few years ago B and I decided to get our friend Jon a calendar for his birthday. A note about Jon: he is a great guy who gets disproportionately upset sometimes by people playing pranks on him (the fact that he gets annoyed in general makes it all the more tempting to do so). At the farmers’ market one time, someone convinced us to buy a bag of jujubes. Because they are disgusting and basically inedible, we decided to draw faces on all of them and hide them in Jon’s room (this is when he and B lived together). We hid about two dozen of them in corners, drawers and under things. Once he found one it didn’t take long to find almost all of them but we kept alluding that there were more hidden for months which sort of drove him nuts.

Of course we thought it would be a hilariously banal gift for someone whose birthday is the day after Christmas to get him a calendar. Also, we wanted to see the look on his face when he saw the pictures from the calendar we got him: Extraordinary Chickens. It is full of different chickens for twelve months, most of them are extraordinary, some hideous. Since then we have gotten him Extraordinary Pigs and a Toilets of the World calendar.

In keeping with the tradition we decided to go a slightly different route this year and are making him a homemade calendar: Inappropriate Street Art. I doubt he’ll be annoyed and will hopefully find this one amusing. Once we have gathered all of the photos we will put it together (maybe I should sell copies online). The difficult part is gathering all of the images. They have to be found and photographed by us (may change those rules depending on how many we find). We have five total so far. The above picture was taken in Buenos Aires and is one of my favorites. There is also a great picture of a sprayed painted penis on a bright yellow wall, a picture of kids showing their junk to each other I saw on a dumpster, and the following:

Mr. Cock - Bariloche, Argentina

While it isn’t technically street art, it is pretty funny. It’s a sign for a children’s clothing store in Bariloche that sells clothes for babies and kids up to 8 years old. I have a hard time believing they didn’t know what cock means in English (aside from rooster) but I’m glad they named it that.  My other faovrite is certainly not the prettiest, but I laughed really hard when I saw it on a dumpster outside our local Albertson’s in Los Feliz:

No Babies Dumpster Los Feliz, Los Angeles

The one next to it also says ‘no babies’. If I find more examples I will continue to post them because they make my day sometimes.

Love,

Yolo

Yolo’s Skin Cancer & Sun Damage Survival Guide

28 Mar Best Product for Your Skin to Prevent and Reduce Sun Damage
Best Product for Your Skin to Prevent and Reduce Sun Damage

Yolo's Picks for Sun Damage Prevention and Treatment (click to enlarge)

Dear Maroon,

I am coming up on my  six month check-up with my medical dermatologist to see if my cancerous removed mole has in fact removed all of the cancerous portions of itself from my body. I noticed a weird and somewhat smallish mole on my lower back a few years ago. I honestly forgot about it for awhile since it was certainly not an area that I normally see, but after solicited advice from friends and loved ones that ranged from “that’s just a mole” to “um, you should probably have that thing looked at”, I decided to seek medical advice. I went in and had the whole thing removed for biopsy to be sure. Turned out it was a basal cell carcinoma – the most common type of skin cancer that usually doesn’t metastisize (spread to other parts of the body). It can however, spread to other parts of one’s skin if unchecked. I’m going in next Monday to have my dermatologist check all of my myriad freckles and moles.

I am, as you know, a bit of a skincare product and makeup whore (oh, how I miss the days of college beauty routines).  Like so many people I scour blogs and test things out to find the best possible products I can put on my face and body, not to mention homemade recipes with the things I can find in my own fridge. After a childhood and adolescence of sunbathing, hiking and junior lifeguarding, I have accumulated a fair amount of sun damage and I wanted to put my product whoriness to good use. I became obsessed with suncare a few years ago and while I miss my tanned limbs, I feel a bit more secure in my choices nowadays regarding sun care.

For a long time I have been using Vivite SPF 30 ($22). It’s pretty awesome as a daytime moisturizer/sunscreen. It has glycolic acid in it, which is fantastic for sloughing off dead skin, but I’ve had some IPL treatments which forbid the use of any retinoids or glycolic acid for awhile before and after treatment. I’ve come to rely on Elta MD SPF 30 ($25) as my go-to sunscreen now. It’s light and feels kind of amazing (I have oily skin so I hate heavy products). For days when I know I am going to be in the sun, I use Solar Protection Formula SPF 58 ($21). The downside is that the zinc in it makes you look kind of sickly, but it is awesome at protection from the sun (don’t use if you have a day date).

If you already have some sun damage, I highly recommend using some Niacin products. Nia24  is the best on the market that I have found for reducing sun damage. Their exfoliant cream cleanser is amazing as is their night damage cream.

A lot of sunblock and sunscreens can be good for sun protection but bad for your skin’s well-being. So many products on the market focus solely on sun screens but can be super-harsh for your skin. After reading a post on IntoTheGloss.com (I love that site).  I discovered the best database for figuring out protection factor versus skin-harmfulness: EWG.org.  If you have any doubt, check out the products you want to use on that site. So brilliant.

The lips are often a neglected area when it comes to sunscreen, but I really love Dr. T’s Supergoop ($8.50). I like La Mer’s Lip Balm ($50) at night, but honestly I use Vaseline more. During the day, you really cannot find a better product for lips than the SPF 30 of Dr. T’s Supergoop (I like acai better than mint)  . This stuff has saved me from insufferable California sunshine so many times (it’s only insufferable when hazy, but I do miss seasons). I had a large freckle on my lip a few years ago that has since gone away after using protective lip balms/glosses. Protect your lips.

Another note for you: apply that sunscreen to your neck, decolletage and hands. A simple homemaking tip is to get a lovely lotion jar and fill it with half lotion/half sunscreen. There are some awesome apothecary jars out there for just such an occasion. Find or make them, but regardless and whatever your age, protect and then do it again. Sunscreen wears off after four hours (every sunscreen does) so reapply and know that it is just a thing you have to do. If you have questions, ask and I am more than happy to help out.

Love,

Yolo

Best Products For Your Skin to Prevent and Reduce Sun Damage

  1. Solar Protection Formula SPF 58 $21 at Amazon.com
  2. Elta MD SPF 30 $25 at Amazon.com
  3. Nia 24 Gentle Cleansing Cream $30 at Dermstore.com
  4. Nia 24 Intensive Recovery Complex $110 at Dermstore.com
  5. Vivite Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 30 $22 at Amazon.com
  6. Dr. T’s Supergoop Acai SPF 30 $8.50 at Nordstrom.com
  7. La Mer Lip Balm $50 at Nordstroms.com

Art credit: Long Beach by Mark Spain

Homemade Red Wine Vinegar

23 Mar Homemade red wine vinegar

Homemade red wine vinegar

Dear Maroon,I adore homemade vinegars because they usually taste better and after you’ve done it once, it pays for itself. Here’s a recipe for homemade red wine vinegar that can be used in the chimichurri and criolla recipes from an earlier post. It’s pretty damn simple.

Homemade Red Wine Vinegar:

2 cups of apple cider vinegar with the mother (you can find raw apple cider with the mother at health food stores)

3 cups red wine (we use a collection of unfinished bottles of wine from the previous week or two)
1 large glass jar
1 paper towel
1 large rubber band

Combine wine and vinegar in the jar. Cover with the paper towel and secure with the rubber band. Place in a dark, room temperature place (60-80 degrees ideal) for two weeks. Strain and transfer to a glass bottle (I like one with a pour spout). Let stand another week for flavors to mature and mellow. Use as you would any store bought red wine vinegar.

This vinegar is much more pronounced in nuanced flavor than store-bought versions. The real draw in doing this is that you can reserve a portion of the mother (unstrained, don’t be afraid – it looks like a gelatinous mass) and keep adding small batches of wine weekly to have a never-ending supply. Wine recycling!

Love,

Yolo
Here is the gelatinous mass that is the mother of the red wine vinegar:
Red Wine Vinegar Mother
%d bloggers like this: