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We’ve Moved! Friends, Please Re-Subscribe!

16 Apr

Hello friends,

Big news– Yolo and Maroon have taken the leap and migrated to a self-hosted blog: YoloandMaroon.com

We’re still working out the kinks, but we’ve got big hopes for our new site. Lots of new recipes, tales of adventure, and Maroon’s strange movie-inspired fashion & beauty posts are up and on the way.  Recently, we’ve enjoyed Lapin a la Moutarde for Easter, Akabanga Carrot Soup and harrowing tales from Maroon’s recent trip to Saratoga Springs where she took zero pictures of cows and lots of pictures of men in spandex…

Re-join the par-tay. Please be ever so kind as to re-subscribe to our blog by visiting our new site where you can either re-enter your email address OR click here to follow us through Bloglovin’.

Thank you and we send you hugs!
XXO

Yolo & Maroon

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

Three of Maroon’s Must-Read Books

31 Mar
Robert Mapplethorpe & Patti Smith

Robert Mapplethorpe & Patti Smith

Dear Yolo,

I tend to go through periods where I read voraciously, annihilating stacks of books, sometimes waking up in the middle of the night to read. This is usually followed by a month or two where I read nothing at all aside from the plays I’m required to read for scenes in class.

These are my 3 favorite books of the last 6 months: Just Kids by Patti Smith, Lessons in Becoming Myself by Ellen Burstyn and The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson.

I didn’t realize it until I put this list together and I didn’t read them back-to-back, but not surprisingly (considering my current state of mind and my personal pursuits) these books share many, many similarities. All three books are about artists and about making art.They are all the sorts of books that make your heart bigger and make life seem richer. One of the books is fiction while the other two are autobiographical but all three lifted my heart and inspired me, expanding my sense of the world and my own personal strength and potential as an artist.

Are you still with me after that last sentence? Ok, good. The two non-fiction works were especially poignant to me. Ostensibly, Ellen Burstyn and Patti Smith couldn’t be more different, yet they are both incredibly powerful and unique artists and women. I hope you get a chance to read these too if you haven’t already. It will fortify your own sense of badass-ness.

1. My favorite of the three is Just Kids by Patti Smith. It’s easily one of the top three most important books I’ve read in the last 10 years. I knew beforehand of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography and I knew that he died of AIDS, but I knew of Patti Smith was that she was a rocker-type lady?

It’s the late 60’s when a teenage Smith moves to New York from a small town in Pennsylvania, living on the street briefly before finally getting a job at a bookstore and meeting a young Mapplethorpe. The story is theirs, of artist and muse, of lovers, life-long friends, and a love and mutual respect deeper than I think most of us are ever priviledged to know on this earth. Their paths cross and intertwine with so many other artists, musicians and writers that define the era. William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsburg, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Sam Shepard (and many more notables) make cameos in Smith’s tale.

And while the narrative is incredible, I was even more affected by Smith’s poetic prose and intimidating literacy and skill as a writer. The writing is painfully beautiful, and there is such purity in her words and it leaves trailing behind it such a gorgeous and gallant suggestion of  now, and of mortality.

Just Kids is a work of art. I’m hardly the only one who feels this way;  Smith has a was named a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 2005 and received a National Book Award for Just Kids.

NPR Books Logo  Click here to listen to Patti Smith’s 2010 NPR interview.

Lessons In Becoming Myself by Ellen Burstyn2. I also adored Ellen Burstyn’s Lessons in Becoming Myself.  I feel so grateful to both Burstyn and Smith that they bare so much of themselves in these books. They are both so inspiring and so strong and so different. Born in Detroit, Burstyn arrives in New York in the early 60s to study theater after making stops in Texas where she worked as a model and Montreal where she was a chorus girl. That’s just the very beginning. I don’t think anyone in history would be able to accuse Ellen Burstyn of not living a full life.

Burstyn struggled a lot early on, often depending on the kindness of others or going hungry unless she had a date. But even after there was significant momentum behind her trajectory in becoming one of the most respected and successful actresses in the business, her struggle was a spiritual one to find herself.

Born a Catholic, Burstyn eventually converts to Sufism.  The spiritual aspect of her story was especially fascinating to me. She falls in love with a Sufi monk, she experiences a catharsis at a spiritual retreat in the French Alps and spiritual exploration and her search for herself take her to the Middle East. She produces (though she failed to claim the credit, she ruefully explains) a movie called Resurrection, (you’ve probably never heard of it but it’s very good, and I recommend watching it) in which she also starred as a woman in the rural midwest who has the power to heal people. Sam Shepard (both Ellen and Patti have great taste)  is handpicked by Burstyn to play opposite her… the list goes on.

Tons of luminaries of the stage and screen make appearances in her story and whether or not you are familiar with her work, are an actor, artist or interested in spirituality (though at least ONE of those has to sound sort of interesting if you’re warm-blooded), I think you’ll still find the story of her life’s triumphs and tragedies fascinating and inspirational.

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

3. Ever wondered life would have been like if your parents were performance artists? Then this book is for you! The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson is totally one of the most enjoyable, quirkiest, and funniest books I’ve ever read.

Performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang have two children Annie and Buster, also known as Child A and Child B. They video tape “happenings” that they create as a family. Growing up in the Fang household, Buster and Annie are assigned parts in creating these “happenings”, but they rarely know what their parents are really up to. The “happenings” are… AMAZING. So funny.

The story alternates between the present where Annie and Buster, now both adults are struggling in their lives. Annie has become a successful actress in Hollywood but she has started drinking excessively to address her apathy and dislike of mostly everything in her life. Buster is struggling freelance writer working on a feature for Esquire about potato guns. They both still live in the shadow of their parent’s creations. In between episodes from Annie and Buster’s adult lives we learn about their childhood through vignettes titled with the names of Camille and Caleb’s art.

It’s a hilarious story, but touched with the pain we all bear discovering the mortality and fallibility of one’s parents and coming into your own right as an adult and a creator. I feel like I’m not doing it justice with that last sentence. It’s lovely. I couldn’t put it down and read it in a day.

(There are rumors The Family Fang is being adapted into a film with Nicole Kidman attached to the project.  Nicole Kidman is kind of like brussel sprouts. (What? You’ve thought that before too? Let’s be friends!!!)  People either love or detest her. I’m a fan, but if you’re not– don’t hold it against the book.)

Love,

Maroon

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

The Finest Meats & Cheeses (mostly meats) Part II

22 Mar The Kavanagh Building. Retiro, Buenos Aires.
Florida Street, the Retiro district of Buenos Aires

Florida Street, the Retiro district of Buenos Aires

Dear Maroon,
My favorite place we went to in Buenos Aires was probably a restaurant called Sipan. It is ridiculously good. It is situated in a boutique hotel in the Palermo district and while a bit pricey, is fucking awesome. You can see sky overhead when not rainy and there’s an entire bright graffitied wall. Our amuse bouche on the first day for lunch was a piece of salmon sashimi over rice with a passion fruit miso glaze. Stupidly good. The ceviches there are literally out of this world. They’re amazing and they have the freshest fish ever with other beautiful sometimes lightly fried fish or octopus, with the best citrus and other components. I’ve had some good ceviche, but holy shit, get a bottle of Torrontes and just sit back and enjoy. We went back the next day. Honestly, this place rules (please note: there is another Sipan in Buenos Aires but the one in Palermo serves lunch).
I made it a point to try and get empanadas wherever we went and was not ever disappointed. The flaky pastry dough filled with ham and cheese or lamb and beef goodness never dissappointed.  We stayed in the Retiro district at the Park Tower. It’s a really nice hotel that apparently only tourists go to (the only people we came into contact with at that five star hotel were American or Chinese, I suggest you go elsewhere if you want a more local feel). It has a gorgeous view of the Plaza de San Martin and is walking distance from one of the most monied areas in Buenos Aires, the Puerto Madero neighborhood. Walking through Puerto Madero is really pretty but if you’re anything like me, you view it as a lovely frontispiece for people I will never really know.
We went to dinner at a restaurant there that was by far the most expensive place we ate at with the least quality of service (six courses not that well thought out). We’re no strangers to fine dining but if you make someone wear a jacket, you better damn well pull out the lady’s chair (seriously, a guy kind of pulled it out and then left midway). You will be forgiven if your food is good, but if I can’t find the waiter for a good ten minutes to get some water with our not-that-amazing wine, I am going to take issue. It’s not even worth noting the name of said restaurant, suffice to say that you are better off eating at any of the other myriad restaurants. The service is lackluster and the food? Go elsewhere in the city, seriously (except for ice cream, people really like it in Puerto Madero). The waterways are gorgeous, but I didn’t see a murder, so not that interesting.
The Kavanagh Building. Retiro, Buenos Aires.

The Kavanagh Building. Retiro, Buenos Aires.

We ended up eating at Filo in the Retiro district one night and have to say, the octopus was again amazing. We thought the place a last ditch effort for ourselves (not helped by the bare-tittied manequin in the front), but had yet another really good meal. I think there are more restaurants in Argentina that serve pizza than in New York. Big Italian quotient, and they have a really nice ham laden pizza you can get anywhere and with a liter of quilmes (Argentina’s national beer), that kind of puts our outdoor places to shame. The octopus is not to be ignored. We had it several different ways before we went to a Spanish tapas place and decided to get (Spanish) octopus. It was a large octopus served with boiled potatoes and paprika. That’s it. I desired more from the dish because I’m American but the octopus was just as tender as it was in every place we had gone to.
When we went back to Montevideo for our last night in South America, we visited the Criolla del Solis.  We didn’t have offal. Instead, some chorizo and morcilla (too sweet for my taste), and the recommended ribeye which was honestly the best I can remember eating. So fucking good. We got on a plane the next afternoon, but I still want more chorizo. I have a feeling it won’t be the same until we go back to Sudo America. (Next up for travel: Vietnam andThailand vs. Greece and Turkey).
Love,
Yolo

Shameless Discrimination Against the Lactose Intolerant + Cycling Race Photos

11 Mar

Dear Yolo,

I keep thinking about your tales of Argentinian chocolate and it makes me soooo hungry!

My report for the weekend is pretty weak. I hosted an epic brunch party with a couple of friends from my acting class on Saturday. And I mean EPIC. They showed up at 10:30 am and left at 7 pm. Epic.

Roscoe always goes on a long bike ride with the Brooklyn Peloton on Saturday mornings and doesn’t return until the afternoon so I have started turning Saturday mornings into brunch with friends time. I was kind of cranky about the whole thing because one of my friends (The Dane) brought his wife (also a Dane. It’s a marriage of convenience– they’re not romantic) and she is lactose fucking intolerant. First, let me say that he simply informed me via text that he was bringing her and that I didn’t invite her. I am a reasonable woman with reasonable interests that include but are not limited to eating and making brunch foods that involve a bounty of milk, butter, and/or cheese.

The Dane advises me that her lactose intolerance is severe. This is something that I feel I could completely deal with for a lunch or dinner, but brunch? No crepe, no waffles, no omelets, no quiche, no breakfast strata? This bitch.

And when I say “bitch’, I mean that the way rappers say it: affectionately. I don’t know her super well but she seems to be a very cool, nice, intelligent and talented Danish person (she’s a singer), etc.  I know it’s not her choosing to be lactose intolerant. Perhaps it is the great tragedy of her life. And I pity her for never knowing the comfort of a piping hot slice of pizza with tv-commercial stringy melty cheese, or a refreshing caprese salad, or buttery buttery croissants, the simplicity of a grilled cheese sandwich, brie, caramels, or endless pints of overpriced fancy ice cream made by artisans, not to mention CHOCOLATE. This also begs the question: what the hell does she eat when she’s sad?

As someone with French heritage, I am extremely suspicious of someone who cannot eat butter or cheese or dairy in any form. What’s next? No bacon? Ah yes; I will be sure in the future not to invite her at the same time as any of my practicing Jewish friends or else we’ll all end up eating breakfast salads or some total bullshit.

Also, (my insensitivity knows no bounds) can’t you just take drugs for this? Also, is it really that bad? For example, I have learned in the past year or two that if I eat a cheeseburger, I will become violently ill within 3-6 hours. This doesn’t stop me from eating the occasional cheeseburger three or four times a year. In fact, I ate one yesterday. And I still feel awful. Was this stupidity? No, it was an act of bravery. It is my refusal to let a cruel joke of Mother Nature’s quash my high calorie dreams of meat and cheese and special sauce between two buns. It is a noble defiance shared by people who have tigers or other large cats as domestic pets, or who live on the sides of cliffs, or in Kansas/Florida.

Anyway, back to the actual brunch we started with grapefruit brulee and I made Lactose Intolerant Lady a separate breakfast of baked eggs with some olive oil sauteed spinach, portobello mushrooms, bacon and grilled ciabatta bread brushed with olive oil. The rest of us enjoyed a Mushroom and Three Cheese Strata, croissants and Tarte Tatin and about 6 liters of mimosas. That’s right! We drunk ourselves metric!

Now, I must retire to the couch to watch more Boardwalk Empire Season 2 on demand. Roscoe rode in his second race in Central Park this morning and I’ve been up since 4 am. Need pizza and sleep. Bleh.

Love,

Maroon

Roscoe Goes to the Races: Cycling in Central Park

7 Mar
Central Park Spring Race Series Start Line

Central Park Spring Race Series Start Line 6:30am

Dear Yolo,

I’m so happy you’re back! I would like to request more Argentina pictures and stories! As you can see, it’s been getting a little weird here in your absence. My parents were here for a few days visiting. We did a LOT of eating… ugh.

On Sunday morning, I woke up at 4:30am to watch Roscoe compete in his first cycling race of the season (and first race ever). I took a cab from Brooklyn from the loudest mouth breather ever. It was Darth Vader, urgent respiratory issue kinda bad. I’ve been having a lot of cab driver problems lately. Anyway, Roscoe rode in the first Central Park Spring Series Race of the year. He’s still learning the strategy, but he is as strong as 10 Morgan Freemans so I have no doubt he’ll be winning races left and right soon. There was a huge crash right behind him that landed several people in the hospital so I’m . Anyway, I love watching cycling races and follow the Tour de France every year so it was super cool to watch a race where you know one of the racers. He’s doing a race called Battenkill in upstate New York soon. The rider who crosses the finish line with the most bats wins. That’s how it SHOULD work anyway.
Love,
Maroon

Central Park Spring Race Series CyclingCentral Park Spring Race Series CyclingCentral Park Spring Race Series Cycling

Cycling DogsCentral Park Spring Race Series Cycling Finish Line

Zoo Adventures – Argentina Edition

6 Mar

Dearest Maroon,

I am back! After a lot of traveling followed by nonstop work after I got off the plane I feel like my brain functionality is that of a five-year-old. Not a smart one. Like the kid who eats paste or tubes of chapstick in kindergarten glass. I will be regaling you with tidbits from the trip, but first I want to mention the Buenos Aires zoo. I know you probably think that I have an unnatural obsession with zoos these days (and I do), but the one in Buenos Aires rules.

This picture here is of a mara, a crazy rabbit-deer hybrid thing a few feet long. They are everywhere in the zoo, lounging on any grassy spot available and I really wanted to grab one and take it home. Also plentiful were the nutria that swim around in the many koi ponds and will come out to eat food from your hand. They sell buckets of animal food at every corner and apparently all of the zoo animals eat the same things (except the sea lions but they sell buckets of small fish to throw to them). The only animals you are not allowed to feed are the big cats and the bears (I suspect the bears could easily get across the shallow moat and maul a person).

The Buenos Aires zoo has been around since about 1875 and has a lot of architecturally beautiful buildings. In the 1800’s they didn’t put the crazy large barriers and moats around all of the animals that one sees today, so you can get really close to all of them. Animal of the day was a pygmy hippopotamus that Brian named Morcilla (because he did look sort of like a blood sausage). He was only about 6 feet from us and was eating all of the food people were throwing on the ground until a group of people starting throw food directly at him. They hit his sides and head a few times and the hippo stopped and turned toward the crowd. He stared for a few moments and then just opened his mouth really wide so that people could throw food directly into his mouth. It was awesome. I died laughing for a few minutes and even when we passed by a little later he was still standing there with his mouth open.

Also of note was a masturbating monkey and in the amazon aquarium section a fish named after me. All of the tanks in that sections had labels above them with the Latin names for all of the fish that resided in them. At the very end of the row, there was just a placard that said ‘Lisa’. Nothing else, just Lisa and a picture of a puffer fish. I will send it to you.

I have to go back to work now but will continue with more later. I miss you!!

Love,

Yolo

I want to see more subway stalker pictures!

Questioning My Commitment to Toasting -or- “It’s Always the Blue Wire”

28 Feb

Dear Yolo,

After years of smooshing my face up longingly on the glass in the frozen food section where they keep the breakfast waffles, I finally broke down and  purchased a toaster from Overstock.com last month. My criteria for toaster selection was something like “cheap and doesn’t look totally stupid”.  Oh Black & Decker!!! You know exactly what girls want! As most of us know, there are some really embarrassing looking toasters out there that fill all those see them full to bursting with contempt and disgust.

I have just used the aforementioned toaster to heat an organic, gluten-free waffle which I am dipping in whipped cream (like a boss) from yesterday night’s dessert. So I put the toaster waffle in for a second session  to keep it warm while I hunt for waffle fixin’s. As any warm-blooded child of the 80s must know, a full second sesh is way too long to toast a toaster waffle. I expected to simply reverse on the toaster lever, a classic maneuver which often gives dramatically shoots your breakfast into the air. Perhaps saying “dramatically” is an exaggeration. It’s more like the mad hops of a fat kid at basketball camp but I’m all about making breakfast exciting.

Anyway, there I am trying to liberate my waffle from a certain fire-y fate and the lever won’t reverse.  It is completely locked. There is a moment of panic as I repeatedly yank on the lever to no avail. My emotional life is that of the bus driver at the beginning of Speed. For a moment, I consider turning the toaster upside down, but I immediately dismiss that idea as it violates some basic sense of decency. Then, my razor-sharp powers of observation are drawn to 4 blue-lit buttons. The first one is “CANCEL” followed by “BAGEL”, “FROZEN” and “REHEAT”. The scene where Keanu, as Officer Jack Traven in a heated moment decides which wire to cut is brought to mind.

I consider “BAGEL” for a moment, because I’d like to think it will turn whatever is in the toaster into a bagel. But I am visited by a moment of clarity like the eye of a storm, and I push “CANCEL”. Imagine my relief when the waffle is released into my eager, trembling hands. I exhale and wish I had  a cigarette to light up and/or co-pilot I could turn to and say, “That was a close one.”

My long winded point is this: my toaster takes itself too seriously. Has the toasting process become formalized to the point that my toaster questions my decision making abilities by foisting a “CANCEL” button on me, which imploying how uncertain I am about my commitment to toasting? Do you see where this is going? Didn’t the people at Black and Decker see Terminator? Blade Runner? I, Robot?

A day of reckoning is coming my friend. We best prepare ourselves. That is all for now.
Love,

Maroon

An Act of Whimsy

26 Feb

Dear Yolo,

Are you back from Argentina yet? Man. Ok, anyway– last week Maya Rudolph hosted SNL and it was the best one they’ve done in a million years. Do you remember when we saw the Groundlings our freshman year? We saw her!

My favorite is that Maya Angelou sketch. And as a tribute to the Oscars tonight, here’s a sketch where she’s playing Beyonce below. Taran Killam does a hilarious Brad Pitt and Justin Timberlake is Bon Iver. It’s awesome.

Love ya!

Maroon

I found this when I was cleaning out an old notebook from college. That night we say Maya Rudolph, Cheryl Hines and Will Forte before they hit the big time.

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