Note: this Punchlist was originally published on 3/19/12. But we were short a Punchlist this week, and we thought you might could use some entertaining tips. So we remembered a list by two of the most entertaining people we know. Enjoy.
This week’s listmakers: Ben Shine and Kirsten Eamon-Shine. Kirsten and Ben are community activists, opinion-makers, cat lovers, etc. Perhaps you would like to share a meal with them.
The sudden change in our local weather calls for pulling together our three main loves: people, food, and music. In an effort to prepare, here are four menus, paired with some of the best dinner party music we know. Who wants to come over?
1. Menu one – Spring Pizza Party
Starter: Rubbed kale salad with lemon dressing, ricotta salata, pinenuts and dried cherries with Blonde Redhead’s 23 (play side 2 first).
Dinner: Pizzas – sautéed ramps with goat cheese, arugula pesto with fresh mozzarella, and bacon with tomato jam – served with Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk.
Dessert: Rhubarb Pavlova – basically a giant soft-ish meringue with stewed rhubarbs and whipped cream on top – with Brian Eno’s Here Come the Warm Jets.
A small group of eclectic folks is invited to celebrate the flavors of spring (and a tomato jam from the last harvest season). A zingy, lemony kale salad deserves an exuberant and weird album like 23. Following that, guests enjoy the cocaine-fueled, Lindsay Buckingham-driven Tusk, which may be the Mac’s most experimental album with three different pizza choices. Like pizza, Tusk has moments – bites, if you will – that perfectly capture what is special about the band and the album itself. Here Come the Warm Jets – a mix of difficulty, pretention, glam and beauty – pairs well with a lovely dessert named for a ballerina (a notoriously difficult lot) and based on a meringue (a consistently challenging technique).
2. Menu two – Drinking like we mean it.
Starter: Manhattans, little cheddar bites and honeyed, spiced nuts with Charles Mingus’ Ah Um.
Dinner: Red wine or a lager with boozy beef stew OR beer-cheddar-potato stew served with bread with the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street.
Interlude: Problematics’ Blown Out.
Dessert: Fromboise lambic and chocolate-raspberry trifle with the Talking Heads’ Fear of Music.
Post-dessert dance party: The B-52s’ B-52s.
A fun night that involves appropriately adult levels of inebriation requires a soundtrack that will ease guests into the experience but also make sure they don’t nod off. Ah Um is an album that begins with ease, launches into an attitude, and then never quits, a tone that matches the commitment involved in an evening of drink. Exile on Main Street addresses nearly every bad decision one could make (drugs, hook-ups, all matter of vice) in the sloppiest, sexiest manner. Dessert and some powerful New Wave releases brings the possibly doze-ready crowd back to a party and, hopefully, prevents some bad choices.
3. Menu three – Hot, hot cookout.
Starter: Fresh homemade guacamole, chips, salsa and Micheladas with Os Mutantes’ A Divina Comedia Ou.
Dinner: Jerk tofu & chicken, grilled asparagus with lime juice, sweet potato salad with coconut-milk dressing, dirty rice with Wire’s Pink Flag, ideally served alongside sour beers or tamarind water.
Dessert: Sliced watermelon – salt, lime juice, tequila & feta cheese all optional – with Link Wray’s Link Wray.
Cookouts are summer’s special gift to your social life. It’s the easiest reason to get people together, make some easy food and actually use our patio. Wanna come over? Os Mutantes is the psychedelic equivalent of guacamole, really – spicy, earthy, surprising. Pink Flag is all edge, which is how summer tends to make us feel, but it also combines crunchy guitars with great beats, making it worthy of summer playlists. Link Wray’s a little weird and a little like your long-lost backwoods uncle who makes crazy, great music. Kirsten likes to eat her watermelon with feta cheese. Weirdness can be good.
4. Menu four – Casual Night with Friends – A little healthy, a little hearty.
Starter: Garlicky White Bean Dip on Toasts with Deerhunter’s Microcastle.
Dinner: Penne with Sauteed Chard, Currants & Toasted Walnuts, served with a Simple Green Salad with Chris Bell’s I Am The Cosmos.
Dessert: Stewed, chilled apples with Greek Yogurt & Honey with The Millenium’s Begin.
We’d invite over a few nice people, who may or may not know each other. Microcastle might seem a bit dark to start an evening, but it’s pretty much the prettiest dark music we can think of. Chris Bell is both incredibly depressing and really joyful, so whatever topics rise and fall, the music should match. Begin’s plucky, cheerful but calm mood provides a nice finish to an evening and a perfect match, in its hippie pop style, to yogurt and fruit.
Rhubarb Pavlova photo nicked from foodgloriousfood-toto.blogspot.com.
Manhattan photo by Hayford Peirce at en.wikipedia [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons.
Jerk chicken photo by stu_spivack (jerk chicken) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
White bean dip photo nicked from www.thekitchn.com.