Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Hand that Feeds Amanda Palmer, Part I

So as a faithful fan of Amanda Palmer and the Dresden Dolls, I am of course on their mailing list. And towards the bottom of Amanda's U.S. solo tour announcement, I saw a curious plea:

"FOOD: you CAN help us with THIS....two different ways, even... feed me, The Danger Ensemble and our crew when the show hits your town! we had wonderful luck on the european tour, now it's time to try this in the states and we're getting ORGANIZED, baby.

we works hard. we tours. we's is hungry. we needs sustenance. we needs good food sourced from righteous places, prepared by YOU. we are hungry for HOMEGROWN ingredients: local, organic, sustainable, grown by family farmers or grown by YOU! yes!

the way this works: you bring food for us, we'll keep it backstage, we'll all perform, then we'll eat (with you, of course) after the show. obviously we'll hook you up with tickets and merch if you do this. and cover you with love, and probably give you some beer, and toast to the health of you and your progeny.
veggie options a huge plus, but most of the crew are carnivorous.
jason and i are both pescetarians (aka vegaquarians, aka fish-eating) kat from the danger ensemble will be your point person, but steven will be fielding the emails.

send to and format your email like this:
FOOD: CITY. he'll pass it along to kat."

I like the people in my life to feel nurtured and well-fed, so I decided to answer this clarion call. I emailed the aforementioned Steve and offered up two of my favorite recipes: Giada De Laurentiis' Spicy Italian Bean Soup (chock-full of hearty veggies) and soft vegetable tacos with a tasty tawny port sauce. Dan will note that these recipes are not only delicious but also vegan-friendly (assuming you skip the cheese and use vegetable stock in the soup, of course).

So I waited and waited and waited for a reply, wondering if I was going to be called to cook for the December 3rd show at the Metro tonight in Chicago. Finally, last Sunday, I received a reply from Steve:

"This sounds awesome if still availabile.. let me know if you can.. but basically the deal is.. if it's possible for you.. come to the venue at 5:30 the night of the show (ask for Kat from The Danger Ensemble) and then 1 of 2 things usually happen : either we bring the food into the venue and you witness the craziness that is backstage at that time of day - which usually includes people running in and out and not really have time to chat.. people being incredibly grateful for the food you've given us and all of us trying to have a moment to connect with you.. or the food goes on the bus and we eat it after the show.. then we try to find a time to introduce you to Amanda and if that can't happen before the show (sometimes as a result of press and soundcheck times) I will introduce you to her during the signing and make sure she knows that you are the one who so generously fed us. When possible we love to eat with people but as I've discovered on the european tour that isn't always possible depending on venue policy and blah blah boring..

I think that's really everything.. oh.. except where possible - if the food is able to be transported in vessels and things that you don't need returned to you like takeaway boxes etc that usually makes things easier..

We will also hit you up with a some merchandise to say thank you.

Let me know if you are still keen to do this and thank you so much!

Love S."

I excitedly reported this news to Iris, who made some hasty arrangements to get some time off. Then yesterday, I set about purchasing ingredients, making my kitchen sanitary for food preparation purposes, and cooking, cooking, cooking!

Fortunately, the cooking part went well, I thought. I mean, I've made both of these recipes before, to rousing success, but it's nervewracking to cook for a stranger whom you admire! I was not told how many people I'm supposed to be cooking for...I would presume that several fans are contributing to the potluck, so I made one big batch of the soup and a double batch of the tacos. Will they be able to properly reheat the food backstage on the Metro, or will they have to use the microwave on the bus? Who knows?

I had neurotic visions of burning the shit out of onions and peppers at like midnight, when I would be near my breaking point. Or maybe I would be sitting in the middle of a dirty kitchen, overwhelmed and paralyzed. But I actually found it all quite enjoyable. And these recipes really couldn't be's just time-consuming to chop everything up.

So I hope that Amanda and the Danger Ensemble and Crew enjoy the was made with a lot of love! We will have lots to share with you soon! In the meantime, let's trade some favorite recipes in this thread!


Anonymous said...

Xmas Dinner Tenderloin Roast

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
6 garlic chopped
4 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless Italian bread
2 1/2 cups chopped fresh parsley
2 2 1/4- to 2 1/2-pound center-cut beef tenderloin roasts
20 to 24 bacon slices (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Olive oil

Melt butter medium heat. Add garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs. Sauté until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; mix in parsley. Cool completely.
Starting at 1 long side, cut each tenderloin lengthwise almost in half, stopping about 1/2 inch from opposite long side. Open tenderloins like books. Sprinkle cut sides with salt and pepper. Pack half of stuffing on 1 side of each tenderloin. Fold plain side over stuffing.
Slightly overlap half of bacon slices on sheet of parchment paper, forming rectangle equal in length to 1 tenderloin. Place tenderloin at 1 edge, across bacon ends. Using parchment as aid, roll up tenderloin in bacon. Using kitchen string, secure bacon around tenderloin, tying at 1 1/2-inch intervals, then tie once lengthwise. Repeat with remaining bacon and tenderloin. Wrap tenderloins and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Pour enough oil into large skillet to coat bottom; heat over high heat. Add 1 tenderloin. Sauté until bacon is brown, turning often, about 10 minutes. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with second tenderloin. Roast until thermometer inserted into center of each registers 130°F to 135°F for medium-rare, about 30 minutes. Transfer to platter. Let stand 15 minutes. Cut off strings. Cut tenderloins into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

chili master said...

Turkey Chili

1 lb ground turkey
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
2 or 3 large white onions, chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes (the Del Monte with garlic/basil/oregano are ideal, but anything will work)
1 can light red kidney beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can navy beans
1 can black beans
2 cans corn
1 cup water, hot
3 cubes beef bouillon
2 tablespoons demiglace
chili powder

1. Chop up the smashed garlic and onions. Sweat them in a few tablespoons of oil in heavy bottomed pan (I like a cast iron dutch oven, or a stock pot). Add the ground turkey, and spice the shit out of it...a few tablespoons of each. Make sure there is enough chili powder to make everything dark. Chop up one of the beef bouillon cubes now and add to the meat, while you brown it.

2. Once the meat is cooked through, add the tomatoes and their juice, and the cans of beans (drained, but don't bother rinsing them). Heat up the water (1 cup) and add the two remaining bouillon cubes; dissolve. Add to pot (as it cooks off, it'll give the chili a depth of flavor that ground turkey can not offer). Put a tablespoon or two of the demiglace in at this point, too, stirring to melt/dissolve.

3. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for an hour, hour and a half. Till it tastes good and there isn't a whole lot of extra liquid. In the last half hour, add the corn (if you add it sooner, it'll get too mushy).

4. Serve with tortilla chips and shredded cheese. I don't even use a spoon, just eat it by scooping it up with chips.

You can make this veg-friendly by subsituting TVP for the meat and dropping the bouillon and demiglace.

Anonymous said...

Please explain what TR wrote on

emerald527 said...

I'm not a certified Reznor-to-English translator, Anony, but I'll do my best.

Point the first: The tour DVD probably isn't happening, certainly not in 3-D.

Point the second: Interscope sucks. Eat your heart out, Jimmy?

Point the third: The next leg of the tour (which only features dates in Australia and New Zealand at the moment) will be the last for a while.

Point the fourth: The shows on the next leg of the tour won't look like the shows on the current leg. The bells and whistles done broke the bank, methinks.

Point the fifth: Who the fuck is Kanye West?

Anonymous said...

emerald527 you are good!

1. Couldn't TR and Rob put out a DIY dvd w/out the bells and whistles for the tour?

2. Why would you ask Satan for money? Think out of the box.

3. Australia and New Zealand are not experiencing a depression/recession.

4. I think you may be right.

Anonymous said...


anyone have a recipe for bananas foster?

emerald527 said...

America's officially entered a recession, Obama doesn't take office for another six weeks, and Nine Inch Nails may never tour again. The only solution for these uncertain times? Chocolate and carbs.

Cheesy Potatoes

1 32-oz. bag hash browns (the cubed kind; Potatoes O'Brien works especially well)
1 12-oz. can condensed cream of chicken soup
16 oz. sour cream
12 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (adjust to taste; 6 oz. minimum)
4 tbsp. butter (minimum)

Combine everything except the butter. Place in greased casserole or 13x9 pan. Cut butter into small cubes and place on top. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F for an hour or until bubbly and golden brown.

The Chewy

From an episode of Good Eats describing different recipes for chocolate-chip cookies. (The other two are "The Thin" and "The Puffy.") Bread flour is very important in this recipe.

maise said...

Kids, I am coming off a major fucking high, which I will tell you ALL about shortly, and you're filling this thread with Trent's depressiveness? I don't even want to hear that he won't do a DVD of this past tour, even if it's Rob filming everything from 10 miles away like he always does.

I'm hoping that when he says "last NIN tour of this scale," he simply means not so much of the grand special effects and not that he's entering early retirement.

maise said...

Oh, and as far as recipes go, my father-in-law was pretty impressed with this one, and he's a very even-tempered guy, so it's not easy to get him enthused over anything as simple as a pie. But this is no ordinary pie. Make it with the best bittersweet chocolate you can get your hands on:

Black-Bottom Chocolate Pie:

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Crumb Crust

1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon dark rum
Chocolate curls

For Filling:
Whisk first 4 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan to blend. Whisk in egg yolks to form thick paste. Gradually whisk in milk, then cream. Whisk over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and boils 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in rum and vanilla. Cool 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Transfer filling to frozen crust. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

For Topping:
Beat first 3 ingredients in large bowl until firm peaks form. Spoon whipped cream into pastry bag fitted with large star tip. Pipe rosettes around edge of pie. Garnish with chocolate curls. (Can be made 4 hours ahead; chill.)

Anonymous said...

I know, he is a depressive and bananas. Rob films/shoots from 50 miles away to be a pain in the ass.

Shrimp and Grits
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, halved lengthwise, and deveined
Juice of 1 lemon
Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups stone-ground grits, not instant or quick-cooking
6 thick slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 garlic minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup (about 1/4 pound) grated medium to sharp Cheddar cheese

Combine the shrimp with the lemon juice and a couple of generous splashes of hot pepper sauce. Let sit while you begin the grits and gravy.

Make the grits in a large heavy saucepan, first bringing 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Whisk in the grits a few handfuls at a time. (They will bubble up initially.) When you have added all the grits, reduce the heat to a very low simmer and cook over low heat for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally at first and more frequently toward the end.

While the grits simmer, get the gravy under way. Fry the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until brown but still limp. Stir in the onion, green pepper, and garlic and continue cooking until the onion and pepper are limp, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions, sprinkle the flour over the mixture, and continue sauteing for 5 minutes longer. Stir in the stock and remaining salt and cook for 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat while you finish the grits.

When the grits are thick and creamy, stir in as much of the butter as you wish, followed by the cheese. Cover the grits while you finish the gravy.

Return the gravy to medium heat and stir in the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, mounding the grits in large shallow bowls or on plates and covering them with shrimp and gravy. SERVES 4

Oh, bananas foster anon - I am only interested in BIG bananas not some pervy plastic creepy food.

B. Foster said...

It was art, Shrimp Anon. Check the address when you click the link.

B. Foster said...

It was art, Shrimp Anon. Check the address when you click the link.

Iris said...

Amazing, amazing, amazing night but HOLY FUCK am I tired.

I've got a few recipes to share as well but it'll have to wait. That tenderloin roast one looks good. Yum, bacon!

D:ANGEL said...



Bring IT!

Anonymous said...

Jesus Fuck, you guys. Trent announces a change in his touring routine and its time for chocolate and carbs?

Are you guys going to be organizing Sex and the City viewing parties next?

C'mon. Yes, Trank laid out what sounds like the end of a chapter -- but why is that bad? That's how new things begin; by leaving old things behind.

(Anyway, I heard he's producing brokeNCYDE's new record and that's the real reason for the touring stop.)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

So I had a playlist on shuffle that had maybe 50 songs, with 12 of them being Eric Gaffney songs. I was grooving on the fact that three in a row were Gaffney songs when something told me to check my junk email from work. So I did. And I had an email from him...another in the nine-month long saga of trying to book him for a gig. (And as I read that email, a FOURTH Gaffney song played.)

I'm so psyched, though he was the final straw that got me totally out of thinking with my heart and thinking solely with my head for business stuff.

At any rate, he's sniffing around again, and I reallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreally want to make it happen. I will make him an offer, and even if he accepts it, I have a strong feeling that it won't pan out in the end.

Balance that with the fact that if I do make him an offer, and he accepts and then bails, that's an exhaustion of my organization's resources, and undermines my credibility for future events of this sort.

What's a JR to do?

I could present this elsewhere (read: not at my place of employment) on my own, but that would undermine the mission of this pet work project of mine. And making this happen as a part of this pet work project would be a coup and a decent-sized feather in my cap. But if it fell through, that would be a problem. A real problem.

Though he's been pretty flaky so far, he is capable of committing to a show and actually following through; I've seen him enough times to know that. And he's been recuperating from an accident for long enough that I think he's in need of some revenue, so he'd be more likely than ever to follow through. And HE did contact ME, not the other way round, though that's what happened last time and it fell through.

UGH! What's a JR to do?

Anonymous said...


Book brokeNCYDE instead.


Anonymous said...

That's the backup plan. Like, duh.

Anonymous said...


even though it's likely the result of some sort of automated server-side application....

...and will no doubt be changed by the end of the day...

I just wanted to geek out for a second because the short I made for the Ghosts Film Festival has been the "featured video" on the Film Fest section of today.

It's the little things, sometimes.

emerald527 said...

You bet, Bryan. Next, we'll be naming character archetypes after members of the band and assigning them to ourselves. I'm totally an Alessandro, btw.

Good lord I hate Sex and the City.

Here's what I made for dinner tonight:

Chicken Paprikas (totally ripped off from the 1975 edition of The Joy of Cooking)

2 1/2 pounds chicken (either bone-in or boneless chicken breasts)
1 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. to 2 tbsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups chicken broth or stock (at least; I usually double this and up the paprika as needed)
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. flour

Melt butter and oil in Dutch oven or similar-sized pot. Add onions and paprika and simmer until glossy and red. Add salt and stock or broth and bring to boil. Add chicken. Cover and simmer for an hour. During last 5 minutes of cooking, combine flour and sour cream and gradually add to pot, but do not boil. Remove from heat and serve. Good with potatoes, rice, spatzle, or noodles.

Anonymous said...

Carrie ending up with Big was total bullshit.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine won't give up the recipe for her delicious coconut macaroons.

She used waxed paper instead of parchment paper. She thought it was the same thing.

The cookies were DEL-I-CI-O-US. Big time.

It's the wax that makes it good.

Iris said...

It is an automated application, Bryan, but it's not by most recently uploaded. It chooses the featured video by highest rated. Right now you're rated at 100. So congrats!

Kevin Malone. said...


Anonymous said...

zut alors!

Anonymous said...

Also, were you showered with merchandise? I got a poster... not complaining or anything. It was definitely worth getting up at 4 a.m. to cook the food to get a hug from Amanda. Just curious what everyone else received.