Posts Tagged ‘Chicken’

Chip Mom’s Kitchen #35: Jambalaya

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Though the weather has not been cooperating in The South, the calendar tells me its winter outside. I know there are plenty of you in more northern areas of the globe dealing with cold days and even chillier nights, so here’s a recipe and some music to heat things up!

Jambalaya

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Sladerfluous: ‘Defend Your Ramp’ by Inspector Vector and _ensnare_

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Sometimes two chip-heads are better than one.

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Well-established chip artists _ensnare_ and Inspector Vector are two hemispheres of the brain behind ‘Defend Your Ramp‘.

Set the mood with the ‘Ben Rear Introduction‘ below; a breathtaking forty-second orchestral introduction to whet your palette.

Despite two distinct approaches to the genre, the influence _ensnare_ and Inspector Vector have on each other throughout ‘Defend Your Ramp‘ successfully weaves a coherence through the album that eliminates any fear of disjointed musical tangents or fragmented direction. ‘Defend Your Ramp‘ is a blending of minds that will blow yours.

_ensnare_’s skill in building and supporting melodies that hook fast and hold firm are showcased off the top of the album with ‘There Is Always Love‘. Heavy beats and bass set the foundation for a fantastic and organic melody. Love it.

Inspector Vector kicks into gear immediately with ヽ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽ノ (Raise Your Dongers), a rousing anthem with a contemporary chip-house fusion and a hint of “jungle” flare. Imagine if Disney’s Tarzan opened an electro dance club inside Wreck-It Ralph’s arcade machine. Sweeping. Epic. Dem jungle beatz make you raise your dongers ヽ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽ノ

Tracks alternate between artists throughout the album, but you wouldn’t notice without triple-checking the album liner. Each track flows into the next like it was planned from the beginning, a notion that _ensnare_ assures is “purely accidental”. ‘Defend Your Ramp‘ evolves with a weight that betrays coincidence, giving credence to the efforts of a true collaboration. Despite plans to do “what we felt like doing” says _ensnare_, noting that he and Inspector Vector made no attempt to interfere with each other’s approach, an influence and incorporation of style bleeds in regardless. Both Inspector Vector and _ensnare_ would be wise to take note of their musical affinity, as this collaboration works.

Both _ensnare_ and Inspector Vector were gracious enough to answer a few questions about their experience constructing ‘Defend Your Ramp‘, and that interview continues below:
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How did the decision to collaborate with Inspector Vector come about?

_ensnare_: Alex is a long-term friend of mine and he’s fantastically talented.  He started doing Fakebit and, as my collab with .moegasus (my previous album Binary Opposition) had gone so well I decided to team up with him.

Inspector Vector: Well, Ensnare is a very close friend, but also has mentored me to a degree over the years in regard to production. He has this amazing ‘no nonsense’ attitude to music production. He doesn’t get hung up on anything people say you ‘should’ be doing, and has a lazer focus on what sounds good and what doesn’t, something that I still find so helpful. Also, I’ve been a fan of his music for well over a decade, so on the one hand it felt a natural thing to do as we’re friends, but on the other it was something I was quite humbled to be able to do as an admirer of his various music. As far as a decision to do it, we just talked briefly now and then for a while about doing a four track EP together, and it kind of just grew quite ridiculously into the final product at over four times that size. I’m a fan of the ‘album’ format so I was happy about this. I am not sure he was quite as happy at my repeated demands for more content…

Do you have a personal favourite among each other’s D.Y.R. tracks?

_ensnare_: Got to be ‘Raise Your Dongers‘ – it’s a ridiculous hit and I’m supremely jealous of the melody.

Inspector Vector: Hrm. Hard!… [His tracks] are exactly the type of music I enjoy; hook based and sound amazing. I often gravitate towards these tracks out of the whole _ensnare_ back catalogue, so I’m really pleased they’re on our album. One part that sticks out for me is about 1:41 into ‘I Need U‘ where this dual lead comes in. I remember hearing this for the first time and being amazed. A lot of focus in production these days is big crushing drops, which is absolutely fine and is an impressive production trick, but it is rarely ‘musically’ astounding. I love melodies in music, and I think that quite simple bit just shows what a great musician _ensnare_ is.

I’ve got to say that the tracks across Defend Your Ramp gel together very well. With two minds contributing to the album, what was the process of working with each other like to maintain such a solid coherence from start to finish?

_ensnare_: Any coherence is purely accidental!  Basically, we’d send stuff to each other occasionally but there were no real attempts to change each other’s style – we just did what we felt like doing.

Inspector Vector: Thanks, I’m really pleased this is the perception! We were kind of in contact all the time regarding it, so as we’d write the tracks, the other would be aware of them one by one, rather than just doing all of them independently then presenting them to each other as a set. I think this may have influenced coherence. It certainly made me consider how I mixed the tracks to not be too far away from the sound _ensnare_ was going for, and at points helped me decide what to do next as to what I felt the album needed. There are parts where it doesn’t gel so well to my ear, but I think that’s just symptomatic of each of us doing some tracks that are stripped down/lo-fi and some that are more complex modern style productions. Overall I’m very happy with how it works as an album.

Do you have a soft spot for an effect or piece of tech that you employed during the creation of the album?

_ensnare_: Plogue Chipsounds is still absolutely vital to the _ensnare_ sound – it’s an incredible thing.

Inspector Vector: _ensnare_ and I talked quite a bit informally about the tools of the album in a rambling text file that comes with the deluxe edition, so I’ll try say something else. Obviously chipsounds and FL studio are vital to me. I really respect people who write with the genuine gear, LSDJ and whatnot. Some of them make my favourite chip music out there (monodeer, bitshifter, chipzel), but equally there’s a lot of people like BigGiantCircles (who _ensnare_ remixed on the album, and is a huge inspiration to me) who are using software emulations and are making a different kind of chiptune/fakebit, and I think that the scene embraces it all is a great reason why chiptune is so vibrant and diverse at the moment. As for a soft spot: While doing my half of the mastering, I was using http://www.tokyodawn.net/tdr-vos-slickeq/ on most things. It’s a relatively new (and free!) plugin which I think was developed by varietyofsound, and it is just an amazing easy to use EQ. I write production tutorials and product reviews by day, and this EQ is as good as a lot of the pricey stuff. Functionally, I couldn’t be without the fabfilter stuff, particularly Pro-C, Pro-Q and Saturn.

Was there a “eureka” moment during the production of Defend Your Ramp in which you learned something new or overcame a particularly difficult creative hurdle?

_ensnare_: The Score Attack was a demo I had sitting around for ages that people really liked on Soundcloud, but I couldn’t get finished.  Then one weekend I was able to blast through it pretty quickly!

Inspector Vector: Definitely. One was very close to when the album launched. Ben rear with the gear went through so many iterative stages…I was trying a lot of things which just didn’t work, and I was sticking to the ‘formula’ despite the fact it didn’t sound very good. I wanted every element at the fore, which is something I know full well you cant do in production. Sound selection and mixing are very important. I’d totally ignored this, as I wanted every element to be this enormous, frequency filling sound, and thus when it didn’t work I hit a total brick wall. It nearly didn’t make the cut for that reason (I had to jettison another track called blockmania, probably my favourite, as I just didn’t have the time), but I eventually gave in and tried Ben Rear a different way, putting the lead to the fore and making a more simple, triangle-wavey bass. So yeah, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut, and sometimes you just have to go back to the drawing board!

Any last thoughts, advice, or news you’d like to share with your listeners?

_ensnare_: I’ve had some health problems for the last year or so which have meant that I haven’t been able to play any gigs – I’m doing a lot better now and I’ll be returning to playing live with a gig at Games Britannia in Sheffield next month.

I massively appreciate all the support as well – ‘Defend Your Ramp‘ is the most popular _ensnare_ project yet so I will try to do more stuff for my fans – both gigs and new tracks – as soon as I can.

Inspector Vector: I’d like to say thanks so much to the people who’ve supported this album. I am hugely grateful to every single person, and _ensnare_ feels exactly the same. Comments have been very kind, and it really makes me happy that people out there, in different areas of the world, enjoy the music we’ve made. Also thanks to my amazing girlfriend Ali for doing the album art, which I’m really pleased with.

Advice? Well, if you’re making chiptune, don’t be afraid to do what you want. As I mentioned, the chip scene is inclusive and interesting, and I think it suffers less than other genres do from silly and arbitrary constraints. As long as it’s got some retro sounds, pushing the envelope in any direction is usually welcome, and that’s what I love about it.

As far as news, I’ll be giving away a remix of a track from Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon via my twitter/soundcloud hopefully within a couple of weeks, so follow me on one of them if that’s something you’d like (on top of my inane ramblings). Also, I’m undecided right now but I am thinking of making a track to submit for the new Chiptunes = WIN compilation, so I’ll have to see! _ensnare_ is honeymooning at the moment, but he is always working on exciting things (not least Frozen Endzone, an ace robot based strategy game), so definitely follow him on twitter too. Thanks so much!
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Defend Your Ramp‘ by _ensnare_ and Inspector Vector is available on Bandcamp in both Standard and Deluxe Versions.

The Deluxe version includes “a continuous mix of every track on the album, an _ensnare_ remix of a Big Giant Circles track, 3 ridiculous lo-fi comics by Inspector Vector, a drum ‘n chip thing called Crabs on the Rampage by Inspector Vector, 1 4K wallpaper, ultra-HD cover art and an EXCLUSIVE txt chat between our heroes _ensnare_ and Inspector Vector which covers everything from the ethos of fakebit to a cake called Herman” for $19USD or more. The Standard edition is available for $13USD.

No matter which version is right for you, ‘Defend Your Ramp‘ is a must-buy.

PixelRecall (R. Morgan Slade) ~ Support the artists you love ~

Relevant Links:

Album:
Defend Your Ramp (Deluxe Edition)Defend Your Ramp (Standard Edition)

Inspector Vector:
Blog | Soundcloud | Twitter

_ensnare_:
FacebookSoundcloud | Twitter

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Chip Mom’s Kitchen #12: Mario Mushroom Cupcakes

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Greetings Chipkids and Baking Enthusiasts! Now, every once and a while I get antsy for something new in the kitchen. Every once and a while, I like to challenge myself. Every once and a while… my kitchen explodes:

Exploding Kitchen

“What happened, Mama?  What did you do to your kitchen!”  Well, my dears, let me tell you a little story about…

Mario Mushroom Cupcakes

Difficulty level:
Newb          |         Apprentice         |         Journeyman         |         Master

For the love of little kittens: Fondant!

Quest Items:

8 oz of Mini Marshmallows
2 Tbsp of water
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 lb of powdered sugar (about 4 Cups)
Butter
Box of cake mix
Eggs
Water
Oil
Frosting
Food coloring
Small paintbrush
Mixer
Bowls
Spatula(s)
Fortitude
Capacity to tolerate messiness

Musical Accompaniment:

Illustrated Guide:

I wanted to make picture perfect mushroom caps so I decided to finally dive in and try that one thing that has always intimidated me in the kitchen: fondant.  It was an…. interesting experience.  It was also successful!

To make the fondant:

20140513_170605
20140513_171447Start by putting your marshmallows
in a large bowl and then microwaving them for 30 – 60 seconds.  This puffs them up and gets them melty.

 

 

 

Stir the marshmallows until they are smooth and then slowly add your water and vanilla, they will change consistency quite a bit!  MAGIC!

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Gradually beat in 3/4 of your powdered sugar.  It was all well and good for me up until this step.  Toward the end of your additions, the mixture will get VERY stiff.  I think I ruined the alignment on my electric mixer.

 

[Picture removed out of respect for the Mixer that left us too soon.]

 

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This is where it gets sticky.  Use the butter to coat your hands.  COAT YOUR HANDS.  You will need it!

Cover the surface of your dough with a bit of your reserved powdered sugar.  Use your buttery hand to scoop up the sticky mess in your bowl and fold it over the powdered sugar. Press down to mix it in.  Repeat this process until your dough is mold-able and much less sticky.  DON’T BE AFRAID TO RE-BUTTER YOUR HAND AT THIS STAGE.

 

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Cover a flat kitchen surface with a generous amount of powdered sugar and turn your not-quite-fondant out onto it.

 

 

Sprinkle the surface of the fondant with powdered sugar and continue to kneed it for 5 – 10 minutes, using more powdered sugar as needed to keep it from sticking to your hands or the surface.  It will become smooth and soft.  When it is no longer sticky, you’re done!

Wrap it in cling wrap and let it set in the fridge over night.

Day 2 starts simply.

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Take your fondant out of the fridge so that it can come to room temperature.

While the fondant is warming up, prepare your boxed cake mix as cupcakes according to the package directions.  Most common cake mix requires 2 or 3 eggs, and some oil and water.

 

20140514_200440Line your cupcake pan with papers and fill up with the cupcake batter.

Bake according to the package.

 

 

 

When the cupcakes are cool, place a large dollop of frosting on top.  This will support your fondant mushroom cap!20140514_210611

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Sprinkle more powdered sugar on a flat kitchen surface.  Kneed your fondant until it is soft and pliable. Then, using a rolling pin, roll out your fondant until it is about 3/8 of an inch thick.

 

 

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Using a small plate (I actually used the lid to my frosting!), trace circles into the fondant to place over your cupcake.

 

 

Smooth and shape the fondant into a mushroom cap shape as you place it on top of the cupcake.  Trim any excess with kitchen scissors.

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When all of your cupcakes are covered.  Melt some butter in a shallow dish (about a Tbsp) and add your food coloring.  Create any kid of mushroom you’d like! I went with One Ups, so I chose green.

 

 

Using a small paintbrush, you can color on your mushroom spots using your butter-paint!

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Allow your paint to dry and you have your Mario Mushrooms!  If you’re feeling extra industrious, you can color and tape mushroom faces to your cupcake papers.

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And that concludes my crazy experiment!  Delicious!

Happy eating, all!  And remember: Chip Mama loves ya! <3

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Chip Mom’s Kitchen #11: Bananas and Birthdays Edition!

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Hey everybody!  It’s Mama’s birthday!  And like any birthday, it deserves baked goods. Today, as a present to myself, I tried out a brand-spanking-new recipe that I’d never attempted before but have been lusting after ever since I knew they existed.  I’m talking about:

Banana Cookies

Difficulty level:
Newb          |         Apprentice         |         Journeyman         |         Master

Squished fruit and sticky dough!

Quest Items:

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed banana (or 2 medium bananas)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 small bowls
1 large bowl
Mixer
Spoons
Spatula

Musical Accompaniment:

Illustrated Guide:

Picture of ingredients

Gather ye all thost needith.

Presseth Playith.

 

 

 

 

Dry Ingredients

In the smaller bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking powder.  Set aside.

Creamed butter in a bowl

 

 

 

Using your electric mixer, blend the butter until it becomes smooth and creamy.  I like to set my butter out so that it comes to room temperature while I get everything ready.  It makes this step a lot quicker (takes about 30 seconds).

 

 

Add sugar and whip till its fluffy!  Add eggs and vanilla and blend again until everything is smooth.  It’s always a good idea to use your spatula to scrape the sides down after each step, to make sure you’ve got access to all the bits you need to blend!

Butter and sugar creamed together

Three bowls with different items

In a small bowl, squish your banana into paste with a fork.  You will add about a third of the dry goods, mix, then a third of the banana, mix, then dry and mix, then banana and mix, etc. etc. until its all been blended into your batter.

 

The Finished Batter!

 

 

Mix in the chopped walnuts with a spatula.

 

 

 

Cookie Dough in the Oven

Use a small spoon to plop spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet (I used my silicone baking mat because I’m fancy), spacing them about 2 inches apart.  I’m a big fan of the classic 3 by 4 grid.

 

 

 

Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes!  Let sit on a rack until completely cool. You can frost these morsels if you wish, but you don’t have to!  Unfrosted is perfect for someone who isn’t into things that are super sweet; frost to satisfy your every sugary craving!

Finished cookies

And now, my dear chipkiddos, Chip Mama is gonna go have a birthday cider or two.  Have a great night and keep on baking!

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Chip Mom’s Kitchen #10: Scotcheroos

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Today being St. Paddy’s Day, I figure most of you have probably already been partaking in a bit of the drink.  The following recipe takes that into account: it does not require you to turn on your oven, there is very little chance of burning yourself, and the word “scotch” is in the title.  Behold the delicious wonder that is:

Scotcheroos

Difficulty level:
Newb          |         Apprentice         |         Journeyman         |         Master

Beware: Ooey Gooey Ingredients and perhaps some Microwave-induced Chocolate scorching!

Quest Items:

6 cups rice crispies
6 oz chocolate chips
6 oz butterscotch chips
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
1 cup peanut butter
9 x 13 pan
nonstick spray
spatula
various bowls
measuring impliments

Musical Accompaniment:

To get yourself in the Irish Drinking spirit, I present to you…

Illustrated Guide:

GET ALL THE THINGS!

Get the Goods

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Over medium heat, combine sugar and honey and bring to a boil.

NOTE: Most recipes for Scotcheroos call for white corn syrup.  Do not eat this crap, do not use it, please please please please.  For one, it’s corn syrup.  PURE CORN SYRUP.  Ick.  Secondly, it makes the Scotcheroos hard as a rock.  I prefer honey or agave as sweeteners.  I chose honey for this recipe because it’s thicker like corn syrup and adds great flavor.

 

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Coat your measuring cup with non-stick spray and then smear peanut butter into it. When it is full, you have a well measured cup of pb that won’t stick to the cup.  Pour the cup of peanut butter into your sugary mixture on the stove and stir until it all melts together.

 

 

 

 

Pour the melty mixture into a large bowl filled with six cups of rice cripsies.  Now your job is to mix a lot until the peanut butter evenly coats all of the cereal.

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Press the coated crispies into a 9 x 13 pan that has been non-stick sprayed. Get them in there firmly and evenly.  This is your vessel for chocolate, and that makes them important.

 

 

 

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Measure out six oz each of chocolate and butterscotch chips into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring in between.  You may not see much happening at first, and that’s OK.  Microwaving for longer than 30 seconds at a time and you risk scorching the chocolate.  Once you see melting happening, shorten to 10 second intervals.  Melt and stir until the mixture is smooth.

 

 

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Pour the melted chocolate over the top of your crispies and smooth with a spatula.  Once you have the chocolate evenly spread, give the pan a little bit of a shake.  It settles the chocolate and makes it look super smooth!

 

 

 

 

Once the chocolate is cool and has set, you can release your inner maniac and get to work with your knife.  I cut my Scotcheroos into 36 pieces (nine by four), which may seem a little small, but these are quite rich.

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All done! To truely get into the St. Paddy’s spirit, I recommend alternating between one Scotcheroo and one shot Bailey’s Irish Creme (under 21 with parental permission only).

#realtalk: I love all my chipkids, so no matter how old you are, be safe today.  Pick a DD, grab a cab, walk, or call a friend.  I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t rather get woken up at 2 am by a friend looking for a ride than someone saying “There’s been a terrible accident.”

 

With that in mind, I’m off to go hunt down some Irish Car Bombs.