WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK: Mango Jicama Salad vs. Passion Pit

May 11, 2009

by featured contributor, Troy Farmer


There’s something about living in New York that really makes you hunger for warm weather. Maybe it’s the massively long, brutal winters that, while technically more forgiving than other cities’ winters, seem just that much more confining as most of us are car-less and forced to trudge through terribleness and weather the storm for months, so to speak. Regardless though, New York at the end of winter—or, in this case, in the midst of a unseasonably cool, rainy, craphats spring—starts to burst at the seams in anticipation of those fabled sunny, jacket-less times. We all start to come out of this wake-work-home-sleep hibernation and begin to remember that, hey, being outside used to not suck.

I, for one, am beyond psyched that those times are nearly upon us, and, with them, all the light summer fare that graces fresh meals and food-centric get-togethers. One dish that’s great for most any warm-weather occasion is Mango Jicama Salad. Super-easy to make, yet still intensely tasty and fresh, this is an especially great addition to any park-side or backyard soirée. Mango most everyone knows and likely loves by now. But the key to this salad is the addition of the lesser known jicama, a sweet-tasting Mexican root vegetable with the texture of a water chestnut. Mix in some lime and a little cayenne for that surprising twist of spice, and you’re about ready to impress your friends and put all those humus and cracker platters to shame (sorry, Sabra).


Of course, with warm weather and outdoor parties also comes fun, dance your ass off party music. No more boarding yourself up and listening to the Cure all day long. No, no. It’s time to get out there and dance. And I can think of no one better band to shake your booty to right now than Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Passion Pit. I know I get on stuck on these bouts of musical fixations, but I’ve been obsessed with their music since I first heard it last summer. http://www.myspace.com/passionpitjams

Passion Pit started in 2007 when mastermind and vocalist, Michael Angelakos, recorded a six-song EP to give to his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day (thanks for upping the ante there, Mike). The EP, titled Chunk of Change, then started making the rounds at Emerson College, where Angelakos went to school at the time. Now, as a full-on group with reportedly wildly fun live shows, the band is set to release their first full-length, Manners, May 19th on NYC-based French Kiss Records (also home of faves Cut Off Your Hands and The Dodos). Based on the little bit I’ve heard so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up being one of the best records of the year.

In short, simplistic terms, the music is great and you must obtain as much as you can right now. I’ve waited long past my required month to make sure I’m not just caught up in an auditory fad, and I love these guys. Angelakos’ voice is high-pitched, strained with positive emotion and far from perfection in the most perfect of ways. Webbed under his singing is a glitchy, mess of electronics and percussion that’s skillfully molded into poppy, beautifully written and wholly original pieces that make you feel like skipping down the sidewalk as you listen to them. Think emotive, post-modern disco. Fruity, exciting, and enticing, their a perfect match for Mango Jicama Salad, I have to say.

Two of my favorite tracks from Chunk of Change:
Smile Upon Me

I’ve Got Your Number

Along with a few tracks form the forthcoming full-length, Manners:

The Reeling

Little Secrets

and the not as upbeat but quite beautiful Moth’s Wings

Yes, that is a man singing. Really.

Also, a bizarrely awesome remix/cover of Sleepyhead (from Chunk of Change) by the Murmurs (remember them?) via Palms Out Sounds –

Alright, on to the food!


  • 1 Ripe Medium to Large Mango
  • 1 Medium Jicama (about 1 lb. In weight)
  • Juice from 2 Squeezed Limes
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Mint (any variety)
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Cayenne
  1. First off, when you use the mango, make sure it’s solid, not squishy, but gives a bit to the touch. Usually, the more red it is, the more ripe it is. Score the skin of the mango with a knife in quarters and then carefully peel it from the meat of the fruit. If the mango is too ripe, the fruit may be a little harder to separate from the skin, so just go back and cut the excess from the pieces of peel.
  2. Carefully (it can be slippery) slice the mango into thin rods, about 1/2 of an inch square and two or three inches long.
  3. Throw it all in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Next, carefully cut the brown rind from the jicama. I usually use an actual knife rather than a peeler, as the rind can be a bit tough for most peelers. At this point it’ll look pretty much like a giant macadamia nut.
  5. Quarter the jicama and then slice it into 1/2 inch slices. Now cut the slices into rods that approximately match the mango pieces in size and shape.
  6. Add the jicama to the bowl.
  7. Next, chop your herbs, add them to them bowl along with the lime juice, salt, and cayenne, and mix thoroughly but gently, to avoid breaking up too many pieces of jicama or pulverizing the mango.
  8. Chill for half an hour or more, and you’re good to go. Get out there and enjoy that weather!


Troy Farmer Learn more about contriuter, Troy Farmer!

WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK: Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits vs. Deer Tick

April 10, 2009

by featured contributor, Troy Farmer

Being from the south originally, there are a number of things I miss, now living in the big Yankee city. There’s the random, and now sometimes unsettling friendliness of strangers (seriously—on a trip last summer, this woman passing by said ‘hi’ to us in the friendliest manner and, I’m sad to say, it freaked us out.) There’s the slow, easy, nearly-foreign-now calm to almost everything. And then there are the impromptu, unassuming means of entertaining—swimming holes, house parties, garage shows… Obviously I need a vacation. But, point being, the thing I miss most of all is the food. Being vegan, a lot of that food’s totally out of reach. But, having grown up around it and having those tastes imbedded into my gustatory memory, they’re foods I’m constantly trying to replicate and improve upon, vegan-style, yo.


One of those foods is buttermilk biscuits. These warm, savory, buttery blocks of awesomeness were a mainstay of my extended family from Virginia and something that could be found on the table every Sunday and holiday. Being the transplant that I am, though, this particular recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from the Waverly Inn + Garden in the West Village.

These biscuits bring to mind slow, winding mornings with strong coffee, sleepy cats, and folksy southern tunes. I’ve never been much for a lot of the actual southern-rock-alt-country-whathaveyou, but, thankfully, much like the northerner’s take on biscuits, there are a bevy of excellent northerner bands right now who seem to be yearning for this same, rootsy, easy sound that traditionally came from the south. Call them phony hipsters-turned-hayseeds if you like, but I love their take on the genre and how it’s now been pulled into it’s own world. Bands like Seattle’s The Cave Singers (ex-Pretty Girls Make Graves, and Cobra High) and NYC’s O’Death bring their new world talents and takes on traditional music and transform it into something else altogether. And it’s excellent.War Elephant

One of the more recent finds for me in this category is Providence, Rhode Island’s John McCauley, who plays under the moniker, Deer Tick. McCauley started out at the age of 18 making home recordings on his nylon string guitar and giving them out at shows. Five years later, he’s toured extensively, firmed up a once rotating cast of supporting band members, worked up a pretty devoted following, and released his first “official” album, “War Elephant,” on Partisan Records. With McCauley’s cool, rough, howl of a voice and the rolling push of the music, there’s a definite feeling of looking back at what’s come before these songs, be it the southern rock of Creedence<!–, or the high hills music of Appalachia, but, again, with the cast of it being played by people almost foreign to the original thought that gave birth to that sort of music. It almost feels like Deer Tick and these other bands are reaching back to the nostalgic, romanticized world of our parents and childhood—for many of us, the simplified and sadly beautiful 70s, mustaches and all. Whatever the reason, the resulting music is excellent. And goes superbly with south-by-north biscuits on slow, warm mornings. Check them out –

These Old Shoes
Long Time
Dirty Dishes
Art Isn’t Real
Still Crazy After All These Years (Paul Simon Cover)

The biscuits are best right out of the oven, with maybe a little vegan margarine on them and some preserves. They’re also excellent with a vegan sausage gravy. Or, if you want to get fancy, mix some maple syrup with cold margarine to make a vegan maple butter. The trick with cooking these is to keep them as cold as possible when missing them and to touch them (warm hands) as little as possible too, so the pieces of margarine—which make them flakey—don’t melt. Make the whole batch and them freeze what you won’t eat for later. They make for great Tofurkey sandwiches and BBQ pulled seitan sandwiches (still refining that recipe….) And this recipe can be doubled if you’re cooking for some sort of vegan army.

  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour (we like King Arthur brand)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Sea Salt
  • 1/8 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Sugar
  • 1/4 Lb. (about 1/2 Cup) Cold Vegan Margarine (non-hydrogenated)
  • 3/4 Cup Oat Milk (you can use Soy Milk if you prefer)
  • 1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Egg Replacer equal to One Egg (we like Bob’s Red Mill brand)

Like most things, I like to make these biscuits completely by hand, though many prefer to use a heavy-duty mixer. I like to try to keep them as old-world as possible. You know, without the lard and dairy-based butter.

  1. First, combine the dry ingredients in a large, preferably metal bowl.
  2. On a cutting board, dice the margarine into small cubes, about one inch square. Really try to touch them as little as possible, using a utensil to slide the cubes off the knife, and toss a little flour onto the pieces as you add them to the bowl of dry ingredients so they don’t stick together.
  3. Take a stiff rubber spatula and mix the dry ingredients into the margarine, using the spatula to firmly break the cubes into smaller, pea-sized pieces, cutting the margarine into the flour mix. Be very thorough with this part, making sure you break up all the cubes into tiny pieces. This is what makes the biscuits flakey.
  4. In a measuring cup, mix the oat milk and vinegar together to simulate a buttermilk. If you’re not a huge buttermilk fan, use less or no vinegar, compensating with the oat milk so the total mixture equals one cup. Slowly add this to the flour-margarine mixture as you stir with the spatula. Once it’s mixed together, the dough will look pretty wet, which is a good thing with this recipe.
  5. Now, flour a clean counter-top and turn the dough out onto it. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough and, using your hands, gently fold the dough over itself three or four times, evening it out and flattening it down a bit each time.
  6. Using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough out so it’s about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. You can form an oval or keep the edges rough, for an old-world, uneven look.
  7. Using a knife, cut the biscuits into rough squares a little smaller than the size of the desired finished biscuits. I usually make mine a little big—about 4 inches square.
  8. Put these on a cookie sheet and refrigerate them until you’re ready to bake at 375 degrees. They should only take 7-10 minutes, so watch them carefully, waiting until they get a golden brown look.
  9. Take ‘em out and eat ‘em up. Have a warm and flakey weekend!


Troy Farmer learn more about Troy Farmer


April 9, 2009


Nigel Barker cares about stuff – and he’s not a sissy. I recently chatted on the phone with this amazingly talented, compassionate, and influential photographer. We talked about everything from his fashion industry work, to his time spent in Haiti exposing some of the worst poverty, to his documentation of the controversial seal hunt. He doesn’t think that you can be a fur-wearing environmentalist, and he likes to shop thrift. Listen to our conversation:

Things We Talked About:

WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK: Dill Pesto Roasted Potatoes vs. Micachu and the Shapes

March 24, 2009

by Troy Farmer


I’m a huge fan of dill and am always trying to find new ways to incorporate it into foods. I feel like it’s totally the kid on the ball field who gets chosen last. Meanwhile, basil and cilantro and sage are all running around, showing off, sliding into home base…those jerks. Anyway, I’ve been hankerin’ to find a new use for dill lately and think this recipe fits the bill pretty well. It’s an accumulation of some familiar ingredients in a little less conventional packaging. “Pesto without basil!” you say? “Pesto without basil,” I say.

The musical group we’re pairing with the food is much the same: an unconventional packaging of a somewhat familiar and wholly delightful sound. Mica Levi, who tours and records with two other musicians (Raisa Khan + Marc Pell) as Micachu and the Shapes, is one of those talented souls who has the ability to create beautiful, catchy, easily accessible songs that somehow sound completely fresh and original. Her songs are unpredictable, bouncing along from verse to chorus to maybe another verse to some strange sound that may have been someone dropping a tray of dishes and back to the chorus. Really, one of the best things about the songs is that they’re never, ever boring. And, despite how odd and unlistenable that may make the music sound, it’s really not.

Levi, who was raised by musicians and started playing music at age 4, performed in the 90s as a DJ in London’s UK Garage scene, which seems to have found a place in the roots of Micachu’s glitchy, electronic beats and blips. On top of all that and interspersed throughout are myriad unique sounds that make it seem like the band is giving impromptu performances from a junk yard: vacuum cleaners, glass bottles, a homemade hammer action guitar, and a bowed instrument made from a CD rack. But grounding all of that potentially off-putting weirdness is the fact that strong, catchy songs are at the base of the music and, to top it all off, Mica and the rest of the band seem friendly and down-to-earth.

We highly encourage that anyone in NYC this week check them out at some of their post-SXSW city shows before they’re back in the UK by the weekend. (http://www.ohmyrockness.com/ShowList.cfm?ShowID=32057http://www.ohmyrockness.com/ShowList.cfm?ShowID=32999http://www.ohmyrockness.com/ShowList.cfm?ShowID=32710). And below are some tracks from the band’s new album, Jewellery, out now on Rough Trade Records (http://www.roughtraderecords.com/micachu/).

Whistle While You Work:
Golden Phone http://audio.sxsw.com/2009/mp3/Micachu-Golden_Phone.mp3
Just In Case http://mineorecords.com/mp3/mica-jus.mp3
Eat Your Heart Out http://mineorecords.com/mp3/mica-eat.mp3

Now to the food.

  • 5 Cloves of Garlic, pressed, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 Shallots, chopped into large chunks
  • 4 Walnut Halves
  • 6 Yukon Gold Potatoes, small to medium, quartered with skin
  • 1 Cup of Fresh Dill, packed to measure
  • 1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 Lemon, squeezed
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt

I like to lightly cook the garlic in pestos to give them a more rounded, savory taste that’s a little less biting and much easier on the breath over the following 24 hours. So, first:

  1. Roast the garlic, shallots, and walnuts in 1 teaspoon of quality olive oil on medium-low in a skillet, preferably cast iron, for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Lightly salt the contents to draw out some of the flavor and moisture. Allow the garlic to brown a little, but not too much and definitely don’t let it crisp up. Once that’s done, transfer the contents to a small bowl and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, quarter your potatoes and roast them covered in a skillet in about 1 teaspoon of olive oil, turning them every now and then so they brown evenly. Do this for about 2-3 minutes, again, not letting them get too brown or crisp up too much, and then add about 1/2 cup of water to the pan. From here on out, you basically just need to keep checking the potatoes to see how tender they are. If they’ve absorbed all the water and are still too firm, add a little more water, cover, and check them again in a few minutes. It should take about 5-10 minutes though, all told. If you like things smokey, like I do, you can also feel free to add a touch of Hickory Smoke Flavoring while cooking the potatoes. Though I tend to add that to just about everything. It’s a problem.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, still keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t overcook, get the garlic mixture out of the fridge and add it to a blender or food processor along with the dill, 1/2 cup of olive oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the nutritional yeast. Bend well, stirring from the bottom when necessary to make sure the mixture blends evenly. It should start looking like a bright green paste, similar to, say, pesto.
  5. Once that’s good and evenly blended, you’re ready to transfer the potatoes to a bowl along with the dill pesto, where you’ll mix and coat the potatoes just before serving, so as to keep that bright, spring-like green. And that’s about it.

From all of us at the Discerning Brute, we hope you enjoy a pleasantly mixed up week.


Whistle While You Work is written by featured contributor Troy Farmer. Click here for his full bio.

Troy Farmer

Troy Farmer

With ‘Whistle While You Work,’ we hope to bring you innovations in both vegan cooking and music, posting a new recipe and complimentary music review once every two weeks. Sometimes the music will inspire the food, sometimes the food will inspire the music, but, with every entry, we’ll give you new finds for your ears and your taste buds.

Fresh Friday Finds

March 13, 2009

Fact! There are 700,000 homeless people in the U.S., and 18 million vacant houses and apartments…

1. Turk + Taylor, Spring 09 is looking good! T+T is one of our favorite designers, who we’ve been following for a few seasons now. The collection is almost 100% organic cotton. Check them out! Also check out their new organic tees.

2. These shoes are golden! Cool, Vegan, fair-trade, and eco-friendly, does it get any better than that ? Jinga was started 3 years ago by two gals who give back at least 5% of sales to a social project in a Rio de Janeiro favela (shantytown) which provides activities and education to children to keep them away from gangs! (Thanks to reader Michael B. for this info!)

Bronze Classic Black

3. Undercover Animal Lover. This guy is an ethical vegan who risks his safety killing animals all day and shooting undercover footage so we can get a glimpse into the heavily-shrouded meat and dairy industries. Can you imagine? Read this rare interview with TIME magazine, and check his HBO documentary Death on a Factory Farm airing March 16.

4. This Sunday, March 15th, eat good vegan food and help farm animals!

Farm Sanctuary’s Dinner Night Broadway East
171 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Reservations for your party are available between 7:30 and 10 p.m.
Reserve your table online at
www.opentable.com or by calling Laurie at 212-228-3100.
Be sure to mention Farm Sanctuary when making your reservation.

5. One of our favorite organic companies, Loomstate, is having a party at one of our favorite eco-boutiques, Kaight, on Friday March 20th. Get a free Loomstate organic tee with any purchase of Loomstate S/S ’09!loomstatess091

https://i2.wp.com/origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs015/1101388046492/img/141.jpg Loomstate Tosh S/S Button Down

6.  Person to know: Historian and Activist GEORGE DRAFFAN

” ‘Development’ is a euphemism, much like the word ‘efficiency.’ Efficiency within the current system is really about how fast you can turn forests and mountains into wastepaper and soda pop cans. Is that good? If the purpose of life is to consume and destroy, then international trade and industrial civilization are definitely proven ways to speed that up .”

The Elite Consensus: When Corporations Wield the Constitution

Welcome to the Machine: Science, Surveillance, and the Culture of Control

Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on ForestsRailroads and Clearcuts: Legacy of Congress's 1864 Northern Pacific Railroad Land Grant

gg125x125.jpg7. Chloé Jo and the GGA weigh in on the myth that leather can be ‘eco-friendly‘ , on the best Vegan Cheeses, and on the controversy surrounding veganizing your companion animal. Watch out for those crazy cat people! They get their claws out!

Inside a typical tannery

Parma, you so fine.  I wanna make you mine!

8. You might need a french terrycloth motorcycle jacket. I’m just saying….

9. From the folks who brought you EcoRazzi, Veg Daily is Born!veg daily logo, vegetarian, vegan, veggies, eating healthy

10. Veteran vegan rockers Propagandhi talk to VegNews about their forthcoming album, Supporting Caste.

Laban Pheidias: A Recipe For Radness

January 10, 2009
photo © Ted Newsome

photo © Ted Newsome

He has a huge beard, a knack for being photographed mid-air, and more counter-culture punch than any rebel I’ve met. He’s also challenging the television and film industry to be more green, starting an eco-skateboard line, and making more videos than a vlogger on speed. This west-coast boy was raised vegetarian, became vegan, and thinks driving a veggie-diesel car and everything from Gypsy Music to Nick Nolte is cool. Meet Laban Pheidias. And remember his name, ’cause you’ll be dropping it later.

Photo © Ted Newsome

Photo © Ted Newsome

Discerning Brute: Hey Laban! Good lord, you have so many things going on. How do you make time for it all? Tell us about your recent projects, what you’re the most stoked about, and whether you were always an over-achiever?
Laban Pheidias: I enjoy having a lot of things on my plate. Not every project or thing I do gets to see the light of day, or at least not right away. It has to be the right time for certain projects. Right now, 2headedhorse (our production company) keeps me and my biz partner, Ted Newsome, pretty slammed. We just moved 2headedhorse into a big building in Echo Park. It’s cool because now our employees don’t have to see me in my underwear at our house. We’re currently wrapping up season 2 of Stupidface (our crazy comedy show). The series premiere is on 1/1/2009 at 1:00am et (10:30pm pt)on Fuel TV. We also just inked a deal for Built to Shred season 2. And we’re also gearing up for American Misfits season 3. This is very exciting to us  because we’ve taken such a long break from it and we’ve got a bunch of new ideas that will invigorate it. I can’t say to much about it now, but let me put it this way, we’re getting out of the bosses clutches and steering it in a new direction. Also, on the horizon are two very unique projects that entail music videos and a feature film.

Photo © Christopher Donez

Photo © Christopher Donez

DB: Wow…you are busy. Skating is clearly a total lifestyle for you. When did you get into skateboarding, and did it have anything to do with your veganism, or vice versa?
LP: I grew up with skateboards in sunny California, but I really got into skateboarding when I was about 14 years old living in Maine. Rob Collinson (Lowcard zine) was the local outcast skater kid in town. We became friends and skated (and ran from cops) every day. I was born and raised vegetarian so I’ve never eaten meat, but it wasn’t until I was living in Oregon when I was around 16 that I became aware of the vegan lifestyle. I met this over the top punk rock activist dude with a big spiked mohawk and a “leather” jacket with the words “Fuck you! It’s not leather” written in red on it. He told  me about all the terrible things that happen to dairy cows and egg laying chickens and how those industries are tied to the meat industry. From that day on I couldn’t ignore this link and the unnecessary cruelty that these animals suffer.


Photo © Ted Newsome

DB: I had a similar experience at 18. I finally had to live in consistency with the knowledge I gained from watching a doc on factory farms. I got my sleeve as a big reminder to stay true to those values. Speaking of ink, who does your ink, and what tatt is your favorite? Any good stories behind them?

Photo © Ted Newsome

Photo © Ted Newsome

LP: The first tattoo I got was when I was fifteen and it’s the words “No War, No KKK, No Fascist USA” across my back. This is one of MDC‘s songs. My brother gave it to me with a whole made tattoo gun. I returned the favor and tattood the same statement across his back. I get tattoos from different artists. It really depends on where I am. The last three tattoos I got were in Oregon. I got a camping goat on my side from Roll Hardy at Atomic Art Tattoo Studio, a raven on my shoulder from Ryan Mason at the all vegan tattoo shop Scapegoat, and some finger tattoos from Steve Fuller at Triple Six Tattoo in Ashland, Oregon. Right now my favorite is probably the trident on the back of my arm.

Photo © Ted Newsome

DB: The camping goat seems really anti-establishment. Does counter-culture still exist?
LP: Yeah, I definitely think counter-culture exists and hopefully it always will. Counter-culture keeps people in check, because they know that at the right time an idea sparked from the subculture can explode in the face of convention and social norms. There are plenty of ideas that run counter to the mainstream and I know a lot of these things will eventually get their time to shine.

DB: That’s a pretty eloquent expression with both realism and optimism. It’s refreshing. What made you start giving a crap about ecosystems and animals? And do you think other people are finally ‘getting it’ with environmentalism?
LP: I’ve always cared about ecosystems and animals. My parents were a big part of shaping my compassionate point of view towards this planet.  The environmental movement is great but I don’t think a lot of people really get it. There’s a lot of people who call themselves environmentalists because of their Prius and then eat a bloody hamburger. This is the epitome of hypocrisy. You’d be doing the world better by driving a fleet of gas guzzling Hummers while eating a veggie burger. Frankly, I’m sick of the green movement trying to sweep under the carpet and blatantly ignore one of the biggest environmental disasters of this century – factory farming and slaughter houses. It’s time for people to become aware of this fact. But to end on a more positive note I just worked  on a great project with the director Henrik Hanson at RSA films. It’s a psa on driving veggie oil cars (click Vegetable Oil). It just aired on the Sundance channel and has gotten a lot of good feedback.

Shred For Life, Eco Skateboards

DB: The meat/global warming connection is so frustrating! Especially when people like Al Gore are not making it priority number one. Cool vid!  I made a similar PSA for CurrentTV about oil addiction. We should collaborate someday soon! Is there anyone you’ve worked with that totally blew your mind? Who do you want to meet or work with that you haven’t yet?
LP: My business partner Ted Newsome continually blows my mind with his dedication and creative touch. One of these days I would like to work with Nick Nolte. I wish I could go back in time and work with WC Fields. That would be amazing.


DB: How did you come up with your eco-skateboarding company? Where the hell can I buy one of these boards, and who are the artists doing board graphics for your shred sticks?
LP: Me and Ted have some good friends that don’t have a skateboard home right now and we thought why not channel these guys into a new deal. It’s called Shred for Life. Right now the team consists of myself, Chris Lambert, Jesse Hotchkiss, and Chuck Wampler. No boards or merch are for sale yet, but it’s all in the works and hopefully stuff will be available in the near future. Right now Hotchkiss is on graphic duty and coming up with some good ideas.

Photo © Ted Newsome

Photo © Ted Newsome

DB: You’ve also won an EMA award for doing a really green production. Tell us about how you did that, and how I can that too on my next production! I’m so jealous! Green with envy… derr..
LP: We’ve always tried our hardest to be a green production company. It’s basically being conscious of every part of production and trying cut waste wherever possible. One of the first things we did was to convert all our cars to run on veggie oil. Now we have a 250 gallon tank in our car port filled with veggie oil that we get delivered from a company called green diesel (greendiesel1.com). There is a lot of recycling, vegan catering, and common sense things like using environmentally friendly paint for sets. We took it to a whole other level on one of our episodes of Built to Shred. It’s the episode called “Solar Shred”. Check it out. You can watch it for free at hulu.com.

DB: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to make more ethical lifestyle choices, but still wants to have fun and be cool, AKA a Discerning Brute?
LP: To me the only way to have fun and be cool in life is to be ethically conscious. Of course in art I like to break all the rules. Also, I think it’s a hell of a lot cooler to do what you believe even if everyone seems to diss you because of it. Granted, sometimes it won’t be a lot of fun, but hey, doesn’t mean you can’t have ball anyway without the haters.

DB:  Who you are listening to, what you are reading, what you are eating a ton of,  and should we do it too?
LP: I’m listening to my favorite band Taraf de Haidouks. I’m reading about anything that interests me on wikipedia.org. I’m eating a lot of homemade hot sauce. And you should check it all out.

DB: Anything else we need to know?
LP:You need to know about the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Peta. Also, about how amazing “gypsy” music is.

Photo © Ted Newsome

Photo © Ted Newsome

DB: Lastly, give us a super-easy recipe.
LP: Here’s a recipe for radness: one vegan potluck, two quarter pipes, four cases of New Castle, one bottle of absinthe, and the Petrojvic Blasting Company playing the party.

Knightly Knit, Cookie Pies & Music You Must

December 15, 2008
The folks at Sound Fix, a music boutique in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – know more about good music than all of the professors at Juilliard, combined. It could be that they are located in the same spot that almost every good band has their practice spaces, or it could be that they just rule. Sound Fix has just released their top 50 albums of the year, and if you want to be in audio-bliss for the next year, you’ll get some of these albums. From Bon Iver, Crystal Castles, and MGMT – to Girl Talk and Herculues and the Love Affair – you may not have heard of them, but once you do, you’ll wonder where they were all your life.
Organic Cotton Knit Bonnet from Earth @ KAIGHT. Photo © Matt Lara

Two caps, one pup. Photo © Matt Lara

I enjoyed two caps the other day, a soy cappuccino from Gimme! Coffee – probably the best espresso ever,  and a naturally dyed cotton knit cap made by the elusive Filipino designer, Eairth from Kaight. Enzo my lil’ rescued pup (thanks to sugarmutts.org) is sporting his “Have a Heart” anti-fur pin. Believe me, it’s much more effective on him. Especially when we’re walking and I offer him up to the fur-clad :  “would you like to anally electrocute him and add a few extra inches to your coat?

Little Enzo

RECIPE: Cookie Pies!

Easy Cookie Pies!

Easy Cookie Pies! © Discerning Brute 2008

These cookies are perfect for the holidays. Add anything you want to the center! Chocolate, marzipan, jam, pumpkin pie mix, peanut butter, or even leave the sugar out and go for a savory mini pastry with mashed potato, tampenade, or a chunk of marinated seitan in the center!

What you’ll need (makes 2 dozen):
• 2/3 cup non-hydrogenated,vegan margerine or shortening (Earthbalance or Spectrum is great!)
• 1/4 cup coconut oil
• 2 tblsp  sunflower seed butter
• 1/3 cup organic brown sugar
• 2/3 cup unrefined, organic sugar
• 1 tblsp vanilla extract (you can also use almond or coconut)
• 1/4 cup egg replacer (Energie is great!)
• 1tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
• 2-3 cups all purpose organic, unbleached flour

1. In a mixer, or with a fork, combine chilled margarine/shortening, coconut oil, sugar, vanilla, egg replacer, and sunflower seed butter.
2. Once it is creamy, add the baking powder and vinegar. It should start fizzing a bit.
3. Slowly mix in the flower until it is like play-dough, dry enough so it doesn’t stick to your fingers too much, but moist enough to roll out. Usually it’s 2.5 cups. For chewier cookies, add more flour. For crispier, add less.
4. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick on a floured pastry sheet or wax paper.
5. Using a circular cookie cutter, and a smaller circle (you can even use a bottle cap for the hole) make a solid base, and doughnut shaped top.
6. Place your base on an ungreased cookie sheet, add your filling, then place the top on!
7. bake on 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until golden.