Monday, November 30, 2009

Long Time, No Recipe!

This time of year finds us all very busy for a number of reasons - between the holidays, work, family, various obligations, more work, parties, etc. etc.

We found ourselves this past week in addition to the actual day of Thanksgiving, in a position where we were contributing to both a pre and post Thanksgiving parties. Fortunately, both parties we were asked to bring an appetizer.

Even better, the appetizer was so deliciously simple for the pre-Thanksgiving party and such a hit that we decided to make it again later in the week for the post party. Now, of course there are plenty of appetizers you can make it - but we have one we would like to share with you because it is EASY to make, does not take much TIME to complete, it is CHEAP and is sure to be a HIT!

This is what you need:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup thawed frozen chopped spinach (We used fresh Spinach)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (We put in more pepper flakes Kelly luvs RPF)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced red bell pepper for garnish
  • Does not call for garlic but WE LOVE GARLIC, so we diced a few cloves!
  • Note: We doubled the above recipe, sans the cream cheese (just one package kept the dip perfectly creamy)


  1. Bring the cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat and add the 1 cup of diced red pepper and the chopped spinach. Bring the water back to a boil, turn the heat down to medium and simmer until the pepper is very soft, about 10 minutes. Drain the spinach and red pepper in a colander, pressing out as much liquid as possible.
  2. Combine the cream cheese and milk in the saucepan and cook over medium heat until hot and softened. Stir in the cooked spinach and red peppers, Parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and ground black pepper. Continue to stir until well combined and heated through.
  3. Spoon hot dip into a serving dish and serve with the tablespoon of finely diced red bell pepper sprinkled on top for garnish.
ps - The recipe suggests you serve it with a warm or toasted bread and vegetables. We used some cut up orange and yellow bell peppers cut into thin strips as well as some Stacy's Asiago Cheese Pita Chips.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Top 5 Songs of The Week (It's Been A Loong Time Edition)

You may or may not have noticed that it has been A WHILE, since we last posted a Top Five Songs of the Week - it is not that we have not wanted to, it's simply that we've just been crazy busy.

Also, we wanted to add that one of the many reasons we have not been blogging nearly as much is that Jose was been asked to do freelance writing, submitting a couple of articles per month for the very awesome, Ohio Authority. If you are not yet familiar with Ohio Authority, we highly suggest that you check it out. It is an online magazine started by two editors of the now defunct Northern Ohio Live - it is the best place to go for the freshest info regarding the arts, food + drink, home + style, health education, and so much more.

Now onto the music :) Hope everyone enjoys their weekend and our Top Five Songs of the Week*

5. (mp3) Erik Gundel - Playing Lake on My Roof Erik Gundel plays guitar and pedal steel in the band Motel, Motel who we have posted about it before. This song comes from his solo effort a self titled ep that is now out. This song has has so much going on it, it is hard to classify, from the banging of the timpani drums to hand claps to orchestral chants to then echos and strings + horns plus throw in some catchy guitar riffs it is a true "coalescence of sounds." This is some real experimental pop, very avant garde.

4. (mp3) Hawksley Workman - Maniacs First off, going to give you fair warning you might be put off initially by the excessive yodeling on this track. Once you get past this you have a fairly stripped down piece basically just accompanied by just a drum kit and some synth noises. It is almost like taking the melodies from the Dirty Projectors and then having those backed up by the more chamber pop arrangements of Grizzly Bear. On a side note this track comes from his album, For Him and The Girls, which just came out in the U.S. - the original release of this album was actually back in '99. Jose played this album on the radio back in college and he could not describe it then either.

3. (mp3) Will Stratton - Who Will This is an exceptionally talented 22 year old singer/songwriter from Northern California/New Jersey now based out of Brooklyn. His second album just came out November 3rd titlted No Wonder. He has been compared to the likes of Nick Drake, Elliot Smith and John Darnielle. His music is truly the beautiful sound of lament backed by orchestral movements, indie pop and slide guitar. Perfect music for an overcast fall day like today.

2. (mp3) Finn Riggins - Wake (Keep This Town Alive) This trio are currently on tour with Built to Spill through the North West. They are from Boise, Idaho just like Built to Spill. The chorus of this track goes "Wah oh oh oh", instantly pulling you in and leaving you tapping your feet and bobbing your head along with each drum fill and guitar riff. The melodies that come from from lead singer Lisa Simpson work well this band's amalgamation of styles ranging from indie rock, post punk to an almost country fried funk.

1. (mp3) Surfer Blood - Swim (To Reach The End) When you think of music coming out of West Palm Beach, Florida you don't expect a band to sound like this. These guys just swung through town this week to play @ Now That's Class. We missed their show and we bet you guys did too. Once you listen to this track, you will see why these guys are currently creating a buzz everywhere they go. They are playing some of the best pixies-esque anthemic driven indie rock we've heard in quite some time. They make a beautiful mess of distortion and pop that you will want to put on repeat. They are currently touring with Japandroids - do not make the same mistake we did and miss them if they come to your town!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

TOMORROW: I Will Stay If. . . [Cleveland Edition]

Are you happy living in Cleveland??

Whether the answer is "yes" or "no", we're nearly positive you have something to say about what you want to be done so you continue to live and grow in our fair city.

Do not miss out on this opportunity to let your voice be heard
tomorrow at SPEAKEASY (below Bier Markt) and make a compelling case with a memorable picture.

Who: You!

When: Tomorrow - Wednesday, November 18th [5:30 - 8:30pm]

Why: To spread your love and constructive criticism in support of shaping Cleveland's dynamic and prosperous future

  • With a donation of only $5, guests receive drink discounts, ($3 Stella, Coors and Blue Moon) and a coupon for $5 Bianco pizza, raffle entry and participation in IWSI Photo Campaign.
  • Councilman for Ward 17, Home to the NEW Gordon Square Arts District - MATT ZONE
  • Policy Bridge Board Chairman and Co-Author of 'Rebuilding Blocks: Efforts to Revive Cleveland Must Start by Treating What Ails Neighborhoods' - RANDELL McSHEPARD
  • Program Director for Architecture, Urban Design and Sustainable Development at the Cleveland Foundation - LILLIAN KURI
See you there*

For additional information or to RSVP, please visit

Monday, November 09, 2009

Another Reason to Visit The Maltz Museum (if you needed one)

In life, with all that is going on, one cannot help but get caught up in the day-to-day where we later realize that the things we once thought were important are retrospectively rather trivial.

Today was one of those days that caused me to sit back, reflect, and say WOW.

The reason for this time of self reflection is that that I had the distinct privilege of getting to hear a testimonial first hand from Betty Gold <--(check out this recent piece about her from The Plain Dealer) at The Maltz Museum, a survivor of The Holocaust, who lives right here in Cleveland. Ms. Gold told me and my fellow LeadDiversity classmates the compelling story of how her town of Trochenbrod, Poland was destroyed by the Nazis during WWII, which drove her and her family into hiding in the woods for more than two years in a constant battle to survive. Ms. Gold informed us that recently she was interviewed by CNN on a piece regarding the high incidence of cancer in holocaust survivors. She also is currently working with a crew to tell the story of Trochenbrod in a documentary.

If you are like us and feel like Trochenbrod sounds somewhat familiar - this may very well be a result of either reading the book Everything is Illuminated or seeing the film. In this story, the main character sets out to Treochenbrod after his grandmother had just died, who was from there. He goes back to try and find that town and in turn learns a lot about himself and the human spirit. It is a beautiful book, written by Jonathan Safran, and a great film, directed by Liev Schreiber while starring Elijah Wood. Having seen the film and read the book, it made Ms. Gold's story all that more compelling for me.

This was the second time that I have been to The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in the last week and my 3rd visit overall. There is such a wealth of information inside this museum you cannot possibly digest it all in one visit. If you have never been there, I strongly urge to to learn about the strong impact the Jewish Community has had on shaping the great history of Cleveland.

Bonus: View the Trailer of Everything is Illuminated

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Chester French + Pitbull = Something Unexpectedly Good

If you are fan of Chester French like us than you know that they have a great sense of humor. Some of the things they did on their mix tape were just hilarious like calling each other brohan. These two guys also have a real knack for remixes, if you have never listened to their take on Shakira's "She Wolf" we urge you to check it out. There is something about their take on this song that is really absurd but at the same time pulls you in. They are back at again with more pop songs shenanigans, this time they have stroke gold with a remix of Pitbull's super sexy and banging track " I Know You Want Me" (Calle Ocho). Try not to get this one stuck in your head.

The original!

and Chester French's slab of hotness on that Calle Ocho culo!