Summertime Blues

Summertime Blues

Click the photo for my Spotify playlist “Summertime Blues” (artists and song names listed below) to get you through those bouts of yucky feelings year-round. There are some chillax songs, booty-shaking indie pop, hip-hop, dance hits, slow jams, and other random guilty pleasures.

Summertime Blues: Making gluten-free Dinner without Cooking

I’m from California, so summertime has always had really happy connotations like sunshine, sand, parks, beaches, house parties, BBQs, picnics, trips to Mexico, butterflies, flowers, and blue skies. In Barcelona, the feeling was much the same, with lots of terrace parties and claritas (of course for me the gluten-free Estrella variety). Even in Kyoto, the Kamo River or Lake Biwa became our beach, and my friends and I often organized picnics or excursions. For as oppressive as the heat was, the feeling was happy.

However, this last summer I spent in Tokyo was unbelievably depressing. I´m an optimistic person, and I found just about every positive I could, every plot of green grass to wander barefoot in. I tried to enjoy the overcrowded, polluted beaches that took a long train ride to get to. There were so many rainy days, and the weekdays (and their sticky humidity, heat, crowds, and the corresponding bad energy people carried with them) left me half-dead for the weekend. There were some highlights, like visiting Cat Island and Fuji Rock, but almost every day I really longed to be anywhere besides Tokyo. As always, music really got me through.

I craved that carefree California summer feeling, and the only place I could find it was in music. In the hours of the day when I was alone, song was my ocean, my plot of sand to contemplate the moment. As always, music became particularly important when I prepared our evening meal.

Our kitchen is ridiculously small and lacks a window, so it felt like a hot, humid jail cell in the summer. Thus, one of my favorite dishes to ¨cook¨ is one that barely requires any cooking at all: rice paper rolls. They´re a perfect substitute for a tortilla and can be filled with just about anything! They are very easily found in Japan, and are often on sale at places like Kaldi.

Steps:

1) I prepare whatever my filling is going to be. My favorite is smoked salmon, cream cheese and greens, but just about anything works.

I ALWAYS put fresh veggies and greens inside, but since it´s the main meal I usually add something like:

• Tuna (mixed with lemon, mayo, spices, hot sauce, chopped onion, cilantro)
• Garbanzos mixed with a little of last night´s rice and lemon
• Avocado
• Boiled chicken and a sauce like pico de gallo
• Homemade hummus
• Mango and cream cheese
• Whatever occurs to me at the moment and/or I have lying around. There are no rules!

2) I wet the paper in a bowl of warm water (even warm tap water will do) until it´s soft and easy to fold, put some filling inside, wrap it up into a roll, and move on to the next roll. You can slice them or leave them whole. Sometimes I make a sauce to go with them, but they´re pretty good on their own. Either way, healthy and delicious, and they make a great bento too!

In the photo above I added boiled chicken, sesame seeds, lettuce, along with a yogurt-cucumber sauce. I also made a boiled eggplant dish that was a successful experiment, but honestly took much longer to make than I was happy being in the kitchen. Thankfully there was good music to help me suffer through the heat.

Today´s Playlist *click on the picture above for the link*

“Doin’ Time (Uptown Dub)” Sublime
“Pool Swimmers” Real Estate
“No Voodoo” Allah-Las
“On the Line” The Olms
“Bummer in the Summer” Love
“No Destruction” Foxygen
“So Desperate” King Tuff
“FFunny FFriends” Unknown Mortal Orchestra
“Double Vision” Jacuzzi Boys
“Summer Fun” Tijuana Panthers
“ Boomers” Twin Peaks
“Deadbeat Summer” Neon Indian
“En Español” The Memories
“Los Mangopaunos” Xenia Rubios
“Cinco Minutos Con Vos” Elvis Costello and the Roots
“The Observer” Brazos
“Weird House” Disappears
“Written All Over Your Face” Holy Shit, Ariel Pink
“Raspberry Thighs” The Mantles
“First Days of Something” Young Dreams
“Jump in the Pool” Friendly Fires
“Vanishing Point” Cold Pumas
“Plastic Soldiers” Portugal the Man
“Wolf Like Me” TV on the Radio
“Swimming After Dark” Guards
“Morning Sickness” Bosnian Rainbows
“Banquet” Bloc Party
“Book of Flags” Q and Not U
“Atlas” Battles
“My Girls” Animal Collective
“Hit and Miss” The Tins
“I Turn My Camera On” Spoon
“Check My Heart” The Pastels
“The Words That Maketh Murder” PJ Harvey
“Shithead” Potty Mouth
“Cookie Road” The Julie Ruin
“Beatific” Glass Candy
“Mind Mischief—Ducktails Remix” Tame Impala”
“Your Cover’s Blown—Miaoux Miaoux Remix” Belle and Sebastian
“Into Black” Blouse
“Doused” Diiv
“Chasing My Mind” Holograms
“Groove Is In the Heart/California Girls” Crocodiles
“A Summer Thing” Cayucas
“Dog” Wavves
“Lost Kitten” Metric
“My Number” Foals
“Real Life” Tanlines
“Pattycake” Self
“Smoke Screen” Shocking Pinks
“You” Bibio
“O.N.E.” Yeasayer
“Live It Up” POP ETC
“Doin’ It Right” Daft Punk, Panda Bear
“Bros” Panda Bear
“The Wrath of Marcie” The Go! Team
“Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex” CSS
“Crushin’” Police Academy 6 Ft. Cherub
“Hearts on Fire” Cut Copy
“Hell Me” Humans
“Doing Coke” Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head
“A Fax From The Beach” Classixx
“Do You Believe” Poolside
“How Deep Is Your Love?” The Rapture
“Holidays ft. Alan Palomo” Miami Horror
“Bridge and Tunnel” Holy Ghost
“New York 2017” Party Supplies
“Cruel Summer” Bananarama
“Everything’s Fine” Minks
“Love Vigilantes” New Order
“Digital Dialogue” Flaamingos
“Me and Guiliani Down By the Schoolyard” !!!
“Camping” Polarsets
“In The Summer” Crystal Fighters
“Joyride” Beautiful Swimmers
“The Walk” Mayer Hawthorne
“What You Need” The Weeknd
“Great Escape” Washed Out
“Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach” Gorillaz ft. Snoop Dogg
“Cruise (Don´t Stop)” Nightmares on Wax
“Passin’ Me By—Hot Chip Remix” The Pharcyde
“How Do You Do?” Hot Chip
“Second Summer” YACHT
“212” Azaelia Banks, Lazy Jay
“Unstoppable” Santigold
“Rudeboy” Rihanna
“Bad Girls” M.I.A.
“It’s Code” Janelle Monáe
“Are You Can You Were You?” Shabazz Palaces
“Once Again” Handsome Boys Modeling School
“People Everyday Metamorphoses Mix” Arrested Development
“Strictly Business” EPMD
“Freaks” French Montana, Nicki Minaj
“How Do You Want It” 2Pac
“Juicy” Notorious B.I.G
“Rose Quartz” Toro Y Moi
“Border Line” King Krule
“We Disappear” Jon Hopkins
“I Believe” Simian Mobile Disco
“Turn It Up” Factory Floor
“When A Fire Starts To Burn” Disclosure
“Heartbeats” The Knife

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