Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday Music: Hieronymous Bogs

Earlier this year I discovered 1809 Studios on YouTube. According to their website, 1809 Studios "is a private recording studio house inside a re-purposed, 19th century Erie Canalside Tavern. Offering relaxing surroundings, sleeping accommodations, and combining classic & modern equipment with reasonable prices."

A fascinating feature is that all recording groups "have full access to a bunk room, full bathroom, kitchenette, lounge, and outdoor recreation (canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hammocking, camp fires, etc). Here you can easily remove yourself from daily life to focus on making the best recording of your career." It sounds like a great place for musicians to tap into their creativity and skill.

I have a friend who has been recommending Hieronymous Bogs, and I discovered he has an 1809 Studios session on YouTube. According to his website, "Bogs’s extensive catalog and tireless touring has popularized his unique songcraft and performance style throughout New York and its surrounding areas. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Bogs now resides in Truth or Consequences, NM, a fine muse for his spare poetic aesthetic."

So sit back and enjoy some music from Hieronymous Bogs. For information on his tour dates, check out his website.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Saturday Haiku: Port of London

ageless moon rising
golden hues upon the bay
city lights shining


Image: Port of London, Night (1884) at the High Museum of Art
Artist: Maximilien Luce (French, 1858 - 1941)
Medium: Oil on Canvas


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Recipes My Daughter Likes: Falafel

Last weekend, Birmingham's George's Melkite Greek-Catholic Church held its annual Middle Eastern Food Festival. It was a wonderful event, as always, with lots of delicious food, music and  dancing. It was a chance to sample kibbee, falafel, spinach pies, and all sorts of foods including many delectable pastries. It was also a time to learn something about another culture, including informative tours of the church. The event reminded me that it has been a while since I made falafel at home. This is one of my prized recipes that I first shared here back in 2013.

One of my favorite restaurants in Birmingham is The Pita Stop which features Middle Eastern food. It has been in town for many years and was originally started by a Lebanese family. It was there that I first became acquainted with falafel, which immediately became my favorite thing on their menu.  If you are ever in town, The Pita Stop is well worth the visit.

Years ago I was talking with a colleague about how much I liked the Middle Eastern dish. His wife was Egyptian, and he mentioned that she had a recipe and often made her own falafel. I asked if she would mind sharing the recipe, which thankfully she did.  I immediately tried it at home and it is now one of my daughter’s favorites. While she was home visiting this summer, she requested that I make it again.

Here is the recipe that I have kept in the form of a handwritten note and used for years: 

Ensaf's Falafel

  • 4 cups dried chick peas
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 whole garlic
  • 2 bunches parsley
  • Hot peppers (I use 4 jalapenos in my half recipe version - 5 if you like it really spicy!)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper


Soak the chick peas overnight, drain.
Combine chick peas, onion, garlic, parsley and hot pepper. Grind twice in an electric meat grinder.
Add salt, pepper, cumin, and baking powder. Mix thoroughly.
When ready to fry the falafel, add baking soda.
Shape into patties 1 ½  inches in diameter and ½ inch thick.
Fry in deep hot oil until light brown and crisp. (I use peanut oil in a large frying pan)
Serve hot with tomato slices in Arabic (pita) bread in the form of a sandwich with tahini sauce and sliced onion. Garnish with parsley.

The falafel batter may be frozen. Thaw and add baking soda just before frying.

*  *  *  *

I should note that when I make this, I just make a half recipe, which is as much as I want to deal with at a time. I use a food processor to do the grinding. First, I'll grind the chick peas (I do it in small batches in the food processor) then with the second grinding, I'll add the parsley, onion, and peppers I end up with a large mixing bowl full of batter with just a half recipe.  I usually have it with brown rice, sometimes with pita bread. Also, I must confess that I have never used tahini sauce when serving these at home, but I found a recipe online that looks good. You can find it here.

Falafel (photo from Wikipedia)

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