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  • Writer's picturekaydee777

Fiddling while Rome burns

Updated: Jul 11

Another batch of baked falafel came out of the oven today.

I’m still getting the hang of using my newest kitchen tool: a stainless steel aleb falafel (falafel mould) which consists of a cup and a spring mounted base.

Using this simple but well designed tool requires two functional hands and fairly strong grip. The spring mechanism is new and stiff. The base is drawn back with thumb or forefinger, falafel mix is pressed into the cup and then, instead of releasing into a vat of hot oil as is traditional, I arrange the little pucks on a tray for baking. I am not a fan of deep fat frying. A light brush with olive oil before baking in a hot oven gives a reasonable version of the crispy, crunchy exterior and soft interior typical of fried falafel.

This week’s falafel are made with chickpeas since I have them on hand. Fava beans, which traditional Egyptian recipes call for, are a cool season crop in my garden. Coriander and garlic (this year’s harvest), cumin, parsley, onion, and a small green Chile de Arbol flavored this batch.

Served with a fresh tomato from the garden, avocado (from Mexico) and a lemon tahini yoghurt dressing, I enjoy a delicious falafel lunch plate. Spiced iced hibiscus tea is today’s beverage of choice.

Just like that, Egyptian street food comes to my kitchen table.

Kitchen table because eating outdoors is not an option today. At 103 in the shade, it is too hot and too smoky from the devastating wildfires which have razed a big part of a little mountain village in the Lincoln National Forest just east of me. Once I toyed with the notion of a mountain forest retirement life there. Some of the properties I looked at to purchase are sadly featured in a news video today as nothing but the charred ruins of a dream life reduced to ash and smoldering coals.

The seed for the Rathibida columnifera (Mexican hat) wildflowers which are currently blooming in my garden was collected a few years ago from the area which has burned this week in Lincoln National Forest. It was one of the places I go to for shinrin-yoku - forest bathing. Talk about burning down the bathouse!

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