Artist’s Cookbook: Fruit Tea Smoothies Courtesy of the Wild Moccasins

Artist’s Cookbook: Fruit Tea Smoothies Courtesy of the Wild Moccasins

(photo by Grant Hickey)

Imagine rolling into Iowa to perform the last two days of a tour, knowing that you have a new album coming up (Skin Collision Past will bereleased May 21st) which will be followed by an American west coast romp (dates listed below). Now imagine these sunny thoughts are abruptly interrupted by a stupid bird. Such is the life of the Wild Moccasins, a Houston Texas indie band. Thankfully the members were alright. Cody Swann, (guitar/vocals) took a break from fixing the van to share a Moccasin favorite recipe. This Fruit Tea Smoothie is “perfect for the Texas heat.” For more information (and more pictures of the damage the bird did) check out the band’s Facebook, twitter, bandcamp, or myspace pages.

Wild Moccasin’s Fruit Tea Smoothie
(printable version)

-A few bags of tea (any kind, we used honey vanilla tea)

-1 banana

-2 mangoes

-3 pineapple slices

-4 strawberries

-half cup of soy milk



1. Wash, peel, slice and chop all of the fruit and leave it in the freezer in a freezer bag overnight.

2. Boil a few bags of tea. Cool in the refrigerator for a few hours.

3. Place the fruit in the blender and begin to blend it a little, you won’t need any ice because the fruit will be frozen!

4. Pour 1 cup of tea and half a cup of soy milk and continue to blend until it’s complete.

5. Drink and enjoy.

Wild Moccasins-Fruit Tea

Wild Moccasins-Cake (WOXY Lounge Act)

Wild Moccasins Tour Dates:

Upcoming Shows ( view all )
May 21 2010 8:00P
***CD RELEASE @ Walter’s on Washington w/ Roky Moon and BOLT & Giant Princess*** Houston, Texas
May 29 2010 8:00P
The Limelight w/ Transmography, The White Lights, & The Hawks of Holy Rosary San Antonio, Texas
Jun 5 2010 4:00P
Free Press Summerfest @ Eleanor Tinsley Park Houston, Texas
Jul 2 2010 8:00P
Tour Kick-Off Houston, Texas
Jul 6 2010 8:00P
Padre’s Marfa Marfa, Texas
Jul 7 2010 8:00P
TBA Phoenix, Arizona
Jul 8 2010 8:00P
TBA San Diego, California
Jul 9 2010 8:00P
TBA Los Angeles, California
Jul 10 2010 8:00P
TBA Los Angeles, California
Jul 12 2010 8:00P
TBA Ventura/Santa Cruz, California
Jul 13 2010 8:00P
TBA San Francisco/Oakland, California
Jul 14 2010 8:00P
TBA Stockton, California
Jul 15 2010 8:00P
TBA Redding, California
Jul 16 2010 8:00P
TBA Portland, Oregon
Jul 17 2010 8:00P
TBA Olympia, Washington
Jul 18 2010 8:00P
TBA Seattle, Washington
Creamy Garlic Hummus Tahinied with Screaming Females

Creamy Garlic Hummus Tahinied with Screaming Females

A few weeks ago I read the book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. The book profiles some of the worlds greatest athletes and what their secrets are for performing at such a high level. One section of the book profiles what these athletes eat (the suggestion is that in order to be a good athlete one should “eat like a poor person”). Scott Jurek, a prolific ultra marathoner in the US, eats hummus during his races over 59 miles. This got me thinking, if it works for him why not try it out myself. I made a big batch of hummus and took it with me on my next long run. It worked.

Creamy Garlic Hummus

-1 can of chickpeas
-1/3 cup tahini
-Juice from 1 lemon
-5 cloves garlic, crushed
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-3 Tbsp olive oil
-2 Tbsp water
-pinch of cayenne

1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and set aside.

2. Combine the tahini with lemon juice and blend in a food processor (or blender) until frothy. This step is imperative for making a creamy hummus, creaming these ingredients before adding the chickpeas.

3. Add garlic, salt and olive oil to tahini. Blend.

4. Combine remaining ingredients in food processor. Blend until smooth. Serve with toasted pita, sandwiches, chips or vegetables.

I am a little late to the The Screaming Females party. After all, the New Jersey band made lots of noise last year with Power Move, their third album (and first on Don Giovanni Records). But being fashionably late to parties is my forte. Hey, at least I showed. The Screaming Females new EP, Singles, was released in February. “Arm over Arm” and “Zoo of Death” can both be found on this EP (“Bell” is from Power Move). The band will be embarking on a US tour in May.

Solar S’Mores with Carl Fox and Bitches with Wolves

Solar S’Mores with Carl Fox and Bitches with Wolves

Happy Earth Day!

In my last post I talked about “cooking” with my class. I put cooking in quotes because most of the things we make are pretty basic, four ingredients or less. In that post I also mentioned how one of my favorite things to do for Earth Day is to make Solar S’Mores. Aside from eating the s’mores, my class’ favorite part of the activity is making the solar oven from pizza boxes, recycled foil and plastic bags. To make your own solar oven use these directions here.

Today I tried a variation of s’mores for my own personal piece (marshmallows aren’t vegetarian and I didn’t feel like messing with fluff). I used graham cracker, peanut butter, and chocolate. It was like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Pie. Delicious. Here are some before and after pictures of my personal s’more.

Daevid loved his so much he got it all over his shoe.

Solar Peanut Butter Snacks
-1 graham cracker
-peanut butter
-3 squares of chocolate

1. Break the graham cracker in half. Smear one square of the graham cracker with peanut butter.2. Place three pieces of chocolate on the other graham cracker piece.

3. Place in the solar oven for three hours during the hottest part of the day.

4. Get chocolate all over your face.

As we waited for the s’mores to finish I taught and sang songs in my head from Carl Fox and Bitches with Wolves.

Carl Fox is an Australian electronic/indie artist. His song “Chunky Rainbow” comes from his debut album which has the same name.

Carl Fox-Chunky Rainbow

Bitches with Wolves hail from Dublin, Ireland. I came across them on the Nialler9 blog. The blog is celebrating Irish music by running a series of guest posts by various people involved with the Irish indie scene who discuss their current faves. Una Mullally, an Irish journalist and promoter included Bitches with Wolves on her list. Thanks to Nialler and Una for giving me something new to sing while teaching.

Bitches with Wolves-Broken Hearts

Red Pesto Ravioli stuffed with The Crookes and Future Islands

Red Pesto Ravioli stuffed with The Crookes and Future Islands

Student 1: Mr. Branson, what is that?
Me: Ravioli.
Student 1: Ours never looks like that when we open the can.
Student 2: Probably because his is vegetarian.
Student 1: Oh.

While most of my job as an elementary school teacher consists of teaching writing, reading, math, social studies and science I try to incorporate my love of cooking into the classroom. For St. Patrick’s Day we make potato chips, pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, Guacamole to discuss how-to writing, solar s’mores on Earth Day and on and on. Most teachers complain about not having enough time to do this kind of stuff. I find that if you make it a point, you can work it in somehow. Why do I feel these experiences are important? Because of conversations like the one detailed above. A lot of kids don’t have the opportunity to make their own potato chips, guacamole, pumpkin pie or ravioli. They have no idea how easy it is. It is my job to show them that, keep them from growing up and not realizing that there is more ravioli than just that which comes in a can.

The Red Pesto Ravioli in question (pictured above) came from the 101 cookbooks blog. The recipe is here. I pretty much followed the blog’s suggestions, except instead of crumbling goat cheese on top I blended it in with the sun dried tomato pesto to create a creamier version.According to a highly scientific poll conducted by Indie Rock Cafe (one that is much too difficult for me to explain), The Crookes are an “it” band right now. Fresh off of a number of gigs at this years SXSW the lads are currently touring England. Here is a video of an older song “Backstreet Lovers” as well as their new single “Bloodshot Days” (which you can buy on vinyl here).

“Tin Man” by Future Islands first draws me in with its steel drums. Uh huh, alright, good. But what keeps me hanging around for the duration of the song is the voice of Sam Herring. Rough and raw, like a man who forgot he was recording a track for his band the next day and spent the night screaming, Herring’s style of singing is unique and spellbinding. Future Islands has some upcoming shows with fellow Baltimoreans Double Dagger (mentioned here). There are no Florida dates yet but hopefully that will change (hint, hint).

Eggplant Stackers layered with Earl Greyhound and We Fell to Earth

Eggplant Stackers layered with Earl Greyhound and We Fell to Earth

My friend BH sent me a picture of her dinner a month or so ago. It was beautiful pieces of breaded eggplant stacked on top of fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. I received the email and downloaded the picture on my work computer. I’ve been using this computer a lot lately, finishing up projects at home, and every time I open it BH’s beautiful dinner stares back at me. I finally got around to mimicking it this week, sort of. Turns out when I went to make it I had no tomatoes. Feeling no desire to return to the store I made do with all the extra tomato sauce that was waiting in our fridge for a time like this.

Eggplant Stackers
(printable version)

-1 Eggplant, sliced thinly
-1 cup of bread crumbs
-2 eggs, beaten
-4 oz fresh mozzarella
-tomato sauce
-4 fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place bread crumbs in one bowl and eggs in another. Dip slices of eggplant in egg, covering the eggplant completely. Dip egg covered eggplant in breadcrumbs covering completely.

3. Line breaded eggplant on a baking sheet. Bake for fifteen minutes or until a fork easily pierces the eggplant.

4. Remove eggplant from heat and begin assembling stackers. Take a piece of eggplant and cover it with a slice of fresh mozzarella. Alternate eggplant and fresh mozzarella once more. Top with another slice of eggplant. Repeat until all eggplant slices are used.

5. Bake the stackers until mozzarella has melted (about 3 minutes). Cover with tomato sauce and basil leaf. Serve immediately.

Two days ago Earl Greyhound’s new album Suspicious Package became available everywhere. Straightforward “hard” rock a la Led Zeppelin (though way better if you ask me), Earl Greyhound have no problems bringing it, infectious style. Don’t believe me, just check out the drumming on the “Ghost and the Witness” and see if you can get it out of your head. You can download the song via Earl Greyhound’s Myspace page. The band is currently touring the states with OK Go.

In a completely different vein is We Fell to Earth. They are to “hard” rock what steak is to a vegetarian. “Eerie, brutal, epic, shoegazing” are just some of the terms that music critics have used to describe these guys. I think this sums up “Deaf” pretty well.

Just a reminder that this Saturday, April 17th, is record store day. Get out and support your local record store and pick up some of the limited releases they have to offer. I’ll be hitting up either Daddy Kool or Vinyl Fever depending on which side of the Bay I am on.

Potstickers with Edmame and Chili-Soy Dressing dipped in S and Tuung

Potstickers with Edmame and Chili-Soy Dressing dipped in S and Tuung

The first time my father-in-law ate Edmame he shoved the whole thing in his mouth and wondered why J-Fur and I were “wasting” the cases. After chewing for what seemed an hour it finally dawned on him. A co-worker recently asked the same thing. I tried to compare it to peas, how you wouldn’t eat the shell of a pea, but it still didn’t seem to make sense. I could’ve brought oranges or bananas into the fold but I just let it go.

I’ve tried this dish with shelled soybeans and Edmame in the pod. There are two reasons why I like it with the Edmame in the pod. First, the shell seems to hold flavor better than just the bean itself. Second, there seems to be more leftovers with the Edmame in a pod. I think this is because shelling all of the beans takes time and tricks your stomach into thinking you have eaten more than you really have. Or maybe it is just my love of wasting things…

Potstickers with Edmame and Chili-Soy Dressing
For the potstickers:
-1/4 of a cabbage, shredded
-1/3 cup of carrots, shredded
-5 scallions, minced
-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-pinch of cayenne pepper
-1 Tbs. of soy sauce
-1 Tbs. of sesame oil
-24 wonton wrappers
-2 Tbs. of vegetable oil
-1/4 cup of waterFor the Chili-Soy Dressing:
-3 Tbs. rice vinegar
-1 Tbs. soy sauce
-1 Tbs. sesame oil
-1 tsp. of black bean sauce
-1 clove of garlic, minced
-1 tsp. of chili oil
-16 oz package of Edmame in the pod

1. Using a food processor, grate carrots and cabbage. Place in a large metal bowl along with scallions, garlic, cayenne, soy sauce and sesame oil.2. Put a spoonful of the cabbage mixture on a won-ton wrapper. Fold corner to corn (connecting all four corners in the middle to seal). If wonton wrappers don’t stick, moisten slightly and re-try. Repeat until cabbage mixture (or won-tons) run out.3. Heat 1 Tbs. of vegetable oil in a non stick skillet until hot. Place half of the wontons into oil and fried until bottoms are golden brown (3-4 minutes). Pour 1/8 cup of water into the pan and cover. Steam the wontons for two minutes. Remove from skillet. Dump out the oil and repeat with the second batch of wontons.

4. For the Chili-Soy dressing, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.

5. Stir-fry the edmame until warmed through, about five minutes. Toss Edmame with potstickers and chili-soy dressing. Serve immediately.

As I put this dish together I moved around the kitchen to the sounds of S (who is really Jenn Ghetto co-leader of the now defunct indie outfit Carissa’s Wierd). S just put out an album, I’m not as good at it as you, which deals a lot with relationships and whether to keep them going or allow them to die. Her song “Save You” comes from that album.

S- Save You

My gut is made up of a large amount of serotonin. Tuung’s song “Don’t Look Down or Back” mentions my favorite monoamine nuerotransmitter. That’s what drew me in, the sound is what kept me.

Baker’s Dozen: Interview with herMajesty

Baker’s Dozen: Interview with herMajesty

Named for a Freudian quote, working with a producer/wannabe shrink, and writing songs that explore the true nature of people, herMajesty invokes the dreamy state that could provide psychoanalysts with never-ending work. Think imagery like nutmeg in your hair, sawdust in your eyes and a dark canal at night interspersed in music that evokes the flights a pigeon might make over a fluorescent city bustling with those who brave the dark. I stumbled across the song “World Smiles” last month. It enamored me enough to include on our April Egg on yo’ face mix. Recently I had the chance to interview, via email, JP, lyricist and lead vocalist for herMajesty. This is the eleventh installment of our Baker’s Dozen Interview Series.

TB: Let’s start with an introduction. Who is herMajesty and how did you begin making music together?

hM:JP: vox, guitars, loops. Jerome: lead guitars, loops. Vanessa: keys, backups.
David: bass, backups. Chip: drums

I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar when I, oh no that’s not quite how we met. Well, I was a bartender at a foodie restaurant and Vanessa was the coat check girl. I met Jerome through a Craig’s List ad and David through Patti Rothberg, a wonderful singer that you may have heard of. Chip, he appeared one day at our door step, a lost boy. We took him in, fed him, you know nurtured his talent…

TB: The band name, did it come from the Beatles song, the movie, or somewhere else?

hM: Somewhere else. It is a spin off from Freud’s “His Majesty, the Baby” quote referring to how a little helpless being can command so much attention and control, albeit unknowingly, over grownups’ lives. Jerome wanted to name the band Queen, but that may have been a legal nightmare.

TB: March found the release of an EP, Images from the Vanishing Night. Tell us about the EP?

hM: It’s a collection of five songs inspired by NYC. It’s a clubby, layered, wise rock-n-roll affair with allusions to dangerous memories.

TB: So the EP is organized around the New York City club scene. How did you come to the realization that what you were seeing in the clubs would make for a great album concept?

hM:I love observing people and how they interact at night time. Under the right conditions, inhibitions fall by the wayside and people’s true nature appears. That’s particularly appealing to me-there’s so much promise there. A beautiful thing, realized, if only for a few hours.

TB: How does Images from the Vanishing Night differ from your previous release (2007’s And now this…)?

hM: We spent a lot of time constructing the sound, the vibe of this record. We wanted it to feel like the city feels at 4, 5 in the morning, the time when people spill out unto the street. There’s a dizzying quality to that experience and it’s not just the substances that contribute to it. It’s a heady brew of street lights, sounds, the change in hue of the sky, the water surrounding the island, my friend’s scent.


Images was produced by Nic Hard who has worked with The Church, Aberdeen City and the Bravery. Is this the first time you worked with him? What does he bring to the recording process?

hM: No, we worked with Nic on And now this…Nic knows how to get the best performance out of everyone. He is meticulous about creating the right vibe so as to get the best out of each one of us. He is particularly good at expressing dissatisfaction without destroying the creative flow. He is a wannabe shrink you know, he got to know us, made us feel part of his family and then…Mr. Hard is also unbelievably good at getting the right sounds and melding them together into a satisfying whole.

TB: What are the benefits of a band like herMajesty growing up in the New York City scene? Are there any disadvantages?

hM: We are exposed to so many musical influences in the city: from skronk rock, no wave, Britpop, dancehall, high energy. So much to take in here, although with the internet now, there seems to be less, and I say this with some hesitation, musical isolation than before.

Disadvantages? The scene can be a bit provincial: indie kids here, glam rockers there, hip hop…you get the idea. We don’t quite fit into rigid definitions of any particular musical scene in the city.

TB: Plug in Music, while discussing you, says that pop music is a “combination of pure emotion, timeless storytelling and songcraft.” How do you incorporate these elements into your songwriting? Are any of these elements more important than the others?

hM: All three facets are equally important in our songwriting. Any single aspect may take precedence at a particular point in time in the creative process. The inspiration comes from many things, most times, outside active consciousness, but the impetus is always driven by emotion. Story telling: love it, have to see, smell, feel the lyric before I write it. I am getting hungry you know!

TB: What is the story with Bittersweet Records?

hM: It is our label: hopefully we can get Bittersweet to a point where it is sustainable as an indie label putting out music by artists that we love.

TB: You’ve got a show/celebration coming up in May (on the 15th, 8:45 at Arlene’s Grocery). What are your live shows like and are there any surprises in store for this particular show?

hM: They are fabulous affairs-glamorous affairs, Lady Gaga may be there. If not, perhaps Grace Jones will drop in. I am toying with the idea of wrestling with a bear during “My Dear Friend.” I am not sure how well this will sit with everyone else though. All kidding aside, sometimes we incorporate live projections as backdrops to the performance. We may very well do that for this show.

TB: Other than the show, what else does herMajesty have in store for the next few months?

hM: We are working with the marvelous folks at The Planetary Group to get the EP out to national college radio. The campaign starts April 12thCMJ look out! We plan on doing a tour, releasing some more wonderful music and making sure FIFA chooses “World Smiles” as the theme song for the World Cup! Let’s do it, what do you say?

TB: I say great idea! Anyone have connections at FIFA? Does herMajesty get a chance to do much cooking?

hM: Food is a not so secret passion of mine. Vanessa, Jerome and David think of themselves as foodies as well. Lately I’ve been cooking a lot of fish. A recent fave is halibut. (For the herMajesty halibut with pesto and sauteed spinach recipe click here). Pair this with a nice crisp white wine from Long Island, NY (Love the whites from Jamesport winery). Listen to herMajesty.

TB: Anything else you’d like to say?

hM: Tender, thanks so much for inviting me to do this. It was a blast.

Here are two other tracks from herMajesty’s latest EP, Images from the Vanishing Night:

herMajesty-Operator (NYC)

herMajesty-Into the Light

To download additional tracks from herMajesty go here.

French Apple Tart cored by the Apples in Stereo and Sweet Apples

French Apple Tart cored by the Apples in Stereo and Sweet Apples

It was brought to my attention, earlier this week, that I am eating nowhere near the amount of fruits per day that I should be being an active, thirty year old, male. I decided that this week I was going to make a concerted effort to eat three servings of fruit a day. Monday, in order to help me reach the goal, I baked an easy French Apple Tart. I’m not sure if this is what people had in mind when they meant fruit, but I certainly enjoyed it.

French Apple Tart (adapted from Vegetarian Times April 2008)
(printable version)
-1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
-six granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
-2 Tbs. lemon juice
-2 Tbs. of sugar
-1/2 cup of apricot jam
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.2. Coat fluted tart pan with cooking spray. Roll out puff pastry. Press into the tart pan. Trim excess dough from edge.

3. Toss sliced apples with lemon juice.

4. Cover the puff pastry with overlapping apple slices in circles. Start at the outside of the pastry and work in. Cover any bare spots with apples. When the first layers has been placed on the puff pastry, sprinkle with 1/2 of the sugar. Repeat adding a second layer of apples and sugar. Finish with a third layer of apples.

5. Place the tart in the oven and bake for ten minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and bake an additional 35 minutes or until crust is golden (like an apple pie). Cool on wire rack.

6. Combine apricot jam and 2 Tbs. of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute. Using a pastry brush, brush jam mixture over top of the tart (while jam is still hot). Enjoy.

*Note the actual recipe calls for 1/4 a cup of sugar. I greatly reduced this and the tart was very not sweet and actually tart. If you want yours sweeter, use the 1/4 a cup of sugar and place 2 Tbs. between each layer.

It was apples all around while I baked up this tart. Providing the musical accompaniment was The Apples in Stereo, a well known indie rock band who will be releasing their seventh studio album on April 20th. The album is entitled Travellers in Space and Time and will be released on Yep Roc/Simian (Elijah Wood’s label)/Elephant 6. You can pre-order the album here. “Dream about the future” is one of the tracks on the album.

Apples in Stereo-Dream About the future

Also being released on April 20th is the debut album, Love and Desperation, from Sweet Apple. The band is an indie super group of sorts featuring J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Tim Parnin and John Petkovic (Cobra Verde, Petkovic was also in Guided by Voices) and Dave “No Joke on the Last Name” Sweetapple (Witch). “Do you Remember” is their first single from the album, which you can pre-order here.

Sweet Apples-Do you Remember

Stay tuned for an interview with herMajesty in the next few days. Also, don’t forget to download our most recent playlist.

Egg on Yo’ Face Mix: Friend Electric, Victoria and Jacob, Cloud Nothings, Fences, Chew Lips, Sometime, Teen Sheikhs, Meow Meow!, Thrushes and more…

Egg on Yo’ Face Mix: Friend Electric, Victoria and Jacob, Cloud Nothings, Fences, Chew Lips, Sometime, Teen Sheikhs, Meow Meow!, Thrushes and more…

Embarrassment? I think not. I’m talking the type of egg on your face where the chocolate eggs are so good that you can’t help but devour them in a way that leaves a trail on your lips or the egg drop soup tastes so divine that as your greedily lap it up it literally drops down your chin. Don’t even get me started on scrambled eggs, sunny side up eggs, egg breakfast burritos or quiche. This playlist is for those who can’t help but get their eggs all over their face.

Track Listing:

Friend ElectricHour
Victoria and JacobClash
Cloud NothingsMorgan
John HiattOpen Road
SometimeHeart of Spades
Diamond DistrictWho I Be (Marco Polo Remix)
Teen SheikhsGerms
QuitzowThe Cut
Meow Meow!I wonder what went wrong
her MajestyWorld Smiles
Chew LipsEight
The Foamboy Deluxe ArkestraHonestly

Download Playlist Here

Download BTreotch/Comerfield Remix Here

Recipe: For the Peanut Butter Eggs pictured I used this recipe. My plan was to veganize them but I didn’t have the right ingredients on hand. The only modification I made was I used Vegan Shortening.