I bought a bunch of tarragon. I put some in a tart, and I had a lot left. I love tarragon, but I can’t put it in every single meal! So I decided to use it all in this pesto. We ate it with flatbread, beans and greens. You could toss it with pasta, or spread it on a pizza, or even serve it as a dip with chips or crackers. Strangely, Malcolm has said in the past that he doesn’t like tarragon, but he loved this, an gobbled it right down. It is very tarragon-y. This is vegan, but if you wanted it to be more like a traditional pesto, you could add parmesan, if you liked.
I made donuts! I’ve been thinking about it a while–Malcolm and I had some schemes in place. Yesterday, I just made some! I wanted to bake them, because I don’t like the smell of my kitchen after I fry something. Funnily enough, I’d spilled some butter in the oven the day before, so when I baked these the kitchen filled with smoke. Sigh. I adapted the recipe from a couple of old mennonite recipes (although their donuts were fried.) The resulting donut is quite dense and sweet-biscuity, but I believe this must be how donuts were intended to turn out, because they’re absolutely perfect for dunking in coffee. The chocolate melts, the donut softens, and then, as David says, you want more! I just bought some almond essence, after resisting for years. I resisted because I was semi-obsessed with it as a child, and put it in everything. Well…I am once again putting it in everything! It was nice here, though. It made the donut interesting without adding too much texture or craziness. You could replace it with cinnamon or lemon zest or any kind of flavoring you like. Or just leave it out altogether.
Here’s the theme from L’atalante by Maurice Jaubert, another of Vigo’s lifelong collaborators.
One of the deepest and strangest of all human moods is the mood which will suddenly strike us perhaps in a garden at night, or deep in sloping meadows, the feeling that every flower and leaf has just uttered something stupendously direct and important, and that we have by a prodigy of imbecility not heard or understood it. There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic ignorance.
– G.K. Chesterton, Robert Browning, 1903
(He found it on a website called Futility Closet) First of all, I love the phrase “prodigy of imbecility,” and I plan to incorporate it into my day-to-day dialogue, post-haste! Secondly, I’m obviously not the only weird kid in the room! I too, think there is beauty in dazed ignorance, and I find great cheer in that idea. Sometimes we comprehend something best when we don’t focus on it, when we see it glancingly from one side, when it flies off with a rustle of bright feathers into the shifting leaves. The less we can capture and hold something, the more beautiful it is. The more something grows and changes and decays, the more beautiful it is. And the more beautiful something is, the less we can imitate it or make a replica of it, because in freezing it we destroy it. I was reading about Yasujiro Ozu, a while back, and I came across the phrase mono no aware, coined by 18th century Japanese scholar Motoori Norinaga. According to my feeble understanding of the concept, this is a sort of sighing recognition of the transient beauty of all things–an idea that everything is more beautiful at the beginning and the ending, as it grows and as it decays, as it changes. And this understanding extends to all things that live and die, however inconsequential they seem. They have beauty worth noticing–they’re made beautiful because they’re noticed. And this feeling, this poignance, washes gently over a person, almost without their effort…it’s the feeling itself that is beautiful and important, but it can’t be studied or captured in words. Whereas in Western art, we try to define aesthetics, and seek symmetry or embellishment, and try to capture beauty in marble or oils, according to mano no aware (as I understand it) the beauty is in sensing imperfection, irregularity or decay, in feeling the sweetness and the sadness of it. Surely this is “one of the deepest and strangest of human moods.” This is the graceful, ever-changing, incomprehensible voice of the garden at night and the sloping meadows, which we love because we can never fathom it, we can only soak it in with dazed ignorance.
I love broccoli rabe, with its tenderness, and its bitterness, and its strong pleasant flavor. I’m the only one in my family that craves it. David will enjoy it from time to time, and the boys won’t go near it, so I feel like it’s the most indulgent thing that I cook. I make it because I want to eat it. This particular preparation was a sort of compromise. The boys do like curried chickpeas, so I served this with basmati rice, and picked out the chickpeas for them, and saved all the tender greens for myself!!
Here’s REM with Gardening at Night.
Here’s Belle and Sebastian’s Get Me Away from Here I’m Dying because he says, “Oh, that wasn’t what I meant to say at all,” which is such a lovely thing to hear in a pop song!
For mother’s day Isaac gave me a hand-print flower glued into a flowerpot made of brown construction paper. It was quite a big flowerpot, and I believe he was supposed to fill the whole thing with a poem. In his usual wise and simple way, he wrote, “I love my mom because she’s my mom.” And that sort of says it all. It defies rational expectation, but it’s true–we love our moms because they’re our moms. Because in reality all moms aren’t wonderful people, and no mom is always wonderful, but children have a remarkably elastic and forgiving sort of love, and most of the time, that’s reward enough.
Both of my boys actually liked this meal! I made long tube-shaped pasta called perciatelli. Like spaghetti, but with a hole in it. I wanted to make a brothy sauce to go with it, so I made this concoction of asparagus, roasted red peppers, olives and capers. It’s got white wine and lots of herbs, and a little bit of tomatoes. The boys used the pasta like a straw to suck up the broth, but they ate all the vegetables as well, miracle of miracles.
Here’s Goody Mob with Soul Food
Looking to be one of dem days
When Momma ain’t cooking
Everybody’s out hunting with tha family
Looking for a little soul food
And today’s Sunday interactive playlist is on the subject of…MOTHERS! and GRANDMOTHERS!! Suprise!
Here’s the link, feel free to add what you like, or leave a comment and I’ll add it for you tomorrow, once I’ve recovered from my mother’s day shift at work.
My friend asked me to make something with spelt flour, and this is what I came up with. They’re not gluten free, but they’re easier to digest for people that have a gluten intolerance. And spelt flour is a pleasure to work with!! These would work easily as well with regular flour. I thought they were nice–fresh and comforting. Perfect for this slow spring we’ve been entertaining.
Here’s Mississippi John Hurt with Make me a Pallet on Your Floor.
This was a yummy dinner!! I roasted some thinly sliced potatoes with sage and olive oil. Then I piled them high with roasted mushrooms, black beans, corn and spinach sauteed with chipotle puree, smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, pickled jalapenos and fresh, chunky guacamole made of avocado, tomato, cilantro and lime juice. Smoky, earthy, fresh, satisfying. It was fun to eat this! We ate it like nachos. The boys stuffed the black bean mixture in some soft tortillas.
Here’s Linton Kwesi Johnson with Reality Poem.
Yesterday morning, as I’ve already told you, we had a thunderstorm. The weather had been mixed and moody for days, in the way that you feel inside your head. I had a lot to do, but I took a moment to sit on the couch with Clio, and listen to the rain, and think about ichneumon wasps, as I’ve also already told you.
You can hear the rain and the thunder. You can hear the cars go by, which has its own sort of suspenseful build-up of sound. You can catch a glimpse of the cool wet world outside of my curtain. You see the legos and CDs that need putting away. And you can see me breathing, because I was holding the camera on my belly, which is an idea that I like…it’s marking time, and it makes the film feel alive. And that’s all I’m going to say about that, because it’s totally cheating to tell you anything about it, it’s against all the rules.
These smoky spicy sweet collards and black-eyed peas in a very brothy sauce went with the smoky cheesy bread I shared yesterday, much in the same way that this video goes with everything I wrote yesterday. They’re simultaneous. We ate them at the same time! I made the black-eyed peas from dried, which was fun. I cooked the peas and the collards at the same time, so that the cooking water becomes the broth for the dish. The smokiness comes from black cardamom, which is such an odd looking thing, with such a mysteriously delicious flavor. We also have pepper flakes and ginger for zing and pomegranate molasses for sweet tartness, Tamari for the umami, and a bit of brown sugar for molasses-y sweetness. A nice warm meal for a chilly rainy spring day!
Here’s Fats Dominoes completely lovely song It Keeps Rainin’