Here’s King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band with Workingman’s Blues.
So this is what I’ve been thinking all morning, as I kneaded dough and rolled out dough and shaped quite a few tarts. Baking as comfort and therapy! Over the weekend we made some pizzas. I wanted to make something the boys liked to eat, that they’d actually look forward to, and pizza never fails. I made the dough before I went to work, and then when I came home we made all the toppings. The dough rose for quite a few hours, this way, but it turned out extra crispy! This makes two big cookie-tray-sized pizzas. I made one plain, with just sauce and cheese, and one fancy, with spinach and musrhooms and brie. I’ve given the toppings in amounts here to make two fancy pizzas, but do as you like! That’s the beauty of pizza!
Here’s Elmore James with It Hurts Me Too. One of the best songs ever ever ever.
So this week’s Sunday collaborative playlist is about competition, ambition, or the lack thereof. We’ve got songs like Toots and the Maytals’ journalistic Desmond Dekker came First, which tells how everybody placed in the intensified festival. Songs like Perhaps Vampire’s is a bit Strong by the Arctic Monkeys bemoaning the fact that everybody wants them to fail, and songs like Ken Parker’s Grooving Out on Life, about sitting aside from it all…
I get my kicks from watching people
Running too and fro
And if you ask them where they’re going
Half of they don’t know
They`re the ones who think I’m crazy
‘Cause they don’t realize
That I’m just groovin’, oh, groovin’
Grooving out on life
And, finally, to the food! Why it’s the best meal anybody has made every and way better than everybody else’s!! I’m joking, of course, but it was very good! I wanted to make something special with my black truffle butter, so I decided to make these mushroom and walnut “steaks.” They might actually be closer to a sort of vegetarian meatloaf, or an old-fashioned nut roast. But I sliced them thick and lightly fried them in olive oil, and they’re substantial and satisfying, crispy out, tender in. The sauce is mostly walnuts, white wine and truffle butter. If you don’t have truffle butter, you could make the same sauce with some garlic and shallots. Or just serve these with a simple tomato sauce, or any sauce you like, and it would be just as good.
I love collard greens. I love their substantial texture, and their mildly assertive taste. I like to pair them with smoky crispy things. I thought of the crust in this as being almost like bacon – crunchy and smoky with smoked paprika. The pecans added a nice crunch, and the roasted mushrooms brought their lovely savory, meaty flavor.
Here’s Fox in the Snow by Belle and Sebastian.
Isn’t it funny how big events seem to go so quickly in other people’s lives? They fly by in bright fleeting flashes of significant moments. You hear somebody is pregnant, and next you know they have a baby. None of the seemingly endless slow growth and change, the day-in-and-day-out joy and discomfort and bewilderment. To hear about somebody else’s trip abroad is planning, postcards, and stories when they get home; they’re back before you knew they were gone. They talk of going to college, you blink, and they have a degree and a job. I suppose our memories of our own lives are like this as well. You never remember the hard work and the tedium, the work to raise each day above the tedious. You don’t remember the hours of sitting and waiting, between events, soaked in anticipation or recollection. When my boys were little I was sure I would remember every single moment, every gurgle and wave of the chubby little fist. Of course I don’t! They’re all mixed together in a sleep-deprived slurry of good intentions. I mostly remember the moments we photographed, which is why we take photographs, after all. I love this quote about Rupert Brooke, “He was magnificently unprepared for the long littleness of life.” Not me! I’m ready! This is one test I’m completely prepared for! I love the littleness of each day, the petty pace of each tomorrow! Because, honestly, that pace is picking up, it’s not creeping any more, it’s flying, and I’m limping after it, trying to catch up. I want something big to work towards, of course, but thank god for the small things to look forward to each day. The cup of coffee, the making of a meal, the eating of a meal, reading with the boys, Malcolm’s happy walk, Clio’s sweet grabby paws, David putting his arm around me in the middle of the night, Isaac’s lovely silly songs, walks to school and home again, Clio leaping at us with frantic kisses every single time we walk in the door, inevitable spring, day after day, season after season, year after year. I used to wish time away a lot when I was younger. I was so eager to get on to the next thing, and I’d wish away large chunks of days and weeks. I was thinking the other day that I don’t do that any more; there aren’t enough hours in the day for all of the foolish little things I want to get done. Where am I going with this? I don’t know!! Another incoherent ramble brought to your by your friends at The Ordinary. It’s a drizzly day, is all, and it’s January, and that’s the kind of mood I’m in!
We’ve decided to eat mostly vegetables for a few weeks. I mean, we always eat mostly vegetables, because we’re vegetarians, but we’ve decided not to combine them with pastry and, you know, all that stuff, but to make them the stars of the show. So… soups and stews and warm salads like this one. This was delicious! So tasty that I couldn’t save any to photograph prettily the next day. It involves a bed of baby spinach and arugula topped with tiny roasted potatoes, crispy roasted mushrooms, crunchy walnuts, smoky smoked gouda, and a dressing of tarragon, shallots, garlic and white wine. Crunchy, soft, warm, cool, Yum!
Here’s one of my favorite scenes…
We’ve gotten a lot of cabbage from our CSA lately. Here’s one of the ways I prepared it. It’s loosely modeled on MooShoo vegetable, but made a bit more substantial by the addition of black beans. Very simple and quick to make, very tasty. We ate it with rice and tortillas.
The recipe for today’s installment is one of the better soups I’ve ever made! I love roasted mushrooms, I love french lentils, I love them together, but I’ve never combined them quite like this. I pureed the mushrooms with walnuts to make a lovely savory, meaty sort of bisque, with sage and rosemary, and I added the lentils and their broth just before serving.
Here’s A Wee Bird Cam’ Tae My Apron by Jean Redpath.
Since the food we put on our table is an important issue, i’m going to tell you about this handsome tart! It’s actually quite simple. It’s a standard flaky pate brisee crust, with rosemary and black pepper added for deliciousness. On top of that we have a layer of french lentils sauteed in port wine and balsamic vinegar. Lentils might seem like an odd ingredient in a tart, but they add real substance and texture, and their lovely meaty flavor. And the mushrooms are chopped chunkily and roasted, so that when the savory almond custard is baked all around them, it’s almost like a savory clafouti or toad-in-the-hole. If I do say so myself, and I do, the whole thing turned out super-tasty. David liked it a lot, and said it’s a “birthday meal.”
Here’s Women’s Realm by Belle and Sebastian