Kale with white beans, raisins and tomatoes

Kale white beans and tomatoes

Kale white beans and tomatoes

How strange it is to one day wake up and find yourself the age that you are, whatever age that may be. And find yourself living where you do, wherever that may be, and living with the people you live with, whomever they are, (and still uncertain when to use who or whom, despite your best attempts to learn). How strange to find that you still struggle with all the things you’ve ever struggled with, although some are stronger or weaker now, some are just nagging shadows of old worries, and some threaten unexpectedly to drown you, on a bad day. How strange to hope for the things you hope for, and work at the things you work at, and find that they haven’t changed all that much since you were a child, and how strange that you’re not still a child. And where did this dog come from? How did she end up here, of all places? It’s a funny discombobulation, sometimes, to look at your life from the perspective of your former or future self, and to walk around your world dizzy with the speed that everything is going. I made a joke yesterday that I’m a bon vivant who spends my days making witty quips and drinking champagne cocktails. I’m so obviously not a bon vivant. I’m not quick enough for clever witticisms, and I don’t even like champagne, it gives me a headache. (Although I do like bitters!) And yet, I do believe that I am a bon vivant, in the sense of a person living well. I think my former self, though somewhat shocked at the age that I am, would be gladdened and cheered to see where I live and whom I live with. I think she’d be satisfied with all that we have, and with all that we try to do with it. She’d be encouraged by the persistence in focus of hopes and works. And of course she’d love the dog. And I think that my present self had damn well understand all this with great alacrity, given the relentless pace of time passing, before she creates regrets for my future self!

Kale with white beans, raisins and tomatoes

Kale with white beans, raisins and tomatoes

If she’s not talking about beets she’s talking about beans and greens! Sheesh. But I love beans and greens! And I particularly like them prepared this way. This is a fairly traditional treatment of kale, I think…cooked with white beans and garlic. But there are two special sneaky things that make this different. One, it has raisins in it. Just a small handful of golden raisins, chopped up, but it lends a subtle sweetness which goes nicely with the kale’s bitter edge. And two, it has a small amount of red wine, which gives it a nice rich warmth. I put small cubes of mozzarella in, which gave it a nice meltyness, and made it nice to eat with crusty bread. The boys ate it with orchiette pasta, but it would also be good with couscous, farro or bulgur, or even rice.

Here’s Once in a Lifetime, by Talking Heads

Continue reading

About these ads

Roasted beets, mushrooms and butterbeans

Roasted mushrooms, beets, and butterbeans

Roasted mushrooms, beets, and butterbeans

Nonsense! Gobbledygook! Gibberish! Balderdash! Folderol! Some days this is all I feel capable of speaking. Today, for instance, I’m having trouble putting a whole sentence together in a sensible or intelligible way. Some people take nonsense to a whole new level, and it becomes a language all its own, articulate, even eloquent. And then they set it to music and it becomes a thing of beauty. And that is the subject of today’s Sunday interactive playlist…songs with a language all their own. We’ve been listening to a lot of Slim Gaillard, and he speaks Vout, of course, but songs with scat in them, songs in a language the singer doesn’t understand, any song that separates the sound of the words with any meaning, these are the songs we’re looking for this week.
Roasted beets, mushrooms and butterbeans

Roasted beets, mushrooms and butterbeans

We’re back to beet season! We got some pretty beets from the farm. I roasted them, and roasted some mushrooms, and then I sauteed the beet greens with big juicy butterbeans. Then we tossed it all together and ate it with some farro. Tasty.

Here’s a link to the interactive playlist. Add what you like, or leave a comment and I’ll try to remember to add it through the week.

Continue reading

Grilled polenta with chard, black beans and pepito-sage-goat cheese sauce

Polenta with smoked gouda and sage

Polenta with smoked gouda and sage

This morning on the way to school, Isaac informed me that after tonight there will be two days to three weeks to Halloween. This boy loves Halloween, he really gets it. Not just the candy and costumes, but all of the darkness, too. He loves the skeletons and ghosts and ghouls. He’s going to be a devil captain (spoiler alert!) if anybody will give him nine dollars so he can buy the mask that Malcolm told him about which he’s never seen but is completely obsessed with. So, as devil-captain, he’s going to drive the boat that takes people to hell. Instead of “Land, ahoy!” He’s going to shout, “Hell, ahoy!” Not in school you’re not, I said. He knows. The other day he made an origami grim reaper first thing in the morning, and the whole way to school he said, “Death is upon us!” (just like it says in the origami book.) I have to admit, it’s a little disconcerting to hear my bright cheerful boy say things like this! (We’ve always said that his first album should be called “Little Mister Sunshine and His Dark Thoughts.”) But on our bike ride this morning everything slid into a different perspective. The spooky Halloween mist burned off to reveal all the birds doing their best Audobon poses in the raggedy glowing golden trees. The trees dying for the year and they’re more beautiful than ever, more fragrant than ever, and the birds are in tizzy getting themselves ready for winter. Halloween marks the real death of summer, the end of the harvest, a time of darkness and cold. But this is also a time when the spirits of the dead come back to visit us, when it’s easier for them to make their presence known. This is uncanny, in the sense that we can’t know it or understand it, but it’s not necessarily frightening. It’s all part of the cycle of death and rebirth, light and darkness–Isaac’s bright delight in the darkness of the day, the goblin-glow of jack-o-lanterns, the walnut trees dropping their seeds with gentle thumps in the dusty towpath, where they’ll split and rot and shed their sharp-sweet green fragrance, and someday grow again. Everything will come back in the spring, and Isaac will love that time, too.

Polenta, chard, black beans and pepito sauce

Polenta, chard, black beans and pepito sauce

I made polenta! Although it’s a well-known vegetarian staple, I don’t make polenta very often. I added some smoked gouda, smoked paprika, and sage, and then I put it under the broiler until it was smoky and crispy. It wasn’t grilled ON a grill, it was grilled under a grill, in the oven. Although you could try grilling it the regular way if you like. So I cut it in wedges, broiled it till crispy, and then topped it with chard sauteed with red peppers and black beans, a pumpkinseed-goat cheese sauce and some more smoked gouda. Fancy. A nice combination of earthy, smoky, sweet and tart.
Pepito goat cheese sauce

Pepito goat cheese sauce

Here’s Mikey Dread’s Pre-dawn Dub. It’s spooky!
Continue reading

Cauliflower, potato, tarragon, and pecan nests with broccoli rabe, white beans, olives and tomatoes

Cauliflower, pecan and potato nest

Cauliflower, pecan and potato nest

“Daddy, do you want to play with star wars toys?” asked Isaac in his bright voice. “Nobody’s said that to me in thirty years!” said David. (He did want to play.) I remember the first time I saw Star Wars. It was 1977 (of course) and we waited on line. We saw it in a theater in a mall, and it was a seventies mall, all orange and brown and drab and fluorescent. And of course we loved the movie! It’s so bright and inventive and richly imagined. I love to think about George Lucas with this whole universe inside of him, and how joyful it must have been to make the movie and to watch the movie, and to see that people liked it. I love the fact that Star Wars has a history, even the first movie had a future and a past, and though it would be decades before we’d know the full story, even in that first (fourth) film, you could feel the haunting weight of memory. Which is a sort of a beautiful thing in a film! Star Wars is about generations, so it seems fitting and wonderful that we can share it with our sons. I love that our boys love it! (Actually, I like the fact that all boys love it!) It feels good to share this modern mythology with them, a mythology that’s probably shaped our consciousness more than we know! Like most mythology it’s about good versus evil, strength versus weakness, in the world at large and within ourselves. It’s about the struggle to understand where we’re from and where we’re supposed to go, and who we should trust to go with us. It’s about discovering that we have some invisible power within ourselves that we have to harness and struggle to control, and learn to use for good. Epic! The other night, whilst watching Star Wars for the gazillionth time, we played a game. I named Star Wars characters, and David and the boys had to try to draw them from memory. It was more fun than it sounds! Unless it sounds really fun to you. I LOVE the pictures they drew, and I love the way they illustrate visual memory, and the working of busy minds, and the fact that drawing ability has been handed from father to sons. Here they are…
Isaac's

Isaac’s

Malcolm's

Malcolm’s

David's

David’s

So today’s Sunday interactive playlist is about generations…about a sense of history, a memory of the past or an anticipation of the future. Advice from elders, sass from youngsters…any of this will do!

Cauliflower nest

Cauliflower nest

ANd this crazy meal was the result of some leftover mashed potatoes and a desire to play with my pastry tube. I decided to combine the potatoes with some steamed cauliflower, some pecans and some tarragon, (as well as some eggs and cheese) and make a smooth thick batter I could shape into a sort of nest. And since all of these things (potatoes, pecans, cauliflower, eggs and cheese) are sort of mild and comforting, I thought I’d combine them with something bright and saucy, like broccoli rabe and tomatoes. So that’s what I did! I thought it all turned out very tasty. You pecans and tarragon are very nice together. You could serve these with any kind of greens, or any sort of saucy dish that you like.
Continue reading