Here’s King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band with Workingman’s Blues.
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!
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
If this dish was an olympic sport, it would be that race in which the swimmers do a different stroke every couple of laps. Why? Because there’s a different filling between each crepe! If this dish was the olympics opening ceremony, it would be that part when they go through the whole history of the host country. Why? Because the fillings are OOTO favorites, and making them was like taking a walk through the history of this blog. How did it all come about, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. It was a sultry Friday night. Delivery of the next box share of vegetables was imminent upon the morrow. But, what’s this? We still have beets and zucchini and basil and lord-knows-what-else from last week? Let’s cook them all up, I say!! What grows together, tastes good together! And so it does. I made a stack of rosemary and black pepper crepes. And then I made toasted beets, sauteed zucchini and capers, I made some pesto, I had some caramelized onions leftover, I roasted some mushrooms. I grated some mozzarella. I made a light and simple but smoky tomato sauce to go on top. And that was that! You could obviously use whatever elements you have on hand to make fillings for the layers. And you can arrange them in any order that you like. It’s very fun to put together. It does take a while to make everything at once, but if you happen to have some of the stuff leftover – pesto, or caramelized onions, or sauteed zucchini, it all goes together in a snap.
Here’s Jurassic 5 with The Game
When I was little we lived in England one summer, during the Olympics. To my shame, I remember being actually bewildered that the announcers spoke more about English athletes than Americans. Didn’t everybody in the world care more about our superior American athletes even than their own? Didn’t they? Heh heh. With independence day drawing on apace, it’s probably a good time to examine our place in the world as Americans and as human beings. Luckily for you I have to go to work in a short while, so I’ll talk about grilling vegetables instead. We grilled beets, mushrooms, and potatoes. Of course you could grill any vegetables you like, but I recommend this combination. The beets and mushrooms have a nice juiciness, everything is crispy, earthy, smoky and delicious. I like a simple marinade for grilled vegetables. Olive oil, vinegar, fresh herbs and garlic. I added some nigella seeds because I just got them for the first time and I’m very excited about them! But if you can’t find them you could live without. We also sauteed the beet greens with some chard, and I used zatar spices, because I just bought sumac, and I’m very excited about that, too!! And the pecan tarragon tarrator sauce is a lovely, creamy, vegan, subtly flavored sauce that goes very sweetly with the earthy grilled vegetables. Malcolm ate his grilled vegetables on toast, and he made it into Darth Vador’s Tie Fighter. (serving suggestion)
Here’s a little film of Louis Armstrong playing Stuttin with some Barbecue, and dancing with Velma Middleton.
This meal involves wrapping a version of choux pastry around a savory concoction, and then baking it till it gets a little puffy. It’s a little bit less eggy than regular choux pastry, so it doesn’t get quite so puffy, but it is lovely and tasty and tender. Wrapping anything in raw choux batter is fun but a little messy. It’s not like you can roll it out and keep it tidy. It’s a sticky sort of batter, but if you keep your fingers cool and damp, the batter won’t stick to them too much, and you should be able to make a relatively even coating. The filling we used was roasted mushrooms, toasted pecans, steamed chard, fresh sage and smoked paprika. Even Isaac liked it!
The other day, when I was telling you about all my clever ways to use a medley of herbs and greens from the garden (in this tart, for instance), I mentioned that they were also good with potatoes. Well, I bought a few new herbs and greens yesterday to plant in the garden, so I thought I’d show them off by mixing them with some boiled chopped red potatoes. I mixed in salad burnet, chervil, lovage, several kinds of basil, summer savory, thyme and bulls blood baby beet leaves. I always boil my potatoes just a little too much, because I’m easily distracted, but I like them that way – almost smashed. The mildness of the potatoes is a nice background for the spicy herbs.
This black barley dish is almost like a risotto, but like a risotto made by a very lazy person that didn’t want to make a broth or stir it every minute of the day. The barley is cooked till it’s tender but toothsome (if that means al dente). And it makes its own creamy sort of sauce, just like a risotto. I warmed some butter and white wine and herbs in a big frying pan, and added the barley with its creamy broth. Then I added some water and let that cook down a bit. I found baby kale at the grocery store, and I was quite excited about it. It does have a kale taste, but not as assertively. It has a little bite. I cooked it for much less time than I usually cook kale – I tossed it into the barley broth towards the end, and cooked till it was nicely wilted. (You could easily use regular kale, cooked first, or baby spinach, which wouldn’t need to be cooked at all.) I also made roasted mushrooms and tiny crispy roasted potatoes, to toss on the dish. And I toasted some pecans. I like all of these tastes together – and they all go so well with sage, rosemary and thyme, which I used to flavor pretty much every element involved. I topped mine with some crumbled bleu cheese, too, which added a lovely creamy/salty element, but nobody else in my family did, cause they’re not fans of the bleu cheese. The whole thing added up to a very savory, meaty meal – the smell of barley and roasted mushrooms lingered in my house all evening. It’s a nice smell!
I would like to tell you about my roman gnocchi pizza, though. I’m a big fan of roman gnocchi. Basically, roman gnocchi involves applying a cream puff technique (one of my very favorite cooking techniques) to semolina flour. It’s baked rather than boiled. It doesn’t call for potatoes, but it does call for eggs. So it’s light and fluffy. Dense and soft on the inside, cripsy on the outside. Very comforting and delicious. You can add all sorts of things to the batter – herbs and cheese being the most likely (I was going to make a joke about adding nails and pennies, and legos and other small household objects, but I thought you might think the coffee had made me crazy!). I like to make a big plate of roman gnocchi in the summer, and then have lots of little dishes along with it – fresh tomatoes and basil, chard and raisins and pinenuts, basil pesto, crispy eggplant, a good salad. It’s one of my favorite meals! This time of year I thought it would be nice with chard and roasted mushrooms. And I further thought that it would be nice to combine them before I bake the roman gnocchi, and to make it in a sort of pizza shape. So that’s what I did. It was quite simple to make. Generally, when you make roman gnocchi, you make the dough and then let it sit, so that you can cut it into shapes before you bake it. The sitting step was eliminated in this version, because I just scooped it onto a baking tray and arranged it with a spoon.
Here’s another installment in the non-sausage roll series. I made these for our shadfestivities. They’re the easiest of all the small savory pastries to make, in my opinion, because you slice them apart, rather than painstakingly forming each one. The mushrooms are roasted with sage and rosemary and thyme, and then a little Spanish paprika is added because I can’t resist it! And to give it a slightly smoky flavor, of course!.
Rather than go on and on about them, I’ll share this cartoon I recently saw.
I’m thinking of going back to the pointless barking!!
If you’ll cast your memory back, you’ll recall that for my last shadfest savory pastry post, I added Desmond Dekker’s Intensified Festival track. Well, this is Toots Hibbert’s recollection of the same event. Desmond Dekker came first!
Today friends, instead of finding a song about casseroles, tians or bakes, I’m going to post this song that has been haunting me. It’s so beautiful and plaintive. When a song like this is an earworm, it’s like having a little ghost howling in your head! It’s Tommy Johnson’s I Want Someone to Love Me.