Here’s Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie, which I heard all the way through for the first time just the other day.
Here’s Howlin Wolf with Built for Comfort. I feel as though the connection between my songs and my rambling preambles (my prerambles?) is becoming more abstruse!
More Eliza after the JUMP!
If there was a spirit in our back yard, I imagine it would eat the sage in our vegetable garden, because sage seems like good spirit food. Well, I harvested some myself to make this pasta sauce. This is a good quick-meal-after-work sauce, and it’s a good way to use up some of my over-abundance of zucchini. The zucchini is blended with white beans, walnuts, and broth to make a thick and creamy, though cream-free sauce. I used the broth from the millet stew I’d made, and it was very flavorful with sage and bay leaves, but you could use any broth you have on hand, or even water. I also used caramelized onions, because I’d made a huge batch over the weekend (and cut my finger!) but if you don’t happen to have them lying around, a shallot or a regular onion would be fine. And that’s all I can say about that at the moment because Malcolm is desperate for the computer.
A while back we promised to try to make grillable burgers with roasted mushrooms. Yesterday, we did just that! They were super-tasty! We wanted to roast the mushrooms first, but we didn’t want to turn on the stove, the temperature being what it was. So we plugged the toaster oven into an outdoor socket and roasted them outside. Pretty clever, sis. Aside from roasted shallots and mushrooms, the burgers have white beans, pecans, and smoked gouda. They’re seasoned with sage, rosemary, smoked paprika, and a bit of tamari and marmite. They were slightly softer than the beet burgers, but they grilled up nice and brown on the outsides, and were very plump and juicy.
Or, two ways to prepare lettuce that don’t involve the word “salad.”We’re watching Blues Brothers with the boys. It’s rated R, but we can’t remember why, so we’re watching it cautiously, with the remote nearby. Is it the non-stop swearing and the incredibly destructive car chases? Pshaw, my boys are used to that! We drive recklessly through a couple of malls a day around here. Actually, it might be a little rough for them, but I think they’re well aware that they can’t say all of the words that they’re hearing and that they can’t drive cars through store windows. What a pleasure to watch them watch the dancing and the singing, and all of the wonderful, contagiously happy music. It’s such a joyful movie! And I’d forgotten how sweet it is, in parts, and how good it looks. There are a few moments that have such a lovely, quiet grace about them, in the midst of all the raucousness. And, oddly, these moments seem to involve toast. In one scene, Elwood has just toasted a piece of bread in his small room in the home for itinerant men. His brother fell asleep, and he covered him with a blanket, and then sat in the window and looked out at the trains rumbling by in a watery blue light. Beautiful! Now, I love toast. I think it’s such a comforting, restorative food. The very smell of bread toasting can make you feel better. And I happen to have made a meal last night that revolved around toast! And lettuces, lots and lots of lettuces. We got about 7 heads of red leaf lettuce from the CSA, and I’m actually very excited about it. I love salad, as I’ve said many a time, but I also like the challenge of turning lettuce into a non-salad meal. We happened to eat two in the same meal last night, but they were both very tasty, so nobody seemed to mind.
I made a soup with lettuce, hazelnuts and white beans. I seasoned it with tarragon, chervil, and lovage, and it was very flavorful. It was smooth, but not velvety, although you could certainly make it that way if you liked. I floated a small, plain toast in it, and it was delicious. The other non-salad lettuce item on the agenda was a lettuce, pumpkinseed, goatcheese pesto. It turned out very nice! Much milder in flavor than a traditional basil pesto, but it has the lovely, indefinable flavor of toasted pumpkinseeds, and a bit of creamy tang provided by goat cheese. We ate it with toast (again!) and a little bruschetta topping made from tomatoes, basil, french feta, and capers.
Here’s Shake A Tail Feather, with the Blues Brothers and Ray Charles. Doesn’t it make you happy?
So, this soup. We’re going to have a bean, grain and veg week, here at The Ordinary, to adjust for our reckless holiday spending and the fact that I missed a weekend of work. We’re keeping it on a low budget! We drove for more than six hours yesterday, and got home very late (on a school night!) We’d also eaten lots of junk food over the previous few days. (For the trip down we packed fritos and nutter butters, and we stopped at Dunkin Donuts!). So we wanted something quick and nourishing. I turned to an old standby – Malcolm’s favorite soup. I suppose this is actually a minestrone, because it’s a tomato-white bean soup, and the boys eat it with heaps of pasta. It’s flavored with rosemary, thyme, smoked paprika and cayenne. We’re growing lots of basil, I’m delighted to report, so we added a handful of that, too!! It’s a little bit creamy, though cream-free, because I puree a small amount. It’s very easy, very tasty, and even Isaac ate three bowls of it yesterday.
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!
I love the idea of spice mixes. Berbere, zatar, Ras el hanout, garam masala, jerk seasoning. Even the names are wonderful! In the past I’ve tried to recreate some of these using the spices most available around here – but it’s sort of exciting that, when they’re at home, these mixes contain spices that are extremely hard to find where I live. Everything about spices appeals to me – the textures, the fragrances, the colors, and, of course, the taste. It’s no wonder that they were once considered precious.
I realized the other day, as I was typing up a recipe for this very blog, that I tend to use the same spices over and over. I’ve got different combinations I like to use, but there are a few that I use a lot. I decided to embrace that fact, and to try to distill the different spices into one perfect (for me) mix. So I did! And I’m very enamored of it, because I think it’s very pretty and smells very good, too. It’s smokey, a little bit hot…it combines some sweet herbs with some more piquant spices. I test-cooked it first with some roasted cauliflower, and that turned out well, so I decided to use it in these little pies. They’re stuffed with roasted mushrooms, white beans and hazelnuts, and seasoned with my spice mix. Very nice!
Over the summer, my son Malcolm invented a spice mix of his own. So I decided to accompany the pies with sweet potato fries cooked with Malcolm’s supreme spicy spice mix. They went very well with the pies! And we had a fun time putting it all together.
Here’s Mix it Up by the Kingstonians. That’s the way I like it.
I have to tell you, I made this soup in such a roundabout fashion I’m not sure I can make the recipe make sense for anybody else! I don’t have a lot of experience cooking beans from scratch. When canned beans are so good and so cheap, and so easy…well, I tend to rely on them! I also don’t have a lot of experience with slow cooker crock pots. I got one for Christmas (thanks, Ellie!) and I’m still trying to figure out how it works. So here’s what happened…I combined all the ingredients for this soup in a big sauce pan, I brought them to a boil, and then I poured it into a slow-cooker, on high. I left it there for a couple of hours, as I gadded about the neighborhood.
When I returned, I checked the soup, and the beans were still rock hard. So, being an extremely impatient person, I poured the soup back into a big pot, brought it to a boil again, cooked it for another hour, and it was perfect. The truth is, if I made this soup again, I think I’d use canned small white beans, or maybe pre-cook the beans and save the broth to make the soup. The wild rice will still take about 45 minutes to cook, so all the flavors will still simmer nicely together. That’s the recipe I’m going to write down. Someday I’ll try it and let you know how it goes.