Roasted parsnip, spinach and walnut kofta (with secret melty cheese!)

Parsnip and spinach kofta

Today’s recipe goes with yesterday’s recipe in much the same way that today’s meandering ramble continues the fine tradition of yesterday’s meandering ramble, and of the day’s before that. Think of it as a three part series on gratitude, annoyance, and regret, if you like. I apologize for talking about my boys so much, lately, but, mama, they’ve been on my mind. I promise to talk about something more universally interesting tomorrow. Like Lindsay Lohan. And her childhood. Before bed, David reads with Isaac, and I read with Malcolm, and then I cuddle with Isaac for a few minutes before I get on with my life. I used to fall asleep nearly every night, and wake up an hour later feeling trampled and discombobulated and with my whole evening shot. So I only stay for a few minutes now (super intense concentrated cuddles). Last night Isaac gently ran a finger down my cheek three times, slowly, and then touched my lips. It seemed like such a mysterious and beautiful gesture, so I asked him why he’d done it. He said, with a serious smile, “Because I just love you.” And I just love him, too, so I repeated the gesture on his incredibly soft cheek. He giggled and traced a more complicated pattern on my chin and nose and eyelids, and I tried to repeat that, too. And so it went, until he was laughing with his ridiculously lovely belly laugh, which I wish I could bottle, along with the rest of this moment. My first thought was that he touched my cheek because I look old, because he could tell that I was aging. But I think that children rarely notice that their parents are growing older. And Isaac frequently tells me, “You don’t look old at all, to me,” prompting the suspicion that everyone else in town is talking about how old I look. And then I thought about how I keep telling him that he’s getting older, that he’s growing so big, that he’s a big seven-year-old and should be able to keep up or get to sleep all by himself. I thought that I hadn’t heard him laugh like that in some time. I thought about his school picture, in which he’s not smiling at all. He is, in fact, frowning, and there’s a bit of a challenge in his eye. It’s as if he just told the photographer, “don’t you tell me to smile!!” His whole life, Isaac has been a glowing smiler. He used to beam at people from his bjorn. His whole face lights up in a delightful and infectious way. I thought about how cranky I’d been, lately, not for any particular reason, it’s just a pattern one gets into. And how it must have seemed to him like I’m always annoyed, because he walks slowly or spills his juice or won’t get to sleep. Ugh. I thought about how Malcolm’s teachers sounded annoyed when they said his name, and feared that I might do that, too. We only get one chance at this! Phew. Did you hear about that Lindsay Lohan? She got arrested again! I read about it on the front page of the Guardian!

We ate these kofta with the white bean tomato bisque, almost as a sauce. David dunked his right in, and I ate mine with lettuce and tomatoes, all wrapped up in a warm tortilla, and the soup on the side. (It probably would have been better in pita, but I didn’t have time to make any!) I thought they turned out really good. I was quite proud of myself. Parsnips obviously have such a nice flavor, and they go well with earthy spinach, and the walnuts added just a bit of crunch. And then there’s the secret melty cheeeeeeeese!!

Here’s You Only Live Once by SJob movement. I just love it!!

2 medium-sized parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch dice
olive oil to coat, plus 1 T more for the pan
3 packed cups spinach, washed and finely chopped
3 tablespoons golden raisins, soaked in hot water and then drained and chopped quite fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 spring fresh rosemary, leaves only, or 1 t dried
1/2 t dried sage, or 3 or 4 fresh leaves, washed and chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted
3 slices whole wheat bread
plenty of salt and pepper
pinch nutmeg
1 egg
enough small cubes of mozzarella to fit in each kofta

Preheat the oven to 425. Coat the parsnips with a bit of olive oil, and then spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 or so minutes, until they’re softened and starting to brown.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the tablespoonful of olive oil. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and herbs, and stir and fry for about a minute, until the garlic starts to brown. Add the spinach and raisins. Cook until the spinach is wilted and reduced and the pan is quite dry. Set aside.

In a food processor or blender, process the bread to make bread crumbs. Toss in a big bowl. Process the walnuts very briefly, so that they’re chopped but not completely ground. Toss in with the bread crumbs. Process the parsnips till they’re slightly chopped, but not completely puréed. Toss in the bowl. Stir in the spinach and season well with salt and plenty of pepper, and a small pinch of nutmeg. Beat in one egg until completely blended.

Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Take a handful of kofta batter about the size of a golfball. Tuck a piece of mozzarella inside, and then fold the batter all around to make a smooth oval. Set this on the baking sheet, and then turn it over so that both sides are coated with olive oil. Repeat with the rest of the batter and the rest of the cheese.

Bake for about half an hour, turning from time to time, until browned and crispy on both sides. Serve with pita or tortillas and lettuce and tomatoes, or with a simple tomato sauce.


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