This was a delicious sauce. It had a lot of ginger in it, which gave a nice little zing to the tartness of the lemon and the creamy sweetness of the coconut milk. It would be good with other vegetables as well – broccoli would be nice! We ate it with long thin pasta, but it would be good over basmati rice as well.
Here’s Mississippi John Hurt with Joe Turner Blues
They poked my goddamn eye out. I never seen anything like it. I didn’t see them at first because I had your letter in my pocket. The damn thing was making it so I couldn’t see straight. I could just see, in my head, the letter, folded neat and small in my jacket pocket. I didn’t even read it. It’s a hell of a thing to do to a guy—give him this folded up piece of paper when he leaves the house in the morning. And write TERENCE on it in your neat nervous handwriting. Why can’t you call me Terry, for fuck’s sake, like everybody else? Cause, yeah, yeah, yeah, cause of a book you read with a guy named Terence and a girl who said it sounded like the cry of an owl. Like no owl I ever heard! And it made you cry, this goddamn book. So why read it? I say why read books at all? That’s your problem. That right there is your problem. Damn books.
So I left the house with the letter in my pocket, and I could feel you watching me go. I walked with purpose for a block or two, but I didn’t have anywhere to go, and you knew it.
Cool morning, but the kind you know is going to heat up. Smelled a little like rain, and the ground was wet, but it hadn’t rained. It wouldn’t rain. The sun would break through the goddamn haze and heat the whole place up so my jacket would be too warm, with your letter in it.
I know I shouldn’t a gone down a dark street with kids throwing rocks in it, but I did, and I got my eye hit. Square in the socket with a big rock, right inside my glasses. The kids laughed, the bastards, and they ran away in every direction like somebody tilted the damn street and poured them out of it. They left me, on my back bleeding like a idiot. The world was reeling and bloody, and the pain was a shock, a strange sick shock of pain.
I lay for a while on my back. I was wondering if I could still read your letter with one eye. Maybe now I wouldn’t have to read it, because I just had the one eye left. Somebody must a took me to the hospital. It’s hard to know what’s happening when you can’t see straight. It’s hard to know what’s going on.
But here I was in the hospital, with that god awful sick clean smell that makes me want to puke. It burns right through me. Here I was in some small bright room, sitting on a bright metal table, legs dangling like a goddamn kid, everything so bright in my bad eye I thought I might puke.
This guy came up, and I called him doctor. He laughed and said he was a nurse. A guy nurse! Can you imagine! I felt a little weird about it, to be honest, and I tried to get a look at this guy, at this guy nurse, with my good eye. He seemed okay. He didn’t seem so bad. He didn’t seem like that. Anyway, he wasn’t checking out my skinny legs if he was! I watched him rolling up some gauze with his big hands and he seemed nice. Like a good guy. I hoped nobody teased him for being a guy nurse, I’d a felt bad about that. People can be such assholes.
So I wandered out into the bright day—like I said, the sun burned a goddamn hole in the clouds and my jacket was killing me, with your letter burning a goddamn hole in my pocket. So I stepped into Joe’s. Joe’s was cool the way a bar is cool. You know, still hot as hell, but it’s dark and nobody’s watching and you got the damn sun off your back, so you don’t care. I had a nice cool glass of beer, I took out your letter. I just looked at it with my one eye. I know what it said without reading it. I known you that long. I know you’re mad about the other night, that I went to that place, that I watched that show. But I tell you, I didn’t mean to go, I didn’t want to go. I was halfway in my gin already. The night was dark, the world was reeling, the car was hot and crowded. I couldn’t a got out of that car if I wanted to. And I did want to, I swear, but those guys are such assholes, with the stuff they say if you try to get out the car when they’re going to a show like that. So you’re stuck like a damn little kid in the back seat, with them saying all kinds of asshole shit. I know you wouldn’t like it, but what could I do? Nothing. I tell you I didn’t look. I didn’t look at all. I tell you the place was no paradise, and she was no goddess. She was just a sad girl with not much clothes on. I felt bad for her, and I didn’t look. I know I should a changed my clothes, so you wouldn’t smell me full of cheap perfume and cigarettes and crazy loneliness, but I wasn’t thinking, I just wanted to be with you in our bedroom that’s cool like only our bedroom is cool in the whole damn world. Still hot as hell, but still and dark, with your breath quiet like whispers. I just wanted to lie there with you and have the world stop spinning, and listen for the cry of the damn owl saying my name.
2 T olive oil
1 t dried basil or a small handful of fresh
1 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
zest of one lemon
1 inch of ginger, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 plump clove garlic, minced
1/2 head of cauliflower – florets only
2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup tiny peas
1 cup coconut milk
1 t tamari
juice of one lemon
handful of cilantro, handful of fresh basil
1/2 cup toasted chopped cashews
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper
Cucumber cut into matchsticks
Pasta or rice to serve
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the dried basil, red pepper, ginger, lemon zest and shallot. Stir and cook until the shallot starts to brown. Add the garlic, stir and cook for about a minute. Add the vegetables, and stir and cook until the cauliflower starts to soften and brown – five to eight minutes. Add the coconut milk and tamari and enough water to make it nice and saucy – maybe one cup. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the carrots and cauliflower are tender-crisp.
Stir in the cilantro, fresh basil if you’re using, lemon juice, and cashews.
Serve over long thin pasta or basmati rice, with cucumber matchsticks to garnish.