Tacos with broccoli, chard, and kidney beans in chipotle-coconut curry sauce

Chard, broccoli and kidney beans in coconut curry sauce

Chard, broccoli and kidney beans in coconut curry sauce

I got an iPhone four years ago. In the time since I’ve developed a nervous habit of checking my e-mail every few minutes. I don’t do it while I’m talking to people, of course, or at a meal or a gathering of any kind, but if I’m waiting on line, walking the dog, trying to write, if I’m actually just trying to check the time, I’ll always check my e-mail, too. It feels sort of hopeful and foolish. Any minute now, somebody is going to tell me they’d like to offer me a big advance to write a novel or make a feature film, and obviously they’re going to do it via e-mail, and it’s going to be totally legitimate, and if I don’t respond immediately I’ll lose the opportunity. Yeah. We got new phones, the other night, and now I get a gentle little chime each time I get a new e-mail. This means I don’t need to check!! This means that I know immediately that I got an important message from staples or toys r us or astrocenter (what the hell is astrocenter? Why are they bothering me?). Well, it feels strange. It’s vaguely disappointing, somehow. I no longer have the feeling that I could be getting good news at any time, because I know I’m not. Now I feel much more foolish than hopeful. And all of this got me thinking about mail, and how nice it used to be to wait for real mail from the mailman, and to write real letters, that required time and thought. And then I started thinking about photos, and how precious they used to be. People used to have special ways to keep photographs, little frames and boxes they would carry their one or two precious pictures in. Now we have phones loaded with snapshots. It used to require time and patience to take a photograph. The process was half skill, half luck in capturing the perfect moment. Now it’s all luck, the camera takes care of all the rest, and we can snap a billion shots a day. We have a much higher chance of capturing a randomly beautiful moment. I’ve been thinking about this quote I scribbled in my notebook a few years ago. It’s from René Claire, a filmmaker and writer who worked at the very beginning of cinema. He wrote essays about this miraculous new art form describing how passionately he felt about the direction it should take. He held it as a great responsibility to make films a certain way that would ensure that cinema lived up to its potential. Here’s the quote…

    In this era, when verbal poetry is losing the charm it exerted on the masses … a new form of poetic expression has arisen and can reach every beating heart on earth … a poetry of the people is there, seeking its way.

It’s easy to feel down and discouraged about the overwhelming barrage of messages and photos and news and information that we receive every single day, whether we like it or not. It’s easy to regret the days when a letter or a photograph was a rare and precious thing. It’s easy to be sad about the bloated, disappointing state of American film. But maybe it’s better to think about this new endless procession of snapshots, which capture an instant, are taken in an instant, and are shared in an instant, as a form of poetic expression available to most, and capable of reaching every beating heart on earth. Equal parts hopeful and foolish.
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We have tons of chard from the farm, which makes me very very happy, because I love chard. I decided to try something different with it, and cook it in a chipotle coconut milk sauce. It turned out really tasty! I added broccoli and kidney beans for substance, and lime and spices for flavor and brightness. We ate this with basmati rice, warm wheat tortillas, and a fresh salad made of avocado, cucumber and tomatoes, but you could eat it just with rice or any other grain you like.

Here’s Photo Jenny by Belle and Sebastian

2 T olive oil
1 t basil
1 t. black sesame seeds
1/2 t mustard seeds
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t chipotle purée
1 T tomato paste
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 t smoked paprika
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t ground cardamom
1 cup coconut milk
1 small bunch of chard, washed, trimmed and chopped quite fine
2 cups broccoli florets, trimmed and sliced long and thin
juice of one lime
1 T butter
salt and lots of freshly ground pepper

To serve…
Warm tortillas, basmati rice, grated sharp cheddar, avocado/cucumber/tomato

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallots, garlic, basil, sesame seeds and mustard seeds. When the garlic starts to brown, in under a minute, add the tomato paste and chipotle purée. Stir in the kidney beans. Add the cumin, coriander, paprika, and cardamom, stir to mix, and then add the coconut milk and about 1 cup of water. Stir to blend everything very well. Add the chard and broccoli, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the broccoli and chard are as tender as you like them. Add more water if you want it to be saucy.

Add the butter and lime, and season well with salt and pepper.

Serve with basmati rice. We folded this into soft tortillas with grated sharp cheddar and a salad of cucumber, avocado and small tomatoes drizzled with lime and honey.

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2 thoughts on “Tacos with broccoli, chard, and kidney beans in chipotle-coconut curry sauce

  1. Hopeful and foolish. Yes.

    As to The Barrage, that means we all have to become better editors of what enters our lives.

    Sometimes at night CT’s iphone, the non Apple version, makes a racket and wakes me up for no darn-good reason. I have a vintage cell phone that phones on command, so no blame on her.

    The next time your email beckons, it might just be me sending an email from computer photo of the Elderflowers in bloom here. But, i have a cookie-bone to pick with you: please do not look at my email while you walk Clio.

    People staring at their devices in NYC while walking their dogs always makes me cry. Well, not just NYC, but I see it there often.

    You gotta be there with the pups because they don’t stay with us for a long time. Thank my lucky stars there were no iphones during my early dog years.

    Love your post! Is the photo of you when you were little or of present-day Isaac?

    Cheers to The Ordinary and may the Fourth be with you.

    • That’s our Isaac!!

      I don’t look at e-mail too much while walking CLio–I can’t, she’s too fast and hurky jerky! She’d pull my arm off and my phone would go flying into the canal! One of my favorite things about Clio is that when you walk her she’ll look up at you, as if to make sure you’re still at the other end of the leash. I don’t know why, but I love it!!

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