The Way of My Boys
When walking through a forest, always think that a tick is biting you. In this way you will know when you have been bitten by a tick. This understanding applies to all things.
If a bee stings you but you don’t know it, it will not hurt. This understanding extends to all things.
When swimming in a pool, if you want to touch the bottom, go slowly so that you don’t hit your head. When swimming in murky water with a bed of sharp stones, go slowly so that you don’t scrape your knees. This understanding extends to all things.
If you want to catch a firefly, don’t pinch it, hold your hand out and let it land, so that you don’t kill it. This is true of all things.
If you miss a friend, play with things that you learned about with him. This understanding extends to all things.
If you’re waiting on line and your legs get tired, think about something else and the pain will go away. This applies to all things.
If you want something very badly but can’t have it, imagine that you have it, and that will be almost as good. This applies to all things.
When eating a plum, take a big bite, pull out the pit at once, and you can have fun eating the rest. This understanding extends to all things.
Bright and spicy and a little sweet. And, finally, I’ve been thinking a while about cooking collards in long ribbons, and eating them as a person might eat pasta, with a sauce (or two!) on top. I thought it turned out very very tasty. Satisfying, like pasta, but with more flavor and texture. The boys just ate soba noodles, though, which is a perfectly acceptable substitute.
Here’s Flying Birds, from RZA’s remarkable soundtrack to Ghost Dog.
SPICY TOMATO COCONUT SAUCE
2 T olive oil
3 or 4 scallions, white parts mostly, minced
2 garlic scapes or 2 cloves garlic, trimmed and minced
1 t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce or equivalent amount tomatoes, chopped
1 cup coconut milk
1 t smoked paprika
1/2 t coriander powder
1 t tamari
1 cup cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, different sizes and colors, chopped
juice of one lime
salt and pepper
large handful fresh basil
Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the scallions, pepper flakes, and garlic or garlic scapes and stir and fry until they start to brown. Add the tomatoes or tomato sauce, stir and cook until they’re soft, about five minutes. Add the coconut milk, spices and enough water to make everything saucy. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to quite low and simmer until the sauce is thick and fragrant. Add the tamari, cherry tomatoes and lime. Add a little water if you want it to be saucier. Season well with salt and pepper, top with chopped basil, and serve.
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan
2 cloves garlic, roasted or toasted
1 t smoked paprika
1/2 t salt
2 packed cups basil leaves, cleaned and trimmed
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated smoked gouda
1 t balsamic
salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine the pine nuts, garlic, paprika and salt in a food processor. Process until coarse and crumbly. Add the basil leaves, process to incorporate. Add the olive oil and process till smooth. Add the cheese and balsamic and process again. Add salt and pepper and just enough water to make it as thin and smooth as you like it, and process until completely smooth.
6 or 7 large, smooth collard leaves
salt & pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
Cut the stem out of the collard leaves, and then roll them up, base to tip. Cut through each roll at 1/3-inch intervals, so that you’ll have spirals. Drop these in the boiling water. Repeat with all the leaves.
Boil until tender but bright, 15 – 20 minutes.
Drain, mix in a little butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve as is, or with any sauce you like.