Kale, red lentil, and kidney bean tacos

Kale, kidney bean and red lentil tacos

Kale, kidney bean and red lentil tacos

Yesterday I read an article comparing John Donne to Robert Burns. I wish I could find it again, but I cannot. To awkwardly paraphrase, the author said that both Donne and Burns, whatever the differences in their language and their intellectual processes, could not help but express themselves with great honesty and humanity. Of course I love this idea! And I started thinking about their poetry, and my wandering mind lit upon The Flea and To a Louse. Two clever and witty poems addressed to insects (or are they bugs?) John Donne’s is saucily seductive, and Burns’ is a sort of beautifully off-kilter philosophical musing on pretensions and social equality. In keeping with my plan of sharing the words of others’ this week at The Ordinary, I present to you:


BY John Donne

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas, is more than we would do.

Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, nay more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our mariage bed, and marriage temple is;
Though parents grudge, and you, w’are met,
And cloistered in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that, self-murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?
Yet thou triumph’st, and say’st that thou
Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now;
’Tis true; then learn how false, fears be:
Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me,
Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.


On Seeing One On A Lady’s Bonnet, At Church

by Robert Burns

Ha! whaur ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly;
I canna say but ye strunt rarely,
Owre gauze and lace;
Tho’, faith! I fear ye dine but sparely
On sic a place.

Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn’d by saunt an’ sinner,
How daur ye set your fit upon her-
Sae fine a lady?
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body.

Swith! in some beggar’s haffet squattle;
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle,
Wi’ ither kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Whaur horn nor bane ne’er daur unsettle
Your thick plantations.

Now haud you there, ye’re out o’ sight,
Below the fatt’rels, snug and tight;
Na, faith ye yet! ye’ll no be right,
Till ye’ve got on it-
The verra tapmost, tow’rin height
O’ Miss’ bonnet.

My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an’ grey as ony groset:
O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I’d gie you sic a hearty dose o’t,
Wad dress your droddum.

I wad na been surpris’d to spy
You on an auld wife’s flainen toy;
Or aiblins some bit dubbie boy,
On’s wyliecoat;
But Miss’ fine Lunardi! fye!
How daur ye do’t?

O Jeany, dinna toss your head,
An’ set your beauties a’ abread!
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie’s makin:
Thae winks an’ finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin.

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion:
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
An’ ev’n devotion!

And to round it all off, from Emily Dickinson, another poet who glows with emotional honesty and humanity, despite or because of her eccentricity, we offer


Emily Dickinson

The spider holds a Silver Ball
In unperceived Hands–
And dancing softly to Himself
His Yarn of Pearl–unwinds–

He plies from Nought to Nought–
In unsubstantial Trade–
Supplants our Tapestries with His–
In half the period–

An Hour to rear supreme
His Continents of Light–
Then dangle from the Housewife’s Broom–
His Boundaries–forgot–

Because everybody wants to read about bugs and insects on a food blog, right? We got some lovely kale from the farm, and I made it into tacos, with kidney beans and red lentils. I thought the contrasting textures of the beans would be nice, and it was! These are simply flavored, with sage and lime. We ate them with warm tortillas, basmati rice, grated sharp cheddar and chopped tomatoes. This mixture would be nice simply served over farro or bulgar as well, though, or as a side dish.

Instead of a song, today, we’ll give you Robert Carlyle reading Robert Burns’ To a Louse.

1 bunch kale, trimmed and cleaned
2 T olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 or 2 jalapenos seeded and minced
3 sage leaves, chopped
1 t oregano
1/2 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 can dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 T butter
juice of one lime
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper

To serve: warm tortillas, basmati rice, grated sharp cheddar or jack cheese, chopped tomatoes, hot sauce, shredded lettuce…whatever you like on your tacos!!

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drop in the kale leaves. Boil 5 – 8 minutes until wilted and tender, but still bright. Drain, let cool and then chop very finely.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallot, cook and stir for a minute, add the garlic, jalapenos and herbs, cook and stir.

Add the red lentils, and cook and stir until they’re sizzly, just a few minutes. Add the kidney beans, kale, and about one cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the red lentils are cooked, 15 – 20 minutes.

Add the butter, squeeze the lime over, and season well with salt and pepper. Serve with rice, tortillas, cheese, chopped tomato, hot sauce…anything you like on your tacos.


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