Roasted beet, mushroom and butterbean galette with walnut crust

Roasted beet, mushroom and butterbean galette with walnut crust

Roasted beet, mushroom and butterbean galette with walnut crust

Today we’re going to do a cheater’s version of Saturday storytelling time. I didn’t actually write a story this week, but I’ve thought about it a lot. Incessantly, so surely it’s only a matter of time before it pops out of my head fully formed. So this is a story I wrote a few years ago. In honor of Halloween, it’s a monster story! It’s a story for children (childrens’ book publishers form an orderly queue) about a boy and his monster. Here are some pictures I did for the story. The text is after the jump.
stairwelllo
flying-monster

And, as ever, we have a recipe, too! This is an autumnal galette. The crust has walnuts and black pepper, and the inside has roasted beets and roasted mushrooms, as well as butterbeans sautéed with chard. It’s all topped off with smoked gouda. Lots of warm, sweet, earthy, smoky flavors!

Here’s The Boogie Monster by Gnarls Barkley

EVERYBODY HAS A MONSTER

“Go to your room!” Yelled Oswald’s mother.
“Again!” shouted his father.
“You’re a monster.” Cried his sister, stomping her little foot.
“FINE! I. Don’t. Care. Maybe I’ll just live up there.” And Oswald clomped up the stairs as loudly as he could and slammed the door behind him.
He threw himself down on his bed and cried a little. He rolled on his back and felt his hot tears cool as they puddled in his ears.
“I’m a monster,” He said, sniffling.
Three hours later he still lay on his bed. He hadn’t really moved. His mother brought him meals. She tried to talk to him, but he said, “I’M FINE. GO AWAY.”
But the truth was that she missed him. And the truth was that he was bored. And lonely. He was sick of looking at his room. So he closed his eyes.
“WOULD YOU GET OUT OF HERE!!” Yelled a loud buzzy voice close to his ear. And when he opened his eyes he saw the strangest thing that he had ever seen.
“Who are you?” Oswald asked.
“WHO AM I? I’M YOUR MONSTER, THAT’S WHO I AM. AND YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO SEE ME. I’M ONLY SUPPOSED TO COME OUT WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN YOUR ROOM. BUT. YOU. ARE. ALWAYS. IN. YOUR. ROOM.”
The monster slumped beside Oswald on the bed, shooting him very cross looks.
“I have a monster?” said Oswald, his mind reeling with the possibilities.
“Of course you do. Everyone has a monster,” said the monster.
“What do you do?” wondered Oswald.
“Do? Do? I do monster things, of course. Well, I would if you’d ever leave the room.”
“Oh.” Oswald looked over at the monster, who was so angry that smoke came twirling out of his ears. “And what are monster things?”
“Oh, you know, monster things—hiding one shoe so you’re late for school. Changing all the answers on your homework to the wrong answers, leaving crumbs in your bed, putting your toys away in the wrong place, dumping drawers-full of clothes on the…”
“That’s not very nice!!” cried Oswald.
The monster beamed with pride. “No! I know! Not nice at all! Thank you. Thank you. Yes, I’m just starting to get good. Well, I was, and then you had to go and ruin everything by never leaving your room. And now you’ve seen me, so I’ll lose my job, won’t I? Didn’t think of that, did you?”
“But…how? I didn’t even know you were here.”
“No! I know! Very sneaky, I was, just like they taught us at monster school.” The monster sounded smug.
“Monster school? There’s a monster school?” Oswald asked.
“Of course not. Not A monster school. Many many. I went to the best, of course…” bragged the monster.
“Where are they?”
“Can’t tell.” The monster snapped his beak shut decisively.
They sat side-by-side on the bed and nobody spoke for a while.
“Now what?” Oswald had never discovered he had a monster, before, and he wasn’t sure what came next.
“I’m hungry. Do you still have candy and soda hidden in your…?”
“How did you know about that?” Oswald interrupted.
“I ate the last ones you left there.” The monster declared, very pleased with himself.
“You!”
“Of course,” boasted the monster.
“But…but…I thought it was my sister. I hit her and made her cry.”
“Oho! Even better. Extra points for me.” The monster rubbed his scaly hands together.

They ate all the candy and drank all the strawberry soda pop.

“So why aren’t you trying to make me cry now?” Oswald asked.
“Off duty.” Replied the monster. “And you’ve seen me, haven’t you? So I can’t be your monster any more.”
“Will I get a new one?”
“Can’t tell. What I can tell you, though, is that candy? And soda? They make monsters CRAZY!!”
They ran and flew around the room. They jumped on the bed. They giggled and hollered.

They heard a hand on the doorknob.

“Oh my god, what is that?” yelled his mother.
“He’s my…” began Oswald. But his mother didn’t wait for him to finish.
“Did you eat all that candy by yourself?” Oswald spun around. His monster had disappeared. “For heaven’s sake, Oswald, you know you turn into a little monster when you have too much candy.”
*********************************

“How did you do that?” Oswald asked admiringly.
“What?”
“Disappear like that?”
“Learned it at monster school.” The monster replied coolly.
“You know,” mused Oswald, “I think I could be a really good monster. Do you think I could go to monster school?”
“No way.”
“C’mon, I’d be a really good monster. People tell me I’m a monster all the time!”
“No no no no no.”
“WHY NOT. I WANT TO BE A MONSTER. I WANT TO I WANT TO I WANT TO.”
“Hmmm. Very impressive. Very monstrous. All right, you can try. But you can’t go to monster school. I’ll have to teach you myself.”
“But I want to go to monster school. I don’t want you to teach me. I want to go to monster school. I want to I want to I want…”
The monster made a sound that reminded Oswald that he was a monster. And he made a face to go with it.
“OK, you can teach me.”
“Fine. It will give me something to do until I’m reassigned. We can start first thing tomorrow.”

They spent a pleasant afternoon talking and playing checkers and mancala. Oswald suspected that the monster let him win a few times.
“Will you get in trouble for being so nice to me?”
“Of course not. I’m not working at the moment, am I? I think I know how to do my job.” But it seemed to Oswald that the monster looked a little scared, and glanced over his shoulder. Oswald had such a nice day that when his mother brought him dinner and asked if he’d come down and spend some time with his family, he forgot to yell at her for forgetting his milk.

Many times in Oswald’s life he had worried that he might have a monster under his bed. He had imagined what it might do to him while he was sleeping. Well, that night he really did have a monster under his bed, and he found it very difficult to sleep. The monster crawled under his bed as soon as the lights went out, and from that moment he didn’t make a noise. But a thin curl of smoke rose past Oswald’s pillow.
“Monster.” Oswald whispered over the side of his bed.
No answer.
“Monster!”
“What?” growled the monster.
“Are you going to play a trick on me while I’m sleeping?”
“Not tonight.” Said the monster, sleepily.
“Promise?”
“Well, yes, but it’s a monster promise. I’ll teach you all about those tomorrow. Sleep tight!”

The next morning Oswald was as tired and cranky as could be, and the monster declared him in a perfect mood to begin monster school.
“Okay, I’m ready! Teach me how to disappear!” Oswald had been thinking about this all night.
“No no no,” said the monster, with a dry laugh. “That’s advanced monstering. We’ll be starting with the basics.”
Out of thin air, the monster produced a book. It looked very old; the cover was red and worn, and the pages were brown and crumbling, and were covered with strange spiky writing. Oswald caught tantalizing glimpses of many odd, vividly covered drawings.
“Can I see?” Oswald asked, reaching for the book.
“Certainly not. It’s very old and fragile. I’ll read to you the parts that you need to know. This is the Monster’s Primer. We will begin with basic types of monstering.” He opened the book and cleared his throat dramatically. “’One, to inflict awe-ful terrors of the nyghte, and cause dreadful sleeplessnesse.’ That’s when we keep you awake. Pretty basic that one… ‘Two, to cause nervousnesse in the cows and the horses, and to see that the hen will not laye egges’.. Don’t use that one too often nowadays, although I have spooked your dog once or twice.” The monster chuckled at the memory of this.
“I don’t want to learn this boring stuff. I want to scare someone. I want to disappear.” Oswald pouted.
“I’ll make you disappear all right, if you don’t pay attention to your lesson!” the monster growled. “You need to focus! You have a lifetime of not-being-a-monster to make up for!”
By the end of the morning, Oswald didn’t want to go to monster school anymore. The monster had perched on the rail of his bed, reading from the monster primer, stopping only to quiz Oswald on the facts. He’d made Oswald repeat every classification of monster, from Agathodaemon to Zanki. And Oswald had learned highlights of monster history (The battle of the Hobgoblins and Brownies ad 872 to ad 874) and been tested on the dates.
By lunchtime, he lay on the floor playing with toys, barely listening to a word the monster said. The monster looked at Oswald’s toys and nearly spewed fire. “FFFFFFTHTHTHTTTT.” He yelled, “You call those monsters? Those are the silliest…”
“They’re not monsters, they’re super heroes. And you know what, this is really stupid. I don’t want to be a monster anymore. I want to be a superhero. I’m going to superhero school. And you know what? I miss my family. I’m going downstairs for lunch.”
“Fine, suit yourself,” said the monster. Oswald paused with his hand on the doorknob. The monster continued, nonchalantly, “But after lunch we were going to get started on tricks.”
“Tricks?”

After they had cleared the bed of peanut butter and jelly crumbs, Oswald sat with a notebook on his knee, ready to learn about tricks.

“First, we’ll discuss the various classifications of tricks.” The monster raised the book close to his eyes and ignored Oswald’s groan of protest. “’One, to create an awe-ful noisey nuisance. Two, to undo that whiche has beene done already.’”
“Oh, please,” said Oswald with a sneer, “I could do those in my sleep. Let’s try a new trick. Some advanced monstering. Let’s sneak into my sister’s room and steal a shoe!”
“Fine.” Said the monster, snapping his beak and the book shut, and causing dust and bits of paper to rain onto Oswald’s bed. “We’ll do it tonight, while she sleeps. But you must follow my instructions very carefully.”

At exactly midnight, when milksilver moonlight threw patterns all over Oswald’s room, he and the monster set off down the hall. They used special monster tricks of complete silence, which they had practiced all afternoon. They even managed to walk over the dog without waking him, although Oswald had to think very monstrous thoughts to stop himself giggling with glee and nervousness.
All was quiet in his sister Sally’s room. Her curtains were closed completely, but she insisted on having four nightlights, so it wasn’t hard to see. Sally had curly hair and tiny teeth, and she liked to call herself ‘the kid sister.’ At the moment she slept sprawled on her back with her short arms thrown up over her head, and she breathed with a soft whistle.
Oswald used his newly-learned monster skills to open the closet door, and he chose her favorite shoe. He turned to show the monster. The monster wasn’t looking at him. The monster was looking at his sister, and Oswald thought he looked very silly.
“Oh,” said the monster, “Isn’t she adorable?”
“Don’t be silly,” said Oswald, “She’s not adorable, she’s my sister. Look, I’ve got the shoe. Let’s go!”
But the monster hadn’t moved. Oswald could swear the monster was almost smiling. He’d never smiled at Oswald. And he was…purring! But it was a loud rumbly grumbly sound, and Oswald felt sure it would wake his sister.
“Shhhhh!” Oswald hissed. He couldn’t account for how cranky he felt. And apparently he wasn’t the only one, because, all of a sudden, as if out of nowhere…another monster appeared on the bed.
“Get away from my girl!” it cried.
“Eek, a monster!” shrieked Oswald’s monster, and jumped into the very narrow space between Sally’s bed and the wall.
Sally sat up and yawned and rubbed her eyes.
Oswald dropped her shoe. He held his breath. What would she say about the monster on her bed?
“I know you,” she said to the new monster, in a sleepy voice. “I’ve seen you before. You took care of me when I was sick. I thought I dreamed you, but you’re real aren’t you? Oswald, do you see him, too? Oh what a furry tummy you have!”
Sally clambered over to her monster and patted it on the head, just below the horn. The monster didn’t jump away or growl or bare its teeth. It just said, “Her. I’m a girl.”
“Of course you are!” said Sally.
Oswald’s monster rose from behind the bed, looking very angry. Oswald would have been scared of him, but Sally and her monster didn’t seem to mind.
“You took CARE OF HER? That goes against all the rules!” Oswald’s monster yelled.
“Well, at least I wasn’t teaching her secret monstrous secrets!!” Sally’s monster yelled back, in her raspy voice.
“How did you…?”
“My monster is better than yours, Oswald.” Sally said, with a smile.
“Sally! That’s rude.” Oswald said quickly, “And besides, it’s not true, nobody’s monster is better than mine!”
“That’s the nicest thing anybody’s every said about me.” Said Oswald’s monster, and he sounded like he had something stuck in his throat.
“That’s the nicest thing Oswald has ever said about anybody!” said Sally.

By the time Oswald and his monster left Sally’s room, she was fast asleep, with one hand curled in her monster’s long silky hair. Her monster whuffled contented snuffling noises in her ear that made her laugh in her sleep.

Oswald crawled into his bed, and his monster slipped under it. They lay in silence for a while.

“Monster?”
“Yes, boy?”
“How about, instead of you teaching me to be a monster, or me teaching you to be a boy…”
“Not an option.”
“No, you don’t look much like a boy, and you’d scare all the kids at school.”
“Pshaw. I don’t want to be a boy, that’s all. Who’d want to be a boy?”
“It’s not so bad.”
“Harrumph.”
“What if, instead of that, we both teach people and monsters, about each other?”
“Nonsense!” squeaked the monster, indignantly, “I’d lose my monster license, all the other monsters would laugh at me!”
“There’s no such thing as a monster license, is there?”
“Well…no.”
“I won’t let anyone laugh at you!”
The monster was silent for quite some time, and Oswald thought he might have fallen asleep. Finally he said, “Okay.”
“Good,” said Oswald. “We’ll start tomorrow with my mom and dad.”

and…THE RECIPE!!

WALNUT CRUST

1 cup flour
1 cup walnuts
1/2 t salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
1 stick butter, frozen

In a food processor combine the walnuts, salt, pepper, and flour and process briefly. Cut the butter into tiny chunks and add that too. Process until just combined and coarse and crumbly. Add enough ice water to bring it together into a workable dough (start with about 1/4 cup). Process to combine. Form into a ball, flatten, wrap in foil and chill for at least 1/2 hour.

THE FILLING

2 small beets, purple or golden, peeled and cut in half and then into 1/4 inch slices
olive oil to coat
Mushrooms roasted this way
2 T olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic minced
3 or 4 fresh sage leaves, chopped, or 1 t dried
2 t fresh rosemary, chopped, or 1 t dried
1 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 can butterbeans, rinsed and drained
1 small bunch chard, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
1 t balsamic
1 T butter
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper

1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 cup grated smoked gouda

Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the beets with olive oil to coat, and spread in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Roast until the beets are darkened and beginning to crisp up, 20 or so minutes. Turn the beets from time to time. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic, stir and fry until they start to soften and brown. After a few minutes, add the herbs and pepper flakes. Stir and cook for a minute or two, and then add the beans, chard and a few tablespoons of water. Cook till the greens are wilted and soft but still bright green, 2 to 10 minutes, depending on the greens you use and how you like them. Add the balsamic and butter, and stir in the beets and mushrooms. Season well with salt and pepper.

Lightly butter a smallish baking sheet. Roll out the dough to be bigger than your baking sheet by a few inches on all sides, and about 1/8th inch thick. Pile your filling in the middle, top with cheese, and fold over the edges of the dough, leaving a space in the middle.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the crust is golden and browned and the cheese is melted.

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