Chickpeas, spinach, black beans and avocado
“We have a mom to cut our pineapple! We have a mom to cut our pineapple!” Malcolm sang as he and Isaac danced around the kitchen in their pajamas. They’d been in their room for an hour, and they’d piled all of their blankets and pillows around the edge of their bed. They were protecting someone from something: they’d drawn a map and some diagrams, they’d written notes. They weren’t Malcolm and Isaac. They weren’t even Malcolm and Isaac’s longtime alter egos Charlie and Harry. They were friends
of Charlie and Harry. And they had just decided that whoever they were, they had a mother because they needed her to cut up pineapple for them. And just like that I’d become part of their story. I love their ability to wander through the world making a story of their lives. It’s so raw and fresh and funny when they do it, but I think it’s something everybody does, only we’re so close to it we don’t notice. We all write a story for ourselves as we go along, we make a world for ourselves, we make patterns and meanings from all the small moments of our lives. We could probably take a step back and write scholarly theses about the symbols and metaphors unfolding all around us. We can let other people into our lives as characters just by deciding they’re important and taking the time to learn about them and letting them cut our pineapple. We can decide where we’ll go next when we turn the page, we can choose between a taut drama and a meandering pastoral just by the way we respond to all of the little plot points and conflicts of our lives. It’s a lot of responsibility, really! I’ve been thinking about stories lately, because I’ve decided this is going to be a year of stories. Another year of stories. David gave me three blank books last year and I filled them up! They’re crammed with notes and rambles, words I like, short fiction, recipes, doodles, plans. And he gave me a package of pens, and they’re used up, they’re all dry! He gave me six blank books this year, and a pen that’s meant to last seven years. And I’ve started on them already! I’ve got stories in my head and they’ve got to come out!! And I hope to make these stories and my story as bright and focused and beautiful as it is in my power to do! After all, by my own befuddled logic, I’m the author, I’m writing this story. And that’s my grand plan for a sleepy snowy new year’s eve.
Beans and veg and spices. What could be better than that? I thought of this as a sort of warm salad, but it became more of a sauce as it went along. Because it has ginger and lime, it’s very bright and flavorful. The beans and chickpeas are grounding, the avocado is fresh, and the spinach and tomatoes are warm and saucy.
Here’s Boogie Chillun by John Lee Hooker.
2 T olive oil
1 plump clove garlic, minced
1 inch cube fresh ginger, minced, grated, or smushed
1 t rosemary
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 T butter
juice of one lime
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper
grated sharp cheddar
1 ripe avocado, roughly chopped
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and ginger and stir and fry until the garlic starts to brown. Add the rosemary and cherry tomatoes and stir and cook until the tomatoes begin to wilt. Add the chickpeas and beans. Stir and fry and then add a cup or two of water and the spinach.
Cook until the spinach is wilted but bright and everything is nice and saucy. Add the lime and butter and season well.
Serve topped with cheese and avocado.