Blackeyed pea pancakes and Chickpea & spinach in cauliflower cashew curry sauce

Chickpea and spinach in cauliflower cashew curry sauce

Chickpea and spinach in cauliflower cashew curry sauce

It may well be that you reach an age when you’re too old to say, “When I grow up.” And I undboubtedly passed that age many years ago. But I believe that I’ll never outgrow the feeling of “when I grow up.” I’ll never outgrow the idea that someday I’ll finish a novel or make another movie or have a career or even a steady well-paying job. I love when the boys talk about what they’ll be when they grow up. It’s so hopeful and nonsensical, sometimes, but possible and practical too. They can be whatever they want to be. Isaac might be an inventor who makes robots and toys and Halloween decorations, and Malcolm might be a mechanic who develops a floating car that doesn’t hurt the environment. There’s no reason in the world these things won’t happen if they really want it too. And I know they have time to figure it all out, and I look forward to watching them puzzle through it all. Of course at my advanced age the possibilities are much more limited. I’ll never invent a floating car. Sigh. I’ve come to terms with that fact. I have a long path behind me with turnings I didn’t follow. I have a recurring dream about clothes. In the dream I discover that I have closets or cupboards full of clothes that I’ve never worn or that I haven’t worn in ages. I’m excited at first to have new clothes to wear, but upon closer inspection I find that they’re dusty and filled with moths and weevils. They’re unwearable. I think this dream is about my career, or lack of one. It’s about foolish decisions and wasted opportunities and squandered potential. It’s about waking up to discover that you’re forty-four, and things haven’t worked out the way they were supposed to. But I have another recurring dream and in this dream I make a film. Sometimes I shoot the film in the dream, and it all falls together with the ease and oddness of dream logic. Sometimes I find footage I shot at an earlier time, and it’s perfect, beautiful footage, and in my dream I have a revelation of how to edit it all together, I know exactly what I need to add to complete the film. I had this dream twice in one night this week, and I woke up feeling so happy and hopeful. The line between films and dreams is so slight and easily blurred. And maybe this means that I’m working on something good. Maybe it means I have beautiful ideas in my head that have been there all along, and I just need to discover them and put them together. The memory of dreams can shade your life for days, but maybe it’s time to step out of these dreaming shadows, maybe it’s time to wake up and live! When I grow up…

Blackeyed pea cakes

Blackeyed pea cakes

This savory pancake recipe is loosely based on one I found in Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking. I added a few things to make it easier to cook the pancakes, and I added different spices. These weren’t hard to make at all, although you have to plan ahead and soak the peas. Malcolm loved them, and Isaac thought they were a little strange, (which, admittedly, they are) but he ate them anyway. They seem like they must be full of protein! They have a nice, unusual earthy taste. Everybody liked the curry, which is smooth and full of flavor.

Here’s Bob Marley with Wake Up and Live.
Continue reading

Advertisements

Pistachio basil curry with crispy pistachio crusted eggplant sticks

Pistachio basil curry

Pistachio basil curry

Well the moon is broken
And the sky is cracked
Come on up to the house
The only things that you can see
Is all that you lack
Come on up to the house

All your cryin don’t do no good
Come on up to the house
Come down off the cross
We can use the wood
Come on up to the house

So goeth Tom Waits’ Come on up to the House, and so goeth our interactive Sunday playlist. We’re looking for songs about strange and intriguing places. They could be hotels, houses, islands, parks, churches, but there should be something mysterious about them, something that makes you want to explore them. Maybe they’re sheltering, maybe they’re scary, but they’re the stuff of local legend.

Pistachio crusted eggplant

Pistachio crusted eggplant

Wasn’t this a green meal? It’s a curry with chickpeas, red peppers and cherry tomatoes in a sweet spicy sauce of pistachios, baby spinach, and lots of basil. And I made thinly sliced crispy pistachio-crusted eggplant to go with it.

Here’s a link to your interactive playlist.
Continue reading

Curried chickpeas and cauliflower in spicy rich tomato sauce

Chickpea cauliflower curry

Chickpea cauliflower curry

I’ve been very fascinated by three words, lately, and I’m going to tell you why. These words are poignant, piquante, and pungent. Why do I love them? I love them because they teeter so wonderfully on the edge! They hover between senses, and they could evoke pleasure, pain, or some place that falls between the two! I love the way that, historically, they can be used to describe words, ideas, tastes, smells, expressions, or even hedgehog quills. They’re so keen and vibrant and cutting! According to my (shoddy) research, they all stem from a similar root. (I learned this while sitting on the couch next to Malcolm on a snowy evening, drinking a glass of wine and reading a dictionary. Honestly, what could be better than that?) They’re all the descendants of words that mean “to prick or to sting.” At one time, a piquant was a sharp object, like a hedgehog quill. From 1494, “The herichon…is…armyt…with spines thornys or pickandis.” And pungent described a sharp and pricking pain. From 1617, “The Vrine bloody, the Excrements purulent, and the Dolour pricking or pungent.” Each of these words also describes a flavor or smell that is sharp and piercing, sometimes pleasantly so, sometimes not. From The Canterbury Tales, “Wo was his cook but if his sauce were poynaunt and sharp.” Each word also describes ideas that are sharply or cleverly expressed. From 1661, “No author hat so pungent passages against the Pride and Covetousness of the Court of Rome.” Sometimes the effect of these words is painful or wounding. From 1651, “By some picquant words or argutenesse to put them into choler.” Piquant, pungent and poignant all describe something stimulating to the mind, feelings, or passions. From 1668, “That our Delights thereby may become more poinant and triumphant.” From Jane Eyre, “Besides, the eccentricity of the proceeding was piquant: I felt interested to see how he would go on.” From 1850, “Every amusement and all literature become more pungent.” But sometimes the emotion provoked is so strong as to become painful or unbearable, just as a scent or taste might be too sharp or spicy or sour to be palatable. From 1684, “Intolerably pungent grief and sorrow.” From 1728, “This final Answer threw the King of Portugal into the most poinant Despair.” Everything is connected! Words and ideas have flavor, scents stimulate the mind, emotions and tastes are so wonderfully provoking that it’s almost too much to bear! Mr. Rochester understood this, he describes falling in love with Jane, “…I was an intellectual epicure, and wished to prolong the gratification of making this novel and piquant acquaintance…” I love the idea of anything felt so strongly, both bitter and sweet, as life is, but fully tasted, fully explored, fully felt.

And this was a piquant dish! It’s loosely based on an Indian Makhani recipe. Makhani means “with butter,” and this does have some butter and a little bit of cream, so it’s quite rich. But it also has tomatoes and spices to keep it lively. The cauliflower is roasted separately and added at the end, stirred in carefully because it’s delicate and flavorful.

Here are Jordi Savall and Christophe Coin playing St. Colombe’s poignant Les Pleurs.

Continue reading