chickpea guacosalsa or salsamole

Chickpea saslamole

Chickpea saslamole

This afternoon Clio and I walked to school to pick up the boys, as we always do. I looked down at her, and she seemed very serious, head down, ears bobbing as earnestly as ears can bob. Yes, she has a light elegant gait and shiny white socks, but at this moment her pace was very businesslike. She had somewhere to be, and she was determined to get there. Dogged, I thought, Clio is demonstrating the definition of dogged.
Clio

Clio


I know that Clio considers walking the boys to and from school her job. She knows by some mysterious internal clock when it’s time to get them, and if I make any move around that time, she follows me frantically, worried that she’ll be left behind. What a wonderful work ethic she has! She knows where she’s going and she heads there at a relatively steady pace. If you were, oh, I don’t know, writing a novel, say, this would be the equivalent of writing a little bit every day, forcing yourself to write a few pages so that you will get where you’re going in a timely manner. We don’t take the same route every time, but we always arrive in the same place. She’s happy to let the walk take her where it will as long as we’re headed towards the school, but if I try to turn in the wrong direction she stops. She looks at me with serious, wondering eyes, she won’t move. She’s goal-oriented, but she’s willing to explore different options in achieving that goal. She’s willing to let herself get distracted by important things, like squirrels or sparrows, she’ll gladly stop to greet a friend, but she always has one paw back on the path, ready to continue the journey. Most of all, Clio’s work is full of the weighty buoyant responsibility of love. She enjoys the walk, sure, and she doesn’t mind the wait at the other end, as long as she has a few sticks to chew on. But the real reward is leaping happily on the boys when they finally emerge from the school. Her love for them has brought her out, in every kind of weather, when the sidewalks were slick with rain or treacherous with slush and ice. She’s joyfully, bouncingly dogged. She’s a true amateur.

Chickpea salsamole

Chickpea salsamole

This is so easy, so delicious, and so versatile. It’s a little like guacamole, a little like salsa, and a little like a cool chickpea salad. You could add anything you want to this! Garlic, raw or roasted, onions or chives, jalapeƱos, olives, capers, hot sauce, cheese…anything! I used cilantro from our garden and beautiful golden oregano from the CSA that we belong to. I like this to stuff inside a pita or tortilla with some croquettes or beans and rice.

Here’s Uncle Tupelo with I Want to be your Dog. I LOVE this cover!
Continue reading

Chickpeas, tomatoes and pesto

…and kohlrabi slaw with walnut and scallion dressing!

Chickpeas & pesto

We watched a remarkable movie the other night. Waste land, which is about Brazilian artist Vik Muniz’s lengthy project of making portraits of catadores, garbage pickers at the Jardim Gramacho landfill in Rio de Janeiro, was engrossing, disturbing, inspiring and hopeful, all at the same time. The landfill itself was massive and horrifying, and the jobs of the pickers – sorting through mountains of garbage to collect recyclables – seemed too awful to imagine. Yet they were cheerful, if not happy, and they’d created a supportive community for each other. Muniz makes a series of portraits of catadores in poses borrowed from famous paintings, and he uses the recyclable materials from the landfill as his medium. Waste Land reminded me of a film by Agnes Varda called The Gleaners and I. Varda, who is wonderfully curious and engaging, shoots a documentary about gleaners, people who follow after the harvest has been collected, to pick the fruit that was left behind. Varda shows people who find food and other treasures in vineyards, fields, and urban markets. Some live on the food and money they make from the objects they find. Some turn them into art. The film is a history of gleaning, a portrait of gleaners, a meditation on aging, a subtle examination of the artist as a gleaner, of the documentarian as a person who collects treasures from the world around her. Both films are about excess and waste, beauty and love. They are about the strength and fragility of people – in body and spirit. In both films, many of the people we meet have been living in this way, literally on the outskirts of society, since childhood, even for generations. They’re bright and energetic and resilient, but both films are permeated with an atmosphere of mortality and decay. The stories of the catadores and the gleaners remind us that life is fragile, and our position in society is more so. In this country we talk about a “safety net,” which seems to have failed many of these people completely. And yet they’ve built their own community to protect each other, and care for each other, to feed each other – they’ve built libraries and learning centers. Aunt Irma has set up huge pots in Jardim Gramacho, and she cooks for the pickers, using food thrown away by grocery stores and restaurants, brought to her as fresh as possible. She seems so happy with her life, and her role of feeding her friends, that it made me weepy. I could go on and on! Both films contained layer upon layer of meaning and beauty and emotion.

Kohlrabi slaw with walnut/scallion dressing

But I’ll move right along now, to tell you about a meal that we partially gleaned. We were walking home from rec camp, on a blisteringly hot day. We passed a table with an awning covered with baskets of vegetables. It was part of an outreach program from Fisherman’s Mark, a local organization, called Farmers, Families, and Fisherman’s Mark. Local farms bring their excess produce, or the produce that’s just nearly past it, and they teach classes on nutrition, and provide demonstrations of easy ways to prepare the vegetables. We stopped for a glass of ice water, a moment in the shade and a chat, and left with some burstingly ripe tomatoes, a few kohlrabi, and a loaf of day-old whole grain bread. It was nearly too hot to cook, even for me, so we decided to open a can of chickpeas, and toss them with tomatoes, toasted cubes of bread, pesto, and small chunks of mozzarella cheese. All to be served over fresh and crispy baby arugula. I decided to cook the tomatoes just for a second, because I like how saucy they get, and I like the fact that they melt the cheese a little bit, but you could leave this step out, especially if you have fresh mozzarella! And I made the kohlrabi into a sweet and spicy slaw with carrots and a walnut scallion dressing.

Here’s Apfelsextet, by Pierre Barbaud from the Gleaners and I.
Continue reading