Carrots and cauliflower in carrot-ginger-lemon sauce with cashews

Coconut ginger lemon sauce

Coconut ginger lemon sauce

It’s Saturday again, and you know what that means! It’s story time! Here’s your picture for the week. Who is this fellow, and how did he end up at Joe’s in 1954? As ever, my story is after the jump, and yours could be, too.
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Here’s a link to the post with the original idea for the series.

This was a delicious sauce. It had a lot of ginger in it, which gave a nice little zing to the tartness of the lemon and the creamy sweetness of the coconut milk. It would be good with other vegetables as well – broccoli would be nice! We ate it with long thin pasta, but it would be good over basmati rice as well.

Here’s Mississippi John Hurt with Joe Turner Blues

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Broccoli and chickpeas in coconut curry sauce

Broccoli chickpea coconut curry

Broccoli chickpea coconut curry

Well! I’ve finally finished Brothers Karamazov, and to celebrate we’re going to have a party. I sent Malcolm to the store and I told him to tell the shopkeeper that Claire sends her greetings, “and will be there directly…. But listen, listen, tell them to have champagne, three dozen bottles, ready before I come, and packed as it was to take to Mokroe. I took four dozen with me then…they know all about it, don’t you trouble…Stay, listen; tell them to put in cheese, Strasburg pies, smoked fish, ham, caviare, and everything, everything they’ve got, up to a hundred roubles, or a hundred and twenty as before…. But wait: don’t let them forget dessert, sweets, pears, watermelons, two or three or four — no, one melon’s enough, and chocolate, candy, toffee, fondants;” That being vegetarian versions of smoked fish and ham, of course! And David said I have to write a twenty page paper on the book, so I’ll share that here, shall I? Ready? Do you have your glass of tea and plate of salted fish and cherry jam? Let’s begin! I’m kidding, of course! No scholarly paper. However, I read that Dostoyevsky had intended to write a sequel about the life of Alyosha, but he died before he had the chance. So I’ve decided to take it upon myself to complete the task. A bit of Karamazov fan fiction, if you will. Of course, we’re going to sex it up a bit for our modern audience. No tortured discussions about spirituality or morality – there’s just no market for that these days. Instead, it’s all going to go like this… Lise, of course, is a vampire. Weak, pale, pretty and wicked, what else could she be? But she’s one of those sparkly vampires. And she bites Alyosha, and then dresses him like this, “I should like you to have a dark blue velvet coat, a white pique waistcoat, and a soft grey felt hat….” And then Alyosha, instead of wandering around trying to solve everybody’s problems and worrying for their souls, will solve all their problems by relieving them of their souls, and turning them, too, into sparkly vampires. Meanwhile, Dmitri’s attempt at escape from prison (which will be described in nail-bitingly extensive detail) will fail, and he’ll be sent to Siberia in exile. But this won’t be a dull, workaday work camp kind of story. Oh no! It will be subtitled Survivor: Siberia, and will tell the tale of a bevy of lordly types roughing it in a grand competition in the frozen wastes of Siberia. They’ll be voted out of exile one at a time, until the winner remains alone. Sadly, he’ll still be alone in exile for twenty years, which will be dull, so we’ll forget all about him. And Ivan, broody young Ivan, will provide the comic relief, as he sets up an apartment with his pesky devil, and they bicker humorously about whether or not either of them exists! Until, of course, he’s turned into a vampire by Lise and then… Well, I confess I haven’t figured out how to end it yet. Something big! Something thrilling! Leave them wanting more! Yes. Actually, I feel a little irreverent for speaking of Brothers Karamazov in this way! It touched me very deeply, and gave me much to think about, and I feel such genuine affection for Dmitri, with his wild impulsive ways and his generous heart, Ivan, with his oddly hopeful despairing cynicism, and, of course sweet, honest, strong Alyosha.

So, broccoli, chickpeas and corn in a curried coconut sauce. This was delicious! And every member of the family liked it and ate several helpings, and I ate the leftovers cold before bed one night. It struck me that the mix of ingredients and spices was a little odd, but I liked them all together. It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, and quite savory all at once. We ate it over basmati rice, and that was nice!

Here’s Saint Behind the Glass by Los Lobos (from Nacho Libre), because it seems to fit!

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Kale and chickpea curry with ricotta naan

Kale and chickpea curry

Kale and chickpea curry

I love to walk to school with Isaac: it’s one of my favorite rituals of the day. He holds my hand and lags behind slightly, and Clio lunges ahead after squirrels, cats, or even any spiraling dry leaf. Clio runs in circles around us, and Isaac sings or tells jokes. His jokes are perfect, sweet and nonsensical. He told an existential one the other day that was very clever, and it went a little something like this…Q: What did the birthday say to today? A: How do you like the present? B’dum tish! Today he told a joke, and I just didn’t “get it,” because I’m quite slow sometimes. I said, “I don’t quite understand your joke.” He said, “that’s okay, it wasn’t much of a joke.” As we approach the school, we start falling in line with his friends, and they form little shifting huddles, and then they all rush, joyously, to their doorway. Clio and I stand watching them, out in doggy exile, and when Malcolm sees us he walks over, cool and slow, and Clio falls all over herself trying to give him hugs and kisses. Miss Sandra, the crossing guard, greets everybody with good cheer, and leaves us all with a “have a good day,” and you believe that she means it, that somehow the fact that she said it might actually help you to have a good day. All around the courtyard, happy excited children fly about, glowing like fireflies. They greet their friends and hug their parents goodbye. I’ve always thought that the amount of energy and love, spoken and unspoken, that radiates from a typical drop-off at our school shines so brightly it could be seen from outer space. It must be like that for every school in the country. Drop-off was emotional this morning. The children flew happily about like they always do, but the parents and teachers – and there were more of them around than usual- were quiet and thoughtful, full of concerns, and hopes, and good wishes, forming a strong web of good will and sympathy that must spread from school to school across the country and beyond.

This was a strange weekend to be at work – so grey and dreary, the restaurant was not at all busy, and I just wanted to be home, where it was warm and bright and my family scampered through the day. I thought all day, too, about making this curry. I wanted something bright and warm and comforting and flavorful. So that’s what I made. It’s got a sauce made with cashews, golden raisins and coconut (I used just plain old sweetened flaked coconut, as it happens.) And it’s got kale, potatoes and chickpeas. It had a nice texture, soft, but not mushy, and the flavor was a little sweet, a little spicy, and balanced with lemon. And these naan!! I had some ricotta left over from a tart I made the other day, and I decided to make the naan with that instead of yogurt, as is traditional. And I added an egg and some melted butter. Maybe I should stop calling them naan, as I drift farther and farther from the original recipe! They turned out so delicious, though. Tender, flavorful, simple. I couldn’t stop eating them!! None of this was hard to make, either, it was an after-work meal, after all.

ricotta naan

ricotta naan

Here’s Ombra Mai Fu, from Handel’s Xerxes. My friend Diane suggested it yesterday, and it’s so beautiful!

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