Chard, raisins, pine nuts and butterbeans; tender rolls; chard & bulgur burgers

Tender rolls

Tender rolls

When I was younger I used to think a lot about how I could justify my existence. The phrase was frequently in my head , and I probably subjected my brother and other friends to heated discussions on the subject over Jamaican food. I think I used to believe that a person could justify their existence by creating an enduring work of something…literature, art, film, music. I don’t know, it was a long time ago and a muddle in my head. I don’t think about it too much any more. Maybe because everything is going so fast, maybe because I have the boys, which in some strange biological way settles the question. Partly, it seems a little arrogant and foolish to even think about trying to justify our existence. Somehow it seems unnecessary, ungrateful, impossible. We just keep going, as the lady at the food pantry said yesterday. But I’m still thinking about Michel Navratil, who survived the crash of the Titanic as a young boy. He was only a child, three or four years old, he didn’t understand what was happening, he didn’t choose to be saved. And later he said the he felt that he died that day, that he was “a fare dodger of life.” He was so separate from existence as the rest of us understand it that he was spared the burden of justifying himself. And those other people, that fought for a place on the boat, he doesn’t remember them very fondly: “The people who came out alive often cheated and were aggressive, the honest didn’t stand a chance.” I think I would have been one of those people, especially if my boys were on a boat. I think I would have fought like a lunatic to be with them. And I can’t help but wonder what life would have been like for a person who had gotten a place on a boat, by whatever means, from that point on. They must have felt that every moment should be treasured, every moment they should be making something, working towards something, helping someone. They have the heavy burden of having survived, and what a strange thing it must be to carry that from day to day. Or do we all have that? If we’re walking around the world today. Do we all have that?
Chard and bulgur burgers

Chard and bulgur burgers

What we have here is a meal in which one night’s dinner becomes the next night’s dinner in a different form. Typical Ordinary leftovers shenanigans. I’m on the record as saying that one of my favorite combinations is chard, pine nuts and raisins. So the first night we had that, with some herbs and butter beans thrown in. We ate it with bulgur which I had made with lentil broth. The next day, I made some very tender buttery rolls or hamburger buns. And I combined the leftover beans, chard and bulgur to make burgers. I added some bread crumbs, some smoked gouda, and an egg, and I made them into patties and fried them in olive oil. Very tasty!! The night after that, I broke the burgers into pieces, mixed them with greens and kidney beans, roasted peppers and tomatoes, and made tacos. And on and on it goes!!
Chard, butterbeans, pine nuts and raisins

Chard, butterbeans, pine nuts and raisins

Here’s Memphis Minnie with Today Today Blues. Just because I like it, today!

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Cousous, sweet potato, goat cheese croquettes

couscous croquettes

For these tasty croquettes I repurposed some lovely vintage articles that had been artisanally handcrafted a couple of days ago. That’s right, I used leftovers. Red beans left over from the stew, sweet potatoes left over from the fries, and couscous left over from a meal I didn’t even tell you about! The advantage to this, of course, is that everything’s already made, so you can throw these together when you have very little time after work, which is exactly what I did. Plus, everything already has its own seasoning from the previous meal, and they all happen to taste wonderful together. I think this would work well as reverse leftovers, if you know what I mean. You could make a batch of fries, a batch of couscous, and open a can of beans, make these lovely little croquettes, and then use the remaining ingredients for different meals in the weeks to come. You can always throw couscous and beans into a salad the next day, if you’re looking for an easy way out. Any way that you do it, these are worth making! They’re subtly sweet, because of the sweet potatoes, but this is balanced by the goat cheese, which has its own way of tang-ing up a dish, doesn’t it? We had these with warm tortillas, grated sharp cheddar, chopped romaine, the leftover stew, and with a nice spinach cashew sauce I’ll tell you about later. But I think they’d be nice with a simple tomato sauce, or romesco sauce, or chermoula sauce, or even BBQ sauce! I’m going to tell you how to make these as if I’d started from scratch, and the couscous and sweet potatoes will make a little extra for another time.

Here’s Tom Waits’ Yesterday is Here. Yesterday’s dinner is, anyway!
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