Semolina crusted roasted eggplant, potatoes and butterbeans

Semolina crusted eggplant, potatoes and butterbeans

Semolina crusted eggplant, potatoes and butterbeans

It’s been a strange day. It’s been a strange week. I started this hours ago, and I was going to talk very wisely about Au Hazard Balthazar, but nobody slept last night, it’s rained hard all day, and the power went out. So here we are, hours later, and everything feels very serious, very heavy. The anniversary of the March on Washington–fifty years–sets you thinking about how much has changed and how much has not, both in the country and in the lives of all the people that lived through it all, and are still living through it every day. I’m scared of another war and sick of awards shows of any kind. It’s hard to know where to turn your mind. Well! The other day I accidentally discovered this video of The Washboard Serenaders, and I just love it. They seem so happy and alive and glad to be together making music. They combine humbling amounts of speed and technical prowess with real grace and space, or so it seems to me. Kazoo!

I tried to find more information on them, and apparently they were a loose collection of musicians that collaborated and travelled under various names, and went on to work with other groups in other styles. I love the idea of artistic collaboration, be it musical, or visual, or filmic. Especially when they’re bursting with love for what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with, as they seem to be here.

Here’s another video of The Washboard Rhythm Kings, with some astounding washboardery.

Semolina coated eggplant, potatoes and butterbeans

Semolina coated eggplant, potatoes and butterbeans

More crispy eggplant! Which is really the only way I like it. I combined slices of eggplant with slices of potato and big buttery butter beans, marinated them with fresh herbs, coated them all with egg and semolina flour, and roasted them in olive oil till they were crispy. They need a sauce, too, I think. We ate them with a spicy sauce made from fresh tomatoes and baby spinach, but any simple tomato sauce will do.

Here’s a whole album of The Washboard Rhythm Kings.

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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.
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Semolina-pine nut crusted mushrooms and eggplant and goat cheese pesto dipping sauce

Crispy semolina-pine nut crusted mushrooms and eggplant

Crispy semolina-pine nut crusted mushrooms and eggplant

For the longest time we’ve talked about riding our bikes up the towpath to the next town to get breakfast. It’s been an adventure we would go on, someday. Well, today was that day. And a beautiful day it is, too. Seventy degrees, crisp, autumnal, sunny. In fact it was so chilly in the shade on the way out that Isaac said his legs were turning into icicles, so he pedaled extra hard to get into the sunshine. David and Malcolm rode on ahead, and I went at an Isaac’s pace. When I told him that he uses as much energy talking as pedaling, he was silent for a few moments, but when he’s silent he’s thoughtful, and then he has to talk about all of his thoughts. Why do flies like poop? Why do airplanes fly so high in the sky? Can you imagine how happy Clio will be when we get home? She’s going to lick us all over and tell us that we’re excellent. On the way out, this part of the path was all covered in shadows, and he was cold, but now it’s mostly sunny, and he’s warm. Did I recognize how much it had changed? He’s almost certainly beaten his record for farthest ever biking, but it felt like it only took a second. Didn’t it feel like it only took a second? Yes, yes it did. This whole summer felt like it only took a second. This morning we rode over dried leaves, and golden leaves fell in lazy circles all around us, spiraling around Isaac’s bright yellow helmet. A few weeks ago this path was teeming with flowers–honey suckle and wild rose–and it smelled almost unbearably sweet. Now it smelled sharp, like pine and lemon, like the tough green walnuts all over the ground. It’s only August but this morning felt like autumn, and I wondered as I always do how I can feel so much anticipation and regret all at the same time. I thought about Isaac talking and talking, and about how I know that when he’s anxious he talks more and more and his voice gets higher. And how I know that when Malcolm’s anxious he gets very quiet, and stares around with his big beautiful eyes, taking everything in. I thought about the fact that Malcolm knows why I never put anything in my right pocket, and it feels so strange that he knows something about me from my history, from before he was born. Isaac said he’s afraid of heights, and I thought about how he hasn’t ever really been anywhere very high. To him the view from David’s shoulders is dizzying. I feel like we should take him places, we should travel. But it’s nice for now that a trip four miles up the tow path is a momentous exploit.

Semolina and pine nut coated mushrooms and eggplant

Semolina and pine nut coated mushrooms and eggplant

This sauce was made by speedily combining goat cheese, milk, and pesto. And the eggplant and mushrooms were made by marinating them in olive oil, balsamic, and herbs, and then coating them with egg, and then coating them with a mixture of semolina flour and pine nuts. Deeeeelicious. I roasted them, and they got nice and crispy, but still tender inside. Even the boys liked them. We ate it as a meal with potatoes and chard, but I suppose it would make a good appetizer as well.

Here’s Sir Lord Comic with Dr. Feelgood, because we’ve been listening to it a lot lately.

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Summer stew with white beans, potatoes, crispy eggplant and basil-pistachio pesto

Summer stew with white beans, potatoes and tomatoes

Summer stew with white beans, potatoes and tomatoes

This morning Malcolm and I went out for a long walk on the tow path. He told me about a dream he’d had. The water turned to air and the air turned to water. So the fish swam in air below us, and we walked through water as though we were flying. There were strange creatures in the water that we moved through: tadpoles with teeth, ducks with oddly shaped wings, lizards with tongues longer than their bodies that lived on our backs and were our friends. In this new world we walked though forests of “wimping trees,” that had fallen over, swooning, and were easy for us to climb. The water rose up into space, but an evil wizard had rented out all of space, so there was no space for rent, no space for rent. As we walked it became less the memory of a dream and more the telling of a story. We saw a clicking kingfisher and a bright swooping gold finch. I was hazy from sleep and felt that I might be moving through water, rippling with Malcolm’s words of a world turned upside down. The trees and bushes had bright flashes of crimson and pale gold, which seems too early but is not unwelcome.

So today’s interactive playlist is on the subject of dreams. Songs about dreams, or songs that that just seem dreamy. Add them to the list yourself, or leave a comment and I’ll try to remember to add them through the week.

Basil pistachio pesto

Basil pistachio pesto

This is my favorite kind of meal! Something saucy and flavorful made from potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and herbs fresh from the farm, with a big loaf of crusty bread to mop up the sauces. I served olives, grated mozzarella, pesto and crispy eggplant on the side, to add as you like. I used french-lentil cooking broth, but you could use a simple vegetable broth or even water, and it would still have nice flavor.

Here’s a link to the dreamy interactive playlist.
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