Pesto, lentil and tomato tart

Tomato, pesto, french lentil tart

Tomato, pesto, french lentil tart

This is the 900th post to come at you from The Ordinary. Nine hundred recipes and songs, 900 confused and meaningless meandering rambling essays. It’s crazy, I tell you. Crazy. It’s a crazy amount of words. The other night, whilst half-awake, I found myself composing an Ordinary post in my head, and I realized that I hadn’t done it in a while. And I realized that I missed it. I’ve always had words running through my head–does everybody? And I’ve always arranged them into phrases, and imagined them written. When I was little, I narrated my life in the third person. And then maybe everything was silent for a while. I can’t remember. Maybe I thought in pictures instead, and music, maybe I thought about movie scenes. But when I started writing posts from The Ordinary, when I really started writing essays, and not just providing tepid descriptions of food I’d cooked, I started to write in my head again. I was always thinking of things I could write about. Everything I saw or watched or heard or read seemed to filter itself into an Ordinary post. The world became reorganized in this way, reimagined, seen through Ordinary eyes. Everything seemed worth talking about. And then it was the novel, it took over my thoughts, and the characters spoke to each other in my head, and that was the best feeling of all. And then I fell out of the habit, and suddenly nothing seemed worth talking about, even everything I’d already written. The more you do something, the more you do something, and I think that’s good, and important to remember. If you’re feeling listless and detached, if you’re feeling whybotherish, start to do something you once enjoyed: draw, make music, cook, write. It might be hard at first, it might not come out like you’d planned, but the more you do it, the better it will feel, the more you’ll think about it when you’re not thinking about it, the more you’ll come back to it as your natural resting place. The very act of doing it will give it meaning and value, if you persevere. And that’s where I am now, coming out of the hazy lazy listless summer slump to sharpen my thoughts again, to point them in a certain direction and then follow wherever they lead. I’ll take all the splinters of words and images that have slept in my head all summer, and string them together, so that the words chasing each other around my head in the middle of the night become worth writing down in the morning, so that they become worth sharing.

Lentil, tomato and pesto tart

Lentil, tomato and pesto tart

In keeping with this august benchmark in Ordinary history, I’ll tell you about this very Ordinaryish tart. I love lentils! Especially French lentils! And I love tarts! And I love all of the abundant produce of summer. The pesto I made from basil from our yard and from the CSA we belong to. The tomatoes are from our yard (and they’re wonderful!) Everything was nice together, I think. Fresh, but earthy and satisfying. The crust is yeasted and has a little chickpea flour in for flavor, the pesto is made with pistachios, almonds and sharp cheddar. The lentils are flavored with a little cinnamon, cardamom, coriander and smoked paprika. Lovely spices for lentils.

Here’s 9th and Hennepin, by Tom Waits, because it’s been in my head all morning, and because it’s one of the best collections of words I’ve ever heard.
Continue reading

Double-crusted pecan, french lentil and chard pie

Lentil chard and pecan pie

Lentil chard and pecan pie

If the sun ever came out you felt that it might be warm, but the morning was cold and damp. A pretty mist clung to the ghostly sycamores and the blue-bronze wintery leaves, and it crept inside to chill your bones. All the vendors at the flea market huddled or paced behind their tables to keep warm. It was a slow day, but wednesdays are always slow days. They had a slight rush of business. A lunchtime rush? Too early for lunchtime, way too early for lunchtime. Well I’m eating lunch. Yeah, but you’ve been up since four. Oh, I got up at three this morning, and thought why bother going back to sleep? Oh, that’s just terrible. I can give you the owl for five dollars, or the goose for eight. Half price on all the jewelry, and everything is fifty cents in this box. Behind one table stood an elderly man with an unperturbable smile on his face. A woman walked up to his wares and he said, “Tremors!” by way of greeting. He held up his hands in demonstration, and they were, indeed shaking. “I’ve got tremors.” “Well, we still like you,” said the woman. “And I still like myself!” He replied brightly. And then they discussed crocheted blankets, just the thing to keep you warm an on early December morning.

French lentil, chard, and olive pie

French lentil, chard, and olive pie

We went to the flea market to search for Christmas presents and came home with nothing but a stack of cake pans and pie tins for Claire! What a brat. They’re beautiful and slightly mysterious vintage French pie tins and cake pans, and I love them. And I’m looking forward to using them. I made this pie in one such vintage french cake tins. It’s a little broader and flatter than a traditional American cake pan, which makes a nice double-crusted savory pie. This is filled with some of my favorites–french lentils, swiss chard and black olives. I also tried something new, which was to blend eggs with pecans and mix that right in with the filling. Almost like a pecan frangipane. I thought it turned out very tasty. If you don’t like olives, don’t be put off this recipe. Try substituting raisins!

Here’s Soldiers Things by Tom Waits, my flea market theme song.

Continue reading