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
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.
Greens olives and pecan tart
Malcolm and Isaac did some free writing in school. Isaac said that he wrote about Clio, our puppy. He wrote that she was mostly housebroken. It’s sweet that he loves her, and he’s “writing what he knows,” which is the oldest advice in the book. He’s writing about something solid and important to him. We asked Malcolm what he wrote about, and I expected something along the same lines. “Tennis ball world!” Yes, a world made entirely of tennis racket strings. We all have tennis balls on our shoes, and we bounce from place to place. And there’s water under the tennis racket strings, and we all have cups that we can dip in the water… I love both answers so much! For some reason it made me think of Thoreau’s quote, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” For Malcolm and Isaac at this moment, imagination is their work. Letting their minds wander, and inventing new worlds and new ways of living in this world is their job. I love to see the earthbound objects that hold their flights of fancy. Everything they see and hear and find and eat, everything is fed into the fire of their imaginations and comes out wonderfully transformed. My mom and dad gave Malcolm my old tennis rackets. Isaac’s new pictures of dragons have Clio’s claws. It’s all connected. I hope as they get older they manage to find a balance between practical and fantastical. I’ve seen their drawings and heard their stories, I know they’ll both make remarkable castles.
This tart has layers. It has lots of greens. It’s very densely greeny. The crust is tall and thin and crispy, to provide some crunch for all the greeniness. We got bags of small fall lettuces from the CSA. They’re a little bitter, and very delicate. Not to everyone’s taste in a salad. But if you sautee them lightly, and then combine them with eggs and cheese, their sharpness provides just the right kick. If you can’t find little fall lettuces, you can use arugula. The second layer also involves greens. It’s chard, not pureed, but chopped, so it retains some of it’s lovely texture. It’s combined with olives and garlic. And the top layer is a sort of pecan frangipane – another custard, that has the sweet nutty taste of pecans whirled right in.
Here’s one of my all time favorites…Clap Your Hands Say Yeah with Mama Won’t You Keep Them Castles in the air Burning?