Red bean, potato and pine nut tacos…and croquettes

Red bean, potato, and pine nut croquettes

Red bean, potato, and pine nut croquettes

We woke up this morning to grey and stormy skies, torrential rains, thunder, flood warnings. Everything was dark and slaty as far as we could see; grey upon grey upon grey. I’ve always liked a day like this in the summer time, a day to stay inside, to read and write and eat chocolate. (Of course that was before the boys and the stir craziness and the cabin feverish daziness.) I’ve always seen a lot of beauty in a grey day, and this seems like a good time to finish my small series of discussions of kitchen sink films, by talking about Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner. It’s a beautiful film despite the relentless smoky greyness of the industrial landscape, despite the gloomy wintery bleakness. The film tells the story of Colin, a poor boy from Nottingham played with characteristic brilliance by Tom Courtenay. He doesn’t have a lot of options in life, he doesn’t have a lot of hope, and he takes advantage of an open window to pilfer a cash box. It’s the rain that gives him away, washing all of the money out of its hiding place in a drain pipe to collect around his feet while he’s being interrogated by a policeman. He finds himself in a boy’s reformatory, and his only relief from the drudgery and degradation is running. He runs to escape, but you feel as though he runs to figure things out, too. He finds the space to think, in the solitude, in the regular rhythm of his feet. He finds joy and solace, and he finds enough hope and self-respect to quietly take a stand against the repressive authorities and the brutally condescending public school boys he’s pitted against in a race. As he comes to understand his life and his place in the world while he runs, so do we, we share in his memories to see what brought him to this place, and we share a bleak sort of hopefulness for his future. He might be stuck in a place he doesn’t want to live, but at least he can live with himself and his decisions.

Red bean, potato, pine nut tacos

Red bean, potato, pine nut tacos

This is two two two meals in one! I made tacos with potatoes and green peppers and tomatoes from the farm, with some crispy diced tomatoes and pine nuts. They were somewhat smoky, with smoked paprika and chipotle puree. We ate them with warm tacos, basmati rice, grated cheese, and avocados mixed with cherry tomatoes. The next day I combined the leftover bean mixture with the leftover rice to make croquettes, which were almost better than the tacos themselves!

Here’s Belle and Sebastian’s The Loneliness of the Middle Distance Runner. One of my favorites!

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Butternut squash steaks with port wine/portobella/sage sauce and Hash browns with pistachios

Butternut steaks

Butternut steaks

Malcolm is home sick from school, and I’m not feeling 100% myself. We’re having such a nice day! We had a lot of big plans, but we’re not doing any of them. Mostly, we’re sitting on the couch, glad to be together, and reminiscing about the time Clio sneezed 6 times in a row.

I thought this was such a nice meal. It started as a mistake, almost, so it’s an example of taking a culinary wrong turn and finding yourself on an even better road! I had the idea of roasting “steaks” of butternut squash. I thought I’d try marinating them. I know they wouldn’t absorb as much marinade as, say, eggplant or mushrooms, but I thought they might absorb some. So I cut them about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Then I made a marinade of rosemary, sage, garlic, port wine, balsamic and olive oil. I let them sit for more than an hour, turning them once. They did take on some of the color and flavor! Then I had the bright idea of trying to dip them in egg and bread them, in the manner that I make eggplant. This didn’t work at all! I think if I’d steamed them first, they would have absorbed more of the marinade, and been better able to hold onto their crust. As it was, the crust turned crispy and delicious, and then came right off the steaks. Did I panic? I did not. I scraped the crust (made from bread crumbs and pistachio kernels) right off of the steaks, and I mixed it in with my mashed potatoes! I’d been planning to make hash browns with some leftover mashed potatoes, because Malcolm likes them. I didn’t know he did, but he told me at the reader’s breakfast at school he ate all of his hash browns, and Isaac’s and some other friends, too!! It’s funny when you learn something new about someone you know so well! They’re a bit like croquettes, I guess with the crumbs and nuts added in. I suppose if you put some cheese in, you’d have a meal! Anyway…the butternut steaks roasted up nicely without the breading – they were soft on the inside, and just browned and a little crispy and caramelized on the outside. And I used the marinade sauce, combined with some roasted mushrooms, to make a sort of gravy for the steaks. Everything was very nice together – a real meat and potatoes meal!

Leftovers tacos

Leftovers tacos

The next day, after work, I combined leftover hash browns, leftover mushroom sauce, and diced leftover roasted squash with black beans to make a filling for tacos. We ate it with warm tortillas, crisp romaine lettuce, basmati rice and some grated extra sharp cheddar. Also very delicious!! It was so good it would be worth making from scratch! It would make a good filling for a savory pie!

Here’s The Joe Morello Quintet ft. Art Pepper with Pepper Steak
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