Here’s King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band with Workingman’s Blues.
I was up all night! Usually when I say that, I mean that I was up most of the night, but that I got a few hours of sleep towards dawn. Not last night!! No sleep at all! I’m tuckered. I’m likely to spew uncommonly inarticulate gibberish, if I try to put a sentence together. And I’m late for work, I have a long day ahead of me, sadly, because it’s a chilly, rainy, perfect-for-napping day. So I’ll just share a few things that I like.
One is this poem by Basho
Awake at night
Awake at night–
the sound of the water jar
cracking in the cold.
One is this photo of a Parisian kitchen by Atget. I love to look at this and try to figure out what’s in all the little bags and tins, and imagine the life of the people that cook here.
And finally, this recipe for a cheesy cormeal roasted beet cake. I felt like a warm, soft comforting meal, the other night, so I made this slightly odd dish. It’s savory, a little sweet, soft, slightly crispy, and delicious. The boys liked it too. We ate it with a tangy tomato sauce, but any kind of sauce you like would work here.
Here’s Lose this Skin, by the Clash, which was in my head all night. I love it, but it’s a doozy when you can’t sleep.
When I was little we lived in England one summer, during the Olympics. To my shame, I remember being actually bewildered that the announcers spoke more about English athletes than Americans. Didn’t everybody in the world care more about our superior American athletes even than their own? Didn’t they? Heh heh. With independence day drawing on apace, it’s probably a good time to examine our place in the world as Americans and as human beings. Luckily for you I have to go to work in a short while, so I’ll talk about grilling vegetables instead. We grilled beets, mushrooms, and potatoes. Of course you could grill any vegetables you like, but I recommend this combination. The beets and mushrooms have a nice juiciness, everything is crispy, earthy, smoky and delicious. I like a simple marinade for grilled vegetables. Olive oil, vinegar, fresh herbs and garlic. I added some nigella seeds because I just got them for the first time and I’m very excited about them! But if you can’t find them you could live without. We also sauteed the beet greens with some chard, and I used zatar spices, because I just bought sumac, and I’m very excited about that, too!! And the pecan tarragon tarrator sauce is a lovely, creamy, vegan, subtly flavored sauce that goes very sweetly with the earthy grilled vegetables. Malcolm ate his grilled vegetables on toast, and he made it into Darth Vador’s Tie Fighter. (serving suggestion)
Here’s a little film of Louis Armstrong playing Stuttin with some Barbecue, and dancing with Velma Middleton.
Here’s LL Cool J (and Adam Horowitz!) with I Need a Beet
Yesterday I got home from work quite tired, and we decided to have a simple meal – so I oven roasted some fries, and made some roasted beet hummus with smoked paprika, cumin, lime and fresh basil, and we had a big salad of farm greens, apples, hazelnuts and goat cheese. Perfect.
Here’s The Selecter and Dave Barker with What a Confusion.
My friend Neil told me about them years ago. I’m a huge fan of all lentils, but these sounded exceptional, and I became determined to find them. To no avail. Neil lives in Germany, and it turns out that the Germans are several years ahead of us in lentil availability. I bought some urad dal, I thought it might be similar. Not so. Jump ahead a couple of years, and I found myself in Whole Foods. For me, Whole Foods is a forbidden land. Everything is too tempting and too beautiful and too expensive. I rarely go, and then only on precise pinpointed missions. I went this week to find golden beets (my new questing food!). Straight into produce, secure the beets, get out. But no – you have to walk all over the crazy store to get to the checkout. Of course I passed the castelvetrano olives. So pretty, so delicious. And then my greatest challenge. The bulk food aisle. Black rice! I haven’t had that since the Tibetan store closed down. The one with the nice man who used to give Malcolm little bags of black rice. Sigh. And then, a few bins down…BLACK BELUGA LENTILS!
As I walked to the checkout, grappling with all of my little bags of food and tubs of olives (I hadn’t gotten a basket. I wouldn’t need a basket, I was only buying one thing…) This recipe formed in my head. The colors! The flavors! The textures! We would have a sort of pilaf or warm salad, of black rice, black lentils, roasted golden beets, sauteed beet greens, castelvetrano olives and capers. (Malcolm’s first time knowingly eating a caper – he called them “flavor dynamite.”) All layered on a big plate of fresh baby spinach and topped with toasted hazelnuts. Part warm, part cool, a little smoky with Spanish paprika, a little sweet with oregano and basil, a little earthy with beets and sage. Finished with a tangy sweet balsamic and lots of black pepper. And rosemary roasted red bliss potatoes on the side. Delicious!
In the interest of keeping it ordinary, I should tell you that this would be very nice made with basmati rice and not-so-ugly-themselves french lentils and red beets.
I asked Neil to play guest DJ for this post. Here’s what he said…
“Recipe sounds big and brassy…so how about Bold and Black, an Eddie Harris composition played by Ramsey Lewis…from the album Another Voyage. Some smoky rhythm guitar, that sweet melody on Rhodes, and the wonderfully earthy drum riff which kicks off the groove section.” Perfect!!