Zucchini-corn-basil soup and herbed semolina biscuits

Zucchini corn soup

When last we’d left our intrepid explorers, Claire was yelling at Malcolm and feeling bad about it. CUT TO…several days later. Claire’s walking home from work. She’s tired, and if we’re being honest, she’s a little cranky and discouraged. Suddenly, through the shifting crowd of tourists, she sees two beaming faces bobbing towards her. It’s her boys! Isaac stops at the corner, and leans cooly against a lamppost; Malcolm charges across the street and nearly knocks her over with the force of his hug. Back in their paint-peeling, disordered, yet charming home, Claire makes a quick and delicious dinner. Then she and Malcolm set out to get a cup of coffee and a quart of milk for their breakfast. The air is cool and sweet, it’s a peach of an evening – a perfectly ripe, sweet, peach of an evening. So they take the long way, they walk down to the tow path. Malcolm says he wants to swim, but the air is like water, and it feels good when he flaps his arms like wings. Claire loves him so much she could cry, at that moment, but they walk along the towpath, both flapping their arms slowly like big strange birds. They meet friends who had a beagle that died the same week Steenbeck did. They have a new beagle puppy, who’s boundingly happy. They all seem happy, and they remark that Malcolm is almost as tall as Claire. “I know!” she replies, “and he’s only ten!” When Malcolm and Claire reach the main street, the shop is closed, so they keep walking. Somehow, Malcolm catches Claire’s hand…and holds it! Claire feels as though she’s caught a rare, sweet toad, that might jump through her fingers. This won’t happen much longer, she knows that. On the way home, they pass a boy they knew when he was Malcolm’s age. Now he’s a teenager, a big, lanky, laughing teenager, walking with his friends. Malcolm eyes them appraisingly. In the house, David and Isaac are playing a game with bug-inscribed tiles. Claire passes through the house to the backyard, because the air is so delicious. She listens to the katydids and the whirring evening insects. David joins her, and they hear a screech owl. He calls to it, and it calls back. They watch the day change into night, they feel the summer change into autumn. The boys come out, and Isaac curls up in Claire’s lap, his smooth cool/warm skin glowing milkily in the dusky light. They don’t want to go inside, they want to listen for the owl. It’s hard to make them go to bed, at this moment. CUT TO…

Herbed semolina biscuits

But wait a moment, you’re asking yourself! What was the quick and delicious dinner that Claire made? Well, I’ll tell you. It was a soup with zucchini, corn, scallions and lots of basil. Malcolm said it tasted like winter, and David said it tasted like something we’d eat in winter to remind ourselves of what summer tasted like. And we had biscuits made partly with semolina flour, with fresh sage, thyme, and oregano, and freshly ground black pepper in them. Isaac loved the biscuits. Everyone else liked everything together.

Here’s A Tribe Called Quest with Excursions. “I said, ‘Daddy, don’t you know that things go in cycles.'”
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Sesame tamarind broccoli

There’s a shocking secret behind this dish. First, I should tell you that it was very tasty. I should also tell you that Isaac, the world’s pickiest eater, ate most of this all by himself. He showed very little interest in the mound of macaroni and butter on his plate, in fact he shoved it aside to make room for more broccoli. The bowl of broccoli started in the middle of the table, and he slowly pulled it closer and closer to his plate. In the end, he ate straight out of the bowl. And now, for the shocking secret…I used leftover tamarind sauce from an Indian takeout meal!! Da da da dummmmmmmmm. You know when you get a meal from an Indian restaurant, and they give you a little container of mint-cilantro sauce (that’s the green one) and another of tamarind sauce (that’s the dark purply red one), and they taste so good that you don’t want to throw them away, even though you have nothing left to dip in them? Have you ever wondered what else you could do with them? Well! Here’s a solution. I got a beautiful little bunch of broccoli from our CSA. I wanted to do something simple with it, and I decided to try simmering it briefly in a tamarind broth. I added a little garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a spoonful of black sesame seeds, and that was that! Oh, and I topped with a bit of fresh basil, because at the moment everything I make gets a bit of fresh basil! If you don’t have tamarind sauce left from an Indian restaurant, you could add a dash of honey and balsamic (or lemon). It wouldn’t be the same, but it would still have that sweet/sour quality that tamarind imparts.

Here’s The Heptones with Sweet Talking 12″ disco mix! It’s beautiful. Sweet and a touch melancholy. Sigh.
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Toasted barley flatbread with sesame seeds

barley flatbread

You know who likes these? My son Isaac. He doesn’t like a lot of different flavors, but he gobbled these up and asked for more. As you might recall, I bought some Machica a few weeks ago, in my super bodega travels. Machica is a toasted barley flour, and mine is from Ecuador. I did a bit of research into recipes that call for toasted barley flour. I read about some rolls served in an ecuadorian restaurant, which sounded intriguing. But most of the recipes I came across were actually Tibetan, for a sesame-crusted flatbread that sounded delicious! This is my vague interpretation of that idea. Baked toasted barley has a lovely flavor – slightly sweet, distinctive but subtle. I have to be honest, and tell you that my flatbread became crisp bread, because I left it in the oven to keep warm after it was fully cooked, and it cooked further till it was more cracker-y than bread-y. Tasty, though! I could almost pretend that I’d done it on purpose. The other thing I might say, is that my sesame seeds (I used black, because I had them and they looked nice, but you could use white as well) fell off and, somehow, I got them all over my kitchen. If I were to make this again (which I will!) I’d knead them right into the dough. Yes I would.

Here’s Freddie Hubbard with Open Sesame.
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