Here’s I Wanna be Your Dog by Uncle Tupelo. I love this version!
(look at his little hands and feet tremble!)
This is a juvenile dormouse in a torpid state.
If it’s snowing where you are, or raining, or the least bit cold, you should probably just stay inside and watch these BBC dormouse videos.
Or you could make this nice bright stew. It has tiny potatoes, but you could use larger potatoes and cut them up. It has small white beans, and white wine, and rosemary, thyme and sage. It has spinach and castelvetrano olives, and the juice of a meyer lemon. It’s nice in winter, because it’s savory and satisfying, but vivid and green and juicy as well. It would be nice in spring or summer with fresh new potatoes and baby spinach. I served it over a medley of wheat grains…bulgur, farro, and freekeh. I thought they were nice together because they each have a different texture. We had some goat cheese caper toasts, too, which I might tell you about another time.
Your song for today is this whistling dormouse.
Today was a sad day for justice in America, a heartbreaking leap backwards. I’m sure that wiser and more articulate people than me will discuss it at great lengths, and I hope that before long a change will be made, we will have a new verdict, and we will have the kind of peace that can only come with justice. So today’s Sunday interactive playlist is on the subject of justice. Cries for justice such as Peter Tosh’s Equal Rights or stories of justice gone awry, such as Bob Dylan’s Seven Curses. If you can think of songs about justice being correctly meted out, those would be more than welcome, but I declare that I’m too saddened and discouraged to think of any at the moment!
And a recipe to go with our playlist, because even on a day such as this, we need to keep our strength up and nourish one another. Beets and greens, beets and greens. It’s been that kind of spring. This is a variation on my favorite dish, which is greens with raisins and pine nuts. Instead of raisins, we have lovely little sweet morsels of roasted beets. I used garlic scapes because I had them, but you could use regular garlic. I flavored this with fresh sage and rosemary from the farm. And I used chard and beet greens, but you could use spinach, kale, or even collards, if that’s what you’ve got. If you use kale or collards, you’ll want to parboil them for five or ten minutes to soften them up.
Here’s a link to your interactive playlist. Please add what you’d like, or leave a comment and I’ll add the song.
Well, I love this quote! I’d been thinking about these things – the mutability of morality, the shifting quality of truth, the unreliability of words. It struck me as so similar to Emerson’s “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day” (Thank you, universe, for making everything connect.) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m a very vague person, I’m blurry at the edges, and I see the world this way. I think it’s dangerous to decide the world is a certain way, and that we have to act in a certain way in the world, according to a strict set of rules. The idea that morality should come from within – that we need a core of strength despite the fact that the outlines are shifting – is so hopeful about humanity, but it’s a little frightening, too. It would be a comfort to believe that there’s some larger system to decide right and wrong – to reward the good and punish the wicked. But how often have these ideals been corrupted by the people that claim to interpret them for us? How dangerous it is to stubbornly hold onto conclusions to the point where we act out of habit, thoughtlessly, without consideration. How much better to constantly question, to actively seek answers, even though they might not exist in any definitive form, or they may shift and change the moment we catch up to them. And to struggle to express ourselves and share our thoughts, even though the words themselves are as transparent and mutable as water. The world is constantly changing, time is streaming by us, we’re never grown-up, we’re never done. It’s a silly notion, but I have a dream-like image of people as spirits, moving through the world, with some sort of light of truth inside of them, burning strong. What nonsense I’m spouting today! What extra-special foolishness! Happy shrove tuesday! A day that we confess our sins and eat pancakes! I like the idea of pancakes as absolution. I know it doesn’t quite work that way, but it’s a nice notion, anyway. I believe the original habit of pancake-eating on shrove Tuesday began as a way to use up all the fat and sugar in the cupboard before then lenten fast began. Or, more likely, it was because it was February, and everybody wanted something simple and comforting. Like this Seussically green, fat, cheesy pancake! We had some saucy chili left over, and I wanted something to eat it with. Something the boys would like, that would contain vegetables and protein, but in a non-objectionable way. And so we have this cake. It has some almonds, for flavor, texture and protein. It’s got flavorful herbs, it’s got a bit of cheese. And it’s BRIGHT GREEN for spring. After all, supposedly “lenten” comes from the old English for long, because the days are getting longer at the moment, and have such a hopeful light about them!
Here’s The Meters with Mardi Gras Mambo.
And I’d like to live in a world where the most fun toy is not a gun but a pastry tube set. Holy smoke, I got my first set yesterday, and I’m so excited! It’s so much fun, so seussically nonsensical, so full of possibilities. And yet practical as well, because you get to eat whatever you make! These little butternut choux nests are among my favorite meals that I’ve made in some time. I used a fairly basic choux recipe, and added some roasted garlic and roasted butternut squash puree and some fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, smoked paprika and nutmeg. Then I piped this dough into lovely nests, about 4 inches across, and before I baked them I piled in some baby spinach, toasted pecans and smoked gouda. They turned out puffed and crispy on the outside, nice with the crunchy pecans. And soft and flavorful and comforting inside. Even the boys liked them! If you don’t have a pastry tube, you can easily make these by dropping little mounds of dough and pushing the center down with your hands or a spoon. It won’t be as pretty, but it will still taste as good.
Here’s When the Gun Draws by Pharoahe Monch It’s sweary, but he’s angry.
I love the idea of community gardens and alotments – shared patches of land that people work together to grow food. Eating is such a communal activity, it seems right that growing food should be as well. We get a box of vegetables delivered to us each saturday, and I feel like a kid on Christmas morning as I lift out all of our treasures. And then through the week we visit the farm to pick certain crops that are in season. The boys like to come, too (especially when it’s raspberry season) and they’re a big help in filling up my baskets. It’s a joy to watch them meander through glowing green rows of sweet peas and tomatoes, following the dizzy paths of bees buzzed on sunshine; so pleased with themselves when they find plump, warm vegetables. It’s wonderful to get vegetables I know we love, of course, but it’s a fun challenge to get some we’re not as familiar with, as well. I love dreaming up recipes that will make any vegetable taste good.
This first week wasn’t a challenge at all! I love everything we got – spinach, chard, kale, leeks and … turnips!! Turnips are among my favorite vegetables. And these were beautiful little spring turnips, creamy white and sweet. They didn’t need to be peeled. And their greens were in great shape, as well, which is something I almost never find at the grocery store. I think that turnips, thyme and sharp cheddar are a nearly perfect combination, and I decided to bake that combination into a pie. I like leeks with thyme and cheddar, too, so of course I added those. I wanted to cook the turnip greens into the pie, and I added a big helping of spinach, to soften their sharp flavor. I decided to make a buttermilk crust, just for a change, but you could easily use a regular pate brisée crust, if you wanted something flakier.
We don’t have a lot of chances to go bird watching any more, what with children and real life and all of their demands. But we went on a lovely bike ride this morning, and it makes me happy to know they’re all still there. We can still catch a glimpse of a bird and know what we’re seeing. We’ll hear a sweet little song, or a hoarse call, and we know what we’re hearing. We’re still part of their world, and they’re still part of ours.
So! Eggplant pie! It’s got thin layers of crispy rosemary/balsamic-marinated breaded eggplant. It’s got layers of chard and spinach, sauteed with garlic and red pepper and mixed with quince jam. It’s got layers of crispy toasted hazelnuts, and it’s got layers of melted cheese. Odd combination, you say? Oddly perfect together!! All in a crispy crust. If I do say so myself (when have I not, eh?) it turned out really delicious. I think this would be nice for a party or a picnic, because it tastes good even when it’s not hot out of the oven, and it holds together well for carrying around with you. So you can take it for an evening-time picnic, and walk around with it as you look for all the birds that come out at in the gloaming!
That’s right, I ate quinoa in 1993! That’s got to make me one of the first wave of quinoaers, right? Old school! Except for maybe the Incas. They might have come first. When I first met David (in 1993) he made a quinoa-barley soup that his co-worker had recommended. And it was really good! I have to admit that I don’t cook with it as often as I should, and I’m ashamed to admit that it might be because it’s so popular now! It’s so earnestly vegetarian, which is a quality I admire in a food, but sometimes it makes me take a step back from it for a while. Silly, I know!!
If you’re looking for a way to introduce quinoa to somebody who hasn’t tried it, this might be it, because the quinoa is so much a harmonious part of everything going on around it. Malcolm asked what the little floating curls were, and I said, “sea monkeys!” Fortunately he’s too young to know what those are, so I revised my answer to “the ultimate Incan super-food, that made them into superheroes!” He liked the soup a lot, anyway.
I think this soup turned out really well! I’m quite proud of it! It’s got a really pleasing flavor and texture. Very savory, soft, but substantial, and comforting. I grated the zucchini, which, once cooked, gave it a perfect sort of texture. And I puréed half the spinach and chopped the other. I used the broth left over from cooking french lentils, but I think you could make a simple vegetable broth and it would be fine. It’s as close to chicken soup as I’ve come since I stopped eating chicken soup. And probably better for you! It’s simply seasoned with fresh thyme, nutmeg and cinnamon. I wasn’t sure this combination would work, but I went ahead with it on a whim, and it’s really good!