Eggplant and sweet potato tart with pistachios and pine nuts

Sweet potato and eggplant tart with pine nuts and pistachios

Sweet potato and eggplant tart with pine nuts and pistachios

Last night I had trouble sleeping, as I often do, and I started thinking about thoughts. I thought specifically about how some thoughts are like mosquitoes. They buzz around your head, flying with sudden noise into your ears and eyes. You know they don’t do anybody any good. They’re impossible to ignore, and just when you think you’ve shooed them away, they’re in your ears again. And if you let them land, if they’re with you any time at all, they’ll leave angry welts, which will fester and grow the more you scratch at them. You can tear at them with your nails until you bleed, and they’ll only plague you more, with their fiendish itching. It’s best to leave them alone, to ignore them, but it’s so damned hard. There’s nothing valuable about these thoughts; they’re not worth pondering. You won’t figure anything out, you won’t arrive at any truths. They’re the lesser of Pandora’s evils, rising insubstantial and weightless in lazy persistent circles from her box, they’re lies, deceit, scolding, accusation, envy, gossip, scheming, self-doubt. They arrive in the evening, particularly this time of year, when the light fades and the chill steals in, the darker it grows the more they swarm. And these prickly devils, like mosquitoes, breed in stagnant water, in the festering ooze of a lazy mind. So the thing to do, of course, is to keep the waters running clear and cool, to keep your brain full of things worth thinking about, which will feed on the larvae of your mosquito-thoughts. Of course this is hard sometimes, in the middle of the night. It’s hard to steer your mind away from the angry buzzing, but it can be done, and it’s important to stock the waters with a ready supply of thoughts that can dart through the moving current, or hang rippling in pools of sunlight. You can think of a story you’re writing, a poem you can almost remember, a film you once enjoyed, a long ago conversation that made you happy once. When you finally sleep, these thing will weave through your dreams and become something new, something alive. If thoughts are going to keep you up all night, they should at least be worth thinking about.

Eggplant and sweet potato tart

Eggplant and sweet potato tart

Of course, if you’re me, you’ll spend some of your ample insomnia hours thinking about how to cook the eggplants you picked from your garden, and how to use up all of the sweet potatoes from the farm. And eventually you’ll make this tart, which I thought was really delicious! Perfect for this time of year. I made eggplant the way I generally do, marinating, dipping in egg, breading and baking in olive oil. This is a good recipe to use up leftover eggplant that you’ve made this way a day or so before. I have very thin sweet potatoes from the farm, and I liked the idea of them looking like pepperoni, so I roasted them with a little tamari and smoked paprika. And I topped everything with some lovely crunchy pistachios and pine nuts.

Here’s Benjamin Booker with Have You Seen My Son, because I’m obsessed with this album at the moment.

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Roasted carrot and sweet potato bisque (and more Eliza)

Roasted sweet potato bisque

I feel like I’m in slow motion moving through a fog. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I have so much that I want to do, that I’m not doing any of it, and I frequently find myself on the couch with a soft warm puppy rather than attending to my important tasks. I blame it on the power failure, dammit!! I used up all my batteries, apparently, and now I’m blinking and stuttering like a machine about to lose all power. Well…I’ll catch up eventually, or realize that none of it matters. In the meantime, here’s a recipe for soup and another installment of the serialized drama known temporarily as Eliza and Hyssop. (For previous episodes, click here.)

We have ten pounds of sweet potatoes at the moment, from our CSA! And two huge bunches of beautiful carrots. What better way to use them then roasted in this smoky spicy bisque? It’s a very simple soup – just a few ingredients and spices. So it’s quite light, though satisfying. The warm sweet flavor of the vegetables really shines through.

Could be a spoonful of diamonds, gold, or sweet potato bisque!! Here’s Etta James with Spoonful.

And here’s Eliza, after the jump. When last we left her, she had raced to the top of the stairs, looking for the boy who had come to enlist her help in healing his brother…
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