Kale and chickpea curry with ricotta naan

Kale and chickpea curry

Kale and chickpea curry

I love to walk to school with Isaac: it’s one of my favorite rituals of the day. He holds my hand and lags behind slightly, and Clio lunges ahead after squirrels, cats, or even any spiraling dry leaf. Clio runs in circles around us, and Isaac sings or tells jokes. His jokes are perfect, sweet and nonsensical. He told an existential one the other day that was very clever, and it went a little something like this…Q: What did the birthday say to today? A: How do you like the present? B’dum tish! Today he told a joke, and I just didn’t “get it,” because I’m quite slow sometimes. I said, “I don’t quite understand your joke.” He said, “that’s okay, it wasn’t much of a joke.” As we approach the school, we start falling in line with his friends, and they form little shifting huddles, and then they all rush, joyously, to their doorway. Clio and I stand watching them, out in doggy exile, and when Malcolm sees us he walks over, cool and slow, and Clio falls all over herself trying to give him hugs and kisses. Miss Sandra, the crossing guard, greets everybody with good cheer, and leaves us all with a “have a good day,” and you believe that she means it, that somehow the fact that she said it might actually help you to have a good day. All around the courtyard, happy excited children fly about, glowing like fireflies. They greet their friends and hug their parents goodbye. I’ve always thought that the amount of energy and love, spoken and unspoken, that radiates from a typical drop-off at our school shines so brightly it could be seen from outer space. It must be like that for every school in the country. Drop-off was emotional this morning. The children flew happily about like they always do, but the parents and teachers – and there were more of them around than usual- were quiet and thoughtful, full of concerns, and hopes, and good wishes, forming a strong web of good will and sympathy that must spread from school to school across the country and beyond.

This was a strange weekend to be at work – so grey and dreary, the restaurant was not at all busy, and I just wanted to be home, where it was warm and bright and my family scampered through the day. I thought all day, too, about making this curry. I wanted something bright and warm and comforting and flavorful. So that’s what I made. It’s got a sauce made with cashews, golden raisins and coconut (I used just plain old sweetened flaked coconut, as it happens.) And it’s got kale, potatoes and chickpeas. It had a nice texture, soft, but not mushy, and the flavor was a little sweet, a little spicy, and balanced with lemon. And these naan!! I had some ricotta left over from a tart I made the other day, and I decided to make the naan with that instead of yogurt, as is traditional. And I added an egg and some melted butter. Maybe I should stop calling them naan, as I drift farther and farther from the original recipe! They turned out so delicious, though. Tender, flavorful, simple. I couldn’t stop eating them!! None of this was hard to make, either, it was an after-work meal, after all.

ricotta naan

ricotta naan

Here’s Ombra Mai Fu, from Handel’s Xerxes. My friend Diane suggested it yesterday, and it’s so beautiful!

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