stovetop, salad bowl, low oven

this morning, and through the afternoon, it was classic rock on the radio (in its best and worst iterations) me, and the kitchen: humming, hemming, hawing; bustling & burbling.


made a big batch of creamy red beans with onion–sliced– & garlic–minced– cooked down with anchovy & thyme; threw in hot sauce, red wine vinegar, and oodles of late-afternoon-sun-colored extra virgin olive oil–glassy golden green, sharp, and exuberantly, after a couple of quick folds, making the beans still creamier.

made a salad with leftover green beans–cooked last night with some thick-sliced white onion–and sardines, anchovy, italian parsley, cucumber, mint.

made a batch of maple & olive oil granola with almonds, candied ginger and prunes.

there is something so peaceful–restorative, even–about just you and your wooden spoon & spatula, your stovetop, your salad bowl, your oven on low.

the week will bring every iteration of beans–with flatbread, on salad, topped off with feta or cold roast chicken or carrot salad.

but for now they’re cooling in the big orange dutch oven, and the granola is waiting to be transferred to mason jars. that salad packed with oily fish and fresh herbs, on the other hand, is long gone.

fog linen work / @odetosunday / not without salt / kisses sweeter than wine / john laurie / age old tree

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carrot salad, balance, intuition

I made carrot salad the other day–one of my very favorites.

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a variation on a French theme. something referred to, sometimes, as salade rapide. slow food whipped up quickly.

sometimes, it features raw beets as well as carrots (a glorious, jewel-toned variation). sometimes, it has pistachios (mine had walnuts, either addition has a toothsome richness that balances out a dish at once complex and simple; a few ingredients muddling the distinction between earthy and sweet).

it’s a wildly pleasant thing, carrot salad. mineral, crunchy and juicy, sharp with coarse black pepper and mustard vinaigrette, boasting of an entire bunch of parsley, whose verdant freshness balances out the root vegetables. (parsley just tastes green.)

carrot salad is a color story, too–a bright little bowl of winter & spring, roots & herbs, of contrast. it’s lovely that you can see the dish’s balance, just as you can taste it.

lately, balance has struck me as interdisciplinary, cross-sensory.
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watched Antonioni’s Red Desert the other night, and found its colors suggestively mesh & viscerally collide with each scene’s mood, its ambling dialogue & piercing post-industrial sounds.
the film precariously balances quiet & loud, but mostly is a piece of remarkable visual storytelling–it is a moving painting.

also read this interview with David Lynch in AnOther magazine, in which he discusses the relationships between film & painting, or, for our purposes, between color & sound or taste or mood. between the visual & the aural, or the imaged & the imagined).

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that’s the thing about balance, and the relationship between the sensory & the cerebral: these things have a way of wanting to be; and, perhaps more importantly, it’s not intellectual, but intuitive.

so, no recipe for carrot salad–one that’s set in stone doesn’t exist. you create the balance, by knowing your ingredients, by tasting and looking for something that’s a composed mess, a garble of winter & spring. no spelunking the philosophical depths of Antonioni. sometimes, you just let a thing of beauty and balance be.

xxoo

chicken & rice

today, I made a big batch of rice with cilantro, scallions and steamed spinach; some olive oil, european butter, plenty of salt + pepper.

whipped out julia child’s quintessential tome to remind myself of how, exactly, to cook rice, a ragged copy of mastering the art of french cooking, dog-eared and stained despite being used mostly to remind myself, over and over again, of how, exactly, to make homemade mayonnaise.

the rice is to be had with roasted chicken and a smattering of feta, the former being something I’m proficient in making myself without the aid of julia, but is sometimes–on cool winter nights that edge on balmy, that speak of spring–still more satisfying purchased from the neighborhood mexican diner two city blocks away, a hidden gem unchanged by time and boasting the finest roast chicken in town, chicken crispy-skinned and so tender it falls of the bone if you look at it funny.

chicken & rice. this is the food of finally, in late January, pausing to reflect upon the past year and the upcoming one. the food of slowing down, of looking up, of nostalgia and of the most basic makings of a happy, productive life–ingredients for contentedness that will never, blissfully, thankfully, change.

xo

film stills from amelie.