feta, chicory and orange salad

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I made this feta, chicory, and orange salad last night after a few particularly grueling days of work. I decided to make it around 10:30 pm — and as you can see, I toasted my pine nuts (note: the Clarks call for walnuts) a tad too long and my knife-work with the oranges was far from precise. Yet still, when the time came to eat, I wasn’t complaining.

feta, chicory and orange salad. . . far from it, actually — This salad was precisely what I needed.

extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper

oranges, chicory, flat-leaf parsley, oregano, red onion

oranges, chicory, flat-leaf parsley, oregano, red onion

the ingredients

pine nuts, the dressing, black olives, feta, and the main salad ingredients

I now have completed 12 recipes from Moro East. Percentage complete: 7.50%

soups and things

butternut squash soup with cinnamon

As part of my “last supper” at home, we made this butternut squash soup with cinnamon, enjoyed after the macaroni and yoghurt salad. The soup was everything we wanted — full of body and spice.

shallots with sherry

With the soup, we also enjoyed these fried shallots with sherry. Soup with a side of onions may seem a bit odd — but, we thought the two worked out fabulously well. The shallots went well with a piece of rustic bread, but we enjoyed them even more so on their own.

pine nuts with cinnamon

pine nuts with cinnamon


prepThese two dishes represent our eighth and ninth completed dishes from Moro East. Percentage complete: 5.63% And, for good measure, we made this leek and rosemary soup on January 6th.

leek and rosemary soup

leek and rosemary soup

This, of course, now means that we have completed ten dishes from Moro East (6.25% of the recipes). Also, any following recipes will be up to me myself — and anyone else in Connecticut — to make. Daunting, but I am ready, I think. Also, I understand that there is something of a snowstorm coming our way. Perhaps I should get some food before I am shut in. 🙂

macaroni and yoghurt salad

macaroni and yoghurt salad topped with pine nuts, flat-leaf parsley, and cilantro

macaroni and yoghurt salad
topped with pine nuts, flat-leaf parsley, and cilantro

For my last evening in Wisconsin about a week ago, we concocted something of a three-course menu. All recipes were taken from my beautiful new book, Moro East by Sam and Sam Clark. First up was this macaroni and yoghurt salad.

nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon; allspice (back)

nutmeg, clove, cinnamon; allspice (back)

For the spice mixture, we used a combination of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon — as the authors suggest. The Clarks call this blend “baharat,” which, as they note, means “spice” in Arabic. The blend varies across regions, but I think that the mixture of the three spices they suggest is definitely a keeper.

They also note that ground allspice can be used instead of the blend. But, as you can see in the photo, we added just a bit of allspice in addition to the baharat — for good measure. 😉

blending the spices into the Greek yoghurt

blending the spices into the Greek yoghurt

This represents our seventh completed recipe from Moro East. Percentage complete: 4.38%

wild rice, celery and pomegranate salad

wild rice, celery and pomegranate

We were particularly pleased with this salad from Moro East. The recipe calls for bulgur, but our bulk foods store had been out — so we ended up using a wild rice blend in its place. The salad’s few ingredients (grain, celery, walnuts, pomegranate, mint, and flat-leaf parsley) made us wonder if this was going to be enough to eat, but we were more than satisfied — quite full, actually — after this particular supper.

wild rice, celery and pomegranate saladWe now have completed five recipes from Moro East (percentage complete: 3.13%)

kale with chickpeas and tahini

kale with chickpeas and tahiniI think I like food so much because I like the notion of control. Or rather, I like the illusion of control. I imagine sometimes that I possess complete agency in my life, over what happens next and over what I become. I believe that if only I perfect my technique—on poaching eggs, on kneading dough, on researching and on writing, on teaching, on practicing yoga, on living—then I will be able to predict the dimensions, the shades and the tones of my future results. Precisely.

I’m wrong, of course. I know this. In fact, I rarely know how anything will turn out once I begin.

On the first day of the new year, I made a salad of flowering kale with chickpeas and tahini sauce. Moro East calls for chard, but our grocery didn’t have any. I never had worked with flowering kale previously. It is beautiful, I think.

flowering kale

I also have a thing for comics, or graphic narratives — as many seem to be calling them now. The medium of comics works through both words and images, rather like blogging itself. Earlier today, I read an interview featured in Page to Page: Retrospectives of Writers from the Seattle Review (Seattle, WA: U of Washington P, 2006) of Lynda Barry, creator of One! Hundred! Demons! She tells the interviewer, Edward Jenkinson, that she once had had a lot of trouble working until she finally let go of “trying to plan the book out in advance and control the story” (168). She highlights a feeling of “exhilaration” that “came from being released from having to tell the story myself” (169). Her words seem so crucial, necessary in the creation of so many things. One might say that keeping these words in mind is my new year’s resolution — or, if not a resolution then an acknowledgement of a certain duality of two propositions that seem always to be working in tandem with each other — a fluidity between having a plan and letting it go, of desiring control and celebrating its loss.

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Still, I end with my data: This dish represents my 2nd (the salad) and 3rd (the tahini sauce) completed recipes from Moro East. Percentage complete: 1.88%