A kale salad I actually like

I reverse-engineered this delicious salad after Larry began bringing it home from Poulet, in Berkeley. It changed how I feel about kale. It takes a bit of prep, but what else is there to do?

Kale Salad

1 bunch flat (Lacinanto) kale
a wedge of red cabbage (about 1/4 as much as you have kale)
1 large or 2 smaller carrots
1 apple
a chunk of jicama or yacon
handful of roasted pine nuts, raisins
grated ginger
Peach or other sweet vinegar
Olive oil
salt, pepper. a bit of sugar

Slice the kale and cabbage into thin strips–think of bean sprouts–long and skinny. Grate or julienne the carrot, apple and jicama. Add nuts and raisins. With a microplane or other fine grater, grate in ginger to taste.

Make a dressing with good oil and a sweet vinegar, add salt, pepper, a bit of sugar to make a sweet dressing and dress the salad. The sweet dressing offsets the bitterness of the kale. Dress to taste. Sorry, this always gets eaten before I remember to take a picture. But it’s lovely and colorful as well as delicious.

The simplest dinner

About the simplest comfort food I know is pasta. For a quick, delicious dinner, you can make a sauce of melted butter, garlic, salt and herbs, and simply toss cooked spaghetti with it.

For a pound of spaghetti, about 1 stick butter, five or six medium cloves of garlic, and salt and herbs to taste. If you have some fresh parsley, oregano or basil, chop one or more up (a very generous handful). If not, just use dried herbs of your choice.

Peel and mince the garlic (or use a garlic press). Melt the butter in a sauce pan on low heat and add the garlic and herbs. Add salt to taste. Leave on very low heat while you boil the pasta in a big pot of heavily salted water.

The garlic should just turn a faint brown; then stop cooking and let the sauce sit. Drain the pasta and toss with the butter in a bowl. Sprinkle w a little grated parmesan.

A nice side dish is a Greek salad: chunks of tomatoes and cucumber and thinly sliced onions with olive oil and red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano. These days, I actually wash the vegetables first with soap and water, then with plain water.

Monday vitamin

This poem came to me from one of the many poem of the day services, and I really like it, so thought you might, also. It grabs me with its elbows and angles and I know that process of rubbing against the rough edges when you live with someone. I think this is a beautiful exposition with a terrific metaphor running through it.

The First Rule of Rock Tumbling Is Rocks Must Be of Similar Hardness

Naked on the front porch, the moon unfurling its light
as though for a picnic, our yard is silver
and set for feasting.

When we married I
was all elbows and angles, with one pace, which
was my pace, which was fast

forward. She was all cushion and curve, considerable
sharpness shivved inside a pillow; deliberate
thinker, decision circler, all around

slow goer. Despite this, we loved hard enough
to want the other always at our side.
So, where others reminisce

of honeymoon years, ours were more
rock tumbler, more slurry and coarse grind,
two roughs bashing together until our edges wore

not smooth exactly but worn
into each other—gear-tight, cog in cog, turning
our shared hours.
Like this hour on this night,

when I stand between the moon and her
so she wears the light
like an unzipped jumpsuit: shoulders plated,

nipples burnished, outer thighs striped bright.
At her center, my shadow, that tailor-made
eclipse, a darkness exactly my size—though

we could easily change places, and have,
and will. She steps (sides-lit),
I step (backlit), to match

our shaded places. And only once we’re
fit like this, dark to dark, are we once more bound
by the light we each carry.

Jessica Jacobs
from the Bellingham Review

Monday Poem

Ross Gay is a sincerely upbeat poet, optimistic but never smarmy.  Here is his poem from Bringing the Shovel Down (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011).

Sorrow Is Not My Name

after Gwendolyn Brooks

No matter the pull toward brink. No
matter the florid, deep sleep awaits.
There is a time for everything. Look,
just this morning a vulture
nodded his red, grizzled head at me,
and I looked at him, admiring
the sickle of his beak.
Then the wind kicked up, and,
after arranging that good suit of feathers

Not a poem

I know everyone is posting moving, relevant poems right now. But I thought a little levity would be more useful. Here are some favorites from a list of “Rules of the Blues:”

  1. The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch–ain’t no way out.
  2. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs, and broken-down trucks. Blues don’t travel in Volvos, BMWs or SUVs. Most blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Walkin’ plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die.
  3. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best place to have the Blues.
  4. You can’t have no Blues in a office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.
  5. You have the right to sing the Blues if:
    a) You older than dirt
    b) You blind
    c) You shot a man in Memphis
    d) You can’t be satisfied
  6. If you ask for water and your darlin’ give you gasoline, it’s the Blues.

There are more, but you get the idea. If you have to stay in your house or apartment to flatten the virus curve, it’s not the Blues.

This one seemed perfect for my good friend Laurie, a natural perfumer. You can see her products at https://purrfumery.com/collections.  But I don’t think you’ll find this one there.

When You Can Get It

A woman went to the perfume counter and asked,
What scent says, I think it rained last night?
The clerk turned to her cabinet, put her hands on her hips, then
offered a small blue bottle. The woman put a drop
on her wrist. It smelled of jasmine and wood smoke.
There was also iron and something like mint, only
colder. No, she said, I mean I think it rained but I’m not
sure. The clerk consulted her bottles again, opened
a drawer by her feet. Finally, she went to a coat hung
on the back of a chair and dug in the pockets. She
withdrew something tiny and held it out. It was a gray
bird, wet and alive. Its throat flashed purple and green
as it panted. This is the last of it, she said.

Brendan Constantine

From Moira, The Woodbury University Literary Magazine

Henri Cole

Henri Cole has written many powerful poems, but “Radiant Ivory” is one of my favorites, starting with the title, which seems so vibrant just on its own. I think it is the specificity of the language that makes the poem come to life for me. Phrases like “perforated silver box,” and snow as “white, insane, slathery,” reflecting the poet’s inner turmoil:

Radiant Ivory

After the death of my father, I locked
myself in my room, bored and animal-like.
The travel clock, the Johnnie Walker bottle,
the parrot tulips—everything possessed his face,
chaste and obscure. Snow and rain battered the air
white, insane, slathery. Nothing poured
out of me except sensibility, dilated.
It was as if I were sub-born—preverbal,
truculent, pure—with hard ivory arms
reaching out into a dark and crowded space,
illuminated like a perforated silver box
or a little room in which glowing cigarettes
came and went, like souls losing magnitude,
but none with the battered hand I knew.
from Middle Earth, Farrar, Straus & Giroux