So. I haven’t told you very much about our wedding, have I? Like that we all walked through a lovely hayfield to get to a beautiful spot of shade under a stand of maples and that from there you could see only trees and field and sky and that is where we married. Or that on the way to that field there was a drift of pigs and piglets who met us delightedly for scratches under the chin and general porcine good will. Or that our favorite couple to play music with stood in the middle of field and sky and played the sweetest twin fiddles you’ve ever heard. Or that just after the ceremony my family surprised us by springing up from their chairs and showering us with hundreds of maple seeds that rained down around us like a million tiny birds in flight. Or that we had a huge square dance and sweet cajun waltzing right in the bright summer afternoon. Or that it rained like hell in the days before the wedding and it rained like hell in the days after the wedding, but that on the day of our wedding the sky yawned open with bright blue sky and pure sunshine and our families and friends walked the farm where we were married picking strawberries and visiting the baby turkeys and picking yarrow (there were but a few rain sprinkles over dinner, just enough for everyone to pop out an umbrella from nowhere and for B and I to sit delightedly looking down the long twin tables at all of the shining faces smiling under their makeshift shelter). Or that after the wedding we all went back to the sweet cottages where we had taken over the place and there was a bonfire, and B played the fiddle and I played the banjo and instruments came out of trunks and there was singing and general post-wedding making of friends and visiting of long lost and near found loved ones. Or that on the morning of the wedding the farm was in quite a state of disarray and that practically my entire family and many of our closest friends (and all my favorite Rachels of course) piled out of cars that morning and grabbed pitchforks and wheelbarrows and tables and chairs and turned the place into the very vision that B and I had been harboring in our minds for months. Or that my dearest lovely friends Dietlind and Kelly saved my sanity by offering to be our kitchen mavens and who along with Hannah ran with winged feet between the farm kitchen and the food table making everything piping hot and just so and neat as a pin and that everyone and their brother wanted to know who the babes with the food were. Or that we had pie instead of cake: blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, and cherry, all made by a woman who grows her own fruit right out the back door and the cherry was as good as anything I’d ever tasted, maybe even better. Or what was for dinner. Which is what I started out to tell you because I know that we’re all here out of a general insatiable appreciation for eating things.
Originally B and I wanted to make our own wedding food. Because we fell in love over many a delicious full plate, because we love to cook, and because getting a decent meal at a wedding is a tall order. So we put together a menu. And then we realized that we were insane. We got married in Maine, meaning about 1000 miles from our own kitchen. Neither of us had ever cooked a meal anywhere even close to the scale of our wedding, and as the logistics of planning the day took shape it was more and more evident that spending the days leading up to it in the kitchen was going to make for two very tired people. So we panicked. And we talked to caterers. And they suggested the very foods we had eaten at every other wedding we had ever been to. And they wanted a lot of money and had a hard time understanding that we didn’t need 100 starched white napkins because Rae and I have enough vintage napkins between the two of us to wipe the mouths of wedding parties twice the number of ours. And then. Then there was Mary. Mary owns The Pepperclub in Portland, where we had our fantastic family gathering the evening before our wedding. And Mary offered to make our wedding food. Just like we would have made it ourselves, from the very recipes we would have used. I tell you, I wept when I realized what she was offering to do for us. So we gathered together our recipes and sent them her way, and when we walked back from the field that afternoon there was a long table covered in bubbling dishes of Spicy Delicious Chickpeas, Lemongrass Chicken Curry, and Gingered Garlic Pork. We heaped them over piles of white rice and balanced the plate with piles of fresh greens with a cool dill dressing. It was delicious. When our friend Raivo turned to me with his mouth full and said, “I feel like I’m eating dinner at your house,” I beamed, and I tell you: I will never forget Mary and her incredible sweet calm unflappable gift to us. During and after the eating we were flooded with requests for the recipes, and while in Savannah I was pointedly reminded by my most favorite father-in-law that I had still not been good on my word, for shame. So. The Lemongrass Curry can be found here. It is amazing, although I would caution you to cube the potatoes into *small* cubes, and likewise we think it tastes great with a bunch of kale thrown in for good measure. Up today: Spicy Delicious Chickpeas. This was the first thing that B ever cooked for me, in my tiny kitchen in my first flat here.
Spicy Delicious Chickpeas
5 tablespoons vegetable
2 medium onions, peeled and minced
8 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
2 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you wish)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 tablespoons diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
40 ounces canned chickpeas OR 4 ½ cups home-cooked chickpeas
2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds
1 tablespoon ground amchoor if you can find it, juice and pulp of 1 small lime if not
2 teaspoons Kashmiri red pepper (Hungarian will do instead)
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon salt, more to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 fresh hot green chili, deseeded and minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced or finely grated
Heat the oil in a wide pot over a medium flame. When hot, put in the minced onions and garlic. Sautee until the mixture is a rich medium brown shade. Turn heat to medium low and add the coriander, cumin, (NOT the roasted cumin), cayenne, and turmeric. Stir for a few seconds. Now put in the finely chopped tomatoes. Stir and fry until the tomatoes are well amalgamated with the spice mixture and brown lightly. Add the drained chickpeas and 1 cup water (use cooking juice if you have cooked them yourself). Stir. Add the ground roasted cumin, amchoor (lime), red pepper, garam masala, salt, and lemon juice. Stir again. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Plot your proposal of marriage to the girl laughing in the kitchen. Remove cover and add the minced green chili and grated ginger. Stir and cook, uncovered, for another 30 seconds. This dish is even better the next day.