CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/24/2020
After a long week of the new not-normal, here are some of the books that got us through. Scroll down for some indoor birdwatching; a dinner recipe best eaten under newly-bursting cherry blossoms (but perfectly adaptable to home too) from our favorite art world chef; instructions for a classic, dry Martini from the “Father of Photographic History;” and a fill-in-the-blank poem from Siglio's revelatory new Madeline Gins Reader, which frieze magazine rightly calls "a gift."
LISTEN: Hear the birds outside your window.
We've been challenged by so many things in the last six weeks, it's sometimes hard to recall which came first, and what life really used to be like. But one wondrous byproduct of social distancing is our ever-increasing awareness of the birds of spring arriving and singing their hearts out—even as their sonic competition wanes. So we start this post with six paintings from this beautiful new linen-bound collection of paintings by Ann Craven.
BIRDS WE KNOW is published by Karma, New York.
EAT: Enjoy Mujaddara, or Rice and Lentils with Fried Onions, under the newly bursting cherry blossoms… or wherever you may be.
MUJADDARA (RICE AND LENTILS WITH FRIED ONIONS)
1 cup French (or brown) lentils
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed in cold water at least 5 times, until the water starts to run clear
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 large yellow onions, sliced into 1/4-inch half-moons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sliced avocados, for serving
Scant ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup tahini
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
This is my take on a dish that is popular throughout the Arab world. What makes it extraordinarily tasty is the fried onions. Comforting and hearty, it is lovely served as a vegetarian main with a simple salad and Tahini Dressing. I also like to add sliced avocado on top when serving.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the lentils, and turn the heat to medium-low, simmering until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and toss them with a generous drizzle of olive oil.
While the lentils are cooking, place another medium pot over high heat and pour in 2 cups of cold water, a tablespoon of butter, and a pinch of salt and add the rice.
Bring to a boil, and then cover, reducing the heat to low.
Simmer until all of the water is absorbed, about 10 to 12 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, and set aside.
In a skillet, heat a generous drizzle of olive oil (about 3 tablespoons), 1 tablespoon of butter, and the bay leaf over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the skillet with a generous pinch of salt and a grinding of black pepper.
Cook the onions until they soften, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and have a golden caramel color with dark, crispy parts, about 15 to 20 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to achieve this.
Turn off the heat, and add the lentils and the rice to the fried onions, the moisture from the rice and lentils will deglaze the pan of all the lovely toasty bits. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as needed.
Serve with sliced avocado on top and Tahini Dressing on the side.
Whisk the lemon juice into the tahini and then whisk in the olive oil, seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper
MINA STONE: COOKING FOR ARTISTS
is published by Kiito San.
DRINK: Make yourself a stiff one.
DRY MARTINI COCKTAIL
3–4 oz gin
1 oz dry vermouth
Add a few cubes of ice and cold water to a martini glass.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Measure the gin and vermouth, add to the shaker and stir or shake well.
Pour the water ouf of the glass (it should be well-chilled by now). Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass. Peel a strip of the rind off the lemon, twist the peel over the martini in the glass, then drop the in the peel.
BEAUMONT'S KITCHEN: LESSONS ON FOOD< LIFE AND PHOTOGRAPHY WITH BEAUMONT NEWHALL
is published by Radius Books.
PLAY: Fill in the blanks.
Poet, philosopher, speculative architect and transdisciplinary artist, Madeline Gins is well known for her collaborations with her husband, the artist Arakawa, on the experimental architectural project Reversible Destiny, in which they sought to arrest mortality by transforming the built environment. Yet, her own writings—in the form of poetry, essays, experimental prose and philosophical inquiries—represent her most visionary and transformative work. Like Gertrude Stein before her, Gins transfigures grammar and liberates words. Like her contemporaries in conceptual art, her writing is attuned to the energized, collaborative space between reader and page. Fill out this poem from The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A Madeline Gins Reader and let your mind out to play.
THE SADDEST THING IS THAT I HAVE HAD TO USE WORDS: A MADELINE GINS READER
is published by Siglio.