On our final day in San Francisco last spring, we met up with an old friend for breakfast at Sightglass Coffee’s expansive roastery and coffeehouse. This was our second Sightglass visit, we stopped by their SFMoMA outpost for coffee the day before. The wait was long and the service was rushed, but the coffee was seriously good, so we took this opportunity to try them out once more. This time on their home turf.
A few weekends ago, we found an old bag of black-eyed peas wedged behind giant canisters of semolina flour and coarse ground-polenta. I promptly remembered these falafels-type patties we made once, baked and cooked in a rich tomato sauce tossed with pasta. I’ve wanted to make it again for a while now. For some reason, I kept waiting for a sunny day, then I forgot to get black-eyed peas, then I wanted to wait for juicy summer tomatoes at the market.
We made spaghetti with meatless balls for the first time a few years back while experimenting with baked falafels. The black-eyed pea balls are made in the same vein as these lentil falafels, with beans, tahini, veggies and spices. They’re similarly inspired by a deep-fried bean fritter popular in West Africa, we call them koose in Ghana.
I hesitated to call these galettes because I felt they lacked the refinement of classic galettes. For one, I rolled my dough a tad thick, and I may have piled on the fruit too high.
Are they some other kind of pie or tart? I don’t know, but I decided that perhaps I was being too hard on myself because these are galettes where it counts… in spirit and in their rustic free-formed features.
So I settled on mini strawberry galettes, a breezier pocket-sized pie; portable and simple, and the perfect way to get this berry season underway. Although we have a few weeks to go before local berries make their way to the market; strawberry, blueberries and raspberries from California are aplenty right now. They look so alluring, I can hardly resist them, but the early season berries from afar doesn’t always taste as sweet and juicy, so we nibble on a few and then find interesting and delicious ways to use up the rest.
Just when I thought it was safe to switch my wardrobe over from winter to summer, we were plunged back into rainy grey days. There was a certain chill in the air yesterday that we hadn’t felt in weeks, but then there’s promise of brighter days ahead so I’m looking forward to that. And while we wait, we’d want to make cheerful meals and eat colourful spirit-lifting foods like this rice medley salad with roasted chickpeas.
The good news is, we’re getting our cooking mojo back, thanks to the small bounty of spring produce arriving at the markets. We managed to scrounge up a hurried but delicious meal this past weekend, which made me proud. We made roasted new potatoes and cauliflower with a sprinkle of cumin and curry powder, and made salsa with some good hothouse tomatoes we found to go with them.
A few noteworthy incidents happened in Nantes that endeared the city to me.
At the Abolition of Slavery Memorial, a stranger from Gent and I cried hugging each other as her husband looked on uncomfortably. I blame my tears on not haven’t slept properly for three days.
Also at the memorial, I learned a new word in my native Akan language, Ahofadi – freedom. All my life (up to that point), I essentially mistook the words for peace and well being for freedom. How could I not have known the word for freedom in my own language and why did I discover it in Nantes of all places?
Nantes was a delight to explore, from its fairy-tale botanical garden and whimsical public spaces, the splendid Jules Verne-inspired Les Machines de l’ile to the charming yet helpful green line trail for discovering the city’s major sites and attractions. It’s quickly climbed to the top of the list of my favourite European cities.