Panir Sabat Moong (mung beans with panir cheese)

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20190404_194309_hdrYet another recipe lifted entire from the pages of Lord Krishna’s Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi.

Yamuna’s preface reads “This earthy, high-protein bean dish, typical in the Punjab, is ideal for the cold winter months, and can be the main attraction of lunch. Although it goes well with hot rice, I especially recommend it with hot flatbreads…”.

  • 1 c whole mung, aduki, or urad dal beans
  • 3 c water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • .25-.5 tsp cayenne pepper or paprika
  • .5 tbsp brown sugar, shaved jaggery (Indian cone), or piloncillo (Mexican cone) sugar
  • 1.5 tsp finely shredded or minced fresh ginger root
  • 6 tbsp ghee, or a mixture of vegetable oil and salted butter
  • 6 oz. fresh panir cheese, cut into half-inch (0.5″) cubes (ed. or more, because more pan-toasted panir is always good)
  • .5 tsp cumin seeds
  • .25-.5 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 medium firm ripe tomatoes, diced (or one 14.5 oz can of no-salt-added diced tomatoes)
  • 3 tbsp yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh parsley or coriander
  • 6 lemon or lime wedges or twists (for garnishing)
  • 6 tomato flowers (for garnishing)
  1. Sort and wash the beans. Place the beans in a bowl, cover with at least 1.5 inches of hot water, and soak at least 5 hours or overnight. Drain.
  2. Bring 3 cubs of water to a boil in a heavy 2-3 quart/liter saucepan over high heat. Add the turmeric, cayenne or paprika, sweetener, ginger root, and 1 tbsp of the ghee. Add the beans, reduce the heat to low, and partially cover. Gently simmer for 1-1.25 hrs or until the beans are butter-soft but not mashed or broken. Remove from the heat. Place 1 c of the cooked beans and liquid in a blender or food professor and blend until smooth. Pour this paste back into the pot of beans.
  3. Heat the remaining ghee in a wok or trying pan over moderate heat. When it is hot, add the cheese cubes and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, constantly turning the cubes to brown them evenly on all sides. As they turn crisp and golden brown, remove them with a slotted spoon and drop them into the cooked beans.
  4. Fry the cumin seeds until they turn brown. Toss in the asafoetida powder and garam masala and immediately add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes until they dry into a thick, moist paste that separates from the ghee. Scrape the tomatoes into the cooked beans, add the yogurt or sour crea and salt, and gently mix.
  5. Pour into a serving dish and sprinkle with lemon juice and minced herb. If desired, drizzle with melted ghee or butter. Serve with lemon or lime wedges or twists, alternating them with small tomato flowers, arranged around the edge of the serving dish.

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Yesterday, by W.S. Merwin

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Photo by flickr user Dejan Krsmanovic. Appears via cc: license. All rights revert to originator.


My friend says I was not a good son
you understand
I say yes I understand

he says I did not go
to see my parents very often you know
and I say yes I know

even when I was living in the same city he says
maybe I would go there once
a month or maybe even less
I say oh yes

he says the last time I went to see my father
I say the last time I saw my father

he says the last time I saw my father
he was asking me about my life
how I was making out and he
went into the next room
to get something to give me

oh I say
feeling again the cold
of my father’s hand the last time
he says and my father turned
in the doorway and saw me
look at my wristwatch and he
said you know I would like you to stay
and talk with me

oh yes I say

but if you are busy he said
I don’t want you to feel that you
have to
just because I’m here

I say nothing

he says my father
said maybe
you have important work you are doing
or maybe you should be seeing
somebody I don’t want to keep you

I look out the window
my friend is older than I am
he says and I told my father it was so
and I got up and left him then
you know

though there was nowhere I had to go
and nothing I had to do

-W.S. Merwin, Opening the Hand, 1983.


William Stanley Merwin of New York City, New York died in his sleep three days ago at his home in Hawaii.

Antonio Machado on the poet’s life

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Machado cares enough to try to explain to you how it is to be a poet; to be the poet he had to become. Poets fill all the roles of other human beings but their hearts and senses –the walled garden of their memories– are engineered differently than their neighbors, for it is to a unique purpose they are made.

Photo by flickr user Admanchester. Used under CC: license. All rights revert to originator.


My childhood is memories of a patio in Seville,
and a sunny orchard where lemons ripen;
my youth, twenty years on the soil of Castile;
my story, a few events just as well forgotten.

I was never a great seducer or Romeo
—that is apparent by my shabby dress—
but I was struck by the arrow Cupid aimed at me
and loved whenever I was welcomed.

Despite the rebel blood in my veins,
my poems bubble up from a calm spring;
and more than a man who lives by rules
I am, in the best sense of the word, good.

I adore beauty and following modern aesthetics,
I’ve cut old roses from Ronsard’s garden;
but I hate being fashionable
and am no bird strutting the latest style.

I shun the shallow tenor’s ballads,
and the chorus of crickets singing at the moon;
I stop to separate the voices from the echoes,
and I listen among the voices to only one.

Am I classical or romantic? I don’t know?
I want to leave my poetry as the captain leaves his sword;
remembered for the virile hand that gripped it,
not for the hallmark of its maker.

I converse with the man who is always beside me,
—he who talks to himself hopes to talk to God someday—
my soliloquy is a discussion with this friend,
who taught me the secret of loving others.

In the end I owe you nothing; you owe me all I’ve written.
I work, paying with what I’ve earned
for the clothes on my back, the house I live in,
the bread that sustains me and the bed where I lie.

And when the day arrives for the final voyage
and the ship that never returns is set to sail,
you’ll find me aboard, traveling light, with few possessions,
almost naked, like the children of the sea.


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This recipe was adapted from the original found on p. 77 of Yamuna Devi’s indispensible “Lord Krishna’s Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking.”


For the beans:

  • 2.5c dried red kidney beans
  • 6c water
  • 1 small cassia or bay leaf
  • .25tsp turmeric
  • .25 tsp cayenne or paprika
  • 1 tbsp butter or ghee

Remaining ingredients:

  • 2.5 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • .5 tsp fennel seeds
  • .5 tsp ajwain seeds (aka Bishop’s Weed)
  • 2-3 tbsp scraped, finely shredded or minced fresh ginger root
  • .5c water
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 5 tbsp ghee or peanut oil
  • Fresh paneer cheese (6-12 oz)
  • 4 medium firm ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • .25c chopped fresh parsley or coriander

Soak the kidney beans in 4 cups of water for at least 7 hours or overnight at room temperature.

Drain the beans in a colander, collecting the soaking water in a bowl. Add enough cold water to make 6 cubs and put it along with the beans and the other ingredients for cooking them, in a 3-4 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and gently simmer over low heat for 1.5-3 hours or until the beans are soft and tender but not broken down.

Mash .75c of the cooked beans to a puree. The cooking liquid should be quite thick. If not, ladle out the tender beans with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a bowl. Gently boil the sauce until it is reduced until about 1.5c. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and the ajwain seeds in an electric coffee mill or a stone mortar and pestle and reduce them to a powder. Transfer to a small bowl.

Place the ginger root and .5c of water in a blender, cover and blend on high speed until the mixture is a smooth liquid. Pour it into the powdered spices and add the garam masala, turmeric, salt, and lemon or lime juice, then stir. The mixture should have the consistency of thin cream. Add water if it is too thick.

Heat 5 tbsp ghee or oil in a 3-4 qt casserole or nonstick heavy saucepan over moderate heat. When it is hot, drop in the paneer cheese and stir-fry for 5-7 minutes, carefully turning the cubes with a spatula or spoon until they are browned on all sides. As the cubes brown, transfer them to a dish.

Pour the spice paste into the ghee or oil and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for about 8 minutes more or until the tomatoes are reduced to a thick paste and the ghee or oil separates from the mixture.

Add the whole cooked beans, mashed beans, fried cheese cubes, and 1.5c of the cooking liquid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Before serving, stir in 1 tbsp of ghee or butter and the minced herb.

I have omitted some of the pressure-cooker instructions from the original.

Poison Idea – Lifestyles

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Portland OR’s Poison Idea brought a certain advanced tightness to the hardcore scene, on par with Dr. Know or The Dickies.

The lyrics are reproduced in full here

I go full speed don’t look back
Do what I feel and live how I want to
Hide in your big warm house, lock the door and dream of
They say the meek will inherit the earth but who’s gonna
pay the tax?
Begging, scraping, sucking my welfare check
Bitching about big brother while big sister scratches my
hit and miss lifestyle. Down on whats it’s up to be.
Is this the one for me?
I play a rule breaker’s game. This game is called life.
Its not as easy as a cut of the cards or a twist of the

Day to day, hand to mouth
Is that what my life’s story is all about?
Lifestyles of the poor and homeless
I’m drunk and obnoxious and I hate the rich
The seed we planted is starting to show
But we screamed “no future” a thousand years ago
My belief is true, what about you?
I take the good with the bad and the bad with the bad
But I wish the bad would stop
What you practice now is what you preached then
Young and poor. Was told what it was to be
I wasn’t taught how to pronounce “free”

Antonio Machado – Traveler, your footprints

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Traveler, your footprints
are the only road, nothing else.
Traveler, there is no road;
you make your own path as you walk.
As you walk, you make your own road,
and when you look back
you see the path
you will never travel again.
Traveler, there is no road;
only a ship’s wake on the sea.

-Antonio Machado

Remarks at my father’s funeral

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A perfectly representative photo of Pop: smiling, family at hand, button-down shirt…

I’d like to thank every one of you for coming out today…for standing up one last time for a good and beloved man. For the ways you helped Pop grow into the man, the worker, the father he was…for the changes you wrought in his life…for reflecting his bright and loving nature in a way that caused him to cleave to you…I embrace you, every one.

My brother Wier broke the news about Pop’s passing followed close by a call from Torrence with the details, some of which I’ll share with you now.

Torrence and Pop were heading down to Boone for a visit with Torre and David that Thursday afternoon. They stopped to take a little break at the rest area just the other side of the North Carolina line. He’d seemed a little loose and weary walking back to the car so she helped him back in the passenger seat.

Buckled up and ready to go she hits that highway on-ramp and gives it the gas. 10…20…30… The world is a neon green Southern springtime…70 degrees and sunny. 40…50…60…

Now if you’ve driven with Torrence you know that speedometer kept on creeping up. 70…80…probably a healthy 85 before she backed off the accelerator. In my mind in this moment I like to envision Pop just kept on accelerating, achieved escape velocity, and sizzled out into the universe at 186,000 miles a second.

What struck me…what made the difference were Torrence’s description of that moment. Herself still spinning in the fresh, confounding vortex of loss she called and described Pop’s face as looking “so young…like he did when we first started dating.” She went on to describe the transcendent look of peace on his face, as if relieved of all of his burdens and doubts and fears. His final moments on this Earth –his deliverance from all uncertainty and suffering– you have to know were the second-to-last gift his maker ever gave him.

Now if you could go back in time and ask Pop at 40 years of age how he’d like to go I bet he’d have painted a scene not entirely dissimilar from the late afternoon of April 12th. Flying down the highway through a familiar, beloved world fairly quivering with renewal; with his lady-love at his side; with his final breath one of sweet Southern springtime air…if you knew him you’d know Hollywood couldn’t have engineered a more fitting finale.

We were down at the river house yesterday for a little lunch and some family time. I had hoped to find some time during my visit to bide a while in his domain…to meditate a while in quiet communion and seek out his spirit. My friends, to my shock and pleasure no such measures were required. Today you can not walk into their home without feeling the enduring glow of his loving presence…the quiet contentment of a watchful soul whose charges –Torrence and the living Rappahannock itself– are safely embraced by the courses in which they flow. I tried to feel bad for myself that I could no longer hold him but it became quickly apparent it is he who now holds all of us.

It is for that reason I now ask you all to set aside your sadness and fill your hearts with joy. Pop is not gone. He has simply transformed from light to light, and all that remains is for each of us is to shine.