Dear mom, I’m back out on a lam and it’s time to start writing again. This is the longest I’ve neglected our blog since we started writing over 4 (FOUR!!) years ago. Living at home made this back-and-forth seem pointless. What … Continue reading
I am out of words. The year has flown by and I can’t seem to catch the days. I find myself spending more and more time in doctor’s offices and wondering if it’s because I have the luxury of time to pay attention to my aches and pains or because my increasingly aching joints are urgently demanding my attention. My braces are finally off, but now the real work on my teeth begins. It turns out that the orthodonture expense was only a small down payment for what comes next… a lot more time in the dental chair. I joked with Dad that we’re going to be one of those couples where the wife’s body falls apart and the husband loses his mind. Fortunately, Dad’s body and mind both seem to be holding out better than mine.
I don’t want to be one of those old people who is always talking about their most current physical imposition. I don’t want to be one of those people spending all their time and money on procedures and tests and therapies. I am way too young to be that old. Despite myself, I am holding onto, sometimes by a thread, my good attitude, positive outlook and enduring gratitude for my body and its steadfast and loyal performance all these years. My most recent new doctor told me that she couldn’t remember if she had ever known anyone who had lived with diabetes for fifty years.
I am grateful…and I am scared. I’m not ready for my luck to run out. I want more years, more good years! My body doesn’t owe me anything, but I will keep pushing and stretching the limits of its capacity for as long as I am able and keep hoping that it enjoys the ride enough to stay right with me.
So forgive me if I bore you with my recent test results or whining complaints about some ache or pain. I will try not to act my old age. Know that I can be easily diverted and engaged in conversation or mutual activities, especially when they involve you.
Can’t wait until you get here!
This has become one of our favorite salads to serve when we have company or just for us. Butter lettuce is a refreshing treat (especially after some hard core dental work) and a good change of pace from our usual romaine or field greens. It is light, tasty and easy to prepare. The sweet potato croutons were such a hit that I have started making them just to have around to snack on. Eggplant croutons would work just as well. Use Japanese eggplants to avoid any bitterness and prepare the same way as sweet potato croutons.
This recipe will serve 8-10 people.
Sweet Potato Croutons
- 2-3 Sweet potatoes, diced into 1/2” to 3/4” cubes
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper to taste
Cut up sweet potatoes into chunks. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper in one layer and roast in a 400° oven for 15-20 minutes or until edges are slightly browned and crisped. Remove from oven and cool.
- 3 heads of Butter lettuce washed and dried
- 1-2 avocados sliced
- 1 cup *fresh pomegranate seeds
- 1/2-3/4 cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- chives, cut up for garnish
*clementine or tangerine wedges can be substituted for pomegranate seeds
Salad components can be prepared a day ahead and arranged on a platter before serving.
Wash and dry lettuce and arrange on a platter or in a bowl. Distribute sweet potato chunks over lettuce. Slice avocados and arrange on the salad. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the salad and top with pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and cut up chives.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- zest from 1 fresh lemon
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
To prepare dressing, whisk together all ingredients and let sit overnight. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve dressing on the side or drizzle over salad right before serving.
I’m a rooted creature too. I’ve lived in exciting places. The feeling of curling up in my childhood bed under the same quilt that kept me warm twenty years ago, however, is just as appealing as the excitement of sleeping somewhere way cooler. Home is grounding – being there reminds me that I once had a place – and will always have one – outside the black hole of whatever currently consumes me.
Right now that black hole is school and I like it and I’m not sorry for investing 100% of myself in it and in me. My brain is so squeezed for space that I’ve ignored whole categories on my to-do list (prioritizing?). #SorryNotSorry for eating Subway sandwiches, abandoning our blog and forgetting to shave my legs during the month of November. I’m done apologizing to myself for myself.
I haven’t been cooking much lately. My visit home for Thanksgiving, though, awoke my vegetable-chopping ambitions. Our traditions – the 10K run, shots of shlivovitz, lots of food – pulled me from the darkness of my hole and threw me back to moments much bigger than it.
Latkes are my favorite winter tradition. Four years ago (whoa!), I threw a Hanukah party in Bhuj, India. I grated potatoes with three friends, two knifes and one hand peeler. We poked holes into a bottlegourd for a menorah. We covered the floors with newspaper to soak up grease. We left the door open in my kitchen for ventilation and a cow wandered inside.
For a day, I was pulled from my anxiety re living in a foreign place. I remembered that wherever I am – whatever consumes me – I’m always connected to something bigger.
I might not have the wherewithal to make latkes + the necessary mess in my little Berkeley kitchen, but I’ve been invited to Hanukah parties where latkes will be plenty. I’ll bring curry cashew cream and hemp seed apple sauce scented with cardamom and orange blossom water as alternatives to usual fixings. Traditions are important… there’s also always room for creativity.
Cardamom, Orange Blossom, Hemp Seed Apple Sauce
- 5 – 7 medium McIntosh apples
- 1/3 cup water
- 7 pods of green cardamom, seeded and crushed
- 1 tbs vanilla extract
- 1tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tbs hemp seeds
- juice of 1 fresh lemon
- 1 tbs orange blossom water (can be purchased at middle eastern specialty store)
Peel and chop apples into 1 inch chunks. In medium saucepan, combine apples, water, cardamom, vanilla and cinnamon. Cover and cook until apples have turned to mush (15 – 20 minutes). Mash with fork or potato masher and stir in hemp seeds, lemon juice and orange blossom water.
It’s something a little different to dress your latkes in + a healthy snack + a filling breakfast stirred into yogurt.
Curry Cashew Cream
- 2 C raw cashews or cashew pieces soaked overnight
- 1/3 C nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp good sea salt
- 1 tbs yellow curry powder
- pinch of cayenne powder to taste
- 1/2 cup water… more as needed
To soak cashews, cover with water and leave for 6 hours or overnight. When ready, drain cashews and add them to food processor with other ingredients. Puree until creamy. The consistency should be like runny peanut butter — you can add water if you want it looser. Chill for four hours before serving on your favorite vegan latkes! It’s also good as a salad dressing.
So what, exactly, does switching it up look like?
You: I’m worried about you… Should you still be driving, is your house too big for you to take care of, why do you have so much stuff?!
Me: Let’s travel to exotic places and spend all our money on extended VRBO rentals, new furniture, house remodeling projects, yoga classes, dental work, more stuff, etc…we’ll try to fit in a visit to you.
Working on it now.
No, you do not sound like a stressy 20-something deep in crisis. Who doesn’t need a bi-monthly pep talk?…I love you just the way you are and I think you’re great! Does that count for this month? That’s never gonna change.
Happy to switch it up. You go first!
I am enjoying a no Labor Day weekend with a stay-at-home cooking marathon in preparation for Rosh Hashanah. It is such a luxury to cook in advance and not have to fit all the holiday preparation details in between working hours. The chicken soup, brisket, honey cakes, apple cakes and potato blintzes (a first for me) are done.
The potato blintzes are a hybrid recipe; crepe dough from Bubbe’s cheese blintzes and the potato filling from her knishes. I made the crepe batter in my Vita Mix and it took 30 seconds and not even one lump! My Cuisinart effortlessly chopped the onions and blended the potatoes and fried onions. I used all my pots and pans and extra large bowls to boil potatoes, sauté onions, mix the filling, make the crepes and flash freeze it all. I pretty much trashed the kitchen, overfilled all my freezers and sampled enough fried onions and potato filling to have attached them to my DNA… if that is possible.
I love what you are doing with the cleanse this year. Although I am fortunate to not have to worry about how much I spend on groceries, I learned at the hands of a master who taught me how to love grocery shopping and create healthy, nourishing, satisfying and tasty meals on a very tight budget.
My mother (Bubbe) always researched the food specials of the week and bought whatever she could on sale. Even after she couldn’t go to the grocery store herself, she gave me a list of what to buy each week…and I did. She hand-picked each green bean, each apple, each cherry to make sure she got the freshest items (no wasteful rotten spots for her). She never spent money on plastic storage bags or containers (she reused the food containers and plastic bags that her purchases came packaged in) and she never, ever threw out food (leftovers are what you eat the next day). We never had soft drinks or chips or candy in our house unless their was a party. She bought very little processed food and made almost everything from scratch. The things we thought we were missing out on (Oreo cookies and Wonder Bread for me) turned out to be not so good for us anyway.
It’s Rosh Hashana. It’s Zayde’s yahrsteit. I’m cooking Bubbe’s food. You are promoting a cleanse that raises personal awareness and global consciousness about food justice. I’m thinking that things are just as they were meant to be.
Wishing you the sweetest of New Years and may we all make it into the Big Book of Life for a safe, healthy and productive year to come!
Red Cabbage Slaw
I am serving this Red Cabbage Slaw at our erev Rosh Hashanah dinner this year. It has apples and honey in honor of the holiday and it’s an easy do-ahead dish that doesn’t require oven space. Other than the honey, it can be prepared Cleanse friendly and it is very cost efficient. A head of red cabbage makes a whole lot of slaw! And it gets better the longer it sits. If you are preparing this for the Cleanse, but want some additional sweetness, omit the honey and add a half cup of raisins ($.50).
Yield – 20 servings
Total Cost: $8.35
Cost per serving: $.42
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil ($.50)
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice with the zest from the lemon used for the juice ($1.00)
- 2 teaspoons honey (.20)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced ($1.50)
- 2-3 large carrots, grated into thin strips ($.40)
- 1 large apple, cut in small pieces ($.75)
- 8-12 ounces of sugar snap peas, thinly sliced crosswise ($4.00)
Whisk oil, lemon juice and zest, honey and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss together. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before serving.
It sure is nice to have someone believe in me.
This must be weird for you.
Mom, our exchange has become too predictable. In the three (!!) years we’ve been writing, our letters have become a looping pattern…
Me: I’m stressed and everything is chaos and what is my life?!
You: Oy vey, I’m so worried about you! I’m worried, I’m worried, I’m worried, but you should NOT worry! You’re fine… you’re great! And yoga helps.
Me: Ummm thanks, you’re a weirdo and I’m still confused about my life. Ps. I have principles.
You: Wow, sounds like you’re doing great (I’MSOWORRIED). Maybe you should lay down in shivasana. Dad and I miss you. We love sitting around the house.
And on and on and on and on.
I’m bored. Should we make an effort to switch it up? Or is this what our communication looks like? Do I come across to you as a stressy 20-something deep in crisis, in need of bimonthly pep talks from my mother?
This was my first week back at school. It feels good to be back and I am calm (what). My move back to Berkeley went smoothly (what). Being confused about my schedule does not count as a crisis.
Yeah, I’m switching it up.
It’s almost Rosh Hashana and after four of our annual whole foods diet “cleanses” (reflection on the mind/body/spirit connection) during the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, Arielle and I feel bored. This year, along with the food rules, we’re asking participants to spend no more than the national average food stamp benefit – $4.10 daily – on food for the ten days of the cleanse. I expect that nourishing my body with a whole foods, vegan diet will be nearly impossible on this budget. So, we’re be asking people to match the amount spent over the allotted budget in a charitable donation to a food justice org. I’ll lay out the details in another post.
It was really nice to sit around the house with you and dad before school started. The mega-eating (new term) marathon, prepping vegetables from the farm and hanging out were all treats. I weirdly miss home!
Anyway. Thanks for the pep talks, horrible pictures and congenital neuroses. Thanks for indulging the crazy in me. And believing in me always.
Different from my usual recipes with 1 million + ingredients, this one is simple, simple, SIMPLE.
Also, I’ve been roasting beets for years with the same method – wrap them in foil and sticking them in the oven with whatever else is in there. For this recipe, I steamed them in the oven with water and vinegar. I’m hooked.
Thyme Marinated Beets with Crushed Hazelnuts
Serves 5-8 as appetizer
- 3 – 4 different colored beets (I used chiogga and yellow)
- ½ cup Sherry or red wine vinegar, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 5-8 sprigs fresh thyme
- ¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
- good black pepper
- good sea salt
Preheat oven to 425°. Combine whole, unpeeled beets, ¼ cup vinegar, salt and ¼ cup water in a pan or dish Cover with foil and steam 45 minutes. When cool, remove skins with fingers (they should slide off). Slice beets thinly with knife or mandolin.
Toss beets with shallot, thyme, remaining ¼ cup vinegar, and olive oil . Season with salt and good pepper and let sit for at least two hours. Before serving, garnish with hazelnuts and extra thyme sprigs.
*This dish is even better the next day – – beets can be marinated 2 days ahead of time.
Yeah. It’s all too much. I came to Israel for the summer to work on one story. Now I have four. I have hours and hours and hours – maybe days – of tape that I will have to trim down to max 15 minutes. And in my last week here, I’m running around like a madwoman collecting more. What am I thinking?
As usual, my eyes are too big for my stomach (and for my brain and hard drive). Too much is overwhelming, but usually I don’t regret going for it. Sure it was stressful for you to shuck all that corn the night before a big trip, but look at all those kernels you have in the freezer! The possibilities are endless. What a privilege!
Privilege. I move across walls and worlds; I ask questions that many wouldn’t dare ask; I’m learning how to trust myself. My government and my family do not control what I choose to do or say. I was not born a refugee and I was not born into a climate in which my life was threatened daily. I am allowed and encouraged (!) to think critically. Feeling safe and free are the keys with which I access this world of too-muchness. I am grateful for these privileges. I try not to take them lightly and wow, the heaviness gets to me.
I went to Gaza last week for interviews and came away with a positive impression of the people I spoke with. Afterwards, I spent the weekend with cousins in Israel. One of them, my age, said that she will always love me, but that she does not appreciate the way I see the circumstances. I told her that my empathy for people on the “other side” does not mean that I am critical of her or anything that she has done in the past. Still to her, my actions are a slap to her face. We talked it out and our relationship is closer than ever, but I still feel sad that despite my intentions, my actions can hurt the people I love.
My privileges allow me to believe that basic human understanding can make the world a safer place. I think I can empathize with the reasons that people are critical of this, with how people can label it as childish, with attitudes of defense and anger towards it. For many, an attempt to understand “the other” can be scary and even life-threatening. My world is cushioned with clouds of security and safety… I know I am naive. But, in this climate of meaningless bloodshed and loss, I do not see a better option than to try to promote understanding.
My goal is definitely too much. So it’s only natural that I’m going for it.
The recipe below is for the Palestinian version of dolmas. Najla, the star of the piece I wrote last winter, makes hundreds at a time, and (similar to the embroidery) she sells them to Israelis via Yael. Usually, it takes her 3 hours at a time to prepare 350-400 pieces. I’m used to eating dolmas that are stuffed thick with one inch or more of rice. Najla’s leaves are much tastier – she rolls them thin like pencils so that they’re mostly leaf with only a hint of gooey rice in the middle.
I asked Najla to line up the spices so I could take a picture for memory. She laughed and said that it doesn’t really matter what spices I use. Whatever she has in the house, she said, is what she throws into the bowl (she also threw in a tsp of parve Osem soup powder, a staple in our kitchen). I told her that I cook the exact same way, but that I had to at least pretend to have exact recipes so I could post them to the blog.
The crucial spices and herbs include mint, parsley, nutmeg and garlic. GARLIC. When Najla sent me back to Jerusalem with a small pot of rolled leaves, I smelled so strongly of garlic that the officer at the checkpoint did not wait for me to dig around in my backpack for my passport. He let me go without even seeing it… That was a first!
*If you can’t pick em fresh like Najla does, you can buy canned or frozen grape leaves from a Middle Eastern specialty store.
Najla’s Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves
Prep time: 1 ½ hours
Makes 40 – 50 stuffed grape leaves
- 1 cup white rice, short grain
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed or shredded
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 Large tomato, diced
- 1 tbs dried mint, crushed
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 handful (1/2 cup) fresh mint, chopped finely
- 1 handful (1/2 cup) fresh parsely, chopped finely
- pinch of nutmeg (fresh grated is best)
- pinch of all-spice and/or 7-spice mix (optional)
- 1 tsp veg boullion (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- black pepper to taste
- 40 -50 grape leaves, destemmed
Rinse one cup of rice and place in large mixing bowl. Add oil, tomato, onion, garlic, herbs and spices. Mix together.
Lay grape leaves smooth side down. Sprinkle a pinch (really, a teeny amount! See picture) of rice in the bottom of each leaf. Roll the leaves from bottom up keeping the edges inside. Imagine you’re rolling a burrito for a Barbie doll. As you roll the leaves, try to keep the edges right. This may take practice.
Line the bottom of a small pot with 4 -5 unrolled, flat grape leaves. Stack the rolled grape leaves on top of one another in the pot. Add one tsp olive oil. When full, cover the rolled leaves with an additional 4 – 5 flat leaves. Add water until leaves are submerged at least one inch.
Cover with lid, bring to boil and reduce to simmer for 45 minutes – 1 hour. Serve with tahini, labne or greek yogurt!
**next time I make these on my own, I will add some lentils into the rice mixture for extra protein
Above: Najla’s husband gave me a sunflower with fresh seeds! She said to wash them with salt and put them in the sun to dry, but I ate most of them raw.
Below: Najla and the newest embroidered cushion covers from the Beit Sahour collective. The pieces are called “Magazine” because the women found the design in a magazine.
When I was young, I expected a diabetes diagnosis. Bubbe had it, you had it… it seemed only a matter of time before I’d be sticking needles in my tush too. To your credit, I was a-ok with this self-predicted future. Your health, fullness of life and energy levels were well above average – you worked and played harder than any of the moms I knew. Among all the possible illnesses out there, I thought, diabetes would be doable.
I know better now. I no longer anticipate a diagnosis nor think about where I’d position an insulin pump when I dress up. I know that living with diabetes is not as painless as you make it seem.
People ask me how I got into food and if I’ve always eaten so healthily. I think I inherited my health awareness by watching you manage yours. Not everyone has the opportunity to see how powerful a half cup of juice can be on a person’s ability to function. The active role you took in your health rubbed off on me… growing up, food in our house food was, literally, medicine.
It feels strange to celebrate this 50-years-with-diabetes thing. I know it’s a big deal to live for 50 healthy years with diabetes, but I never considered an alternative for you.
L’chaim – here’s to finding a CURE in your lifetime!
Kale Coconut Smoothies
- 1/4 c unsweetened soy milk
- 1/4 c light coconut milk
- 1 tbs almond butter
- 1 frozen banana, chopped
- 1/4 c frozen mango (or pineapple, orange or other citrusy fruit)
- 5 – 7 leaves of fresh dinosaur kale, trimmed
- dash of vanilla
- dash of salt
Place all ingredients into food processor in order listed (always put liquid in first to give the blades some room to work their magic). Blend until smooth. Add ice if you desire a thicker consistency.
I’m done with my first year of my second round of grad school. “Halfway there!” and high-fives all around.
This year, I shot and edited video, produced an audio story, published long narratives and quick-turnaround pieces, sort of coded things, made a web site, learned some Arabic. I ran a half-marathon, moved (twice), saw waterfalls, played mah jong, built friendships, brewed Kombucha and made a lot of snacks. I worked on projects that made me cry. I left class with goose bumps and almost threw my computer on the floor more than once. I was overwhelmed with gratitude by the generosity and depth of guidance offered to me by mentors. I was humbled and inspired by the kindness and brilliance of my classmates.
Now, at the end of this very full year, I’m halfway there. I feel no sense of accomplishment or relief. All of the things that happened this year inched the bar higher and higher so that each step I take toward there pushes there farther and farther away.
I’m scared that my whole life will be like this.
In your last letter, you said that life is “a series of intentional meanderings and instinctive pursuits of ever-evolving targets.” Do you mean that life’s a calculated chase? Do we ever make a catch? And what happens if we do?
I know how to celebrate the small victories and to live in the moment and blablabla be here now. Like, in my brain, I get it. And I AM grateful for finding a path to follow, surrounding myself with inspiring people, dumping my energy into meaningful stories. But I never feel full. I just keep pouring gasoline onto the fire under my ass until it burns so strong that I can’t think about where or why or how I’ll run. I just run and run and run like a lab rat on a treadmill toward what? You know?
Don’t tell me I need yoga.
The recipe I’m sending you is ambitious. It’s for a true adventurer. And (gluten free, paleo, vegan, grain-free) it’s oh so Berkeley.
I went through pounds and pounds of broccoli and several versions of this recipe to get these weird savory vegetable strips. At first I was going for crackers and was unsatisfied with the chewy outcome (the internet says that it’s possible to toast broccoli mush into a crisp, but I’m weary). The outcome of my labor was not successful until I reframed my expectations — it sounds gross, but… JERKY!
Broccoli Jerky (or Chewy Broccoli Crackers)
- 2 large heads of broccoli, steamed (4-5 cups chopped)
- 5 tbs nutritional yeast
- 2- 3 cloves fresh garlic
- 2 tbs flax meal
- 2/3 C pumpkin seeds
- 1 bunch fresh basil (12-15 leaves)
- 1 tbs mustard
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- juice of one lemon
- zest of one lemon (about a tsp)
- dash of cayenne powder, to taste
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp sea salt
- plenty of cracked black pepper to taste
- 2 tbs flax seeds
- 1/4 C sun dried tomatoes, chopped
Set oven to lowest possible temperature. (A dehydrator is ideal for this recipe. I don’t have one, so I set my oven to its lowest temp – 200 degrees.)
Once steamed, chop broccoli (including stem) into 2 inch pieces. Add broccoli with remaining ingredients (except for the flax seeds and sun dried tomatoes) into food processor. Pulse for 2 -5 minutes until all ingredients are combined into a thick paste. If needed, add a tsp of apple cider vinegar. Once the ingredients form a thick puree with a consistency similar to a dough, stir in sun dried tomatoes and flax seeds. Get creative here! You can also add other seeds – think chia, sesame and hemp seeds.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or your other favorite non-stick baking tool. Spread broccoli “dough” in a thin layer across entire baking sheet. Start with your hands and then switch to a spatula to make sure all area of the dough are spread to the same thinness. Insert into oven and leave for 1 – 2 hours (but check frequently to make sure nothing is burning!) until the dough has dried – the corners of the baking sheet may be dry or crisp at this point. Remove from oven and score into squares with a sharp knife immediately. Allow to cool and remove from pan. Store in air-tight container. For a more crispy version, place in oven or toaster oven at 300 degrees for 10-15 minutes before serving.
It’s already been a week since I was home for Passover? Yesterday was the weekend? I’ve been living in a computer screen vortex since I left home and every time I look up, I feel further from the world outside.
I’m in post-production mode of three different projects. This means I’m finished collecting puzzle pieces and I’m now ready to sort, order and put them together. Thinking about it makes me dizzy.
They aren’t just any puzzle pieces. They’re heavy. They are other people’s stories, but putting them together comes from my own core. Schoolwork feels like therapy sometimes… My emotional state is raw and being home for Passover only intensified that feeling.
Along with the usual Passover routine – cooking, overeating, taking shots of slivovitz, leaning to the left from too much dessert/the Haggadah told us to – we dove into discussions that shook assumptions of my basic values.
Dad asked me to come up with a discussion question for our Seder. Before we recited the ten plagues that Moses inflicted upon the Egyptians, he asked it:
Is inflicting hardship upon others in order to gain freedom justified? Is it always tit for tat? What about preemptory strikes? Blood, locusts, boils, wild beasts, death of the first-born…. Is it easier to commit acts of cruelty when god’s on your side?
I thought the questions would spark good debate, but for the first time in the history of our dinnertime discussions, you and Abe agreed – you and I agreed – Abe and dad agreed – we all agreed (whoa!) that we don’t know what we’re capable of until we’re fighting to survive. We don’t know the answer. We analyze risks and benefits, we act as efficiently as we can, and we don’t look back because we know that we made the most thoughtful, conscious decision possible.
When dad asked the question, I’m guessing that some people had ISIS or Israel and Gaza in mind. Initially, I was thinking about salads (duh) — about how every bite may enable slave labor in Florida’s tomato fields. I also thought about other circumstances in which the stakes feel higher.
I’ve sort of always known that the answer is that we don’t have the answer … That the reason conflicts remain conflicts is that it’s damn easy to be convinced that god is on your side. I’m still fighting with this answer.
The flight is too big for the limited space in my brain right now.
Home already feels like worlds away.
After I left home, I stuck to a completely raw diet for the rest of Passover and LOVED it. It inspired me to play with new foods and I really needed the intestinal catharsis after all that sponge cake (it’s mostly air, it’s mostly air, it’s mostly air… yeah right). It was a good strategy to avoid matzah too.
Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Orange Chia Breakfast Bowl/Parfait
This recipe contains two components that can be eaten on their own or layered together.
Cardamom Coconut Chia Pudding
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- dash of cardamom powder
- honey, maple syrup, other sweetener to taste (optional)
Stir chia seeds into coconut milk and add cardamom. I didn’t add sweetener because I knew I’d be eating it with the plenty sweet chocolate pudding (recipe below). I also kept sweetener out of it so it would more versatile for later breakfasts and snacks. It was perfect topped with a sliced banana.
Raw Orange Scented Chocolate pudding
- 1 medium avocado
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- juice of one orange
- zest of one orange
- ½ cup pitted dates
- tsp vanilla
- ½ cup almond (or coconut) milk
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cacao powder
- dash of sea salt
A vitamix or other high powered food processor is necessary here. Dump all ingredients into food processor and puree until smooth. Add more nut milk if needed.
Layer the puddings with orange wedges in bowl or jar. Garnish with crushed hazelnuts and orange zest (and cacao nibs for extra luxury).
Herbed Raw Almond Cheese
- 1 cup almonds
- 3 cups water
- dash of smoked paprika
- ¼ cup onions, finely chopped
- dash dried basil
- fresh black pepper
Soak almonds in water over night. When ready, drain water from almonds and place into food processor. Add another cup of water and puree until frothy and white.
Place cheese cloth over a bowl or jar, and drain the liquid from the almond meal to collect a nice jar of almond milk. Collect remaining almond meal in a separate dish. Stir herbs and spices into almond meal and store in fridge. Get creative with your herbs!
Yogurt, Apple, Sprouts and Nuts Breakfast Bowl:
- 1 apple, chopped
- 3/4 cup plain organic yogurt
- handful of cilantro sprouts
- herbed almond cheese
- curry cashew cream
Stir yogurt into chopped apples. Top with cilantro sprouts, herbed almond cheese and curry cashew cream.
Thanks for the votes of confidence (over and over and over again). But yeah, stone by stone, bird by bird, person by person is much more reasonable than change the freakin world.
It doesn’t feel like I’m doing much of anything these days except trying to finish my homework on time. Last night I fell asleep with my laptop. Today is Sunday and I woke up at 6 am to do work! My lower right eyelid has developed a chronic twitch.
Repeat: stone by stone, bird by bird. It will get done.
While the days of your youth were filled with bra burning, marches and protests, the days of my youth are filled with screen time, social media and internet trolling. It’s sort of the same (except my generation will come into more severe eye, back and neck strain issues). People gravitate toward platforms on which they believe their voices will be heard.
Listening to those voices without judgment or assumption is an aspiration that I inherited from you and dad. Both of your careers were built on the premise that at their cores, people are good; that human flaws are a build-up of societal plaque and genetic misfortune; that no matter how strange their actions may be, people are people are people. You built your lives on trust in human goodness. It’s a powerful legacy.
That’s all I can say for now. I budgeted only 45 minutes today for this letter to you. It’s time to go back to work quickly quickly. I feel lucky that I have the opportunity to do work that excites me, but I sure wish I could shake this eye twitch. The recipe I’m sending today, coconut milk braised cabbage, is my go-to dish when I want to make something quick, healthy, cost-efficient, filling and bulky.
Cabbage is the most efficient food out there, and this recipe transforms it into something luxurious, rich and flavorful. And it’s gluten-free, vegan, paleo and cleanse friendly!
Coconut Milk Braised Cabbage
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 3/4 c carrots, chopped
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 c coconut milk
- 1 tbs yellow curry powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbs cinnamon powder
- dash of cayenne powder or red chili flakes to taste
- 1 head green cabbage, chopped into thin shreds (4-5 C)
- 1 tsp salt (to taste)
- juice of half lemon
- 1/2 cup yellow raisins
- salt, to taste
- fresh chopped cilantro and/or sliced almonds for garnish
Heat oil in large pan. Add onions, carrots and garlic and cook until onions are translucent. Add coconut milk and spices and bring to boil. Add cabbage and salt and bring heat to simmer. Cover pan and cook over low heat for 15 – 25 minutes, until cabbage is desired consistency. Stir in raisins and lemon juice. Garnish with chopped cilantro and/or sliced almonds. Serve warm or room temperature over a bowl of rice for a hearty meal, top with an egg, or enjoy as is.