Though this week’s recipe is one of plants and sweetness and life, today I write with a heaviness. Over 24 hours, there were two mass shootings in our country: one in El Paso, Texas; and one in Dayton, Ohio. I’m not sure which is more tragic: the sheer number of lives lost to gun violence today, or the fact that a death toll of that magnitude doesn’t even really surprise us anymore.
I, along with many, am beyond frustrated with the lack of progress being made to prevent these incidents from occurring, to establish adequate limitations on guns. Waiting for the accomplishment of any significant change in Washington, let alone one so politically charged as gun rights, can seem hopeless. But while we may not have the ability to change the disheartening pace of lawmaking, we must never forget the abilities we do have, the voice we each possess.
This is my way of speaking through the hopelessness. These words and my prayers go out to the families of the 29 innocent people who died yesterday and today.
20 people died in a Texas Walmart today
I didn’t know
But I pretended I did
When my neighbor mentioned how horrible
20 minutes later I sit in Highland Park Community Garden
Content among the drooping tomato plants
So laden with fruit that
With one accidental bump
They’d send red and green heaps
cascading to the ground below
the hands that raised these tomatoes
coaxed perfect bright bulbs
out of seed and sprout
I imagine my mother’s hands
deep in the dirt of our own garden
packing plants gently
Into their new homes
her fingers folded around the stems
with a firm but tender touch
Maybe it’s my mother’s fault
that I can’t imagine
wrapped around the
cold, hard barrel of
Something that’s nothing
in her hands,
hands rough with the
soil and sweat and
from months of waiting
Until the first fruit was ready to fall
Into the cup of her
Sweet, selfless fingers
My mother’s hands taught me patience
The sun drags the blanket of dusk
Across the leafy sea before me and
I let it pull my eyelids heavy
let the shadow cool my feet, legs, face,
tomatoes in this garden
widows in Texas
Maybe it’s my mother’s fault
That I only needed one minute of grief
For each victim
before my life resumed
before my imagination
trying to imagine
as I sat with the tomatoes
Pulling out black shirts and dresses
From the backs of
Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
1 Timothy 2:8
Chocolate, Raspberry, Matcha, “Succulents” (V)
This interactive dessert brings not only the vibrant flavors of matcha, raspberries, and chocolate–but it re-invents the beloved “worms and dirt” of childhood snack time.
- 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight or boiled for 20 minutes)
- 2 TBSP plus 1 tsp dark cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP almond milk
- 5 dates
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP vegan butter (earth balance is great)
- 1 TBSP matcha powder
- 8 vegan marshmallows (I use Trader Joe’s Brand)
- 1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
- crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (scrape out frosting, and eat it if you’re me)
- Make “pudding”: place soaked cashews, dates, and almond milk in cup of a Nutribullet or bowl of a small food processor. Pulse until smooth.
- Add cocoa powder and salt. Blend until incorporated, stirring as needed. Keep in fridge until ready to use.
- Make “succulents”: combine butter and matcha powder in a microwavable bowl. Microwave until butter is melted; stir matcha powder until incorporated.
- Add marshmallows to bowl; microwave for about 1 minute, stirring halfway through with a spoon. (Grease spoon with oil or shortening to prevent sticking)
- Add rice cereal, and stir. When cool enough, turn out the mixture onto a counter or tray lined with parchment paper. Grease your hands, and continue to mix (be careful, it can be hot).
- Press mixture out onto parchment, and allow to cool to about room temperature. Mold them into desired plant shapes.
- Assemble: in a pot, bowl, or shallow tray, spoon “pudding” to coat the bottom. Press raspberries throughout the “pudding,” leaving a few to make flowers.
- Sprinkle crushed cookies onto the raspberries/chocolate to cover completely and form “dirt.”
- Arrange sculpted “succulents” on top of the cookie crumbles.
- Split/layer remaining raspberries to make “flowers.”
- Enjoy! Keep in fridge if saving for the next day.