Caffeinated musings on my place within Judaism, feminism and community. Pontification on political and social topics. Definitely not decaf.

09 November 2006

Blue Moves

…which happens to be the title of one of my favorite Elton John albums. While “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” got the most airplay, I think some of the bluesy songs (“Where’s the Shoorah?”) and the moving “Someone’s Final Song” are far better.

But that’s not the blue moves I was thinking of. And it’s not Cookie Monster dancing with the letter “C” on “Sesame Street” either.

No, I’m thinking of the blue moves this country is finally experiencing, B”H. Like Churchill after WWII, we’ve been in the wilderness years since 2001. The damage this country has experienced with the rise of the Conservative Right – the corruption, the disregard for human life, the vitrol and bile they’ve unleashed – will take us years to overcome.

Reading Dov Bear’s post on the subject, I agree that holding Democratic feet to the fire is also in order. After all, they’re every bit as fallible as the Republicans.

There’s a new wind blowing. I just hope it doesn’t somehow manage to snag that GOP sulfuric smell of taint and corruption too.

Still, whether it’s a referendum on the current administration, Iraq, Ted Haggard, Haliburton, Karl Rove (file under evil), Cheney (“Don’t you have a hunting trip scheduled?”) and Rummy (“Yes, Virginia, the war is going very well.”), I really don’t care. That Tom Friedman in the NY Times exhorted Americans to show Washington that they’re not as stupid as Shrub, Cheney and Rummy think we are, finally came out. I’d like to think that American’s aren’t all stupid or asleep at the switch. Perhaps they’re finally wakening from years to stupor to vote intelligently again – or a least not against their best interests.

So, I’m one who wants to return to discussing – and doing something about values and common decency. Gee, not only the GOP has a lock on values and being a mensch. Seems to me people of faith – whatever their religion – might just share some common views – although you’d never know it if you listen to James Dobson. I wonder what Jesus or Buddha or Muhammed would say? Maybe they’d agree with me on:
Ÿ ending the cycle of poverty
Ÿ securing a livable minimum wage that’s tied to inflation indexes
Ÿ making sure the rich don’t weasel out of paying their fair share – including estate taxes
Ÿ making sure the middle class doesn't sink lower, lose jobs and end up at the bottom of the heap
Ÿ providing for people’s basic human needs
Ÿ ensuring that all children have access to a decent daycare and education
Ÿ taking care of our planet by halting global warming and cutting the use of fossil fuels
Ÿ providing people with universal healthcare
Ÿ making our world safer by controlling who gets to have and use guns

OK, there might be some differences in the religious philosophies, but I doubt you can judge any religion by the extremists who think they have a lock hold on what’s right and their G-d on speed dial. Last time I checked, most religions had some sort of “do unto others” policy. Now’s a good time to remember this commonality that we share. It’s time we, together, aim to restore respectful and civil discourse.

Aside from politics (ok, thinking about politics), work and graduate school, there’s not much time for anything else. I'm not cooking or baking all that much these days but I did just make pretty decent tandoori chicken. How to make it kosher you ask, since it usually calls for butter and yoghurt? Mix the paste and spices (whatever your recipe calls for) along with parve margarine and Tofutti parve sour cream in a plastic zipper bag. Let it marinate for a day or so in the fridge. Then when you put the chicken in the pan, all you have to do is toss the bag and no mess. Serve with some basmati rice and something green (got to be healthy after all) and you have a rather nice and Internationally-inspired dinner.

As for family, the DH, Mr. local head of a Jewish organization, is getting flack, pushback and too much tsuris for being too Jewish – or trying to take the organization in that direction. Don’t even get me started on the whole embarrassment or self-hating thing that some people feel. Get over it. The role of a Jewish organization is to be…Jewish.

And #1 and #2 have no idea what’s coming (b’shaa tova) just after Pesah…#3. G-d willing the amnio will be OK. That keeps me up at night. That, at the nausea. Oh, and the fear of preterm labor and going on bedrest again...

So a post wouldn’t be complete without something food related. I did buy two wonderful new baking books recently: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from my Home to Yours and John Ettinger’s Bob's Red Mill Baking Book: More Than 400 Recipes Featuring Whole & Healthy Grains. No time to try them…but I can read them and imagine what they goodies might taste like. No calories in that. Also, Claudia Roden has a new book out, Arabesque: A Taste of Turkey, Morocco and Lebanon, which is on my Hanukkah list. Anything with an eggplant on the cover is on my list.

And, here’s what #1 requested instead of a birthday cake. Smart girl. Intense chocolate served warm with freshly whipped cream. What could be bad?

CHOCO-HOTO-POTS Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Time: 30 minutes Yield: 4 generous servings.

Butter for ramekins
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
¾ cup superfine sugar (I use regular sugar and it’s just fine)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup white chocolate chips – or you can experiment…candied ginger, dried cherries, dried apricots with a tablespoon of brandy, dark chocolate chips…or even nothing and it’s just fine

Place baking sheet in 400-degree oven. Butter four ⅔-cup ramekins and set aside. (I also spray muffin tins with non-stick spray.)
Melt together the semisweet chocolate and the butter. I do this in the microwave. Set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, sugar and flour. Add cooled chocolate mixture, and mix until blended. Fold in white chips – or other your choice.
Divide mixture evenly among ramekins and place on baking sheet. Bake until tops are shiny and cracked and chocolate beneath is hot and gooey, about 20 minutes. Place each ramekin on a small plate with a teaspoon and serve, reminding everyone that ramekins and chocolate are hot.

Since I cannot have sushi, feta or a glass of wine just now, seems to me one can never have too much chocolate...especially now.