Wednesday, August 6, 2014

That Gray Area

I don't like to post about politics.  I don't like the way that people try to push their beliefs/values/principles on others.  I don't like how people are always trying to tell other people what is "right" or "wrong."  Right and wrong are the feelings in the pit of your stomach, a tightening in your chest...

But today after days of reading different people's posts about the Israeli/Gaza/Palestinian situation I feel prompted to speak up (or well write...).  There is a lot of information and a lot of media being put out by various entities.  One could spend all day reading about the conflict or looking at charts, graphs, timelines etc.  And it is easy to get caught up in the very well designed graphics or eloquent words; but I beg of you to remember that data can be presented and biased in almost any imaginable way and that articles almost never tell all sides to a story.

I feel the strong push to write today because of two experiences that happened to me just about two years ago that have forever changed my life.

1.  I made my first trip to Israel.

Israel was amazing.  Such an ancient place full of history.  Birthright trips are obviously designed to push visitors into a pro-Israel mind set, but even so my Oberlin education prevailed and I didn't forget to question, ponder and consider as many views as possible.  And in the end I do believe that I came out of this trip with a more well rounded understanding of Israel.

2.  I was the recipient of directed anti-semitism.

A person who I had spoken maybe a couple of sentences to and totally unprovoked screamed terrible, horrible words and accusations full of hate and hostility directly at me.  Why? Because I am Jewish.  In all honesty I don't even remember exactly what she said, but I sure as shit remember how I felt.  Those words, and the anger hate and hostility behind them shook me to the core. They made me feel sick and disturbed something deep inside my body.

People warn that hate is a strong word, because if you have been on the receiving end you will know exactly how terrifying hate is. Being on the receiving end of any kind of hate (homophobia, xenophobia, racism etc...) is not an experience or a feeling that anyone should ever experience. And for me it is an experience and feeling that I hope to never feel again.

I am not going to sit here and defend the killing of thousands of innocent lives.  And even as a Jewish person when I think long and hard about how the state of Israel came to be it leaves me with mixed feelings.  Before these two experiences I think my feelings about these conflicts would be more decided and sided.  But after my personal experience there is this small part of me that is slightly paranoid and can rest at night knowing that were there to be another Hitler my family would have a haven.

So, please continue to read, and look and listen, educate yourself. But educate your self with ALL the sides of the story. And before you post something and endorse it, as what you believe, consider the bigger picture.  Consider all sides of the story.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Red White and Blue

Why, hello there!  Happy 5th of July! Only one day late!  I got very messy in the kitchen yesterday making some fourth of July themed MOCHI! Needless to say my counters are covered in potato starch.

Inspired by the mochi master our friend Jenn, who makes fantastic baked goods at one of the local natural foods stores Kale's, I decided to try my hand at a different type of baked good.  And use up some of the six pounds of mochiko in my pantry.

I wanted to make this cake but the idea of all those layers and icing... Not to mention I was out of shortening and powdered sugar.

SOOOooOooOOOo I made this delightfully mild berry mochi.


Red White and Blue(berry) Mochi

makes one 9 x 13 inch pan, about one and a half inches thick

2 boxes mochiko
2 c water
2 c vanilla almond or soy milk

1 c sugar
1 c frozen strawberries
1 c frozen blueberries
6 t vegetable oil
1 t vanilla extract
red and blue food coloring, if desired
potato starch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper and oil the pan/parchment. 

1.Combine about 11 oz of mochiko and 1/3 c sugar together in a bowl.  In a measuring glass combine the blueberries 1 cup of almond milk and 1 cup of water and 2 t of vegetable oil.  Using a immersion blender or a regular blender blend the berries and liquid (and food coloring if using).  Add to the dry mixture and stir until combined.  Pour into the baking pan and smooth into an even layer.  Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

2. Clean your bowl/blender/measuring glass/spatula etc.

3. Measure another 11 oz of mochiko add 1/3 c sugar, 1 c almond milk, 1 c sugar, 2 t vegetable oil and vanilla.  Mix throughly.

4. Remove pan from oven uncover and pour the white layer over smooth over evenly.  Cover with foil and return to the oven for 20 minutes.

5. Repeat Step 1. with strawberries instead of the blueberries.  Once the 20 minutes us up pour the red layer oven the white layer smooth, cover and bake for another 90 minutes.

6. Remove and let cool completely in the pan.

7. Cut using a plastic knife. Be sure to dust all surfaces with potato starch.  Roll each piece in potato starch to prevent from sticking.