Tonight’s Sunday dinner was with my high school friend, Cynthia. Cyn and I grew up together in small town South Carolina and have seen each other through all kinds of ups and downs over the years: endless youth group crushes, new loves and heartbreaks, a friend’s suicide, a student exchange trip to France, both of our moves to Colorado. Cyn went to law school in Boulder and now works as an immigration attorney in Denver… and not surprisingly, her work days are full of people’s stories that could easily move you to tears or be turned into drama films. Tonight was a lesson in gratitude for our lives filled with so much plenty and so many good things.
We dined on Smitten Kitchen’s parsnip latkes with horseradish and dill. I’d been dying to make these since I first read her blog post in December, and they were sooo worth the wait. Parsnips are a new vegetable for me and they’re not too pretty on the eyes (kinda look like fingers), so I was happy to disguise them in some crispy fried-in-the-skillet goodness! The parsnips’ subtle sweetness was a delicious pairing for the sour dill horseradish sauce, which I made with homemade soy yogurt from last week because I didn’t have sour cream. Check out her recipe above, I’ll definitely be making them again before the winter is over, and will probably be looking for other things to use the sauce for now that there’s a bottle of horseradish stowed in the fridge. (What else can you do with horseradish? Ideas? Suggestions?)
For our desert, I spent part of this afternoon making buckwheat scones from the gorgeous new cookbook, Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole Grain Flours, by Kim Boyce. I’m normally not a fan of scones because of their dry, crumbly texture – but these were moist and soft on the inside, crisp on the outside, and looked more like cinnamon rolls rather than your typical triangle shaped biscuit. Didn’t even take long to make… just messy on the counter. Yummy though!
Kim’s recipe called for smearing the scones’ inside with her fig spread, but that seemed like more effort than I was willing to put in for a sunny Sunday afternoon. Instead, I used some pumpkin butter from a recent lazy weekend and spiked it with a little bourbon that’s been hiding in my pantry since Christmas 2010 and has only come out for the occasional hot toddy. In an effort to ‘healthify’ the final product a bit more, I used half Stevia and half sugar, and a mix of yogurt and almond milk for the recipe’s heavy cream.
As we munched on scones and burned our tongues on tea, Cynthia described some of her recent cases, files, and studies. A woman from Russia applying for asylum whose husband was killed because of his political opinions. A Mexican man who’s been in the US since age 5 and is now in danger of deportation, despite his wife and children all being citizens and the fact that he doesn’t even speak Spanish. A woman from El Salvador who, orphaned and abandoned as a child, raised her infant brother on the streets with her five siblings. The Middle Eastern journalist in the news recently who posted something negative about Mohammed and now faces death in his country. These are the people she fights for. Considering that moments earlier, we were discussing who from high school was already getting divorced, the situation was almost laughable. How pitiful are our complaints and struggles compared to so many people, even in this city! The detention center is less than a mile from my home, where I sit comfortably surrounded by everything familiar and the latest Martha Stewart Whole Living. If there is a God, sometimes I hope he actually doesn’t listen. Please don’t waste your holy time with my flying down the mountain, please-don’t-let-me-hit-that-tree prayers. Listen to these instead and do something about that.