Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Roasted curried cauliflower with sesame

Yesterday my brother’s murderer was sentenced to 25 years in prison. I sat in the courtroom, listened to the final statements, and heard the judge pronounce the sentence. He told the killer that it didn’t matter what good he had done before in his life (he used to be a Baltimore City cop) that his life was henceforth defined by what he did on April 3, 2011. We saw the murderer taken away in his prison jumpsuit with shackles around his ankles. But it gave none of us joy, no sense of victory. There were no high-fives, no cheers, just the sadness of having seen something tragic unfold. Was it justice? I don’t know. All I know is that I’ll never see my brother again and that breaks my heart.

I promised I would cook something, anything, when it was over. I haven’t yet tried to recreate (and write down!) the great spicy tangled Thai salad I made a couple of weeks ago. I will, I will—I just need someone to help me eat that one. So today I tried out a recipe that has been floating around in my head. I like how it turned out and will make it again, surely with other variations. Next time I will probably up the spice factor by using hot curry powder. You could serve it hot but I like the idea of serving it as a muchie/appetizer at room temperature.

 Here’s what I did today . . .

 Roasted curried cauliflower with sesame

1 medium-size head of cauliflower
2 tablespoons EVOO
1 tablespoon dark roasted sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Break cauliflower into florets, rinse and drain.
Toss florets in bowl, coating evenly with olive oil, sesame oil, curry powder, salt, and pepper.
Put florets on shallow baking sheet in 450 degree oven.
Roast for 10 minutes.
Add sesame seeds, toss mixture, and bake for another 5 minutes. The florets should maintain a bit of their crunchiness.
Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

Monday, June 11, 2012


At a time when I have been forced to look into the eyes of death, the thought that is emerging is that I am alive. This morning I walked for an hour along the river, nearly the entire length of Great Falls Park. I walked past the overlook where, over a year ago, I sat on a bench with Mike, who knew then that he probably was not going to survive the cancer. He looked into the distance and said, “I used to climb mountains.” Yes, he once was full of life and now he is dead.

Mike died, my brother died, my father died. But I am alive. I walked fast this morning, sweating hard, listening to R.L. Burnside. I chuckled at myself, amused that at that moment I was probably the only 64-year-old woman walking in Great Falls Park listening to R.L. Burnside on my iPod.

I stopped at 7-11 and bought an iced mocha coffee. I did it just because I could, because I am alive.

This isn’t a new thought but it changes shape, it looks different and smells different as time goes by. People I love have died, yet I have a separate fate from theirs. My life intersects the lives of others, including some with whom I have deep attachments. I don’t detach easily. Like duct tape on a hairy man’s chest, it hurts to detach. And for me the attachment lingers, slowly and painfully. But maybe that’s just the way I am—blessed to care deeply though cursed to feel the loss so intensely.

I want to celebrate the subtle nuances of life. I want to feel the heat of the day, I want to savor an iced coffee, I want to listen to music. I want to realize that my path in life has me here, now, that I can appreciate that in these moments I am alive.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bad example

Last week I was caught in a massive traffic jam on the beltway. My lane was disappearing and all the cars in front of me were, one by one, slowly merging into the adjoining lane. There was a big juiced-up pick-up truck beside me. He hugged the bumper of the car in front of him and refused to let anyone merge in front of him. A sign on the rear of his truck, in huge iridescent letters, boldly proclaimed “JESUS SAVES.” I wanted to get out of my car, pound on his window, and tell him he’s a rude blankety-blank who gives Christians a bad name. I didn’t. He might have shot me.

It seems right to me that the life of a Christian should be marked, set apart by faith. The rude man in the pick-up truck wasn’t persuading other beltway drivers that day to say, “Wow—he’s a Christian. I can see how his faith affects his life. I want what he has.” No, they were probably thinking his faith didn’t make him a better person.

And what about me? Am I a good example? Does my faith make me a better person? Everyone knows I’m a Christian. Yet often I don’t create a good example of a person with a joyful Christian heart, fearless, rooted in the Lord. I’ve been entangled in grief and sadness. If people look to me for an example of a Christian woman who rises above the muck of human existence, they are not going to see it. My prayer is that the Lord lifts from me the grief and sadness. Lift it so that I can be an example of faith in action, joy rooted in an unshakeable trust in God. I just want to hand over the troubles to God—He can handle them. And let my faith rise above it, let me understand how this works for His good. In all things, according to His purpose.