Tea Cozy (featuring Roasted Carrot and Onion Fontina Tart)
I saw Francis’ shoulders rise out of the corner of my eye. I felt the sudden tension in his body reverberate through mine and thought, “Can’t we just have one more block of serenity and denial?”
But they were out and we were headed right for them.
Spring had ruptured. The gentle whisper wooing of crocuses and tulips had abruptly turned to trumpets roaring with temperatures in the 80’s. Summer had burst through the door a few weeks before the calendar said it should and people were out in shorts and squinty grins, masks either dangling casually from a pocket or completely non-existent. Quarantining can justify itself when it’s raining or chilly, but when the sun says, “come out and play,” it’s pandemic shmandemic.
Our daily 3 ½ mile neighborhood walk consists of four not-so-steep-but-get-you-a-little-winded hills and we had just climbed the first. A block past the crest the road widens for a ridge of expensive houses- a Tudor, a Cape Cod, a Colonial, all with breathtaking views overlooking the Willamette. These homes boast manicured lawns that Amelia loves to dance, roll, and slither on. Her scruffy-bearded grin growing wider as she gnaws brown divots into the green (and we half-heartedly yell at her to stop).
But on this day, there were boys out front. A mask-less pack of marauders, maybe 9 or 10 years old, with skinned knees and loud whoops and makeshift weapons of broken tree limbs and finger guns. They didn’t care about Coronavirus. All they cared about was being free.
Francis stopped and sucked in his breath. Amelia looked concerned.
“It’ll be fine,” I said. “We’ll go wide. They probably won’t run into the street.”
In all honesty, we weren’t wearing masks either. We usually only see a few other people on our walk and everyone is very respectful of distancing. But the boys represented more than disease transmission. It was youth and exemption and reckless abandon. We carried the burden of months in captivity with a constant stream of bad news and seeing the opposite was like a punch in the solar plexus.
Francis nodded. We would keep going. These jaunts are the best part of our day. Amelia wagged and panted.
We walked toward the gang about to step into the street to properly distance ourselves when a tall skinny boy ran out onto the sidewalk a few yards in front of us, holding a long pointy stick, eyes flaring with excitement.
He turned to face the boys on the lawn, all sweaty and eager.
“Ok guys!!! That was awesome. Let’s play again!!! Now this time who wants to be the president…”
We looked at the pack, smiles flattened into straight lines.
“And who wants to be the ASSASSIN?”
Every hand shot up like a million tenacious dandelions pointed at the sky.
It took a millisecond for it to truly sink in, but then we realized, this is how far down the current administration has taken us. Even the kids are angry.
The world is not easy right now. I’m struggling. Struggling because it’s clear I’ve been lied to time and time again. I’ve been taught an abridged history, fed an aggregated fictionalized newsfeed that supports my current belief systems. I have said, “I understand” or “I can see how that must feel” about things that I couldn’t begin to comprehend. I’ve taken for granted the freedoms that I’ve been given. I’m a white woman of privilege and I’ve crocheted the information I have been fed into a lovely tea cozy of values that make me feel righteous as I smugly sit on my couch doing nothing.
But that’s over. Because in fact, I’m a motherfucking force of nature and when I set my mind to it, I can accomplish a lot more than you’d think. I stand with Black Lives Matter to fight against racial injustice, police brutality, criminal justice reform, Black immigration, economic injustice, LGBTQIA+ and human rights, environmental injustice, access to healthcare, access to quality education, and voting rights and suppression. The time is right now and there are more of us than there are of them. The fight isn’t going to be an easy one and it’s easy to feel powerless, but look at what’s happened already:
5/26 – 4 officers fired for murdering George Floyd
5/28 Univ of Minn cancels contract with police
5/28 3rd precinct police station neutralized by protestors
5/28 ATU Local 1005 refuses to bring police officers to protests, or transport arrested protesters
5/29 Activists commander hotel to provide shelter to homeless
5/29 Officer Chauvin who killed Floyd arrested
5/29 Louisville Mayor suspends “no-knock” warrants in response to polices 3/12
5/30 US Embassies across Africa condemn police murder of Floyd
5/30 MN AG Ellison takes over prosecution of the murdering officer
5/30 TWU Local 100 bus operators refuse to transport arrests protestors
5/31 2 abusive officers fired for pulling a couple out of car and tasing them
6/1 Minn public schools end contract with police
6/1 Confederate Monument removed – Birmingham, AL
6/1 CA prosecutors launch campaign to stop DA’s from accepting police union money
6/1 Tulsa Mayor Bynum agrees to not renew Live PD contract
6/1 Louisville police chief fired after shooting of David Mcatee at BBQ joint
6/1 Dems and reps begin push to shut down a Pentagon program that transfers military weaponry to cancels contract with police
6/2 Minn AFL-CIO calls for the resignation of Bob Kroll, the president of the Minn police union (Bob Kroll is a vocal white supremest)
6/2 ATU Local 85 announces refusal to transport police officers or arrest protestors
6/2 Racist Ex-Mayor Rizzo statue removed
6/2 6 abusive officers charged for violence against residents and protestors – Atlanta, GA
6/2 Confederate soldier statue removed – Alexandire, VA
6/2 Robert Lee statue removed
6/2 Civil Rights investigation of Minn Police Dept launched
6/2 Resolution to prevent law enforcement from hiring officers with history of misconduct announced by San Fran DA Boudin and Supervisor Walton
6/2 Survey indicating 64% of polled sympathetic to protestors, and 47% disapprove of police handling + 54% think burning down of precinct fully or partially justified
6/2 NJ AG announces policing reforms
6/2 Minn City Council members publicly call for disbanding the police and replace safety and outreach capacity
6/3 1 officer fired for tweets promoting violence against protestors – Denver, Co
6/3 Minn Institute of Art, First Avenue, Walker Art Center end use of MPD for events
6/3 Officer Chauvin charged and taken into custody
6/3 Officer Chauvin charges upgraded to 2nd Murder, ad remaining 3 officers also charged and taken into custody
6/3 VA Gov announces removal of Robert E Lee statue
6/3 Richmond VA Mayor Stoney announces RPD reform measures: establish “Marcus” alert for folks experiencing mental health crisis, establish independent Citizen Review Board, an ordinance to remove Confederate monuments, and implement racial equity study
6/3 County commissioners deny proposal for $23 million expansion of Fulton County jail
6/3 Minn Parks and Rec cut ties with the Minn Police Dep.
6/3 US Army tells soldiers to disobey any orders to attack peaceful protestors – nationwide
6/3 LA Announces $100-150 million cut from LAPD budget, Reinvested into communities, moratorium on gang database, sharper discipline against abusive cops, in effect immediately
6/3 Seattle changes mind and withdraws request to end federal oversight/consent decree of police department
6/4 Breonna Taylor case reopened
6/4 Portland, OR schools superintendent ‘discontinues’ presence of armed police officers in schools
6/4 MBTA (Metro Boston) board orders that buses won’t transport police to protests, or protestors to police
6/4 King County Labor Federation issue ultimatum to police unions, to admit to and address racism in Seattle PD, or be removed
It seems silly to talk about food now.
But there are people who skip the writing and go directly to the recipe, so for them, I give you my Roasted Carrot and Onion Fontina Tart
Roasted Carrot and Onion Fontina Tart
In order to save time, you can bake the tart shell at the same time you roast the carrots and onions…
Ingredients for the tart shell (based on Paule Caillat’s tart shell recipe)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 rounded cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 420 degrees.
- In an ovenproof bowl, place the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt. Set the bowl in the oven and bake it until the mixture is melted and bubbling, about 12-15 minutes.
- Carefully remove the bowl from oven and stir the flour into the butter mixture until it comes together into a dough ball.
- When it’s cool enough to handle, press the dough into a 9 inch round tart pan (or a square 9-inch pan like what I have) with a removable bottom. Press it evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Dock the dough by pricking the bottom of the pastry with a fork about 10 times.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
Ingredients for the tart filling
- 7 carrots (preferably different colors), peeled and sliced (use a mandolin if you have one) into thin strips
- 1 red onion, peeled and sliced into ¼ in rounds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for roasting
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- ½- ¾ cups fontina cheese, grated
- Mixed fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, tarragon, basil (this is about what you like, not what I like so get creative!)
- Preheat oven to 420 degrees (this should be done already since you’re making your pastry at the same time).
- On a foil-lined sheet pan, toss the carrots and onions with oil and then season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes until carrots are soft and sweet and onions have started to char at the edges. The tart shell should be done by now.
- Sprinkle the base of the cooked tart shell with the cheese. Carefully shape the carrots and onions into shapes (I did them in circular flower shapes, but you can get as creative as you like here). Sprinkle with herbs and bake at 425 for an additional 12 minutes.
And stay safe.