MN Masala: Stuffed Apricots Deconstructed

Jane and Chux

By Jane and Chux: While in London, I was reminded of a dessert we had at the restaurant Sofra a few years ago – large dried apricots stuffed with rich whole milk yogurt and topped with toasted pistachios.

We liked the dessert so much, Chux and I recreated it at home.  We originally tried to make this dessert exactly as it was served to us, but we struggled to stuff the apricots nicely. It didn’t look pretty. We didn’t have the pastry bag needed for this delicate task.

We eventually improvised and deconstructed the elements of this dessert with excellent results and a much easier preparation.  It does take some time to make the yogurt cheese.  It’s best to drain the yogurt overnight.

I like to sweeten the yogurt cheese with maple syrup.  We cook the dried apricots in a little water and sugar to plump them up and give them a little glaze.  After assembling the individual servings, you have a simple delicious dessert that your dinner guests will love. Continue reading

A note from Cindy Moy:

Cindy Moy

My friend, Sue, and I were having lunch at Crossroads Deli in early 2012 when I tentatively mentioned that I was thinking about starting a website.

“I want to have intelligent conversations with interesting people without leaving my house,” I told her.

“Go for it,” she said. Sue is used to me sitting down to lunch and saying, “There’s this idea I have…”

That idea turned into The Socratic Project. (Other ideas landed us in Santa Fe and Amsterdam. Sue is brave and adventurous soul.)

To say I was nervous about such a project would be an understatement. I met with Nicole Debevec, who writes about politics for the site, to ask her advice. Continue reading

Where are you from?

Kiran Ferradino

By Kiran Ferradino: A lot of people ask me the question, “Where are you from?” I know most people ask because they are curious about my ethnicity, not because they want to know which state of the Union I identify myself with.

But I am never really sure, so often ask, “What do you mean?” I will respond without hesitation once they clarify. In some cases, people are actually asking about the state I am from, after they catch the subtlest hint of what remains of my Jersey accent.

When the question is about my ethnicity, the responses I get range in nature from slight head nods to outward enthusiasm to the highly offensive. Here are a few examples: Continue reading

Are relationships all we have?

D.J. Paris

By D.J. Paris: One of my friends, named Hungry Joe, died about a year ago.

He was one of the most brilliant (maybe the) men I have ever met. I spent a considerable amount of time with him toward the end of his life. He was afflicted, most likely, with Aspergers. He had a difficult time communicating except through metaphor.

For years (and I mean over a dozen), he slept on rooftops in Chicago without a real home. When my ex-wife asked him why he did that Joe said he was inspired by a character in a Dickens novel who did the same. Plus, he was broke. Continue reading

On Memorial Day:

Though force can
protect in emergency,

only justice, fairness,
consideration and cooperation
can finally lead men
to the dawn of eternal peace.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. President 1953 – 1961


Tomorrow: Are relationships all we have? (By D.J. Paris)

Sunday Thoughts by Bob Pickering

Bob and June Pickering

Thought for the Week: This week let us remember all who have gone before us and be thankful. Celebrate Memorial Day, pray for all who served; who went before us and all those that we love.

From God is my Spinach, May 30th
“Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
…Keep reminding God’s people of these things.”
(2 Corinthians Verses 11 & 14)

For several years my son-in-law Rick played in the 451st Fort Snelling Army band. We went to a lot of parades and concerts and had a lot of fun. At each concert they traditionally played the military anthems of the Coast guard, Army, Marines and Navy while the veterans in the crowd stood and saluted. Each time my eyes teared up with emotion when I thought what these people had done for all of us.

There are places in the world where my writing these messages would be prohibited and criminal. That is not the case here. What makes America great is our freedom of speech, the ability to express ourselves and to hear from the other side.

Bob Pickering is the author of thirty one Days of Grace and God is my Spinach. His writing focuses on being a whole person in spirit, mind and body. Bob and June, his wife of more than 40 years, have four children and nine grandchildren.

To go to Cindy Moy’s personal blog, click here.


MN Masala: Garbanzo Veggie Curry

Jane and Chux

By Jane and Chux: Time for another simple vegetarian curry.

This is so good that Jane and I fight for leftovers.  So I usually make enough for four servings and this recipe is perfect for that.

The amount of heat has to be just right; we like it spicy but not hot.

(Note: the two terms are not interchangeable).

So this is designed to be mild, and if you like it hot, please add in more heat. Continue reading

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

By Cindy Moy: In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, I would like you know about SAVE, which stands for Suicide Awareness Voice of Education.

SAVE works to prevent suicide, as well as to help families coping with the suicide of a loved one. The Executive Director of SAVE, Daniel Reidenberg, is a long-time friend of The Husband, and his work with SAVE has helped friends of ours.

From the SAVE website:   Continue reading

What is sharia law?

The following is an excerpt from Sacred Ground by Eboo Patel, published by Beacon Press. Reprinted with permission.

Eboo Patel

Sharia translates as “the path to a watering place.” In a religious context, the term refers to various abstract values like the importance of life, religion, and education as well as more practical matters dealing with prayer times and funeral rites.

In other words, it’s the way of believing, behaving, and belonging that makes Muslims Muslim.

The key sources of sharia are the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet Muhammad. Throughout the course of Islamic history, various Muslim scholars applied these sources to real-life situations in different ways, a process of judicial interpretation known as fiqh. Continue reading

Who is the middle-class?

By Cindy Moy: The middle-class is dwindling. The middle-class needs help. The middle-class is the backbone of America. Politicians and pundits are constantly bemoaning the state of the middle-class.

Who, exactly, is middle-class in America? The median income in the United States is $50,054. If a person’s income is $20,600, is that person middle-class? The Census Bureau says yes. The Department of Commerce says no.

If a person’s income is $100,000, is that person middle-class? The Census Bureau says yes. The Department of Commerce also says yes. The Department of Commerce classifies an income up to $122,000 as middle-class. Continue reading