Resolutions for 2022
Stringent COVID restrictions are returning to Mom’s care center. With the world-wide numbers of Omicron infections escalating daily, I’m not surprised. Now they want every visitor to take an antigen test 24 hours before every visit to rule out Omicron. This is in addition to checking the expiration date of everyone’s last COVID shot because it seems evident that the booster wears off over time. And each resident can only have one visitor at a time.
As of now, my dad is scheduled for a second booster next week. These have been authorized for those over 60. And we’re stocking up on home antigen tests.
Mom is doing just fine. The last time I saw her was last week when Dad and I went together to visit. We had such happy moments with her, though they were obviously ephemeral. We have this amazing photo of such love pouring out of Mom. It makes me smile every time I see it. I haven’t been able to visit this week because I have bronchitis. And yes, I checked. I’m negative for COVID. A gift from my grandchildren.
The secular New Year is upon us. This will mark the ninth year that I have been writing about Mom’s Alzheimer’s. While in the beginning I felt the need to write and explore what was happening to her, something in my approach to her situation has changed. I no longer look for ways to open her up or give her enrichment beyond our short visits. Put it down to COVID or her decline, but the truth is, I am tired emotionally.
Yet what a ridiculous sentiment that is in the face of what Mom’s going through. I am angry with myself for not finding the energy to push through my emotions and saddened at the situation we find ourselves in.
And so I look at that photo of her beautiful smile, her shining happiness at being with us, and I force myself to give as much as I can in that short window of time that is allotted to visiting her.
There are no miracles here. Just the slow and steady waning of a once vibrant individual. This year, and for as long as it takes, may I be a conduit for moments of connectivity and happiness that my sweet mom deserves.
Meanwhile, on the cooking front, we still need to eat. When I put my mind to it, I discover that there are amazing tasty and healthy recipes out there. Here’s one that got my attention: Whole roasted cauliflower with salsa. I dressed it up beautifully for Shabbat when I couldn’t take any photos. Thankfully, there were yummy leftovers.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Salsa
For this recipe I used Melech Hahalva’s Ethiopian tehina, but any good-quality tehina will do. Not only does this dish produce a tantalizing smell, but it looks beautiful, too.
1 large cauliflower head
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground chili power
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ to 1 cup tehina
¼ cup slivered toasted almonds for garnish
¼ red onion finely diced
2 tomatoes diced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1 dash dried hot peppers (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350° F / 180° C. Place the cauliflower head on a baking tray lined with baking paper. In a bowl, combine ground spices, oil and salt. Pour the mixture over the cauliflower, making sure it is evenly coated. Cover the tray with foil and roast the cauliflower in the oven for 2 hours, basting at least once. Add more oil if needed to keep the cauliflower moist.
Remove the foil and roast for another 10 minutes to brown the cauliflower a little. Or, broil on high for 2-3 minutes.
While the cauliflower is browning, make the tomato salsa. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. May use a hand dicer.
To serve, spread the tehina on a large platter and place the cauliflower on top. Cut out a generous wedge of cauliflower and pile the tomato salsa inside and around the edge of the cauliflower. Garnish with slivered toasted almonds.
Based on a recipe from JMore Baltimore Living.