I Keep One Eye Open
By Bonnie Fishman / San Francisco Bay Area
I’ve been the designated “family worrier” since childhood. Do you have something to worry about? I’ll take over your fretting. Heap it on. I have no limits to what I can angst about. Since the 2016 election, I’ve slept with one eye open. I don’t trust what’s going on in the world and particularly in today’s politics. I watched the news obsessively during the last administration, but from 2020 to the present. I took a reprieve, feeling a little safer with a reasonable, kind person at the helm. Now, the liars, the nonbelievers, the hate-mongers, the uninformed are back in our purview with a greater and more horrendous force than ever.
My husband, Bob, and I drove 2500 miles each way across the country for eight years from Michigan to California for the winter. When Bob was behind the wheel, I NEVER slept and quite frankly, barely took my eyes off the road. If I could see an accident or mayhem coming, maybe it wouldn’t come. Same with politics. I have returned to watching way too much news, keeping that one eye open.
During the ’80s,’90s, and 2000s, when I was working fulltime and raising a family, I must admit, I didn’t pay much attention to politics. Yes, I read or heard the news every day. With the opposition in office, I didn’t fear for my safety or the loss of our democracy, even though I may not have agreed with the policies.
Today and in recent years, it’s a whole different ball game. What happened?! One national misstep of voting in an ignorant, power-hungry, hateful, lying, narcissistic president has caused the country and the world, for that matter, to rip the top off of Pandora’s box, unleashing vitriol, lies and racism. It’s now acceptable to say horrible things and even act on them. Throw in taking away our right to choose and civil liberties, both eyes are open now at night!
This phenomenon is happening worldwide. That’s a scary thought! The most frightening idea is the possible loss of our democracy. In October 2018, the Fishman cousins took a wonderful trip to Corfu, Greece. We had many a discussion about everything under the sun, including politics.
One evening, while discussing the terrible administration we were experiencing, my cousin, Carol, said the most astonishing thing to me. “Maybe some day soon we won’t have a democracy.” What?What was she talking about? How could that ever be possible? Guess what? Here we are! On the precipice of losing said democracy. My head is spinning, with one eye open.
Most of my friends are liberal, like-minded people. However, I had a rather humorous experience during the 2016 election. My sister, Marcia has traveled all over the world with two Republican friends, usually during the first week in November, for the past two decades. In 2016, I joined them on a trip to Argentina and Uruguay. While in Montevideo, just about everywhere we went, a waiter would ask, “So what do you all think of the upcoming election?” We would all be sitting at a table or in a booth, the. Dems on one side and the Republicans on the other. We would all shrug and respond “We’ll see.” The silent code between these travelers was to NEVER talk about politics.
On election night, our friends were in their hotel room, Marcia and I were down the hall in ours. The TV is on in both rooms. They’re thrilled and I’m pacing and pacing. I can’t believe what’s happening. I’ve got to eat and pace. “Let’s order pizza!”, I exclaim. In Uruguay? No way. One orders empañadas, little turnovers filled with all kinds of delicacies, from chicken and pork to dulce de leche and chocolate. I go all out and order the desserts. Hey, they even deliver! Did this change the election results? Heck no. But I sure had a bit of pleasure eating these South American favorites.
For this year’s election on Tuesday, I repeated the pacing and eating. I whipped up a batch of flaky turnovers. When I make this dough, I often double the batch and keep one dough patty in the freezer. Then when I have a hankering, I defrost the dough, roll it out and fill it with what’s in the pantry or fridge. This time, I made classic apple, raisin, and cinnamon, a popular combination in Uruguay. An even more popular option is the turnovers filled with dulce de leche. Most people use the canned variety but I, of course, have made it from scratch. I’ve also gilded the lily by adding chopped almonds and chocolate.
This is actually a fun project to do with someone else, especially children. They can easily put their desired filling in the dough, fold it over, and seal it. They’ll be pleased with the results. Let us know here at The Insider how your pacing and eating went on Tuesday. Do you keep one eye open?
Yield: 2 dozen (1 dozen apple and 1 dozen dulce de leche)
8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. plain yogurt
2 1/2 c. flour
Dulce de leche filling:
2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. coarsely chopped almonds
1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 lg. tart apple, peeled, cored, cut into 1/8” dice
1/4 c. raisins
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg white
cinnamon sugar or coarse sugar
Using a stationary mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add yogurt and beat until smooth. Gradually add the flour. Blend to combine. Form into 2 discs, cover, refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Make dulce de leche:
In a 2-qt. heavy-bottom saucepan, place the milk, sugar, and soda. Bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. As it begins to caramelize, stir more often. Cook until thickened. Blend in the vanilla. Pour into a bowl and cool completely.
Make the apple filling:
Combine the ingredients in a bowl. Reserve.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Roll 1 disc of dough out on a lightly floured surface into 1/16” thickness. Cut into 4” diameter rounds. Place the rounds on the cookie sheets. Brush the edges with water. Place a teaspoon of filling of dulce de leche on half of each circle. Sprinkle with chopped almonds. Place chocolate pieces on top. Fold over the tops. Brush tops with egg white. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or coarse sugar. Crimp with a fork or with fingers. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden.
Roll and cut the second disc as described above. Brush edges with water. Mound a good tablespoon of apple filling on half of each circle. Fold over the tops. Crimp with a fork or with fingers. Brush tops with egg white. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or coarse sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden.
Bonnie Fishman attended the Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London. Later, she owned and operated Bonnie’s Patisserie in Southfield, Mich. and Bonnie’s Kitchen and Catering in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. She has taught cooking for over 35 years and created hundreds of recipes. She is now living in Northern California.