Harmony- it’s something I have been think about a lot lately. I wish I were preoccupied with harmony musically, but rather, I think about harmony in the sense of differences working together to create something richer, something stronger. Currently, the world, feels the opposite, so very cacophonous, like heavy metal, emo and screeching scream punk all vying with some peaceful folk singer just trying to play her harp in a meadow.
In less poetic terms, the current state of affairs feels very F$%KED!
Pardon my français.
A friend of mine recently asked me if sustainability ever felt like a burden. I answered no because sustainability feels like a knee-jerk reaction. The opposite fills me with guilt and a need for absolution, but then I began to really look at my life. There’s still so much room for improvement, a footprint I could still whittle away significantly, but I also believe sustainability shouldn’t feel like a burden, or it will be abandoned. I believe there is a sweet spot, a harmonious juncture where nature and modernity could coexist, like the harmony of a sweet and salty sprinkling on a dessert.
A case in point is chocolate. Climate change possibilities aside, mine is not a region ideal for growing cacao, but I RELISH the chance to eat dark chocolate from across the globe. Does that mean I need a grocery store with enough chocolate options to make my head spin? Probably not. Could globalized chocolate be balanced by a 99% locally-sourced produce and meat section? Quite possibly! Same with coffee. Same with almost everything in the store. Where is the harmony?
On a grander scale, the grocery store feels symbolic of so many current issues we are facing. I am accustomed to an energy source heating my home, powering up the laptop I use to carve out this space, firing up the ol’ oven, but do I need power sources at the expense of others’ livelihood? Of clean water? Of air worth breathing?
I recently had to boil my tap water for a couple days in response to a city-wide bacteria threat, a minor inconvenience in comparison to those within my state of Pennsylvania, whose tap water has long since been compromised by carcinogens. A mere morning with potentially harmful water will really translate shortage into tangible terms.
I once considered my individual choices to be a vote, a dollar spent toward the type of harmonious world I wanted to see, but lately, those dollars feel so minuscule, and I realize tiny votes are not enough. Even big votes aren’t enough. A section of the song has become too loud, and the harmonies are off. I’ve begun writing and calling those who supposedly represent me, but this is just the beginning, has to be just the beginning. I have to push past my own timidity because this life is one complicated song!
How are you lifting your voice toward harmony?
Vegan Chocolate Tart with Salted Oat Crust
Recipe from Bon Appétit
Yield: a 9-inch diameter tart (8 Servings)
About this Recipe: Grains, oats, dark chocolate and sea salt combine for a crowd-pleasing, vegan dessert. Err on the side of underbaking the crust to prevent it from being too dense. In lieu of a specifically vegan dark chocolate, a baker’s chocolate will suffice.
9-inch-diameter or a 13¾ x 4½-inch tart pan with removable bottom
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, melted, slightly cooled
1/4 cup light agave syrup (nectar)
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Filling & Assembly Ingredients
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
7 ounces vegan dark chocolate, melted, slightly cooled
2/3 cup light agave syrup (nectar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil, melted, slightly cooled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
2 Tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1 Tablespoon demerara sugar
Flaky sea salt
For the Crust
Preheat oven to 350˚. Pulse oats, whole wheat flour, coconut oil, agave, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor until oats are coarsely ground and mixture looks like wet sand.
Firmly press into bottom and up the sides of tart pan. Bake until crust is golden brown and smells toasty, 20–25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.
Filling and Assembly
Dissolve espresso powder in 3/4 cup very hot water in a food processor. Add cocoa and let sit 5 minutes. Add melted chocolate, agave syrup, vanilla, 2/3 cup coconut oil, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and process until mixture is very smooth and thick, about 30 seconds.
Scrape filling into cooled tart shell and smooth top (if making tart in a rectangular shell, you may have a little filling left over; save for another use, like truffles). Tap tart lightly against counter to pop any air bubbles in filling.
Cook oats and remaining 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a small skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until oats are toasted, about 3 minutes. Gradually add half of demerara sugar, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted, then remove from heat and stir in remaining demerara sugar just to coat. Season with kosher salt; let oat mixture cool.
Scatter oat mixture over tart, sprinkle with sea salt, and chill until filling is set, at least 1 hour.
Cut chilled tart into slices with a dry, hot knife; let sit at room temperature 15–20 minutes before serving.
Note: Tart can be made 2 days ahead. Once filling is set, cover and keep chilled.