Israeli Couscous Coconut Pudding

Israeli Couscous Coconut Pudding // Wit & VinegarI grew up in a very predominately white religious community in the mountains of central California (Oakhurst/Coarsegold to be exact) and have managed to separate myself from almost everyone I went to high school with/knew growing up through religious happenings on facebook. That’s started evolving after I came out, then the ignorance involved with the major sort of initial public transitioning by a celebrity with Caitlin Jenner, and eventually sort of ended with this election/girls claiming milo yiannopoulos and tammy lahren were heroes.

It’s weird to me to hear the word bubble being used, mainly from people in areas like this, to describe the large hubs or the ‘elite coasts’ when being where I am now I can easily go into a grocery store and be the only white dude in there, and drive past more than a church for christians, mormons, jehovah’s witness and seventh day adventists on my way there. Growing up everyone went to a church or was involved with God in some way, you sort of stuck with your own religious group, nobody I knew was gay or queer in any form (minus one guy that was brave enough to be himself and was constantly bullied for it), the only people of color I knew personally could be counted on my two hands, and about a third of them were adopted by white people in my church.

That, right there, is a bubble.

Israeli Couscous Coconut Pudding // Wit & VinegarWhen you’re someone that lives in this environment it’s extremely easy to just ignore what’s going on 40 miles away in Fresno, or anywhere in the world for that matter, and when something doesn’t go your way you either blame the democratic president or if he’s republican say it’s in God’s hands and you don’t worry about it.

I wish I were joking.

I see these statuses on facebook now by the few people that have managed to hang on through my political rants that I went to church with and it’s like they’re completely blinded by what’s going on but it’s because it doesn’t affect them in any way. Zero repercussions because they’re content in the life they live. They ”were able to open their eyes that morning along with their family because god is good and they’re in good health” so what’s happening to all these minority groups is not an issue. I had a girl I went to high school with post this whole status about people needing to stop complaining and calm down because presidents change all the time and she was in good health god bless, and about 40 straight white people had liked it, so I did the thing any angry person would do when the actions he’s done are normalized and pasted the whole transcript from the bully bush pussy grabbing bus convo as a comment.

Needless to say she unfriended me and wrote me a whole long message about how that was wrong and she never asked for it because SHE DIDN’T VOTE FOR ANY CANDIDATE and that it’s sad that I have to base my being as a person on a president. *read* she’s a straight white woman that has nothing being taken away, it doesn’t affect her, so she doesn’t care. Place that under white privilege in your dictionary.

When my fundamental rights as a human being have the possibility of being threatened, it is an attack on my being as a person, as a human being. When the vp and cabinet members are being picked have a whole list of targets for LGBT people, minorities, and women, there’s an issue with that, and even if I didn’t fall into one of those categories I’d still give a damn because I’m a decent human being that cares about equality.

Her response? She likes to appreciate the little things in life and not worry about that. She’s content with getting to have her grandmother in-law at her wedding (good thing she’s not on that lis of countries, amirite?) holding hands with strangers, and watching rain fall.

Watching. the fucking. rain fall.

Israeli Couscous Coconut Pudding // Wit & VinegarThe takeaway from all this is that if you’re in her shoes/bubble, and you don’t know why people are upset with the new president, then figure it out, do some research.

Spoiler Alert: it’s not just because Hillary lost.

There’s a reason almost 3 million people marched in the Women’s march, why LGBT people are worried about the “godly man” mike pence that believes in electrocuting gay youth to ‘convert them’ to heterosexuality. When in doubt, ask one of your LGBT friends or poc their thoughts, and if you don’t know anyone that’s LGBT or not white then that, right there, is the problem.

Now we get to quickly talk about the food (we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled programming this week because it is, after all, my job to take pictures of food and write about it, but let it be known right here right now that when something needs to be said we’ll be talking about it.)

This pudding! I had the pleasure of going to one of the #bennettbrunches a few months ago for the release of my bb Molly‘s new book and we had to bring something for an Israeli brunch and this white boy had no idea what to bring so I searched molly’s site and found sort of a sweet Israeli couscous dish and said why not and it ended up going over very well with everyone. I love the idea of sort of a tapioca/rice pudding but with pasta and adding the element of a semi tart dried fruit and the warm spice of cardamom to send it over the top.

Israeli Couscous Coconut Pudding with Apricots and Pistachios
Serves 5*

2 teaspoons coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/3 cup israeli couscous (most grocery stores don’t have this, but I managed to find it at Trader Joe’s)
2 14oz cans coconut milk (not lite, regular full fat glory), plus more if needed**
1 cup diced dried apricot (from about 16 apricots)
6 tablespoons white granulated sugar or cane sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For Garnish:
Coconut chips
about 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
whipped cream, either dairy cream or coconut cream

*I did 1.5 of this recipe and it was perfect to sort of pass around at the brunch of about 12 people.

**I haven’t tried it myself but I imagine you can go full dairy on this and use a while milk with some half n half added to match the coconut milk and use butter instead to toast the couscous if you have everything but the coconut milk and need this rn, I would also have an extra can handy just in case the pudding needs to be thineed out to your desired consistency.

In a medium sized saucepan melt down the coconut oil with the ground cardamom over medium low heat then add the couscous and toast, stirring occasionally, just until the couscous has turned a light golden brown.

Add the coconut milk, making sure to get all the fat out of there, along with the coconut, sugar, and salt. The pan should be hot enough to throw a tiny fit when the coconut milk is added. It’ll bubble up and fizz a little and that’s perfect.

Once everything is added bring it to a simmer then turn the heat down closer to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. After 5 minutes turn off the heat, pop a lid on there and let it sit for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes take off the lid and stir. It’ll look a little loose, that’s fine it’s still hot, it’ll thicken as it cools.

I like to serve this room temperature so it’s not too warm to melt the whipped cream is you’re using it, but it’s also not so cold that it’s a solid mass.

*If it’s too thick and you’re like no I can’t serve this then stir in some coconut milk to help thin it out, adding a tablespoon or so at a time until you have the desired consistency.

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  • That is so inane and frustrating. Where I live in vancouver it’s incredibly diverse and what we see going on in the US frightens us into action. To be so self-interested and small minded doesn’t seem to align with Christian values does it? I’m glad you got the fug out of that bubble of suffocation and non-reality. Kinda loved getting to know you better in this post too – your background n stuff. You have many many allies and supporters Billy! (Ps coconut pudding looks great too! :p)

  • PREACH. When I see angry rants from you and other people on Facebook/Twitter/their blogs, it makes me feel more sane about the insanity I’m feeling myself. Never stop fighting. People like that “friend” of yours make me ashamed to be a white chick. I also grew up in a Christian community and it baffles me to see people “of the Lord” rationalizing all of this.

  • YES YES YES. it makes me angry beyond belief when people use the ‘it’s in God’s hands!’ way of thinking because come on, this is another way of saying ‘I won’t worry about it because I don’t need to!’. UGH. ps Can we share this pudding and rant together? xo

  • J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats

    Completely agree about the bubble thing. Yes we may live in a ‘coastal elite’ echo chamber/bubble but our bubble is much larger, more colourful, and way more inclusive than the bubble of people who live in similar situations to what you described. PLUS, our bubble has wayyy better food (…like this Israeli couscous coconut pudding!)

  • Kathleen

    I was just fanning myself and going, “Mmm hmmm. AMEN” like the Southern church lady I am at heart. And it is SO FRUSTRATING to watch people who identify as Christian disregard gigantic chunks of the Bible that talk about welcoming the stranger, feeding the poor, doing justice, loving kindness, etc., etc., etc., to say nothing of ignoring the fact that Jesus was part of a marginalized group under empire and also a refugee from a batshit crazy tyrant (Matthew 2). I don’t know if this helps, but there are those of us who are Jesus-ed up who hear everything you are saying and are going to keep shouting with you because we think Jesus actually meant what he said “love your neighbor as yourself.”

  • Addie

    This just may be my most favorite post from you of all time! Ummm, and not for the recipe (because no offense, I cant do textures like that so its not something I can eat)… and this from the white girl living in the Bible belt surrounded by Trump supporters who cannot understand why Im constantly upset over whats happening in our own country right now…. tears over so much hard lately, and people just don’t get it, so that ignorance makes me doubly sad…. thank you for writing this!

  • K Menick

    Amen! (Which is something I don’t really say, but sometimes it just fits.) The bubble thing is so fucking ridiculous.

  • i don’t get it. 99% of the people who support him are ultimately going to get hurt by this government (because of everything happening with aca, pp, education, etc etc etc), and yet they continue to spout nonsense about he’s the greatest thing since chocolate. and for everyone who isn’t affected but still doesn’t care: do you not have any empathy? what happened to treating others the way you want to be treated?