I have serious writer’s block. My brain slams the door in my face every time I sit down to write, just like our nasty upstairs neighbor. I knocked on her door and begged her to ask her little girls to take a one-hour break from dragging chairs across the floor and bouncing a ball because I’m trying to write and the noise distract me. I asked nicely and she still slammed the door in my face. My brain is a thought manufacture but lately it’s become a Chinese sweatshop. It doesn’t stop. I have no room for the thoughts and ideas that I actually want. My fault. I let it off its guard. I convinced it that life is too short to not eat exquisite cakes full of butter and sugar, drink wine, and take a break from yoga routine. It got out of control and started to do and think whatever it wants. When the allergies and cold symptoms showed up, the regrets won’t let it shut up. “You are so stupid! What were you thinking? You deserve it!”
So now I’m screwed. I have a runny nose, headaches, and unpleasant weakness from trying to cough because of the snot that drips down my throat and tickles it in the most annoying way, and I feel miserable and stupid. Luckily, tissue paper is one thing that is cheap in the Holy Land. I wonder if the government intentionally made it cheap to allow its citizens to cry without worrying about the price of that too.
This week, or forever, no dairy and no refined sugar. It’s been so hard lately to quit sugar. Any sugar. My paternal grandmother, who was one tough and disciplined lady, quit sugar completely – not even fruit – after she was diagnosed with diabetes at age 55. Thanks to that, she never had any diabetes complications and she lived to the age of 96. I’m not suggesting that you eat healthy in order to live forever; I’m suggesting that you eat healthy so you can live a kleenex-free life.
Now, about this Cashew e Pepe recipe. It’s like “Cacio e Pepe,” but without the cheese and butter. Do you like creamy things? Of course you do. Who doesn’t? My mom and one friend of mine (They claim that they don’t, yet they always end up eating creamy things, and then continue to deny it and say things like “Usually I don’t like creamy things but I like this, a lot.”)
This pasta is creamy but not heavy. It’s as delicious as Cacio e Pepe but it won’t give you heartburn. It’s extremely easy and quick to make, but remember to soak the cashews in filtered water in advance, overnight is better, but if you forget to do it the night before, you can soak them in boiled water for 30 minutes and it works fine too – especially if you have a decent blender or food processor. The one I have now is crappy so it’s not as smooth as I would like it to be.
Cashew e Pepe
- 1½ cups soaked cashews - overnight is better but 30 minutes in boiled water is fine too
- 1½ cups pasta cooking water
- A drizzle of olive oil - about 2 tablespoons
- ½ tablespoon crushed black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 leaves dried sage or a handful of parsley leaves only
- Put all the ingredients except the sage leaves in a food processor and process until you get a smooth creamy sauce. If the sauce is too thick add 1–2 tablespoons water.
- Pour the sauce into a skillet and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the pasta.
- Mix and correct seasoning. Serve in deep plates. Break the sage leaves over and sprinkle more black pepper if needed.