Sunday, December 31, 2006

Just Another Diurnal Event

Omedito Gozaimas'

to all and sundry

Tonight its tillapia fillets, peapods and wild rice/barley with shitakes. -- a suitably humble repast to end a year.

Ah! But tomorrow begins in riches with a standing rib roast!

Go easy with the bubbly. It kicks.
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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Clean Up Party

Company coming -- like maybe Parents? Stress making. Clean everything to the nth degree!

"Nonsense," said Tune, A fine dame who kept a neat house. "Just pick up before the party and clean the mess up afterwards."

Wise words thought I.

But I heard wiser ones on CBC Radio 2 last week:

"My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance."

Happy holidays
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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Solstice 2006

All I want for Solstice
Is a party for most of us.
A party that accepts:
If we can pay for war,
We can afford peace.
If we can make people rich,
We can support the poor.
If we can invent technology
that causes global warming,
We can invent technology
That doesn't, if we look.
There's more to do.
Add your own conventional behavior
that should be the reverse.
That's the party I wish for:
the one that works for all of us.

Happy Solstice!
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Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Note From Del

I've been baking cookies. Among the cards and sheets in the recipe file was this:
Subject: Almost enough time
Dale: Thu, 03 Dec 1998 14:57:32 PST
From: "Del Kahn"

We just may have enough time for this one.
These have molasses in them instead of honey or brown sugar, and were truly baked in the old-fashioned German way. The dough, which had to sit for 3 weeks in a cool basement, was made early in December so the cookies would be ready by the Christmas holidays. They are still great if you don't have the full 3 weeks. But the flavors really have time to marry this way and they have such a wonderful flavor.
Braune lebkuchen
(Brown Christmas Cookies)
3 lbs (1350 g) flour (bout 6 cups, 1.5 L)
1 lb (450 g) sugar (about 2 cups, 500 ml)
1+1/2 lb (675 g) molasses (about 3 cups, 350 ml)
5 oz 140 g) Butter
5 oz 140 g) Lard or shortening
2 oz (60 g) candied orange peel
1/4 oz (7 g) baking powder
1 cup (250 ml) rose water (or l cup water)
1/2 oz (15 g) Cloves
1/2 oz (15 g) Cinnamon
grated lemon rind
1 cup (250 mL) almonds, blanched and split in halves
It is better to take again as much butter and lard. Cook molasses and sugar for a little. Let cool. Stir everything else in. Then add flour. Leave dough stand for three weeks. Roll out fairly thin, cut into rectangles 1 and a half inches by 3 inches (4 x 8 cm) with a fluted cutting wheel, or just a knife. Brush with beaten egg to make them glossy, decorate each with 1/2 slice of almond, and bake for about 10 minutes. This recipe makes lots of cookies, but they keep well if kept in a tightly covered tin or in the freezer.

They're good. Remember them for next year. Or Start to celebrate Martian Christmas which is maybe two weeks after Ukrainian Christmas. Or call them Chinese New Years cookies. Whatever.
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Tuesday, December 05, 2006


One reason European types give presents around the solstice is the works of a Bishop in Smyrna in the Fourth Century CE. He was acustomed to provide poor girls with a dowry. No girl without a dowry was likely to be married. As Melissa said: "Oh. cool!"

Today is the eve of St Nicholas day which the Dutch celebrate, as many Americans do Christmas, with gifts and food and lots and lots of Koekjes! Sinterklaas arrives by ship from Spain with his grey-white horse, Schimmel, and Zwarte Piet, his trusty kickside. They visit every house. Black Pete knocks and throws in a handful of peppernotten (gingernuts to the Brits) just to get everybody's attention. The usual recital of naughty and nice with presents ranging from coal to straw to something a kid would like whether useful or otherwise. For the fascinating tale of this tall dignified cleric's transformation into the jolly old elf of Madison Avenue's Dream follow the link above and here.

To make peppernotten according to Dutch and Belgian Cooking (Galahad Books 1973):
Preheat oven to 350ºf. Mix 2½ cups flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ cup Brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon each of anise, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add one egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of water. Butter two baking sheets. Knead all ingredients into a soft ball. form into about 90 marble sized balls and place on sheets. Bake 20 minutes or until rather hard.
Somehow my flour is always too dry for this to work. So I add a whole egg and about a half cup of water. Add it little by slow so you wont use too much. When it is right the dough will clump together rather than stick to the sides of the bowl. I also double the quantity of the spices and replace some of the four with a cup of whole wheat and a ½ cup of rye flour. The result is not particularly sweet but, lord, they are too easy to eat!
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