Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pasties (no, not that kind!)

Earlier this year, I had been hounded by family members for my Pasty recipe. Apparently, I am the only one that still makes these things on a regular basis. Because one of my favorite bloggers is down with some sort of nasty malaise, I have decided that now would be a good time to post the recipe.

Pasties are a traditional food of the Cornish/Welsh people. It is a very simple meat pie.
As the story was told to me through my grandmother, the women would get up, cut the lard into the flower,(try it some time), create a dough, cut the fillings, put it all together, and then bake it for about an hour and a half in time for the men to go off to the mine.


Considering how rough life was back then, I cannot imagine what it would be like to make these things... I figure that the women that had to make these pies must have gotten up at about 3AM to get them ready by 6AM. Back then, it was a necessity. Today, it is a treat. May you all eat well!


You will need:

Pre made pie crusts… I prefer Pillsbury
About a pound to a pound and a quarter of beef
I generally prefer sirloin tip but whatever….

Some pork… I use Butterfly chops, use your discretion
One for each pasty
Some chopped onion.

For the side dish:
Rutabaga, (mandatory... doesn’t come in till the fall)
Potato (4 large)
Carrot (2-3))
Turnip (4-6

I will get back to the vegetables in a minute.
First, trim the fat from the beef and the pork and reserve
Cut the beef and the pork into small bite size pieces.
Lay out the pie crust and begin to layer out the filling.
(On one half of the crust. You will be folding the crust over to make the pasty.)
First put your veggies, (if you are going to use them here)
Second, layer on your beef
Third, layer on the pork,
Fourth layer on the fat that you have accumulated,
And finally add the onions.

Fold the crust over and pinch off the crust. From experience: don’t overload the pasty; remember that you have to flip the top half to the pie dough over and pinch off; so if you have a great mound of fixins, you will not be able to achieve closure (god, does that sound like psychobabble!) Slit the top in a couple of places. Try a 300 degree oven for about one hour and a half. Each oven is different, as is each new experience…. So start checking your creation at the hour point. If the pasties haven’t begun to boil out and the crust is beginning to brown excessively at the edges, slap some aluminum foil on the edges of the crust in order to keep them from burning.

Al-U-Mineeum foil…. Reynolds has this great stuff called “Release”. Buy it and use. The pasties, by nature will boil out a little and begin to burn around the edges. With normal foil, the pasties will stick, making them almost impossible to get off the pie pan without destroying them. With release, they just slide off…. This is truly great stuph!!! I usually use a pizza pan to bake the pasties.

OK, let’s talk about veggies... I never put anything but onion in my pasties. I create a side dish of rutabaga for my guests. Rutabaga is a dangerous vegetable to process because the fibers of the root are so hard to cut. To begin, peel the root with a common potato peeler type thingy. Carefully, using a knife, cleaver, pick axe, or whatever you have handy, slice down through the Rutabaga and split in half. Slice each half in one eighth to one quarter inch thick sections. Chop each section into small bits and throw them into a large pot with plenty of water. Rutabaga is a very tough fibrous root. It’s gonna take a while to cook; probably about an hour to an hour and a half. Use the knife test for doneness. When the root is through cooking, a knife will slide through it easily. About half way through the cooking process, add in the other vegetables. Drain the vegetables, return them to the original pot, and add at least one stick of butter. (Please use real butter, the cholesterol is much less harmful than the stuph in margarine) Mash coarsely and serve.

If you are going to incorporate the veggies into the pasty, you are on your own… I haven’t tried this yet. I would guess that you would at least partially cook the veggies and then mash them into a paste and then make that your first layer.

Allow me to Spam a little for a Michigan product. The absolute best beverage to go with these pasties is Bells Amber Ale. Unfortunately, you can only seem to get this stuff in Michigan. Soooo, any full bodied ale will have to do.


Edit. I just realized that pork, ham, etc. is a no-no for some people. Substitute a fattier type of beef.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Little Green Book

I cannot tell you what year it was, however, I can tell you what bookstore I was in when I had “one of those moments”. I was browsing through the New Age section when all of a sudden all of the books on display suddenly blurred out. All but one. Reaching down, I felt an old, yet very familiar energy emanating from the object now in my hand. I think the price was just shy of twenty dollars. Sticking my hand into my jeans, I retrieved my cash, secure in the knowledge that I was in possession of a couple of dollar bills and no more. Carelessly embedded in the singles was a practically new Twenty dollar bill. To this day, I have no idea where that twenty came from. I purchased the book, returned home, threw the book on the carpet next to my chair where it would remain until the following Sunday.

That day was bleak and dreary. For some reason I had gotten up early and was sitting in my chair with my coffee when, once again, the book made its presence known. I picked up the book, opened it, and my eyes fell upon the last lines on the page.

“But for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time.”

I never knew how much impact those words were about to have on me.

I began to read. A scant three hours later I had finished reading the book. I snapped the book closed with one hand and rather capriciously tossed the book down on the carpet. Launching myself out of the chair to get more coffee, I quietly remarked to myself as I traversed the short distance to the coffee pot. “Hmmm… Yeah, I know all that stuff”. What happened next, the feeling I was about to experience, has never left me. The only thing missing from my epiphany was a fucking lightning bolt.. “JESUS….. I REALLY DO KNOW ALL THIS STUFF!!!” It took quite a while for me to realize what had just happened to me…. I had not read a book. I had used a KEY to unlock ancient truths which I had been carrying around for years, if not centuries. In the coming years after this day, I would come to know that this scene had repeated itself over and over with many other people.

The Celestine Prophecy.

I am not going to discuss this book in detail right now. I will instead, offer a brief description for those who have not read it.

The Celestine Prophecy is a work of fiction, an adventure novel (and probably one of the worst story lines ever!). Having said that, buried in the story is a discussion on the mechanics of being human.

In a nutshell, the book discusses a number of things that are happening on the planet right now. It speaks of a growing number of people who, in their own way, have raised their personal spiritual energy sufficiently enough, to access insight into how we as a species are evolving. As these individuals raise their energy, they, in turn, lift the energy of others around them. At some point in time, a “Critical Mass” of this energy will allow a huge jump in human awareness. The book then explains history as an evolutionary process moving toward enlightenment. Moving on, the Prophecy attempts to explain how this energy flows through all living beings. Yep, that’s what you see when you look at another aura……. (Uh, what do you mean, “What do I mean, aura?” Oh good grief people have you forgotten everything?????? Do I have to conduct a freaking class for y’all???) Where was I? Oh, yeah, the book explains how people can get cut off from the source of this energy. When this “disconnect” happens, people begin to compete for the energy wherever they can find it. Which is generally one another. The method used to steal this energy is called a “control drama. After the discussion of control dramas the book offers ways that the reader can reconnect with the source of the energy.

I find that one of the hardest concepts put forth in this book is clearing your past. Personal growth cannot happen until individuals recognize that all past experiences, both good and bad, have had a positive influence on their growth up to the present moment.

If you were meant to read this book, you will understand.

The story continues…

The Celestine Prophecy was followed a couple of years later by the Tenth Insight. Very important stuff contained in these pages as well. The book deals with the two types of soul groups every one has. The book also gets the reader to understand that the whole universe is working in a synchronistic way to help us all along our path. If there is interest, I can do a synopsis on the Tenth Insight at a later date. A number of years after the “Tenth” was published; the “Secret of Shambhala” (The eleventh insight) appeared. Unfortunately, Shambhala was so far “out there” that I think Redfield lost a lot of his followers. It has been confirmed that the twelfth insight is almost completed. I feel that both the eleventh and twelfth insights are/will be inaccurate.

I believe that the responsibility for the discovery of the remaining two insights rests solely with us. And the time to start looking is right now.

The CP series will not ring true for all people…. It was intended for a select few. I don’t know who or how many, but the time has come to seek out others that understand and begin to heal this planet and its residents.

September 11, 2001 unleashed an explosion of fear that has gripped this entire planet for far too long. It was a fear so great that many of us were driven underground. The time is neigh for us to resurface, come together, and start doing the job we came here to do.

Please feel free to leave comments…. This is important, people!



Sunday, February 10, 2008

And the ones that mother gives you don't do anything at all....

I am going to try very, very hard not to have this post deteriorate into a mindless rant. I saw a specialist last Thursday and had a long term suspicion confirmed. I have a learning disability. I have been struggling against this challenge all my life. Needless to say, I am just a little bit peeved that my condition has taken so long to get identified, but overall I am happy that I can finally address this issue and move on. Now that I have increased my meds to an almost effective level, I am beginning to notice some strange things. The most prominent is anger.

I realize now, that there is an awful lot of incompetence in the medical field. I am pissed off over all of the bullies that caused me grief because I was so non-assertive and oversensitive. I am pissed that due to an out of control brain, maintaining a relationship was impossible. Holding a job for any length of time? Forget it. Save for retirement? Nope. All of this could have been prevented if someone had been doing their job. And the meds? They have been around for almost fifty years. I find now that all of this pent up frustration is now beginning to leak out in some very odd ways.

I stopped by Renegade Evolution’s site today and there was a link to an article posted by a well known anti-porn feminist. It seems that she and a cohort went in to “interview” some industry workers at an annual convention held in Los Vegas. Apparently, their idea of an interview was a barrage of loaded questions aimed at eliciting responses that they in turn could use to support their anti-porn agenda. In other words, they were being bullies. Boom! The anger welled up and I did something very uncharacteristic. I left a comment on the article page. Normally I would just swallow my indignation at let it eat away at me. In this case I decided not to. I am blaming this behavior on the meds! ;) You know what? It felt pretty good!

I do not plan on practicing “Woundology” (a phrase that was coined by Dr. Caroline Myss). The plan is to move on. Which is exactly what I intend to do.

Brighter days are ahead!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Memories and The Renegade

Aunt Robin has a great post about boyz n carz n stuph. I mentioned how I used to get out in my beloved Giuletta and let go on a winding road. It dawned on me that very few people have even heard of an Alfa Romeo, so I decided to find a picture and post it. Ok, ok….. I know that this one is a Gulia but for the sake of basic shape description ‘twill do.

The flame wars are still smoldering over in the feminist blog world. Some misguided nit-wit has decided to go after Renegade Evolution (always a bad idea) because of something that happened last year. After reading some of her posts, anyone with half a brain can tell that Ren is an authentic person. This must scare the hell out of her detractors for they are constantly attacking her occupation, lifestyle, and of course her (blush) implants. One thing that sticks in my craw about any kind of fundamentalist is the blatant use of stereotypes. In this case, “All women in sex work are victims of the patriarchy and need to be saved”. Then along comes people like Ren and Ryann, and by their very existence, blows the fundamentalist argument right out of the water. Ok, I am the first one to admit that there are a lot of women out on the street that shouldn’t be there. Something should be done. So guess who is doing the outreach? The fundies? Nope. It is people like Ren. Go figure.

One final thought about the flame wars. One of Ren’s most vicious critics is challenged with PTSD. Folks, that is not fun. LE has a post here on the subject. Please read.

Perhaps it is because I see something in Ren’s mindset that is familiar. I am dying to ask her a couple of questions. I would never ask her directly, for to do so would be impolite if not downright nosey. Because I doubt that she ever comes here I shall list them:

When you were growing up did you have trouble standing in line?
Except for a few minor occasions, have you always known where you were headed?
Have you always realized your artistic talents?
Have others commented that from a very early age you would speak with wisdom far beyond your age?
From a very young age, have you had a problem with absolute authority?

NOTE: This is NOT some backhanded quick and dirty test for ADD or something akin to it. I have a feeling that if Ms. E saw these questions she would answer yes to all of them. (For those of you who recognize this set of questions, yes, I strongly believe that Ren is …. Well, you know…..) Let’s just say for any of the cognoscenti out there that the word “Evolution” is definitely appropriate.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Death by pasta and other updates

Sometimes I think that the sole purpose of this blog should be one of sending readers off to other, much more worthwhile sites. I mean, really, considering the wealth of great writers out there, it seems like a waste of time for anyone to read my blathering. Here are some things going on right now……

Aunt Robin is pondering the end of the world through “Spaghettification”. “Madam” Steph has decided to welcome the muse of melancholy into her life. The charming and always ubiquitous Renegade Evolution is sounding the alarm on another case of questionable journalism. Chelsea G. Summers has decided to take the bull by the horns and is expounding on grammar here and here. I only wish that I had a teacher like this when I was going to school. I would have paid a lot more attention! With writers like these, who in their right minds would stay here? Perhaps I should make this news/link thingy a permanent fixture around here.

This last week has been good/bad. On the bad side, it looks as though I have run afoul with a big bad financial power. I’m not going into it, but I am taking solace in the knowledge that I am not the only one in this predicament. On the good side I have just started taking a class in HTML and am confidant in the knowledge that soon I will have a kick but blog page (yeah, right). The class has paid dividends already. I have a friend who is an office manager. She called me to ask if I could investigate a problem with her company’s web site. It seems that some customers were viewing the old site on the web even though the web hosting service had supposedly deleted it. Sure enough, I found a site with a “/index.htm” file extension on it. When anyone would click on that link, they were sent to the old site. It appears that the web hosting service had deleted the old site but had forgotten about the mirror site. Score one for Outis!

Finally, I had a visit with a new doctor on Thursday….I think that I will leave that discussion for later, but the outcome was very positive.

Oh, and the picture….. I wanted to see if I could embed a picture. Also I am still trying to get around to writing something about my Pygmy.