Dipping Sauce for Rice Fritters

31 March 2007

pungent – spicy – citrus

Ingredients:
3+ TB grapeseed oil
2 C leftover rapini risotto, or other leftover rice that holds together well

dipping sauce:
2 TB shoyu
1 TB tahini
1 TB miso
1 tsp ponzu
1 tsp japanese mustard
1 mandarin olive oil
1 lime, sliced in 1C water

1. form the risotto into 4 or 5 patties. heat the oil over medium-high heat, and fry them until crispy brown on both sides.
2. mix the tahini and miso in a bowl. stir in shoyu, ponzu, mustard and olive oil.
thin with the water in which the lime has been soaking.
3. drizzle sauce over the fritters, or serve individually as a dip.


Anasazi Calendar

30 March 2007

three stones, two spirals, one sun and one moon

see also
Joseph Campbell’s observations in the Historic Atlas of World Mythology Series.
quoted from above:
p278
“on the rock face behind the vertical slabs are engraved two spirals, a larger of nine and a half turns and a smaller, to the left, of two and a quarter. Toward noon on the day of the summer solstice, a dagger of living light passes through the center of the larger spiral while, in a related effect, a small spot of light, hardly noticeable, shines for but two minutes somewhat to the left of the lesser spiral.”

“Through the following months of July, August, and September, these two beams move steadily, day by day, to the right, until on the day of the fall equinox, September 21, the leftward beam, now much longer then the first, cuts through the center of the lesser spiral. Thereafter, the rightward movement continues, and this second beam ever lengthens. By noon on December 21, the day of the winter solstice, the two darts, now of equal length, perfectly frame the larger spiral, after which the movement, day by day, is from right to left. At noon on march 21, the day of the spring equinox, the positions of the light beams are exactly as they had been September 21, and by the summer solstice the cycle is completed.

The sunlight travels across the spiral from above to below, following the point of light. In the crude illustrations below, a rough representation of the function of the calendar

summersolstice
At Summer Solstice, the light travels across the spiral in 18 minutes.

equinoxes
At Autumnal Equinox

wintersolstice
At Winter Solstice, the light travels across the spiral in 49 minutes.
at Vernal Equinox – note the equinoxes have the same pattern

“… the patterns formed by moonlight shining between the slabs are as clear as hose of the day, and when the moon’s declination is anywhere between the solar extremes of 23.5 degrees and minus 23.5 degrees, the patterns formed are the same as those of the sun. However, in the course of a cycle of nineteen years [the Metonic Cycle], the Moon’s declination for a part of that time, goes beyond these solar limits. This periodic extreme was not reached again until 1987, when photographs taken on November 8th (the night the moon attained the most northerly extreme of its nineteen-year excursion) confirmed predictions… that the rising moon, shining on the vertical slabs, casts a shadow which is tangent to the left edge of the spiral. It has been noticed that the count of the lines of nine and a half turns crossing any diameter is 9 + 10 = 19, and we know that once every nineteen years there’s a full moon on winter solstice eve.”

p279
“The Anasazi Calendar utilizes three large rock slabs to baffle and focus both the sunlight and the moonlight, so that significant celestial intervals are marked by a sliver of illumination that falls upon and traverses one or another of the spiral petroglyphs on the adjacent cliff face.”


Historic Atlas of World Mythology

30 March 2007

the ingenious & elegant Anasazi Calendar, Death, the Serpent in Agricultural Societies

from
Historic Atlas of World Mythology
Vol II: The Way of the Seeded Earth
Part 3: Mythologies of the Primitive Planters:
The Middle and Southern Americas

by Joseph Campbell, 1987

Agricultural Developments in the Mesoamerican Matrix

p 253
“A mythological theme outstanding throughout the range of the early planting cultures is of death as a generator of life… the principal and most characteristic early planting culture rendition of this paradoxical theme is in the mythological scenario of a divine being, slain and buried, from whose remains the food plants grow.”

“Across the Pacific, in Cambodia, seventh century AD… equivalent image[s] of a Hindu mythic saviour known as Hari-Hara, who in one person untied Vishnu the Preserver (the left side) and Shiva the Destroyer (the right). Still further westward along the tropical belt, we find the East African Basangue, once from he neighborhood of Zimbabwe, with a legend of the Lord of Life and Death as a royal presence in the Underworld, his right side alive and comely, the left rotting, crawling with maggots.”

“In Haitian Voodoo lore (originating in Nigeria) the possessing-god Ghede, Lord of Cemeteries and Death, is equally Lord of Sexuality and a patron of Children. Souls of the dead enter the Underworld by the passage that he guards, and the deities of life emerge by the same road from the same depth. As Death, he is a glutton; as Life, his dance is of copulation. He is wise with the knowledge of both worlds and when he appears (by possessing – or “mounting” someone at an invoking ceremony), he wears a pair of dark glasses, from which he knocks out the right lens: for with his right eye he watches those present, lest anyone steal his food, while with his left (protected from the sun’s glare) he surveys the universe.”

p254
“The prominence of the serpent in the mythologies of agriculturally-based societies is a mystery of profound psychological and sociological import. Repeatedly shedding its skin to be born again, the serpent – like the moon that shed sits shadow in rebirth – typifies life-energy and consciousness locked within temporal space, delivering and suffering births and deaths.”

“fluent in movement as the waters flowing over and fertilizing the earth, yet with their fiery forked tongues flashing tirelessly as lightning from a storm-laden sky, serpents appear to incarnate the elementary mystery of life, wherein apparent opposites are conjoined.”

“Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec “Feathered Serpent,” who as Evening Star dies with the Sun but then as Morning Star is resurrected as herald of the light, is the best known Mesoamerican symbol of this life-fostering realization of eternity as incarnate in the forms of time.”

Agricultural Rites and Myths of the Middle Americas
SW North America: The Desert Cultures
Cycles of the Sun and Moon

p276
“The binding of a community was then to be achieved by way of a year-round calendar of festivals articulated by [a seasonal watch of the heavens]. And as in every other known early agricultural society, so here in North American Southwest, the sense of an essential spiritual accord between the social and celestial orders, with the well-being of the community understood as a function of this accord, contributed to the flowering of a mythology of personified cosmic powers functioning simultaneously in the heavens and on earth. Conformance with the celestially announced order yielded healthy, wealthy, and progeny, whereas the slightest deviation broke the connection.”

“The annual passages of the sun northward and southward, back and forth, as marked by the movement along the horizon of its points of rising and setting, were the first and most obvious signs to be watched. To this day, in the Hopi village of Walpi, Arizona, for example, the festivals preceding the winter solstice… are determined by sunset-horizon observations; those before the summer solstice by sunrise horizon… As the critical day approaches, observations of the controlling celestial body (sun or moon depending on the festival) are made each day by the chief of a particular kira in charge of the occasion, and on the relevant evening, this watcher calls for a smoke talk. Then the leading members of the society settle upon a proper date, and at sunrise of the following day this date is announced by a crier chief.”

“A remarkable invention, unique in the history of astronimical observation, has been lately recognized in the apparently casual arrangement of … three stone slabs…. Their site is a narrow ledge about thirty feet below the summit of an isolated sandstone butte some 475 feet high, Fajada Butte…”


Falada Butte, Chaco Canyon

p278
“on the rock face behind the vertical slabs are engraved two spirals, a larger of nine and a half turns and a smaller, to the left, of two and a quarter. Toward noon on the day of the summer solstice, a dagger of living light passes through the center of the larger spiral while, in a related effect, a small spot of light, hardly noticeable, shines for but two minutes somewhat to the left of the lesser spiral.”

“Through the following months of July, August, and September, these two beams move steadily, day by day, to the right, until on the day of the fall equinox, September 21, the leftward beam, now much longer then the first, cuts through the center of the lesser spiral. Thereafter, the rightward movement continues, and this second beam ever lengthens. By noon on December 21, the day of the winter solstice, the two darts, now of equal length, perfectly frame the larger spiral, after which the movement, day by day, is from right to left. At noon on march 21, the day of the spring equinox, the positions of the light beams are exactly as they had been September 21, and by the summer solstice the cycle is completed.


spiral on rock

“… the patterns formed by moonlight shining between the slabs are as clear as hose of the day, and when the moon’s declination is anywhere between the solar extremes of 23.5 degrees and minus 23.5 degrees, the patterns formed are the same as those of the sun. However, in the course of a cycle of nineteen years [the Metonic Cycle], the Moon’s declination for a part of that time, goes beyond these solar limits. This periodic extreme was not reached again until 1987, when photographs taken on November 8th (the night the moon attained the most northerly extreme of its nineteen-year excursion) confirmed predictions… that the rising moon, shining on the vertical slabs, casts a shadow which is tangent to the left edge of the spiral. It has been noticed that the count of the lines of nine and a half turns crossing any diameter is 9 + 10 = 19, and we know that once every nineteen years there’s a full moon on winter solstice eve.”

p279
“The Anasazi Calendar utilizes three large rock slabs to baffle and focus both the sunlight and the moonlight, so that significant celestial intervals are marked by a sliver of illumination that falls upon and traverses one or another of the spiral petroglyphs on the adjacent cliff face.”

The Spirits of Life

p280
re: Annual cycle of solar and lunar festivals of the Hopi

[In descendant peoples of the Anasazi] “all participate in what appears to have been the fundamental Anasazi heritage of an emergence mythology associated with kina priesthoods and a ritual art of prayer sticks and altars, sand paintings, wall paintings, symbolically masked performers, and a calendar governed by cycles of the sun and moon, as well as a distinctive body of folk tale motifs, story plots, and popular mythic characters.”

inks:
Wikipedia entry on the Anasazi, the Ancient Pueblo Peoples.
The Pathfinder  – An Ancient American Calendar


Rapini Risotto

30 March 2007

just the right balance of luck and fortune
Ingredients:
1/4 C olive oil
4+ shallots, sliced
1+ tsp (maple) syrup
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 C risotto rice (riso valle in this case)
1 large handful rapini, chopped
1 layer of a fennel bulb, thinly sliced
10 C hot broth (with a distinct leek flavour, in this case)

garnish
finely chopped Italian parsley
pickled red peppercorns

1. heat the oil over medium heat. Fry the shallots until soft. Add the maple syrup, and caramelise the shallots for 10 minutes or longer, until they reach a deep, rich brown colour.
2. add the garlic, mixing it into the oil. add the rice and stir to coat each grain completely in the now well-flavoured oil.
3. add the rapini, and fennel, mix everything together and add 2 C of hot broth. Siir it in until it is absorbed.
4. add hot broth in 1 C increments, stirring the rice frequently until the broth is absorbed before adding the next.
5. when the rice is tender with some firmness, and has a creamy texture, it’s done.


Green Tea Soba noodle salad.

28 March 2007

Summery Soba Salad

Ingredients
1 handful of green tea soba noodles
1 bunch spinach, washed and shredded
2 tomatoes per person, sliced thinly
1 cucumber, peeled & sliced thinly

dressing (for vegetables)
1 TB miso paste
1 TB water
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce
1/2 tsp ponzu*
1/2 tsp mirin*
1/2 tsp salt

1. boil the noodles, drain and rinse in cold water.
2. combine the dressing ingredients until smooth.
3. serve the noodles & salad in an aesthetically pleasant pattern. Drizzle with dressing.

* green tea soba, aslo known as Cha-Soba
* Ponzu sauce has citrus as a base, and sometimes shoyu.
* Mirin is a sweet, low-alcohol rice wine.


Dill, Fennel & Grapefruit Pasta Noodles

27 March 2007

so flavourful as to make sauce moot

Ingredients:
2+ C all-purpose flour
3 eggs
2 TB dill seeds
1 TB fennel seeds
1 TB dill weed
1 TB dried grapefruit rind
2 TB olive oil infused with garlic

1. let all the ingredients warm up to room temperature.
2. grind the dill & fennel seeds with the grapefruit rind in a mill, until it forms a fine powder (this can be sifted together with the flour).
3. on a well-floured surface, make a well in the centre of the flour & spices. Place the eggs in the well with the olive oil, and beat them with a fork, gradually incorporating the flour into the mix. When the dough thickens, use your hands (the warmth helps to work the dough).
4. knead the dough, adjusting with more flour or water until the desired consistency is reached – should be about the same as an earlobe. should take 20 minutes of kneading or so.
5. roll the dough into a ball, cover with a damp cloth, and let rest for an hour.
6. roll and cut the dough according to the method you’re using  – check the Cordon Bleu’s pasta guide.


Pear & Cranberry Pastry

26 March 2007

inspired by Iranian flavours, and not too sweet

Ingredients:
juice & zest of 2 oranges, preferably seville
2+ TB rose water
1+ TB cardamom seeds
1+ tsp maple syrup
2+ TB pinot noir red wine
6+ firm, ripe pears
24 cranberries
puff pastry

1. mix the orange juice, rind, rose water, ground cardamom seeds, maple syrup and red wine in a bowl.
2. peel, core and quarter the pears*. Place the pears in the juice, and let sit for at least 1 hour.
3. divide the puff pastry in 2. Roll one half out on a lightly floured board, and cut into 12 squares. rub melted butter on both sides. Do the same with the second half.
4. place each square in the bottom of a baking dish. drain the pears, and place 2 slices of pear with 2 cranberries cradled between them on each square of pastry. Place another square of puff pastry on top.
5. Bake at 400 F for about 20 – 30 minutes, until the pastry has turned a deep golden brown.