Year 1 Lunation 7

27 June 2014


Careful observers will note that although this lunar cycle is equivalent to the Islamic lunar month of Ramadan (and the month-long period of fasting) begins on Sunday. The lunar month for Muslims begins with the first crescent moon, whereas theAbysmal begins its lunar months with the new moon.

The lunar months are meant to be rough equivalents, as others begin their days at different times as well, and there are reputedly lunar calendars that begin at the full moon, but I have yet to come across anything explicit.

Nevertheless, fasting from dawn until dusk, including refraining from drinking water, in the higher latitudes, where the days are well over 15 hours, takes a lot of dedication and tenacity. At the very least, the days are getting shorter (at a few seconds shorter per day).

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

24 June 2014

Arroz-stuffed poblanos.

5 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
5 ancho chiles, reconstituted, seeded (ancho are smoked dried poblanos)
2 cups recado rojo arroz
1/2 C Mexican cheese (Oaxaca or mozarella/monterrey jack in a pinch)

2+ C spicy chile-tomato sauce

1. cut the peppers along one side, lay a poblano out flat. place an ancho on top. Spoon some of the rice mixture onto the pepper. Add some of the cheese. Roll up the peppers.
2. place some of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Place the peppers in the dish. Cover with sauce and extra cheese.
3. bake at 350 for 40 minutes or so. Let cool. Enjoy

Recado Rojo Arroz

24 June 2014

Yucatan rice with spice paste.

the smoked tofu and paprika is a substitute for chorizo.

1 TB grapeseed oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 block smoked tofu, diced
1 TB hot, smoked paprika
3 C cooked rice
1/2 C + water
1 TB recado rojo spice paste
1 C chopped tomatoes
1 TB dry epazote

1 heat oil over high heat, add onion and cook until browned, stirring often. Add garlic and stir through. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir to mix, and heat throughout.

Pastel de Choclo

23 June 2014

Chilean baked pie with corn mush topping.

I replaced the beef and chicken with lentils, mushrooms and smoked tofu. You can always use TVP or that fake ground beef stuff, however, I try to avoid too much processed food.

corn topping:
3 C frozen corn
1/4 – 1 C whole milk (I used cream and water)
2 tsp dried basil
2+ TB masa flour (can also use 1/4 cornmeal + 1 TB cornstarch)

lentil Mushroom layer:
grapeseed oil for frying
3 onions, chopped
1 c. dry lentils, puy or brown lentils would be good.
2 1/2 C water or veg. stock
12 cremini mushrooms, sliced thickly
2 TB cumin, ground
salt and pepper to taste

flavour layer:
3 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and halved
1/2 C sultana raisins
1/2 C whole, dry-cured olives (pitted though)

other layer:
1 block smoked tofu, shredded


1. mix the frozen corn (thawed if you remember ahead of time), basil, milk, masa flour in a saucepan over medium heat. It’s important to stir to keep it from sticking the bottom. I used a blender to mix it all together. Simmer until it thickens.

2. cook oil over medium-high heat until soft & translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until dark and softened.
3. add lentils, and stir to mix. Add veg stock, cumin and pepper. Cover and simmer until lentils are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning (don’t add salt during cooking – makes lentils tough).

4. Assemble:
In the bottom of an ovenproof dish, layer half of the lentil-mushroom mixture.
Place the six half-eggs, and sink into the lentils.
sprinkle the raisins.
cover with the olives.
add the rest of the lentils.
layer with the shredded smoked tofu.
cover with the corn topping.

Bake at 375 F, covered, for 30-40 minutes. I also broiled the top for another 5 minutes at the end. Let cool about 15 minutes. Cut it up, serve it out, and enjoy.

(Definitely not a summer meal. I could have done without the heat in my kitchen today).

Recado Rojo

23 June 2014

Red  spice paste from the Maya of the Yucatan.

2 TB annatto seeds
1 TB coriander seeds
1 TB black peppercorns
1 TB cumin seeds
1 TB dried Mexican oregano
1 tsp allspice berries
1/4 tsp cloves (about 5 cloves)

5 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tsp coarse salt
2-3 TB Seville orange juice

(I used Italian oregano instead of Mexican, and lemon juice instead of Seville oranges)

1. dry roast the garlic cloves in a heated pan, until the outside turns brown and they soften. Remove from heat.
2. put all the seeds, peppercorns, berries, cloves and dry oregano in the pan just vacated by the garlic. Keep tossing it all to keep from burning. Keep toasting until it becomes fragrant and pops. Remove from heat, let cool a bit.
3. put the salt in a mortar. Drop the garlic on top of it, and mush it with a pestle. It mushes like nothing else. Add orange juice and mush some more.
4. Grind the spices in a spice mill (coffee grinder). Annatto seeds are particularly hard. I sifted the ground spices through a sieve, and reground the larger pieces. Add the final powder to the mortar.
5. grind everything together with mortar and pestle, using more orange juice if you need to, until you have a thick paste that holds its shape.

Store in the refrigerator. Will last a few weeks apparently.

Year 1 Quarter 2

21 June 2014


So, here we are, halfway through the year. How can I tell? Being in the higher latitudes in the northern hemisphere, I can tell by the amount of daylight we get (were I to measure it – the solstice at 49 N makes the day 15hours and 50 minutes or so. Above the Arctic Circle, they are enjoying 24 hours of daylight.

Just for the record (the Internet is an official record, isn’t it? Especially blogs…), I am changing the tropics of cancer and capricorn to the northern and southern tropics, respectively. Why would a secular international system continue to use astrology for its nomenclature? Plus, referring to the summer solstice in the north excludes people in the south going through their winter solstice.

so, northern solstice, and southern solstice. Equinoxes are a whole other naming problem.

I was asked by someone from near the Equator, what the significance of the Solstices and Equinoxes were. It had never been important to her, as the days where she grew up were about the same, 12 hours year-round. There are a number of ways of explaining it, for those who want a refresher.

Looking at the relative positions of the Earth and the Sun, the northern axis of the Earth would be pointing directly at the sun, thus ensuring that for one full rotation, the northern hemisphere is most fully exposed to sunlight. As the earth continues its orbit, it reaches the other extreme, where the southern axis is pointed at the sun, giving the southern hemisphere the fullest blast of sunlight.

If we look at a globe, and the imaginary lines we’ve drawn all over it, those listed above, the circles, tropics and equator all relate to the sun’s apparent position in the sky from earth. On this solstice, if one were to stand on the northern tropic (ie cancer), then at midday, the sun would be directly over your head, and you would cast no shadow. For those living further north than the tropic, the sun makes its path across the sky to the south (hence southern exposure).

On the summer solstice, the sun appears at the highest point in the sky at midday. From there on out, it gets lower and lower until it reaches the southern solstice.

So that’s where we find ourselves. If you look to the north, at the axis of the earth, it is pointing to the sun.

Also, in Canada, it’s National Aboriginal Day.

Year 1 Mercury 5

19 June 2014

Year-1---planet-inferior119 day cycle begins today at inferior conjunction