Sunday, March 15, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day

On March 17th, we celebrate the life of a great missionary of the anniversary of his death; St. Patrick. He devoted his life to serving the people of Ireland and over 1500 years later is beloved as their patron saint. 

This delicious glazed corned beef is baked instead of boiled. (Pam McMurtry, Pam McMurtry Designs)
The following is an article I wrote for the Salt Lake City  Deseret News that was published on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

"Did you know that St. Patrick was an English missionary who shared the message of Christianity with the people of Ireland and that his color was actually blue? (See history.com and catholic.org.) Or that corned beef was an American food that Irish immigrants ate when they moved to New York? (See history.com.)
Facts aside, the cheery green-tinted holiday that graces March 17 provides a treasure trove of possibilities for service, celebration and fun.
Leading up to the big day, my family has a Shamrock Service Week. We each receive glittery shamrocks and the challenge to do secret acts of service for one another, leaving a shamrock to mark the spot. At the end of the week, the shamrocks are collected and sprinkled on the table as a visual reminder of the kindness we have extended and received. We also have a Leprechaun Treasure Hunt where each family member has a personal treasure hunt with a small gift left by the leprechauns, which have apparently been converted to Christianity and are now more generous than their forebearers, at least at our house.
As a caterer and artist, I tried — and ruled out — green-tinted pancakes and milk for our St. Patrick's Day breakfast. Green egg and bacon burritos made with spinach tortillas and green smoothies were more successful. We follow the trend of serving a glazed corned beef, potato and cabbage meal; it's a great way to enjoy a lot of healthy vegetables. We top off the day with shortbread shamrock cookies that are easy for children to make and fun to decorate with green sugar sprinkles.
GLAZED CORNED BEEF
1 corned beef brisket, about 4 pounds, rinsed with visible fat removed
1 can of ginger ale
1 tablespoon whole cloves
Glaze:
½ cup prepared mustard
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the corned beef fat side up in a baking pan. Cover with foil and bake for 2½ hours or until fork-tender. Drain off any liquid, then baste with the ginger ale. Score the meat and stud with the cloves.
For the glaze, stir together brown sugar and mustard, heat in a small saucepan until the sugar is melted and the glaze is almost boiling.
Brush on the glaze and return to the oven to bake for 30-40 minutes uncovered. Let the beef rest for 15 minutes, then remove the cloves, slice the corned beef across the grain and serve with additional glaze.
SHAMROCK SHORTBREAD COOKIES
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cornstarch
green sugar sprinkles
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. With a mixer, cream the butter until soft. Add the powdered sugar and blend until the mixture is soft and fluffy, then stir in the vanilla. Sift together the flour, salt and cornstarch and add to the creamed ingredients, mixing just until the dough is crumbly and holds together.
Between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper, roll the dough to ½-inch thickness. Cut the cookies with a shamrock cookie cutter and place on ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with green sugar if desired. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until barely golden around the edges."

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865623892/Festive-foods-for-St-Patricks-Day.html?pg=all

Tamar Tephi and the High King Of Ireland
Did you know that there are old stories about 2 Jewish princesses that were taken  by the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah out of Jerusalem before it fell to the Babylonians? They were Zedekiah's daughters and great-granddaughters of Jeremiah. The stories say he took them to Egypt for safety; all of Zedekiah's sons were killed in front of him except Mulek who escaped to America. As Egypt was about to fall, they sailed up to Spain where one eventually married into the royal family there. He then took the other to Ireland and she married the chief high king. Her name was Tamar Tephi and the sacred burial ground of Tara was built for her and her husband when they died. The interesting thing about this story is that when a DNA study of population of Europe was complete, the people with the most closely matched DNA were in Spain and Ireland. Perhaps this helps explain why the people of Ireland were interested in the message of Christianity, it came from a branch of the House of Abraham, their ancestors in the Holy Land. Remember it was the Stewart (Stuart) King James that had the Bible translated into English. I believe he was a descendant of ancestors from Israel. The lion and the unicorn in British heraldry represented the tribes of Judah and Joseph. I also read that the British Union Jack had two meanings; one was the kingdom united under King James, the other was the reuniting of the Biblical patriarch Jacob's family.

Enjoy a conversation about all things Irish today on BYU Sirius Radio XM 143 at 3 p.m. Eastern or listen here: http://www.byuradio.org/listen

http://familyshare.com/growth/we-owe-st-patricks-day-to-pirates-yes-pirates - An article from FamilyShare.com 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy Pi Day; thank you Archimedes


He loved his circles and was the first of the ancients to discover the formula for the area of a circle or π. 

Many before him tried, the Babylonians around 1990 B.C., the Egyptians in 1650 B.C. and others,  but it was the Greek mathematician Archimedes, born in 287 B.C. in Italy, who figured out the closest value for pi or the area of a circle 




Archimedes was an inventor and physicist so brilliant that he invented machines to move water uphill and discovered the principle of buoyancy or water displacement. He also designed the first "Death Ray" when he had Greek soldiers polish their shields until they shone like mirrors, then turned them toward invading Roman ships, supposedly igniting the sails and wooden hulls. That may or may not be true, but he did have the army build catapults and lob burning tar and sulfur at the ships, which probably did do some damage. 
Pi or π is the irrational number that starts at 3.1415927... and extends to at least 10 trillion digits, according to the calculations of Alexander Yee and Shigeru Kondo.   

To pay homage to the Greek genius, turn on a movie about Archimedes and serve a Greek pizza on March 14, 2015, at 9:27. This delicious pi can be shaped like the Greek symbol π or made into the traditional circle shape beloved by Archimedes.
*****
GREEK PIZZA PI
Crust
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cups bread flour
1½-2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons yeast
Toppings
1 ½ 15-ounce jars of roasted garlic Alfredo sauce
16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Other Greek-style toppings (see suggestions below)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the hot water, sugar and yeast. Leave the bowl in a warm location until foam covers the surface of the water, usually about 10 minutes, but keep an eye on it to not let it go too long. Lightly grease two 10-inch-by-15-inch rimless cookie sheets with olive oil, set aside.
When the surface of the yeast/water mixture is covered by foam, stir in the bread flour, salt and olive oil. Add the whole wheat flour and knead until a smooth dough is formed.
Divide the dough in half, reserve one half and divide the remaining half into thirds. On the baking sheet, form the dough into a pi symbol: Π. Repeat on the second cookie sheet with the remaining dough. Flatten the dough with your hands. Let rise until you can make a dent in the dough and it doesn’t puff up.
Spread on the two pies the roasted garlic Alfredo sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.
Add your favorite Greek pizza toppings. Suggested ones are: roasted chicken, red onion rings, thinly sliced julienned spinach leaves, pepperoncini slices, Kalamata olives, sliced sautéed mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts, basil pesto, and/or quartered tomatoes.
Top with crumbled feta cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
Serve with a salad of sliced cucumbers, pepperoncini, mushrooms, spinach, sliced red onion, Kalamata olives and tomatoes dressed lightly with Greek salad dressing.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The San Francisco Art Tour Report


My murals class at the University of Utah earned and was awarded a scholarship to travel to San Francisco for a weekend to view art. 
During the tour, I found a new favorite west coast art museum. I have always enjoyed visiting the Getty in Los Angeles, but was pleasantly surprised to find another collection that moved quickly into first place: The Legion of Honor in San Francisco. To be honest, it was Bouguereau's The Broken Pitcher that sealed the deal for me. I am a huge fan of many of his pieces and enjoy the experience of discovery and the ahah moment that takes my breath away. 

Other parts of the tour were less satisfying; Chinese artist Ai WeiWei's exhibition Perspective Realia @ Large on Alcatraz in San Francisco. While I am absolutely sympathetic to the plight of prisoners of conscience, especially when they are being held by communist and totalitarian regimes. I had a very small but similar experience being "punished" for choosing to go to church Sunday and have family time rather than touring additional San Francisco art galleries and The People's Republic of Berkeley with the rest of the group; but that might be expected from the more liberal art professors at the University of Utah. Oh horror - I may have even missed another gay male sex exhibit like the one at San Francisco Art Institute. 

On Alcatraz I enjoyed seeing the gorgeous silk dragon at the beginning of the exhibition but was distressed upon finding out that Mr. Weiwei included American traitor Edward Snowden in his group of prisoner of conscience. Snowden published lists of American CIA agents and their addresses, endangering many American lives at home and abroad. 

Weiwei also exhibited images of men held at Gitmo that were involved in the 9/11 attack on the U.S.; displaying them as prisoners of conscience. This made me made me very angry; my reaction was magnified by the fact that my dearly beloved soldier son has been deployed three times to the Middle East and has seen friends and innocent civilians die at the hands of consciousless thugs such as these. And this is being exhibited at a National Park, with my tax money supporting it.

Did I mention I missed my flight Friday morning because I was detained and searched by TSA, a result of the "precautions" in place because of the effects of terrorists and the attacks on 9/11? Venting over, thanks for listening. Peace out.