Medama Oyaji 2

Christmas letter

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

This year I've been busy!

Last month I pulled over and changed catherineldf's flat tire (15 points). Last Tuesday I helped freyjakj see the light (8 points). Last Wednesday I ruled Duluth, Minnesota as a kind and benevolent dictator (700 points). Last Sunday I gave grenacia a Dutch Oven (-10 points). In September I bought porn for sceptre1067 (10 points).

Overall, I've been nice (723 points). For Christmas I deserve a red Radio-Flyer wagon!


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I have no idea why buying someone a Dutch Oven would be -10 points. I would think that would be a wonderful gift.
Medama Oyaji 2

This is a test

Well, this is a test to see how this iPod app works for Live Journal. As far as I can tell, I can only post and read messages with friends. I want to be able to view entries.

Medama Oyaji 2

In the crock pot

We bought a new crock pot recently. A nice big one with a removable insert. I have wanted to make this recipe from William Sanoma since I saw it in a catalog. It is cooking right now. I had to modify it slightly do to the fact that we don't have the $300 All Clad crock pot that this was created for. Results to follow.

Thomas Keller's Slow-Cooker Cassoulet

Beloved by generations of French cooks, cassoulet is a rustic, slow-cooked dish made with white beans and a lavish assortment of meats, from duck confit or foie gras to sausages and succulent cuts of pork, lamb or poultry. Here, we feature an adaptation of the Languedoc specialty from Thomas Keller, the internationally acclaimed chef of The French Laundry, in Northern California. To simplify the dish for home cooks, Chef Keller developed his cassoulet recipe for us utilizing the All-Clad Deluxe slow cooker.

4 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 8 pieces and trimmed of excess fat
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. canola oil
1 cup panko
4 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
4 cups coarsely chopped yellow onions
2 cups dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 can (35 oz.) peeled Italian plum tomatoes, drained and
coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups dried Great Northern beans, picked over, rinsed and
soaked overnight
1 1/2 lb. fresh chorizo sausage, each halved on the bias
1 garlic head, halved crosswise
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
1 lb. baguette, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
Coarse sea salt, such as sel gris, for garnish
Season the pork generously with kosher salt and pepper; set aside.

In the stovetop-safe insert of a slow cooker over medium-high heat, combine the canola oil and panko. Cook, stirring constantly, until the panko is toasted and golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the panko to a baking sheet and season with kosher salt and pepper.

Add the bacon to the insert and cook until crisp on both sides, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Reserve the bacon fat in the insert.

Add half of the pork to the insert and brown on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a platter. Repeat with the remaining pork.

Add the onions and 1 tsp. kosher salt to the insert and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and softened, about 7 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes and broth. Remove the insert from the heat and add the beans, pork, chorizo and garlic.

Place the insert on the slow-cooker base, cover and cook on low until the beans are tender and the pork pulls apart easily with a fork, about 7 hours. Skim off the fat, and remove and discard the garlic. Fold in the panko and the 1/4 cup parsley. Adjust the seasonings with kosher salt and pepper.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat the broiler.

Brush the baguette slices with olive oil. Arrange the slices, oiled side up, on top of the cassoulet, overlapping them. Broil until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes.

Let the cassoulet stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle each serving with the reserved bacon, sea salt and parsley. Serves 8 to 10.

Adapted from a recipe by Thomas Keller, Chef/Owner, The French Laundry.
Medama Oyaji 2

Rejoining Great Nature and Peace

As most of you already know, we lost Bast Friday night. I knew that it was time for him to go. It may have had something to do with the close bond I had with him, so it wasn't as hard as it was with the other two boys. It is hitting me a little harder today.

Over the weekend I attended a calligraphy workshop with Kaz Tanahashi. He is a well know artist and peace worker, along with being a Dogen scholar and translator. As it turns out he was also an early student of O'sensei's. Many worlds colliding. Sunday he gave a Dharma talk at Clouds in Water Zen Center focusing on peace. He had us all write a line or two about peace. I thought I would share my haiku.

Openness of Heart
Taps the Universal Mind
Ending all conflict.