Monday, February 25, 2013

Hasenpfeffer!

(Every time I say the name of this recipe, I say it like Yosemite Sam, I admit!)

So, I have never done just a straight-up recipe post before- but I am going to now. Why? As a budding "radical homemaker" and homesteader, growing and cooking high quality food and nourishing my family's minds, bodies, and spirits are one of the most important things I do for myself, my family, and the planet. As a family, we spend hours around the table- talking about our days, sharing, eating, and making offerings (our beloved dead altars are in the dining room!).

Many of you may be surprised to know that in a previous time, I apprenticed as a pastry chef. I also LOVE to cook, especially culinary experiments with ingredients that are home grown/raised or local. So when I got the opportunity for some local wild rabbit, I jumped at the chance to get some!

This hasenpfeffer which uses many home-sourced and local Ohio ingredients, in addition to the rabbit. Ethically sourced, pasture-raised pigs are plentiful here and I often have several types of pork in my freezer from local farms (many are Amish, some are just CSAs).

As many of you know, I grow my own mushrooms in the basement, year-round. And I grow herbs and vegetables of my own seasonally (and always have several herbs indoors year-round. What I do not have from my homestead, I got down at the food coop (a mere two blocks away!).

So here is a pictorial recipe:
Overnight, marinate a whole rabbit in 2 cups red wine, half cup red wine vinegar, 2.5 cups of onions, 3 carrots, 3 ribs of celery, and lots of thyme, salt, and pepper.
Be sure to cover it! I could smell it in my fridge even as it was covered.
It will make your butter smell like hasenpfeffer if you don't!
Render a bunch of bacon ends (these are so cheap from the Amish pork sellers here!)
to get the fat out and crisp up the bacon.
When it is crisp, remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate for later.
Use the fat to saute the veggies from the marinade mix.
(When you get to this stage, remove the rabbit onto a plate of seasoned flour for dredging and the veggies will be easy to fish out of the marinade with a slotted spoon.)
Figure out what, if any, mushrooms you wanna use. I like using medicinals to cook with- so I have maitake as well as beech here that I am going to add later.
Chop some UNSWEETENED (baking) chocolate. Kudos to you if you can find a source of fair trade chocolate.
Seasoned flour to dredge the rabbit in (makes for better browning). 
A shot of my much-depleted cook and bake book collection. I purged about 2/3 when I moved from California. Excessive? Maybe...
Ingredients, waiting patiently for me... that's why I love cooking- it's so meditative.
(at least when I am not interrupted by "mommy? mommy? mommy?")

Once the bacon has been removed, saute the mirepoix (onion, celery, carrot)
and seasonings/herbs out of the marinade.
Once soft, place it on the plate with the crisped bacon and use the remaining fat to brown the dredged rabbit.
Save that marinade! It becomes the main cooking liquid!

Gorgeous purple rabbit (from the red wine marinade) ready to be dredged.

Veggies and bacon and herbs, all browned and yummy, waiting to go back into the pot.

Once the rabbit browns, add all remaining ingredients into the pot
(bacon, saut├ęd veggies, mushrooms, chocolate, marinade).
Cook til rabbit is cooked through and the house smells awesome.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Latest Media Kerfuffle

When you are a member of a minority* religion (or "race" or gender, for that matter), you come to expect people mischaracterizing your ideas and culture. You expect bigotry and misinformation spread about you. It sadly comes with the territory.

You especially expect to have that bigotry come from people with a specific political agenda, like Fox "News". This is a network that literally invents news that fits its agenda, edits video to make people say the exact opposite of what they actually said, and adds constant right-wing commentary while delivering alleged "news".

So it was no surprise that Fox and Friends, the network's "Wake Up, America! It's a New Day to Hate!" program decided to rant for a few minutes on "Wiccans".



What do I think about all this? As I say, I am not surprised. I am not outraged either, considering the source. Anyone who takes Fox seriously is so far gone that reason will not aid them.

The reason Fox brought up the news item was that colleges are starting to recognize minority religions and our holidays in their academic calendars. The University of Missouri asked professors not to schedule exams on holidays listed on the calendar. It is a win for religious minorities everywhere and people who believe in pluralism and equality. The Fox "News" reaction is some of the expected backlash. It is simply small, scared people who are currently entrenched in power getting mad that others are being given a place at the table. It scares them.

What I am more concerned with is the reaction I see coming from the greater pagan community. Outraged petitions being spread on Facebook (that will not do a thing, as it is falling on deaf ears- Fox itself).

And of course, it was only a matter of time before one of our resident media whores decided this was a great opportunity to get more attention for himself. We have among us "Warlocks" (groan) that use every opportunity to get in front of the camera for personal ego stroking and profit (is it a surprise this dude not only owns stores, but  mentions them in a press release supposedly about media bias? He sells the Craft to the highest bidder and then gets "outraged" that someone else gets to defile us? Puh-lease.)

People like Day make our community look like a bunch of buffoons. (And no, I am not talking about the excessive eyeliner here.) I am far more concerned about how we come across - OUR voices, not the voices of those outside wishing to mock us. People who are constantly posturing and pimping are the ones that we, as a community, need to worry about.

To the non-Witchy world out there reading this: Despite what Day says in his press release- not all Witches are Wiccan, and not all of us act like him (thank the gods). We do not posture and profit from ill gotten gains.


*When I say minority, I always mean political minority. Women, for example, make up more than half of the world's population- but for the most part have far less political power over their own lives and the lives of others. Same with Muslims and Witches in this country. We are a minority- in population, but when I use the term, I specifically mean political minority.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Projects Around the Homestead

Winter has meant an inevitable slowing of homestead activity here in Ohio, but Rowan and I have done a few things around here. We took our herbs that were in containers inside for wintering over.


We made suet cakes and filled bird feeders for our feathered friends.

Our suet cake, hanging. Squirrels got it, mostly- but I did see goldfinches and cardinals on it.

We hung the seed on the front porch.



We went on an organizing binge and started thrift store shopping for baskets.
Here, Rowan plays with a thrift store toy.

I discovered plarn (plastic bag yarn).
I am making a rug for wet muddy feet for our back door.

There's on of those thrift store baskets, with my plarn in it.

Our backyard view of sunset.




Monday, February 11, 2013

Links about the Gender Agenda

You too can socialize your girl into a
life of servitude! This toy is real "classy".

I like to keep up on what is happening out there in the world of gender perception and news. Here are some of the recent stories I think are worth looking at:

In Sweden, toys are no longer being marketed to kids by gender. Is this some progressive hippie all wood toy manufacturer? Nope- it's the Swedish equivalent to Toys R Us! It is a huge movement in Sweden: "Since 2008, the government has spent 110 million Swedish crowns ($16.3 million) on promoting gender equality in schools, including the introduction of laws requiring teachers to actively work to reverse gender stereotypes.

The country also proposed a new single gender-neutral pronoun – 'hen' – to replace 'he' and 'she' in order to minimize gender stereotyping."- from the article.


Rowan has trucks and dolls.
Contrast the Swedish approach with the American company E-bates, who market to parents of boys and girls, rather differently. Color me annoyed. I go out of my way to present all options to my son and allow him to choose. This less-than-subtle message to kids and parents alike on how to dress themselves is infuriating.

Not that this new study is telling me anything that I didn't know already, but for boneheads who insist that men are from Mars and women are from Venus (different planets, different species- really?), we now have a large comprehensive study that calls bullshit on the gender shenanigans once and for all. I am glad that the study exists, even if you are saying "duh" over and over as you read it.

The pink ghetto of the toy section.
I hate the blue ghetto, too.
And on a lighter note- did you know that male modeling is now being done by men and women? How very interesting. The interview is very refreshing.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Looking and Feeling Young

The other day, I got (what most people would call) a compliment on my looks. They said that I "didn't look 42", and "looked at least 10 years younger".

In addition to having some feyness, some healthy fat on my bones, and not smoking (anymore); I also didn't tan relentlessly when I was younger (yay, gothdom!). These things help a lot in keeping bodies healthy and not overly ravaged by time. But I also attribute my youthful appearance to what I eat and put on my body as well (and chasing a preschooler!).

I do not use commercial beauty products anymore, and I think this helps a lot. To clean my body and "make it up", I use natural products, most of which are much less expensive than commercially bought stuff and so much better for your body. I no longer use a foundation- and the last time I did, I was using tinted moisturizer by Dermalogica or Dr. Haushka. I don't put on a lot of makeup- and when I do use it, a liquid eyeliner (body shop), and a lipstick (I have amassed quite the collection) are about it.

I am still using the "no poo" and "no conditioner" that I wrote about last June. I think my hair is healthy and shiny. I also make our deodorant, our first aid creams, our cold medicines, and our moisturizers. I am in the process of making a migraine remedy making tincture of feverfew, white willow bark, and California poppy.

I have dry skin and I used to shower then oil my body (just a combination of good-for-skin oils, with olive as the base). Now I use a sugar scrub exfoliant that has plenty of oil and essential oils (I switch it up for fun- sometimes it is lemongrass for purification, sometimes I want tingly cinnamon!) and moisturizes as I wash. A month's supply of sugar scrub is about 21 cents- and once you invest in essential oils, you will have most of the ingredients around to keep yourself in supply. I only shower every few days because of my dryness. So I need to moisturize in between bathing. In the summer, I need a lotion (that I make myself)- but now that I am back in dry midwestern winter, I actually use raw unrefined shea butter on my face daily! I personally think it makes my skin radiant, and before it completely soaks in (it is solid at room temperature), it forms a weather barrier on my face that really helps prevent tiny eczema patches.

Speaking of eczema- I don't really get it anymore (again, I attribute whole foods and natural toiletries)- and if there ever is a tiny bit, it comes in smaller than a dime. Carrot oil or shea butter takes care of it immediately.

So, what does our family eat? There's a joke going around that "natural foods" and "organic foods" are simply what our grandparents called "food".

Here's an example: this week, when we had tacos, we went out of our way to get corn tortillas without crap in them (most of the standard supermarkets here carry tortillas with unpronouncible ingredients- bleh!). I cooked a pork roast (that came from a pig that was purchased in advance, raised on a farm in Appalachia, and slaughtered and processed with the cuts and preparation we specified) in the crock pot all day with onions, cumin, oregano, and salt. I soaked overnight, then simmered pinto beans all day and pureed them in the food processor with leftover bacon fat from our nitrate free, grass-fed bacon, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and cumin. We ate it with crap-free loca; Amish sour cream from the co-op, fresh made salsa (not by me, but local) and cheese. While the meal took all day to cook, there was little actual hands-on work for it. It was delicious and I have leftover pork for lunches and refried beans in the freezer for future meals.

So to make a long post short, I guess my "secret" is simple living and avoiding overly processed stuff. What are your secrets to staying healthy and young?


Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Nature of God Herself and the Universe

Originally taken from here, no artist credit at that site.
Pretty, no?
 In my theology, I embrace paradox- after all, I am a hard polytheist compared to most neo-Wiccans (who believe all goddesses are "the goddess" and all gods are "the god". Yet I believe that we (gods, humans, rocks, and everything) are All One. We are God Herself, having an individuated experience through us. Individuality is an illusion. In this, I find common ground with monotheists like Sufis, mystic Jews, Gnostics, and Unitarian Universalists.
"Universe, may every aspect of my being be converted to truth. May every cell fall into place and serve a higher plan. I no longer wish to be who I was. I wish to be who I am." -Marianne Williamson
This post I came across a few months ago really spoke to me and encouraged me to write a bit about what I believe about the divine. Hard work to do, really. Most gnosis I have of Them is experiential, so putting this information into words for others to grasp is a difficult task, so bear with me.

I personally see the individuated gods the ways I see humans- we are individuated so that the Star Goddess can experience life individually- which is foreign and novel to Her. She gets a corporeal experience with we humans, and a non-corporeal experience with gods (and other beings like them). She gets to experience all the wonderful manifestations through all of us- gender and sexuality, bodily and energetic life in its infinite manifestations, and so much more. In this way (among others) we are the gods' equals.
"You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop." -Rumi
Lucifer, Lord of Light.
The gods that I work closely with- Lilith, Lucifer, Ganesh, The King and Queen of Elphame*- all of them are very different from one another. They all have varying "flavors" energetically and have different roles to play and myriad lessons to impart. They are indeed individuals as much as I am one- separate from you and everyone else, dear reader. To think that all the myriad gods are one is correct and incorrect. They are actually One, but that One includes all goddesses and us, too.

To lump all "male" deity into one camp and all "female" into another creates yet another fiction (in addition to the fiction of individuation). It creates the fiction that the gods have gender. They don't. We choose to see them in specific ways because humans cannot help the clasification we do. We like categories and place everything into them. (Just ask any ceremonial magician, with those correspondance charts! I kid, I kid!)

Work with deity for me means experiencing them individually, getting to know them intimately. In this way, I can get close to Her- the All-There-Is, who is terrible and in many respects unknowable. It is the same with human relationships too. Living in peace with others and finding resolution is a religious act.

We experience mundane life as individuals and we experience others in this fashion, too. And that is part of the truth- but not the whole truth. The whole truth is that we are all Her, all connected and One. And at amazing, breathtaking, awe-inspiring times I can feel that. It's why I do magick and have ritual. It's why I partake of divine possession and entheogens. I can feel it when I have the best Sex. Sometimes that feeling is pleasant, but often the sensation is overwhelming and uncomfortable. So the individuation is a blessing and a gift to me as much as it is to Her, experiencing individuated life through me.

Lilith
In my tradition, we often work with a specific triad** of goddesses (who represent not just three moon phases, but yes, also that) and dyads of gods (we often call them divine twins). (We also have twinnings of gods and goddesses, 'cuz we roll like that.) Often novices who do not understand the theological underpinnings in the tradition see the twins as simple dualisms and conflate them with neo-Wiccan fertility pairings. I assure you, they are NOT. We have twins because as Rumi so beautifully put it, ""God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches you by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly - not one."

That's it for now. But if you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear them, either in the comments below or on the Facebook page!



* and of course, I work with more than those, but those are the most common "go-to" beings.
**and where there are three, there are always four!