Archive for September, 2011

Brown Pork Loin Packages Tied up With Strings

Friday, September 30th, 2011

These are a Few of my Favorite Things

People have complained that I don’t post recipes any more. See what you think of this one. I just tried it. I thought it would just be tolerable, but it was excellent.

1 pork tenderloin (3/4 pound)
3 thin slices bacon
1/2 cup (packed measure) dried Granny Smith or other tart apples
Korbel brandy
1 powdered chipotle pepper
sorghum syrup or molasses
4 cloves fresh garlic

Open the tenderloin up so you can stuff it. You can butterfly it or spiral-cut it into a flat sheet. Salt and pepper both sides. Drizzle about a tablespoon of sorghum on it. Scatter the chipotle on it.

Chop up the apples and soak them with brandy. Fry the bacon until browned but not crunchy. Remove the bacon and fry the apples in the grease, plus a couple of teaspoons of butter. When the apples start to get done, throw in the garlic (sliced). fry until it’s cooked but not very brown. Toss in the bacon (chopped) and fry to warm it up.

Pile the fried stuff on the pork and wrap it up with twine. Salt and pepper the outside. Dump it in a covered Pyrex dish. Bake at 300 for about one hour. Remove the lid, baste with the drippings, and drizzle a little sorghum on top. Remove most of the drippings. Bake until it browns. Make sure you got all the pan grease in there.

Reduce the drippings until you like the flavor. Remove the twine from the pork and slice it across the long axis.

Serve with the drippings.

This could be made way better, but I was only cooking what I had lying around the house.

I don’t really like tenderloin. Today’s pigs are skinny and dry, and tenderloin is dry to begin with, and it’s dark. You could make a much tastier version with a better cut, like a shoulder roast. You could also brine the tenderloin. Really, though, it’s crap. Pigs have a tenderloin, and then they have those big loin things center-cut chops come from. I don’t know the first thing about pig anatomy, but I know the big light-colored loins taste better.

You could also work stuffing into it, which would be insanely good. And it would be good to top it with some onions sauteed at the end of the baking cycle. I wonder what dried peaches would be like.

Brown raisins would have been good in there. Some extra acidity could be a plus. I considered adding a touch of lime juice. I think a little orange juice mixed with lime juice might work.

Maybe you could use a boned duck! Oh, man!

Here’s what I did for a side:

6 ounces (best guess) red and yellow peppers
8 ounces broccoli florets
2 cloves fresh garlic
cheap olive oil (“for sauteeing and grilling”)

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high and add 2 ounces oil. Salt and pepper the vegetables. Add the vegetables and fry for maybe 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want a little browning here and there. Toward the end, throw in the garlic and keep frying until it’s cooked but not brown and bitter.

This sounds pretty dull, but it was excellent. I wouldn’t add a thing to it. Well, I might conceivably sneak a tiny amount of butter into the finished product.

Never use extra-virgin olive oil, except in salad. It costs a lot, and it tends to smell and taste bad when it gets too hot. I do not understand these people who say “EVOO” all the time and talk about extra-virgin oil like it’s God’s gift to the culinary arts. I rarely use it for anything. I used to use it, and it ruined my food. It’s swell on salad, or in applications where it doesn’t get too hot, but that’s about it. You really want to keep it away from pizza. Trust me on this.

Cheap olive oil is a phenomenal tool. It lends a buttery taste to food. It has a high flash point. It doesn’t have the fish stink of canola. It has versatility because it has almost no flavor. You can get a gallon for something like ten bucks. I don’t know why no one talks about it.

Okay, I posted a recipe. I’m done.

Rust Remover

Friday, September 30th, 2011

I Know Where my Shoes Are

I joined a church. I met the musicians who play there. I started playing guitar again. They said I should build tube amps, because I had a physics degree and could understand the circuits.

I started building amps. Then I decided I needed to brush up on electronics and math so I would really know what I was doing.

A few weeks back I started studying electronics, and that got me moving toward math. I dug out some math books. Now I’m studying complex variables. I’m waiting for the arrival of outlines on advanced calculus and vector analysis.

Here’s the interesting thing. I think this work is improving my prayer life.

My ability to concentrate has diminished over the years. It’s irritating. It affects my short-term memory; you tend to forget things if you aren’t concentrating when you learn them. It also makes me less intelligent. You can’t think well if you can’t concentrate.

When you pray, you need to be conscious of the reality–the realness–of God. Jesus told us we would receive the answers to our prayers if, while praying, we believed we would receive. You can’t have a powerful belief that you will receive, if God’s realness is a wavering concept that flickers in an out of your consciousness.

Last night I found that the sensation of God’s realness was stronger and more consistent. I believe it’s because my concentration is getting better.

I was about thirty when I decided to get a physics degree. I had failed math in high school, so I was not all that well prepared. Somehow I had forgotten my bad math history; I remembered it after my first college calculus test!

I guess God propelled me, because I caught up on high school math and learned first-semester calculus during a single term. And that put me on the path to my degree, which meant I would have to work about five times as much as a normal college student. Physics is incredibly hard. It’s much harder than pure math. I used to knock my math homework off very quickly, and I’m talking about advanced subjects like multivariable calculus and complex analysis, but physics took something like four times as long.

When I first started my studies, I could only do physics for a short time before I needed a break. My mind ran out of whatever it is that allows you to think effectively about math, and I had to recharge. By the time I dropped out of grad school, I could do physics until three in the morning and still think reasonably well. During these years, my mind changed. I developed abilities I had not had at the beginning.

I think this is what’s happening to me now. I am thinking better, and I am thinking well for longer periods.

I tend to get caught up in the supernatural things God does. For example, I know prayer in tongues will build faith and the ability to do miraculous things. But I have to remember that the things we do in the physical realm are not a total waste of time. God can cure an infection directly, but he can also send you to a doctor who will know which antibiotic to use. Maybe God is using the math to help me stay in touch with him.

I think it’s useful to write about this, because the natural tendency of the aging human brain is to deteriorate. We poison ourselves with TV and idleness, and we do things that damage our brains, and we fall apart. I have always found that my mind can be changed by what I do with it. I know there are other people out there who are getting nervous because they are starting to get lost or forget what they’re supposed to be doing. Maybe this blog entry will help them. And if you’re a believer, maybe it will help you get in touch with God.

I’ve noticed that it’s not unusual for physicists to remain sharp long after they should have become addled by age. Hans Bethe was relevant even in his 80s. Something to think about, the next time you decide to watch Dancing With the Stars when you could be firing up Rosetta Stone or doing sudoku.

The nice thing about the stuff I’m doing is that it’s useful. It’s not exercise with no non-therapeutic value. It’s not sudoku, which is useless in and of itself and which teaches skills that serve no purpose other than sudoku. Advanced math helps you understand the world. If I can get a grip on math and electronics, I’ll be able to do some pretty neat things.

I suspect that math is unique in its ability to restore the brain. I’ve studied music, and it doesn’t do much. I read a lot, and I write a lot, and those things don’t help. In fact, I think my vocabulary is a lot smaller than it was in the past. Sometimes I misspell words now. That was almost unthinkable in the 90s.

Here’s what I suspect. I think mathematical study may serve as a brain improver that helps in other areas of thought, but I think other types of mental exercise don’t carry this benefit.

I’ve read the claims that Mozart makes people smart. I’m not sure, but I think that theory was debunked. I don’t know if it’s true, generally, but music didn’t do a thing for me. Math, I can guarantee.

The problem is that people would rather listen to music than solve simultaneous equations. Either your brain came equipped with puzzle drive or it didn’t. I suspect that God has increased my interest in math through supernatural means. These days I can’t wait to sit down with a pencil and a Schaum outline. I feel like drawn to it; I look forwad to it when I’m doing other things.

I’m not one of these people who think earthly life is what it’s all about. I am not going to get sheep placenta injections and hire plastic surgeons to turn me into a grotesque caricature of a young person, just so I can hold onto this flawed existence. I think that’s pathetic. But I am not in a hurry to shop for diapers. The Bible mentions people who saw well and thought well in their old age. There is some evidence that people who spend a lot of time in God’s presence may live unusually long, healthy lives. Maybe I can be like them.

Here’s some interesting trivia. In the first half of the last century, there was a group of people in Africa known as “the shining ones.” They believed they had a special closeness with the Holy Spirit. They lived in fear of driving him away (“grieving” him). It is said that a number of these people lived to be well over a hundred. Is it true? I don’t know. But I work to get into God’s presence, and I feel very youthful. I know this will sound crazy, but I could swear my hair is thicker than it was ten years ago. Sometimes I’m startled by my own appearance in the mirror. Sometimes my face seems strangely smooth and appears to have a weird radiance to it. I am definitely aging, but in some ways I seem to improve.

I have heard that my great-grandmother’s face used to shine after she spent time alone, praying in tongues. I never knew her. I can’t tell you whether it’s true.

Incidentally, this is an answer to prayer. I prayed for God to fix my memory and concentration, and I felt powerful rushes of faith, telling me it would happen.

Maybe someone who reads this will put it to use. I hope someday I find out it helped someone who was tired of walking from one room to another and then wondering what he was doing there.

Pizza Without Limits

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

How Good Can it Get?

I wrote a long piece about the crazy “Seven Blessings of Passover/Pentecost/Atonement” doctrine that is sweeping charismatic churches, but something told me to keep it to myself for now. So instead I’m writing about PIZZA.

My pizza gets better and better and BETTER. Over and over, I find myself saying, “This is the best pizza I’ve ever had.” Every time it happens, I think it can’t get significantly better, but I’m always wrong. I’m positive God gives me food ideas. There is no other way to explain it. If the food were merely great, I could say it was me, but it’s so good it’s beyond explanation. I can’t do that.

A while back I made sourdough starter and froze portions of it in foil. Last night I thawed one out. I would say I got about 100 grams of usable stuff from it. I mixed it with my regular dough recipe, with the yeast reduced by two-thirds, and I stuck it in the fridge overnight. This morning I let it warm up, formed it into a crust, and let it rise all day.

I got Boar’s Head whole-milk mozzarella from the grocery deli counter because I was out of delicious Costco mozzarella, and I used Bel Gioioso provolone. Ordinarily I use frozen cheese, and it’s cheap and excellent, but freezing reduces the quality a little, so it’s not perfect. And deli-counter mozzarella is the only decent substitute I’ve found for Costco cheese.

I topped the pie with quartered Hormel pepperoni slices. I am not a pepperoni fan, because it makes pizzas sour, greasy, too spicy, and orange, but for some reason it WORKS with my recipes. Like you would not believe. So I cut 30 slices in quarters and used them.

I generally use very fresh dough, because it’s fast and convenient. The resulting crust is way better than anything you can buy around here, so I’m satisfied with it for most purposes. But sourdough culture improves the texture of dough, and I suspect letting dough sit overnight is also beneficial. I don’t have the patience to use pure sourdough for an ordinary meal, so I made the little starter packets. You get a lot of the improvements, and it’s easy.

Anyway, I made my usual sauce and put it on top of layers of provolone and mozzarella, and I baked it in the usual way. I somehow ended up with about one and a half times the right amount of pepper in the dough, and that worried me, but it actually made the pizza better. The crust was chewier, and the added pepper really brought out the fruity flavor of the sauce. The aftertaste was almost like cherry pie.

That deli cheese melts much more smoothly than anything frozen. It spread out so well some of it went off the edge of the pie. That’s a plus, though, because you get little bits of crunchy cheese at the edges.

Geez, it was good. I’m still reliving it in my mind.

What is the purpose of this? It’s too good not to have a purpose. If I couldn’t make my own pizza, and I knew of a shop that used this recipe, I’d stand in line to eat there.

More Reason for Jews to Mistrust Christians

Monday, September 19th, 2011

We all Voted, and We Decided “God” was Wrong

It amazes me how many so-called “Christians” do not believe in prophecy or God’s promises.

I just read that Anglican, Orthodox, Catholic, and Lutheran priests in Israel are endorsing the “Palestinian” state, with the 1967 borders and Jerusalem as the capital.

The area that God promised–PROMISED–Abraham and his descendants is not contained within the 1967 borders. In fact, it’s much bigger than the current borders. The 1967 borders amount to a holding area to house the Jews until they can be exterminated. These borders are indefensible. They cut the country in half. What we have right now is a gigantic cession by the Jews. To ask more is unconscionable. Giving Palestinians their own nation within the tiny area currently recognized as Israel is like parachuting armed jihadis onto the deck of the MS St. Louis.

Is it any wonder Jews don’t trust Christians? We stab them in the back every chance we get. The idea that Jews and Christians will eventually reach a state of peaceful agreement is ludicrous. SOME Christians support Israel and will never let it down. The majority will always be tools of the enemy.

I suppose it makes no sense to speak of the Jewish mistrust of Christians in a negative way. It’s perfectly healthy. It shows that Jews aren’t crazy. Trusting us…that would prove they weren’t thinking clearly.

I don’t understand what the old denominations believe. It’s clear they don’t believe in God’s promise to Abraham. They see the Jews as oppressors and land thieves.

I think it all boils down to a fundamental belief that God is not real. They honor him and talk about how great he is, but aren’t they doing it with a wink? Increasingly, God is seen as mythical figure based in ancient superstition, who somehow (in spite of having an existence based on lies) managed to hand down a useful moral code which can be summed up in the two words “Be nice.” People think there are a lot of good things about the teachings of Jesus, but you have to understand: he was part of a primitive, patriarchal culture. Now we know things Jesus did not know. He’s not coming back, and he wasn’t God (they say in their hearts), and some of the stuff he told us has to be discarded.

If you believe God is alive, and that he is truthful and faithful, you have to believe Israel (Greater Israel, not the little bit the Jews possess now) belongs to the Jews. Even if you don’t believe God is alive, it’s impossible for a moral person to oppose Israel’s reasonable efforts to protect its existence, and it’s equally impossible to overlook the horrendous moral failings of Israel’s adversaries. Israel is all the Jews have, and their enemies are vicious and untrustworthy. There is no way they can give up. They are not fighting for wealth or domination. They are fighting for the right to live.

A long time ago, Satan managed to cut man off from the Holy Spirit. Jesus died partly so we could be inseminated with the Holy Spirit and wield his power, and we get that power through the charismatic gifts. Satan convinced us we had to earn God’s favor and his power, and tongues died out. When the Holy Spirit left us, we also lost revelation. We lost the ability to perceive God’s thoughts. As a result, we believe all sorts of stupid things, and the Palestine lie is one of them.

The clerics who are attacking Israel probably have no idea what God is like. They have probably never heard his voice. They have degrees. They’ve read books. They’ve learned ritual. Meanwhile, they’ve never met the subject of their studies. If they knew him, he would shape them. Because they do not, they have decided to shape him.

It’s fine to study flowers and learn about the chemistry and genetics that underlie their workings. It’s fine to learn about the soils they prefer and their natural enemies and their climatic needs. But these things can never replace the experience of walking outside and seeing a flower for yourself. The Holy Spirit permits us to know God personally. The books and rituals don’t do that. In fact, being based in fantasy, they tend to prevent us from knowing him.

I have often said that it’s better to know God than to know about God.

I know God. I don’t know him perfectly, and I let him down all the time, but I know him. Jesus himself entered a room where I was trying to sleep. He entered a car I was driving. I encounter the Holy Spirit every day. I learn from him. Sometimes I physically feel him doing things to my body. He has healed me a number of times. He has shown me spirits. He has changed my moods. He answers prayer after prayer. He explains the Bible. And here is one thing he has made clear: I am to be a friend of the Jews. So I don’t care what a blind man with a fancy costume tells me. God is right. Guesses made by frail human beings don’t matter to me.

Israel is going to prevail. I don’t care how many bombs the Iranians build. I don’t care how many benighted people march in the street chanting slogans. God will judge those who divide the land, and I am not going to be their ally.

Belshazzar’s Feast

Friday, September 16th, 2011

The Vessels of the Temple are not Man’s Spittoons

Last night I had some fun. My chef friends Liz and Donna volunteered to prepare food for a fundraiser at my church, and they asked me to help, so I got to work in the big commercial kitchen Donna manages. There were about seven of us, all told.

I didn’t do anything all that interesting. I followed other people’s recipes. I chopped herbs and made herbed cream cheese spread, and then I grilled a whole bunch of chicken breasts and sliced them into hors d’oeuvre portions. I also got to use a deep fryer for the first time in my life. We have one at church, but I never fooled with it. Last night I used it to make piles of fried plantain slices.

This kitchen uses knives provided by a service. They come and pick up the knives every week, and they replace them with sharp ones. I didn’t bring any of my own knives, so I grabbed a 10″ chef’s knife off the wall and went to work on the herbs. I was very impressed. It took an edge very quickly, and it made short work of the herbs, much as a Chinese cleaver would.

I decided to check the brand and look into it further. The name is “Mundial.” It’s a European company, but they manufacture in Brazil to keep prices low. They’re not fancy. The blades are thin and somewhat flexible, and they have plastic NSF handles. But they seem to work extremely well.

Anyone familiar with this blog knows I have had bad experiences with expensive Japanese knives. They chip easily, they can’t be put in a dishwasher, and they cost a fortune. I think they’re a complete waste of money. My favorite chef’s knife is a $22 Forschner, and my favorite all-around knife is a carbon-steel Chinese cleaver that ran me $9. I love a good cheap knife.

I found the Mundials on Amazon, and I decided to try a cleaver, a santoku, and a 14″ slicer. I’m hoping the cleaver will work as well as my Chinese job, with the added convenience of stainless. We’ll see.

I don’t know if the fundraiser will work. I got an invitation, but I’m not going. I will make a total of four trips to or for church this week. I felt like that was plenty. On the way to the commercial kitchen, I got a text asking me to start teaching a class in a discipleship program. I’d love to do it, but I can’t do everything.

The church has a gigantic mortgage, and I don’t think there is any possibility that we will be able to pay it off, so the fundraiser doesn’t seem like a good idea. I think we would be better off moving to a building we can afford. Most people who attend the church are poor or middle class, and the size of the congregation (and therefore the offerings) is limited by the size of the sanctuary. It’s very obvious that this is not a good situation.

I don’t think God is going to swoop in and save the day, because we don’t take care of the things he has already given us. We’re doing many, many things badly instead of doing the important things well.

We’re also having problems because we attract the wrong kind of people. We’re using secular music and prizes and all sorts of other tricks to get people to show up. The problem with this is that we get people who want to party, while we offend serious Christians. Over and over, people come to me complaining. They hate the loud music. They find the rap beats offensive. I can’t defend these things. I just tell them not to worry about the services, because they can get what they need in the prayer groups.

We have something like 2,000 young people coming to the youth services every week, but an awful lot of them come to socialize, not to meet God. Let’s face it. They come to get laid. Kids have always used churches as cheap substitutes for clubs, and we are helping them by making our church as much like a club as possible.

Some people believe that anything that gets people to come to church is a good idea. They say, “It’s all about souls.” That’s wrong. The problem with that kind of thinking is that it grows a church full of weak people who will eventually fail. A human being is like a seed in dry soil. When you receive salvation, you’re like a seed that has sprouted. If you don’t get the right teaching after you sprout, you rot. You can’t grow a healthy church with stunted Christians who never grow up.

I believe we’re trading strong future souls for the weak ones we’re getting now. These people won’t have power in their lives. They won’t be blessed. They won’t have anything going on that will make other people want what they have, so they will be very poor evangelists. If we taught people to live for God and walk by faith, and if we made them understand that they are not to conform to the world, great things would happen to them, and down the road, they would be so blessed the unsaved would find their testimony compelling.

We worry too much about pleasing men. We never hear anything about the anti-Christian things our President does, because so many people in the church think he’s great. We have given special treatment to rappers, and I don’t mean the Christian kind. We hear a lot about the great things God will do for us, but we don’t hear much about getting in touch with him personally and submitting to him, and we don’t hear much about his angry side. God kills people. God gives people cancer. Sin and iniquity are still very dangerous. We don’t talk much about that. That puts the people in danger.

What can you do? No church is perfect. Some churches let the mob lead. Others reject the Holy Spirit. Every church has a weakness. At least our people acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s existence. He still has a foothold.

I would like to move north and find a church where I would not be faced with the amazing paradox of liberal Christians. How anyone can claim to serve God while voting for enemies of Israel, the church, God-given sex roles and the unborn is beyond me. People who know God well and study his ways inevitably become conservative, because the left is doing everything it can to oppose God. I never imagined I would see a charismatic church were so many people preach one way and vote another.

I know many wonderful people at my church, and I would really miss them if I left, but I know there will eventually come a point where the church changes or I move on.

God is still doing powerful things in my prayer group. More people are praying in tongues and learning about the Holy Spirit. The other day someone who has been heavily into carnal effort came to me and started talking about the way prayer in tongues was changing his life. This is someone who has become extremely intolerant of any kind of dissent, so it surprised me to see him talking this way. He hasn’t been learning this in the sermons, I guarantee you.

My friends are I are seeing more and more blessings in our lives. That will continue. We are getting more revelation. We are getting help with our character flaws. God is bringing people to us and slowly increasing our numbers. Maybe a time will come when there are enough of us to draw attention to God’s power, so others will turn away from baby food and try what we’re having.

The other night I felt God’s presence more strongly than I have in twenty years. I could physically feel the Holy Spirit moving in my body. For a time I felt a strange pressure in my head, and it reminded me of a tree root growing in a rock and splitting it. For a long time, I’ve been saying that the Holy Spirit is the living water that feeds the mustard tree within each of us, which is the kingdom of God. I’ve said it grows and splits the rock and changes us from inside. When I felt it inside me this week it struck me as funny. I felt that God was reminding me that my head is one of the hardest rocks there is.

What is happening to us is as real as dirt. I guess that means persecution is coming. Oh, well. I’ve started keeping a diary of revelations that come to me, and here is the latest thing I felt God was saying to me: “Satan isn’t that tough.” It doesn’t mean Satan is weak or stupid, or that we don’t have to give him the same respect we would give loaded guns or rattlesnakes. It just means he isn’t as hard to beat as you might think, and that you should expect to win. It should not surprise you. He has made himself seem bigger than he is, but he’s just a mortal spirit. He is very small compared to our God. He has an end, and we don’t.

I have to order parts for my next tube amp now. Hope this material is useful to someone.