Sunday, February 24, 2019

Persistence: MDUUC Call to Worship for February 24, 2019

Journalist Norah O'Donnell said:
Persistence is incredibly important. Persistence proves to the person you're trying to reach that you're passionate about something, that you really want something

I recall that as a child, I could be annoyingly persistent about some things.  My parents had a way of dealing with this, of course.  “Just ignore it, and maybe they will get tired of it or forget about it.”  This didn’t work for everything.   I did finally get that bicycle, after a few years!

As adults, we may have somewhat loftier goals than that bicycle.

Rabbi Tarfon said:
Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

Persistence in doing what is needed is important.  I feel that I need to be mindful of the scope of the work, and what my capacity may be. It is not OK for me to push myself to exhaustion.  While some may treat that exhaustion as a status symbol, I find that this is not a great idea, as it may lead to despair and abandoning the work I attempted.

It is OK to rest, to take a break.  Doing this before we are exhausted means that when rested, strength renewed, we may go forward with our works once more, rather than abandon them from exhaustion.  While others may hope that “maybe they will get tired of it or forget about it”, we know that we will soon return, much to their despair!

Even as we rest, recover, and gain strength from each other here, today, we may consider how we shall further our works as we worship together.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Michelle’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 c butter 2 sticks
1 c white sugar 210 g
1 c packed brown sugar 200 g
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp blackstrap molasses 
2 c all-purpose flour 250 g
1 tsp baking soda 2 tsp calcium carbonate baking soda (salt free)
1 tsp salt Optional for salt-free
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3 c rolled oats 270 g
1/4 c milk
1 1/2 c raisins

In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla and molasses. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and other spices; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats, and finally the milk and raisins. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F  Grease cookie sheets or use parchment paper. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 3 inches apart on cookie sheets. 

Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Michelle’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c butter, softened 2 sticks
1/2 c white sugar 100 g
1 1/2 c packed brown sugar 310 g
3 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
3 c all-purpose flour 375 g
1 tsp baking soda OR 2 tsp calcium carbonate - baking grade
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
2 c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and molasses. Add baking soda to batter along with salt if needed. Add in the spices; cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves, and ginger.  Stir in flour, then chocolate chips. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.

        Bake for about 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Deep Dish Pizza

I’ve built this pie in a big deep dish pan, and a variation split between a 6” and 12” cast iron skillet with different toppings, with very good results.  The recipe is quite forgiving.


4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons or one packet of yeast
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 pound Italian sweet or hot sausage, cooked and sliced; 
OR 3 cups of the sautéed vegetables of your choice
OR just mix them up, about 3 cups of filling total
28-ounce can plum tomatoes, lightly crushed; or 28-ounce can diced or chopped tomatoes, drained  (Add one 5.3 oz can of tomato paste for a more American-style sauce).
2 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon sugar (Leave out for a more tart sauce)
1 to 2 teaspoons mixed dried Italian herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary), to taste, crushed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil, to drizzle on top

Making the crust
Pour the lukewarm water and one teaspoon sugar into a mixing bowl, and add yeast.  Wait for the yeast to ‘proof’, or start foaming; 5-15 minutes
Mix the dough ingredients, and knead to make a smooth crust. This takes 5-7 minutes in my KitchenAid with dough hook on low speed.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until it comes close to doubling, about 60 minutes.
While the dough is rising, ready a 14" deep-dish pizza pan or large cast-iron skillet.  Pour in 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, tilting it to cover the bottom of the pan, and up the sides.
Stretch the dough to make as large a circle as you can, larger than your pan.  I do this by hand rather than with a rolling pin, as I like the uneven  character of the hand-stretched dough.
Lay the dough in the pan, and stretch it towards and up the edges till it starts to shrink back.  You may have to pinch it along the top to avoid shrinking back if in a shallow pan.  Cover to rest for 15 minutes. Start preheating the oven to 425°F while the dough rests.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, until. 

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.
Drain the tomatoes thoroughly. Combine them with the Italian seasoning or herbs, the garlic and sugar.  Add salt to taste. Add one 5.3 oz can of tomato paste if a more ‘American’ style sauce is desired.
Remove the crust from the oven after 10 minutes, when set and just starting to brown.
Cover the bottom of the crust with the sliced mozzarella, fanning it into the crust. Add the sausage, sautéed vegetables, or other ‘toppings’.  
Spoon in the tomato mixture.
Top with the Parmesan cheese.  
As a variation, or for cheese lovers, top with another several ounces of mozzarella cheese, and even more sausage, pepperoni, or mushrooms.
Drizzle another 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil on top.
Bake the pizza for about 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. 
Remove it from the oven, and carefully lift it out of the pan onto a rack. Allow the pizza to cool for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.  The internal temperature will continue to rise even as the pie cools.  There will be less runny cheese oozing out when the pie is allowed to rest and cool
Yield: about 8 huge or 12 reasonable slices