...gonna kick the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight... musings of a hungarian in texas

©2003 by Annamaria Kovacs. All contents of this blog are the property of the author. Use with written permission only.

Friday, January 25, 2008

More Music...

The more I listen to Hearts of Space (we have a subscription) the more great music I discover. My latest favorite is Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi. Go listen to a couple of his pieces and get yourself some calm moments and possible inspiration.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Am Writing

...and this is what's in my iPod for it today:

by Sarah McLachlan, from her album Surfacing

Make me a witness
take me out
out of darkness
out of doubt

I won't weigh you down
with good intention
won't make fire out of clay
or other inventions

will we burn in heaven
like we do down here
will the change come while we're waiting

everyone is waiting

and when we're done
soul searching
as we carried the weight
and died for the cause
is misery
made beautiful
right before our eyes
will mercy be revealed
or blind us where we stand

will we burn in heaven
like we do down here
will the change come while we're waiting

everyone is waiting

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Anchoress...

...has my number again.
Darn, but she's good. That's the path I had to walk down lately more than I care to remember.
It's a powerful piece, but not an easy read. And I am sure almost every one of us can relate.

It is good to know that we are not alone.

Dad Status Report

Thanks for all of you who sent prayers, thoughts and well-wishes regarding my Dad's surgery. It was performed on schedule on the 15th, and it went well. He spent the 16th mostly unconscious in recovery and called me this morning (just after 600am Dallas time which is 1300 back in Hungary). He was in better spirits than before the operation, and was mostly complaining about the food--as he is a restaurant owner who also cooks for fun, I was not surprised. I know hospital food in Hungary, and according to him it did not improve a bit since I experienced it.
The way he described whatever he was given these past two days made me really chuckle. He was saved by my aunt's vanilla custard that she smuggled in for him. Heh.

He'll have the staples removed tomorrow and will be home Saturday.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Words of the Week

We are back; not sure how often yet, but as 2008 starts, it is time to think again. Here is this week's food for thought--my thanks to the Hungarian Reformed Church's homepage for guiding me every week!

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and
with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great
commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself. “(Matthew 22:37-39)

Duality is one of the most fundamental building stones of human existence. Someone of the world—the world itself. Life, and death. Heaven and earth, day and night, winter and summer, and so forth. And at the end of all this, there is the basic duality: God and Man. Creator and created.

God does not want to Be without Man: this is the message of the biblical passage above. The Love of God cannot exist without the love of Man. Just like Michelangelo’s painting in the Sixtine Chapel depicts: God pushes his love into this world. He pushes the existence with him into this world. He pushes Himself into this world so He does not exist outside of it, in solitude.
Let us look at this passage in its entirety now. Both commandments that Jesus quotes exist in the Old Testament—but separately, unconnected. Love God and love your neighbor. He connects the two with that half sentence: And the second is like unto it. Let’s repeat that—Jesus put these two commandments together, next to each other. It is his teaching, his thought that the love of God is similar to the love of Man.

In the teachings of the Jewish faith it is said that God and our neighbor also should be loved, but the two are never said to be alike. It is only the radical teachings of Jesus that bring the two onto the same level, so to speak. If we really think about it, it is something profoundly deep, and thus very, very difficult to understand and accept. Our own horizontal world and connections to everyone around us mirror our vertical world and connections to God. We often say: yes, our heart needs to change, I need to give myself fully to God to serve Him. And this is true. But Jesus only says about this type of love: you are close to God’s realm. You don’t fully grasp it yet, you don’t quite ‘get it’. The substance of that realm is the equity between the love of God and the love of Man. That these two directions of our life should meet. That we discover: our love of God is the mirror of our love of Man. And these two, the vertical and horizontal, should meet in their axis, in their point of origin, at the gate of God’s realm—at the cross of Jesus. Because in Him, the relationships are the same, whether towards king or servant. In Him, we have a Servant-King and a King-Servant—God made Man. The two are similar. This is the heart of the gospel.

So what does this actually mean? None other than when I love God with all of my heart, soul and mind, that is, on all levels of my existence, this is nothing else, none other than the mirror image of how I love my fellow human beings. When I say or think ’I like others, I just don’t understand why THAT one sits next to me, works at the next desk or cubicle, lives with me or next door’, then I basically say that I don’t believe the other person is just like me. But what I also say is that my love of God is just that picky. I do not love God for Himself, but because I got this and this and this from him (substitute health, wealth, children, spouse, etc.)

The same way, when we say we ‘love God but we don’t understand why he does this and this and this’ (substitute hardship, illness, loss of loved ones, wars, marital strife etc.) –it reveals that we don’t love that person next to us for him/or herself. It is frightening to think, isn’t it, that this is just like a scale: when the balance is off on one side, the other side moves too. They are mirror images of each other.

Has anyone thought about it before He came to the world; that Creation will happen again? Just like God divided His love because he did not want to be alone, thus creating Man, likewise one day He emptied Himself of Life again,--and he gave It for us. He did not want to be alone, without us, the prodigal sons. And as He came after us to bring us back to His home, the similarity between God and Man, the miracle of miracles, the meeting surpassing our finite imaginations, could happen.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Roast Goose

Because S. asked...and because it was really, really good.

Disclaimer: You might have to ask your grocery store to special order the goose for you, which should not be a problem. We got two after The Husband talked to the local Kroger's meat manager. The goose they got in is from roastgoose.com--you definitely need to take a look at their site as last resort for ordering everything goose related.

1 (10-12 lb) goose
1 large onion, whole
1 bunch of sage
1 bunch of thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tsp coarse salt, divided
2 large onions, cut into wedges
1 1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes unpeeled and cubed (small cubes)
grated rind of 2 lemons
2 cups mixed pitted olives (I used Greek Kalamata and green Spanish Manzanilla)

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Remove giblets from goose's body cavity and set aside for goose broth in a bowl.
3. Cut away excess neck skin flaps, excess fat and skin from goose cavity; place in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water and put it on low heat while everything else is cooking to render the fat and produce goose cracklings. This is important and very, very, very rewarding--goose cracklings are some of the BEST things you ever ate. Seriously. This will take a while so just keep rendering on low heat under lid, look at it from time to time--lovely goose fat will slowly fill the pan while the skin bits get smaller and crunchier.
4. Cut away the lower 2 portions of the goose's wing at the joint and add to the goose broth bowl. Put in fridge until you get to it.
5. Place onion, 1/2 bunch od sage and 1/2 bunch of thyme in cavity of goose; sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. of salt and pepper.
6. With small sharp knife, carefully pierce skin all over goose to allow fat to drain during roasting. Be careful not to pierce meat. Rub outside of goose with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Place in roasting pan; don't worry if you don't have a rack. Add enough water to just cover bottom of pan--this will prevent splattering.
7. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove fat from pan with a turkey baster. Bake additional 15-20 minutes--remove fat again.
8. Meanwhile, toss potatoes, onions, olives, remaining sage and thyme, lemon peel, remaining salt and pepper in large bowl. Add to roasting pan; shake to evenly distribute.
9. Cover pan in aluminum foil; reduce oven temperature to 350 F and bake goose 1 hour, removing excess fat with baster after 30 minutes.
10. Remove foil; bake additional 20-30 minutes of until internal temperature reaches 175-180 F.
Cover loosely and let it stand 20 minutes.

While goose is in oven, you can make goose broth: place all giblets minus liver, and wing joints in soup kettle; add some carrots, parsnips and celery, couple of whole black peppercorns, salt and some fresh parsley. Cook on low heat, basely simmering for about 1 hour.

You can also make an additional side dish. Take I jumbo bag of frozen Brussels sprouts; ladle some of that freshly rendered goose fat in a large frying pan, heat it up until sizzling, add the sprouts, shake pan vigorously until they are slightly brown, pout in 1/2 cup good white wine, grind some black pepper on top, cover and let the wine evaporate until sprout s are tender. Add more wine if needed.

Now for the livers: these are relatively small in these geese sold for their meat, but they are there. So: heat a good bit of that rendered goose fat again, add the livers, shake and brown all sides, pour 1 cup of water under, cover with lid and cook until tender. Toast some bread, chop liver, pile on toast with the cracklings (if you still have them and people did not drift into your kitchen snatching them out of the bowl you placed them to cool like it happened with mine), and serve as appetizer before the soup and the roast goose.

You could make a gravy, but honestly, the meat of this is so gloriously succulent that why bother? Just slice the breast of the goose thinly, make sure everyone gets a piece of the skin, and a piece of the legs, together with the lovely gold-brown potatoes and olives, add some of the deep green Brussels sprouts and maybe a simple tossed salad--and voila, you have a really rich Christmas dinner using one single bird. With leftovers.

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