Archive for May, 2008

Foole Meze

Posted in Recipes on May 28th, 2008

I especially like this dish served with good feta cheese and a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the seasoned olive oil.

Foole Meze
Recipe type: Appetiser
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 4 -6
Foole Meze is a Greek fava bean appetizer or starter course. In point of fact my name for the dish translates as "fava bean appetizer."
  • 3 cups frozen fava (broad) beans
  • ½ cup kalamata olives
  • 4-6 marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cook the fava beans in rapidly boiling water for 4 minutes, then rinse under cold water.
  2. Remove the leathery outer skin from the fava beans and discard.
  3. Mix together the shelled fava beans, olives, and artichoke hearts in a bowl.
  4. Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and sea salt in a small bowl.
  5. Place equal amounts of the fava bean mixture on serving plates, drizzle with the dressing, and top with the parsley and a little freshly ground black pepper.

I hope you enjoy!

The Golden Rule

Posted in Ethics & Morality, Philosophy, Religion on May 21st, 2008

The “Golden Rule” states that one should do unto others as he would like them to do unto him. This may be the best piece of evidence for a universal absolute moral code. Just about every religion in existence exhorts their followers to practice this simple ideal. A few examples are listed below:

Buddhism (500 BCE)

Hurt not others in ways you yourself would find hurtful.

— Udana-Varga, 5, 18

Christianity (50 CE)

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

— Matthew 7:12

Confucianism (600 BCE)

Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto other that you would not have them do unto you.

— Analects, 15, 23

Islam (622 CE)

No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.

— Imam An-Nawawi’s 40 Hadiths, 13

Hinduism (1500 BCE)

This is the turn of duty; do naught unto others which could cause you pain if done to you.

— Mahabharata, 5, 1517

Judaism (1800 BCE)

What is harmful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.

— Talmud, Shabbat, 312

Taoism (300 BCE)

Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.

— T’sai Shang Kan Ying P’ien

Zoroastrianism (600 BCE)

That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself.

— Didistan-i-dinik, 94, 5

If this stricture were limited to only the Abrahamic faiths – and possibly Zoroastrianism – I would write it off as nothing of note. Each of those faiths builds upon its predecessor. The Golden Rule is not so limited however. Even religions and philosophies with little or connection or exposure to the Abrahamic faiths include essentially the same stricture.

While this alone is not proof, it seems to be enough evidence to support postulating a universal absolute morality.

Fresh Corn Salad

Posted in Recipes on May 9th, 2008

This is a great spring and summer salad that can also be used as relish with summer meat and fish dishes.

Fresh Corn Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 4 -6
This salad goes very well with seafood dishes – especially shrimp, octopus and scallops – and with cold meat salads such as chicken salad, ham salad or tuna salad. As a relish it adds a nice component to fish tacos, quesadillas and – believe it or not – hot dogs.
  • 6 - 8 ears of sweet corn
  • 4 - 6 mild to medium chilies (Anaheim, red, orange or yellow bells, banana peppers, etc...)
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 small basket of grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh herbs to taste (sage, oregano, cilantro, dill, thyme, etc...)
  1. Shuck the corn and cut the kernels from the cob
  2. In a large bowl (glass, ceramic or stainless steel preferred) combine all the ingredients except the tomatoes.
  3. Allow salad to sit for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
  4. Adjust seasoning to taste
  5. Serve sprinkled with the tomatoes
Add crumbled feta cheese and sliced roasted beets Add grated sharp cheddar and diced Granny Smith green apples Add ½ cup diced jicama and substitute diced tomatillo (husk tomato) for half the grape or cherry tomatoes Substitute rice wine vinegar for cider vinegar. Add ½ cup grated daikon (Japanese giant white radish) and 2 tablespoons ponzu (Japanese citrus sauce) Dice and drain the tomatoes and fold them into the salad. Use as relish or condiment for summer dishes if you're of a mind to do so.

In a sealed container this salad will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

The God Delusion

Posted in Philosophy, Religion on May 7th, 2008

In truth we are all delusional. Our God(s) are made in the image of Man.

From Wikipedia:

The God Delusion is a 2006 book by British biologist Richard Dawkins, holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford.

In The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that belief in a god qualifies as a delusion, which he defines as a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence. He is sympathetic to Robert Pirsig‘s observation in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance that “when one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.”

Now I don’t subscribe to Dawkins’ philosophy. None of his evidence addresses the root cause of Life. It only provides a basis for a scientifically understandable methodology for the progression of life. A lack of evidence is not reason for dismissal, only flatly contradictory evidence would be so.

I will say though that all of our Gods are delusions. They are solely the constructs of Man.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I do not deny the existence of a god-head. I deny Man’s understanding of it. I believe that Man cannot – not in any meaningful way – understand the divine. We see the God(s) through the lenses of our own inadequacy.

All of our holy books and oral histories have been passed down through so many translations and edits that they no longer carry the unabridged Word. Worse, all of these strictures have been interpreted and reinterpreted in the light of Man’s understanding and conceit.

There are 6 billion of us, each with our God(s) created in our minds to help us strive towards understanding some fraction of the God(s)’ true nature and mind. I find this a delusion that is worth perpetuating. 😉

I have my faith, but I accept that I know only the most infinitesimal fraction of the nature of my Gods. I know only what they chose to reveal and that only through the lens of my own imperfect understanding.