Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ut Unum Sint

One of the things that drew me to the Catholic Church was reading and rereading Christ’s prayer in the Garden (John 17). While I was mulling over His prayer that all Christians be one and that our unity be a sign to unbelievers, Pope John Paul II promulgated his wonderful encyclical Ut Unum Sint.

This morning I listened to and read along with Benedict XVI’s Address at the Ecumenical Prayer Service at St. Joseph’s Parish (Manhatten) from two evenings ago. Wow. It is clearly pastoral, and clearly heartfelt, but he minces no words. He does not outright call our divisions a scandal to the name of Christ, but he firmly finds fault with variance from what is truly Catholic, what has been believed everywhere, everywhen. Here is the paragraph that caught my ear:

Too often those who are not Christians, as they observe the splintering of Christian communities, are understandably confused about the Gospel message itself. Fundamental Christian beliefs and practices are sometimes changed within communities by so-called "prophetic actions" that are based on a hermeneutic not always consonant with the datum of Scripture and Tradition. Communities consequently give up the attempt to act as a unified body, choosing instead to function according to the idea of "local options". Somewhere in this process the need for diachronic koinonia - communion with the Church in every age - is lost, just at the time when the world is losing its bearings and needs a persuasive common witness to the saving power of the Gospel (cf. Rom 1:18-23).
Go read the rest. And feel free to watch & listen (wmv) as well (link from this site; I'd happily post better streams).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Caramelized Onion Chutney

Two things here; first texture, then flavor.

Texture: LTLT (low temperature, long time)

I understand that the way to get really tender caramelized onions is to pile some thinly-sliced onions in a crock pot, put some butter pats on top, and let it go on low all night long. I didn't have that long, and I wasn’t preparing more than a single onion’s worth, so I used a cast-iron skillet over very low heat. I used a mandolin to do the initial slicing and then, because I was heading for a chutney, chopped the slices. Heated the skillet, melted a bit of butter, and tossed in the onion bits. Occasional stirring for about 75 minutes before the onion began to brown (the heat was that low), then another twenty minutes before the pieces were almost uniformly brown.

When I transferred the onion into a saucepan with the remaining ingredients, I again used a very low heat. It took over a half an hour for the sauce to start bubbling. It bubbled for over an hour before I had to add water (so it could keep bubbling and softening).

Low temperature. Long time.


I used the basic proportions of the red onion confit, but eyeballed it all instead of measuring (it was just one onion, after all). But the ingredients were modified to these:
  • caramelized yellow onion
  • honey
  • tawny port wine
  • white balsamic vinegar
  • raisins
I think this one’s a keeper.