Tuna Steak

I walked into the kitchen and beheld a slab-o-meat. It appeared somewhat like a large pork chop, without the little fat rind. And was pink-white instead of pork colored. Not pork, but Chicken-of-the-Sea, aka tuna. A large (on sale) tuna steak had followed Dad home from the market.

So, what to do with said tuna? Oil it lightly, season it lightly, and cook seemed to be the order of the day. However, the cooking instructions ranged from “we don’t own one of those” to “that might be a little excessive.” The steak was only about half an inch thick, and some of the cook book steaks were two inches thick. A compromise seemed to be in order.

Oven – 400 F.

Marinade – olive oil, garlic pepper, crushed garlic (1/4 tsp or so. Not much, in other words), two dribbles of lemon juice (enough for a little flavor, but not enough to pre-cook the tuna).

  1. Line a baking sheet with foil. This is mostly for ease of clean-up.
  2. Blend ingredients for marinade. I used about 1/3 cup oil, a few shakes of garlic pepper, a small dollop of minced fresh garlic, and a little citrus juice. Looking back, I’d skip the garlic pepper and use flavored olive oil instead, with lime as my citrus. Or skip the citrus and use some basil as the herb.
  3. Brush both sides of the meat with the marinade, then put the steak(s) on the baking sheet and let rest on the counter at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, or longer if your meat is thicker. This lets the meat warm a little, as well as flavoring. Just before I put it in the oven, I drizzled the rest of the marinade on the tuna, making sure to lift the steak and get oil under it. [Ease of clean-up and serving].
  4. Bake at 400 F for about ten minutes, or until the temperature is at least 145F on a meat thermometer. Ideally, the fish will flake easily but still be pink. Because of some family medical concerns, this tuna got cooked to medium (white all the way through). It was still flaky but a little firm. Some instructions want the tuna to be 160 F inside, which is far too over-cooked. It starts getting tough and rubbery.
  5. Serve with the vegetable of your choice.

Tuna steaks can also be broiled (3-4 minutes) or baked at 450 F (four to five minutes). If you have a fish-basket, they could also be grilled, but I’d go with a thicker piece of meat than we had if you want to try that option.


Well, WordPress has Struck Again

Apparently they decided that being able to flip back and forth between the original “classic” editor style and the new and improved block editor is too much to support, so everything has to start and stay in block editor. Among other things, it means going back to edit posts written in part with the classic editor function is nigh unto impossible without a fair amount of handwavium and irritation (on my side. I’m sure there’s a quick fix on the other side of the display).

Among other things that seem to have gone away is the Read More bar, which allowed me to post small excerpts on the screen, so that more posts could appear on the front page. I find that absence most irritating, because I don’t like having to scroll through a wall-o-text, and I suspect my readers are similar. Nor do I like having everything out in the open if people are not interested in a topic or if there is salty language or mature ideas in something.

The “new” editor was apparently designed for commercial or graphics heavy blogs where you have chunks of text and lots of images, with links to pages. That doesn’t suit my needs all that well, but right now I have to balance, time, money, and what have you.

So, I’ll adapt, and I apologize for walls-of-text and other things, until I can figure out how to work around these improvements.

“I Could Have Saved More”

I was looking through excerpts from Schindler’s List to use for class, and watched the closing scene at the factory again. It’s the scene where Schindler whispers, “I could have saved more. If I’d made more money, I could have saved more.” One of the commenters on one of the videos said, “A false hero: ‘I’ve done so much.’ A true hero: ‘I could have done more.’ “

I’m not certain I would go that far, but the story of Oskar Schindler and other people in history backs into a question that came up in one of the religion classes recently: deeds vs. words. Specifically the topic was the difficulty some theologians have had with the New Testament “Book of James” and the exhortation that “faith without works is dead.” This seems to collide with “By Grace you are saved through faith, and not through works, that none may boast . . .” Setting aside the entire point that the two authors involved were writing to different people at different times and addressing different problems, this seems to be one of those places where Scripture contradicts itself. Martin Luther in particular disagreed with the writer of James, and considered the book to be at the least inferior, if not perhaps noncanonical. Since he was fighting a popular over-emphasis on works vs. faith and spiritual discipline, his difficulty is somewhat understandable. Somewhat.

Which takes us back to Schindler. By all accounts, he was not a “nice” person. His original motives for saving so many Jews were not, perhaps, the most saintly. And yet he was a good person, who did something very good. I suspect he was not the only person over the years who has been more motivated by “Oh yeah? Who are you to tell me what to do?” rather than pure altruism and saintliness. At the end of the movie, he reproaches himself for not doing more, not saving more people but instead spending his money on worldly pleasures. Itzhak Stern assures Schindler that Schindler has done more than many, and that “generations will live because of you.”

“I could have saved more.” It is a cry, a prayer from the heart, whispered to Itzhak. How many times have people whispered that confession, or something like it. “I could have done more. I could have helped more. If only I had . . .”

Faith and works. Works. Facto non Verbum – deeds, not words. How often have all of us gotten irritated with people who make wonderful, grand-sounding pronouncements and then don’t follow through. They don’t show up to help with the neighborhood clean up. They don’t keep a campaign promise. They “forget” to bring something to help with the school bake sale. Or to help cleaning the temple or synagogue or church or mosque. Or fail to make the promised donation to the hospital auxiliary fund raiser. And then come through with more wonderful words but no deeds.

Then you have the people who are not the public paragons of virtue but who do a lot of good. And those in between, ranging from the quiet folks who just seem to know where to be when with what, and who don’t want acknowledgment, to those who manage to follow through most of the time but not always. I certainly fall in the latter category. But I’m the kind who prefers hiding in the kitchen doing dishes, or cleaning the floor after the event, to mixing and mingling and being a good hostess at fundraisers. My warped sense of humor and rather cynical view of certain things makes me somewhat awkward at cocktail parties and fundraising banquets. More than once I’ve been assured that if lightning hits my current place of worship, no one will be surprised to find a smoking pile of ash under the remains of my hat. I don’t think I was supposed to take that as a compliment. (All I did was make a very bad and somewhat irreverent pun. I wasn’t the one who suggested putting club soda in the baptismal font to see if anyone would notice.)

I wonder if Schindler’s line resonates because so many of us have been in that position. We could have done more, although not on the scale or under the circumstances Schindler found himself in. But if you inspire one person, make one weary soul laugh, encourage one person to push past that final barrier and grasp success, helped one kid believe that he really could do it and he does . . .

Scratch one Dove

So, I was wandering past the window last week, and lo and behold, someone else was getting breakfast. Apparently a hawk was hunting over bait, as they say, and got one of the large, slow, and often dim whitewing doves.

I apologize for the image quality. I just had my phone, and couldn’t brace against anything to get a better shot through the window.

Responsibility and Adulthood

I studied the item, checked it once more, and put it into its carrier, then went out the door. The item did not weigh a great deal, and yet . . . Having it with me meant that I was accepting a very serious responsibility, one that used to be a major hallmark of adulthood and even citizenship. That’s not a weight to be carried lightly. Continue reading

Flashy River!

You know you’re not from a “normal” part of the world when you glance over the side of the bridge and exclaim, “Wow! There’s water in the river.” And boy was there ever! A week ago Saturday, a line of thunderstorms dropped lots and lots of hail and rain on the headwaters of several branches of the Red River. When I crossed the river down near Esteline around noon on the next day, so much water had flowed downstream that the river filled the banks and had large waves on it. Those people passing through from out of state to the east probably wondered if someone was reenacting the Plagues of Egypt. The river really did run red, as if with blood. (Thus the name.) High, wide, muddy, and dangerous, the water raced downhill, headed for the Gulf of Mexico. Continue reading

Book Review: 1620

Wood, Peter W. 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project. (New York: Encounter Books, 2020)

The New York Times sponsored the 1619 Project to tell a previously ignored aspect of the history of the US. At least, that was the original claim. The actual project paints all of US history as a product of the importation of chattel slavery and its evils to the English colonies in 1619. Peter W. Wood, former president of the National Association of Scholars, penned this rebuttal and critique. In his view, the signing of the Mayflower Compact of 1620 is far more important start-point for the American story. Continue reading