New England Clam Chowder

Last week we kicked off this Lenten season’s Celebrity Chef series at the church after presanctified liturgy.  Konstantina Choros showed us how to make her delicious fasting clam chowder while also regaling us with tales from the history of chowder.  Here is the recipe:

Ingredients 2 tablespoons Olive Oil 1 medium onion, finely diced (150g) 2 celery stalks, quartered lengthwise, then sliced into 1/4-inch pieces (130g) 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 cups water or vegetable stock 3 6.5 oz cans chopped clams with juice 1 cup potatoes finely chopped for thickening agent (250 g) 2 bay leaves 1 pound potatoes, cut into 1/2- inch cubes (500 g) Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions Soup 1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté until softened, mixing often. 2. Stir in flour, distribute evenly and break any clumps. 3. Add the stock, juice from chopped clams, potatoes, and bay leaves. 4. Bring to a simmer, stirring consistently (the mixture will thicken). 5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often. 6. Add potato thickening agent and cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are nice and tender. 7. Add clams and season to taste with salt and pepper. 8. Cook until clams are just firm, another 2 minutes.

Thickening agent 1. In a small pot cook the finely chopped potatoes until they begin to fall apart. 2. Using a food processor pulverize the potatoes in to a thick paste.

Approximately 0.79 calories per gram or 23 calories per oz

 

 Go to post page

March 13th, 2017 by Fr. Greg

Pumpkin Kibbeh

Last night after presanctified liturgy we had the latest installment in our series of local celebrity chefs doing a cooking demonstration for us.  First, some background: There is a tradition of having potluck meals after these evening liturgies.  When I came to Marlborough I realized there hadn’t been a Wednesday night lenten liturgy in a while.  I didn’t want to saddle everyone with six straight potlucks, so I decided to alternate them with lenten cooking demos.  We always have fun – the chefs give freely of their time and food, everyone enjoys it and learns something, and we eat well and see a side of the chef’s personality that we may not see in everyday life.  Last night Miriam Hyder from Ed Hyder’s Mediterranean Marketplace kicked off this year’s series, and it was awesome.  Miriam made pumpkin kibbeh, a vegan variation on the traditional meat dish.  Everyone had a great time and enjoyed the food – pictures will soon be up on the church website.  A nice bonus was having Miriam’s mother Edna on board to help out.  Edna and I are both from the same hometown, so we enjoyed reminiscing.  The recipe is below.  If you wish to make it gluten or grain-free, you can substitute quinoa for the bulgur.

 

Pumpkin Kibbeh
Preheat oven to 400. Grease 9 X 13 Pyrex
1.5 cups fine bulghur
2 15oz cans pumpkin puree
1 can chicpeas
1/2 cup flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1t salt X 2
1/2 t black pepper & 1 t black pepper
1t cumin
1T Sumac
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
olive oil
4-6 cups spinach, or leafy greens
Soak bulghur in very hot water for 20 minutes. Drain in mesh colander, squeezing out extra liquid. In a mixing bowl, combine bulghur, pumpkin, flour, water, salt, 1/2t black pepper, cumin.

Heat olive oil in a pan. Saute onions for a few minutes, before adding chickpeas. Sprinkle spices (Sumac, Black pepper, Cinnamon, Salt) over this mixture. Stir, mixing spices throughout. Add spinach (or other greens.) Once wilted, add raisins and walnuts. Mix. Take off heat and pour contents into a bowl.
Use half of the pumpkin/bulghur mixture to evenly line the bottom of the pyrex. use spatula to distribute. Evenly spread “stuffing” (chickpea, onion mixture) over. Lay down third layer, using remaining pumpkin/bulghur mixture.
Use knife to cut halfway down to give kibbeh desired shaped pieces. Brush top with olive oil. Bake for 40 minutes, or until you reach desired crispness.

 Go to post page

March 31st, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Yup, He’s Orthodox

Today is St. Patrick’s Day – a huge secular feast day in America, and one that has huge religious roots.  It is seen as an Irish-based holiday, and indeed most all of the people I encountered today here in the heart of Massachusetts had green on (and I was on pinch patrol).  On Facebook today someone posted an article entitled “YES he’s Orthodox and NO he’s not Irish!”.  Well, yes on the first and, I would argue, no on the second part.  St. Patrick is indeed an Orthodox saint (and a great bridge between our faith and American culture).  He is, like many others, a western saint who lived before the great schism – a period of a thousand years shared by the west and east.  While St. Patrick was not ethnically Irish, he made the country his home and became one of the people – like coming to American, buying into the program, and becoming American.  His Eminence Metropolitan Savas has shared a great article on what food St. Patrick likely would have had at a feast.  Here is a hint – it is likely not like the local pub’s St. Paddy’s day special.

 Go to post page

March 17th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Moses And Goldschläger

This evening I had the pleasure of speaking at First Church Marlborough (who are celebrating their 350th (!) anniversary) on the topic of the theology of food.  I spent about half the talk going over uses of food in the Bible – a topic for another post – and then spoke about fasting practices in the Orthodox Church.  Today is, for us, the second day of Lent while our Western friends will have Holy Week next week – it is one of those years.  In going over food (and drink) in the Bible, I came across a point I had long forgotten.  In Exodus 32, the Israelites have fashioned an idol to worship – the Golden Calf.  Moses, in his anger over this, has the idol pulverized and makes the Israelites drink water mixed with the powder.  While I have not seen this anywhere, I figure this must be the origin of Goldschläger, a Swiss schnapps that has tiny flakes of gold in it.   The name of the liqueur – “gold-beaters” – refers to those who pound gold into thin leafs.  There is an urban myth that the gold cuts your digestive apparatuses and the alcohol goes straight into the blood stream.  I remember, though, a story from 20-odd years ago of someone who drank it regularly and ended up with a problem of too much gold in his bloodstream – internet searches have proved fruitless on this one.  In any case, if you have a friend drinking Goldschläger, you have an opportunity to talk about Biblical events.

 Go to post page

March 15th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Day 37: Vegetables

One of my favorite topics!  As you can see from the subject, this is day 37 of the exercise, so we have three more days until Christmas.  And as I write this – late December in Massachusetts – I have three crops still growing to yield in our garden – swiss chard, lettuce, and, especially, kale.  Truthfully, the first two have been pretty played out at this point, but the kale is still growing and every week or so at this point I harvest enough leaves to make a nice dish of sauteed kale greens.  Kale and chard continue to grow as you harvest the bigger leaves even into cold weather – kale actually does better in cooler weather.  Lettuce has the advantage of growing quickly – you can easily get three harvests from spring to fall or just keep planting seeds and letting things come as they may.  Once Christmas is past, though, the sad season, as I call it, sets in.  We just had the solstice, so the days are starting to get longer, but we have a long way to go until planting season.

 Go to post page

December 22nd, 2014 by Fr. Greg

Chocolate

Today we are charged in the blogging exercise with talking about chocolate – the idea is that we are close to Christmas and soon will be breaking the fast and indulging (moderately of course).  I am going to shift to candy canes, if I may.  They are ubiquitous this time of year – often attached to gifts, put in stockings, available in jars at the front desk, etc.  Well, guess what?  Most all have artificial color, which is not just something we shouldn’t be ingesting but also is like a jumpstart to little children.

So many well-meaning people give our children candy and treats.  When the kids eat them they go berserk and it affects sleep (and home school) for several days.  Please be conscientious about what you give other people’s children.  Please don’t dismiss dietary concerns of parents as “whatever”.  And seek out real candy canes – they do exist.

 Go to post page

December 20th, 2014 by Fr. Greg

Day 31: Glog, Grog or Wassail

Today Fr. Peck has us blogging about holiday drinks.  I am going to freelance a little because I think for Christmas this year I will debut our new homemade wine.  Our grapevine this year – its second full year – produced grapes.  As we did last year, my good friend Al and I foraged for wild grapes (this being New England they were concord grapes) throughout the area, and we took in a pretty decent haul which we combined with the several bunches I harvested from the house grapevine.  Al took some to make jam, and I used the rest to make wine (Prez being the chemist in the family did most of the work).  We ended up with about several gallongs worth, total, of sweet wine.  Besides the Christmas supply, the rest will be used for communion wine since it is sweet red wine.  My challenge to Orthodox readers: go beyond making prosphoro.  Make wine! 🙂

 Go to post page

December 20th, 2014 by Fr. Greg