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


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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.

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March 31st, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Long Day/Yup, He’s Orthodox Part II

Today has been a long day – we had service in the morning with the traditional procession of icons for the Sunday of Orthodoxy – check out photos here – as well as our March 25 Greek School program during coffee hour.  This evening I joined all of the local Orthodox priests for a vespers service.  Among all of this, today was the feast of St. Cuthbert the Wonderworker – read his story here.

Cuthbert – the “bert” part of his name is cognate with “bright” – is, let’s just say, not a common Orthodox name, although it is well represented as an English last name – think of the popular Canadian actress Elisha Cuthbert.  The saint’s commemoration today, though, reminds us that there are tons of saints that we don’t think of as part of our Orthodox tradition because they aren’t from the eastern Mediterranean or Russia.  There is much value in exploring the lives of saints such as Patrick, Brigid, Kenneth, and Cuthbert.

Onto tomorrow!  We will be having Bible Boot Camp at 19:00 hours.  Dismissed!

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March 20th, 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.

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March 15th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Lent Begins/Readings

Today is Clean Monday – the beginning of Lent!  One of the cool features of Orthodox Lent is that the weekday daily readings change from a Gospel selection and a reading from the NT letters or Acts to readings from the three parts of the Old Testament – the Torah, the prophets, and the wisdom literature.  If you have a smartphone or a tablet, you need to check out the Daily Readings app from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese – find it here.  I have very few apps on my phone – the usual social media ones, some Indian music apps, a few scripture ones so I can read the Bible in the different languages, and this one.  It has the saints of the day, with bios, the readings, prayers for the appropriate time of the day, and more.  You can read the readings in three languages – English, Greek, or Arabic.  Don’t get the free app – pay the 99 cents for the regular version.  This one allows you to look up name days, find out when Easter is any year into eternity, and many more things.  Take the time to get this app – it is worth it.  And, for Lent, read the daily readings – it won’t take long at all.

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March 14th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

His Eminence On Friday’s Happenings


As we wait and watch minute by minute to the ever changing circumstances of this developing crisis on the streets and neighborhoods of our cities, we pray to Almighty God for a peaceful and safe conclusion of this nightmare.  Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been personally traumatized by the events of the past several hours and days.  We pray for the healing of those injured and the eternal repose of those who have tragically lost their lives.  For all those who have witnessed with their eyes these tragedies, may the Lord bless, health, protect and strengthen you and your families.

During these days of prayer and fasting of the Great Lent, let us recommit ourselves to living a life of love through the Gospel, and spread the Light of Christ to all we come into contact with in order to dispel this darkness of evil.   Our Metropolis website is being updated with resources for parents to begin talking to our children about this crisis.  May the Lord keep you, your families and our children safe in His loving embrace.

With Archpastoral love,

Metropolitan Methodios

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April 19th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Of Potlucks And Cooking Demos

Yet another food post!  Lenten fasting is designed partly to get our focus off of food and this is my second food-themed post in a row.  Oh well…

Many areas where there are several Orthodox churches have the practice of rotating Presanctified Liturgy among them and having a potluck dinner afterwards, which is a nice way to incorporate post-liturgy fellowship and balance out the penitential aspect of the service with some social interaction.  The Worcester churches do this, with the people from the host parish naturally providing most of the food.  In Marlborough we host all of the services, and I didn’t want to saddle our people with a potluck each week, so I decided this year to try alternating potluck dinners with a cooking demonstration by a local celebrity chef every Wednesday. So last week we had a nice modest potluck, and this past Wednesday we had our first celebrity chef.  Evangelia “Lika” Velentzas, a dear friend and proprietor of Auburn Town Pizza, attended service and afterwards gave us a well-received cooking lesson in the kitchen of our Hellenic Hall.  Lika had astoundingly delicious fasolada – white bean soup – for us to eat while she showed us how to make a Lenten Israeli couscous salad.  We then ate the salad and finished with dessert provided by Amalia.

This was a new experience for all of us.  Lika asked me how many people to expect and I optimistically said twenty to thirty, and wouldn’t you know we had twenty-eight people!  We all fit reasonably well in the rearranged kitchen and enjoyed the food as well as Lika’s well-delivered lesson.  My personal favorite part was when she added paprika and mentioned that the key is to use smoked paprika – there was an audible “hmmmm” from the audience when she said this and I had to laugh.  Lika then distributed copies of the recipe but maintained that the fasolada was a family secret (although she did share it privately with anyone who asked).  It was a great night.  A couple of pictures are below, and more are on the website.  Many, many thanks to Lika for donating her time, talent and treasure to make this such a memorable event!




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March 29th, 2013 by Fr. Greg