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

Dash Cam Approval

Do you have a dash cam – a dashboard camera?  I would argue that you should.  They record video and audio footage of the road in front of you when you are driving and also anything else – such as conversations with a police office who pulls you over.  Many people have them in case of an accident or perhaps a bad encounter with an officer.  I had a bad encounter upon being pulled over in NY for talking on my phone while driving (Mass. is one of the last states that allows you to do it without a hand-held device).  I am used to Worcester and Marlborough police – very professional and courteous – and felt rather threatened during the encounter.  When I returned home I happened upon a deal for this dash cam and bought it (and then was disappointed to see I had to buy a separate memory card, but whatever).  Now I use it every time I drive.  Apparently in Russia everyone has them because there is so much crime (go to YouTube if you don’t believe me about how ubiquitous they are there).   The wiki article mentions that in some countries they are illegal.

The other day I blessed a house of a friend who is a police officer.  I had to ask him – what do he and other public safety officers think about dash cams?  He thinks they are great and they benefit both the driver and the police by recording whatever happens.  I have to admit I had a small amount of disquietude about having one  – I am very pro-police and I didn’t want it to look like I had it for that reason.  His answer reassured me.

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March 7th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Look For The Lion

I have a new “Our Faith” article up on the church’s website.  Below is the first paragraph:

If you look at the iconography and artwork in Orthodox churches you will see a veritable menagerie of animals. Those depicted include both real and imaginary creatures – peacocks, dragons, horses, two-headed eagles, and many more. Often, if you look carefully enough, there is also, amidst all of this fauna, a lion.

Read the rest of it here.

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January 25th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Religious Freedom

Today’s assignment in the blogger challenge (and make sure to check out the other participating blogs here) is Eden.  Eden, if one thinks of it as having been a real place, has traditionally been associated with Mesopotamia – the land between rivers.  Tonight we had our annual Marlborough-Hudson Interfaith Association’s Thanksgiving service.  Normally at this event I do a prayer or hymn from our Orthodox tradition but I did something a little different this time.  In light of what has been happening in Iraq and the Near East with ISIS, I thought I would talk about how we should be thankful that we are free to worship, talk about our faith, and gather with people of other faiths.  To this end I read Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which was a predecessor of the First Amendment to the Constitution.  Authorship of it, along with of the Declaration of Independence and founding the University of Virginia, were the three of his many accomplishments that Jefferson chose to put on his epitaph.  I went to UVa and so I have a natural affinity for Mr. Jefferson, as we ‘Hoos are supposed to call him.  He was also a philhellene and a supporter of the Greek revolution (although he considered the Orthodox Church to be monkish tomfoolery).  Here is the complete text of his Statute:

An Act for establishing religious Freedom.

Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free;

That all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and therefore are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord, both of body and mind yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do,

That the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time;

That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions, which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical;

That even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor, whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the Ministry those temporary rewards, which, proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind;

That our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry,

That therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right,

That it tends only to corrupt the principles of that very Religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments those who will externally profess and conform to it;

That though indeed, these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way;

That to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own;

That it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order;

And finally, that Truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them:

Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities. And though we well know that this Assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of Legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.

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November 20th, 2014 by Fr. Greg