Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Dinner Pork Roast

I had a large pork shoulder in the freezer so I used it for the crock pot this a.m.  Seasoned with sage, thyme, rosemary and nestled in a bed of garlic and onions. I had a bit of leftover pineapple juice in the fridge so what the heck...thats in there too. We'll see how it goes and what to make of it this evening. Perhaps BBQ sauce?

630 pm  Opted for pork gravy instead of BBQ. Incredibly moist and tender pork sided with roasted yukon golds and broccoli. Delicious.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Leftovers

When you cook this much food...you have a lot of leftovers. Since we are on a limited daily calorie intake, leftovers last a while. Not cooking much this week.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chicken Dinner

I cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts usually once a week for lunches and snacks during the week. This week though, all the kids were too busy for Sunday Dinner so we decided to have a big dinner tonight. I had already bought split chicken breasts. I brined them today and am roasting them with potatoes and cream. I found the recipe this weekend in Parade magazine and thought I would give it a whirl. I had everything on hand except the supds which Brenda picked up on the way home. Baking right now in the oven.

630 pm...It was OK but really I payed too much attention to the cooking times offered instead of trusting my instincts. The potatoes were cooked well but some were still crunchy and the chicken breasts were so large that a mere 35 mins was not nearly enough time. An hour would hardly suffice.  I served dinner then deboned the larger breasts and recooked them for a bit. The potatoes were odd though. Especially the sweet potatoes. They had the most undercooked ones though my lovely bride liked them that way I thought they should have had more yield.  Trust your instincts Obi Wan. The overall flavor was good. Not sure what the cream and parmesean brought to the party. I would have certainly have made a thicker, creamier sauce overall perhaps adding a bit of dijon?  Maybe next time. Live and learn.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Dinner- Ribs

Pork ribs on clearance at Walmart yesterday changed my mind from chicken to ribs. I bought the chicken previuosly so it goes to the freezer while I try to do justice to ribs, indoors, since the temp outside hovers at -2 or so. The neighbor is plowing the drive for us as "6" inches of snow dropped but it looks like 12.  Tempted to make some cinnamon rolls for them as a thank you.....I have all day.

5 p.m.  So.....the ribs have been in the oven...all day, cooking in beer and a spicy rub from Ann Burrell. I had Ben take the foil off and cook them for another hour before we got home at 4. I intended to grill them but trying to lift them from the pan proved difficult, they simply fell apart. So I went to plan "B" and slathered them carefully with Fat Boy Chipotle BBQ sauce and placed them in a hot oven while I prepared some Brussels sprouts.  We took the ribs out and paired them with a 2004 Water Wheel Shiraz. The perfect accompaniment. Delicious, falling off the bone, bone suckin' goodness. What a way to spend a Sunday at home.  Never got those darn roll made today.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Pizza Crust


Well....it was OK. Not as crisp as I like. I like to prebake my crust on a non stick pan then move them to the stone after topping. That would make it better. It was thin and chewy and one of them (on the bottom rack) was crisp. The top one was a bit doughy, like bread but still good. Had a good flavor and certainly was easy to follow. Look on the Slice blog I added and the recipe was under Cooks Illustrated trials. Here is the link to the direct recipe:

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/01/cooks-illustrateds-thin-crust-new-york-ny-pizza-recipe.html#continued

I used the leftover "gravy" from the cacciatore and buzzed with the stick blender. Pretty good, not your typical sauce. I like a lot of fennel but my family does not care for it so I leave it out. I've tried and made alot of sauces in the day. Canned sauce by Contadina is my personal favorite when I'm lazy. San Marzanos made into a homemade sauce is great if you can afford San Marzanos in Omaha.

Enjoy!
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Roasted Salmon with artichoke salsa

Tonight is a fish night in the house. Usually I would grill but being that its -12 outside...indoor roasting at a high temp.  The salsa is a great topping after cooking.

Artichoke Salsa

3/4 c Marinated artichokes, drained, fluid reserved, chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 red onion chopped
2 T capers
handful of cherry tomatoes halved
Some of the marinade oil
a bit of sugar (1/2 - 1 teaspoon)
S & P
and a splash of Red wine vinegar or lemon juice to adjust the acidity

Let it stew at room temperature while the fish is cooking.

I made a little soup tonight also:

Corn Cauliflower chowder

1 pkg frzn cauliflower
1 can of corn
1 carton of veggie broth
1 onion chopped
1 T olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
2 T flour
1 T dry mustard
1 t thyme
1t white pepper
3/4 c smoked gouda cheese
1/2 parmesean
1/4 heavy cream

Sautee the onion, add the garlic. 2 T flour cook a bit and then add the broth.
Throw in the corn with liquid, the cauliflower...cook till thickened and then buzz with the immersion blender.
Add the cheeses...adjust the seasoning (needed salt)  and add the cream last. One of the recipes had added mussels, not tonight but sounds good to me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Pizza crust recipe

In search of the perfect pizza....once again I am experimenting with dough and tonight it resides in te fridge ready for tomorrow or the day after. Just cannot seem to get that perfect crisp yet chewy crust rolled paper thin and blistered. I am working on it though and this recipe looks promising. I won't post the recipe till I test it. Since tomorrow is Wednesday, fish is on the menu. Some steelhead trout.  I lke to roast it on non stick foil with a bit of olive oil and Jane's Crazy Mixed up salt at a high temp like 400. Does not take long.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Brussels sprouts au gratin

I love these things but I am sure I will get sick of them soon since we have been making them so often. HyVee had sprouts on special so we bought 2 pounds the other day.  Get a nice white cheddar and some cream.  A little bacon is great but really....there has to be a line somewhere.






If you are using bacon, fry it crisp and crumble it then add the sprouts to the pan and give them a tumble. I like to cut mine in half first.

Cook till just tender then place in a buttered casserole dish, single layer and sprinkle with bacon. Pour in the cream till a little more than half up the sprouts. Cover with a generous amount of shredded white cheddar. Bake till bubbly and golden.

Short Ribs


Got up this a.m. to a very fragrant, very tender pot of short ribs falling off the bone.  Cool these down, skim the fat and into the fridge for tonight's dinner. Served over mashed turnips (my mashed potato alternative).

The recipe was here:

http://www.food52.com/recipes/8610_fragrant_ribs_and_a_coke

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Dinner

After church we went shopping in the Bluffs and had to deliver a piece of furniture for Nick.  We picked up some short ribs at Sam's but running around got too late to fix them so we stopped again and picked up chicken breasts and thighs for caccitore. I've been cooking non stop since we got home at 3. Caccitore is simmering and the short ribs are prepped and ready to turn on the crock pot in the a.m....Now for a bit of rest!
Chicken Cacciatore (Hunter Style Chicken)
I based the recipe loosely on Tyler Florence's below. I skip the lemon and I simply fry the chicken dredged in flour. I did not find the crust appealing from his.  I used canned roasted peppers since red peppers in Omaha this time of year is prohibitive. I also used breast and thighs for the meat. We serve this on a sinful bed of polenta made with milk and cream, thyme and parmesean. I sauteed the brussel's sprouts left over from Friday as a side.

Time: 30 min Level:
  Easy Serves:   6 servings 

Ingredients
  6 red bell peppers (One jar or can)
  Extra-virgin olive oil
  Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
   1 (3 1/2-pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  6 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
  1 onion, sliced thin
  2 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped ( I use a can of San Marzanos)
    3 anchovy fillets ( I use the tube stuff)
  1 tablespoon capers
  1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1/2 bunch fresh basil, hand-torn (1/4 bunch to flavor the base, 1/4 bunch to
  finish the dish)
  1 cup dry white wine
Directions
Start by preparing the peppers because they will take the longest. Preheat the
broiler. Pull out the cores of the red peppers; then halve them lengthwise and
remove the ribs and seeds. Toss the peppers with a little olive oil, salt, and
pepper. Place them on a cookie sheet, skin side up, and broil for 10 minutes,
until really charred and blistered. Put the peppers into a bowl, cover with
plastic wrap, and steam for about 10 minutes to loosen the skins. Peel the
peppers and roughly chop into chunks; set aside.
Season the flour with the garlic powder and a fair amount of
salt and pepper. Coat the chicken pieces.

Place a Dutch oven over
medium heat and pour in about 1/4-inch of oil. Pan-fry the chicken in batches,
skin side down, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Turn the chicken over and brown
the other side about 10 minutes longer. Remove the chicken to a side plate, pour
out the oil, and clean out the pot.
Put the pot back on the stove and coat with 1/4 cup of oil. Add the garlic,
onion, tomatoes, anchovies, capers, red pepper flakes, half the
roasted red peppers, and half the basil. Season with salt and pepper. This part
of the recipe is going to be your base. What we are looking for is a fragrant
vegetable pulp, so simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until everything
breaks down.
Add the remaining roasted peppers and the remaining basil. Tuck the chicken into
the stewed peppers and pour in the wine. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and
simmer for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just finished the "Nymphios" icon. In the Orthodox church,  this is used during the Bridegroom Services during the first few days of Holy Week. In our parish, the icon is front and center surrounded by a floral frame. This icon is 16 x 20 inches in acrylic with 23 k gold halo.
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

Weirdly, we love brussels sprouts. Okay, they can be a bit bitter especially when steamed and attended to improperly. Lately,  I have discovered that a saute of halved sprouts in a bit of oilive oil and garlic makes a deliciuos preparation as well as an au gratin recipe I lifted from Food Network ( I had a small container left in the fridge after dinner the other day and it disappeared...huh). 

But this looks way interesting so this may be on the menu in the very near future. 

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Red Onion, Lemon and Pecorino
Serves 6
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp whole grain mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups Brussels sprouts (use larger sprouts if possible)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino romano

1. Soak the onion slices in a small bowl of cold water for 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Set aside.

3. Trim all of the Brussels sprouts, cutting off any bruised outer leaves and slicing off a good portion of the hard root end. Using a mandoline, shave the sprouts one at a time. When you're done, use your fingers to gently separate the leaves so that the shredded sprouts resemble a very fine slaw.

4. Put the sprouts in a serving bowl and toss gently with the onions (which you've now drained) and the dressing. Fold in the pecorino, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately, before it starts to wilt!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chicken Milanese

Basically chicken cutlets that are breaded lightly and fried. I ususally pile salad on top with a vinagrette.



Skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half and butterflied open. Pound them flat about 1/4 inch thick. I usually cut the breasts in half here to make them easier to handle and better portion size.
Flour, salt and pepper
eggs, beaten
Panko

Dust with flour, dip in egg and coat with panko (japanese bread crumbs). I generally fry them in 1/4 inch or less of oil, turning when golden and drain on paper towels.

Chopped fresh  romaine lettuce

Red wine vinegar
pinch of sugar
garlic salt
pepper
Olive oil

I have no measurments for the vinegarette. I usually mix it over the greens. Always put the vinegar first less the oil prevents it from getting to the letttuce.

And yes.....we still lost weight eating this!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beef Bourguignon

 

Today is a snowy day in the Big "O" so it's time for a bit of French Country cooking ala Ina Garten. Follw her recipe to the letter and experience beef stew nirvana.

Beef Bourguignon

Copyright Ina Garten, All rights reserved

Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 min
Serves:  6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 1 can (2 cups) beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound frozen whole onions
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

For serving:

  • Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional

Directions

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley

Fasting

By Elder Daniel Katounakiotis

Without fasting will neither pure prayer be attained nor chaste virginity achieved, nor will the Christian not subjugating his body through the suitable means of fasting be able to bear the cross of our Savior Jesus and follow Him.

He, our Savior Jesus, fasted forty days and nights as an example for us. And when? After His baptism. This shows us that all baptized Christians are obliged to fast according to their strength.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Theophany



I painted this icon years ago for the cover of Fr. Apostolos Hill's recording. Unfortunately it was not used and remains in my possession.

Baptism of Christ

This observance commemorates Christ's baptism by John the Forerunner in the River Jordan, and the beginning of Christ's earthly ministry. The Feast of Theophany is the culmination of the Christmas Season, which starts on December 25 and ends on January 6. In mystic commemoration of this event, the Great Blessing of Water is performed on this day, and the holy water so blessed is used by the local priest to bless the homes of the faithful.
The feast is called Theophany because at the baptism of Christ the Holy Trinity appeared clearly to mankind for the first time -- the Father's voice is heard from Heaven, the Son of God is incarnate and standing physically in the Jordan, and the Holy Spirit descends on Him in the form of a dove.

Family NameDay today



Today is the Synaxis of St. John the Baptist and is the Denich Family Slava Day. Nothing planned, just thought I should mention it. This is not my icon of course.

Current Project

From Orthodox Wiki:

Currently I am working on Christ the Bridegroom (Nymphios) icon. Not sure why but I generally just paint to what speaks to me and I liked the prototype on this icon so I began the drawing and painting. Going well. Faster that the last few for some reason. Not much to paint really. The icon is generally displayed in church the first few days of Holy Week.  The weekday services contain my favorite hymn of the season. I loved singing that hymn when I was chanting.

From Orthodox Wiki:

Christ the Bridegroom is the central figure in the parable of the ten Virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13); Christ is the divine Bridegroom of the Church as described in the Book of Isaiah (chapter 54), as well as the primary image of Bridegroom Matins. The title is suggestive of his divine presence and watchfulness ("Behold the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night...") during Holy Week and his selfless love for his Bride, the Church.
The Bridegroom is also the name given to the central icon used in Bridegroom Matins. The Bridegroom icon and service is also commonly known in the Greek tradition as O Nymphios.

Bridegroom Matins

Bridegroom Matins is a service specific to the first four evenings of Holy Week (though it is often omitted on Holy Wednesday in favor of the service of Holy Unction) and commemorates the last days in the earthly life of the Lord. Incorporated into these services is the theme of the first three days of Holy Week; which is the last teachings of Christ to his disciples. As such, these services incorporate readings and hymns inspiring this theme. The mood of the services is to experience sorrow and to feel Christ's voluntary submission to His passions and highlight the purpose behind the evil that is about to take place against the Lord. The atmosphere is one of mourning (for sins) and is symbolic of the shame the Christian should feel for the Fall of Adam and Eve, the depths of hell, the lost Paradise and the absence of God. The vestments of the Priest and the altar clothes are black or deep purple to symbolise and enhance the atmosphere of mourning and remembrance of sins. The main emphasis of the Bridegroom Service is metanoia and each service has its own particular theme on repentance and watchfulness. One of its primary features is its troparion:
Behold, the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night, and blessed is the servant He shall find vigilant; but unworthy is he whom he shall find neglectful. Beware therefore, O my soul, lest you be weighed down by sleep, lest you be given over to death and be closed out from the kingdom; but rise up crying out: "Holy! Holy! Holy are You our God; through the intercessions of the Theotokos, have mercy on us."

Palm Sunday evening

During the first service on Palm Sunday evening, the priest carries the icon of Christ the Bridegroom into the church. The Bridegroom troparion is sung during this procession, and the icon is brought to the front of the church and remains there until Holy Thursday. The icon depicts Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church, bearing the marks of his suffering, yet preparing the way for a marriage feast in his Kingdom. He is dressed in the icon according to the mockery of the Roman guards just prior to his crucifixion.
  • The crowns - a symbol of his marriage to the Church.
  • The rope - a symbol of bondage to sin, death and corruption which was loosed with Christ's death on the Cross.
  • The reed - a symbol of his humility; God rules his kingdom with humility.
Sunday evening also includes this kontakion:
Jacob lamented the loss of Joseph, but that noble one was seated in a chariot and honored as a king; for by not being enslaved then to the pleasures of the Egyptian woman, he was glorified by Him that beholdeth the hearts of men and bestoweth an incorruptible crown.

Holy Monday evening

On Holy Monday, the Blessed Joseph, the son of Jacob the Patriarch, is commemorated because he is seen as a prototype of Christ.
Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit and sold into slavery by them. In the same way, the Lord was rejected, betrayed by his own, and sold into the slavery of death and like Joseph forgave and spared his brothers during the famine when they came to him, so too, Jesus Christ offers himself as a sacrifice and forgives all those who come to him in faith.
The Gospel reading for the day is of the Barren Fig Tree, which Christ cursed and withered because it bore no fruit. The fig tree is representative of those who have heard God's word, but who fail to bear the fruits of faith. Originally the withering of the fig tree was a testimony against those Jews who rejected God's word and his Messiah. It is also a warning to all people, in all times, of the importance of not only hearing the God's word, but putting it into action.
Monday evening also includes this kontakion:
Being mindful of the hour of the end, O my soul, and fearing because of the cutting down of the fig tree, labor diligently with the talent that was given thee, O hapless one, and be watchful and cry: Let us not remain outside the bridal chamber of Christ.

Holy Tuesday evening

On Holy Tuesday, the Parable of the Ten Virgins is read. It tells the story of the five virgins who filled their lamps in preparation for receiving the bridegroom while the other five allowed their lamps to go out and hence were shut out of the marriage feast. This parable is a warning that Christians must always be prepared to receive the Lord when he comes again. The theme of the day is reinforced by the exaposteilarion hymn:
I see Thy Bridal Chamber adorned, O my Savior, but have no wedding garment that I may enter. O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul, and save me.
Holy Tuesday's Bridegroom Matins also includes commemoration of Kassiani (September 7), also known by the names of Kasia, Kasiani or Ikessia, was a great hymnographer from the 9th century. According to the Synaxaristi not many details of her life have been recorded but she has remained in ecclesiastical history for her great hymns. His Eminence Metropolitan Sophronios Eustratiadis of Leontopoleos [1] writes that Kassiani was "an orphaned girl from the Byzantine era, beautiful and wise, a saintly ascetic and respectful virgin". [2] Kassiani is also linked to the Emperor Theophilos (9th century) and his search for a bride. Theophilos was angered with a reply by Kassiani to a question of his, and he impulsively chose St. Theodora, who was standing next to Kassiani, to be his elected bride. Kassiani also played a great role in the restoration of the Holy Icons.
Heartbroken by Theophilos, one of those poems was the beautiful hymn of Kassiani, which in the Byzantine tradition is such a major feature that the service held on Holy Tuesday evening is often referred to simply as the Hymn of Kassiani. Theophilos searched for Kassiani and found her at a convent and the two never saw each other again. Her repentance and love for Christ is the theme of the wonderful Hymn of Kassiani which is chanted on this night, reminding all that they may be forgiven if they repent.
The text of the hymn, based on the account of the sinful woman who is introduced by the Evangelist St Luke in his Gospel (7:36-50). Kassiani contrasts the repentance of the sinful woman with Eve's fall (Gen. 3:8-11):
The woman who had fallen into many sins, perceiving Your divinity, O Lord, received the dignity of a myrrh-bearer, for with lamentation she brought fragrant myrrh to You before Your burial. And she cried: Woe is me, for love of sin and stings of lustful passion envelop me as the night, dark and moonless. As You cause the clouds to drop down the waters of the sea, accept the fountain of my tears. As by Your indescribable condescension You bowed down the heavens, so incline to the groaning of my heart. I shall kiss Your most pure feet and wipe them with the hair of my head, those same feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise when she hid herself in fear. Who can count the multitude of my sins? Who can measure the depths of Your judgments, O Saviour of my soul? Do not turn away from me, Your servant, for You have immeasurable mercy.
Tuesday evening also includes this kontakion:
I have transgressed far more than the harlot, O Good One, yet have never brought you showers of tears; but entreating in silence, I fall before you, as I kiss your immaculate feet with love, that as Master you may grant me forgiveness of offences, as I cry out, O Saviour: deliver me from the filth of my works.
header-GOOD-ALMIGHTY-DOLLAR-R3

Wealth by Faith

http://www.good.is/post/transparency-america-s-wealthiest-religions

If the Orthodox are so wealthy, why do we struggle and remain so small?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dinner

Tonight I made pizza thinking Brenda's folks would be staying over. They left before dinner but the pizza was great. I made one with leftover roasted red potatoes and chicken sausages and the other was hamburger and mushrooms.

St. Spryidon

Name Day Dec 12th. We had visited St. Spyridon's tomb in Corfu in a few years back. One of  the shop keepers gave me some packets of his relics so I finally painted him and inserted the relics into the icon (not shown here). I have been experimenting with colors in the flesh, making things somewhat pinker and using burnt sienna for the darker tones. Not sure if I will stick to this. Taking my time these days and icons are taking weeks to paint. Despite the flaws in the gold on this one, trying to re do things I don't like before the final varnish is applied.

The relics consisted of tiny pieces of his velvet slippers that are changed out once a year from his feet. I found a reliquary on line specifically for icons. Its a small gold box with a crystal lid. You insert the relics then drill a spot in the icon and glue the reliquary in place permanently.

New Icon

Just finished St. Patrick in time for Christmas from a local commission. Nearly ran out of time but the icon came out OK. working with a new halo technique and finding keeping the icon level from the start is utmost to success. The varnish tends to run whilst self leveling and makes for some unfortunate messes. This one went really well.

Basic Bread

Firstly, I have pizza stones ever present in my oven on each rack. I use these for all my pizza as they give a good crisp bottom to the pizza. I usually make 3 pizzas at a time but here is the recipe for just one crust.


1 cup warm water ( I generally make 3 cup batches and increase everything except the yeast)
2 t yeast
1 t sugar
1 t salt
1 T olive oil
1 c whole wheat flour
up to 3 c Bread flour

I use the Kitchen Aid and mix till it pulls away from the side of the bowl. Adding bread flour as needed to make a dough.

Remove from bowl, oil the bowl then place the dough in, let rise till double covered. For pizza, I pat it out to the edge of a 18 inch non stick pan, dock it (I use a docker that you run over the dough to place small holes to keep it flat) then bake it at 350 till just getting some color. Remove it, turn the oven to 400, top the dough then place the pizza directly on the stones till brown and bubbly.

Dining In- Lobster Bisque

So... I have left over lobster tail, King crab legs and snow crab, picked over and chopped. Walmart had Lobster claws for $10 for a pound so I bought those also.

Cleaned the meat out of the claws and roasted the shells. I used the 5 quart chef's pan to make this.


Lobster Bisque

2 Carrots, 1 med onions and 3 stalks celery chopped
4 oz sliced Mushrooms
3 T butter and saute
Pour in 1 carton of veggie broth (you'll need 2)
1 t cayenne pepper
1 T Old bay seasoning
Roasted Lobster shells
1 t tarragon
2 T tomato paste

Simmer away for 30 mins

Taste for salt add if needed

Remove lobster shells then buzz with hand blender added 1/4 c brandy at this point.

Need to be thicker? Thicken with buerre manie (butter and flour mixed, about 2 T butter and 4 T flour)

Next I added
1 cup cream
Chopped lobster meat/ crab meat

Heat, add meat and cream but don't boil.

Got too thick so I had to open a second carton of veggie broth to thin it out a bit. Served 6-8

We had it with foccacia with rosemary and roasted garlic.

Use the basic bread recipe. After the first rise, pat out on a non stick pizza pan and let rise again. After the second rise, press your fingers all over the dough to make impressions. Drizzle with a good glug of olive oil, sprinkle with chopped rosemary and garlic slivers. Top with a sprinkling of Parmesan, salt and pepper. Bake till golden. I started on the pans but removed them with a peel directly to the pizza stones for the last 10 mins or so. Cut into squares.

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