Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rings on the right.............

Why in the Orthodox tradition do we wear the wedding ring on the right hand?

Why in the Orthodox tradition do we wear the wedding ring on the right hand? (Feb. ’02)
It has always been the tradition of the Church to place the wedding ring on the right hand of the couple based on biblical references. This is seen very clearly in one of the prayers in the Betrothal Service, but we don’t hear it in the Antiochian Archdiocese because of the abbreviated service that we use. A portion of the prayer refers to the biblical references: “For You, O Lord, have declared that a pledge is to be given and held inviolate in all things. By a ring Joseph was given might in Egypt; by a ring Daniel was exalted in Babylon; by a ring our heavenly Father showed compassion upon His prodigal son, for He said, ‘Put a ring upon his right hand, kill the fatted calf, and let us eat and rejoice.’ Your own right hand, O Lord, armed Moses in the Red Sea. By word of Your truth were the Heavens established and the earth set upon her sure foundations; and the right hands of Your servants shall be blessed by Your mighty word, and by Your uplifted arm.” As we see, it was scripturally the practice to wear rings on the right hand, the hand of authority and power completing the pledge of commitment. The power and authority comes from the right hand of God.
The practice of wearing rings on the left hand is rooted in superstition that says that there is a vein that goes from the left hand directly to the heart. This medieval superstition, like many others, was brought to America from Western Europe no doubt. Unfortunately, too many people today just follow what the majority in society do without truly understanding its meaning. Hopefully, with education and faith we will maintain the richness and meaningfulness of the Orthodox faith.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I'm gettin married in the morning..........

Today we had our marriage blessed in the Greek tradition. Lovely ceremony and great company. Last minute koumbaro change due to the flooding up north. We are now "officially" Greek (-ish). Thanks to Dora and Paul Bitsos for stepping up for us.
Binding the hands

Placing the crowns

Just like the first time

Friday, May 27, 2011

Making Sauce and Rub

 I came home from work after I picked up feather bones at the market. The kitchen was surprisingly clean after the final wall sanding.

I started making some of my favorite rub and the sauce for the ribs on Monday. This sauce is great because it is made with stuff you probably have in the pantry already.

Barbecue Sauce from Cook's Illustrated

1 medium onion peeled and quartered
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 T cider vinegar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
5 T molasses
1 t Tabasco
1/4 t black pepper
1 1/2 T liquid smoke
2 T oil
1 t minced garlic
1 t chili powder
1/4 t cayenne

Puree the onion with 1/4 c. water. Strain the juice into the sauce pan and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes.   Like it hot? I add a few pureed chilis in adobo but take care. It can get atomic if you add too much!

Barbecue Rub

2 1/2 T brown sugar
2T paprika
2T dry mustard
2 t garlic powder
2 t onion powder
1 1/2 t basil
1 t ground bay leaf
3/4 t coriander, savory, thyme, black pepper, white pepper
1/8 t cumin
1/4 c salt

Mix and store in a air tight jar.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Pizza Night

A bit of shopping for grocery sales and then home to make pizza from the crust I baked last night. It had been in the fridge and kept rising so I made into crusts to put toppings on tonight. Hamburger, mushrooms and crispy,  rustic goodness. The kitchen is still a mess and maybe 2 weeks out but it's coming along.

Below some of the harvest from the Farmer's Market and a trip to Trader Joe's. Fennel, sweet peppers, portabellas, brussel sprouts and swiss chard.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Corn Cakes and tomato salsa

Odd but tasy little meatless meal. We served it up with a bit of sour cream and guacamole since I had no fresh avocados. Kinda yummy. I would eat this again.

Summer Corn Cakes

Summer Corn Cakes with Chopped Tomato and Avocado Salsa

Adapted from “Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen”
Makes about 12 large cakes; serves 6 to 8
  • 3 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (If you can only find cornmeal mix, skip the baking powder.)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Chopped Tomato and Avocado Salsa (recipe follows)
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a brown paper bag.
2. Cut the corn from the cobs into a large bowl, and scrape the stripped cobs with the back of the knife (or a spoon) to release the juices into the bowl.
3. Place 2 cups of the corn kernels into a food processor, and pulse several times, until the corn is slightly pureed but still chunky. Scrape into the bowl with the remaining corn kernels.
4. Add flour, cornmeal, onion, basil, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper to the corn. Stir to mix.
5. Add the eggs, buttermilk and butter, and stir just to combine. (Do not overmix.)
6. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add just enough canola oil to barely cover the bottom, and heat until sizzling hot.
7. One heaping tablespoon at a time, scoop the batter into the skillet. Cooking in batches of 4 to 5 to avoid overcrowding, fry the cakes 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden brown.
8. Drain on the lined baking sheet, and place in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining corn cakes. Serve warm topped with a heap of Chopped Tomato and Avocado Salsa.

Chopped Tomato and Avocado Salsa

Makes about 2 cups
  • 1 large tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1 scallion, trimmed and minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1. Place all of the ingredients (except the avocado) in a bowl, and stir to mix. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve, for up to 2 days.
2. Just before serving, add the avocado, and mix gently.

This was posted by http://www.ezrapoundcake.com/

Memorial Day pre planning

Well....if you haven't heard it's our 30th anniversary on Monday. I am already thinking of great things to grill for the weekend. We are all set for the festivities on Saturday with reservations at M's Pub for dinner and Sunday we are having a marriage blessing with family at the church. But Monday? What to do? Thank the Lord the grocery ads came out today filled with Memorial Day goodies. Ribs an feather bones are on sale so they take center stage. Looking for new ways to cook them but baby backs get rubbed and grilled directly. I like 'em a bit chewy. The feather bones will get grilled then soaked in sauce for a few hours. Perhaps a lamb breast for a treat? 

Veggies will be whatever the Farmer's Market has to offer this weekend. Too soon for corn and we can't eat that much on our low carb diet anyway. Fresh mozzarella and tomatoes is always good and perhaps a red potato salad.  Sounds like a plan to me. Gotta get started on that rub now......

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Pre Summer's Evening

Tonight was just so nice so we went to happy hour at Ryan's Bistro. Pretty  much the same as last year. A few favoritie items missing from the menu and what was there was not up to par. Not sure what the issue was. An off night perhaps?

The service is great as always but I am hoping things haven't changed.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Kabobs redux...

They were just so tasty and every time I look at the photo I posted it makes me hungry so I am making kabobs again. This time, besides the pork I have some beef also. They have all been happily marinating overnight. A different flavor for each.

Found some baby sweet peppers and we have chard, bok choy and sprouts on hand. Now to make Ann Burrell's Spring onion with Fennel and Swiss chard for a side. The sprouts and bok choy will have an Asian appeal with a spritz of sesame oil in the saute.

Braised Spring Onions, Fennel and Swiss Chard

Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell

Prep Time:
10 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
15 min
4 servings


  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 small spring onions, julienned
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 1 bunch white Swiss chard, stems cut into 1/2-inch lengths, leaves cut into 1-inch lengths, leaves and stems reserved separately
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Meyer lemon, zested on a microplane and juiced, zest and juice reserved separately


Coat a large saute pan with olive oil. Toss in the smashed garlic and crushed red pepper and bring the pan to a medium heat. When the garlic becomes golden brown and very aromatic, remove it from the pan and discard it. It has fulfilled its garlic destiny. Add the onions, fennel and Swiss chard stems, stir to coat with the oil and season with salt, to taste. Stir in the white wine and the lemon zest and juice. Cover and cook over medium heat until the veggies have become soft and wilted but still maintain some texture, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until most of the liquid has reduced, another 3 to 4 minutes. Toss in the Swiss chard leaves, stir to combine and season with salt, to taste. When the leaves have wilted but still look vibrantly green, taste for seasoning. Reseason if needed (it probably will). Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
It's spring greens!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Steak Sandwiches and The Adjustment Bureau

Ben and I went to the movies again tonight to see the Adjustment Bureau. Afterwards we stopped at No Frills and picked up a beef roast to slice into cheesesteaks and a jar of ........cheese whiz. (I had mine on a low carb pita)  I'm from Philly...don't judge. Thin slices of steak with carmelized onions and soft rolls.

The movie kinda surprised me by being just a bit religious-y but not specific to Christians or any faith but definitely faithful.Odd sort of love story and not what either of us expected. Nice film though.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fish Tacos

Tonight is our meatless night and we have some company...Brenda's folks. So I made these tacos from one of my links. The first time we made them they were just so good..had to have 'em again.

Recipe and pic from bakedbree.com

1 bunch cilantro
juice from 5 limes
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2 Tablespoons for cooking
1 small white onion
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 pounds halibut  I used mahi and tilapia
1/2 cup white wine
to serve:
corn tortillas
crema or sour cream
cotija cheese (I used Monterey Jack)

Process the first ingredients in the food chopper. Set aside.

Cut the fish up to cubes and sautee in olive oil till golden. Pour in the 1/2 cup of wine and let evaporate then add the sauce till heat thru. I heated the tortillas in a hot skillet till they bubbled and got a bit brown then piled on the toppings....so good.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Grilled Kabobs with banana peppers and onions, roasted cauliflower

Mmmmmm....nice large chunks of lean tender pork marinated in teriyaki then skewered with onions and whole banana peppers. Roasted cauliflower doused in a bit of olive oil. Delightful dinner. Yum. Great evening to fire up the grill.

Steak and mushroom pizza

One of my personal favorites but the family....not so much.

Leftover rare steak on a bed of steak sauce, mozzarella, halved cherry tomatoes and mushrooms sprinkled with blue cheese. Yum...my favorite speciality pizza.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Getting ready for some major kitchen improvement. First, remove those pesky cupboards.

Sunday Dinner

Grilled flat iron steaks with a green salad and stuffed artichokes (from Alex's Day Off)


  • Cold water, as needed
  • 3 to 4 lemons, juiced, divided
  • 6 medium artichokes, stems trimmed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 bunch curly parsley, stemmed, washed, dried and chopped
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium bulb fennel, tough outer layer removed, halved lengthwise, cut into thin slices and very roughly chopped
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup fontina cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt
Prepare a bowl of cold water large enough to hold the 6 artichoke hearts. Add the juice of 2 lemons to the water. Use a paring knife to trim the dark green skin from the stem and the base of each artichoke. Also slice about 2 to 3 inches off the top. In a circular motion, using a paring knife or peeler or your hands, peel the outer, dark green bitter layer of the heart until the fleshly, light green part is exposed. Trim and leave about 2 to 3 inches of the stem. (Chef's Note: Since the stem is edible, why cut it off? Plus, the stem makes for a more beautiful presentation.) Use a tablespoon to scoop out the "hay" or "choke" from the center of each artichoke. Squeeze some of the remaining lemon juice over the artichoke, if desired, rubbing the lemon directly on them to prevent them from discoloring, then submerge them in the lemon water.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, the bread crumbs, parsley and fennel with the fontina and Parmesan. Stir to blend. Season with salt, to taste. Remove the artichokes from the water, pat dry and transfer them to a bowl. Reseason with salt and drizzle them with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stuff each artichoke with the bread crumb mixture and arrange them in a baking dish. Don't be afraid to pack the stuffing into each artichoke. Arrange them close together in the dish so they steam a little and create moisture as they cook. Top the artichokes with any remaining stuffing. Add a little water to the bottom of the baking dish to prevent the artichokes from drying out or scorching on the bottom as they cook. Cover the dish with a tight layer of aluminum foil and put the baking dish in the center of the oven.
After 45 minutes, remove the dish from the oven. Test the most tender part of the artichoke, where the stem and the heart meet, with the tip of a knife. The knife should pierce and remove without resistance. Remove the foil and put the dish under a broiler for 5 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Cut each artichoke in half to reveal the stuffing, arrange on serving plates and serve.

Had a great day around Omaha. Stopped at Mennards for plants and hit the Ace Hardware in Elkhorn while we were in the neighborhood. Bopped down to the Farmer's Market in Aksarben Village and dropped a buck or two at Wholner's Market then headed across the street to Jimmy D's for a graduation party. Hit Trader Joe's on the way home.  Started planting all the purchased posies and do a little general yard clean up. Now I am exhausted but I still have to cook some dinner!

BTW...I highly reccomend the artichokes....tasty and deicious. Tender delights and all gone between the 3 of us. Gotta buy more artichokes I guess.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


We pulled down the cupboards above the island this morning with my good friend, Doug's, help.

Wow! The whole kitchen opened up and it looks great except we have junk everywhere until the cabinet arrives to store it all back.  It took a bit of muscle to get that bad boy down and it quite heavy. It will now adorn the garage wall and store all sorts of junk I should get rid of.

The contractor arrives Monday to start the wall demolition and reroute the cold air return. Ben and I moved the Internet cable to the bookcase and that went well.  We could not budge the built in desk from the wall not sure why. I will let the contractor handle that now.

Friday, May 13, 2011


It's been a week of nothing special. Since class ended Tuesday and work started in earnest on Wednesday there really wasn't much to cook for. We pan grilled some albacore tonight for tuna salad which was delish with those soft tasty pitas I like so much. Ben is working and the kitchen construction starts on Monday at 8 sharp. So long weird wall left over from the 80's and the low brow cupboard hanging over the island. Gotta clean out all that space, remove the cupboard and genrally rearrange for the week it will take to repair the damage.

Hopefully the new cabinetry will arrive then we can begin to paint the exisiting cabinets. We expect that to take a month or so since we are doing it ourselves. The new oven is here and ready to be installed but the cabinet maker has to adjust the rough opening to let it fit in.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sunday Dinner and the end of class

Mother's Day was a great day to fire up the grill. The kids were here and we had some great N.Y. Strips and grilled shrimps. Fantastic. Unfortunately Brenda was home alone most of the day and had to go to church alone as I was still at the Joslyn Art Museum, painting. On Monday the museum was closed but we still had class. So odd being in the museum alone with just a few maiuntenance people around. Class finally concluded today but most of the students were not finished with their icons.

Getting there


Friday, May 6, 2011

St. Olga and Friday night dinner

So...the icon class. It started Thursday and we have all been busy little painters since. The Prosopon Master is in town in conjunction with the Glory of the Ukraine show at the Joslyn. The museum gives us quite a bit of freedom to move about and we come in the employee entrance daily. Very cool. Below is the progress of the icon of St. Olga. A prototype first for the school. After I came home today we had some pan sauteed Mahi in a white wine reduction with assorted squash and portabellas.
The drawing..redid her face and hand from the original

The etched drawing after transfer to the board

The gilding after clay bole dried and polished

I was bored so I gilded the church dome also

The base coats of paint. Rough egg tempera mixture that texturizes the surface

Still filling in the white spots...almost done

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Back to the Fast...so soon?

Seems like we just stopped fasting but now it's Wednesday after Bright Week and we are back at it. I know some of the Antiochians will wait till Pentecost but even they are still supposed to abstain from meat on Wednesday's and Friday's.

I found this recipe on one of my links that sounds good and not your typical Fish Taco.


Ususally I do this:

4-6 tilapia filets
2 T chili powder
2 T olive oil
1 bag slaw mix
2 green onions chopped
2 limes, juiced
2T olive oil
1 t sugar
Montery Jack shredded
6 corn tortillas

Dredge the fish filets in chili powder, both sides and sautee in the olive oil till opaque.

Mix the slaw and onions with the juice from the 2 limes, sugar and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Allow to sit for 10 mins. Adjust ingredients to taste.

Heat the corn tortillas in the pan that the fish fried in with additional oil as needed. Heat through and assemble tacos, topping the fish with the slaw and cheese.

Not bad but I kinda like the new recipe. Might give that a shot tonight.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Since my personal meatfeast last week we have lots of leftovers and few who will actually eat leftovers. Now, I can eat the same thing for a week. Lunch and dinner. But I am alone in this and things are hanging around so tonight is pizza night. Hamburger pizza. After all the great combos I thought I came up with, hamburger always goes first and fast. So I give up...hamburger is the order of the day.

Ok so I made a chicken pesto pizza also (ya know I do anything for my lovely bride) with fresh cherry tomatoes that roasted into the chesse....yum. What surprises me is that the pesto is unchanged in the fridge since late last summer. Still fresh and tasty.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Dinner

Prepping the spareribs now. Removed the fascia and spread a liberal amount of applewood smoke rub. Letting them sit a while before a slow roast in a beer bath covered with foil.

After they were uncovered,  I slathered them in sauce and baked another hour to make a nice bark. They were too tender to remove and grill so they stayed inside. The bones fell out...so tasty. A nice side salad and some veggies stir fried and were were in business.

Friday's Non fasting dinner

I grilled a tenderloin of pork that I found cheap at Walmart. I had marinated it in a packaged Chipotle marinade and grilled it. It was quite tender and very tasty. We paired it with a baby bok choy and sprouts stir fry that was seasoned with sesame oil.
pork tenderloin grilled


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