Monday, April 23, 2012

Saint George             

Also known as

·                     Victory Bringer

·                     23 April (Roman Catholic)

·                     3 November (Russian Orthodox)

·                     fourth Sunday in June (Malta)

·                     third Sunday in July (Gozo)

·                     23 November (Geogia)


Soldier. Martyr. That’s all we know for sure.

Several stories have been attached to Saint George, the best known of which is the Golden Legend. In it, a dragon lived in a lake near Silena, Libya. Whole armies had gone up against this fierce creature, and had gone down in painful defeat. The monster ate two sheep each day; when mutton was scarce, lots were drawn in local villages, and maidens were substituted for sheep. Into this country came Saint George. Hearing the story on a day when a princess was to be eaten, he crossed himself, rode to battle against the serpent, and killed it with a single blow with his lance. George then held forth with a magnificent sermon, and converted the locals. Given a large reward by the king, George distributed it to the poor, then rode away.

Due to his chivalrous behavior (protecting women, fighting evil, dependence on faith and might of arms, largesse to the poor), devotion to Saint George became popular in the Europe after the 10th century. In the 15th century his feast day was as popular and important as Christmas. Many of his areas of patronage have to do with life as a knight on horseback. The celebrated Knights of the Garter are actually Knights of the Order of Saint George. The shrine built for his relics at Lydda, Palestine was a popular point of pilgrimage for centuries. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

tortured and beheaded c.304 at Lydda, Palestine

Whole Wheat Honey Orange Bread

Like to bake bread?  It's not hard.

 Start with some warm water in the Bowl.  Add the yeast, sugar, salt, and let rest for a few minutes.  Begin adding flour, at first, a cup at a time, but as it thickens, I add only 1/2 cup at a time.  A powered Bread Hook helps, but I never had one.  I mix with a Wooden Spoon till I it has solidified and begins to leave the sides of the bowl.
 Then, dump it onto a floured surface to knead. Flour your hands and I put some flour in a bowl or off to the side to add as I knead.  Your hands get sticky and gooey at first, especially if you're working with Rye and Whole Wheat.  Kneading is simply pushing down the dough using the palms of your hands.  Then fold it over, sprinkle flour over and knead out again.  Continue to knead, adding flour to keep from sticking, for about 10 minutes.
 By now, the dough should have taken a nice round shape and feel slightly tacky to the touch.  Grease up a big bowl, cover with a clean towel, set in a warm place to rise.  Most White flour bread rise for 1 1/2 hours.  The Whole Wheats, Ryes, Pumpernickel's, should rise for at least 2 hours. 
Back to a clean floured surface.  Flour up your hands, dump the risen dough from the bowl, and this time, punch down to about 2 inches.  Using a knife, cut to divide into sections.  If the recipe yields two loaves, cut in half.  If you are making rolls, cut off the dough to the desired size and shape, keeping in mind, the loaves or rolls are going to rise even bigger.
Most of my breads, I bake on a sheet, either fired clay or cookie sheet.  Apply some shortening to the sheet and lightly sprinkle with corn meal.  Lay your loaves or rolls out on this surface.  Cover up and let rise one hour.  (45 minutes into the last rise, pre-heat the oven.)  Most of my breads start out at 400 for the first 10 minutes, then reduced to 350 for the remainder of the bake time.
Breads usually bake for an hour or so, but some bake in as little as 1/2 hour if the temp is left at 400.
Rolls, being smaller, bake in much less time.

Today's Recipe:  Whole Wheat Honey Orange, is derived from many different bread recipes I've encountered!  I encourage you to mix different flours and spices together to deviate from the original recipes.


2 Cups Warm Water
1 Tablespoon Yeast (or 2 Packs)
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Cup Warm or Scalded Milk
2 Eggs, room temp and beaten
1 Stick Butter, melted or softened
2 Oranges, juiced and zest ed
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Anise Seed
1/4 Cup Corn Meal, soaked in 1/2 Warm Water for 1/2 Hour
1 1/2 Cups White Flour
1/3 Cup Rye Flour
Enough Whole Wheat Flour to finalize the dough (3-4 Cups)

1.  In a large bowl, add: Water, Yeast, Salt and rest for 10 Minutes
2.  Zest the peels from the Oranges, and juice them.
3.  Warm or Scald the Milk.  Add to the mix after it has cooled a bit!
4.  While stirring, add the Honey, Butter, Orange Juice and Zest, Anise Seeds, Eggs, Corn Meal, and White and Rye Flour. 
5.  Begin adding enough Whole Wheat Flour and stir till the dough becomes thick and starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.
6.  Put some White Flour in a small bowl to grab and sprinkle on your kneading surface, hands and dough.  Your hands will get gooey and sticky at first till you knead and sprinkle the additional flour to make the dough.
7.  Make sure to add a little flour to your kneading board, hands, and dough to reduce the "sticky effect"  Knead for about 10 minutes.  By now, the dough should feel consistent and slightly tacky to the touch.
8.  Apply a light coat of Shortening to a large bowl, add the dough, cover with a towel and place in a warm area to rise.  Rise time may vary from 1 1/2 Hours to 2 Hours.
9.  Meanwhile, grease 2 Baking Sheets and sprinkle lightly with Corn Meal
10.  After the dough has risen and doubled in bulk, place on a clean floured board and punch down till uniform in size, about 3 inches.
11.  Divide in 4 equal sections with a knife, shape into round loaves, and place on baking sheets, two to a Sheet.
12.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 Minutes.
13.  Pre-heat the oven to 400.  When oven rises to 400, Place loaves in and start the bake.
14.  After 10 Minutes, reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake for about 50 minutes. The loaves will be nice and brown and the bottoms, nice and crusty!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bolognese Sauce

I'm Sicilian and have been making Mom's recipes for years, but things like her sauce was just called sauce.  Today I watched Chef Fabio's cooking show on the Yahoo Network and he made a Bolognese Sauce that I cooked up for dinner tonight. 

You start with Mirepoix: Celery, Carrots, cooked up in Olive Oil till tender.
Add an Onion, sliced fine, and 2 finely chopped cloves Garlic.
In a few minutes, add one cup White Wine.  I used Sherry, cuz I had some!
Let that all bubble up 15-20 minutes then add freshly ground beef.
I used Italian Sausage, again having it in the house.  I sliced the links and squeezed out the meat into my Mirepoix mix, and cooked it for 15-20 minutes and then added one cup Red Wine and let simmer for 20 more minutes.  Then add a can of Crushed Tomatoes or Puree, and a small can of Paste.
After that's all mixed in, let'r simmer for 1/2 hour or more.
Meanwhile, get your Pasta water boiling to make pasta.
I used All Grain Rotini.  When the pasta's done, Pour your nice Bolognese Sauce over and grated cheese. 
Thanks Chef Fabio!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

To all without Hope

To all who suffer from life's precarious journey
    To all who have been abused, neglected, and forgotten
        To all suffering from addictions and no direction
            To all who are lost and without hope

God loves you so much, that He sent his Son into the world, to become Man, to be our King, to suffer and die for us.  To suffer and die, to pay the price of OUR sins.

He's right with you, whether you realize or not.  He's just waiting for you to reach out and say "Father, I'm lost; help me find my way.  I'm hungry, feed me.  I'm sick, heal me.  I can't do this without you."