Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Recipe for Koliva

Koliva is a boiled wheat dish traditionally used for the commemoration of the departed. The wheat is symbolic of the resurrection of the dead, reminding us of the Lord's words: " Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. " (John 12:24) The koliva is brought to the memorial divine liturgy, along with a list of names of our departed loved ones. At the end of the service, it is customary for families to hold their bowl of koliva while we all sing "Memory eternal." Many recipes and variants exist. Here is a standard recipe.

1.5 lb. wheat berries
1/2 - 3/4 c. chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios, etc.)
1/2 - 3/4 c. raisins, golden or regular
1/4 c. chopped fresh mint (optional)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sugar or honey

For the topping:
1 c. fine crumbs of graham crackers
1 c. sifted powdered sugar
1/4 - 1/2 lb. white Jordan Almonds (sugar-coated almonds) or yogurt covered almonds

The day before the Memorial Service:
  1. Rinse and drain the wheat. Cover with water and cook 3 hours or until tender, stirring often. Add more water if necessary. Do not overcook so that the grains explode.
  2. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  3. Allow to drain thoroughly. To dry wheat, spread out on double thickness of cloth. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Cover with another cloth and leave overnight.
The morning of the Memorial Service:
  1. Grind nuts and 1/2 cup graham crackers. Combine with wheat, raisins, sugar and spices.
  2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl to be taken to Church. Place a piece of waxed paper on top of the mixture and flatten the top so that it is evenly distributed.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining graham cracker crumbs evenly over the wheat mixture. This keeps the moisture from the powdered sugar layer.
  4. Sift the powdered sugar atop the crumb layer.
  5. Use the Jordan almonds to form a cross atop the powdered sugar. The edge of the bowl can be lined with Jordan almonds if desired.
Plan to be at Church before Liturgy begins so that you can give the bowl and a list of names of your deceased family and friends to the priest. A candle is often placed in the bowl and lit during the memorial service.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bread (6 loaves)

In a medium bowl pour 6 cups lukewarm water and stir in 1/2 cup sugar. Sprinkle 3 Tbsp. active dry yeast and let sit 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile into a large bowl scoop out 6 coffee mugs of whole wheat flour(or white flour for white bread) Add 2 Tbsp. table salt. Stir into flour.

Once the yeast is ready stir it with a fork and add 1 cup vegetable oil. Pour all this into the big bowl and beat the dough. Add flour as you knead it to a soft dough stage. Turn out onto a well floured counter and continue kneading and adding flour till it is done. (Feels a bit like an earlobe, no longer sticky either.) I use unbleached flour for the kneading part as the whole wheat doesn't get picked up as well.

Form dough into a ball and let rise for 45 minutes, set a timer, really. No need for that vague 'rise til double in bulk'.

Punch down and form into loaves, placing each into a well greased loaf pan. Arrange the loaves in your oven 4 vertically across the back, 2 horizontally across the front. Leave equal gaps for air circulation. TURN ON THE OVEN LIGHT. (gives enough heat for the dough to rise in a cold house) and set the timer for another 45 minutes.

When the timer goes turn the oven on to 350 degrees and set the timer for 46 minutes. No need to preheat, adjust to suit your oven. Bread needs to cool out of the pan on racks or doubled towels.

If you are going to freeze the loaves slice them first. Frozen slices can be chipped off and toasted in an emergency.

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For instant yeast, mix the yeast directly into the flour and let sit 30 seconds or so. The water can be a bit hotter, dissolve the sugar as above.

For freshly ground whole wheat flour, use 7 cups of water instead of the 6. Mix just enough dough to make a sponge and let it sit 15-20 minutes to give the flour time to soak up some moisture. Then continue on, I use about 3 lbs. of whole wheat and the rest unbleached. Knead more than you would for store bought flour to work up some gluten action. (One ice cream pail of wheat berries = 6 lbs. of flour = two batches of bread for the week.) Freshly ground flour bread can be dry and crumbly hence the extra liquid and the extra kneading.

Shaping: You can use this dough to make baguette, subs, rounds and 'French bread' shaped loaves. Not as fancy as the artisan recipes but it passes the lunch test around here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Oatmeal from oats (served 6)

Faster than a speeding bullet . . . CSA oatmeal! Well definitely faster than store bought rolled-oats oatmeal. It was quite the surprise.

4 cups water
1 and 1/2 cups oats, not yet rolled
your choice of brown sugar, dried fruit, nuts, etc.

Put the water on to boil and go get the oats and oat roller. Hook the roller to the table, roll them oats. Put them in the just boiling water,reduce heat, maybe to off. Stir a couple times and SHAZAM! you have oatmeal way-way-way faster than the store bought pre-rolled oats ever took.

My usual oatmeal makers, aged 11, said it was a lot faster, tastes better, and they don't have any weird chemicals and preservatives in them. (their words not mine) We added diced dried apricots, I added a dash of walnuts, note to self, add nut trees/bushes to garden plan.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Left Over Pizza

Just adding this to the ideas list. Make more pizza than you need and serve it for lunch the next day. A real lunch box pleaser. Use soy cheese during the fasts with lots of yummy vegetables for toppings.

Monday, February 2, 2009

M&V - The Vegan M&C

Macaroni and Vegetables

Cook enough macaroni or other pasta for your family, add in some frozen mixed vegetables while they cook. Drain and each person can add various salad dressings to their portion. We like Italian, soy ginger, French, Honey Dijon, red wine vinegar, just check the ingredients first. Add a sprinkle of sunflower seeds to give it a bit of crunch.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Orzo Soup (serves 8)

2 quarts canned tomatoes
6 cups water
1 cup orzo pasta (1/2 package)
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried basil
3 oz. tomato paste
2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 cups frozen mixed veg, or equivalent

Toss the orzo with the oil and set aside. Dice the tomatoes by hand or in a blender, pour into soup pot, add water, tomato paste, and spices. Heat to a boil, add orzo, return to a boil, reduce heat, stir constantly and cook for approx. 10 minutes. Add vegetables. Cook til veg and orzo are done.