TSOUREKI – GREEK EASTER BREAD

chrystal eggs

Tsoureki is a traditional Greek Bread served at the Easter meal flavored with overtones of orange and anise. It’s shaped into a twisted wreath or a braid and has red colored hard boiled eggs tucked into pockets formed between the twists.

Although the traditional color for the eggs is red, pastel hues of blue, yellow, light pink and lime green can help welcome the Easter bunny just as well!

  • 1 pkg. yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup lukewarm water (110°F)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. freshly grated orange zest (or a few drops of pure orange oil)
  • 1 tbsp. anisette liquor
  • 3 tiny drops anise oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 2 large eggs, well beaten
  • 1 egg yolk (reserve the white for egg wash for top)
  • hard boiled eggs dyed red (1 for each person)

For the milk, use reconstituted non-fat dry milk or scalded fresh milk.

  1. To dye the hard boiled eggs, I add a tablespoon of cider vinegar to the liquid from a can of sliced beets in a small stainless steel pan. Add the eggs with enough water to cover and boil for 1 or 2 minutes, cover and let stand for 15 minutes, then cool. The eggs may also be dyed red using food colorings if you prefer a brighter color.
  2. To prepare the dough, dissolve the yeast and set aside for 5 minutes. Heat the milk to scald, melt the butter add the honey and cool for about 15 minutes before adding to the yeast (about 100°F).
  3. In a stand mixer, add 2 cups flour and remaining ingredients (except flour) and beat for 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining flour a small amount at a time, until the dough forms a ball and begins to leave the side of the bowl.
  4. With the dough hook attachment, knead for 6-8 minutes. Remove to a floured surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic. Put into an oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil on all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place until nearly doubled. Punch down, divide dough into two ropes; twist the two together, then form a ring or a wreath and pinch the ends together; tuck them under to hide. Let rise, again for about 30-40 minutes.
  5. Tuck a colored egg at even intervals around the wreath by spreading a rope twist to fit around the egg. Cover and let rise another 20-30 minutes or so.
  6. 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  7. To make an egg wash, beat the saved egg white with a tablespoon of water and brush it over the top. (Don’t allow the egg to pool in the valleys and leave the boiled eggs without brushing.) Sprinkle sesame seeds over the bread.
  8. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the bread reads 190°F on an instant-read thermometer. Cool on a wire rack.

Happy Easter!   Found on Cooks.com

Hot Cross Buns – an Easter tradition

In 1592, Queen Elizabeth I decreed that hot cross buns could no longer be sold on any day except for Good Friday, Christmas or for burials. They were simply too special to be eaten any other day. To get around this explains that people baked the buns in their own kitchens although if they were caught they had to give up all of the illegal buns on their premises to the poor. As a kid at St. Bernadette’s, I remember these were made in the school kitchens and served after Good Friday Mass. The sweet bread rolls perfuming the halls with a buttery cloying sweetness. 

Hot Cross

Served during Lent, and particularly on Good Friday.

    • 1 cup milk, scalded

    • 1/2 cup sugar

    • 8 tablespoons melted butter

    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    • 1 yeast cake, or dry yeast

    • 1/4 cup warm water

    • 1 egg, well beaten

    • 3 cups flour

    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    • 1/2 cup currants or golden raisins

    • 1/4 cup shredded citron or candied lemon peel

    • pinch of ground cloves

    • 1 egg, well beaten

    • confectioners’ sugar and milk

  1. Combine the milk, sugar, butter, and salt. When lukewarm, add the yeast cake dissolved in water.

  2. Add the egg and mix well. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, and cloves, add the currants and citron, and mix thoroughly.

  3. Cover and let rise in a warm place (75-85 degrees) until double in bulk. Shape into round buns and place close together in a well buttered pan.

  4. Let rise again. Brush the top of each bun with beaten egg. Make a cross on each bun with a sharp knife.

  5. Bake in a hot oven (400 degrees F) for 20 minutes.

  6. Remove from oven and brush over lightly with crosses made of confectioners’ sugar moistened with milk.

Amish Broccoli Salad

Fractal_Broccoli

Amish Broccoli Salad

  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 cup real mayonnaise
  • 1 cup crème Fraiche
  • 1/2 cup vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 grinds fresh black peppercorn
  • 1/2 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 cup tiny cubed mild cheddar cheese
  1. mix all ingredients and chill 4 hours covered
  2. Top with parsley dust and sweet paprika
  3. Serve on cabbage leaf

I love simple salads and this one fits the bill. Next time I plan to add diced shallot and made it the night before.

Chinese Five-Spice Powder

spices2

Making your own gluten free spices will result in a fresher, cleaner taste. I tend to store my spices whole and in opaque glass jars to maintain freshness.

Chinese Five-Spice Powder

(makes about 1/3 cup)

*slightly adapted from Chow from http://thingsmybellylikes.com/2013/12/17/chinese-five-spice-powder/

  • 2 tablespoons whole star anise choose perfect stars
  • 2 tablespoons whole fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon true ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  1. Place anise, fennel, and peppercorns in coffee grinder and pulse til fine.
  2. Stir all the above together until well mixed. Store in an airtight glass container, preferably somewhere cool and dark.

Free Ebooks

4th cover

Foxfire-1 Foxfire-2 Foxfire-3

Above are PDF files of our collective heritage skills.

A great resource to me is LaMar Alexander of http://www.simplesolarhomesteading.com/ His words and books are new foxfires for a new century. He is a hero and mentor. LaMar has energized the way I look at future.

I will quote his words here regarding the fox fire books.

“The books started as a school magazine project for the students to record and preserve the stories and oral history of the Appalachia area. It became so popular they turned the magazine articles into a series of books.
It helped to stimulate interest in these people and old-time skills but also drew attention to the low education, poor social programs and poverty that was prevalent and is still is a problem in some areas of Appalachia.
Most of these people moved to that area when mining and farming was done by hand and these people were mostly labor workers and education was not a high priority. When the mining and farming became mechanized they couldn’t find work and those that stayed turned to a subsistence farming and hunting lifestyle to survive.
For 2-3 generations they lived with any social programs and schools in that area and unfortunately many of the children were not able to escape that poverty and it created a vicious cycle of generational poverty.
They were hard-working people and developed many crafts and survival skills and kept the old ways so to and outsider they seem odd and the magazine brought more attention than many of them wanted. Some started small craft businesses and were finally able to support themselves from their skills and there are many craft stores in the area now selling homemade crafts.
Those that owned land and wanted to stay were pressured to sell to the mining companies and the mining tailings polluted the local rivers that they relied on for farming and survival. Many finally gave up and sold out.
Because of the magazine it put pressure on the state government to help these people so they built schools and services which made the area more popular and has now become a tourist area because of the beautiful mountains and once  the land became valuable the locals were preyed on by unscrupulous real estate agents,
There is a lot to be learned from those books and I think it is also important to know the history of that area especially about the corporations that almost destroyed that simple life.”
LaMar

Life Lessons of the Fall

Take back

The Great Depression of the late 1920s and 1930s was a reflection of high unemployment, staggering debt, and a collapsed stock market. The hardship that resulted has not been experienced by Americans since. Those at the time somehow lived through it, and will tell you lessons learned, including the following…

USE WHAT YOU’VE GOT

Find resources in unlikely places. Do not throw anything away. Find uses for things that otherwise would have been unnoticed. Pool your resources. Be practical about everything. Use space and resources wisely. Live and survive with less. Find multiple uses. Use cloth not paper. Waste not want not.

GROW YOUR OWN

Generate your own food in gardens to supplement your diet. Consider unlikely places for a garden like rooftops and vacant lots. Learn to preserve your harvest. Old wading pools can be re-purposed for planters as well as five gallon buckets. Think about lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers as meal stretchers.

CASH, NOT DEBT

Debt is a dirty word. Don’t dig yourself deeper in debt by using credit. Pay with currency that you have, and don’t borrow. Invest in your self, education is power. Own the things you need and not be owned by things for an affluent lifestyle. Borrowing money to fitter away on things is a good way to lose ones self.

MOVE IF YOU HAVE TO

You may have to move to where there is work. Some places have higher unemployment than others. Some places are safer than others. Red states that have reduced spending typically have higher unemployment. Look at standard of living when making decisions.

KNOW A DEAL WHEN YOU SEE IT

Cut spending by looking for deals. Buy only what you need and spend wisely. Learn to repair what you have instead of buying new. Recycle it for another purpose if unrepairable. Know what it takes to make a tool, grow a food, and make supplies.

ADAPT AND DIVERSIFY

You may have to change your business or your job. Learn skills that are more in demand for employment and those which can help you survive. Become flexible. There is no company loyalty or expectation of fair treatment in regard to benefits, wages, and retirement plans all are on the chopping block. This is true in public and private employment.

BAND TOGETHER

Communities that band together help each-other. There is power in numbers. Stick together for financial support, emotional support, better security and better production. This is bartering, and not some grand notion of socialism. There are safety in numbers and efficiency in the democratic processes.

DESPAIR NOT

Try not to worry. It will get better. Somehow. Optimism can move mountains.
“Tomorrow I could lose everything, but somehow I’m not afraid. I really am not.” Make every day matter by remembering them good times. Bake and break bread with your neighbors. Celebrate the ordinary day by sharing a good meal. Our economy is based on the good people that engage it. Our money’s worth is based on the belief that good people pay their debts and our government pays it’s debts. We have invented the gift economy and that currency is paying it forward.

Home made Salisbury Steak

 

  • 4-6 hamburger patties
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 Tablespoons brown gravy
  • 1 Tablespoon of corn starch
  • 4 cups cooked egg noodles
  • 1 tsp crushed thyme
  • dash salt and fresh ground pepper

 

  1. Brown patties, drain grease, and remove. Brown onions add rest cook until thick.
  2. Add patties warm through.
  3. Serve over noodles. Enjoy. 10-15 minutes, Hot ‘n’ fresh no preservatives.
  4. Serve with a salad and hot fresh rolls for a complete dinner.

 

Homemade Seasoning Salt

Homemade Seasoning Salt

spices

Ingredients

  • ½ cup sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons organic granulated cane sugar
  • 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dry minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 4 teaspoons minced dry onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground peppercorn

Instructions

  1. Measure all the ingredients into a jar.
  2. Pour into coffee grinder and pulse several times.
  3. Pour into jar.
  4. Place a lid on the jar and shake until well blended

Home Made Crunch Wrap Supreme

100_0701

Home Made Crunch Wrap Supreme

Another cracked fast food recipe to quell the need for drive thru. Sometimes you need to just experiment to find the right combination.

Ingredients

  • Large (burrito size) tortilla shells
  • Small tostada shells
  • Queso sauce or nacho cheese
  • Precooked taco meat beef or shredded chicken
  • Shredded lettuce or sliced Napa cabbage
  • Shredded mild taco cheese or mild cheddar
  • Sour cream or Crema
  • Salsa picante or guacamole
  • Taco Sauce or enchilada sauce
  • Jalapenos or diced bell peppers
  • Bell or banana peppers
  • Black re-fried beans or re-fried pinto beans
  • sliced Black Olives
  • seeded and diced Roma Tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Warm your tortilla in the microwave to make it soft enough to bend
  2. Put a dollop of queso sauce in the center of your tortilla, but be sure to leave a wide edge so you can wrap it around later
  3. Spoon some taco meat on the cheese
  4. Place the tostada shell, corn tortilla, or a couple tortilla chips on top of the meat
  5. Spoon a dollop of sour cream and spread over the shell
  6. Sprinkle some shredded lettuce and shredded cheese on top
  7. Wrap the edges up toward the center until they close around your filling. Butter pan.
  8. With some ninja quickness flip the crunch wrap into a warmed non-stick pan, fold side down. Lightly pressed down with your spatula to seal the folds and brown. It won’t take long
  9. Carefully flip it over once the edges are sealed and lightly brown the bottom side. This won’t take long either because really, you’re just warming that yummy, gooey queso on the bottom

Fried Apples

Fried Apples

apples

Ingredients

  • 2 large granny smith apples

  • 4 tablespoons real butter, chopped

  • Juice of ½ lemon

  • 2 tablespoons white vanilla sugar

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Peel, core and cut apples into even slices.

  2. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.

  3. Add apples and drizzle them with lemon juice.

  4. Let apples simmer until most of butter is absorbed and apples are tender. (do not overcook. Apples should be firm to the touch, yet tender with a little give to the bite.)

  5. Stir together sugars and sprinkle them over apples.

  6. Toss to combine.

  7. Lower heat if needed.

  8. Let apples cook until sugars are completely dissolved and syrupy.

  9. Remove from heat and sprinkle apples with cinnamon.

  10. Toss to distribute cinnamon.

  11. Plate apples and serve piping hot!

Notes

Cooking time will vary based on apples used and thickness of apples.
Granny smith makes the best apples for fried apples.