Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April musings

Being Greek Orthodox, our Easter was on April 15 this year. This is an intensive week for us. Fasting is the norm as well as going to church daily, if not two or three times a day.

On Palm Sunday, we receive palm crosses in church. On Holy Wednesday, we receive the holy oil which is dabbed on our foreheads and palms. On Holy Friday, we carry lit candles and walk in a procession around the church following the epitaph which is filled with flowers and represents the body of Jesus Christ.
Holy Saturday there are two church services, one in the morning and one just before midnight. That service can last until past one o'clock in the morning. We light our candles and go home to eat a special soup that breaks our fast. Easter is a day of celebration, following the Agape service, which is done in several languages, and where we receive red Easter eggs, at home we cook lamb and have a party all day long. A typical Easter dinner will include roasted lamb, baked potatoes, Greek salad, pastitsio, moussaka, tiropites, spanakopites, olives, feta cheese, wine, fresh baked bread.

Tsoureki is a sweet bread that is very popular during this holiday.

The recipe I use includes :

5 yeast
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp salt
Five pound bag flour
2 sticks butter
5 eggs
Anise extract
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

The yeast is placed in a bowl with 1 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let sit 20 minutes, then stir in one cup flour. Let sit.

Meanwhile, the butter is melted in a small pot and milk is added to it. Let cool.

Beat eggs with sugar in a large bowl until light and frothy. Add the milk mixture and anise. Then slowly add the yeast mixture and salt. Finally add enough flour so that the dough is light and not too difficult to kneed. Kneed, then divide into three bowls, cover, and let sit until doubled. About 3-4 hours.

Each bowl represents a loaf. Kneed each dough from each bowl, split into three balls, elongate each ball until it looks like a rope about 8 - 10 inches long and 2-3 inches thick, and line the three ropes on pan covered with parchment paper. Make a braid from the three ropes, crossing each rope over the other, starting with the right over the middle, then the left over the middle, and so on. At the top of the braid, can place a baked egg for decoration.

Beat small egg yolk with 2 tsp water and brush each braid. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top if you'd like. There should now be 3 pans with 3 braids. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool before cutting.

These breads freeze well.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lenox Bowl is radioactive

I am going to start monitoring the radiation in our household items whenever I get a chance and upload the photos and information to this blog. Why? We have known about the radiation in our ceramic dishes, chinaware and crystal for a while now, and have been mentioning it to other people. Most of the time, it goes in one ear and out the other.

Recently, due to the impact from Fukushima's radiation, there has been an increasing amount of concern by people who have asked us to test their plates and bowls.

We tested a Lenox Butterfly and Laces bowl with an Inspector Plus radiation detector and found it to be higher than background reading. We placed the bowl upside down and placed the detector on it. The reading tested 86 cpm, and when we moved the detector to the side, found the normal background radiation reading to be 28 cpm. I have attached two photos to show the difference.

That means that the Lenox Butterflies and Lace bowl has 3x the amount of radiation than the air. I have written to Lenox and am awaiting a response.