Welcome to The Dyer Consequences Blog

We are a Christian family in the Deep South, & we love to cook & we love to eat. We are interested in the classics, Latin, ancient history, Byzantine art, technology/geek matters, politics, government, & current events. Mostly we are focused on faith, family, freedom & food. Read our riveting & occasionally amusing posts, admire our outstanding photos, browse timeless archives, leave a comment, & bookmark the site. Come back often!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Adventures in Baking Bread Using Byzantine/Christian Icon Bread Stamps!

When Jason was home over the Christmas holidays, he made some delicious homemade bread, and just in passing, he mentioned that some churches make bread with (our favorite) ICXC NIKA [Jesus Christ Victorious] monogram stamped onto the bread prior to baking.

That's all I needed to get started looking for his birthday present for February!

After a search of the internet, I found
http://www.prosphora.org/. This site is run by Father George Aquaro from Torrance, CA, and is the "only place on the web devoted exclusively to Orthodox Christian Holy Bread."

I learned that 'prosphora' means "that which is offered" in Greek and refers to the bread brought to the Church as an offering for Holy Communion, i.e. 'an offering to God.'

Fr. Aquaro designs and makes Orthodox Christian icon bread stamps/bread seals from non-toxic urethane resin, based on historical models from ancient times. The best resource for the historical designs is 'Bread and the Liturgy' by George Galavaris [see order information below].

I ordered Jason a selection of the bread stamps, and I've found that they are worth the effort to make Holy Bread. Such a unique way to make bread, made even more special by the historical significance of using the bread stamps to make prosphora for Holy Communion. Needless to say, Jason was thrilled with his birthday presents this year!

Below are some photos from Fr. Aquaro's website, showing the bread stamps/seals he offers for sale, and photos of bread made from his stamps.

Go to his website to order your own bread stamps!

Now you can see my humble attempt to make beautiful Byzantine bread using the bread stamp I ordered from

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Best News! New Trinity Baroque will be Playing at Jason and Sara's Wedding!

We have recently received the much-hoped for news that New Trinity Baroque will be able to play for Jason and Sara's wedding after all!

There was a scheduling conflict with a performance in Savannah the day before the wedding, but NTB director Predrag Gosta somehow managed to arrange to leave Savannah a day early to accomodate the wedding. We are so grateful for this news, since we had hoped against hope for several months that NTB would come through, and they did.

New Trinity Baroque plays baroque music from the 17th and 18th centuries on period instruments with the original baroque tuning. We went to one of their concerts some years ago at a church in our county. In addition to enjoying the early music ensemble, we learned a great deal about the music and period instruments, and were very impressed with musicians in the group.

Predrag Gosta, the artistic director of NTB, started a baroque orchestra when he studied at Trinity College of Music in London. Ten years ago, the orchestra moved to Atlanta, where it has become recognized as one of the leading baroque orchestras in the United States.

My Christmas gift to my family this year was a total surprise to them: premium tickets to New Trinity Baroque's Christmas concert, Christmas in Germany. We had front-row seats and were able to see and hear the music, the instruments and the musicians at their best. After the concert, we were also able to meet Predrag Gosta in person for the first time, and introduce Jason and Sara to him.

New Trinity Baroque does not ordinarily perform for weddings, since they are professional musicians and their concerts and professional performances understandably take precedence over weddings, so we were extremely lucky to be able to schedule them. We are truly honored that they will join us for Jason and Sara's wedding. Their music will make the wedding even more memorable for the immediate families, and also for our guests, some of whom are serious baroque music lovers.

I am posting some photos from the NTB website for your enjoyment.

We also encourage you to support
New Trinity Baroque by visiting their website, attending their concerts and purchasing their music. Links to three of their albums on amazon.com are featured below.

Below are a few photos I took at a New Trinity Baroque we attended many, many years ago:

This is the harpsichord Predrag Gosta played at the concert. It is as beautiful to see as it is beautiful to hear.

The Latin inscription is a harpsichord motto that reads, "Intactum Sileo Percute Dulce Cano" or, "Untouched, I am silent. Strike me, I sing sweetly.

On the left is a viola da gamba, and I believe the other one is a bass viola da gamba.

Support New Trinity Baroque by attending their concerts and buying their albums.
Order all of the NTB Albums below:

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Matt's Superb Shrimp Scampi and Baked Broccoli and French Bread with Caramelized Onions!

These photos just speak for themselves, don't they? Matt cooked us the most delicious meal the other night. Shrimp Scampi, Oven-Baked Broccoli and French Bread with Caramelized Onions. Sooooo good.

Here is the finished plate loaded with shrimp, fettuccine, broccoli and bread.

Matt serving up a plate of shrimp scampi for us.

The shrimp came from Whole Foods, and originated in the Gulf of Mexico in US waters. [None of that toxic Chinese seafood for us!] The fettuccine is organic and also from Whole Foods.

I think the broccoli is organic from Whole Foods, and Matt baked it in the oven with a little olive oil, then added some grated Parmesan cheese and a little sea salt. The broccoli was crunchy, but still cooked, and the cheese and olive oil made it even more delicious.

The french bread was toasted first, I think, and he caramelized the onions with some oil, sea salt and fresh thyme. Next he put the onion mixture on the bread slices and broiled a few minutes in the oven.

And here is the happy chef enjoying his delicious meal!

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Jessie Wins Big Time in Extreme Ballroom Dancing Competition!

I received this exciting email from Kim Clements on 02/07/2008:

"Lots of excitement in the Clements' household, Jessie is competing in her first Ballroom Competition tomorrow in Boston.

She has been taking classes and private lessons 7 days a week for the past 6 months.

This is the website of the competition. The Eastern United States Dance Sport Championship.

and this is the website of the studio where she dances: Extreme DanceSport.

She is competing in the Bronze level in cha cha, mambo, rhumba and swing."

Then I received another message on 02/11/2008:

"The photos from the competition are up now on their website .

Jessie competed in American Rhythm / Bronze Level and came in First Place in all four of her dances (cha cha, rumba, mambo and swing), and then in the afternoon she competed in the Scholarship Competition and won First Place, winning a $250 dance scholarship and a trophy!

Next competition is in Manhattan on July 4th weekend. We're all going to the Big Apple!"


With all of this good news, some of you may be wondering, "Who on earth is Jessie?" I don't think we have written much about Jessie, if anything at all, on this blog, mainly because we haven't seen her very often since she went off to college and other pursuits.

But just in case you don't already know, Jessica Clements is Stewart and Kim's daughter, our niece, and Jason and Matt's cousin. They live in Massachusetts, and unlike us, do not have two left feet, and enjoy all manner of sports, aerobics and dance competitions.

So this is very exciting to hear that Jessie has taken up another sport, after excelling in swimming, soccer, rugby and probably a few other sports I have forgotten about. Plus there is her success in photography too.

The website for photos of the entire extreme dance competition is: http://photos.extremedancesport.com/. Click on EUDSC 2008 Friday.

I'm going to add a few photos of Jessie and her partner competing in four categories of extreme dance.

Or not. Unfortunately, when I tried to copy some photos of Jessie cutting the rug, a copyright message popped up, and foiled my attempt.

No, wait a sec! There's the screenprint option! Let's try that! And it works!

So, to see lots more photos of Jessie and her partner, go to this website. Jessie is in the white and gold costume, and looks like she is having so much fun - and makes it looks so easy. But we know it is not easy, or at least it would not be for us! Congrats, Jessie, and good luck in New York on July 4th!

UPDATE 03/24/2008: Kim has sent an email saying that she too has been bitten by the ballroom bug, and is now taking Beginning Jive and Beginning Latin Technique classes/lessons!

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My First Attempt with Sauerbraten!

Owing to the unqualified success of Dan's rouladen/rolladen 'German Beef Rolls', I searched for a recipe for sauerbraten, another German dish meaning 'sour meat,' and found one in my ancient cookbook called "Favorite Recipes of American Home Economics Teachers - Meats Edition." The copyright may be 1962, but the recipes are outstanding.

Here is the sauerbraten recipe I used:

3 lbs. beef shoulder
2 ts. each of salt, pepper and garlic
2 c. vinegar
2 c. water
1/2 c. sliced onion
2 bay leaves
1 ts. peppercorns
1/2 ts. mustard seeds
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. sweet or sour cream (I omitted this)

Rub meat with garlic, salt and pepper and place in a bowl. Heat vinegar, water, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, mustard seeds and sugar together, but do not boil. Pour hot mixture over meat, cover bowl, and let stand in a cool place 4 to 8 days, turning meat each day. Draing, saving vinegar mixture. Brown meat in fat, add half the strained vinegar, cover pan and simmer until tender, 3-4 hours, adding more vinegar as needed to keep liquid about 1/2 inch deep in pan. Strain liquid and thicken with 2 tablespoons flour for each cup of liquid. Cook until thickened, and add cream. Serves 6.

Here are the photos I took of the lenghthy process to make sauerbraten, made all the more complicated by the fact that I had never actaully eaten sauerbraten, nor had I ever seen it in a restaurant or on a TV cooking show. So as usual, I didn't know what I was doing, but charged ahead anyway.

Here is the beef just after I added the marinade. Now it goes in the refrigerator for a few days.

This is what the meat looks like after marinating for 3-4 days, sort of grayish, off-putting, and the marinade is a bit cloudy.

After draining the marinade, you pat the meat dry before browning it.

Nicely browned, but still way too tough to eat. Simmer on very low heat for another 3-4, even 5 hours, until it is tender and falling apart.

Ready to serve and enjoy!

I had decided that the sauerbraten would be ready to cook on Sunday, after marinating for 3-4 days, and by an incredible stroke of good luck, Jason called that day and said they scouting downtown, and wondered if they could stop by before going back to Athens. Well, of course, I said, and by all means stay for dinner and try my sauerbraten! Deal! The photo below shows Jason and Sara, having enjoyed their sauerbraten, finishing off with oatmeal/cherry cookies.

Also, take a look at Jason's haircut. He cut it himself, using clippers he bought a Wal-Mart!

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Strange Weather This Winter

We have had unusual weather this winter, nothing dramatic or dangerous like in other parts of the country, but just unusual.

Unusually cold, unusually windy, unusually snowy/sleety, alternating with very warm and then turning very, very cold. The bone-chilling cold that leaves you cold long after you have come back into a warm and cozy home.

Right on schedule, the crocuses and daffodils came up early during one of the warm spells, and have lasted through the cold spells.

Spring is here, and life goes on as usual, in spite of unusual weather.

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Sadie Belle Goes for a Ride in the Car!

Not long ago, we took Sadie Belle on a ride when we were doing a little scouting south of here.

She is such a good little rider, and quickly settled down in my lap and watched the traffic and the scenery, always on the lookout for dogs being walked.

Here are a couple of photos from that otherwise uneventful outing.

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