A photojournal of the Wooster Square neighborhood in New Haven, Connecticut. And, occasionally a photo of New Haven, of course, of course.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

See a Need - Fill a Need

Today I spent a good part of the morning at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Orange, Connecticut. Not New Haven I know...but...St. Barbara's Parish had her start in New Haven many years ago. This past fall I took Greek cooking classes and today was a special class on Vasilopeta. Vasilopeta is a traditional New Years Bread made served on January 1 near the feast day of St. Basil. It's good luck if you find the coin that has been baked into the bread. Believe me, it's yummy!

The St. Barbara Ladies Philoptochos Society hosts the classes and their motto is "See a need, fill a need". Rev. Father Peter J. Orfanakos, Parish Priest for St. Barbara says, "For over a century, the Ladies Philoptochos Society has been filling those needs where ever they have arisen in the world. The Philoptochos (Friends of the Poor) was first founded in the late 1800’s, but this organization is the continuation of a long heritage of various philanthropic work of women for centuries. As Orthodox Christians, we know many Philoptochos members. They are our mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, sisters, daughters, and aunts. In fact, there is a good chance that our life has been touched by their great work and example. They lift up their God given talents, and through hard work and determination, become messengers of God's Grace and Love in this world. They are true heroes of our Faith!"
As we were making our own little loaves, the ladies of the Philoptochos Society were making massive amounts of dough to make Koulouria, little yummy cookies.
Our teacher!
Making Cinnamon Water.
The recipe makes 6 to 7 loaves...highly unlikely that I'll be making it anytime soon. But you never know, this is the season of miracles.
It is risen, it is risen indeed! Oh wait, those are Easter words, a very similar recipe for Tsoureki is made at Easter time.
Punching it down and getting ready to form the loaves.
Long braids, little knots. Any way the dough is formed they are still yummy. You can serve them as an appetizer with feta or kaseri cheese. Or you can have it for breakfast with butter. No matter which way...they are yummy!!!
After an egg wash they are smothered in sesame seeds and then baked.
Another one of the cooking teachers rolling out some Vasilopeta knots.


  1. Sesame, the crowning glory!
    The priest's words are very moving.
    Looks like a wonderful class.
    Wonderful pictures of the good women.

  2. Great documentary, and interesting to read. It looks YUMMY!!:-)

  3. Dear Suzanne, The photos are wonderful and we all at St. Barbara appreciate your kind words and generosity. We all hope to have the good fortune to continue our work in the coming year.