St. Nicholas

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Main Dishes
St. Nicolas du Pelem Pork with Mustard & Apples (French)
Saint Nicholas Soup
Bean Soup with Escarole (Italian)
St. Nicholas Pizza
Pfannkuchen (German Pancakes)
Italian Dish for San Nicola
Runderlappen (Dutch Spiced Beef)
Brussels Lof (Dutch Buttered Endive)
Stuffed Pork Shoulder Roast
Zhito/Koljibo (Serbian Slava Wheat)
Saint-Nicolas Shells (French Canadian)
Baba Slavka's Palnen Sharan Plakiya (Granma Slavka's Bulgarian Stuffed Carp in Tomato Sauce)

St.Nicolas du Pelem Pork with Mustard & Apples

Pork with Mustard and Apples
St. Nicolas du Pelem Pork with Mustard & Apples
Photo: C Myers

Surounded by rolling farmland, studded with ancient mills and stone wells, St. Nicolas du Pelem is a quiet little place and home to a beautiful fifteenth-century church, a few shops and restaurants. I remember the meal we had there one evening that featured local pork and apples served with lengths of sturdy, buttered cabbage-like greens with a flavour reminiscent of collare greens. Add steamed baby potatoes tossed with butter and salt.
—Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh

1½ lb. (750 g) pork tenderloin, cut into ½-inch (1-cm) slices
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled, finely chopped
2 tablespoons (30 ml) unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup (175 ml) chicken broth, heated
2 tablespoons (30 ml coarse-grain mustard
2 tablespoons (30 ml) Dijon mustard
2 medium Royal Gala apples, peeled, sliced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup (125 ml) whipping cream
¼ cup (60 ml) chopped parsley

Place the slices of pork tenderloin in between two sheets of wax paper and flatten slightly using a kitchen mallet or a rolling pin. Add the oil to a frying pan and place over high heat. Fry the pork slices for 2–3 minutes per side, a few at a time, in the hot pan, until browned on both sides; don't overcook. Transfer the meat to a plate and keep warm.

If necessary, add a little more oil to the pan and sauté the onion for a few minutes until softened. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and work in well with a wooden spoon. Now add the chicken broth and blend in well with a whisk to avoid lumps. Whisk in both of the mustards and blend well. Bring this mixture up to a boil, stirring, reduce the heat and add the apple slices. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cream and blend once again.

Slip the meat back into the pan along with any accumulated juices and, using tongs, turn the meat over in the sauce to coat all the pieces well. Let the meat simmer gently in the sauce for about 5 minutes before sprinkling with parsley and serving. Makes 4 servings.

From New Celtic Cooking by Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh & Ted McIntosh. Copyright © 2003 McArthur & Company, Toronto, Canada. Used by permission.

Beautifully presented recipes from the Celtic world of Scotland, Brittany, and Galicia.
Purchase from amazon.com, amazon.ca or amazon.uk.

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Saint Nicholas Soup

Bowl of soup
Saint Nicholas Soup

A simple, healthy soup from Our Lady of the Ressurection Benedictine Monastery, Millbrook, near New York City

2 ounces butter or margarine
2 leeks or onions
4 medium-sized carrots
3 turnips
4 potatoes
half a medium-sized head white cabbage
1 teaspoon salt or more, according to taste
4 quarts water (editor's note: you may want to use less water)
croutons (see recipe below)
1/3 cup minced chervil, chopped

Wash and peel the vegetables. Slice them into small pieces.

Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add the vegetables and salt and stir a few times. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let it rest for about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the water and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and allow the soup to cook slowly for about 30 to 40 minutes. Stir from time to time.

When the soup is done, blend all of it in a blender until it becomes creamy and even. Serve hot, adding some croutons to each bowl and sprinkling some chervil on top. 6–8 servings.

CROUTONS

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 slices French bread (or Italian, or any other of your choice), sliced in cubes
dash each of dried thyme and dried parsley

Pour the oil into a pot, add the garlic, bread cubes, and herbs. and saute them over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir and turn constantly.

Remove the croutons and keep them in a lightly warm oven until you are ready to use them. Croutons are especially useful as garnish in thick, creamy soups.

From Twelve Months of Monastery Soups: International Favorites by Brother Victor-Antoine d-Avila-Latourette. Copyright © 1996 Triuimph Books, Liguori Publictions. A Redemptorist Publication can be reprinted with permission of Liguori Publications, Liguori, MO 63057-9999. No other reproduction of this material is permitted. Used by permission.

A fine collection of vegetarian soups.
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Bean Soup with Escarole (Italian)

1 pound dried navy beans
6 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
¼ pound lean salt pork cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 cup minced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large head escarole
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese to pass at table

1. Soak the beans overnight in water to cover by 2 inches. Or, cover with water, bring to a boil, boil 5 minutes, and soak, covered, for 1 hour.

2. Put the beans and their soaking water, the beef stock, and bay leaves in a large kettle. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour, or until the beans are tender.

3. While the beans are cooking, put the salt pork in a large skillet and brown over moderate heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook them in the rendered fat, but do not let them brown. Stir frequently. Remove the mixture with a slotted spoon, and add it to the soup.

4. Wash the escarole thoroughly, and tear it into 2-inch pieces. When the beans are cooked, add the escarole. Simmer 5 minutes or until soft. Season to taste, keeping in mind the fact that Parmesan cheese is salty. Serve at once, with a bowl of grated Parmesan cheese. 8 servings.

From Festa: Recipes and Recollections of Italian Holidays by Helen Barolini. 1988 Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 2002 University of Wisconsin Press. Used by permission.

A delightful collection of Italian recipes for many saints days and other Italian festivals. Purchase from amazon.com, amazon.ca or amazon.uk.

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Cheese label

St. Nicholas Pizza

A quick and easy lunch or snack. For a larger pizza, cut more cheese pieces and arrange around the top.

Your favorite single serving-size frozen microwave cheese pizza
Cheese slice (a yellow cheese is best)
Miniature cross cookie cutter*

Prepare pizza according to package directions. Cut cross shape out of cheese slice, then cut cheese into miter-shape. When pizza is done, put cheese on top and heat for about 10 seconds to slightly melt cheese. Serves 1

*Use the bonus cross cutter that comes with our miter cookie cutter or they are available from Foose Cookie Cutters or Off the Beaten Path

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Pfannkuchen German Pancakes

A traditional dish for St. Nikolaus Day

Combine and stir until smooth:

4 beaten egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch ¼ cup lukewarm milk ¼ cup lukewarm water ¾ teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar Grated rind of 1 lemon

Beat until very stiff:

4 to 5 egg whites

Fold egg whites into the yolk mixture. Melt in a heavy 10-inch skillet:

2 tablespoons butter

When the skillet is hot, pour in the pancake batter. Cook it over low to medium heat, partly covered with a lid, for about 5 minutes. Or the batter may be cooked until it begins to set and then be placed briefly in a preheated 400º oven until it is puffed and firm. Cooking time in all is about 7 minutes. It should puff up well, but it may fall, so serve it at once with:

Confectioner's sugar and cinnamon or lemon juice;
covered with jam or jelly and rolled;
or with wine, fruit, or rum sauce.

Makes 1 large pancake, serves 2

From The Joy of Cooking: the All-Purpose Cookbook by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. Copyright © 1975 Scribner.

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Cheese label
French cheese label, 1950s
Carré de l'Est, a soft camembert type cheese
St Nicholas Center Collection

Italian Dish for San Nicola

This recipe of Saint Nicola is the one used by the priest of Monteleone di Spoleto, the eve of the day of Saint Nicola, the 5th of December. It is called the "lean recipe" because it's only dressed with olive oil. It is perfect for any vegetarian diet and gives to the body a great amount of natural elements.

for 4 persons:

4 spoons of spelt (farro di Monteleone)
1 onion
1 celery
olive oil
peeled tomatoes or tomatoes sauces
a bit of salt
2 potatoes cut in small cubes

Mince onions and celery and fry them in a pan with a bit of olive oil and some peeled tomatoes. Add water and when it starts to boil add the Spelt Farro di Monteleone. Cook for 1 hour mixing often. When cooked, you can add some chilli or pecorino cheese.

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Runderlappen (Dutch Spiced Beef)

3 lbs. round steak, cut into six pieces
Salt and pepper
½ cup butter or bacon drippings
3 medium onions, sliced
1 cup water
3 tablespoons vinegar
½ tablespoon mustard
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon whole cloves
5 peppercorns

Pound meat and rub each piece with salt and pepper. Heat butter or bacon drippings in skillet until very hot. Brown meat thoroughly on both sides. Shortly before meat is done, add onions, and fry lightly, but not browned. Place meat in a covered baking dish. To drippings and onions in skillet add water, vinegar, mustard, bay leaf, cloves, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and pour over meat. Cover meat and simmer very gently for 2–3 hours at 350º until very tender. Turn meat every half-hour.

From Festive Recipes and Festival Menus by Sula Benet, Abelard-Schuman, 1970, p. 86.

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Brussels Lof (Dutch Buttered Endive)

Endive
Belgian Endive

Photo: Food site of the Day Used by permission

12 Belgian endives
1 cup butter, creamed
Nutmeg

Prepare the endive by slicing about 1/8 inch from the stem end of each, then cut out a cone shape about ½-inch deep from the stem end. Cook endives in boiling salted water until tender. Take care that they remain whole. Drain and place on a hot platter. Cover with creamed butter. Sprinkle with nutmeg or serve nutmeg separately.

From Festive Recipes and Festival Menus by Sula Benet, Abelard-Schuman, 1970, P. 86.

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Stuffed Pork Shoulder Roast

The fruit stuffing in the roast symbolizes the good works of St. Nicholas—some done in secret, hidden from others' eyes, and some done openly.

4–6 lb. pork shoulder roast

Stuff with:

½ cup diced fresh cranberries
1 apple, diced
2/3 cup prunes cut into bits
½–2/3 cup raisins

Bake in oven for about 3–3½ hours at 350º F. Or cook in crock pot all day slowly. (Serves 8)

From St. Michael the Archangel On-Line

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Zhito/Koljibo (Serbian Slava Wheat)

Krsna Slava Wheat
Zhito/Koljivo for Krsna Slava
Photo: Prosphora.org
Used by permission

Zhito or Koljivo is one of the traditional parts of the Krsna Slava celebration. The boiled wheat symbolizes the Resurrection of Christ and the hope given to all who live within the Church, for "except a grain of wheat die it cannot rise again."

1 pound wheat grain
1 pound sugar
1 pound walnuts, ground
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons rum
½ cup water
almonds (optional)

Set aside 2 rounded tablespoons each of the sugar and ground walnuts and set them aside for the topping. Cook wheat in clear water over medium heat for about 2 hours. Change water several times during cooking, by draining and replacing with cold water. When wheat is cooked, drain completely and spread on a clean cloth to dry. Grind wheat in a meat grinder. Mix wheat, sugar, walnuts and flavoring. Add water until mixture is moist. Place this mixture on a serving dish. Form into a rounded shape. Combine the reserved sugar and walnuts and spread over the top. Almonds may also be used for garnish.

From Serbian Cookbook, St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church, Indianapolis, Indiana. Used by permission. Purchase from St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church.

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Saint-Nicolas Shells

½ cup (125 ml) butter
1 pound (454 g) fresh mushrooms, cleaned and dice coarsely
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh parsley
1½ pounds (680 g) large scallops
1½ pounds (680 g) large shrimp
1½ cups (375 ml) dry white wine
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups (750 ml) cold water
Few drops Tabasco sauce
Few drops Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter
6 tablespoons (90 ml) all-purpose flour
½ cup (125 ml) heavy cream (35%)
¾ cup (190 ml) grated Gruyere cheese

Melt ½ cup (125 ml) butter in large pan; add and brown mushrooms, onion, parsley, scallops and shrimp. Stir in dry white wine and sprinkle with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring, simmer for 2 minutes. Remove scallops and shrimp, set aside. Stir in cold water, Tabasco, and Worcestershire. Cook for 5 minutes on high heat. Remove from heat. In another pan, melt remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter, over low heat. Mix in flour, until well blended. Cook for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in reserved mixture. Lower heat and mix cream in well. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring, over low heat. If desired, thicken sauce. Stir in reserved scallops and shrimp, reheat for 2 to 3 minutes. Preheat oven at broil. Remove mixture from heat. Pour evenly into 8 shells, sprinkle with Gruyere cheese. Broil for 5 minutes. Serve immediately. 8 servings

—Contributed to Recipe Box by Gisele, Aylmer, Quebec, Canada

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Fish dish
Baba Slavka's Palnen Sharan Plakiya
Photo: Anglo-American School of Sofia

Baba Slavka's Palnen Sharan Plakiya (Granma Slavka's Bulgarian Stuffed Carp in Tomato Sauce)

Dec 6 is Nikulden in Bulgaria (St. Nicolas' Day). St. Nicolas is believed to help all the sailors and fishermen (as well as all the bankers?!). The traditional Bulgarian meal is centered around a fish dish (usually carp). Today many people make a fish dish, but not the traditional ribnik. This isn't a traditional recipe—the ginger and soya sauce are not typical, have been added since they make for a much nicer taste. This personal version of a carp recipe has been made for Nikulden by grade 6 at the Anglo-American School of Sofia, Bulgaria.

For further instructions and other recipes from Bulgaria

1 carp—big
1 cup walnuts
2 cans tomato
1 cup rice
½ cup raisins
4 leeks
5 big mushrooms
ginger
1 lemon
½ bunch parsley
pepper
salt
soya sauce

First get the carp (fish) and cut the stomach open. Then take out all the organs from the body of the carp. Put salt on the carp so that it won't fly off from your hands. After that scrape the scales and then wash it. Next open the tomato cans and take out the tomatoes, and cut them into halves. Put the tomatoes and the sauce in a bowl. Take the five mushrooms and wash them. Cut them into about three pieces each and put them in a separate bowl. Then you cut all the leeks in small pieces and then put them in another bowl. When you have finished that, you peel the garlic skin and cut them into small pieces and then you put them in a small bowl. Cut the parsley into tiny pieces and put in another small bowl. Then cut the lemon into two halves. Next cook the rice with the leeks for about twenty minutes. Later crush the walnuts. After that take an ovenproof form and oil it. And then put the fish in it. Next pour the Soya sauce, put pepper on , put lemon and put ginger on the carp. When the rice and the leeks are finished then stuff them with the raisins and walnuts in the carp. When ready you sew with string so you close the stomach. Later on put all the tomatoes and mushrooms and leeks on the carp. Finishing off you put the carp in the oven and bake it for 3 hours at medium high temperature. Enjoy your meal.

By Ph. — Gr. 6

From Milena Baeva, who teaches Bulgarian cultural studies at the Anglo-American School of Sofia, Bulgaria. Used by permission.

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