Monday, December 6, 2010
Happy Saint Nicholas Day
In honour of my husband's Romanian roots, I wish you a Happy St. Nicholas Day! I found this web site which shared a little insight on this special custom; "on the night of December 5th, boots are cleaned and carefully polished to be put by the door or on the windowsill to wait for St. Nicholas' (Sfantul Nicolae) visit. He is generous to adults as well as children, putting a little present in each boot. In some areas branches or thin twigs covered with silver or bronze are left as a warning that behavior needs to improve. On the sixth of December, gifts are given to friends, children, and those in need. It is one of the most important Romanian holidays.
The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th (December 19 on the Julian Calendar).
When my husband and I visited his parents, last February, his mom made an Apple Cake to welcome us. Here is a recipe for Apple Cake to help you celebrate the holidays:
5 apples, peeled and cored
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. Cut the apples into 1 inch wedges. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until blended. Mix in the baking soda, oil, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir in the flour, just until incorporated. Fold in the apples and walnuts.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly. May be served warm or at room temperature.
You may frost with your favorite frosting recipe. I like cream cheese frosting : )
Happy Monday and Happy Holidays,
The Kitchen Witch