Monday, December 14, 2009

Advent Activities

Life sure has been busy around here. I think it was Thursday night or maybe Friday night Devon, Anselm and I wen to see the Nutcracker. And then on Saturday Athanasia, Anselm, Basil, and I made salt dough Christmas Tree ornaments.

Sunday evening we made the sausage for Christmas morning. (We eat it after Divine Liturgy. Our parish has Liturgy in the morning instead of the middle of the night. I've experienced both and like it in the morning more. It's just so much easier than hauling the kids to church for a Great Vespers at 11 followed by Matins and Divine Liturgy sometime after Midnight. I can understand wanting to do it at Midnight, and if I didn't have kids I'd be totally into it.)

Well, yesterday was Sunday of the Forefathers, St. Herman's Day, St. Lucy's Day (if my last child had been a girl we were going to name her Lucy and have her do that whole candles on the head thing), and several other Saint's days. Because I was the only one on my family not sick, and had to deal with a flood I only popped into church long enough to light some candles for my sick family and then ran to the hardware store to buy hoses and a pump.

On Saturday night I read a childrens book about St. Herman of Alaska to the boys (It is one of the books on the Advent/Christmas shelf.) and we talked about St.Herman for a while. Even though he is sometimes called the first American Saint, that is not the case. There were some American martyrs before St. Herman was glorified. One thing that the boys were really curious about was the heavy iron cross St. Herman wore. Unfortunately, I do not know anything about it. I've seen it in icons, but I would like to know more. Why did he wear it? I've never seen other monks wear anything like that. Was it a penance? How heavy was it? How did he prevent pressure sores from developing on his shoulders and chest?

On Sunday evening, after a supper of salmon (last fish day before Nativity), rice, and green beans we read the Epistle and the Gospel for the day and talked about it. It was a pleasant. Then Athanasia left the house to do homework at her office and the boys and I made the Christmas Sausage.

The recipe is kind of ill-defined, but goessomething like this.

2 pork butt roasts chopped into 1" to 2" cubes. (Do not remove the fat!!!)
Zest of four large oranges
Juice of one orange
A couple of hand fulls of sea salt or kosher salt. (No iodized)
1 finely chopped fennel bulb
A healthy sprinkling of dried thyme (maybe a table spoon or 2?)
Same amount of dried fennel seed
A goodly number (10-15) of peeled and minced garlic cloves.
Sausage casings

1. Rinse all the salt off the the casings, running water over the outsides and through the insides of the casings. Set them aside on a paper towel or a paper plate until you need them.

2. Mix all non-casing ingredients together in a large bowl until all spices and herbs are evenly distributed through the pork.

3. Run the pork through the grinder. It is now sausage and can be cooked like this. But we like it in casings so we take the blade out of the grinder, ad the stuffing attachment, and stuff some sausages. Also, at this point you need to fry about a tablespoon of the sausage and taste it to make sure it is good before you go through the work of stuffing. Make any adjustments before stuffing because you can't after the sausage is stuffed.

4. Slide a whole casing over the stuffing tube. (This goes better it you rub some vegetable oil on the tube first.)

5. Tie a knot in the end of the casing and begin stuffing.

6. As one person cranks and feeds the machine another person has to monitor the sausage and twist the links. I always start with two twists away from me, then the next link gets two twists toward me. This way each link is separated from every other link by 4 twists. Any more than that is just showing off.

7. Then, when you reach the end of the casing, tie it off.

Repeat steps 4-7 until all sausage is cased.

The boys had a great time making the sausage. Here are my sons Devon, Anselm, and Basil posing with some of their finished product.


DebD said...

Both activities look like so much fun. Thanks for the sausage recipe...and the pictures. Perhaps one day I'll do this myself. This year, though, we got a 1/2 pig two days before the fast started. I can't wait to try some its sausage.

Joey said...

Matt, I just read your question regarding the freshness of the fruitcake. It stays fresh a long time if wrapped in foil. And you can freeze it. I enjoy your blog...especially the photos. It almost makes me wish I was Orthodox. More God centered worship than "bless me" oriented. Thanks. Aunt J