28 August 2010

28 August - St. Augustine; Shrimp Pilau; Fabada

 Feast of Saint Augustine (354 - 430), Bishop of Hippo and Doctor of the Church

Voted most misquoted by politicians everywhere.  Bad laws can be disobeyed.  Children can be aborted.  Because, you know, St. Augustine said so.

Actually, he didn't, but that's never stopped anyone from invoking his patronage for their causes.

The image above comes from a legend, in which Augustine, pacing back and forth at the seashore as he ponders the mystery of the Trinity, comes upon a small child, who dips water from the sea and carries it back to pour into a hole in the sand.

When asked, the child said, "I'm going to empty the sea into the hole I dug in the sand."

"That's impossible!" said Augustine.  "You'll never be able to fit the entire sea in that little hole!"

 "And you will never be able to contain the infinity of God within the confines of your mind," said the child, and vanished.

The Old Schoolhouse.  Look closely, and you can see the chain which surrounds the house, attached to the large anchor, which is supposed to keep the schoolhouse from getting underway in a hurricane.
This is also the titular holiday of the City of St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the continental United States, founded in 1565 as San Agustin by the Spanish Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles.


1/4 cup fat salt pork, diced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 lb shrimps, cooked
1 cup rice, cooked and hot
And the usual salt and pepper to taste

Fry the salt pork until well browned and crisp.  Remove pork, add onion and pepper to the fat, and cook until soft.  Stir in pork, shrimp, and rice; season with salt and pepper. Let simmer about 10 minutes.  You could also brown sliced okra in a little butter and add about 5 minutes before the Pilau is done.

Of course, when Admiral Menendez was there, the cuisine was that of shipboard - hardtack, chickpeas, olive oil, salt cod - any or all of which could have turned bad during the cruise.  Perhaps he thought longingly back to the cuisine of his home in the Asturias, like FABADA:

1 lb dried fava beans or navy beans, soaked overnight
1 onion, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lb chorizo, large dice
1/2 lb blood sausage, large dice
1/2 lb ham, large dice or 1 smoked ham hock
1/4 lb bacon, large dice
1 teaspoon ground saffron or a pinch of saffron threads

Bring beans and fresh cold water (about 6 cups) to a rolling boil.  Drain, cover with fresh cold water, and again bring to a boil.  Add onion and oil.  When water is at a full rolling boil, add meats and saffron.  Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 2 to 3 hours, or until beans are tender, adding water as necessary to keep beans and meat covered. When cooked, season to taste. Remove ham hock (if used), allow it to cool so that it can be handled, and shred meat into pot.  Then enjoy.