14 September 2010

14 September - Exaltation of the Holy Cross; Basil; Have Gun Will Travel

Weather: No rain on Holy Cross, no rain for six weeks (which hopefully will take us out of hurricane season).

The feast today, Exaltation or Triumph of the Holy Cross, commemorates the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in 335, in which was placed a portion of the Holy Cross of Our Lord found by Saint Helena; it also commemorates the recovery of the relic from the Persians, and its return to that church by Emperor Heraclius in 629.

According to the story, the Emperor carried the Cross back to Jerusalem, dressed in his best.  For some reason, though,  he stopped and could not move forward.

 The Bishop then told him that even though he carried the Cross, he did not resemble Our Lord, who wore no costly robes or jewels.  Heraclius then divested himself of his attire, and in penitential garb and barefoot, carried the Cross into Jerusalem.

Ways to celebrate this important Feast can be found here on Catholic Culture, including several recipes for Hot Cross Buns (normally seen on Good Friday, but equally good here).
The 'royal herb' Basil is associated with this day, as the story is that Saint Helena found the Cross after digging under a bed of basil.

When next you plan your garden, make sure you have basil plants next to your tomatoes.  The basil protects the tomatoes, and gives them a good flavor.  It is a tender plant, and doesn't usually survive North American winters, so treat it like an annual - start the seeds indoors and plant them when the ground has warmed.

(Don't let your plants get to the flowering point seen here. If you want to keep more flavor in the leaves (and you do), pinch off the seed heads as soon as they show up.

Pots of basil set around the patio, or on the table, repel flies, and sometimes mosquitoes as well.

The easiest recipe is sliced tomatoes dressed with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of chopped basil. (Basil and tomatoes just go together)

Make BASIL BUTTER by mixing 1/2 cup of softened butter and 3 teaspoons fresh chopped basil.  This can be frozen, and pieces sliced off as needed.  Vary it by adding garlic and/or a little lemon juice.
Use it to dress pasta or vegetables.

There are any number of PESTO recipes; here's an easy one:

2 cups washed fresh basil
3 cloves of garlic
(optional: 4 tablespoons of pine nuts.  Many people are allergic to nuts, so I leave them out.)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Using a pestle, grind and mash the basil and garlic (and nuts if you use them) into a paste in a mortar; add olive oil a tablespoon at a time, alternating with a tablespoon of Parmesan, blending well each time.  Season with salt and pepper - or not.

Or go the easy route and put all ingredients except the Parmesan into a blender, and pulverize until it is a paste; add the Parmesan and blend again briefly. Season - or not.

In 1957, the television series, Have Gun, Will Travel premiered on CBS and continued for six seasons.  The half-hour show starred Richard Boone as "Paladin", the champion-for-hire, who used his weapons as a last resort, always preferring to find a peaceable way (or at least, a less life-threatening way) to settle a conflict.

The best website for the show can be found here.
(there are more candles hiding behind the ones you see)

Also, today is my younger sister's birthday.

"And the greatest of these is Charity."

Again, her 29th (and I hope she doesn't admit to anything more, because I am five years older).

Happy birthday, Sis!  And many, many more!