30 December 2010

30 December - Saint Anysia; 6th Day of Christmas; Moussaka

Weather: the weather today foretells the weather of June.  Clear, bright sunshine, a few clouds, and getting warmer.

Okay, lest anyone think that only men are hailed as martyrs and heroes of the Church, today we celebrate the feast of Saint Alysia of Thessaloniki (or Salonika) (c. 304).

She was a young Christian woman of good family, who took private vows of poverty and chastity, and used the money left to her by her parents in alms to help the poor and needy.  One day, as she made her way to a gathering of Christians, a soldier accosted her and demanded where she was going.  Frightened, she stepped backwards and made the sign of the Cross [a dead giveaway].

The soldier tried to drag her away to a pagan sacrifice, but she resisted so strongly in spite of his abuse, that in a rage he drew his sword and killed her.
For Saint Alysia's Day, have a Greek dinner.  MOUSSAKA is an easy dish to make.

Heat oil in a deep-fat fryer.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Finely chop 2 onions; mince 2 cloves of garlic. Reserve.

Peel 1-1/2 pounds of potatoes; slice into 1/4 inch slices (lengthwise or cross-wise, either one).  Fry in hot oil until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Arrange half of the potatoes on the bottom of a rectangular casserole.

In a large skillet, saute the onion in 1/4 cup of olive oil until soft.  Remove onion with a slotted spoon to a bowl.  Crumble 1 pound of ground beef into the skillet and cook, stirring, until no longer pink.  Add the onions, garlic, an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour meat mixture over the potato layer in the casserole.  Layer the remaining potato slices over the meat.

In a bowl, beat 2 eggs lightly and add 1 cup of milk.  Pour over potato layer.  Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of grated kefaloteri cheese (if you can find it; Pecorino Romano or Parmesan if you can't).

Bake for 45 minutes and serve, cut into squares.