Saints, Feast, Family
- Traditions passed down with Cooking, Crafting, & Caring -
Saint of the day:
Saint Natalia (Natalie)
Patron Saint of converts, martyrs
Saint Natalia's Story
Aurelius and Natalie (died 852) were Christian martyrs who were put to death during the reign of Abd ar-Rahman II, Emir of Córdoba, and are counted among the Martyrs of Córdoba.
Aurelius was the son of a Muslim father and a Christian mother. He was also secretly a follower of Christianity, as was his wife Natalie, who was also the child of a Muslim father. One of Aurelius's cousins, Felix, accepted Islam for a short time, but later converted back to Christianity and married a Christian woman, Liliosa.
Under Sharia Law, all four of them were required to profess Islam. In time all four began to openly profess their Christianity, with the two women going about in public with their faces unveiled. They were all swiftly arrested as apostates from Islam.
They were given four days to recant, but they refused and were beheaded. They were martyred with a local monk, George, who had openly spoken out against the prophet Mohammed. He had been offered a pardon as a foreigner but chose instead to denounce Islam again and die with the others.
They are considered saints in the Roman Catholic Church, with a feast day of July 27.
Saint Natalia de Córdoba was born in this city around 825, in full Muslim rule. Emir Abderramán II reigned then, believing that with this he would tame the rebellious character of the Christians, he unleashed a persecution against them that further inflamed the problem he wanted to solve. Indeed, the religious provocation against the Muslims ended up, knowing that this one always ended in martyrdom. It was the case of Natalia, who was born to Mohammedan parents. But the father died, being still very small, the mother married in second nuptials with a Christian, who managed to convert her.
Natalia was educated, then, Christianly and married to Aurelio. Aurelio was born to a Christian mother and a Mohammedan father. With the passage of time, he was orphaned and educated by a Christian aunt. They lived like true believers but in hiding, to avoid persecution. But having attended the martyrdom of John, both husbands believed that they had to be braver and practice their religion in public to encourage other Christians, thus preventing them from moving on to Islam, the official religion at that time and place. Soon it was their turn to martyrdom.
They were seized by the governor's ministers and taken to prison. There they tried by all means, judges and executioners, to deny their faith. But neither the promises nor the tortures could with them, reason why finally they were degollados the 27 of July of the 852. Their bodies were buried and venerated by the Christians; but being very unsafe in Cordoba, Carlos el Calvo took care of moving six years later to San Germán (Paris) the body of San Aurelio and the head of Santa Natalia.
Natalia's grief was that her two daughters, ages 5 and 8, would become Muslims as established by Arab laws. They were taken to the Tabanense monastery under the care of Isabela, widow and martyr of Jeremiah. They gave him money for his support.
We are celebrating with Spanish/Moroccan recipes because our Saint was from Al-Andalus.
Fava Bean Soup is a much beloved Moroccan classic, called Bessara.
Fava Bean Soup soup costs pennies, and tastes like a million bucks. Naturally vegetarian and gluten-free too!
You might choose to serve fava bean soup not as a soup but as a side dish. In this case, proceed just as instructed, using only 6-8 water.
There is no substitute for the funky and incredibly flavorful fava beans. You will find them in Indian, Italian and Middle Eastern Grocery stores, or simply go online: well worth looking for. You will love them, so get a nice supply and store them in glass jars. Get only peeled fava beans.
Don’t get it into your head to peel the fava beans, which would be pure slavery: Buy them peeled!
4 cups peeled dry fava beans
3 quarts (12 cups) water
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
8 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
2 tablespoons cumin
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Bring the beans, water, oil, salt and garlic to boil in a wide bottom pot.
Reduce the flame to medium and cook, covered, for 2 hours.
Whisk the paprika, cayenne, cumin, lemon juice and a little water in a
bowl to make sure you have no spice lumps, and throw the mixture in the pot.
Cook 15 more minutes. You will find that the beans have almost completely
dissolved all by themselves, but just in case you want a more elegant presentation,
cream the soup with an immersion blender.
Adjust the texture and seasonings.
Variation: Cold fava bean soup: GF Stir in a 15-ounce can coconut milk in the chilled soup, and serve cold.
From Córdoba, Spain
Salmorejo is gazpacho’s lesser-known cousin!
8 Medium Tomatoes, quality is most important
1 Medium Baguette
1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (again, quality is important)
1 Clove of Garlic (not too big)
A Splash of Sherry Vinegar
(Vinagre de Jerez, although red wine vinegar can be substituted)
A Pinch of Salt
2 Hard Boiled Eggs
Sliced Serrano Ham (or Prosciutto)
Scald the tomatoes: Put a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. Cut a small cross in the bottom of each tomato. When the water is boiling add the tomatoes for 30-60 seconds. Remove immediately and place in a cold water bath (a bowl filled with ice and cold water). The skin will peel right off of the tomatoes.
First Blend: Cut out the cores of the tomatoes and add all the rest to your blender. Blend at high-speed for about 30 seconds until the tomatoes are broken down.
Add bread: Take all of the "guts" out of your baguette and add them to the blended tomatoes. The baguette should have given about 2-3 cups of guts and you can experiment with how much you add, as this is how you change the texture. I use about 2 cups of the bread guts. Let the bread soak in the tomato juice for about 5 minutes.
Second Blend: Add the splash of vinegar, salt, and garlic and blend until the soup is an even texture and the bread is completely broken down.
Add Oil: If your blender has it, open the small hole in the top. Slowly add the olive oil as you are blending at a moderate speed. If it doesn't have the hole, stop and go adding little by little.
Add Egg and Adjust: Add 1 hardboiled egg and blend until incorporated. Taste and adjust levels of salt, vinegar, garlic, and bread.