Saints, Feast, Family
- Traditions passed down with Cooking, Crafting, & Caring -
Saint of the day:
Saint Joan of the Cross
“In the evening of life I shall be judged by love.”—Saint John of the Cross
The Story of Saint Joan of the Cross
Saint Joan of the Cross’ Story
An encounter with a shabby old woman many dismissed as insane prompted Saint Joan to dedicate her life to the poor. For Joan, who had a reputation as a businesswoman intent on monetary success, this was a significant conversion.
Born in 1666 in Anjou, France, Joan worked in the family business—a small shop near a religious shrine—from an early age. After her parents’ death she took over the shop. She quickly became known for her greediness and insensitivity to the beggars who often came seeking help.
That was until she was touched by the strange woman who claimed she was on intimate terms with the deity. Joan, who had always been devout, even scrupulous, became a new person. She began caring for needy children. Then the poor, elderly, and sick came to her. Over time, she closed the family business so she could devote herself fully to good works and penance.
She went on to found what came to be known as the Congregation of Saint Anne of Providence. It was then she took the religious name of Joan of the Cross. By the time of her death in 1736 she had founded 12 religious houses, hospices, and schools. Pope John Paul II canonized her in 1982.
Pork Rillettes (Slow-Cooked Pork Spread)
Be warned, classic French pork rillettes are not a pâté, as you will find to your peril should you ever use the term in France. Rillettes are long, slow-cooked meats, usually cooked in their own fat, and a few herbs and seasoning. What is created by the long slow cooking is akin to pulled pork with a softer flavor. They are, quite simply, delicious.
Spread rillettes on toasted baguette, sprinkle lightly with freshly cracked
black pepper and salt for a quick, easy appetizer. For a bold flavor or
gourmet appetizer spread the toasts with fig jam;
the sweet jam and pork work so well together.
1 1/2 pounds lean pork, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 pound pork fatback
1/2 pound duck legs, kept whole
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 dried bay leaf
Preheat oven to 325 F. In a large ovenproof baking dish, mix all the ingredients.
Tightly cover the dish with foil or a well-fitting lid.
Cook in the center of the oven for 3 hours, until the meat is falling apart. It is imperative to keep checking the dish to make sure the meat is not drying out as it cooks; add more water if needed. Once cooked, remove the dish from the heat, leave the foil or lid in place and allow the meat to cool in the dish for 30 to 45 minutes until it is warm.
Remove the lid and discard the bay leaf and duck bones and any little pieces of meat which may have dried too far.
Shred and stir the meat and fat with a large fork until it resembles a chunky, creamy spread, if correctly cooked this will be very easy to do.
Place the rillettes in a beautiful serving pot and level with the back of a spoon.
Pour any remaining fat in the cooking dish over the surface to help keep the rillettes moist.
Chill for at least 24 hours before serving.