Friday, December 20, 2013

This Christmas Part Eight

Last night slave got to spend some time with Sir Mike, who explained a bit of the Polish traditions of Christmas.

Poles do not really start celebrating Christmas until Christmas Eve, but then the Christmas season in Poland finishes much later than in America. It may start with the end of Advent (Christmas Eve) but it doesn’t finish until Candlemas on Feb. 2.

He told of the Wigilia (vee-GEEL-yah), which literally means "vigil," or waiting for the birth of Baby Jesus, it is considered more important than Christmas Day itself. Sometimes this is also known as the Star Dinner.

On Christmas Eve, straw or hay, is placed under a white linen tablecloth on the table. 

Then the places are set, balanced on this, along with the finest plate the mother owns holding the blessed communion-like wafers Oplatki (oh-PWAHT-kee).

Sir Mike said it was a task trying to keep everything upright with all that straw under the tablecloth!

An extra place at the table is always set for any weary stranger who happens to pass by.

Again the tradition has morphed into setting a small platter holding a tiny bit of straw and a linen napkin over that. This in no way diminishes the tradition, yet it ensures that it is kept alive for more generations.

Have you been thinking of any new or changed traditions you want to try this year?
One tradition that most insist on is when serving roast turkey, you simply must have Cranberry Sauce. For years slave endured that obnoxious jelly from a can that laid there with the ridges showing. Everybody wanted to have just a bit of it. However most went into the trash latter.

Then a few years ago, maybe longer, slave stumbled onto this recipe. The difference was amazing. No more dumping into the trash! Why this is even good on the biscuits in the morning! As good as it tastes, it really is not that hard to make, so please try!

Cranberry and Cinnamon Apple Sauce


  • 2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1 (6-ounce) bag sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 Gala apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/6 cup of orange liqueur like Triple Sec
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans



First gather all the things you will need (this might sound childish – however when things get this close to the big day slave knows how easy it is to skip something important)

Peel, then core the apples and chop them into a bowl covered with a paper towel.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix the cranberry juice cocktail, the cranberries, cinnamon and sugar. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the apples and continue stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have softened and apples are tender, this will take about another 5 minutes. All the while keep it simmering, not a roiling boil but with bubbles rising.

Slave uses a 1/3 cup metal measure and dips out 2/3 a cup of the liquid into a small bowl. Then add about half of that measure full of the orange liqueur, this will help it cool just a bit. With a fork, whisk in the 2 teaspoons of cornstarch (this is now a slurry!)
Slowly stir this slurry to the cooking cranberry mixture.
You want to stir constantly from this point on.  The juices have now become a syrup. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
It doesn't have to be a fast stirring, just keep it moving so that it does not burn to the bottom of the pan.

Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl.
Take out the CINNAMON STICKS! Then stir in the nuts!
After about 30 minutes of cooling, seal the bowl and put into the refrigerator over night and it will solidify nicely. Fixing this now will be good timing for Christmas day!

NOTE: slave understands that you will want to taste it now, but remember that nothing is quite as hot as melted sugar and it will burn the hell out of your tongue. 

Has anyone noticed how well the house has smelled the last few days? With the cookies, then the pie, now the wonderful mixture of cranberries and cinnamon! Good! This is all part of our Master Plan as agents of Christmas!

By the way, if You have been hit with lots of snow and someone has been brave enough to be out there shoveling, how about greeting them with some hot chocolate and warm toast? It takes hardly any effort on your part but really makes an impression. 

Later offer to run a hot tub for them. Maybe scrub their back. Come on: it can be lots of fun and nothing conveys caring like touch.

Never neglect the power of touch this year. Touch, stroke, and keep hugging!  Its healthy, its warm, and You KNOW you enjoy it too!

Serving my Master Indy


To satisfy and restore.
To nourish, support and maintain.
To gratify, spoil, comfort and please,
to nurture, assist, and sustain
..I cook!


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