Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Feast Day: St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Today is the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, the daughter of Alexander II of Hungary.  At the age of 4, she was sent to live in the court of the Landgrave of Thuringia since she was betrothed to his son.  At 13, she married Louis and they had three children.  In spite of her position at Court, she was dedicated to helping the poor, the homeless and others unjustly accused.  When her husband died in the Crusades, Elizabeth left the world and became a tertiary Franciscan, continuing to help the poor and destitute, building the Franciscan hospital at Marburg.  She died at the age of 24. 

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, even though you had all the power and prestige of the world of your day, you renounced it all to take of God's poorest.  Help me to always help others with a willing spirit, punctually.  St. Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us!

FYI:  the image in the prayer card above is from a painting done by Marianne Stokes  (1855-1927).  Titled St. Elizabeth of Hungary Spinning for the Poor, this picture not only shows St. Elizabeth's youth but her tireless working for the poor and destitute. 

Dinner tonight?  Red Bean and Rice Soup from Br. Victor-Antoine's Twelve Month of Monastery Soup (with a bit of a tweak ... adding leeks with one onion, mixed peppers in lieu of the carrots, but otherwise ... I'll do the recipe!) and kalacs (a Hungarian sweet bread) to eat with the soup.  Charlotte over at Waltzing Matilda led me to the recipe, but I'm tweaking that a bit too.  Here's my version:

KALACS (Hungarian Cinnamon Bread) with slight revisions from moi!

• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup whole wheat flour (+ scant 1/4 cup if dough too sticky)
• 1/4 cup white sugar
• 1 tbls envelope active dry yeast
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1 1/4 cups milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• melted butter for brushing
• 2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
• 1/3 cup brown sugar

1. Place flour, white sugar, salt, and yeast large bowl; stir to combine. Measure milk and butter into a microwavable bowl and heat till butter melts. Add egg and vanilla and stir till all combined. Pour liquid into the flour mixture. Stir until dough clings together. Continue to knead in the bowl until comes off the sides; add up to 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour if needed.
2. Place dough into a greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
3. Punch down dough, turn out onto a floured work surface, and divide into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 1/3 inch thick rectangle. Brush each square with melted butter. Mix together cinnamon, walnuts and brown sugar in a small bowl, then sprinkle evenly over the two rectangles.
4. Roll each firmly into a log, pinch the ends closed, and tuck them underneath. Place each into a greased loaf pan. Cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
6. Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter, then bake in preheated oven until loaves are golden brown, and sound hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes.

mmm... the smells in the kitchen are amazing!


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