The Bible tells us that we (all of human kind) are created in the image of God. Yet people get image, as in outward appearances, confused with who we are inside. It is the human spirit that is the image of God.
Yet every now and then, do we get a glimpse at the face of God in others. Of course this is just my opinion, but I think some people are so filled with the Spirit, that His image of compassion shines through. Saint Teresa of Calcutta is one such person.
Gonxha Agnes, the youngest child born to Nikola and Drana Bojaxhiu, is one example of God shining through. Gonxha made her First Communion before her sixth birthday. From that moment on, a love for all souls radiated within her. When she was eighteen, moved by a desire to serve the Lord, she left her home in Albania and traveled to Ireland to join the Sisters of Loreto. There she received the name Sister Mary Teresa. The world would come to know her has Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Today is her feast day, the day this beautiful soul returned to heaven, her mission on earth complete.
Small of stature, rock like in faith, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was entrusted with the mission of proclaiming God’s thirsting love for humanity, especially for the poorest of the poor. “God still loves the world and He sends you and me to be His love and His compassion to the poor.” She was a soul filled with the light of Christ, on fire with love for Him and burning with one desire: “to quench His thirst for love and for souls.”
That same light burns within every person. A calling to change the world for the better – not with angry words and hatred but with love, compassion and kindness. Mercy is not a weakness, it’s a virtue. As a Catholic, I believe God sends us examples to show us the way through Saints. What are saints but people who, though not perfect, give themselves over to the perfect love of the Lord. They are His hands and feet. We are His hands and feet, even when we stumble.
Today is also National Cheese Pizza Day. It seems fitting, since Cheese Pizza is probably the most humble of Pizza Pies. Count your blessings and enjoy this beautiful day.
Simply Amazing Cheese Pizza
1 package Active Dry Yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup Warm Water (100 to 110 degrees)
1 cup Cold Water
1/4 cup White Wine
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
26 oz (approximately) Bread Flour, divided
Spray 2 gallon zip-lock bags with cooking spray to coat the inside of the bag. Set aside until ready to use.
Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
In another small bowl, combine cold water, wine, oil, sugar, and salt; stir with a whisk.
Weigh or lightly spoon 25 ounces (about 5 1/4 cups) flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place measured flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine flour, yeast mixture, and cold water mixture in stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed for 8 minutes or until dough begins to form. Let rest 2 minutes; mix on low speed for 6 minutes or until dough is smooth. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 2 minutes); add enough of the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will still feel sticky without actually sticking).
Divide the dough in half, and place each portion in prepared bags. Seal and chill overnight or up to 2 days. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
Not willing to wait that long? Pick up refrigerated pizza dough from your favorite pizza parlor or in the refrigerated section of your local market.
Slow Cooker Tomato-Red Wine Sauce
8 lbs fresh Tomatoes (Roma or San Marzano)
2 large White Onions, chopped
8 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 (6-oz.) can Tomato Paste
2 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
2 tablespoons Sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons dried Italian Seasoning
1/4 cup Red Wine
1/2 cup fresh Basil
1 tablespoon fresh Thyme Leaves
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
Cut a small “X” in bottom of each tomato. Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil in a large stockpot; add tomatoes, and boil 30 to 60 seconds or until peel begins to separate from tomato flesh. Remove with a slotted spoon. Rinse immediately with cold running water, or plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain. Peel tomatoes, and discard skin. Cut tomatoes in half, and gently squeeze to remove seeds. Coarsely chop tomatoes and set aside.
Peel and dice onions, set aside. Peel and mince garlic, set aside.
In the insert of a 7-quart slow cooker, stir together onions, garlic, tomato paste, white wine vinegar, sugar and Italian Seasoning. Add chopped tomatoes and red wine. Cover and cook on HIGH 4 to 5 hours or until tomatoes have broken down and are very soft. Cool 20 minutes.
While the mixture cools, chop basil leaves, set aside. Pluck thyme leaves from the sprigs, set aside. Once the mixture is cool, stir in basil and thyme.
Process mixture with a handheld blender until smooth, or process mixture, in batches, in a food processor or blender. Season with salt and pepper.
Surely you can wait for the sauce to simmer, but if not then use your favorite commercial pizza sauce.
Cornmeal as needed
12 slices Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
2 oz Parmesan Cheese, shredded
2 oz Smoked Gouda Cheese, shredded
Fresh Basil as desired
Heat outdoor grill to high, at least 400 degrees.
Dust 2 pizza pans with cornmeal. Form each ball of pizza dough into pizza rounds on the prepared pizza pans. Set aside.
Slice fresh Mozzarella, set aside. Shred Parmesan Cheese and smoked Gouda cheese, toss shredded cheeses together and set aside.
Pluck fresh basil leaves for garnish, set aside.
Slide pizza rounds directly onto the grill grate, cornmeal side down. Close lid, grill dough rounds for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully flip rounds over onto pizza pans.
Spread a few tablespoons of tomato sauce over each crust. Sprinkle with shredded cheese blends. Divide Mozzarella slices, lay over the shredded cheese.
Carefully slide pizzas back onto the grill. Close lid and continue to cook until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.
Slide back onto pizza pans. Chop basil, scatter over grilled pizzas. Serve with a nice wine and enjoy.