Welcome to the 29th day of June. The year is nearly half over. If you are going to be exact, the half-way point would be at noon on July 2. Aren’t you glad I took the time to calculate that? Of course, that doesn’t take into consideration leap years. But that’s neither here nor there.
Today is the Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul. Peter was one of the twelve. Christ called him to be a fisher of men. And Peter answered that call, giving up what may have been a comfortable life. He owned his own boat. He had employees. He had a home that was large enough to accommodate his extended family. While the life of a fisherman was physically demanding, Peter made a good living. This fact is often overlooked. When Peter chose to follow Christ, not only did he sacrifice material possessions, he was destined to be martyred at the hands of the Romans for the sake of the Church. Answering God’s call isn’t easy.
Paul was not a believer, he was a Jew in good standing who saw the early conversion of Jews to the Christian faith as a threat. He persecute Christian converts with a vengeance. We all know the story of his conversion on the road to Damascus. The Book of Acts tells us that Saul (not yet known as Paul), was on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus. He was following a mandate issued by the High Priest to seek out, arrest, interrogate and possibly execute followers of Jesus.
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; for they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Paul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. – Acts 9:3-9
Acts goes on to tell us that Saul becomes Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, his sight restored. He was baptized and went on to become in important figure in the conversion of Gentiles to the faith. Peter and Paul were both leaders in the early Church, each coming to their roles from different perspectives. Peter converted followers from the Jewish faith, Paul spread the Good Word among the Gentiles.
These two differing approaches to conversion did not make for a harmonious friendship. Peter and Paul were anything but friends. Yet Christ used these two opposing forces for the good of the Church and the whole of the world. There is a lesson here that we should take to heart.
New York Steaks with Roasted Garlic Ancho Butter
1 head Garlic
1 cup Butter, softened
2 tablespoons Ancho Chile Powder
Heat oven to 400-degrees. Wrap the head of garlic with aluminum foil and roast for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool enough to handle.
Squeeze the garlic from its papery skins into a small bowl and combine together with the butter and Ancho powder, mixing well. Season with salt and pepper.
Place a piece of plastic wrap on a work surface, spoon the butter into the middle and roll into a cylinder. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
3 (8 oz) New York Strips
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Remove steaks from the refrigerator. Season generously with salt and pepper. Let rest on the counter for about 45 minutes for the salt to break down the proteins.
Prepare a barbecue to medium-high heat. Grill the steaks to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare, 6 minutes for medium doneness. Transfer to a platter, top with a pat of butter. Cover and let rest while the butter melts into the steaks.
Mexican Rice with Black Beans and Corn
1/2 White Onion
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
2 small Fresno Chili Pepper
2 Garlic Cloves
1 can Corn
1 (15 oz) can Whole Black Beans
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 tablespoons Jalapeno Olive Oil
1 cup White Rice
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes with Chilies
1 teaspoon New Mexican Red Chile Powder
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
1-1/2 cups Water
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
2 Green Onions
Cilantro for garnish
Peel and dice onion, set aside. Stem, core, seed and dice peppers, set aside. Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside.
Drain corn, place in a mixing bowl. Drain and rinse black beans, add to the corn. Stir in minced garlic. Season with Cumin and set aside.
In a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice, sauté for about 2 or 3 minutes.
Add black bean mixture and diced tomatoes. Stir to blend. Add chicken stock and water. Season with Red Chile Powder, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is cooked, about 20 minutes.
While the rice cooks, slice green onion and cilantro for garnish. When ready, scatter green onions and cilantro over the cooked rice. Serve and enjoy.