This is the first Michaelmas or Autumn Ember Days of this year. Autumn Ember Days are moveable days, the first coming on the Wednesday after Holy Cross (September 14) an the 3rd Sunday of in September.
Ember Days of Autumn are designed to bring the faithful together in their hearts, to focus on giving thanks for the grape harvest and the wines that will become the Precious Blood of Christ. Ember Days, celebrated four times throughout the year, are connected to the changing seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Unlike the secular calendar that marks the beginning of the new year on January 1, the Church calendar begins its new year on the First Sunday of Advent, usually in late November or early December. That would make the Ember Days of Fall the last set of the Church Year.
Once upon a time, Ember Days were observed throughout the Catholic community – among the lay and religious orders alike. But like so many customs of old, Ember Days are no longer viewed as days dedicated to fasting and prayer. Their observance among the lay faithful is strictly voluntary. What I find sad isn’t so much that most do not acknowledge Ember Days or follow the traditions set so long ago, but that most people have never even heard of Ember Days. In all fairness, I might not have known either. However; one of the things I “inherited” was a collection of Catechism Books used by my parents long before the changes of Vatican II. Some are written in Latin on one page, then English on the next. Many of the prayers are in Latin. These books have been a treasure trove, and have inspired me to learn more through research. The Catholic Faith is woven in traditions. It’s beautiful, tracing its roots all the way back to Peter, the Rock on which Christ built his church.
Today is also the Feast Day of Saint Matthew. Little is known about Saint Matthew except that he was the son of Alpheus, and was likely born in Galilee. Before becoming an Apostle of Christ, Matthew earned a living as a tax collector. As you can imagine, he wasn’t very popular. Many years after the crucifixion of Jesus, perhaps around 41 through 50 AD, Saint Matthew wrote his gospel account. His Gospel was written in Aramaic, with the hopes that his account would convince his fellow people that Jesus was the Christ, the promised Messiah. Often painting of Saint Matthew depict him writing his Gospel in the company of an angel. It is the artist’s way of expressing divine inspiration.
Finally, today is National New York Day – to pay tribute to the great state of New York. It is from New York that I took inspiration for an amazing Steak and Fries recipe. Steak Frites is just a fancy French way of saying Steak and Fries. Historically, the rump steak was commonly used in the preparation of Steak Frites. The modern rendition often uses a boneless Ribeye Steak. However, since today is New York Day, no other cut but a New York Steak would do.
Whatever the celebration – be it Ember Days, the Feast of Saint Matthew or to tip your hat to New York, this steak and fry supper is sure to please. Enjoy!
New York Steak Frites
4 (8 oz) New York Steak, 1-inch thick
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
2 large Garlic Cloves
4 tablespoons fresh Parsley
Oil for deep frying
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1 bag frozen Shoestring Fries
Remove steaks from refrigerator, season with salt and pepper. Let rest for 30 minutes before cooking.
Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside. Snip parsley and set aside.
In a deep, wide saucepot, heat 4-inches of oil to 350-degrees for the French Fries. While the oil heats, warm a serving platter in a 170-degree oven.
Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Coat skillet with 1 tablespoon oil. Sear steaks in skillet for 2 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer steaks from the skillet to the warm platter, tent and let rest. If necessary, cook steaks in batches.
In a small sauté pan heat olive oil with butter and garlic. When the garlic begins to sizzle, remove from heat and add the parsley. Set aside.
Carefully place frozen fries into hot oil and deep fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Place cooked fries in a bowl with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Remove the towel, toss fries in the garlic and parsley mixture, and season to taste with salt.
Slice steaks and serve with the hot fries.
3 thoughts on “For All This Day Means”
I’m guessing Saint Matthew would have loved your meal Rosemarie
Thank you – I hope so.
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