Celebrate Saint Nicholas Day

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas. In many parts of the world, children receive gifts on this day. When Kiddo was growing up, it was a special day in our house. We celebrated all the commercial aspects of Christmas on December 6, leaving Christmas to a day reserved for Christ.

Have you ever wondered how a real life Saint became Santa Clause? There are a number of theories. Saint Nicholas was a much loved Saint long before the Protestant Reformation swept through Europe in 1517. Protestants do not believe in Saints. While the Reformation did away with saints, people clung to his memory as a generous and loving man. It was then that Saint Nicholas began to evolve into Santa Claus. New characters such as Father Christmas or Père Noël were based on a real 4th century Bishop; Nicholas of Myra.

A Dutch legend tells us of Sinta Claes and his elf, Black Peter, a small Moor, who leave Spain in a rowboat on December 6 for Amsterdam. They arrive on Christmas Eve and ask parents if their children have been good or bad. If good, Sinta Claes leaves gifts in their shoes. If not, a lump of coal is left instead. Sound familiar?

When Dutch settlers, predominately Protestant, came to New Amsterdam (New York) in the 1600s, they brought this version of Saint Nicholas with them. With a few modifications and mispronunciation, Sinta Claes became Santa Claus, and Black Peter as his traveling companion disappeared over time.

In 1820, Santa Claus no longer had a donkey. Now he road in a horse-drawn wagon that magically flew over the rooftops and dropped presents down the chimneys of good children. This Santa was a jolly fellow with a wide hat and baggy trousers. It was this Santa that inspired the famous poem, ‘Twas the night before Christmas. Now jolly Saint Nick was plump, more elf-like and could squeeze down chimneys. His wagon was now a sleigh filled with toys and pulled by flying reindeer. He no longer lived in the Mediterranean, but had moved to the North Pole.

The most familiar image of Santa Claus was the work of Haddom Sundblom, an artist for Coca-Cola’s holiday advertisement. His 1931 vision of Santa was bigger than life, all dressed in red, and enjoying a Coke. Eight years later, Santa picked up a ninth reindeer, Rudolph. The red-nosed reindeer was the creation of another advertising writer, who worked for Montgomery Ward.

The real Saint Nicholas is even more inspiring because he was a man – not a myth – who had a kind heart and used his means for the betterment of children. It is this spirit of giving that makes Christmas magical even for non-believers. It speaks to the inner child in all of us. Deep down inside, we all long to believe.

Let’s Celebrate!
Slow-Cooker Steak Sauce Barbecued Meatballs
Classic Colorful Christmas Deviled Eggs
Rudolph Cheese Ball
Christmas Tree Tortilla Roll-ups

Saint Nicholas Yule Log Cake

Slow-Cooker Steak Sauce Barbecued Meatballs
1 (26 oz) bag Frozen Meatballs
1 (28 oz) bottle Barbecue Sauce
3/4 cup Beef Stock
2 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
3 tablespoons Steak Sauce
Black Pepper to taste

Place meat balls in the refrigerator to thaw over night.

In a slow cooker, mixt barbecue sauce, beef stock, Worcestershire Sauce and steak sauce. Stir to combine. Season to taste with pepper. Stir in meat balls. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours or HIGH for 2 hours; until heated through. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Classic Colorful Christmas Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs
18 Eggs
6 tablespoons Mayonnaise
4 tablespoons Sour Cream
1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste

Place eggs in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cover with cold water. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat.

Remove from heat, place lid over eggs. Let eggs steep in the hot water for 15 minutes.

Create an ice-water bath. Once the eggs have finished steeping, lift from hot water with a slotted spoon. Gently crack shell, place egg in ice-water bath. Repeat with remaining eggs. Let cool in water for 20 minutes.

Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks and place yolks in food processor with blade.

Mix-chop yolks until fluffy and are fine grade resembling bread crumbs. Add mayonnaise and mustard and mix until creamy. Mix in red wine vinegar one tablespoon at a time and season to taste. Store filling in refrigerator until ready to fill “colored” egg whites.

Colored Egg Whites
2 large Cups or Mugs
2 cups Water
2 tablespoons White Vinegar
No Taste Red Food Coloring
Green Food Coloring

In a large cup or mug, mix water, 1 tablespoon of vinegar and red food coloring. Add coloring until desired depth is reached. Repeat with green coloring.

Divide egg whites into thirds. Dip one-third into the green coloring, one egg white at a time until the desired color is reached. Remove, turn egg shell up-side-down on paper towels to drain. Repeat with each egg white to be colored red. Repeat again with the green coloring.

Once the colored shells are completely dry, place into the egg tray, alternating colors between red, white and green.

Fill with egg mixture, piping if desired for a fancy finish.

Rudolph Cheese Ball
2 (8 oz) packages Cream Cheese
3-1/2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 tablespoons Ranch Seasoning Mix
1-1/2 cups Pecans
2 Black Olives for eyes
1 Cherry Tomato for the nose
1 small Flour Tortilla for the antlers
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
Assorted Crackers for serving
Rosemary Sprigs for garnish

Let cream cheese and sharp cheddar come to room temperature. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese and ranch dressing mix. 

Transfer cheese mixture to a sheet of plastic wrap and use plastic to form cheese mixture into a ball. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Can be made several days ahead. 

Right before serving, crush pecans. Press crushed pecans into cheese ball. Place on a serving plate. Slice the tips off of two black olives and one cherry tomato. Use toothpicks to secure to cheese ball.

Cut “antlers” from the tortilla. Heat oil in a small skillet. Gently fry antlers into golden. Position antlers as desired.

Arrange crackers around the cheeseball. Garnish with rosemary if desired.

Christmas Tree Tortilla Roll-ups
2 (8 oz) packages Cream Cheese
2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning
1 small jar Roasted Red Peppers
1 (4 oz) can Green Chilies
1 (15 oz) can Black Beans
2 Green Onions
1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper
3/4 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
4 (12-inch) Spinach Tortillas
Cherry Tomatoes for ornaments
1 Corn Tortilla for the trunk
Salsa for serving

In a large bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese and the taco seasoning until evenly combined. Set aside.

Remove roasted red peppers from jar, pat dry, dice and set aside. Drain chilies, pat dry and set aside. Rinse and drain black beans. Chop beans into smaller pieces, set aside. Trim roots from green onions. Chop green onions, set aside. Stem yellow bell pepper. Remove seeds. Cut bottom from pepper, trim end to form a star, set aside. Cut remaining pepper into strips. Finely dice 1/4 cup of the yellow pepper, reserve remaining pepper for another use.

To the bowl with cream cheese, add roasted red peppers, chilies, black beans, green onions and diced yellow pepper. Finely grate cheddar cheese, add to the bowl. Stir to blend into a spread.

Divide the cream cheese mixture on the four tortillas. Then, using a spatula, spread the mixture on each tortilla in an even layer. Keep the mixture a 1/2 inch from the edge.

Roll up the tortillas. Set them on a plate and cover it with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or until firm. Then using a serrated knife, cut the tortillas into 1/2-inch slices.

Stack in layers to form a “tree.” Garnish with cherry tomato “ornaments” and a yellow pepper “star.” If desired, drape remaining bell pepper as garland around the tree. Cut the trunk from a corn tortilla, tuck under the tree to form the base. Serve with salsa and enjoy.

Saint Nicholas Yule Log Cake
For the Cakes
6 whole Eggs
1 box Super Moist Chocolate Cake Mix
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Oil

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom of two 10-inch by 15-inch jelly roll pans with foil or parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat eggs on medium high speed using an electric mixer for about 6 minutes, until pale yellow and thick. When you lift beater, eggs should fall in a ribbon.

Add cake mix, water, and oil and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute. Divide batter between the pans, spread out evenly.

Bake the cakes for about 10 minutes or until cake springs back when touched.

While the cakes are baking, have a second piece of parchment paper ready to roll each cake. Set aside until ready to use.

When the cakes are baked, flip cakes out of their pans, peel off the parchment paper and flip over onto the clean piece of parchment paper. Immediately roll up the cake along with the parchment paper. Tape the ends to secure the roll and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then refrigerate for one hour.

For the Filling
1 (12 oz) tub Whipped White or Vanilla Frosting
1-1/4 cups Cool Whip

While the cake is chilling, mix together the frosting and cool whip. Set aside until ready to use.

When the cakes are ready, carefully unroll, peeling away the parchment paper. Spread half of the frosting over the top of each cake, then immediately re-roll.

Wrap cakes, refrigerate until ready to assemble. The longer the cakes stay refrigerated, the better the roll will hold.

Frosting and Garnish
12 oz Semisweet Chocolate
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon Light Corn Syrup
2 sprigs Rosemary
Handful Pomegranate Seeds or Red Candies
White Chocolate Curls

Chop chocolate. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the heavy cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a saucepan, then pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let thicken at room temperature until spreadable, about 2 hours. 

Unwrap the cake on a cutting board. Cut off one-fourth of the cake on a sharp diagonal for the branch. Position the branch against the remaining cake roll on a platter. Cover the cake with the frosting using an offset spatula, then drag a fork through the frosting to create a bark-like texture. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle with white chocolate curls.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

3 thoughts on “Celebrate Saint Nicholas Day”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: