Classic Polish Cucumber Salad for St. John Paul II

There are two foods that I associate with going to visit my relatives on the farm where my Polish American father was born and raised - and Mizeria, cucumber in a creamy dill dressing, is one.  It was a staple. From most Polish families you will hear the same. As a classic Polish salad side dish it seems very fitting for the feast day of St. John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła), October 22. And it is super simple to make - a bonus for a busy day.

Mizeria - Polish Cucumber Salad

  • 1 large cucumber 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

Peel cucumber(s).  Slice cucumber very thinly and place in a bowl.  Sprinkle slices with salt and let sit for 30 minutes to pull the liquid. Drain water from the salted cucumbers and gently squeeze to expel any remaining water.  Pat dry with paper towel.  

Mix sour cream, vinegar, sugar, and dill in medium bowl.  Toss cucumber slices in mixture. Allow the salad to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  Taste, season with salt and freshly ground pepper as needed and serve.  Garnish with dill if desired. Serves 4 but is easily doubled or tripled. 

St. John Paul II, the Great, Pray for us!

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Buffalo Hot Wings - St. Gaspar del Bufalo

Born (and baptized) in Italy on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1786, Gaspar Melchior Balthazar del Bufalo was named after the three Magi who visited the Christ child.  The feast of the Epiphany is celebrated as a manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, represented by the Magi. This was a perfect name for a man who would spend his life to bring the Word of God to others, constantly on the move as a missionary.  St.Gaspar was the Founder of the Missioners of the Precious Blood and his feast is observed October 21.

I confess… whenever I see the name of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, I always think of the bison that roam America’s plains or the hot wings originating in Buffalo NY. So I like the idea of actually having Buffalo hot wings (or buffalo burgers?) on his feast even though St. Gaspar's family name has nothing to do with either of those “buffaloes”.

I have included a typical hot wings recipe or you can cheat like I did and just buy them ready-made from your favorite wing stop.


Buffalo Hot Wings

20 -25 chicken wings
2 cups vegetable oil
1⁄4 cup melted butter
1 (3 ounce) bottle Louisiana hot sauce (Frank’s)

Disjoint and cut the chicken wings into two pieces and discard the tips. Rinse and pat dry. The wings must be completely dry in order to fry properly, since there is no batter or breading.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or a large deep pan to 350°F.

Add the chicken wings a few at a time to the hot oil. Do not allow the oil to cool as the chicken is added. Deep-fry for 10-12 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Drain well by shaking in the fryer basket or place on metal rack to drain.

Blend melted butter with 1/2 bottle of hot sauce for medium-hot wings. Add additional hot sauce for hotter wings or additional butter for milder wings.

Combine the wings and the hot sauce in a large container. Let stand, covered. Serve. 

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Side notes for additional feast days: 

My son thought that wings would also be a great meal for the feast of St. John Paul II because of this well-known quote:  “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.” St. JP II, FIDES ET RATIO Encyclical

Wings (hot or BBQ) are always a good option on the angel associated feast days as well. 
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St. Gaspar del Bufalo, Pray for us!

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Our Lady of the Pillar Rice Cake Sticks

Our Lady of the Pillar (Nuestra Señora del Pilar) 
First Marian Shrine 
 Patroness of Spain 
Feast Day: October 12

Our Lady of the Pillar is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary from her appearance to the Apostle James the Greater in 40 AD, as he was praying by the banks of the Ebro River in Spain. He was disheartened with the lack of converts to Christianity.  Mary miraculously appeared before him atop a pillar accompanied by angels. She assured St. James that the people would eventually be converted and their faith would be as strong as the pillar she was standing on. She gave him the pillar as a symbol and a wooden image of herself and instructed him to build a chapel on the spot. The wooden image is enshrined at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza. 

Several years ago, Anne shared a beautiful pillar cake, made from a swiss roll cake which is in the archived posts.  It is lovely. I also had an idea for a simpler, no baking involved pillar for her feast day. These rice cake sticks or rolls, make nice pillars - either on their own or as a place to set an image of Mary (as is included in the above photo). It is a snack idea that provides a fun way to open a conversation about our lady under this title and the symbolism of the pillar.
As an added note: In the United States the feast is also tied to Christopher Columbus and our Columbus Day holiday. When Columbus embarked from Spain on his journey, to find a sailing route to India, he placed the three ships under Mary's patronage. As the weeks dragged on with no land in sight, the sailors grew restless. Columbus' journal indicates he invoked Our Lady under this title, declared that if they did not see land by her feast day they would turn back. On October 12, 1492 the navigators spotted indications of approaching land - one of the islands of the Bahamas.

Our Lady of the Pillar, pray for us!
Nuestra Señora del Pilar, ruega por nosotros!

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White Chocolate Rosary Cheesecake

While today's feast celebrates Our Lady of the Rosary, the entire month of October is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary.  This idea adds drops of fruit sauce to the top to create a visual rosary. 

White Chocolate Rosary Cheesecake


1 graham cracker crust
12 oz. cream cheese (1 1/2 pkg.), softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
4 oz. white chocolate, chopped or 1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Fruit sauce (prepared puree or pie filling could be used instead)

1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 cup raspberries (or blueberries, strawberries, etc.)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a small saucepan, whisk together 1 Tbsp granulated sugar and cornstarch . Stir in water and add berries. Cook over medium heat whisking frequently, until mixture reaches a boil. Allow mixture to gently boil about 5 minutes whisking constantly and reducing temperature slightly if necessary to reduce splattering, until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and force sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to remove seeds (skin, etc.), set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and granulated sugar until fluffy, about 1 minute. Mix in egg and egg white. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Set mixture aside. Melt white chocolate with cream in a double boiler until melted and smooth, Add melted chocolate mixture to cream cheese mixture and blend until smooth.

Pour cheesecake mixture into the crust and spread evenly. The idea I had seen for adding shapes to the top of a cheesecake suggested using a clean medicine syringe. Fill with fruit sauce and begin to pipe small circles in a rosary pattern over cheesecake. It was more challenging than I thought to get uniform drops. Take a toothpick or sharp pointy move it through the center of each circle to connect “beads”.  Melted chocolate chips were used to make a cross. 

Bake cheesecake for 40 minutes. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in the oven for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Refrigerate for about 6 hours until fully set.

Our Lady of the Rosary, Pray for Us!

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Beautiful Cookies for Our Lady's Many Feast Days

These cookies were submitted by LaDawn Wilson in honor of Our Lady. Thank you, LaDawn!

With Mary's birthday, Our Lady of Sorrows, and soon Our Lady of the Rosary feast days in such close proximity, I could not get her out of my mind. (Thank goodness, right?). I have been working with sugar veil and finally figured out how to get it out of its mold without it ripping. It is true what they say about sugar veil, Find a spot in your home where it works. Trial and error, for sure.

The trinkets are just fondant I sprayed with edible gold. The background on the fleur de lis was stenciled with the same spray.

I highly recommend Sweet Ambs site for sugar veil tutorials and buying information. She also mentions Haniela's tutorials, which have been extremely helpful.

You can find additional ideas for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary in the archives. 

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St. Francis of Assisi Tonture Cupcakes

(Tonsure: Latin tondere, "to shear") 

Tonture is the custom of shaving part (or all) of the hair of the head, derived from monastic observance in the fourth and fifth centuries. Shaving the whole head or leaving an outside ring of hair on scalp (representing a crown of thorns) became common for clerics in the sixth and seventh centuries.  Though used by many early religious orders, most associate this hair style with the Franciscans, especially St. Francis.  The idea of cakes and other treats that resembled a ring tonture have been posted here at Catholic Cuisine in the past for St. Francis feast day, October 4.

Tiny Tonture Cakes - baked donuts
Tonture of St. Francis Cake - bundt cake
Another Tonture Cake - Poor Man's Cake

This is another variation idea made with cupcakes and is very easy and quick to pull together. Make cupcakes as directed using a yellow or white cake. Pipe chocolate frosting around outer edge of each cupcake to form a tonture. The raised nature and the ability to make it look curly or wavy add to the appearance as hair and is set apart from the lighter color of the cupcake.

Serve for the feast of St. Francis or one of the other typically tontured saints.

St. Francis of Assisi and all the Franciscan saints, Pray for us!

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Trail (of Roses) Mix for the Little Flower's Feast

This summer I came across this cute candy mold for mini roses. I knew it would be fun for a variety of feast days.  They are cute for decorating cakes or cupcakes or just offering plain to snack on.  But The diminutive size reminded me of chocolate/baking chips and the idea of a rose themed trial mix came to mind. I had seen a Valentine themed trail mix recipe, with reds and whites added to the nuts. Based on St. Therese's shower of roses, I changed it to a "trail of roses".

The mix, which I made for St. Therese's (The Little Rose) feast day, would easily fit a variety of other feast days associated with the theme of roses. These are some saints associated with roses or have rose stories (several of which are upcoming this fall and winter):

St. Rita of Cascia (May 22)
St. Elizabeth/Isabel of Portugal (July 5)
St. Rose of Lima (August 23)
St. Therese  (October 1, traditional October 3)
Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7)
St. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 17)
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (November 18)
St. Juan Diego (December 9)
Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12)

Trail mix is easy to make and easy to transport, so is a great snack on the go. It is (overall) healthier and an alternative to typical baked or sweet treats for a feast day. I did not use specific measurements, but rather just eyeballed good proportions for each ingredient. Use the ingredients you like and seem fitting for the feast day. I kept it to pinks, whites and lighter colored nuts. The part taking the most time (but still super easy!) was making the candies. Use the manufacturer's instructions. Melt candy melts - I used pink but red or white could be used as well - and pour into molds. Allow time to solidify. It was helpful to place the molds with candy in the freezer for 15 minutes, which allowed the candy to release more easily from the hard plastic molds. 

Trail of Roses Mix

  • Dried cranberries
  • Coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • Rose candy (made with candy molds)
  • Peanuts, roasted & salted
  • Sunflower seeds, roasted & salted
Other possible ingredients for this theme: dried currants, dried cherries, cashews, sliced or blanched almonds, pine nuts, puffed rice cereal, rice chex

Authors note: I will be putting together some specific additional mix combos for the specific rose feasts and adding those here. 

St. Therese, Pray for us!

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