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Epiphany is coming! January 6 is the day that Christians around the world celebrate the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child.

This day also announces the beginning of the Season of Epiphany that carries the celebration of the Christ Child and what He means to the world into the New Year.

Until the Magi visited the child that they described as “the King of the Jews,” the baby born was thought to be a gift of the Messiah to the nation of Israel. After being guided by a supernatural star, the wise men from the East came to worship the child and their arrival must have caused Mary and Joseph to ponder if this baby was to bring light to the whole world and not just to the Jewish people.

Epiphany is actually an older holiday than Christmas and is still celebrated as the “main event” in the Eastern and Greek Orthodox Church. It is also celebrated as Three Kings Day (el Dia de los Tres Reyes) in many Spanish cultures.

As all seasons of the liturgical year, Epiphany is a time to reflect on aspects of Christ’s life. During this season we reflect on his early years, early miracles and baptism. It ends with the observation of Ash Wednesday.

I love the Epiphany season. I call it “Christmas afterglow” and it helps the season linger and slowly fade instead of abruptly ending. During this time, I gradually take down the Christmas decorations, read the Christmas books I didn’t have time to read during the hectic holiday season, listen to Christmas music and reflect on the gift we were all given.

I also consider Epiphany a chance to make any special recipe I wanted to try during the holiday season and didn’t get around to. So I’m checking my list of holiday dishes and will try to make these sometime during this week leading up to January 6, the grand finale of the 12 Days of Christmas.

Sticky Orange Drumsticks

1/2 cup honey

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/4 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Pinch of red pepper flakes

12 chicken drumsticks

Combine honey, orange zest, orange juice, soy, garlic, ginger, vinegar and pepper flakes in a bowl. Spray liner of a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken pieces in the pot and pour the sauce over making sure it is evenly distributed in the pot. Cook for 4 hours on Low or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Transfer drumsticks to a serving plate. Pour sauce into a saucepan and boil over medium-high heat until it is reduced and thick. Pour over drumsticks and serve immediately.

German Sauerbraten

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

4 pounds beef roast

2 1/2 cups water

2 cups cider vinegar

2 medium onions, sliced

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons mixed pickling spices

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

8 whole cloves

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

14 to 16 gingersnaps, crushed

Combine salt and ginger; rub over roast. Place in a non-metallic bowl or container. In a saucepan, combine water, vinegar, onions, sugar, pickling spices, peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Pour over roast; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days, turning twice a day. Remove roast, reserving marinade. Pat roast dry. In a large kettle or Dutch oven, brown roast on all sides in oil. Strain marinade, reserving half of the onions and seasonings. Pour 1 cup of marinade and reserved onion over roast. (Refrigerate remaining marinade.) Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 4 hours or until meat is tender. Strain cooking liquid, discarding the onions and seasonings. Measure liquid, if necessary and add enough reserved marinade to equal 3 cups. Pour into a saucepan; bring to a rolling boil. Add gingersnaps; simmer until gravy is thickened. Slice roast and serve with gravy.

Salmon Chowder

2 cups canned salmon with liquid

1 cup diced potatoes

1 cup canned tomatoes

1/4 cup diced onion

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1/2 teaspoon celery seed

2 cups boiling water

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 cups milk

Combine salmon, salmon liquid, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, celery seed and boiling water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. In another saucepan, melt butter; add flour and seasonings. Cook one minute. Stir in milk, cook stirring constantly until thickened. Add salmon mixture and heat. Serves six. Recipe Note: I use one 14-ounce can of tomatoes. I’m not going to put a partial can back in the refrigerator and my family likes tomatoes and I hate waste. I also use one small onion and never measure the final amount. It doesn’t seem to hurt the flavor at all.

Quote of the Week:

Those magic men of the Magi,

Some people call them wise,

Or Oriental, even kings,

Well anyway, those guys

They visited with Jesus

They sure enjoyed their stay

Then warned in a dream of King Herod’s scheme

They went home by another way.

— James Taylor

Ellen Lund of Fremont is a freelance food columnist.


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