Monday, May 17, 2010


As you know, I have a particular affinity for all things corvid.  :-)

I recently decided to look into the greco-roman myths surrounding crows and discovered that there was a connection between crows and Apollo.

Below are some of my favorite snippets.

Apollo and the Crow -

The Crow was the god Apollo's sacred bird. Apollo was associated with prophecy and wisdom, with music and poetry, with medicine, law, philosophy, and the arts. When the Olympian gods were set upon by the monster Typhon, the god Pan shouted a warning, and the gods changed themselves into animals to escape. Aphrodite and Eros changed themselves into fish. Pan too tried to become a fish, but ended up as only half a fish. Apollo changed himself into a Crow.

How the Crow Became Black -
It is said that the Crow was originally snow-white in color, but it was the Crow who brought Apollo the awful news that his love Coronis had been unfaithful to him. Apollo took out his anger on the poor Crow turning his feathers into the mournful black color that crows have worn ever since.

Would anyone else like to contribute any tidbits of corvid lore from the Mediterranean?




Rev. Vincent Russo, Proprietor
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Basic homemade tomato sauce

Ciao a tutti,

A few folks have asked about a recipe for my sauce. To be honest, I don't really have a recipe in the traditional sense.  I have a list of general ingredients and a system of putting them together.  However, tha's about as close as it gets to a recipe.

It may sound kind of hokey but I think that my sauce tastes so good because I make it with love.  You be the judge. Take a look at it.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.




- - - - - - - - -

Basic homemade tomato sauce:
     - leave off Step 1 & 2 if you want to make a vegetarian sauce.

  1. Brown ground beef (1 - 2 lbs) in a sauce pan with olive oil and garlic.
  2. If desired, add finely chopped Prosciutto (1/2 - 1 lb).  When browned, drain.excess fat.
  3. Add another tablespoon of olive oil, a bit more garlic, and either crushed or diced tomatoes (at least 28 oz, I use more).  Simmer for 15 minutes. If using canned tomatoes, do not drain the water. If using fresh tomatoes, you might need to add some water. (If you're making a vegetarian sauce, make sure to sauté the garlic in olive oil and then add the tomatoes to it.)
  4. Add veggies of choice (red, green, and yellow bell peppers / mushrooms / diced red onion / zucchini / chopped black olives, etc.).
  5. Add wine - red or white depending on whatever flavor you want to add. I like to add some Chianti, Merlot, or even Pinot Grigio/Gris. A good ratio is: 1 cup for the pot, 1 glass for the cook.
  6. Either simmer (and stir) until sauce begins to thicken (a long time!), or add tomato paste to thicken if you don't have all day.
  7. Add Optional Ingredients – to taste based on preference -
    • Fire Roasted Red Bell Pepper, diced or dried flakes
    • Red Pepper Flakes for hotness if you desire
    • Grated Carrot for sweetness if you so desire
    • Scallions, finely chopped
    • Prosciutto, finely chopped
  8. Add Herb Mix - - I make a batch of herb mix to keep on hand for convenience and it is easy to make. Use more or less equal parts based on personal preference. Because Rosemary and Orange Peel are so potent, I tend to use a smaller amount of them than I do of the other herbs -
    • basil
    • marjoram
    • oregano
    • rosemary
    • thyme
    • sage
    • savory
    • orange peel (finely grated if fresh)
  9. Add some grated Parmesan-Romano or Pecorino.
  10. Keep stirring while sauce simmers.
  11. Add fresh ground black pepper and sea salt to taste.

Remember, stir counterclockwise to stir out all stress.
Stir clockwise to stir in  love, respect, and honor.

State zitto e mangia
(Shut up and eat)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Saint Sebastian

I recently compiled the following information for the Coven.  It occurred to be that other folks might find some interest in this as well.  It is just a bit of history about my family and the patron saint from the town where the paternal side of my family both cam from and immigrated to.  Enjoy!

I wanted to mention a little bit of family history.  My dad’s family originated in Melilli, Sicily.  The immigrated to Middletown, CT with LOTS of other Sicilians at the turn of the last century.  Middletown and Melilli are considered sister cities and they both celebrate a feast day on May 4th dedicated St Sebastian.  The feast is called "Festa dei Nuri". (Festival of the Naked).

Unofficially, he is associated with Apollo and some feel that he is a patron/protector of LGBT folks.

Born c. 256;  Died c. 288
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church

Feast: <>
January 20 (Catholic)
December 18 (Eastern Orthodox)
May 4 (Melilli Sicily & Middletown, CT)

Attributes: arrows <>

Patronage: Soldiers, plagues, arrows, athletes, Patron Saint of Middletown, CT and Melilli, Sicily

Because Sebastian had been thought to have been killed by the arrows, and yet was not, and then later was killed by the same emperor who ordered him shot, he is sometimes known as the saint who was martyred twice.

Saint Sebastian as an LGBT icon -
Many LGBT writers and artists have interpreted Sebastian’s life story as suggesting that he was gay. This association was first made explicit in 1909 by Georges Eekhond’s “Saint Sébastien Dans la Peinture,” but existed anecdotally earlier. Oscar Wilde, for example, used Sebastian Melmoth as an alias during his declining years in Paris.

Some other info if you are interested –

Info on Melilli can be found here:

Info on St Sebastian here:

Thus endeth today’s history lesson.