Since the 1970’s, we have prepared hundreds (if not thousands!) of meals here at the Community of Jesus on Cape Cod, and at our mission house, Villa Via Sacra, in Barga, Italy. We believe that food nourishes body, soul, and spirit, and that even the simplest meal, prepared with love, can change your life. At the heart of our call to kitchen and table lie the words of Saint Benedict: “Welcome all as Christ.” This premise has led us on many culinary adventures, which we now gladly share with you!
There are lots of aspects to chimney repair—including snack provision!
We are so fortunate to have creative, able-bodied Brothers who can handle challenging construction and repair projects! The chimney in our Guest House has shown signs of disintegration—not surprising with years of winter and summer storms. And with COVID-19 lockdown, with no guests or retreats—a very unusual time for us—what better time for chimney repair! As we watched out the window, scaffolding going up, platforms, bins to receive old bricks, cement mixing, with dogs roaming around looking on, it was a given that we would supply snacks. This Doughnut Muffin recipe was an experiment, and the idea of dipping the hot muffins in melted butter and then rolling in cinnamon sugar was very appealing to me, and by the looks of the empty plate, it was to everyone else as well!
As our State is starting to reopen the economy, part of me is going to miss this “time at home.” I’ve realized how much I’ve recognized, appreciated and enjoyed the simple things of life so much more over these last couple months. I was emailing a few of my other monastic friends across the country and we have similar stories. We’ve spent more time just being, praying the offices on behalf of the world, quieting ourselves down and trying to listen more to His voice. I hope I don’t lose what I’ve gained from this experience! I’ve also had time to do some festive cooking. This weekend I decided that our travel ban didn’t refer to in house international cuisine. So, here’s a yummy, fresh and healthy recipe that can be used to cool you down on a hot summer’s day. If you’re a vegan, substitute the shrimp with some red pepper or thinly julienned beet. It will be just as delicious. Enjoy!
Rate this recipe!
Vietnamese Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Thin with warm water if desired. This recipe will make more peanut sauce than you need, so store in a clean jar in the refrigerator for another use.
Take one rice paper wrapper and dip it into warm water in a pie plate for 10 seconds to wet it and make pliable. Lay the wrapper down on a clean work surface (wooden cutting board works great here)and smooth it out with your damp hand.
Take a leaf of lettuce and tear it into large 5-inch pieces and place it along the bottom half of the wrapper (see image) Place some rice noodles on top of the lettuce followed by a couple thin slices of avocado. Place a few carrots and cucumbers beside the lettuce, 2 pieces of scallion (or more) and then your shrimp sliced in half across the middle, pink side down. If desired, add some mint, basil or cilantro.
To roll, gently fold over the left and right sides of the rice paper wrapper over the filling. Then fold the bottom part of the wrapper over the filling and gently but tightly roll up the spring roll, burrito style. Repeat steps 1 to 3
Chill until ready to use. Serve with peanut sauce or another favorite dipping sauce
Easy peasy lemon squeezy. This catch phrase from a British advertisement in the 1950’s aptly describes this week’s blog: a kale and chickpea grain bowl with a bright shot of lemon! Fresh and easily put together, this decidedly spring recipe reflects the changes in the gardens around our community: a riot of daffodils in the orchard, brave pansies and primroses blooming despite residual winter chill, delicate cherry blossoms and lush magnolias are all in force. These blooms never fail to inspire hope each year and the promise of better days ahead.
It never ceases to amaze me how, no matter what the circumstance, the Holy Spirit is aware and always provides. A couple of weeks ago, I had driven home from a rehab facility with my sister, who was recovering from surgery. Because of Covid-19 and the possibility of exposure at the Rehab facility, we both went on a 2-week quarantine. We had all kinds of food options available to enjoy, but my recovering sister basically wanted homemade soups! After having gone through zucchini, butternut squash, vegetable, chicken—I was running out of ideas, until I spotted a few potatoes in a basket. That’s it! And after picking more chives in the back yard for a garnish, we sat down to a delicious lockdown lunch!
Sauté onion and celery until soft and translucent; set aside
Add chopped potatoes to chicken broth in sauce pan, and boil until potatoes are fork tender, about 12 minutes
After cooling for a few minutes, spoon the potatoes into a blender, carefully pouring in some of the hot broth and adding the onion and celery.
When thoroughly blended, pour back into sauce pan. It should be fairly thick at this point. (If it seems a little too thin before adding milk, boil for a few minutes until thickened.) Then add milk or cream to desired consistency.
Add salt and pepper to taste
Blend in ¼ cup of sour cream
Garnish with the rest of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese and chopped chives
The idea of a one-pot meal has always appealed to me. The fact that a whole meal can be prepared and everything you need for sustenance is in one pot? Magical. The absence of extra dishes piling up on the counters during meal prep also doesn’t hurt, either.
During a quarantine-inspired cleaning frenzy, I came across a cookbook that was given to us as a gift, “Cook It In Your Dutch Oven.” This tried-and-true kitchen essential from the clever folks at America’s Test Kitchen is an absolute treasure. This dish-defying cookbook was a welcome find, with recipes for one-pot meals, bread (bread!) and other side accompaniments. This week’s blog is adapted from the recipe for Classic Chicken Curry. I hope you give it a try!
Don’t have a Dutch oven? No problem! Swap it out for a soup or stock pot, slow-cooker crock pot or any heavy deep pot you have in the kitchen. For this recipe, I used a cast iron pot.
Rate this recipe!
One-pot Chicken Curry
Adapted from Cook It In Your Dutch Oven, an America’s Test Kitchen publication
Melt butter in the bottom of the Dutch oven or pot of choice on medium heat. Add curry powder, optional spices (if desired), salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant.
Add onion and cook until translucent. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add chicken and water to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover pot and reduce heat to low until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees, about 22 minutes. Turn the chicken halfway through cooking. When done, remove from pot and let cool.
Add potatoes to pot with a pinch of salt. Cover and cook until just fork tender. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally until potatoes are fully cooked, about 15 minutes.
While potatoes are cooking, shred chicken into roughly 2 inch pieces with a fork and set aside.
Once potatoes are cooked, stir in chicken and peas until just warmed through. Turn off the heat and add yogurt. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
*As curry is a blend of spices, I like to add an extra pinch of my favorites: turmeric and cumin. These can be found in traditional curry blends and I like to play these up a little more. Feel free to omit, or try your own variation based on your tastes.
I never expect to see shiny, plump and beautiful eggplant in the grocery store until mid/late summer, but we’ve gotten lucky this year as a booming crop became readily available in our local market (unlike the empty paper towel and toilet paper shelves!) Since this is one of my favorite summer comfort foods, I thought I’d share and old world recipe with you. (If you want to skip a step and use purchased tomato sauce, that’s a great time saving option.)
You might ask why you need to soak your eggplant in salt water first. This does two things: it draws out any of the bitter juices that can be found in older eggplant and tightens up the flesh, making the eggplant less likely to soak up too much oil when you are frying them. This recipe will make 2 – 9×13″ pans. Since it can be a bit time consuming to make, it enables you to put one pan away in the freezer for another time.
Wash eggplant. Remove the top and bottom from the eggplant and slice across into 1/2" rounds (no need to peel) Submerge in a large bowl of cold water with 3 Tbsp Salt. Put a plate across the top of the bowl to keep the eggplant submerged. Let soak 30 min to 1 hr.
Prepare the sauce: In a medium pot on top of the stove, heat the oil and add diced onion and a teaspoon of sugar. Cook over low heat until the onions are translucent and soft.
Add the torn basil leaves, oregano and garlic. Continue cooking for another minute, watching that the garlic doesn't burn. Add the the salt and pepper and the tomatoes and the remaining sugar, if desired.
Continue cooking over low heat until the flavors meld. Let simmer 30 min. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Drain eggplant and dry on paper towels
Mix together the Flour, salt and pepper on one plate. In a second large shallow bowl or pie plate, beat the eggs together.
One at a time, dip the eggplant in the seasoned flour and then in the beaten eggs
Heat oil in a large skillet or fry pan
Fry the eggplants until golden on one side and then turn to continue frying on the other side. Remove to a paper lined sheet pan.
When all the eggplant are fried, you are ready to assemble!
Spray two 9X13" pan with PAM spray
Put a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of each pan
Lightly sprinkle with the grated pecorino romano cheese
Layer the eggplant slices - touching but not overlapping
Sprinkle grated mozzarella over
Lightly sprinkle with grated pecorino romano cheese
Continue layering in this order:
Sprinkle Chopped Parsley
End with Sauc
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 min. Let rest 10-15 min.