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!
For everything there is a season, and with this post on one of summer’s classic favorite fruits, we publish our final recipe. We know many of you loved trying out the recipes over the years and this post on creamy frozen strawberry squares will be no exception!
While this is the final new recipe/post for this blog – the entire searchable library of recipes will remain here on the site as always. The recipe search option can be used to find recipes that feature a certain ingredient, or perhaps an old favorite.
Today’s post features the strawberry – so abundant in the summer months!
Its surplus gives thoughts to strawberry rhubarb pie, a sisterhood favorite, the time honored classic strawberry shortcake, as well as other new ideas. A particularly bumper crop of strawberries this year has given us an opportunity to experiment and try some fresh ideas. After working with different combinations of crunchy crumbs and creamy strawberry fillings, this one proves to be a winner and captures the essence of Summer!
While the posts for this website are ending, we will be continuing to publish “Daily Bread” – a daily spiritual meditation on the Community of Jesus website that includes an excerpt from the Liturgy of the Hours, a meditation, a prayer and the lectionary readings. The “Daily Bread” can also be delivered to your mailbox.
We are blessed with three very large vegetable gardens. This week, our task list was large for the “veggie volunteers”: tying up the cucumbers and tomatoes, doing our second planting of lettuce, picking and processing kale, beets, and swiss chard, and our other ongoing tasks such as weeding, mowing, string trimming, and watering. We’ve been in near-drought conditions here on the Cape, so we were grateful for our unexpected late Saturday afternoon rain shower.
There is nothing more satisfying to me than harvesting the vegetables you have grown from seed and then being able to create something tasty and delicious. I always wonder if God might be smiling at the pleasure He gives us when we co-create with Him.
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Kale Salad with Blueberries, Beets, Quinoa and Avocado
Rinse the quinoa with cold water in a sieve. Place in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups cold water and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover, cook for an additional 10 min. or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit until cool.
Make the vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients and whisk well. Adjust taste, adding a bit more honey if you want a sweeter version.
Using a spiralizer, spiralize your beets on the "Angel Hair" or "Spaghetti" attachment. You can also buy them already spiralized if you want to skip this step, or you can grate or julienne them by hand. You do not need to cook the beets, they are eaten raw. Set aside.
Place the chopped kale in a large bowl and add the dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale with your hands.
Add the quinoa to the bowl along with the blueberries and feta cheese and toss gently.
Put the salad on a platter or in a serving bowl and add your avocado chunks. Top with your spiralized beets. Sprinkle with toasted almonds or sunflower seeds, if desired.
The spiralizer is a kitchen utensil with fine blades that can slice raw vegetables and fruits into an assortment of shapes. If you don't have a spiralizer - simply grate the beets, or julienne them by hand.
We are blessed to have a vibrant Brazilian community in our area and benefit from the culinary richness that comes with it. From wonderful Portuguese bakeries to the mouth-watering meats that Brazil is known for, chances are you will most likely encounter what some consider to be the national dish of Brazil: feijoada.
I first encountered feijoada at a Brazilian cafe in town and instantly fell in love! To simply call it a black bean stew would be to overlook the beloved place it has in the kitchens–and hearts–in its country of origin. Warm, savory and cooked with love, this is fast becoming one of my favorite comfort foods. Traditionally served with toasted cassava flour (farofa), and kale I would highly recommend serving tapioca rolls (pao de queijo) alongside. Comer com gosto!
In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and crumble. Add to slow-cooker.
Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper and brown in the same skillet used for bacon and add to slow cooker.
Add drained beans, ham hock, sausages, onions, garlic, 2 cups chicken broth, salt, coriander, and lime juice to slow cooker, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on LOW 8 for hours or until meat is tender.
Pull out ribs and ham hock bones. Remove any remaining meat from the bones and shred it with two forks. Discard bones. Return meat to slow cooker. Add more broth for a soup-like consistency.
Serve with white rice and garnish with orange slices, fresh cilantro and green onion.
There’s such a wonderful versatility to shrimp, and I think that’s why so many cooks love to work with it. It’s appropriate for luncheons, dinners, hors d’oeuvres. It’s great served on a hot summer day as a salad or in a Tuscan cheesy wine sauce with pasta on a chilly fall evening. It lends itself to being sautéed, broiled, stewed, roasted, boiled—and to me, the best of all: deep fried, having been dipped in egg, and then flour and panko crumbs. You’ll find it’s perfect for a special occasion!
Sunday breakfast is an opportunity to make something a bit more special in the Convent. With the start of summer and still in our quasi “stay at home” status, this Sunday was no different. These scones laced with Cape Cod flavor were the perfect accompaniment to fluffy scrambled eggs and a hot cup of coffee. You can even prepare them the night before and bake them fresh in the morning. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
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Cape Cod Cranberry Scones with a Summery Lemon Glaze
Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl, add zest of one orange. Cut in butter using a pastry blender until it resembles small peas. Stir in the craisins.
Mix together 1/2 cup milk and sour cream in a measuring cup. Pour all at once into the dry ingredients, and stir gently until well blended. Do not overwork the dough or they will be tough.
With floured hands, pat the dough into one large disk about 1" tall. Place the disk on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and with a sharp knife or bench knife, score into 8 triangles cutting almost all the way through the dough. (If not baking until the next day, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at this point.)
Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of milk or heavy cream. Brush the top of the scone with the egg wash and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. sugar. Let them rest for about 10 minutes.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown, but not deep brown and the scone is cooked through. Cool for about 10 min. while preparing the glaze.
Mix the lemon juice with the powdered sugar until dissolved in a microwave-safe bowl. Whisk in the butter and lemon zest. Microwave for 30 seconds and whisk until the glaze is smooth.
Drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving. Enjoy!
Shrub: a fruit, herb and/or spice-infused syrup preserved with vinegar, sometimes referred to as a “drinking vinegar.” Commonly used in drinks, salad dressings or other additions.
I was craving a fresh shrub soda the other day, and oh my goodness I love an icy shrub on a hot summer day! Mixed with club soda and infused with fresh herbs, I am instantly refreshed and ready to tackle (most) anything the day holds.
Interestingly, drinking vinegars date back to ancient times, and Colonial sailors employed its concentrated dose of Vitamin C and antibacterial properties to prevent sickness while onboard. Derived from the Arabic word sharab, shrub concoctions have stood the test of time–and with good reason!
Surprisingly versatile, most anything can be made into a shrub: cranberries, apples, basil,
turmeric, grapefruit, rhubarb–the possibilities are truly endless. Use shrubs in cold drinks, salad dressings or glazes this summer, and you might just find yourself creating new combinations of flavors with tasty health benefits on the side. Below are 3 shrub recipes to get you started…
Prep ingredients: chop fruit, slice roots, roughly chop or muddle herbs
Combine shrub ingredients in a non-reactive bowl such as glass or stainless steel.
Add sugar and stir to thoroughly combine. Cover and chill 2 hours or overnight.
Remove from refrigerator and leave at room temperature, stirring occasionally 2-7
days. The longer the ingredients are combined, the more concentrated the flavor will be.
Strain remaining solids and add vinegar. Stir to combine.
To serve: Pour 2 ounces of shrub into the bottom of a glass. Layer with ice and 6
ounces of club soda or unflavored seltzer water. Add fresh mint, basil or herb of your
choice. Stir to combine and enjoy!