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!
When end-of-summer kale comes in by the armload from the garden, “kale soup” becomes a familiar sounding menu option. But can’t we make it really different and flavorful for our guests, as the chill of Autumn sets in? And so it develops: browned Italian sausage chunks, lots of fresh thyme, a splash of white wine, potatoes and cannellini beans. Delicious served with a salad of fresh sliced pears, toasted almonds, and shavings of Parmesan Cheese and a basket of warm dill bread!
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Kale, Sausage and Cannellini Bean Soup - A Special Autumn Treat
Our community looks forward to autumn for many reasons, but chief among them is harvesting fruit from our orchards: apples, pears, stone fruit, and grapes from the vines. The abundance is truly something to be grateful for as we compare the delicate spring blossoms to the bountiful fall harvest that we enjoy into the first frosts of winter…an annual miracle!
Recently, we tried this simple recipe for our supper as a twist on the classic avocado toast–this time with sun-ripened pears and fresh ricotta with milk from our cows. Drizzled with honey, this may well become another reason to look forward to autumn.
Oops! We apologize to our readers who received this new recipe via email with the subject line: Tortellini Salad.
It’s so easy to slip into being comfortable with the familiar, which can apply to just about everything, including cooking! “Lunch for guests tomorrow? How about ham and cheese paninis, chips, and a nice cup of soup. No wait—I’m on auto-pilot!” So it goes until the Holy Spirit gets involved—something refreshingly different—He does it again. Tortellini salad came to mind, with pesto, sunflower seeds, black olives, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan cheese—and whatever else you might want to add: fresh spinach, basil, artichoke hearts, pieces of ham or salami. It makes for a delicious lunch and a nice change from the more traditional!
Is it possible that summer could have come and gone so fast? In thinking back at the blessings we witnessed, large and small, I’m amazed at just how much the Holy Spirit loves to come alongside in every circumstance.
Summertime at the Community of Jesus is an event filled season, which generally goes hand in hand with receptions! One especially stands out, looking back from a cook’s point of view: an organ concert, attended by an exceptionally large number of people.
It’s always a blessing/challenge to come up with new ideas of what to serve at such an occasion—something fresh, original, visually attractive—and something really tasty. The kitchen team definitely “approved” of lime-macaroon bars, and so did our guests!
Set oven to 350. Using a 9x13 baking pan, spray lightly with baking spray; you may also prefer to line pan with foil, spraying it lightly.
Zest and juice the limes; set aside
For crust, with an electric mixer, beat butter for a few seconds, then add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, lime juice, and zest, mixing until combined.
Blend in flour, baking powder, and salt. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake about 15 minutes or until set and dry. Remove from oven.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the egg white, coconut, and condensed milk. Spoon coconut mixture evenly over hot crust. Bake about 20 minutes more or until topping is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and cut into bars!
Green tomatoes. What to do with these beautiful yet green garden tomatoes? A few things sprang to mind when I saw a flat of green tomatoes tucked in amongst other garden produce given to us from a local farm this week: fried green tomatoes (a classic!), green tomato salsa verde, green tomato muffins…
Then a recipe caught my eye for a green tomato fritter–just the thing! With a few “tweaks” to the original recipe–omitting the cinnamon and sugar in favor of a savory version–this late summer treat is a reminder not just the generosity of the giver, but an invitation to explore the possibilities of an otherwise puzzling and often overlooked gift from the garden–perfectly unripe.
In a deep, heavy pan, heat 3 inches of oil to 365° F, or use a crockpot with a fry basket.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and soda. Stir in the green tomatoes, corn and seasonings.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk and butter. Stir into the first mixture until just blended. Batter should hold its shape when dropped into hot oil–add more flour if needed to thicken the batter.
Working in batches, drop the batter by tablespoons into the hot oil, cooking until fritters are a deep golden brown, turning about halfway through.
This past weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to pick blueberries from a local farm with a good friend of mine. We arrived shortly after sunrise on a glorious Sunday morning. We talked little and just enjoyed circling the bushes from different angles to find the plump berries. Her husband had fashioned coffee cans into containers that dangled from our necks to collect the berries. We both used this time to pray and be thankful. It's amazing how close to God we both felt in nature. So much beauty and peace surrounded us. I hope you will taste God's goodness in this tasty summertime treat.
1 pie(8 servings)
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
1 hour, 30 minutes
20 - 30minutes
1deep dish pie crust - 9 inchunbakedwell chilled before filling
For the filling:
2/3cupsugar(or more if you want a sweeter filling)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the pie crust with parchment and add pie weights or dried beans. Place on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet and bake the crust for about 20 min. Remove parchment and weights and return to the oven for 10 min. until slightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Prepare the filling: Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and lemon zest. Put the blueberries in a mixing bowl and add the sliced nectarines, lemon juice, vanilla and the sugar/cornstarch mixture. Gently toss and let sit as the berries start releasing their juices.
Meanwhile, prepare the crumble: In a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, butter and white sugar. Pulse until combined (this can also be done by hand). With your hands, press topping together to form clumps and refrigerate until ready to use.
Assemble the pie: Pour the blueberry/nectarine mixture into your blind baked crust. Top with the crumble mixture - covering the top and spreading evenly.
Bake until the filling bubbles and the pie is golden brown, about one hour. Allow to cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.