There are actually two of us under the title of "Gourmet Nun!" One of us came at age 13, the other in her 30s. We have been sisters for 43 and 38 years respectively. One of use came with her mother (who felt called to this community), the other drove down in a red Carmen Ghia, leaving behind a job in a flower shop in Boston. Between us we have almost a century of cooking experience (that actually sounds kind of frightening!) having cooked since we were young. We have been in choir, wind ensemble, orchestra, painted, made quilts and both have been or are executive chefs in our events kitchen. We both love food; but especially the relationship between hospitality and the dining room, the Eucharistic table and the banquet table. Nothing makes either of us happier than a well-planned and well-executed meal that speaks of the love of God.
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Matthew 26:26
As we come to the end of Holy Week, many symbols and traditions come to mind: foot washing on Maundy Thursday, the meaningful services which mark Good Friday, the vigil of Holy Saturday and finally the joy of Easter Sunday. Tucked among these landmarks of Holy Week is the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples–the breaking of bread.
Throughout the Bible, bread serves as a vehicle for miracles, teaching illustrations and as symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice. It is also in the act of breaking bread that revealed his identity as the risen Christ. In this spirit, I am sharing one of my most favorite bread recipes.
Join with us this Holy Week as we break bread, united as the Body of Christ around our tables and throughout the world. With prayers for a healthy and joyful Eastertide!
I love the way God slips blessings into our lives—sometimes in the most unexpected, unusual, personal ways. Perhaps it would mean nothing to someone else, but somehow you know He did that, and He did it just for you! Decades ago, I was walking the beach after a hurricane, checking out the damage, and as I looked down I spotted what looked like a 3×5 recipe card—roughed up a bit and written in a scrawl, it read Simple Apple cake. Being not much of a cook in those days, the work “simple” jumped out and decades later I’m still using it—simple, delicious, quintessential comfort food!
So requested a lady on Personal Retreat in our guesthouse. To be honest, I actually was planning something a little more elaborate such as zucchini lasagna, Caesar salad, and herb-buttered Italian bread. But I replied, “Of course!” and conceived a plan. As I picked fresh lettuce from our kitchen’s “Chef's Garden”, ideas came– what about fried eggplant and deviled eggs to add a special little touch! Some avocado slices, sliced ham or chicken, olives, cherry tomatoes.
Once again, the Holy Spirit came alongside and brought ideas fresh and new. Our retreatant was very blessed…as was I!
We recently had the good fortune to welcome back Daniel Roth, organist at St. Sulpice in Paris, France for a repeat performance in our church. The event included a post-concert reception, with a delicious sampling of beautiful sweets and savories. Tucked in among the appetizers was a French classic: Coeur à la crème. Our rendition was a delightfully creamy cheese spread studded with fresh herbs and surrounded by freshly baked pita chips. Topped with calendula blossoms, this was a reception “show-stopper” with promised “repeat performances” in the future! Classically prepared with cream cheese and crème fraîche, our recipe uses fresh ricotta. Try it savory or as a dessert--it will not disappoint!
I just love the summer evenings, not only the beautiful sunsets on Cape Cod but also the wonderful aromas being created by all of the grills cooking up wonderful dinners in our neighborhood. I often cook an entire dinner on a grill just to keep the heat down in our house and the dirty dishes out of the kitchen. The other evening, we celebrated one of our Sisters' 40th Birthday and she asked for swordfish since it was such a special celebration. This is one of my favorite swordfish recipes,
I think you’ll love it too.
Place swordfish steaks in glass baking dish in a single layer
Combine oil and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl; stir well. Pour marinade mixture over steaks; cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours, turning occasionally.
Prepare Avocado Butter: Combine butter and avocado in a small mixing bowl; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth. Add the lime juice, zest, parsley, garlic, and salt; stir well. Cover and chill until firm. If desired, shape butter into small bowls before serving.
Remove steaks from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Place marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat grill. Grill steaks over medium high heat for 9 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting frequently with the reserved marinade (do not over cook).
Serve fish off the grill with a ball of Avocado Butter on each steak. Garnish with parsley sprigs.
A number of our Sisters really love to cook and are always up for the challenge of something fresh, creative, and different—and find great satisfaction in researching and trying out new ideas. It’s personally rewarding, but the best part is being able to bless our many guests and visitors with menus inspired by lots of research, experimenting, and prayer! However, that’s not to dismiss some classic favorites, that consistently receive rave reviews—and one of them is Blitz Torte—a deliciously rich yellow layer cake with creamy custard filling, and golden meringue topped with crunchy toasted almonds.
Cream ½ cup of the sugar with softened butter. Add egg yolks and blend well.
After adding baking powder and salt to the flour, add alternately to the sugar mixture with milk and 1 tsp vanilla. Spread in 2 well-greased and floured 8” cake tins.
Beat the 4 egg whites until stiff, slowly adding the remaining 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Spread over cake batter and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. (Poke down through meringue with a long toothpick to be sure cake is done)
Combine sugar, cornstarch, egg yolk and milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmering boil, stirring constantly. Cool and add 1 tsp vanilla and butter.
When set and cooled, spread custard between the two cake layers. Just before serving, spread the top layer with sweetened whipped cream with 1 tsp vanilla added—then add fresh fruit for color and interest.