About Gourmet Nun

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.

Savory Greek Rice

There are certain tastes and flavors that never leave our memories no matter how much time may have passed since we first experienced them. Such is the case with me and the aromatic Greek rice my mother so often made for our family when I was growing up.

As with almost all of her cooking, she seldom, if ever, referred to a recipe. She simply relied on an innate sense that never seemed to fail her. One of my favorite foods she frequently made in this manner was this garlic flavored rice. Here’s what she did: Into a favorite skillet she simply poured some olive oil, heated for a minute or so, added some dry rice, few cloves of fresh garlic, let it sizzle, then a few cups of water pinch of salt and a generous fistful of fresh chopped parsley, lowered the heat, put the lid on, and left it alone till she was ready to serve it to us.

We loved this with lamb which we often had, and also enjoyed having it as the stuffing for a whole roast chicken.

Print Recipe
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Savory Greek Rice
SERVINGS
6-8people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
30-40mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
50-60mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in skillet until hot, add dry rice and stir until it becomes slightly golden.
  2. Add garlic cloves and let cook until softened, crush with fork; add water, and parsley.
  3. Cover tightly and let slowly simmer till desired doneness. Add pepper to taste.

Blueberry, Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad

“​​When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the Angels eat.” —Mark Twain

​Have you ever wondered how to pick that perfect watermelon? Well, I have! Faced with a bin of green striped beauties, I never quite​ know​ where to start. ​L​et me share some tips with you that I recently discovered​, and then​ go and​make this delicious ​and refreshing ​Watermelon, ​Mint, ​Blueberry and Feta Salad​ — a great side dish for a hot summer day.

1. When viewing watermelons, the first thing that sticks out are those weird white spots. However, these spots​,​ called field spots​, are quite natural. The field spot is the area where the watermelon rested on the ground. While every watermelon has a field spot, the best watermelons have creamy-yellow or even orange-yellow spots. Go for the gold.

2. The webbing of a watermelon indicates the amount of times that bees touched the flower. The more pollination, the sweeter the watermelon is.

3. Watermelons have genders. The “girl” watermelons are more round and stout​ — these​are the sweeter ones. The male are oblong and tend to be more watery.

4. The ​best watermelons are average-sized. Don’t go for too small or too big, but just right.

5. The tail of a watermelon indicates its ripeness. Go for the watermelons that have dried tails for the best taste.​

​6. ​Tap the underbelly of the watermelon. A ripe one will have a deep hollow sound. Under-ripe or over-ripe melons will sound dull.​

Print Recipe
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Blueberry, Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad
SERVINGS
8servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
20mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and diced red onion.
  2. Add the diced watermelon, blueberries, mint and feta cheese to bowl. Gently toss to coat.​ Serve immediately.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

We continue to look for new ways to include more whole grains in our diet. Years ago long before it was as well known as it now, a friend of  mine, who at that time was considered a health food zealot introduced me to quinoa. I became fascinated with this grain sometimes referred to as Aztec gold because it is a complete protein in itself, and a valuable source of food to the Aztec Indians

Stuffed pepper have always been a real favorite with our family over many years, but always,( over all those many years),  we had them stuffed with rice. Recently it occurred to me that they might be good stuffed with quinoa, so yesterday I decided to give it a try for one of our summer night suppers. What a pleasant and satisfying surprise! You might like to try it yourself and see how you feel about it.

I used a little Italian sausage in ours but no need to if you would rather keep it vegan.  Remember this grain is a complete protein in itself…. That’s why it is known as the “Gold of the Andes.”

Print Recipe
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
SERVINGS
6-8servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
45mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
1 hr5 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the quinoa and broth in a saucepan, and bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage until evenly browned.
  3. Remove the tops and seeds of the bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.)
  4. In a bowl, mix the browned sausage, cooked quinoa, 1 can tomato sauce, onion salt, and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper.
  5. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the stuffed peppers. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, basting with sauce every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

Pesto Sauce

The Sisters have been rising with the sun over the past couple of months to get our gardens going for summer. We have six different vegetable gardens in plots of land all over our community. Some cover acres of land and others are smaller plots, but they all need the love and care it takes to get them going. As we were working this morning, putting the last of our basil seedlings in the ground, I was getting excited about the prospect of harvesting and cooking some of my favorite dishes. Who doesn’t love a big bowl of steamy pasta tossed in pesto and sprinkled with parmesan cheese?

This recipe is one of my favorites for pesto. It’s a bit lighter and more of a sauce. It’s loaded with flavor and makes an elegant dish when used with tortellini, fettucini or one of the other heartier pastas that can stand up to pesto. It introduces the aromatic flavor of parsley with the basil and the lemon juice helps keep the herbs vibrant. If you’re making a regular pesto, I was taught in Italy to throw an ice cube in when blending the basil as this also helps keep the color bright and green. This can be refrigerated or frozen indefinitely for future use; just warm it up at room temperature – do not cook or heat.

Print Recipe
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Pesto Sauce
SERVINGS
2pints
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
pints
COOK TIME
0mins
PREP TIME
10mins
READY IN
15mins (or less)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients except the basil into a blender and grind thoroughly.
  2. Add the basil and grind until creamy texture is achieved. No cooking is needed.
  3. This amount of sauce is enough for 1 pound of pasta of your choice.

Luscious Lime Tart

Above the sounds of car doors opening and closing, luggage being loaded, and 30 women exchanging “goodbyes and well wishes,” comments regarding their retreat could be overheard. They were all very positive, especially those regarding their meals. Many of these women love to cook, and are very attentive to—and appreciative of—what they are served.

From what I overheard, their final dessert was the ultimate perfection, and had made quite an impact, sending them off on a high, happy note. As I thought on all of this someone quietly appeared offering me a luscious looking lime creation garnished with a fresh mint leaf and whipped cream on a crystal clear glass dessert plate. Suddenly I was reminded of a favorite verse of scripture in the Old Testament where God in referring to prayer says: “Before they call, I will answer.”

Print Recipe
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Luscious Lime Tart
SERVINGS
8servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
8mins
PREP TIME
40mins
READY IN
3hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

Crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Add graham cracker crumbs and sugar to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until blended. Transfer to a medium bowl and add coconut flakes and melted butter. Toss to combine completely. Pour the crumbs into an 8-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until browned. Set aside to cool completely.
Filling:
  1. In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and lime juice. Stir until thick and well incorporated. Set aside.
  2. Place the gelatin in a small bowl and cover with water. Let stand two minutes to bloom. Microwave in 10-second bursts until gelatin is dissolved. Cool the gelatin to near room temperature, but do not let it set—very important.
  3. Add the whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer. (If you don't have a stand mixer use a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer.) Whip the cream for one minute on a medium speed. Slowly add the sugar to the cream. Turn off the mixer and check to see that the gelatin has cooled, but not set. Add the gelatin and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Separately reserve about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of whipped topping for garnish.
  4. Spoon about 1/2 cup of whipped cream into the key lime filling and lightly stir to combine. Add the rest of the whipped cream and fold completely into the mixture, careful not to deflate the cream too much.
  5. Pour the filling into the cooled pie crust and smooth over with a spatula.
Topping:
  1. Garnish with whipped cream and thinly sliced lime as desired. Refrigerate for at least two hours for a cloud like dessert. For a frozen tart, freeze at least two hours.
  2. To serve, remove the tart from the freezer and let it sit out on the counter for 10-15 minutes to soften a little before slicing it.

Beef Tips with Mushrooms and Sherry

Here’s a tasty and classy recipe that we served to our guest in Bethany tonight. The prep time is minimal. You can make the marinade ahead, add the steak tips, seal in a zip lock bag and freeze until ready to use (skip to step 2). We recommend buying steak tips when they are on sale. All of us love comfort food, and this is the perfect recipe for a busy family. The marinade is also our new favorite for steaks and grilling as we head towards summer – a teriyaki kind of flavor. We got rave reviews from our guest, so give it a try!

Print Recipe
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Beef Tips with Mushrooms and Sherry
SERVINGS
8servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
15mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
35 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a shallow bowl, make the marinade by combining soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, onion, ginger and pepper. Coat beef tips with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hrs.
  2. Remove steak tips from marinade and pat meat dry. Reserve marinade.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with oil. When oil is hot and begins to smoke, add the beef and brown 3 min. on each side. Do not overcook. Remove when evenly deep brown and reserve on a plate.
  4. Add remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil to skillet, heat until oil ripples then add mushrooms and brown 7-8 min. Add garlic after 5 to 6 min. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper and cook a few minutes more.
  5. Add sherry, reduce 1 minute. Add 1 cup of reserved marinade (strained). Reduce heat and cook, reducing liquid until thickened.
  6. Add beef tips, their juices and mushrooms to the pan, cook for 2 min. Serve with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables on the side.