Every year we rejoice with the abundant harvest of home-grown vegetables, stone fruit, apples and herbs from our gardens and this year is no exception! Last week’s Thanksgiving table featured leeks and other produce from our soil for which we are truly grateful.
This year brought plentiful squash of several varieties: butternut, spaghetti squash, and of course, acorn squash. Roasted, steamed or stuffed, this yearly addition to our table is always welcome. If you’re planning a meatless meal–or cooking for a vegetarian friend or family member–consider today’s recipe and feel free to substitute ingredients and spices to suit your preferences. Thank God from whom all blessings flow!
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place butternut squash in a large bowl with 3 TBSP of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until all the squash is coated and put on a baking sheet 1 layer deep for roasting and set aside.
- Cut the acorn squash in half width-wise and scoop out the seeds. Set the acorn squash on a baking sheet, brush with oil.
- Place all the pans of squash in the oven and roast for 1 hour until the squash can easily be pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- As the squash is roasting, combine Israeli couscous, spices, and herbs in a large bowl.
- Add remaining olive oil to coat and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the roasted butternut squash to couscous mixture and gently toss to distribute evenly in the bowl.
- Spoon the couscous and butternut squash into the bottom half of the acorn squash, and top with parmesan cheese (optional). Add the tops of the acorn squash and place on a platter of your choosing and enjoy!
Flipping through a folder of collected food photos and recipes, my eye was captured by one that looked like a pizza—and yet it wasn’t.
Here was a bright combination of fresh fruit and vegetables, specifically sliced tomatoes and peaches on a flatbread topped with a mixture of ricotta and parmesan cheese. What fun! With no recipe to follow, I launched into producing it on my own until I later found it written up in the June issue of “Cooking Light.”
If you’re looking for a fun food that’s quick, easy, tastes great and is still healthy you will want to try this. Enjoy!
Tomato, Peach and Basil Flatbread
- Preheat grill on medium high heat.
- Using a whisk, mix the ricotta, onion salt, oregano, and pepper in a bowl and set aside.
- Brush both sides of the Naan bread with oil and grill each side
for 2 minutes and remove from grill.
- Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the top, arranging the
tomatoes, peaches and basil leaves as desired.
- Cut each naan into 8 slices and arrange on a plate to serve.
A Recipe You’ve “Bean” Waiting For!
We want to be sure that vegetarian meals are provided for our guests or those attending events that prefer them. But often I simply enjoy just experimenting with fresh, garden ingredients. Here’s a new dish that is both vegetarian and gluten free. It also contain legumes – a wonderful and healthy source of protein. With lovely vegetables being harvested from our gardens, why not be creative? A friend in our community was my taste tester and she told me she couldn’t wait for me to post this recipe. It has all the flavors of summer with the basil, tomato and lemon. Buon appetito!
Vegetarian Cauliflower Steaks
- Cut a head of cauliflower into 1/2 inch ‘steaks’ from top to bottom
- Put cauliflower on a parchment lined tray and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with onion salt. Roast at 425 degrees F for 35 min or until golden brown and tender.
- Meanwhile, add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to a sauté pan and heat. Add diced red onion and sauté over medium low heat until soft. Add the garlic, parsley, basil and tomato and cook for another minute. Add the white wine and juice of one lemon and simmer until liquid is reduced. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the legumes and lemon zest - taste and adjust seasonings.
- When ready to eat, spoon the bean mixture over your roasted cauliflower steaks and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Serve warm with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and garnish with a sprig of fresh basil. Enjoy!
As cooks in Bethany Guest House, we love to spend time whenever possible, coming up with new creative recipes. We’re also finding that more and more of our guests are trying to eat healthier or have dietary restrictions. This adds to the challenge but also to the fun. Sometimes we work with inspiring gourmet type recipes– and often we find that some of the time honored meals of past years can also be very satisfying and delicious.
Today, I was preparing a light lunch for one of our guests who is a vegetarian. After a little hunting around for something new and different– I thought — ”Wait! What about a Mushroom and Spinach Quiche?” It was a big hit!
Vegetarian Spinach and Mushroom Quiche
- Cut the Crisco into the flour mixture until it is small and crumbly.
- Sprinkle the water in, lightly tossing / mixing it into the flour mixture. Toss in enough water, just until the mixture starts to hold together—no more water than what is necessary.
- Take 1/3 of the mixture, form into a ball, and gently roll out, lining a 6” pyrex pie plate (or the entire mixture for a 9” pie plate)
- Lightly sauté onion until soft, then brown the sliced mushrooms. Set aside.
- Whisk the eggs with cream, salt and seasonings. Add the grated cheese, mushrooms and spinach. Gently mix, pour into pie shell and lay tomato slice on top.
- Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes; when checking for doneness, it should be firm when jiggled a little and a dinner knife should come clean when tested.
Sisters birthdays are a special day of celebration in our Convent. Much prayer and discussion goes into the place setting at the table, the beautiful word that is specially picked just for her and then a few carefully and lovingly wrapped gifts (which are usually a few treat foods that she rarely gets). The Sister gets to choose her dinner entree and dessert from a menu. It’s really such fun – some sisters take up to a week deciding what they’re going to ask for on their special day. This past week, I had the great fun of cooking for one such occasion. I made my signature shrimp dish – a little like a scampi, but made richer by the fettucine tossed with cream and parmesan. The fresh lemon in this recipe is a must – don’t skip it. The Sister slowly savored her meal, a smile emanating after every bite. What a blessing it is to bless others – that’s what I love so much about the gift of cooking.
Stella's Shrimp and Fettuccine
- Boil salted water for pasta
- Meanwhile, sauté ¼ c. diced onion and crushed garlic clove until translucent over medium low heat. Watch carefully so you don't burn the garlic. Add chopped basil leaves and chopped tomato – lightly toss, sauté and remove from heat and into a dish to hold.
- Cook your pasta and when finished, toss with 4 Tbsp. butter, warmed heavy cream and 1/2 cup fresh parmesan until you have an “Alfredo” – add onion salt and fresh ground pepper - seasoning to taste.
- Quickly sauté your shrimp in butter, once golden on both sides, add white wine and juice of one lemon. Simmer slightly and then add the tomato mixture back to the pan and combine - season to taste.
- Serve fettuccine with the shrimp tossed over – sprinkle with the lemon rind, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
Last week some unexpected changes in the convent work areas resulted in a brand new kitchen staff with fresh new ideas and increased emphasis on healthy wholesome meals that will be simpler and require less preparation time. The two cooks assigned to the first new meal had no advanced time to plan a menu or select a recipe, and were simply told to use chicken breasts, rice pilaf, two vegetables and pantry ingredients of choice.
Dinnertime found the sisters enjoying a bright colorful delightfully seasoned meal with a different look and flavor than our usual chicken dinners. Low in fat yet surprisingly full of flavor this cheerful meal was a promise of very good things to come out of our convent kitchen, and we eagerly look forward to our meals as a result of this change!
Fast and Easy Weekday Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F)
- Sautee onion and garlic in a pan over medium heat until the onions become translucent.
- Add tomatoes and olives to the pan and stir together, and transfer into an oven-safe pan.
- Place the chicken breasts on top of the olive and tomato mixture.
- Mix salt, paprika, cumin and pepper in a separate bowl and sprinkle over chicken.
- Bake the chicken in the oven until juices run clear, 25-30 minutes.
- Serve warm and garnish with fresh parsley.
Fast and Easy Weekday Chicken