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.
As our State is starting to reopen the economy, part of me is going to miss this “time at home.” I’ve realized how much I’ve recognized, appreciated and enjoyed the simple things of life so much more over these last couple months. I was emailing a few of my other monastic friends across the country and we have similar stories. We’ve spent more time just being, praying the offices on behalf of the world, quieting ourselves down and trying to listen more to His voice. I hope I don’t lose what I’ve gained from this experience! I’ve also had time to do some festive cooking. This weekend I decided that our travel ban didn’t refer to in house international cuisine. So, here’s a yummy, fresh and healthy recipe that can be used to cool you down on a hot summer’s day. If you’re a vegan, substitute the shrimp with some red pepper or thinly julienned beet. It will be just as delicious. Enjoy!
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Vietnamese Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Thin with warm water if desired. This recipe will make more peanut sauce than you need, so store in a clean jar in the refrigerator for another use.
Take one rice paper wrapper and dip it into warm water in a pie plate for 10 seconds to wet it and make pliable. Lay the wrapper down on a clean work surface (wooden cutting board works great here)and smooth it out with your damp hand.
Take a leaf of lettuce and tear it into large 5-inch pieces and place it along the bottom half of the wrapper (see image) Place some rice noodles on top of the lettuce followed by a couple thin slices of avocado. Place a few carrots and cucumbers beside the lettuce, 2 pieces of scallion (or more) and then your shrimp sliced in half across the middle, pink side down. If desired, add some mint, basil or cilantro.
To roll, gently fold over the left and right sides of the rice paper wrapper over the filling. Then fold the bottom part of the wrapper over the filling and gently but tightly roll up the spring roll, burrito style. Repeat steps 1 to 3
Chill until ready to use. Serve with peanut sauce or another favorite dipping sauce
Easy peasy lemon squeezy. This catch phrase from a British advertisement in the 1950’s aptly describes this week’s blog: a kale and chickpea grain bowl with a bright shot of lemon! Fresh and easily put together, this decidedly spring recipe reflects the changes in the gardens around our community: a riot of daffodils in the orchard, brave pansies and primroses blooming despite residual winter chill, delicate cherry blossoms and lush magnolias are all in force. These blooms never fail to inspire hope each year and the promise of better days ahead.
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.
We continue to enjoy the harvest from our gardens over these summer months. This week we had an abundance of beautiful lettuce, so we expanded our repertoire and tried out some new combinations for our guests at Bethany. The crisp, salty, creaminess of the fried goat cheese paired with the sweet and pungent combination of the blackberry balsamic vinaigrette is the key here. Summer is a wonderful time to experiment with all sorts of combinations in a salad. “The colors of a fresh garden salad are so extraordinary, no painter’s pallet can duplicate nature’s artistry.” Have fun creating, eating, sharing, and enjoying nature’s storehouse!
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Blackberry Balsamic Salad with Crispy Fried Goat Cheese and Grilled Chicken
Mix everything well in the blender until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Fried Goat Cheese
Dredge the goat cheese slices/balls in the flour
Dip in the beaten egg
Dip in panko
Fry in oil over medium heat until lightly golden brown before setting aside on paper towels to drain.
Marinate the chicken in half of the vinaigrette for 30 minutes to over night before grilling over medium-high heat until golden and cooked through, about 2-5 minutes per side. Set aside to cool and slice.
Assemble the salad and enjoy!
Note: Best enjoyed while the fried goat cheese is still warm from frying!
This salad is a lovely and light “one platter” meal for those hot summer days. The warmth of the cutlets over the chilled baby spinach, cooks the leaves slightly, allowing you to bite into a refreshing combination of textures — soft and crunchy. I first served this on a hot day in Italy, and was taken by not only the beauty of the fabulous colors on the platter, but also the lemony and nutty flavors of the greens. Arugula can be substituted for the spinach, which will give it a more “peppery” flavor. Accompanied by a freshly made basket of rolls, you now have an elegant lunch. Andiamo Mangiare!
Make your coating for the cutlets according to instructions above
Salad Dressing: Mix all ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Coating for Cutlets: Combine all of the above in a blender until fine crumbs are made – adjust seasonings to taste
If cutlets are thick, pound with meat hammer until the cutlets are about ¼” thick. Put coating mixture in a small pan and coat both sides of the cutlets well with the crumbs.
Coat the bottom of a cast iron or other heavy duty skillet with olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of butter (to prevent burning) and heat. Once sizzling, reduce the heat to medium, add the cutlets and brown on both sides. Tip: don’t turn the cutlets over until they are ready to “release” from the pan or else all the coating will come off the cutlet!
Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables and fruit for the salad (slicing etc)
Fill the bottom of your serving platter w/ the baby spinach and toss lightly with the dressing and then a sprinkling of onion salt and fresh parmesan cheese (or dress in a bowl and transfer to platter afterwards).
Once the cutlets are cooked and while they are still warm, lay them over the bed of baby spinach, overlapping slightly to create some height in the center of your platter. Your baby spinach is going to cook slightly from the heat of the warm cutlets.
Creatively, arrange your fruit and vegetables on top of the meat, and finish with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese and red onion.