We are blessed to have a vibrant Brazilian community in our area and benefit from the culinary richness that comes with it. From wonderful Portuguese bakeries to the mouth-watering meats that Brazil is known for, chances are you will most likely encounter what some consider to be the national dish of Brazil: feijoada.
I first encountered feijoada at a Brazilian cafe in town and instantly fell in love! To simply call it a black bean stew would be to overlook the beloved place it has in the kitchens–and hearts–in its country of origin. Warm, savory and cooked with love, this is fast becoming one of my favorite comfort foods. Traditionally served with toasted cassava flour (farofa), and kale I would highly recommend serving tapioca rolls (pao de queijo) alongside. Comer com gosto!
In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and crumble. Add to slow-cooker.
Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper and brown in the same skillet used for bacon and add to slow cooker.
Add drained beans, ham hock, sausages, onions, garlic, 2 cups chicken broth, salt, coriander, and lime juice to slow cooker, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on LOW 8 for hours or until meat is tender.
Pull out ribs and ham hock bones. Remove any remaining meat from the bones and shred it with two forks. Discard bones. Return meat to slow cooker. Add more broth for a soup-like consistency.
Serve with white rice and garnish with orange slices, fresh cilantro and green onion.
I’ve come to sing the praises of the famous Eastham Turnip: legendary bulbous taproots that some Cape Codders value even more than turkey at Thanksgiving! Whether one prefers them boiled, roasted and buttered the old fashioned way or chooses to have them roasted with bacon and scallions in a more upscale manner, their distinctive flavor is almost always addictive!
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!
The other day someone asked me about our Convent meals. “Who decides what you eat?” was one of the questions. It just so happens that at this particular time we are doing something a little different than usual about our menus.
Each week a different sister is asked to submit a suggested menu for approval. This has been quite successful. It is a help to the chef and an almost sure guarantee that there will be variety in our meals. For instance yesterday we were totally surprised to be served potato latkes for lunch, something we have not had in a long time and never for our noon meal. The genuine cheers of delight and energy in the food line were a joy to all. We are not sure how long this method of meal planning will last but for the time being everyone is enjoying it.
As Sr.Irene mentioned last week, our gardens are just starting to burst with vegetables. This week brought in fava beans and my mom gave us a beautiful basket of her home grown kohlrabi (which immediately sent me “Google-ing” for recipes!). But the majority of our yield so far has been zucchini and yellow squash. Time to be creative with recipes!
It’s a tradition in our Convent for Sunday night dinner to be prepared by the Sisters who share a common bedroom. Our rooms sleep 6-8 sisters. We usually choose our room by lot and switch up every once in a while. That means, there is a mix of personalities and gifts in each room; younger sisters with older ones, cooks with calligraphers, night owls and early birds. Our biggest crosses can become our greatest blessings. We live in Community and that’s how we roll!
Enjoy this crispy and flavorful panini prepared by our Sunday night Sister chefs. A healthy and fun twist on the favorite BLT, this recipe subs out cold lettuce for a piece of grilled zucchini. Enjoy!
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"BZT" Panini with Mozzarella, Bacon, Grilled Zucchini, and Tomato
In a large skillet, fry bacon over medium-high heat until golden and crispy, 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
On a baking sheet, brush zucchini strips with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden.
Lay tomato slices on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to soak up liquid.
Place ciabatta halves on a cutting board. Brush insides of loaf with olive oil. Layer bottom half with zucchini strips, bacon, mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Top with other half ciabatta. Halve loaf and brush outside with olive oil.
Preheat a panini press. (If you don’t have a panini press, cook sandwich in a large skillet over medium-high heat with a heavy pot or pan on top to weigh it down; flip sandwich halfway through to make sure both sides get cooked evenly.) Place half of sandwich in panini grill and cook, pressing down from time to time, until golden and cheese is melty, 6 to 8 minutes.
Repeat with remaining sandwich half, then serve cut into triangles.
I have been exploring “superfoods” for a while now, wanting to incorporate some healthier eating habits into our Convent diet. We live a very active life-style within our Benedictine motto: Ora et Labora (Pray and Work). My task is to make sure we are all eating well and taking care of our bodies (since we are called to be temples of the Holy Spirit).
In my research, I learned about the wonderful nutty grain-like seed quinoa. Quinoa is native to Bolivia and a relative of swiss chard, spinach and beets. We usually think of quinoa as a grain, but it is actually the seed of a plant. It’s also a complete protein, which means it provides all nine essential amino acids necessary for good health, hence the name “essential.” Your body can’t produce these nutrients itself, so you have to get them frequently through food. Quinoa’s slow-releasing carbohydrates help to maintain blood sugar levels. It can be eaten on its own as a side dish, with a bit of butter or oil, salt and pepper, or other seasonings. Quinoa also makes a great breakfast dish mixed with dried fruit, cinnamon, milk, and maple syrup or honey. A healthy substitute for rice, it also makes a tasty pilaf.
I found and adapted this flavorful and surprising salad side dish recipe for the Sisters and everyone loved it. Last weekend we served it to our Oblates who were here on retreat, and promised that we’d share it with all of you. Enjoy!
Prepare the quinoa according to the package directions. 1 cup dry quinoa should yield over 4 cups of cooked quinoa. Cool quinoa.
In a large bowl add the cooled quinoa, diced pears, green onions, spinach and bell pepper. Reserve the crumbled bacon and toasted almonds for later.
For the dressing: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and pour over quinoa mixture. Toss gently. You might not want to use all of the dressing depending on how wet you want your salad so add a little at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving so that the flavors can meld.
Mix the crumbled bacon and toasted almonds into the salad just before serving, reserving a bit to garnish the top as well.
Note: To toast almonds, brown them for a couple of minutes in a skillet over medium high heat. To roast them, bake them in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. When you smell them, they are done!