Hearty Beef Stew

All the convent sisters continue to work on preparations for Spirit of America Band’s participation in the Dubai workshops at the end of this month. Whether or not they play an instrument or are even going on the trip themselves every sister is very involved and supportive of the endeavor in whatever way they are able to contribute.

Last week the emphasis was on sewing. All who could helped with the job of fitting, altering and adjusting each uniform. This week when the participants from all over the country come together for rehearsal, we will be feeding about 200 people for the entire weekend; so much help will be needed in Paraclete House Kitchen. One of the meals that has hit the spot with most of the group and received a lot of praise is this hearty beef stew that not only provides them with needed energy but also satisfies their taste buds in a special way.

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Hearty Beef Stew
SERVINGS
8people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
8hours
PREP TIME
35minutes
READY IN
8hours, 35 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Add half of beef to skillet; cook, turning to brown on all sides, about 8 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high.
  4. Repeat procedure with remaining beef.
  5. Add wine to skillet; scrape to loosen browned bits from bottom of pan.
  6. Bring wine to a boil, and cook 1 minute.
  7. Add to slow cooker.
  8. Stir in tomato paste, salt, pepper, carrots, garlic, celery, onions, and 2 cups beef stock.
  9. Add thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  10. Cover and cook on LOW until beef is tender, 7 1/2 to 8 hours.
  11. Whisk together flour and remaining 1/2 cup stock.
  12. Add flour mixture and to slow cooker.
  13. Increase heat to HIGH; cover and cook until bubbly and thickened, about 5 minutes.
  14. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  15. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Hearty Beef Stew

By Published: Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 peopleServing size: Calories per serving: Fat per serving: Ingredients: Thinly-sliced chuck roast: 2 lbs. Directions:
Add half of beef to skillet; cook, turning to brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. ...

Salad Bar!

Who doesn’t want to sit down to a fresh, colorful and crispy salad topped with your favorite dressing?  The simplicity, the beauty, the different textures all combine to make this lunch time treat such a pleasing and healthy option.

Recently we served this for a retreat, and it received such rave reviews that we thought we’d share our salad bar ideas with you.  We haven’t included amounts, because you can make as little or as much as you want.  As a guide, people would probably want to plan on 1 Tbsp. of toppings per person.   It’s also the perfect “to go” meal – just prep all the toppings, throw them in zip-lock bags or containers and then dish up before serving.

We hope you enjoy some of these ideas as much as we do.

Salad Bar Suggestions:

Lettuce – a blend of iceberg, romaine, bibb and red leaf is nice

diced ham
diced turkey or chicken
hard boiled eggs
cheese – Havarti, swiss, cheddar – all recommended
crumbled gorgonzola
tomatoes, wedged or grape or cherry tomatoes
roasted beets, julienned
avocado
cucumber
celery
olives
grated carrot
broccoli and/or cauliflower flowerets
peas
chopped scallions
sliced red onion
colored peppers
garbanzo beans
cooked lentils
diced cooked bacon
cooked quinoa
sunflower seeds, roasted and salted
chia seeds
toasted nuts – such as walnuts or pecans
croutons

An Assortment of Homemade Dressings – click on the link for the recipes

Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing
Green Goddess Salad Dressing
English Garden Salad Dressing
Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Salad Bar!
SERVINGS
However much you want
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
However much you want
COOK TIME
0
PREP TIME
1 hour (or less)
READY IN
1hour

Ingredients

Instructions

Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing
  1. Makes 1 cup (250ml), about four servings If you can’t get buttermilk, mix one part milk (whole or lowfat) with one part plain yogurt (regular or lowfat) to approximate the taste. Any kind of blue cheese, domestic or imported, should work well.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash the blue cheese with the salt and pepper with the back of a fork until the pieces of cheese are finely broken up.
  3. Stir in the chives, sour cream, buttermilk, and lemon juice or wine vinegar until well mixed.
  4. Add a few drops of red wine vinegar. Taste, and adjust any of the seasonings to your liking and if the dressing too thick, add a bit more buttermilk. *Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz
Green Goddess Salad Dressing
  1. Place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add the sour cream and process just until blended. Refrigerate the dressing until ready to serve.
English Garden Salad Dressing
  1. Combine all but the oils in a bowl and whisk. Slowly whisk in the oils to combine.
Balsamic Vinaigrette
  1. Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, salt, and black pepper together in a glass jar with a lid.
  2. Replace lid on the jar and shake vigorously until thoroughly combined.

Harvest Apple Fritters

Apple Fritters… crunchy, sweet, and melt-in-your-mouth on the outside, cinnamon-y dough with apple chunks on the inside.  I can’t think of a better use for our apple drops that we are collecting in the early hours of the morning.  A delightful early morning treat to pair with a steaming cup of coffee on a crisp fall morning.

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Harvest Apple Fritters
SERVINGS
12fritters
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
fritters
COOK TIME
4minutes
PREP TIME
10minutes
READY IN
15minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pour oil into a cast iron or other heavy duty skillet so that it is approximately 1 ½” deep. Heat oil on medium high. Oil is ready when dough floats to top. (don’t let it get too hot or the fritters will burn!)—do a little tester with the dough to be sure the oil is hot enough.
  2. Prepare the glaze by stirring the milk (or half and half) and sifted powdered sugar together in a small bowl—you want it to be a fairly thick glaze.
  3. Prepare the fritter by combining the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir in milk, vanilla and egg until just combined (add enough milk to make a thick batter).
  4. Fold in apple chunks
  5. Carefully add dough to the oil in heaping tablespoons. Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes, then flip. Cook another 1-2 minutes, until both sides are browned.
  6. Transfer briefly to paper towels to absorb excess oil, then transfer to cooling rack.
  7. Drizzle glaze over the apple fritters while they are still warm. Wait approximately 3 minutes for glaze to harden, then flip fritters and drizzle glaze over the other side. Best served warm. Enjoy!

Crepes with Lemon Ricotta Filling

Crepes are one of my favorite foods and can be quite versatile.  Used for dessert, they can be filled with a variety of ingredients: chocolate, Nutella, mascarpone to name a few.  Or served at breakfast with ricotta cheese and just a touch of sweetness.  At lunch or dinner, they can be filled with spinach, chicken and mushroom cream sauce, or thinly sliced ham and a lightly scrambled egg or even an herbed cream cheese with smoked salmon and sliced radish. Any way you serve them, they are delightful, and light on carbohydrates.

I was cleaning out our coal stoves, and discovered an old cast-iron crepe pan. I couldn’t resist! Passion took over and I set about cleaning it up, trying out recipes, and finding something that I wanted to share.  This simple breakfast crepe will be a nice change on the weekend, when you want to do something a little more special for your family.

 

Blessed New Year!

 

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Crepes with Lemon Ricotta Filling
Makes about 6 8-inch crêpes, recipe can be doubled as needed
SERVINGS
3people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
20 mins
PREP TIME
30mins
READY IN
1 hr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place the flour, milk, eggs, salt, and melted butter (and optional sugar and vanilla) in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds until batter is smooth. Alternatively, whisk everything together in a bowl until thoroughly combined and frothy.
  2. Cover the bowl and let the batter sit for at least 1/2 hour on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Before cooking the crêpes, assemble everything you'll need by your stove top: the batter, the pan, the oil and pastry brush and a spatula. If your bowl doesn't have a pour spout, have a ladle or 1/4-cup measuring cup handy.
  4. Place the pan over medium heat and brush your pan with oil to coat the bottom. Let it sit on the flame for a minute to get hot. Pour in about ¼-1/3 cup of batter. Immediately, pick up the pan and swirl it to coax the batter into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
  5. When the crêpe has browned slightly on the bottom, carefully work a spatula underneath it and flip. Cook the second side briefly, just to set the batter.
  6. Tilt the pan and loosen the crêpe, then slide it onto the cooling rack or wax paper
  7. Continue making crêpes with the rest of the batter, brushing more oil on the pan as needed to keep the crêpes from sticking.
  8. If not eating the crêpes immediately, stack them one on top of the other as they cool. If they seem sticky, place a square of wax paper or parchment between them. Place the stack in a sealable plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for a few months.
Lemon Ricotta Filling
  1. Whip all of the above ingredients together in a mixer until smooth and creamy. If using cream cheese, whip this first until creamy and then add the other ingredients
  2. Spoon about 2 Tbsp of the filling into one of the “corners” of the crepes and fold into ¼’s
  3. Arrange on plate and sprinkle with mixed berries and powdered sugar to serve, or serve with homemade blueberry sauce (below).
Homemade Blueberry Sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine sugar, water, cornstarch, and lemon juice.
  2. Whisk until blended, then add blueberries.
  3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until juice is clear and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
  4. Serve at room temperature

Saint Lucia Bread

Our Monastic Bake Shop opens for Advent, just in time for people to select delicious home-baked goods for their Christmas table.  One of the favorite sweet breads that people return for is the lovely St. Lucia Bread.  A rich, dense dough filled with citron, saffron and almonds, and decorated like a wreath, has been a long-standing tradition for our Bakeshop, started by one of our own Sisters, Sr. Lucia.

Traditionally, when we make our first profession as Sisters, we also take on a new name – symbolizing our new life wedded to Christ.  Sr. Lucia became a novice in early December.  When she was preparing to take her vows, she prayed about what her new name should be.  One of the Sisters told her that she had an idea of a name for her. The Sister next to her said, “Now don’t overwhelm our new novice with another big decision!” But she couldn’t bear the suspense, and she told her the name: Lucia.  A bit later, a different Sister mentioned that she had received a name for her, and it was the same one!  She decided to learn more about who St Lucia was, only to discover that her feast day was celebrated on December 13th — the exact day that the name had been suggested to her!  She couldn’t deny that God was speaking.  It turns out that her middle name had been Lucille after her maternal grandmother, and years later it was discovered that her actual given name had been Lucia!

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Saint Lucia Bread
SERVINGS
2loaves
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
loaves
COOK TIME
20-25mins
PREP TIME
30mins
READY IN
2-3hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large mixer, soften the yeast in the warm water
  2. Heat the milk until warm. Add the oil and sugar and stir to dissolve.
  3. Add this mixture to the yeast mixture in the mixer
  4. Add salt and saffron
  5. Add the 3 slightly beaten eggs and mix with dough hook.
  6. Add the lemon zest, citron and almonds and continue mixing
  7. One cup at a time, add the flour and mix well after each addition. Stop adding the flour when the dough starts pulling away from the side of the bowl. Adding more flour if necessary.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for 5 min, or until dough becomes smooth and elastic; adding flour as necessary.
  9. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 1 hr. (At this point, you can refrigerate the dough, if you want to work with it later).
  10. Divide the dough into six equal balls and roll into large ropes and then braid three together, making two braids.
  11. Pinch the two ends together and tuck under, forming two circular loaves.
  12. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two sheet pans with baking paper, or grease, and put a braided loaf on each pan.
  13. Cover and let rise in a warm place, until doubled.
  14. Combine the remaining egg with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush on the braids.
  15. Bake for about 20-25 min or until the loaf feels firm to the touch. If you would like to use a thermometer, the internal temperature should read about 190 degrees.
  16. While the bread is baking, prepare your frosting, mixing all ingredients until smooth and on the thicker side. Cut your cherries in half.
  17. Remove bread from the oven and cool slightly, then decorate, using the green cherries as leaves, and the red as berries.

A blessed Advent to all!

Apple Cranberry Bread

Today I am looking out on a winter wonderland! We are in the midst of a blizzard that has dumped an amazing amount of snow as far as the eye can see. One of those days to sit by the fire with a hot cup of tea and a slice of warm Apple cranberry bread.

We still have apples in the refrigerator from our fall harvest which are in surprisingly good shape – the one I munched on while making this bread wasn’t fresh from the tree, but still crisp and sweet. We also were given a large quantity of cranberries from a local bog, so it seemed like a good use of the two to put them together in a quick bread. We are always looking for different morning snack ideas to serve at our community work time break.  I tried a couple of different recipes and actually left the peels on the Apple’s to give the breads a little more texture. Here is one variety that I thought the most flavorful and moist.

 

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Apple Cranberry Bread
SERVINGS
1loaf
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
loaf
COOK TIME
45-55minutes
PREP TIME
READY IN
10minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degree F. Grease bottom only of an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan
  2. In large bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar, the oil and egg.
  3. Stir in apple, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in cranberries.
  4. Spoon batter into pan.
  5. In small bowl, mix 1 Tablespoon sugar and the cinnamon; sprinkle over batter.
  6. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack before slicing.
Optional Glaze
  1. For glaze, combine confectioners sugar and half and half or milk, drizzle over bread.