Here at the Convent we love to give attention to birthdays, be they big or little. Last week I had a very BIG one (85!) and it was celebrated in a very big way, especially featuring an abundance of beautiful spring flowers and fabulous food — two of my main passions.
The day was launched with an outstanding brunch including many of the old favorites I’d used over the years for guests, retreats and special events. This Swiss Omelet Roll was a specialty that brought back many memories, and made for much meaningful conversation as we re-lived the occasions when it was served.
Swiss Omelet Roll with Mustard Sauce
- Combine mayonnaise and flour.
- Gradually add milk and beaten egg yolks; cook, stirring constantly over low heat until thickened.
- Remove from heat; cool 15 minutes.
- Fold mayonnaise mixture and seasonings into stiffly beaten egg whites.
- Pour into 15 ½" x 10 ½" jelly roll pan lined with wax paper, brushed with mayonnaise.
- Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
- Invert pan on towel; carefully remove wax paper.
- Cover with combined ham, cheese, and green onion.
- Roll from narrow end, lifting with towel while rolling.
- Combine sauce ingredients; mix well.
- Serve omelet seam down; top with mustard sauce.
- Garnish with watercress (or parsley) and tomato slices.
Twenty six of our community young people who belong to our WinterPercussion Ensemble just returned from two intense tech weeks of preparation for the final competition they will be participating in in Dayton, Ohio in April. They have been practicing and working hard towards this starting last fall. When they rehearse, they use up enormous amounts of energy and work up huge appetites.
Two sisters went with them to cook and keep them properly fed. The meals are hearty and nourishing, starting with breakfast which needs to be full of protein. This ham and egg dish is one of their favorites. I like to believe that their excellent performance and high ratings are, in part, due to this most excellent breakfast.
Many people like to also serve this for lunch and or for a light supper with a salad or vegetable accompanying it.
Cheesy Hashbrown Ham and Eggs
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Gently press the drained hash browns between paper towels to dry them as best as possible. In a 9-inch pie plate, toss the hash browns with the melted butter into the plate. Press them into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. When the hash brown crust is ready pour the egg mixture over it and return to the oven.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for about 30 minutes until the quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed.
Next week we start harvesting apples. How the year zips right along, from planting to harvest to seed again. We haven’t quite finished dealing with the pears yet, but we are getting there. Many more jars of chutney, and maybe some cordial to warm us in the winter months. I wanted to try the pear chutney in my favorite hot ham and cheese sandwich, so I made up some bread dough, slathered in some of our homemade mustard and a good dollop of the pear chutney, baked it until the cheese was oozing out the sides and it was quite good! Served with a nice bowl of butternut squash soup, who could ask for more on these nippy fall days?
Hot Ham and Cheese Pockets with Mustard and Chutney
- Dissolve yeast in warm water, add sugar, and let sit until bubbly.
- Add salt, olive oil and enough flour to make a just-sticky bread dough that springs back to the touch after kneading for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Keep adding flour until not sticky.
- Put back in bowl, and cover.
- Let rise about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Divide dough into 6 lumps.
- Roll out into 7 inch circles.
- Spread center of each circle with mustard, then grated cheese, chutney, and finally ham bunched on top.
- Pull up edges of circle, and press edges together to form a ball.
- Place with seam side down on a pan lined with parchment.
- Let sit about 15 minutes.
- Brush tops with olive oil, and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
I think the biggest event of this past week (well, maybe not, but it seems that way…) was the visitation of the wild turkey. I was talking with a friend in one of the offices and she suddenly jumped up and said “there’s a wild turkey!” and ran out the door. He appeared in the entryway to our common, and proceeded to climb up onto the guest house patio, as if he belonged there. What a handsome fellow! I had never seen one close up, and it was a real treat to see him strutting back and forth, admiring himself in the windows.
For a recent brunch type reception, I was asked to come up with a mini egg dish that was similar to quiche, but not heavy. We tried a number of things, and discovered a delicious breakfast option. We tried it first in pastry, which is nice, but then switched it to a ham cup and…oh my!!! Here they are in a breakfast-sized form, which we made for a retreat this past weekend, but you can also do them mini-size, which are delightful for a brunch reception!
Fluffy Breakfast Eggs in a Ham Cup
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Spray 6 ramekins with cooking spray.
- Line with ham, trimming so you don’t have too much overhang — just a little border of ham over lip of ramekin.
- Saute red pepper and onion until soft.
- Divide cheeses and pepper/onion mixture among ramekins.
- Whip eggs and egg whites with salt until frothy, then add chives and sour cream.
- Divide among the ramekins evenly.
- Bake in a 375 degree oven until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes.
You can use any kind of cheese or fresh herbs, according to your preference. Have fun!
By the time you read this, you have enjoyed your Thanksgiving celebration. I hope for all it was a special, blessed time, with lots of good fellowship and food! I am a nibbler on Thanksgiving — I never want to not have room for dessert at the end of the day. Actually, I think I could be happy with just turkey sandwiches on white bread with lots of Hellmann’s mayo and some cranberry chutney for my Thanksgiving meal. Another one of my most favorite sandwiches of the season is a ham, cheddar cheese, and apple carrot chutney on multi-grain bread. (Or bulkie rolls or white bread for that matter.) It makes a really good slider, too. You just pile it all together and put in the oven for about 15 minutes. This sandwich pairs well with Butternut Squash Soup.
Ham, Cheese and Chutney Sandwiches
Ham, Cheese And Chutney Sandwiches
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and mustard.
- Spread this mixture onto both sides of the bread.
- Pile ham onto half of the bread slices.
- Spoon on chutney according to taste preference, but make sure it is even so you get some in each bite!
- Next layer on your cheese, then the other slice of bread.
- Place on a baking sheet, and bake until cheese is melted, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Enjoy! (You can also pile onto toasted bulkie rolls, and bake open faced, placing the other half of the roll on the sandwich just before serving.)