On a recent pilgrimage to Israel, I encountered the cultural phenomenon that is the traditional Israeli breakfast: Fresh vegetable salads, an abundance of fruit, creamy bowls of hummus, smoky eggplant baba ghanouj, borekas, and pastries of every description. The pièce de résistance, however, was the warm and savory shakshouka. Featuring delicately poached eggs, spices and vibrant herbs, I knew I needed to make this when I returned home.
Fun to say (shak-SHOO-kah) and even more fun to prepare, this delicious souvenir from the Holy Land warms me from the inside out!
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Warm the oil in an oven-safe skillet (I used cast iron) over medium heat. Once oil shimmers, add onion, bell pepper, and salt. Cook until the onions are translucent.
Add garlic, tomato paste, cumin, and paprika. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes with their juices and cilantro. Stir, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Make a well near the edge of the pan with the back of a spoon and crack the egg into it. Spoon a bit of the tomato mixture over the whites to contain the egg. Repeat with remaining eggs, and season with salt and pepper.
Put the skillet to the oven and bake for 8–12 minutes, checking often after 8 minutes. Cook until the egg whites are an opaque white and the yolks have risen a little but are still soft.
Take the hot skillet out and place on a heat-safe surface. Garnish with fresh cilantro or a crumble of feta and enjoy!
Stuffed Mushrooms: Practically Perfect in Every Way!
Recently, we had the joy of celebrating the 80th birthday of one of our Sisters. What better way to celebrate this milestone than a Mary Poppins-themed party? Beautiful table settings, colorful flower arrangements and fanciful kite decorations added to the festivities, and the food was not far behind! Among the offerings that evening was a favorite of many of our Sisters: stuffed mushrooms. Warm and savory, this appetizer is reserved for special occasions and doesn’t last long on the plate!
With the return of warmer weather, we also welcome the return of guests to our community either for retreats, workshops, or events that we host. As hospitality is a hallmark of the Benedictine life, these events offer us an opportunity to put this monastic practice in place!
Hosting guests will sometimes limit our time spent in meal preparation, and our solution to providing our sisters with a delicious home-cooked meal and caring for our guests can be found in a vital (and in our case, under-used) kitchen appliance: the crock pot!
We made these slow-cooker ribs recently for our main meal, and it was a hit! Even our sisters with restricted diets just had to have a taste. Simple, easy and delicious, this is a recipe that we will be using again this summer.
Brush the bottom of the crockpot with olive oil, just enough to coat
Place the sliced onion in an even layer on the bottom of the pot.
Sprinkle the ribs with salt, pepper and brown sugar. Top with the minced garlic, and place in the crockpot.
Pour the apple juice over the ribs and set the temperature on the crockpot to the lowest temperature setting. Place the lid on the pot and let cook overnight or 7-9 hours.
After 7-9 hours, the ribs should be very tender and falling off the bone. Remove from crockpot and place in a 9x13 casserole dish. Liberally cover the ribs with barbecue sauce and cover the pan with foil.
Cook in a low oven (200 degrees) for another 2 hours and enjoy!
Our corner of the world becomes pretty bleak at this time of year with bare trees, plowed under gardens and occasional winter storms that blow through.
Ever on the lookout for new recipes, this one for sweet potato, roasted chickpeas and creamy hummus sauce caught our eye: tasty, colorful and with flavors that evoke a warmer time and place, this proved to be a great way to beat the winter blues! We’ve adapted it to our tastes and feel free to do the same. Filling–and meatless–this recipe will most likely find its way back on the table right into spring.
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Baked Sweet Potato with Roasted Chickpeas and Creamy Hummus Sauce
Preheat oven to 400. Line 2 metal cookie sheets with baking paper.
Place the sweet potato halves on one cookie sheet and set aside.
Place 1 cup of chickpeas in a bowl and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Dust with salt and pepper and gently toss until lightly coated. Pour in a single layer on the second cookie sheet.
Put the potatoes and the chickpeas in the oven for roasting. Roast the chickpeas until they become a medium shade of brown, about 15 minutes. The sweet potatoes should be cooked until they are fork tender, about 45 minutes.
While the potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, prepare the hummus sauce.
Place remaining 2 cups of chickpeas in a food processor.
Place remaining 2 cups of chickpeas in a food processor and begin to process while pouring in a thin stream of olive oil. Once the chickpeas begin to become a paste, add milk, lemon juice, zest, garlic, salt and pepper. The consistency should be thin enough to drizzle on the potatoes, but still be visible (not watery).
Once the potatoes and chickpeas have finished in the oven, top the potatoes with the roasted chickpeas and drizzle them generously with the hummus sauce. For added color, garnish with fresh parsley or feta cheese and serve warm or room temperature.
We are so fortunate to have a good friend and neighbor who grows vegetables for a nearby upscale restaurant. Whenever he has a surplus of a particular vegetable, we’re the happy benefactors. Yesterday morning, I cheered when walking into the Convent kitchen. I found three large flats of fresh, happy looking Baby Bok Choy on the counter. In no time at all, it was in and out of the sink and into the skillet for our noon meal. What a blessing!
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Simple (and delicious!) Bok Choy
Great anytime in the week, this easy recipe will turn a side dish into the star of the show on any table!
“Spring is on the way!” the kitchen sister sings. Outside the convent door the crocuses agree and now tonight’s evening meal reflects the happy thought by bringing a touch of Spring to the dinner table. During this Lenten season we have been serving lighter meals which have included a wide variety of new soups — mostly vegetable-based and surprisingly successful and satisfying. Our brand new fresh green pea soup is making its debut tonight and we shall see how it tastes.
Today in the bush outside my window I saw a baby robin and now there’s not a doubt that Spring is on its way!