Shakshouka!

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!

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Shakshouka!
SERVINGS
6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
20minutes
PREP TIME
15minutes
READY IN
35minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Add garlic, tomato paste, cumin, and paprika. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes with their juices and cilantro. Stir, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Take the hot skillet out and place on a heat-safe surface. Garnish with fresh cilantro or a crumble of feta and enjoy!

Kale, Sausage and Cannellini Bean Soup – A Special Autumn Treat

When end-of-summer kale comes in by the armload from the garden, “kale soup” becomes a familiar sounding menu option.  But can’t we make it really different and flavorful for our guests, as the chill of Autumn sets in? And so it develops: browned Italian sausage chunks, lots of fresh thyme, a splash of white wine, potatoes and cannellini beans.  Delicious served with a salad of fresh sliced pears, toasted almonds, and shavings of Parmesan Cheese and a basket of warm dill bread!

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Kale, Sausage and Cannellini Bean Soup - A Special Autumn Treat
SERVINGS
4
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
30minutes
PREP TIME
45minutes
READY IN
1hour, 15 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan; add chopped onion, thyme and sausage chunks, browning over medium heat for about 10 minutes, adding a splash of wine for enhanced flavor. Drain off excess fat.
  2. Add chopped kale, potatoes, garlic, cooking for a few minutes before adding chicken broth, bringing soup to a boil, then simmering for about 20 minutes.
  3. To achieve a thicker consistency, strain out some of the cooked potato pieces, thoroughly mash and then add back to the soup.
  4. Add cannellini beans and simmer for another 10 minutes, then serve!

Stuffed Mushrooms: Practically Perfect in Every Way!

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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!
SERVINGS
4-6servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
20mins
PREP TIME
15mins
READY IN
35mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Gently clean mushroom caps by wiping black dirt off with a paper towel
  3. Remove mushroom stems, and finely dice.
  4. Coat the bottom of a skillet and sautee the garlic until tender. Add the diced mushroom stems and cook until soft.
  5. Remove skillet from heat, and set aside to cool.
  6. In a mixer or hand mixed, combine cream cheese, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Once mushroom stems are cool, add to bowl and thoroughly combine.
  7. Grease a 9x9 glass casserole dish, and arrange mushroom caps hollow side up.
  8. Using small spoons, gently fill the mushroom caps with the cream cheese filling and bake for 20 minutes in the oven, or until moisture begins to form in the cap.
  9. Remove from oven, garnish with chive and serve alongside other hors d’oeuvres.

Overnight Slow-Cooker Ribs!

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Overnight Slow-Cooker Ribs!
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.
SERVINGS
4-6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
7-9hrsplus 2hrs
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Brush the bottom of the crockpot with olive oil, just enough to coat
  2. Place the sliced onion in an even layer on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Sprinkle the ribs with salt, pepper and brown sugar. Top with the minced garlic, and place in the crockpot.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Cook in a low oven (200 degrees) for another 2 hours and enjoy!

Inspired by the Song of Spring

Being a Benedictine House, we start our day with the office of Lauds followed by Eucharist. As I left the service today, I was struck by just how many years Monasticism has existed and thrived, and how blessed I was to be a part of a living organism that has withstood the passage of time and changed the world in the process.

As I passed through our atrium, I was met with the lovely singing of birds. With the cold winter we’ve had, this promise of spring was a delight to my ears and got me itching to create a light new soup that was both colorful and tasty. I set out for the kitchen to create just that.

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Inspired by the Song of Spring
SERVINGS
6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
20
PREP TIME
30
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large stockpot over medium heat, sautee leeks, garlic, and thyme in the butter and olive oil until softened- about eight minutes.
  2. Add diced potato and cook an additional 5 minutes or until the potatoes begin to take on a slightly translucent hue. Meanwhile, prepare asparagus by snapping off the ends and peeling the sides with a vegetable peeler and cut into 1" pieces.
  3. Add broccoli florets to your stock pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add prepared asparagus pieces and cover with 8 cups of stock (vegetable or chicken, whichever you prefer). Stir and bring to a simmer.
  4. Cover your pot and cook until your vegetables are tender about 10 min.
  5. After 10 minutes, uncover the pot, turn off the heat and add the spinach. Allow to sit for an additional five minutes.
  6. Cool slightly, and puree using an immersion blender or a countertop blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more broth to achieve the desired thickness or add some cream. Re-heat and serve. Makes 14 cups of soup.

Baked Sweet Potato with Roasted Chickpeas and Creamy Hummus Sauce

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
SERVINGS
4
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
20mins, plus 45 minutes roasting time
PREP TIME
10mins
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line 2 metal cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. Place the sweet potato halves on one cookie sheet and set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. While the potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, prepare the hummus sauce.
  6. Place remaining 2 cups of chickpeas in a food processor.
  7. 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).
  8. 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.