Potato Latkes

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.

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Potato Latkes
SERVINGS
4people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
20minutes
PREP TIME
20minutes
READY IN
40minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Finely grate potatoes with onion into a large bowl. Drain off any excess liquid.
  2. Mix in egg, salt, black pepper and bacon bits. Add enough flour to make mixture thick, about 2 to 4 tablespoons all together.
  3. Turn oven to low, about 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
  4. Heat 1/4 inch oil in the bottom of a heavy skillet over medium high heat.
  5. Drop two or three 1/4 cup mounds into hot oil, and flatten to make 1/2 inch thick pancakes.
  6. Fry, turning once, until golden brown.
  7. Transfer to paper towel lined plates to drain, and keep warm in low oven until serving time.
  8. Repeat until all potato mixture is used.

Chicken Jubilee

Thirty some years ago, before today’s current interest in food and cooking, a group of young men attending a culinary institute in Connecticut asked to schedule a retreat at Bethany. None of them were known to us except for one, but it took no time for all of us to feel at home with each other. I have fond memories of that experience.

I was of course pleased that they appreciated the food prepared for them, in particular a chicken dish which we served for many retreats back then and which they unanimously praised. It was my version of a recipe adapted from an old homemaker’s paperback of prizewinners. It still amuses me to remember these “professional chefs in the making” as they left, each of them clutching a copy of this recipe from a housewife’s collection of favorites, and featuring a bottle of store bought salad dressing.

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Chicken Jubilee
SERVINGS
6-8people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
1hour
PREP TIME
15-20minutes
READY IN
1hour, 20 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place chicken, skin side up, in baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with margarine; broil until brown.
  3. Combine salad dressing, peaches, cherries, onion and chili sauce; spoon over chicken.
  4. Bake for 1 hour or until chicken is tender. Serve over hot cooked rice or noodles.

Festive Christmas Cauliflower

Last week one of our convent dinners included a whole head of cauliflower covered with a flavorful cheesy topping that was most enjoyable. Eating this prompted me to begin speculating about a possible Christmas cauliflower creation that might enhance a holiday dinner table. I envisioned something a little more dressed up with a stylish bit of sparkle and festive flare.

Here is what resulted from my culinary day dreaming: One saucy Head of cauliflower steamed whole, then covered with a combination of mayonnaise, etc., adorned with a skirt of rich dark green kale that has been slightly braised in oil and stylishly fluffed out around it. This basic beginning would then be tastefully embellished with bright red jewel like roasted cherry tomatoes. Thus attired my plain head of cauliflower would be stylishly prepared to make her special appearance at a very special meal.

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Festive Christmas Cauliflower
SERVINGS
6people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
45minutes
PREP TIME
10minutes
READY IN
50minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Steam or boil cauliflower until soft but still firm about 20-25 minutes.
  2. Combine cheese, onion, pimento, and mayonnaise. Spread over cauliflower completely and place in a baking dish or pan.
  3. Put in a high oven (400 degrees) for a long as it takes to gain a nice golden glaze.
  4. Let rest a while.
  5. Toss the tomatoes with a little olive oil and lay out in a single layer on a sheet pan.
  6. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
  7. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees, until tomatoes are soft.
  8. Chop kale and sauté in oil and garlic.
  9. Place cauliflower on a bed of kale. Scatter or place tomatoes around it as desired.

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Butternut, Sweet Potato and Apple Soup

As we enjoy these cool crisp days, my taste buds long for a creamy soup to warm my body. This soup is a treasure. The smell of it is a potpourri to scent your entire house! It has become our favorite soup for the season. Recently, we served this as the first course to the luncheon we hosted pre-performance for Elements Theater Company’s performance of “All My Sons”. We received so many recipe requests, we thought we should share it. We are filled with gratitude for each of you. Happy Thanksgiving and a blessed Advent!

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Butternut, Sweet Potato and Apple Soup
SERVINGS
6-8
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
45minutes
PREP TIME
30minutes
READY IN
1 1/4hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the butternut squash, sweet potatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper to pot. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes or more.
  3. Turn off the heat. Add the diced apple and purée the soup with a handheld immersion blender until very smooth and creamy. Pour the blended soup into a clean pot.
  4. Add the honey, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg and heavy cream and stir. Bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If you like a sweeter soup, add more honey.

Note: This soup thickens as it cools. If necessary, add a bit of cream to thin it back to desired consistency.

With thanks to Once Upon a Chef for inspiration of this recipe!

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Swiss Omelet Roll with Mustard Sauce

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.

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Swiss Omelet Roll with Mustard Sauce
SERVINGS
6-8
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
45minutes
PREP TIME
20minutes
READY IN
65minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

Omelet:
  1. Combine mayonnaise and flour.
  2. Gradually add milk and beaten egg yolks; cook, stirring constantly over low heat until thickened.
  3. Remove from heat; cool 15 minutes.
  4. Fold mayonnaise mixture and seasonings into stiffly beaten egg whites.
  5. Pour into 15 ½" x 10 ½" jelly roll pan lined with wax paper, brushed with mayonnaise.
  6. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
  7. Invert pan on towel; carefully remove wax paper.
  8. Cover with combined ham, cheese, and green onion.
  9. Roll from narrow end, lifting with towel while rolling.
Sauce:
  1. Combine sauce ingredients; mix well.
  2. Serve omelet seam down; top with mustard sauce.
  3. Garnish with watercress (or parsley) and tomato slices.

Cumberland Chicken

Exciting as it is to try brand new recipes, there is also a certain thrill to reviving old favorites. That’s what we did this Easter at the convent when we chose Cumberland Chicken for our Easter dinner.
This was something we served to guests and retreatants and at several events over many years, and having it on Sunday brought back many memories that provided much of the table conversation. It was like having an old friend among us again for this special day.

This recipe takes a plain chicken breast and transforms it into a buttery corn-crusted bundle of goodness that is enhanced with an unexpected sparkling red currant sauce. We served it with fresh
asparagus and a lovely medley of wild rice. It could not have been a more welcomed choice…a perfect springtime meal followed by many requests to please not wait so long to serve it again.

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Cumberland Chicken
SERVINGS
8people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
45-60minutes
PREP TIME
20minutes
READY IN
65-80minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle onion salt and pepper over the chicken breasts, dip in melted butter, roll in stuffing crumbs, and place in shallow pan.
  2. Bake approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and serve with Cumberland Sauce.
  3. Combine sauce ingredients until smooth, warming if necessary to melt the jelly.