Ginger Pear Chutney

“Nothing that’s been given to us should ever be allowed to go to waste.” This has been a strong emphasis in the sisterhood from its earliest days. “No apple drop that has any edible part should be tossed. It should be turned into applesauce or butter.”

One convent sister in particular has a strong passion for turning all of our imperfect fruits into creative preserves. All summer long we have enjoyed a variety of jams and spreads on our breakfast toast, and occasional desserts. Plums, nectarines, peaches, apples have each in their season made their appearance in different forms.

But perhaps the choicest of all was the rich creation that appeared this week and disappeared within days. Made with the last of our pears and laced with rich bourbon this superb pear chutney elevated an already elegant pork loin roast into a spectacular sensation. Yesterday’s lunch cook served it alongside of ham and swiss pinwheels—always a favorite just as they are on their own…over the top with this enhancement!

It suddenly occurs to me that little jars of this would make choice Christmas gifts. Give it a try and see what you think.

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Ginger Pear Chutney
SERVINGS
6-7pint jars
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
pint jars
COOK TIME
1 hr30 mins
PREP TIME
45mins
READY IN
2 hrs15 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy pot. A Dutch oven or a cast iron pot works well.
  2. Bring ingredients to a boil, stirring often.
  3. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve as a condiment on the side, warm on pork or chicken, or dress up a deli ham sandwich. Enjoy!

Blend of the Best Granola

Over the years, both the Sisters and Brothers have developed and sold granola at Priory Books & Gifts and through Paraclete Press. We are both proud of our two very different recipes. The Brothers’ granola is chock full of dried fruits and nuts and flavored with maple to add just that little New England touch. The Sisters’ granola is very simple and sweetened with honey and cinnamon. We like to think of ours as the healthier option! We’ve been running a little secret competition on the side to see whose granola is more popular, and we respectfully concede to the Brothers, who have won — hands down!

Even though I’m not at liberty to give away our secret recipes, I have adapted my own that is what I call a “blend of the best” – a combo of the two. Sprinkled over our homemade yogurt and garnished with fresh fruit, this has become one of our signature breakfast menus at Bethany. A terrific way to start your day!

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Blend of the Best Granola
SERVINGS
18cups
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cups
COOK TIME
1 hour, 15 minutes
PREP TIME
10minutes
READY IN
4hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine the oats, almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  2. Melt the butter and add the honey, agave (or substitute 1 c. Karo Syrup for both of these) and vanilla extract.
  3. Add this mixture to the oat mixture and blend well.
  4. Spread the granola mixture on two cookie sheet pans lined with parchment.
  5. Bake in a 275 oven for 1 hr. and 15 min.
  6. Turn the oven off and leave granola in for a couple more hours or even overnight to dry out.
  7. Remove from the oven, break up the granola and add any additional dried fruits.
  8. Store in an airtight container, for up to 6 weeks. Enjoy!

Good Friday Hot Cross Buns

Good Friday marks the second day of the Triduum (from the Latin for ‘three days’), the day on which we commemorate the Lord’s crucifixion and death. The Good Friday liturgies at our monastery (and many others around the world) mark our observance of Christ’s final hours, picking up from Maundy Thursday Eucharist, and continuing through the Holy Saturday Vigil, the Great Vigil of Easter, and carrying us all the way to Easter morning.

In keeping with the solemnity of the day, we remember Christ’s death by bringing to the liturgy of the hours the full range of spiritual depth and beauty found in the ancient texts; we participate in the veneration of the cross, and chant Gospel Passion Narrative. It is a special and holy time, filled with moments of silence, listening, reflection and conviction, as well as a time of joy-filled anticipation.

This day of the Cross marks us with God’s presence, and He marks us for his own.

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Good Friday Hot Cross Buns
SERVINGS
1dozen buns
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
dozen buns
COOK TIME
25mins
PREP TIME
30mins
READY IN
3hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Dissolve the yeast by sprinkling it over the very warm water and add a pinch of sugar to activate.
  2. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over low heat until about 100 degrees F. (but no more than 110 degrees)
  3. In a mixer, fitted with a dough hook, add the warmed milk to the yeast mixture.
  4. Plump the raisins (or currants) and citron in the microwave with a little orange juice; cool and set aside
  5. To the yeast & milk mixture add the remaining sugar, melted butter, egg yolk and extract.
  6. Add the salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger to the mixture and continue kneading.
  7. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
  8. Remove the orange juice from the raisins and citron and discard.
  9. Add the raisins and citron to the dough and mix well. The dough should be slightly sticky and not dry.
  10. Knead until soft and elastic, about 8 min. Shape into a ball.
  11. Brush the inside of a large bowl with butter. Put dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hr. 30 min. **
  12. To form the rolls: Pam a 9x13” pyrex pan. Turn the dought out of the bowl and roll into a log. With a dough cutter or sharp knife, divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each of these pieces into a round bun shape, tucking the edges under.
  13. Place them seam side down in the prepared pan, leaving a little space between each roll. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the rolls are doubled in size, about 45 min. or longer.
  14. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. and prepare your egg wash.
  15. Prepare glaze: In a mixer, combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla or almond extract and oil until smooth (the oil will give it a high gloss). The icing should be quite thick. If too runny, add more powdered sugar. Transfer icing to a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with a corner snipped off.
  16. Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the rolls and brush the buns with egg wash. Bake rolls until golden brown and puffy, about 25 min. (an instant read thermometer inserted into the roll should read 190 degrees F.)
  17. Ice buns with a thick cross shape on the top of the warm buns and serve.

** Please note:  This dough might take a long time to rise, but be patient...it is worth the wait because they will come out nice and light!

Homemade Granola with Yogurt

If you should be up and around at 5:30 every a.m. you are apt to see two young sisters making their way down the road to the barn to milk our 3 cows. These gorgeous brown guernseys keep us well supplied with quality fresh milk every day. This makes it possible for us to produce our own yogurt and soft cheeses which we have doing for some time. Only recently however, have we begun to use the Crockpot method which results in a wonderfully thick satisfying yogurt with little to no effort. Combine this with our homemade granola and some fresh fruit and you have a beautiful, bright, healthy breakfast that is a favorite at the convent.

We decided to offer it for our last oblate retreat and it was met with such overwhelmingly positive response from so many we have decided to serve it again in the near future. Perhaps you would like to give it try even if you don’t have any cows of your own. Healthy Summer Breakfast!

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Homemade Granola with Yogurt
Granola -
Serves: 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cool Time: overnight
Ready In: Next day

Crockpot Yogurt -
Serves 16
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes approximately
Cool Time: 3.5-4 hours
Cure Time: 10-12 hours
Drain Time: 2 -4 hours (if thicker yogurt is desired)
Ready In: Next day

What You will Need:
Electric Crockpot
Some Type of Cooking or Dairy Thermometer
A Wisk or Fork
A Colander
Muslin, Plyban Cheescloth or some woven type of woven cloth
Bath towel or woolen scarf
Oven or Other draft free warm location
SERVINGS
12(for granola)
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
(for granola)
COOK TIME
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

Granola
  1. Heat the first four ingredients (through the vanilla) in a skillet, then add the next 2 items (oats and cinnamon) and mix well
  2. Spread evenly on paper lined sheet pans. Bake 1 hr 15 min on 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Leave granola in oven overnight and package the following day -- mixing in the raising first and breaking up chunks
Crockpot Yogurt
  1. Place the gallon of milk into the crock pot and cover. Heat the milk slowly until the milk is between 180 Fahrenheit - 190 Fahrenheit it is vital to heat the milk to at least 180 Fahrenheit.
  2. Allow the milk to cool to 110 Fahrenheit (takes 3.5 - 4 hours). Milk should not be a higher or lower temperature. There may be a skin formed on the milk (if you are using non homogenized or raw milk). If so, carefully remove it.
  3. Place 1 cup of the warm milk in a separate small bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons of starter yogurt to the cup of milk. (no more than 2 Tablespoons - that is all you need)
  4. With a fork or whisk, gently stir the starter yogurt into the milk.
  5. Next, pour the milk back into the crock pot and stir gently from side to side. Do not stir in circles, use a careful and slow up and down lifting motion across the length of the crock.
  6. Lift it out of the electric base and place it in a cool oven. Lay a bath towel or shawl around the crock and leave it undisturbed overnight or for 10 - 12 hours. You want the milk to stay nice and warm. An oven with a pilot light or electric light turned on works great. Do not disturb the milk and keep the oven door closed. After 10 -12 hours your yogurt should be solid with a layer of whey on the top. If you like thicker yogurt, you'll need to drain or carefully pour off the whey by pouring it into a colander lined with cheesecloth that has been set on top of a large pot.
  7. It takes about 2 hours of draining to make a thick natural yogurt, and about 3 or 4 hours to make a Greek style yogurt. Next, yogurt can be stored in a refrigerator or cooler to keep it sweet tasting. Some people prefer a tart yogurt and leave it out at room temperature for over 24 hours. The longer it stays at room temperature, the tarter it will become. Save a little back for the next batch!

*(any kind of yogurt, but must have both the active
and live cultures of lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus
thermophilus. Read the label to be sure that you have the right
starter bacteria)

Yogurt can be sweetened with jam, sugar, honey, or whatever you like.
At the convent, we received a wonderful donation recently of Agave
nectar. This natural sweetener has made some lovely batches of yogurt
for our guests!

Golden Pear Chutney

I am a cold weather girl. Yesterday was one of those crisp fall days, and I was actually cold! It’s a promise of things to come — apples being picked and pumpkins rolling in — so I do look forward to it. I love autumn! This year we have a bumper crop of pears. Last year was plum year — we had hundreds of pounds of the purple beauties. I don’t think we have as many pears, but it is a respectable harvest, enough that one starts wondering how many pears a person can eat? I love pears off of the tree, and I love to make upside cakes, poached pears, and pear muffins…. I also love chutney, so I decided to make up a few jars of a fiery pear one. Perfect for pork, or ham, turkey or chicken. Great in a ham and cheese sandwich on the griddle, or in the oven. But be warned — this one has a kick!

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Golden Pear Chutney
SERVINGS
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
1hour
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cook the pears in enough water to cover until they are medium soft.
  2. Drain, saving the water, then make a syrup of the water in which the pears were cooked and the brown sugar by boiling in a large nonreactive pot until thick, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. While the syrup is boiling, add the remaining ingredients to the pears, then mix everything together and cook for about 30 minutes or until the raisins are softened, the onions are transparent, and the chutney has a good thick consistency.
  4. Transfer to sterilized jars and seal, process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, or store in refrigerator.
  5. (Quatre – Epices: equal amounts of white pepper, nutmeg, ground cloves and ground ginger. Cinnamon can also be added, but for this recipe I left it out.

Improvised Broccoli Salad

As I write this, it is raining. I think not too long ago I was writing about all of the rain and cold we were having. (I will never complain about that again!) It’s finally been so dry that the garden could be tilled, and the tomatoes are being planted. I feel like having a party! Its the time of year that I try and think of what I can cook with the least amount of stove or oven usage.
I was recently cooking for a group, and not in the kitchen I am used to, which did not have a fully stocked pantry. I wanted to make a broccoli salad, so found a couple of recipes that looked promising, but of course did not have exactly what was called for, especially in the vinegar department. So, of course I would have to improvise.  It was a no cook broccoli salad with a mayonnaise, vinegar sugar dressing. I remembered that there was a bottle of white balsamic vinegar in the cupboard – ah sweet! I also wanted to cut down on the amount of mayonnaise, and use it more like the oil in the dressing, and I must say that balsamic can cover a multitude of sins. So, here is my version of fresh broccoli salad, improv style.

Improvised Broccoli Salad

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Improvised Broccoli Salad
SERVINGS
7servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Trim off the large leaves from the broccoli stem.
  2. Remove the tough stalk at the end and wash broccoli head well.
  3. Cut the head into bite-size flowerets and the stem into bite size pieces.
  4. Place in a large bowl.
  5. Add the bacon, onion, raisins, and carrot.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients, stirring well.
  7. Add to broccoli mixture and toss gently.
  8. Last of all add in the tomatoes and toss again gently.
  9. Refrigerate until ready to serve.