As Americans unite and pull together during this time of crisis, we find
ourselves going back to basics in lots of areas, including food! With so many
families housebound, both parents and children, “comfort food” can play a
part in helping relieve the stress and increase relaxation. Meatloaf and
mashed potatoes are a great way to go—hearty, simple and sure to be a hit.
Recently, another Sister and I shared our borscht recipes and memories! Like any well-loved food, memories play a part in its enjoyment. Our experiences of eating borscht are different but surprisingly parallel. Sr. Monica spent two months living at a Convent in Estonia when it was still part of the USSR. She has vivid memories of being there as the coup occurred when Gorbachev was still in power. I remember it too, because I was in Poland at the time, singing with our choir, Gloriae Dei Cantores. We had no way to communicate with our Sisters in Estonia since cell phones and e-mail were unavailable to us in 1991. We relied on prayer for their safety. Often, a particular recipe is a vehicle for comfort, even solace. We have had difficult times in the past, but we know God’s love is available to us. We offer this heartwarming recipe to you, along with our prayers for a healthy spring.
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CHANGE SERVING SIZE
2poundsbeefchuck roast or stew meat (if using bone-in meat, increase poundage to 3#)
Put the meat in a crockpot with 8 cups cold water, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and 1 Tbsp salt. Set on high for 4 hours. Cook until fork tender. Remove meat and strain and reserve the broth. Set aside
While the Beef is cooking, wrap beets in foil and place in a 400 degree oven—roast for 1hr. until fork tender. Cool slightly, but while they are still warm, remove the top, bottom and skin with a pairing knife (skins should come off easily if properly cooked) and either grate or julienne the beets. Set aside.
Heat a large stockpot and add 4 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp. butter and sauté onion for 2 min. Add diced potato and sauté another 5 min or until beginning to soften. Add the grated carrot, cabbage and garlic and 2 Tbsp vinegar and sauté for 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to med/low and add the beets, 2 Tbsp sugar and 2 Tbsp tomato paste. Mix thoroughly and add the reserved strained broth and extra 2-3 cups beef broth. (I used' Better than Bouillon' Roasted Beef Base)
Simmer and cover until vegetables are tender. Add the diced, cooked Beef and 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill. Remove from heat and leave covered until flavors meld. Add 1/4 tsp pepper (If desired), and salt to taste. Adjust flavors to taste (you may want to add a bit more vinegar or sugar)
Serve warm or cold with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill.
This year, I’ve been doing some teaching where cooking is concerned, and along with that comes learning on my part. Testing new recipes, experimenting with foods of different cultures and also trying my hand at a healthier way of cooking and eating. As I was working with a friend, we decided we’d like to try to find a recipe for a really good veggie burger. First of all, I wasn’t sure those four words really went together… “really good” and “veggie burger”. But, once again, I was wrong. This vegetable and grain-based patty is delightful. It’s bursting with flavors – we commented to each other that you could truly taste each vegetable in it and the bonus is, it’s packed with protein. Even my most lovable meat craving Sister thought it was delicious. That was a real surprise.
So, as we head into Lent, I thought this might be a good time to share this recipe. I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Make the herb mayo: In a blender, combine all the herb mayo ingredients. Blend until smooth, then transfer to a bowl.
Make the veggie burgers: In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the water and quinoa to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until the quinoa is tender and all the water is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Or cook the quinoa in a rice cooker, following manufacturer directions (I used 2 cups quinoa/2 cups water). You will be using 3 cups of cooked quinoa in this recipe.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, parsley and onion, and cook, stirring often, until the veggies are tender and lightly caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Then add the baby spinach to wilt along with the corn. Transfer to the bowl with the 3 cups of cooked quinoa and let cool.
Once the vegetables-and-quinoa mixture has cooled, mix in the remaining veggie burger ingredients until incorporated. Form into 8 - ½ cup patties and shape. Lay out on a piece of wax paper.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the veggie burgers until golden brown and crisp, 3 minutes per side.
To assemble: Top each veggie burger with some of the herbed mayo and top with tomato and avocado. Serve while the burger is still warm with a side of sweet potato fries.
Our retreats, both group and personal, often include guests with specific dietary restrictions. We support them, trying our best to accommodate the needs of those concerned—and it broadens the scope of our menu planning and recipe research.
We’re discovering all kinds of recipes—gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, and more. I’ve selected a gluten-free recipe, which is a proven winner with our Sisters that need gluten-free foods. We find these hot rolls fresh out of the oven are eagerly received by non-gluten-free Sisters as well! They’re easy to make and taste fantastic when hot and crispy, a little chewy inside, and with a generous dollop of butter!
Combine milk, oil, and salt in a saucepan; bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally, and remove from heat as soon as you see big bubbles coming through the milk.
Add the tapioca flour and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is blended; it will be sticky and gelatinous.
Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl, and let cool for a few minutes. Then with the paddle attachment, beat for a few minutes.
Beat the eggs in, one at a time, on medium speed
Beat in the cheese until fully incorporated; dough will be sticky and stretchy.
Scoop the dough with a medium-size ice-cream scoop, dipping it in warm water between scoops, spacing them about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with baking, parchment paper.
Place in oven, and immediately turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes until puffed, outsides are dry and crispy; rotate pan and bake another 10 minutes, and bottoms are golden brown,
and the tops not too golden.
HANDS-DOWN, ONE OF OUR SISTERHOOD’S MOST FAVORITE TREATS!
This is a dessert / snack that I think is fair to say, always brings a smile and sparkle to the eye. Whether served as a plated reception option, a surprise snack for a hard-working crew, a dessert tucked into a bag lunch, it always hits the mark—and is never refused! And as a living testimony to this—today, I left the batch of fresh baked Carmelitas on the counter, only to find when I returned to do my blog “photo shoot”, that the Sister on duty saw them and couldn’t resist offering a few to some Brothers doing a spackling job; I’m still hearing how much they loved them!
“O Star of wonder, Star of night, Star with royal beauty bright…Guide us to thy perfect light.” How wondrous the Star that leads the Magi to the Infant Christ! And as we continue to celebrate this season so filled with awe and beauty, it lends itself to more creativity as we prepare treats for the many Yuletide events—(or for any festive occasion!)
Beat the butter and sugar in mixer bowl until light and fluffy; add egg and flavorings and beat until smooth.
Reduce mixer speed to low, and after sifting flour, baking powder and salt together, add slowly until just blended.
Divide dough in half, forming 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, until firm, or longer if need be. It will need to be pliable to be able to roll out.
Using a sprinkling of flour, roll out dough to about an 1/8’ thickness. Cut out your desired shapes; place on baking sheet and bake for about 15” or until slightly golden. Let cool for a few minutes before glazing them.
In a medium size bowl, mix by hand, the sifted confectioners’ sugar, milk, corn syrup, salt, and flavorings until smooth and well blended. Depending upon the colors you’re using, divide glaze into separate dishes, adding colors
Holding the cookie, gently lay it on top of the glaze, so that surface is covered. Set aside for a few minutes and then decorate with colored sprinkles of your choice, before glaze sets too firmly.