Vietnamese Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

As our State is starting to reopen the economy, part of me is going to miss this “time at home.” I’ve realized how much I’ve recognized, appreciated and enjoyed the simple things of life so much more over these last couple months.  I was emailing a few of my other monastic friends across the country and we have similar stories.  We’ve spent more time just being, praying the offices on behalf of the world, quieting ourselves down and trying to listen more to His voice. I hope I don’t lose what I’ve gained from this experience!  I’ve also had time to do some festive cooking. This weekend I decided that our travel ban didn’t refer to in house international cuisine. So, here’s a yummy, fresh and healthy recipe that can be used to cool you down on a hot summer’s day.  If you’re a vegan, substitute the shrimp with some red pepper or thinly julienned beet. It will be just as delicious.  Enjoy!

 

 

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Vietnamese Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
SERVINGS
8
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
5minutes
PREP TIME
1hour, 15 minutes
READY IN
1hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

Prepare the Peanut Sauce
  1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Thin with warm water if desired. This recipe will make more peanut sauce than you need, so store in a clean jar in the refrigerator for another use.
Spring Rolls
  1. Take one rice paper wrapper and dip it into warm water in a pie plate for 10 seconds to wet it and make pliable. Lay the wrapper down on a clean work surface (wooden cutting board works great here)and smooth it out with your damp hand.
  2. Take a leaf of lettuce and tear it into large 5-inch pieces and place it along the bottom half of the wrapper (see image) Place some rice noodles on top of the lettuce followed by a couple thin slices of avocado. Place a few carrots and cucumbers beside the lettuce, 2 pieces of scallion (or more) and then your shrimp sliced in half across the middle, pink side down. If desired, add some mint, basil or cilantro.
  3. To roll, gently fold over the left and right sides of the rice paper wrapper over the filling. Then fold the bottom part of the wrapper over the filling and gently but tightly roll up the spring roll, burrito style. Repeat steps 1 to 3
  4. Chill until ready to use. Serve with peanut sauce or another favorite dipping sauce

A Burst of Italian Flavor – Old World Eggplant Parmigiana

I never expect to see shiny, plump and beautiful eggplant in the grocery store until mid/late summer, but we’ve gotten lucky this year as a booming crop became readily available in our local market (unlike the empty paper towel and toilet paper shelves!) Since this is one of my favorite summer comfort foods, I thought I’d share and old world recipe with you. (If you want to skip a step and use purchased tomato sauce, that’s a great time saving option.)

You might ask why you need to soak your eggplant in salt water first.  This does two things: it draws out any of the bitter juices that can be found in older eggplant and tightens up the flesh, making the eggplant less likely to soak up too much oil when you are frying them. This recipe will make 2 – 9×13″ pans. Since it can be a bit time consuming to make, it enables you to put one pan away in the freezer for another time.

Andiamo a Mangiare!

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Rating: 5
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Old World Eggplant Parmigiana
SERVINGS
12
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
45minutes
PREP TIME
2hours
READY IN
3hours

Ingredients

Instructions

Prepare the Sauce and Eggplant
  1. Wash eggplant. Remove the top and bottom from the eggplant and slice across into 1/2" rounds (no need to peel) Submerge in a large bowl of cold water with 3 Tbsp Salt. Put a plate across the top of the bowl to keep the eggplant submerged. Let soak 30 min to 1 hr.
  2. Prepare the sauce: In a medium pot on top of the stove, heat the oil and add diced onion and a teaspoon of sugar. Cook over low heat until the onions are translucent and soft.
  3. Add the torn basil leaves, oregano and garlic. Continue cooking for another minute, watching that the garlic doesn't burn. Add the the salt and pepper and the tomatoes and the remaining sugar, if desired.
  4. Continue cooking over low heat until the flavors meld. Let simmer 30 min. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  5. Drain eggplant and dry on paper towels
  6. Mix together the Flour, salt and pepper on one plate. In a second large shallow bowl or pie plate, beat the eggs together.
  7. One at a time, dip the eggplant in the seasoned flour and then in the beaten eggs
  8. Heat oil in a large skillet or fry pan
  9. Fry the eggplants until golden on one side and then turn to continue frying on the other side. Remove to a paper lined sheet pan.
  10. When all the eggplant are fried, you are ready to assemble!
Assemble
  1. Spray two 9X13" pan with PAM spray
  2. Put a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of each pan
  3. Lightly sprinkle with the grated pecorino romano cheese
  4. Layer the eggplant slices - touching but not overlapping
  5. Sprinkle grated mozzarella over
  6. Lightly sprinkle with grated pecorino romano cheese
  7. Continue layering in this order: Sauce Eggplant Pecorino Romano Mozzarella Sauce Eggplant Pecorino Romano Sprinkle Chopped Parsley Mozzarella End with Sauc
  8. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 min. Let rest 10-15 min.

DELICIOUS AND GLUTEN-FREE—TAPIOCA ROLLS!

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!

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DELICIOUS AND GLUTEN-FREE—TAPIOCA ROLLS!
SERVINGS
242 inch puffs
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
2 inch puffs
COOK TIME
25minutes
PREP TIME
20minutes
READY IN
45minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Set oven at 450 degrees
  2. 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.
  3. Add the tapioca flour and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is blended; it will be sticky and gelatinous.
  4. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl, and let cool for a few minutes. Then with the paddle attachment, beat for a few minutes.
  5. Beat the eggs in, one at a time, on medium speed
  6. Beat in the cheese until fully incorporated; dough will be sticky and stretchy.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Arancini: The Ultimate Comfort Food

Greetings from Barga, Italy! For the past several weeks I have been serving at the Community’s outreach in Tuscany, and learning about Italian food in the process. During the holidays I made one of my most favorite Italian dishes: arancini. You would be hard pressed not to find comfort in these creamy risotto balls stuffed with cheese, aside from the fact they are also breaded and deep fried…mama mia.

As with most things I’ve encountered in Italy, this dish brings a centuries-long history to the table, dating back to 10th-century Sicily. While arancini has undergone some modern interpretation over the centuries, it remains a delicious treat. Buon appetito! 

 

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Arancini: The Ultimate Comfort Food
SERVINGS
6(30) arancini
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
(30) arancini
COOK TIME
30minutes
PREP TIME
15minutes
READY IN
45minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Fill a saucepan, crockpot or deep fryer with 4-5 inches of oil and heat to 350 degrees, regulating frequently with a thermometer if not using a crockpot or deep fryer appliance.
  2. Form a ball of risotto no larger than a golf ball in your hand and press it flat on a piece of wax paper. Place a mozzarella cube in the center, and close the risotto around it. Reshape into a ball if needed and set aside and repeat with remaining risotto.
  3. Once all the risotto has been formed, gently roll in flour, then egg and finally the breadcrumbs until fully coated.
  4. Working in batches, gently drop risotto balls into the oil, frying until the outside becomes a light golden brown color. Remove from oil and place on a cooling rack to drain excess oil.
  5. Serve warm or with a red or white sauce of your choosing.

Butternut Squash and Ginger Bisque

The change of season is such a lovely time. The air is crisp, the trees are turning brilliant shades of reds and orange, leaves are piling on the ground, and pumpkins greet us on every doorstep. Walking through our community, and seeing these sights, I am inspired to pull these all into one big pot of wonderfulness. The magic that greets you when a delicious bowl of steaming soup appears in front of you is one of community and love. 

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Rating: 4
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Butternut Squash and Ginger Bisque
SERVINGS
6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
1hour
PREP TIME
10minutes
READY IN
1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Oil baking sheet. Place squash, cut side down, on baking sheet. Bake until squash is very soft, about 50 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, remove peel from squash; discard peel.
  2. While the squash is cooking, heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Mix in onion, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and cinnamon stick. Cover pot and cook until onion is tender, about 15 minutes, stir occasionally so that your onion does not burn but is slightly golden and caramelized.
  3. Add the cooked squash and 4 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Take out the cinnamon stick but reserve.
  4. Working in batches, purée soup in blender (or use an immersion blender.) Return soup to pot with the cinnamon stick. If desired, add heavy cream and/or half and half to thin it out to your desired consistency or add more chicken broth. Add the maple syrup to taste. If desired, include a bit of ground cinnamon to taste.
  5. Season soup with salt and pepper. Bring to simmer and ladle into bowls and serve. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.)

Grilled Swordfish with Avocado Butter

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Multiple Reasons to Grill
I just love the summer evenings, not only the beautiful sunsets on Cape Cod but also the wonderful aromas being created by all of the grills cooking up wonderful dinners in our neighborhood. I often cook an entire dinner on a grill just to keep the heat down in our house and the dirty dishes out of the kitchen. The other evening, we celebrated one of our Sisters' 40th Birthday and she asked for swordfish since it was such a special celebration. This is one of my favorite swordfish recipes, I think you’ll love it too.
SERVINGS
4
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
20
PREP TIME
10
READY IN
40

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place swordfish steaks in glass baking dish in a single layer
  2. Combine oil and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl; stir well. Pour marinade mixture over steaks; cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Prepare Avocado Butter: Combine butter and avocado in a small mixing bowl; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth. Add the lime juice, zest, parsley, garlic, and salt; stir well. Cover and chill until firm. If desired, shape butter into small bowls before serving.
  4. Remove steaks from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Place marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Preheat grill. Grill steaks over medium high heat for 9 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting frequently with the reserved marinade (do not over cook).
  6. Serve fish off the grill with a ball of Avocado Butter on each steak. Garnish with parsley sprigs.

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