Braised Baby Bok Choy

Last week in honor of Chinese New Year, a lovely case of fresh baby bok choy — straight from Chinatown — was delivered to our Convent door, a generous gift from the parents of one of our Sisters. In the middle of winter, it’s a real treat to add fresh and tasty vegetables to our dinner. Baby Bok Choy is the tender rendition of a Chinese cabbage and a great source of beta carotene, which has been scientifically proven to act as a dietary antioxidant. Its name is derived from the Chinese name for “soup spoon” because of the shape of its leaves. Baby Bok Choy requires delicate cooking and is a wonderful accompaniment to fish, tofu, pork and poultry. We hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

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Braised Baby Bok Choy
SERVINGS
2people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
1​0​ - 15minutes
PREP TIME
5minutes
READY IN
1​5minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. ​Slice baby bok choy in 1/2 lengthwise and place in a large bowl of cold water to soak.
  2. Using a large non-stick fry pan, melt the butter and add the smashed garlic. Move around in the pan to infuse the butter, but don't let it burn.
  3. Place the bok choy, cut side down ​in the pan and saute until golden.
  4. Add the white wine and sugar and reduce until almost all the liquid is gone.
  5. Flip the bok choy over and add the broth.
  6. 6. Continue to cook until almost all the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Serve the bok choy with the thickened broth spooned over it, and garnish with sliced green onions.

Braised Pork Ribs

Saturdays in the Community call for a lot of physical participation, especially for our band members — 20 of which are sisters. Morning Beehive, the weekly time when all Community members gather to work together on whatever jobs need most to be done, starts at 8 am and continues until noon, with a half hour coffee break at 10 am.

Following lunch our convent band sisters pack up and take off with the rest of the band for a full afternoon of serious rehearsal often requiring considerable concentration as well as physical activity.

Everyone knows that when the band comes home they will come home very hungry and be looking forward to a substantial dinner. That’s why we always plan a hearty meal for that evening for all of us.

This week’s Saturday night dinner cook chose to do pork ribs with creamy polenta, chard, yellow squash and salad, but instead of grilling the ribs as we often do she surprised everyone by choosing to braise them…and…the result? Not a rib leftover and she has now been branded “Best Saturday night convent dinner cook!”

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Braised Pork Ribs
SERVINGS
4people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
2hours
PREP TIME
50minutes
READY IN
2hours, 50 min

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Pat the ribs dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown the ribs on all sides, working in batches if needed. Remove the ribs and set aside. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven and reduce the heat to medium. Add the carrots, celery, onions and some salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, to remove the raw flavor, about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and wine, and then add the red pepper flakes and bay leaves.
  3. Add the ribs back to the pan and add enough stock to reach halfway up the sides of the ribs. Bring the pan to a simmer, cover and place in the oven. Braise until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. During the last half hour, uncover to allow the liquid to reduce and the pork to brown. Remove ½ of the veggies and blend to a thick puree- return to pan juices to thicken the sauce.
  4. Serve the ribs with Creamy Polenta, spooning the sauce on top, and garnishing with parsley.
Creamy Polenta
  1. Spray the insert of a slow cooker with cooking spray (for easier clean up) and preheat on high.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup of the half-and-half, the milk, 1 tablespoon of the butter and the polenta. Season with salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly to keep the mixture lump-free. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring once or twice per hour.
  3. Once you are ready to serve, open the slow cooker and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the remaining 1/3 cup half-and-half and the Parmesan. Salt and pepper conservatively since the polenta will be served with a robustly salted dish.

Hot Chicken Salad Bundles with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Winter has finally hit Cape Cod. With our first snow flurry and single digit temperatures, I felt it was time to create new twists on some old recipes, to warm and delight the cockles of our guests’ hearts: a summer favorite bundled up and served on a puddle of roasted red pepper sauce, giving it just that bit of flair. From the comments I heard, I believe we struck it right with this recipe.

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Hot Chicken Salad Bundles with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
SERVINGS
4
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
15minutes
PREP TIME
30minutes
READY IN
1hour

Ingredients

Instructions

Prepare the Chicken Salad
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Mix all of the chicken salad ingredients together in a bowl and set aside
  3. Roll out two puff pastry sheets to 11 x 11” and cut into 2- 5 x5 “ squares (removing one inch of the border – the pastry needs to be this measurement to be thin enough)
  4. In the center of the square put about a ½ cup of chicken salad and draw the sides up to create a bundle, twisting and pinching the top to secure.
  5. Place the bundles on a parchment lined pan and brush with egg wash
  6. Cook for about 15 min. or until golden and cooked through
Meanwhile prepare the pepper sauce
  1. Heat the oil in a saute pan.
  2. Add the shallot and cook until soft.
  3. De-glaze the pan with white wine and cook 1 minute longer
  4. Add the stock and the drained roasted red peppers. Cook 5 min.
  5. Cool slightly, and puree in the blender
  6. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper and transfer to a small saucepan to reheat a few minutes before serving.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Last week we started “putting the gardens to bed” for the season.
This end of an era always seems to creep up on us before I expect it
to.  For me it is always accompanied with a certain sadness.  No more
beautiful early morning sights of garden tubs overflowing with choice red
tomatoes, crisp green lettuce and chard, gorgeous shiny eggplants and
colorful summer squashes  ushering in the new day. What did arrive
this morning were some wonderful prizewinning heads of cabbage, a goodly
amount of green beans and plenty of assorted tomatoes.  So tonight we
will enjoy  a favorite old  world classic for our dinner:  Stuffed
cabbage rolls with fresh garden tomato sauce along with tender whole
green beans.

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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
SERVINGS
4-6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
1hour
PREP TIME
30mins
READY IN
1.5hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cut up tomatoes and simmer with olive oil, onion salt, oregano and sugar until reduced to 1 cup or 8 ounces of sauce. Can be done while preparing cabbage.
  2. Leave cabbage whole, but cut around the stem, and parboil for 5 minutes; let steep for another 5 minutes. Remove cabbage from water and drain; separate cabbage leaves. Chop the small inside leaves and the core and use to line a Dutch oven.
  3. Combine all the stuffing ingredients and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place 1 tablespoon stuffing on each of the larger cabbage leaves, fold ends of leaves over the stuffing, and roll leaves.
  4. Arrange the stuffed cabbage leaves in rows in Dutch oven; sprinkle each layer with olive oil, tomato sauce, and crushed bay leaf. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; add remaining tomato sauce, beef broth and enough water to cover. Place a plate on top of cabbage rolls, and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Serve the cabbage rolls with the pot sauce pored over them.

Brother Lawrence’s Stuffed Turkey Cutlets

After a dramatic religious conversion, young soldier Nicholas Herman decided to devote his life to following God and learning more about Christ. He joined a monastery and took the name Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. There, he spent the rest of his life working in the kitchen and repairing his brothers’ sandals. But during his decades of doing seemingly menial jobs, Brother Lawrence discovered a profound truth about having a relationship with God: Experiencing His presence can—and shouldhappen everywhere.  He spent his life serving others.  His letters were later compiled into the now classic book The Practice of the Presence of God.

“He does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.”  ― Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

 

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Brother Lawrence's Stuffed Turkey Cutlets
SERVINGS
4
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
15 mins
PREP TIME
10mins
READY IN
30 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. ​Between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, pound your turkey cutlets with a meat hammer until thin. Melt 2 Tbsp. each of butter and olive oil in a stove to oven safe skillet such as Calphalon or cast iron. Add your sliced onion and saute until lightly golden and soft. Add baby spinach, sun dried tomatoes, herbs and cook over low heat until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic (if desired) and wine. Cook over low heat until the flavors absorb into the tomatoes and onions.
  2. ​Lay your turkey cutlets on a cutting board. Zest the lemon over each one. Lay your mozzarella cheese on one end. Spoon the onion mixture over your cheese, and then top with a generous grating of fresh Parmesan. Starting w/ the cheese end, roll up each cutlet tightly. Sprinkle some bread crumbs into a shallow bowl, and roll each cutlet in to coat.
  3. ​Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and olive oil back to your pan, melt over medium heat and add the cutlets. Sautée each side of the cutlets until golden and then place the skillet in a 300 degree oven for about 12​-15​ min. to cook through.
  4. Take the remaining spinach,and microwave for about one minute until just limp. Sprinkle with onion salt and lay on a platter. Place the cutlets on top of the spinach to serve. Pour the juices along the sides of the cutlets just before serving.

cuetlet2

Rolled Sole with Fennel and Citrus

​Hospitality is an important ministry of Benedictines, but also with that comes the need for a spirit of flexibility!  You never know when a guest can appear needing a meal or a place to spend the night.  Being a Type-A personality and a perfectionist, this “gift” is not something that comes naturally to me. My life at the Villa was a wonderful time for me to breathe and let God take the reins.
It’s a place where I hear the gentle guiding voice of the​ Holy Spirit.

We had some special guests coming to stay​ at Villa Via Sacra​, and as usual, we had many other things that felt equally important going on at the same time.  I thought I should plan a meal that could be prepped, held, and baked at the last minute, so that we could be free to do all of these things, but still sit down and enjoy a meal with our guests, so I prayed about what should be served. Nothing immediately came to mind, which was frustrating!  I needed answers, I didn’t have time to waste, and most importantly, I had to go grocery shopping!  I guess God was teaching me a something…
Then one day, not too long before they arrived, this recipe came to mind, and it felt perfect.  The guests were older, it was a hot day. They would be traveling for a couple hours before arriving, and I knew they would be very tired.  This recipe is light, easy on the stomach, and pleasing to the eye.  It turned out to be a wonderful, relaxing meal and a lesson to me about depending on God’s timetable, not my own.

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Rolled Sole with Fennel and Citrus
SERVINGS
6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
20mins
PREP TIME
45 mins
READY IN
65 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In medium skilled, over medium-low heat, sauté the diced fennel in the olive oil until barely tender, about 3 min.
  3. Turn off heat and stir in the fennel flowers or seeds, then the garlic.
  4. Stir in the orange sections, and half of the citrus zest (reserving other half for garnish), and 2/3 cup of breadcrumbs. Remove from stove.
  5. Top each fillet with a layer of fennel mixture, gently roll up and secure with a toothpick if desired.
  6. Arrange the rolls in a 6 x 9 inch baking dish.
  7. Drizzle with the melted butter and ¼ cup of wine, and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs.
  8. Bake uncovered for 20 min. or until the sole has white edges and the crumbs are browned. Do not overcook!
  9. While the sole is baking, combine the juices of the lemon and orange along with the remaining ¼ cup of wine. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and let the sauce reduce for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove the fish from the oven. Spoon the citrus juice mixture on top of the fish and garnish with the reserved zest and fennel fronds or parsley, and serve immediately. Andiamo Mangiare!​