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Since the 1970’s, we have prepared hundreds (if not thousands!) of meals here at the Community of Jesus on Cape Cod, and at our mission house, Villa Via Sacra, in Barga, Italy. We believe that food nourishes body, soul, and spirit, and that even the simplest meal, prepared with love, can change your life. At the heart of our call to kitchen and table lie the words of Saint Benedict: “Welcome all as Christ.” This premise has led us on many culinary adventures, which we now gladly share with you!

OATMEAL CARMELITAS

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!

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OATMEAL CARMELITAS!
SERVINGS
9-12
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
20
PREP TIME
30
READY IN
50

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for crust; blend well to form a crumbly, moist crust.
  2. Press half of the crumbs into bottom of 9” pan and bake at 350 degrees, for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. After blending flour with caramel topping, spread over chocolate and nut mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs, and bake 15-20” until golden brown

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.

Magi Sugar Cookies

“O Star of wonderStar 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!)

 

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Magi Sugar Cookies
SERVINGS
24-36cookies
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cookies
COOK TIME
15minutes
PREP TIME
2 hours 15minutes
READY IN
2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter and sugar in mixer bowl until light and fluffy; add egg and flavorings and beat until smooth.
  2. Reduce mixer speed to low, and after sifting flour, baking powder and salt together, add slowly until just blended.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.

Grilled Ceasar Salad

Merry Christmas from Bethany Convent! This year, the Sisters enjoyed this lovely Grilled Ceasar Salad with our Christmas meal. It was so easy and delicious, we wanted to share it with you. Our prayers are with each one of you as we close out 2019 and look forward with hope and expectation to a new year together!

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Grilled Ceasar Salad
SERVINGS
4
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
20
PREP TIME
20
READY IN
40

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dressing: In a bowl, add the mayonnaise, Worcestershire, lemon juice, Dijon, vinegar and garlic and whisk until combined. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add the Parmesan and continue to whisk. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. This can be made ahead and kept refrigerated until ready to use
  2. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
  3. Brush olive oil on the romaine hearts and season with salt and pepper. Place the romaine cut-side down on the grill and cook until nicely marked, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Brush the lemon halves with olive oil and grill cut sized down until you have grill marks on the lemons and they are soft and golden
  5. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Prepare croutons: tear up the bread into bite sized chunks and drizzle with olive oil. Toss until the oil is well distributed. Toss with Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt until well seasoned to your liking. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until crispy and golden about 10-15 min. Remove from oven and let cool.
  6. With a vegetable peeler, flake your Parmesan cheese into large pieces.
  7. To assemble: lay your grilled romaine hearts on a platter, drizzle with the dressing and finish off with croutons, flakes of Parmesan cheese and the grilled lemon halves. Enjoy!

No-bake Mini-Cheesecake Parfaits

Advent is truly a wondrous time—so full of beauty, expectancy and hope.  It’s also a time of expressing love and gratitude to those we work with all year long!  Here’s a wonderfully simple recipe to serve at any kind of Christmas gathering, with minimal preparation, and with a delicious and lovely result!

 

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No-bake Mini-Cheesecake Parfaits
SERVINGS
12
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
10
PREP TIME
20
READY IN
40

Ingredients

Instructions

Filling
  1. In electric mixer, with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, heavy cream and sugar until smooth. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla; continue beating until light and fluffy.
  2. Add a layer of graham cracker crumbs to the bottom of shooters. (For a richer “crust”, mix in 4 tablespoons melted butter first)
  3. Top the layer of cracker crumbs with cheesecake filling, spooning a slight indentation for strawberry topping
Strawberry Topping
  1. Combine chopped berries, cornstarch/warm water mixture, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to gentle boil and allow to simmer until thickened, about 5 Minutes, adding food coloring if desired.
  2. Allow to cool, about 10 minutes (or faster in refrigerator)
  3. Spoon topping onto parfaits and serve, or refrigerate if desired

Note: Best served in 2 1/2 oz glass shooters!

Recipe adapted from "Just a Taste". - See the original recipe at the justataste.com website

No-Fuss Coffee Mousse

As my mother tells it, I requested a chocolate mousse cake for my fifth birthday–and 30 years later it remains a favorite! This recipe appeals to my coffee-loving adult tastes, but with a kid friendly ingredient: Marshmallows. 

Skipping the fuss of egg whites and gelatin used in other mousse recipes, this dessert can be prepared in minutes as a final touch to any festive gathering this holiday season. Enjoy!

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No-Fuss Coffee Mousse
SERVINGS
8
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
30minutes
PREP TIME
10 minutes
READY IN
2hours, 30 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Using an electric mixer, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Then place bowl of whipped cream in the refrigerator.
  2. In a double boiler, combine marshmallows and coffee until fully melted together on low heat. Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt.
  3. Let marshmallow mixture cool until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
  4. Fold whipped cream into marshmallow mixture and spoon into dessert dishes (we used chocolate petit-fours cups).
  5. Cover and chill until fully set, about 2 hours.
  6. Garnish with a curl of chocolate or a dollop of whipped cream with a dusting of cocoa powder for a festive finish.