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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!

Variation on a Thumbprint Cookie

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Variation on a Thumbprint Cookie
As we were planning a reception for an upcoming Organ Concert, we all agreed on the perfect savories, but couldn’t make a decision about a complimentary sweet. “How about Thumbprint Cookies,” piped up a nearby sister, “but this time, try rolling them in chopped nuts.” Great idea – they’re colorful, and above all, they’re an old-time favorite that everyone loves. Butter, brown sugar, chopped nuts, and your jam of choice – a definite Yum!
SERVINGS
20cookies
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cookies
COOK TIME
16mins
PREP TIME
25mins
READY IN
1hr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg yolk; keep egg white separate in a little dish.
  3. Toss the flour and salt lightly together and then gently mix in.
  4. Shape dough into 20 balls; dip in egg white and then in chopped nuts
  5. Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart; make a thumb indentation, and be sure the dough isn’t splitting apart.
  6. Bake for about 15-17 minutes. When golden and done, remove from oven, and indent each cookie again. Then spoon a little of your favorite jam into each thumbprint. Cool completely.

Overnight Slow-Cooker Ribs!

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Overnight Slow-Cooker Ribs!
With the return of warmer weather, we also welcome the return of guests to our community either for retreats, workshops, or events that we host. As hospitality is a hallmark of the Benedictine life, these events offer us an opportunity to put this monastic practice in place! Hosting guests will sometimes limit our time spent in meal preparation, and our solution to providing our sisters with a delicious home-cooked meal and caring for our guests can be found in a vital (and in our case, under-used) kitchen appliance: the crock pot! We made these slow-cooker ribs recently for our main meal, and it was a hit! Even our sisters with restricted diets just had to have a taste. Simple, easy and delicious, this is a recipe that we will be using again this summer.
SERVINGS
4-6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
7-9hrsplus 2hrs
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Brush the bottom of the crockpot with olive oil, just enough to coat
  2. Place the sliced onion in an even layer on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Sprinkle the ribs with salt, pepper and brown sugar. Top with the minced garlic, and place in the crockpot.
  4. Pour the apple juice over the ribs and set the temperature on the crockpot to the lowest temperature setting. Place the lid on the pot and let cook overnight or 7-9 hours.
  5. After 7-9 hours, the ribs should be very tender and falling off the bone. Remove from crockpot and place in a 9x13 casserole dish. Liberally cover the ribs with barbecue sauce and cover the pan with foil.
  6. Cook in a low oven (200 degrees) for another 2 hours and enjoy!

Coconut Any Way You Slice It!

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Coconut Any Way You Slice It!
With daffodils and crocuses springing up everywhere, what could be more appealing on these beautiful April days, than a coconut cream pie—and prepped in a surprisingly simple way!
SERVINGS
8-10
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
10mins
PREP TIME
45mins
READY IN
1hour

Ingredients

Instructions

Pie Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine salt and flour; cut in shortening with 2 knives or pastry cutter, until pea-size pieces.
  3. Add water a little at a time, using a fork toss lightly and mix until it holds together. Don’t over mix!
  4. Shape dough into a flat disk, gently roll out and place in a pie plate, crimping until the edge firmly grips the top of the dish.
  5. Brush lightly with the egg mixture to make if flakey and crisp; with a fork poke holes
  6. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until golden
Pie Filling
  1. While crust is in the oven, make pudding following the directions on the box, adding salt, coconut flavoring; chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 20 minutes
  2. In a small pan, toast 1/4 cup of coconut in the oven for 3-4 minutes until light brown
  3. Fold a generous spatula full of cool whip into pudding, adding 1/4 cup of coconut
  4. Spoon into cooled pie crust, top with more cool whip (or whipped cream) and sprinkle toasted coconut on top

Roasted Pork Loin with Mango Chutney

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Roasted Pork Loin with Mango Chutney
Our convent menus usually include pork once a week in some form or other. Some of us would happily settle for homemade applesauce along with our crusty golden roasted pork and potatoes….but one of our younger, more innovative cooks came up with something that others found more appealing--and you may too: golden roasted pork with a luscious mango chutney she felt the Holy Spirit inspired her to create!
SERVINGS
7-8
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
1hour
PREP TIME
30mins
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Coat the surface of a large oven-proof skillet or cast iron pan with olive oil. Heat on high heat. When oil begins to smoke, add pork loin to pan or skillet.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Once the first side has a golden crust, turn pork in the pan to get a crust on the other side. This will seal the meat before roasting, ensuring a juicy serving of meat when cut
  4. Place the skillet and pork into the oven and roast, about 1 hour or until the internal temperature registers 145F on a meat thermometer.
  5. Pull out the pork and let rest, loosely covering the meat with foil.
Chutney
  1. Coat the bottom of a medium saucepan with olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Once oil is warm, sautee the red onion until it becomes translucent. Add red and green bell peppers and cook until tender.
  3. Once vegetables are cooked, add mango and duck sauce, cooking through until the chutney starts to bubble. Add salt to taste.

Once the pork has rested, slice into ½ to ¼ inch slices, top with warm chutney and serve.

Frosted Lemon Sugar Cookies

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Frosted Lemon Sugar Cookies
Everyone in the neighborhood knew that my mother made the best sugar cookies on the block, but not everyone knew what made them them the best… When I discovered the secret I felt I’d made one of the greatest discoveries in the culinary world. Mama’s good friend Olga was Jewish and never used dairy products, so instead of butter she substituted schmaltz--which is rendered chicken fat--that gives the recipe a distinct flavor and richness unlike any other shortening--including real butter!
SERVINGS
2dozen
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
dozen
COOK TIME
10mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream schmaltz and sugar in an electric mixer using a paddle attachment.
  3. Add eggs (one a at time), lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat until well incorporated.
  4. Slowly add flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Roll dough into balls roughly 1 ½ inches wide and place on a greased cookie sheet, or a baking sheet lined with parchment. Press each cookie with a bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or until the bottoms are slightly golden. Remove and cool completely.
Frosting
  1. Combine all the ingredients until it reaches a creamy consistency. If it’s too thick, add either lemon juice for an extra shot of lemon or milk until it thins to the desired thickness.
  2. Either frost with a spreader (pictured) or pipe onto the cookies and enjoy!

Spring Shrimp Salad

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Spring Shrimp Salad
The message came to our Guest House cooks: Luncheon for two on Friday—and they would prefer to have no meat. With Spring on the way, the first thing that came to me was a Shrimp Salad plate—quick, easy, delicious!
SERVINGS
2
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
8mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. If frozen, thaw shrimp, rinse and remove any shells or veins
  2. Place in simmering, salted water and cook about 8 minutes or until pink—and firm to the taste but not overcooked or tough
  3. Drain and cool in refrigerator for a few minutes; then remove and chop coarsely.
  4. Gently toss with mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper, all to taste. Add chopped chives and celery if desired.

Serve however you’d like—it goes well with a cup of soup, some sliced veggies and perhaps a warm roll!