About Gourmet Nun

There are actually two of us under the title of "Gourmet Nun!" One of us came at age 13, the other in her 30s. We have been sisters for 43 and 38 years respectively. One of use came with her mother (who felt called to this community), the other drove down in a red Carmen Ghia, leaving behind a job in a flower shop in Boston. Between us we have almost a century of cooking experience (that actually sounds kind of frightening!) having cooked since we were young. We have been in choir, wind ensemble, orchestra, painted, made quilts and both have been or are executive chefs in our events kitchen. We both love food; but especially the relationship between hospitality and the dining room, the Eucharistic table and the banquet table. Nothing makes either of us happier than a well-planned and well-executed meal that speaks of the love of God.

Mini Puff Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Fresh Blueberries

One of my favorite meals to make is breakfast. In our guest house, breakfast is a veritable feast and a pleasure for the eyes. Our latest twist on puff pancakes (or dutch babies) made their debut on a cold fall morning. There’s nothing like bringing a little sunshine to the table to brighten up one’s day. Surprise your loved one with this easy breakfast made for two!

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Mini Puff Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Fresh Blueberries
SERVINGS
2-4servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
25mins
PREP TIME
5mins
READY IN
30mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425º F (220ºC)
  2. Add eggs, flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and lemon zest to a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Place butter in two heavy cast iron skillets (5-6" in width) (or one large skillet) and place in the oven until butter has melted. Pour half the batter into each pan, return them to oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the pancakes are puffed and golden. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake five minutes longer.
  4. Remove pancakes from oven, serve individually if using mini skillets, or cut larger dutch baby into wedges and top with a spoonful or two of lemon curd and blueberries and a dusting of confectioners sugar. If desired, garnish with lemon slices and a sprig of fresh mint.

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

Our Gregorian Chant Retreat has just come to a close today, ending on a very positive and productive note, with a number of first timers wanting to return! Always a rewarding finale to any retreat.

In addition to the new faces in attendance were a number of new menus that brought many sincere compliments from the eaters. One of the new dishes was this warm autumn salad, featuring golden roasted butternut squash topped with smooth soft goat cheese.

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Warm Goat Cheese Salad
SERVINGS
4servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
15-20mins
PREP TIME
10mins
READY IN
25-30mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine butternut squash, pecans, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and brown sugar.
  2. Spread on rimmed baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and cool on pan.
  4. Assemble salad by topping mixed greens with squash mixture, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and green onions.
  5. Drizzle with maple mustard vinaigrette.

Baked Cauliflower Pie (sformato di cavolfiore)

​With the holidays​ just​ around the corner, you might be looking for a new and unusual crowd-pleasing side dish to wow your guests. This is one of my favorite vegetable dishes, introduced to me by Tessa Kiros in her wonderful cookbook: Twelve: A Tuscan Cook Book. She introduces the readers to the twelve months of Tuscan cooking and seasonal ingredients. When I’ve served at our mission house in Tuscany, I would cook through this book and this recipe became one of our house favorites. As Tessa says, “pastry-less baked vegetable pies are very common and are made with various vegetables depending on the season, such as green beans, artichokes and spinach.” You can also use broccoli in place of cauliflower.

We just served this last night for the opening to our Gregorian Chant Retreat and received great compliments. This would make a lovely addition to your Thanksgiving table. If you want to make it gluten free, just substitute gluten free flour for all purpose flour in the the béchamel sauce.

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Baked Cauliflower Pie (sformato di cavolfiore)
SERVINGS
6servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
30-40mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
55mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 3​50 degrees/ Wash the cauliflower and trim away the hard stem. Put it into a pot of boiling salted water and boil for about 10 min. or until it has softened.
  2. Meanwhile, make the béchamel​ ​​sauce:
    1) Melt butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add shallots (if using) and sauté 2 minutes. Do not let brown.

    2) Reduce heat to low, add flour, and whisk until smooth and raw taste is cooked off, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Add bay leaf and cook until just thickened, stirring often, about 10 minutes.

    3) Stir in nutmeg and salt. Season with ground white pepper. Cool sauce slightly. Discard bay leaf before using.
  3. Drain the cauliflower and​ chop it up finely or roughly puree it. Put into a bowl and mix in the eggs, 2 cups béchamel​,​ parmesan cheese, a grating of fresh nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste, adjusting if necessary. Mix well with wooden spoon.
  4. Butter an oven dish or loaf pan and sprinkle with half of the breadcrumbs to line the pan, shaking away the excess (use gluten free breadcrumbs if making gluten free). Pour in the mixture and sprinkle the surface with the remaining breadcrumbs.
  5. Bake for 30-40 min. in the hot oven, until the top is golden and slightly crusty. Serve warm.

Fresh Cranberry Relish

On our return from town yesterday we were driving down Rock Harbor Road when suddenly, without any notice, up from a woodsy space alongside of the road emerged a huge dark wild turkey. With his enormous tail fully outspread he “took” the stage strutting across the road, with great pomp and confidence. Everyone gasped and our driver jammed on the brakes just in time to avoid running into the rest of the family of 8, which followed the man of the family in very deliberate and perfectly choreographed form.

A not so subtle reminder to start preparing for the holiday ahead!

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Fresh Cranberry Relish
SERVINGS
4servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
10mins
PREP TIME
5mins
READY IN
15mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Fit a food processor with the center blade, and chop up the cranberries. The pieces should resemble minced cranberry. Put aside in a bowl.
  2. Put the orange half—including the peel—in the processor and chop it as with the cranberries and add this to the bowl of processed cranberries.
  3. Add the sugar (or Jello mix) and stir well to combine.
  4. Put relish in a bowl and cover tightly in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  5. Serve this and colorful relish with turkey, chicken or ham this holiday season—a fresh and easy sidekick to any holiday table!

Asparagus Cordon Bleu

​With all the meals we were serving in quick succession over this past weekend, we looked for a few vegetable recipes that could easily be prepared ahead but still maintain their beauty and freshness. We were so happy with the results of this asparagus dish. It was definitely a keeper – perfect for Christmas or even Easter! Never too early to start planning ahead! Asparagus Cordon Bleu is easy and a lovely addition for a dinner party or any holiday. It can be easily assembled in advance and popped in the oven shortly before serving.

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Asparagus Cordon Bleu
SERVINGS
6servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
20mins
PREP TIME
15mins
READY IN
35mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking dish by brushing with melted butter or olive oil
  2. Prepare an ice bath. Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Add approximately 1 tablespoon of salt. Drop the asparagus into the salted water. Cook 15-30 seconds or until asparagus turns bright green. Remove and immediately drop into the ice bath. Let cool thoroughly then pat dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
  3. Divide the asparagus into six even bundles. Wrap each in the prosciutto and place in the prepared baking dish.
  4. Top with grated cheese.
  5. Bake for 10-15 min. until cheese is melted
  6. Meanwhile, combine butter and panko in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the cheese. Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Can be prepared 24 hours in advance. Assemble and refrigerate. When ready to bake, preheat oven and bake per directions, holding panko to add later.

Recipe adapted from achefskitchen.com

Pot Roast

We have had a wonderful summer with food, creating a wide variety of unusual fresh salads of all sorts, interesting new chilled soups, and great ribs, chicken, burgers, and other meats from the grill. Now people are remembering the savory heartwarming dishes of cooler weather, expressing their desire for savory seasonal favorites of the Fall.

Right now I am torn between wanting to serve a great pot roast, while at the same time thinking how happy many people would be to enjoy a tasty old fashioned Shepherd’s Pie…so we do both! For today, we’ll make a great pot roast doubling the amount we would usually cook, and saving the meat for a delicious Shepherd’s Pie in a few days’ time.

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Pot Roast
SERVINGS
6servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
4hrs
PREP TIME
15mins
READY IN
4 hrs15 min

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F
  2. Generously salt and pepper the chuck roast
  3. Heat the olive oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the halved onions to the pot, browning them on both sides. Remove the onions and set aside.
  4. Put the carrots into the same pot and toss them until slightly browned, about a minute, and set aside the carrots with the onions.
  5. Add a bit more olive oil to the pot and place the meat in the pot and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is brown all over. Remove the meat to a plate.
  6. Deglaze the pot with either red wine or beef broth—about 1 cup—scraping the bottom with a whisk. Place the meat back into the pot and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway.
  7. Add the onions and the carrots, and fresh herbs.
  8. Cover pot and roast, about 1 hour per pound of meat. The roast is ready when it can be pulled apart with a fork.
Optional: Top with mashed potatoes and freshly steamed broccoli
  1. Boil 6 baking potatoes in salted water until fork tender
  2. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot.
  3. In a small bowl, mix 2 cups of sour cream, 2 cups of milk and add to the pot of boiled potatoes.
  4. Mash potatoes with a hand masher, hand held beater or an electric mixer
  5. Spread potatoes over the meat, sprinkle with Paprika and broil 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add steamed broccoli and serve warm.