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!
It’s too easy to lose track of the origin of some of the many wonderful recipes that we all love–but have no idea where they came from!
One of our Sisters, known for her love for cooking and her creative culinary skills, has a great intro to one of her favorite recipes… that lives on to this day!
“My mother, who came to this country as a young girl, first obtained a job doing housework for a wealthy family on 5th Ave, N.Y. The lady of the house had a special liking for a tall, moist, three-layered cake from a nearby bakery—with a creamy custard filling, generous swirls of maple-flavored frosting and lavishly sprinkled with finely chopped walnuts. My mother soon cultivated a taste for this culinary wonder also—and developed her own recipe for the cake by taste and instinct.”
And now, through the years, it’s been passed on to us, with modifications and adjustments, and continues to be the quintessential dessert for the right occasion.
Is it possible that summer could have come and gone so fast? In thinking back at the blessings we witnessed, large and small, I’m amazed at just how much the Holy Spirit loves to come alongside in every circumstance.
Summertime at the Community of Jesus is an event filled season, which generally goes hand in hand with receptions! One especially stands out, looking back from a cook’s point of view: an organ concert, attended by an exceptionally large number of people.
It’s always a blessing/challenge to come up with new ideas of what to serve at such an occasion—something fresh, original, visually attractive—and something really tasty. The kitchen team definitely “approved” of lime-macaroon bars, and so did our guests!
Set oven to 350. Using a 9x13 baking pan, spray lightly with baking spray; you may also prefer to line pan with foil, spraying it lightly.
Zest and juice the limes; set aside
For crust, with an electric mixer, beat butter for a few seconds, then add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, lime juice, and zest, mixing until combined.
Blend in flour, baking powder, and salt. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake about 15 minutes or until set and dry. Remove from oven.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the egg white, coconut, and condensed milk. Spoon coconut mixture evenly over hot crust. Bake about 20 minutes more or until topping is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and cut into bars!
I love the way God slips blessings into our lives—sometimes in the most unexpected, unusual, personal ways. Perhaps it would mean nothing to someone else, but somehow you know He did that, and He did it just for you! Decades ago, I was walking the beach after a hurricane, checking out the damage, and as I looked down I spotted what looked like a 3×5 recipe card—roughed up a bit and written in a scrawl, it read Simple Apple cake. Being not much of a cook in those days, the work “simple” jumped out and decades later I’m still using it—simple, delicious, quintessential comfort food!
So requested a lady on Personal Retreat in our guesthouse. To be honest, I actually was planning something a little more elaborate such as zucchini lasagna, Caesar salad, and herb-buttered Italian bread. But I replied, “Of course!” and conceived a plan. As I picked fresh lettuce from our kitchen’s “Chef's Garden”, ideas came– what about fried eggplant and deviled eggs to add a special little touch! Some avocado slices, sliced ham or chicken, olives, cherry tomatoes.
Once again, the Holy Spirit came alongside and brought ideas fresh and new. Our retreatant was very blessed…as was I!
We are blessed by having visitors from all over the United States coming to stay in Bethany, our lovely Guest House—and the cooking Sisters love to serve them the best of Cape Cod cuisine. Situated right on the water, with fishing boats arriving and departing on each tide, it’s sometimes easy for us to forget what a fantastic opportunity we have to enjoy fish fresh from the catch. Our eager guests often prove to be an incentive for us to investigate new ways to prepare a Cape Cod classic, such as Filet of Sole—and this particular recipe has proven to be a big hit!
Preheat the oven on warm. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a pie plate
Heat 1 Tbsp of oil and 1 Tbsp of butter in a skillet. Add cherry tomatoes, toss until thoroughly cooked; at the last minute, add most of the basil, saving some to sprinkle on when served. Place in a warm oven.
In the same skillet, melt 3 Tbsp butter. While that’s heating, dredge the fish in the flour, then cook on medium to hot in a skillet until golden—about 2 minutes per side. As it’s browning up, add a little wine for flavor!
When ready to serve, tumble tomatoes onto the fish, and garnish with chopped basil leaves or parsley and a lemon wedge.