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!

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!​

Orange Glazed Squash

Autumn and butternut squash, in my mind, are almost synonymous. I am happy to say that we have a generous harvest of them stacked on wooden slats ready to be taken to the root cellar for storage. It’s safe to say that much of it will be turned into butternut bisque, which for years now has also been synonymous with autumn, at least here at the convent. However, roasted winter squashes are also regularly featured in our cold weather menus, and they now rival the bisque in popularity. Such a simple way to prepare them, and so many variations that can add color and flavor to most any meal. Here is one of my simplest and most favorite.

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Orange Glazed Squash
SERVINGS
2squash
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
squash
COOK TIME
10minutes
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt together squash, butter, orange marmalade, orange and salt.
  2. Stir in a dash of Grand Marnier or any orange liquor of your choosing (optional).
  3. Brush squash with mixture and roast in 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 10 minutes, or until golden brown and tender.
  4. For a festive holiday touch sprinkle with pomegranate kernels just before serving if desired.

Happy 60th Birthday Strawberry Bruschetta

On the Cape, with the tourist season, summer officially starts on Memorial Day. This year it has been rainy and cold — more than I ever remember. It is so wet that we have not been able to get into one garden to plant it, a record late date for this!! In spite of that, the strawberries are pouring in a tubful at a time, sometimes 2 tubfuls at a time in spite of the fact that they are sometimes literally under water.

On Fridays we do projects in the kitchen — jams, cookies, or prepping for retreats or events. It is a good-sized crew, and very faithful. Last week one of the sisters was celebrating a 60th birthday. I asked one of the sisters to put something together, so we had this wonderful spread of cheese dip, cheese ball, crispy tortilla strips and… strawberry bruschetta — surprisingly delicious! Another way to enjoy those juicy jewels from the garden (or grocery store!)

Happy 60th Birthday Strawberry Bruschetta

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Happy 60th Birthday Strawberry Bruschetta
SERVINGS
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
4-5mins.
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut baguette into 1/2 inch slices.
  3. Butter one side of each slice.
  4. Place on baking sheet, and bake 4 to 5 minutes until toasty and golden.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Combine strawberries with vinegar and sugar, let sit while preparing cream cheese mixture.
  7. Beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.
  8. Add zest and beat again to combine.
  9. Spread this onto baguette slices.
  10. Top each with strawberry mixture, and finish off with the chopped mint.

Fresh Orange Rhubarb Betty

I love to be surprised by another new artistically crafted dessert that is original and breathtakingly beautiful.  Some are so absolutely stunning and unusual that they really amount to works of art and one almost hates to destroy their beauty by eating them.

However I am equally as thrilled when someone digs into the old worn recipe box and comes up with an old-time favorite that is not necessarily glamorous or stellar in its presentation, but rather heartwarming in the way it satisfies one’s palette and leaves the eater feeling “cozy” and comforted.

That is why I was so pleased to learn that one of my oldest and most favorite dessert recipes was being revived and used for this coming week’s activity. It is a perfect accompaniment for the meal that is not elegant as much as wholesome and hearty. I know that the men are going to enjoy it as you will when you try it, and what a perfect time to make it while the rhubarb patch is at it’s peak.

 Fresh Orange Rhubarb Betty

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Fresh Orange Rhubarb Betty
SERVINGS
12servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
35-40mins.
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine sugar, flour, salt and ½ teaspoon orange peel.
  3. Stir in fruits.
  4. Add the 3 cups bread cubes and ¼ cup butter.
  5. Mix together and put into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  6. Mix the remaining ½ teaspoon orange peel, the 1 cup bread cubes, the remaining ¼ cup butter and the coconut and sprinkle on top.
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until tender.
  8. This recipe may be frozen for use later.