By Gourmet Nun
One of our cooking sisters has made it her “mission” to incorporate healthy foods into the convent diet and get people to eat things they would not naturally choose-by making them into tasty, attractive dishes. She certainly succeeded yesterday, so much so that I never got to taste her crispy black bean cakes because I was late to lunch and there was not a one left to even sample.
However, all the Sisters who had them insisted they were fabulous and that they must be written up as a blog…..so here is the recipe…..Let me know what you think.
P.S. Black beans have been proven to significantly aid the digestive system.
Crispy Black Bean Fritters
3 cups black bean, cooked
1 large yellow pepper, seeded and chopped into small pieces
1 small white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large tomato, chopped into small pieces
3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Sea salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil (for frying)
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, stir well to combine (add more flour if it’s not binding). Season with sea salt and black pepper. In a large skillet, add three tablespoons of oil to the pan on medium heat. When hot, add bean mixture by tablespoons. Fry on one side until golden brown and crispy (about 3 minutes). Flip over for another three minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Season with fresh black pepper and sea salt.
Serve with dipping sauce on the side
Cilantro Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 small green chili, seeded and finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, crushed
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon sugar, salt, and black pepper
By Gourmet Nun
Lemon meringue pie has always been my most favorite lemon dessert, but recently I was introduced to another lemon dessert that really rivals it: Lemon Cream Custard Pie. Similar in its fresh tangy flavor, but different in texture and topped with whipped cream instead of meringue. I have only had it once but definitely want it again.
Lemon Cream Custard Pie
1 9-inch baked pastry shell
1 cup sugar
1 pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
4 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
3 large egg yolks, beaten
1 cup whole milk
1 cup sour cream
Sweetened whipped cream
In saucepan, mix sugar, pinch of salt, cornstarch, butter, lemon peel, lemon juice, egg yolks and milk; stir and cook until thick, about 5-10 minutes. Cool. Fold in sour cream. Pour into pastry shell. Refrigerate at least 12 hours. Serve with sweetened whipped cream. Garnish as desired.
By Gourmet Nun
Last week, while waiting for an appointment, I casually flipped through a magazine and while doing so, my eyes fell on what looked like a potentially interesting recipe, involving little work, minimal preparation, and minimal cooking. In fact, it almost appeared to cook itself, and in no time at all. This was too good to pass up so I had to give it a try…..and I am so glad I did.
The result was a simple but elegant entree with a delicate subtle gourmet touch making it fit for a princess, while at the same time perfectly filling the bill for a healthy, flavorful, low fat dish for fish lovers.
Princess Louise Sole
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon onion or scallions, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons sherry or white wine
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
3 fillets of sole
Sauté onion or scallions in butter slightly. Except for the sole add other ingredients to the butter and onions. Bring to a boil. Add fillets. Turn heat way down and cover for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
By Gourmet Nun
It seems we barely get cleaned up from one reception, and it’s time to prepare for another. We have many events happening on a regular basis and they almost always are accompanied by the serving of food or refreshments of one kind or another. At a recent reception we revised an old favorite that met with a great response. We served this hot chicken salad in little cream puffs and they disappeared so quickly we couldn’t keep the trays filled.
Hot Chicken Salad Puffs
4 cups chicken, cooked and diced
1 cup chopped celery
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon curry (Optional if you like)
1 teaspoon sage or poultry seasoning
3 teaspoons grated onion
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 ½ cups crushed potato chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
In a large bowl mix the chicken, celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, onion salt, spices, onion and almonds. Transfer to the baking dish, and top with Cheddar cheese and crushed potato chips.Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Fill cream puffs, arrange on platter and serve.
1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pats
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt; use 1/2 teaspoon if you are using unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups flour
4 large eggs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease (or line with parchment paper) two baking sheets.
Combine the water, butter and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, heat until the butter has melted and bring to a rolling boil. Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously until the mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around the pan; this should take less than 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. It will still feel hot. Transfer the dough to a mixer. Beat in the eggs one at a time; the mixture will look curdled, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for 1 minute after adding the last egg. You will have a stiff, smooth batter.
Drop the dough by Tablespoonful’s onto the prepared sheets. Leave about 2″ between them. Bake for about 20 minutes, till they have puffed, they are medium golden brown and they look dry. Remove baked puffs from the oven and use a sharp knife to cut a slit into the side of each puff, for steam to escape; this will help prevent them from becoming soggy. Return the puffs to the oven for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and transfer to a rack to cool. Slit each puff in half around the circumference and fill with a heaping Tablespoonful of chicken salad. Replace the top.
By Gourmet Nun
When it is a Sister’s big birthday at the Convent we try to make it as special as we can. Last week for her 60th birthday the Sister celebrating it chose for a theme “Spring on Cape Cod.”
Decorations included a variety of spring flowers and plants, forsythia and pussy willow and beautiful sea shells.
The menu was “Fish and Chips” served in divided little baskets. The atmosphere was purposefully casual with lots of fun and merry making. The food owed its success to this simple yet “Special Beer Batter” used for frying.
Special Beer Batter
1 cup flour
1 can beer
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon mustard
2 cups crushed potato chips
Pour beer into flour ’til thin. Add 1 beaten egg, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Dip fish or chicken in the batter and then roll in potato chip crumbs. Fry at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-4 minutes.
We are still picking kale and digging up parsnips in our garden, and both are tasting so so good. From the garden straight to the stove….how much fresher could you ask for your vegetables to be, and what could taste better with these wonderful vegetables than a nice plump whole roasted chicken smothered with herbs and filled with your favorite stuffing? It seems we can never have this too often at the convent.
Most people seem to be sold on roasted vegetables these days and they are great. But to me the magic key to making them better than ever, is to roast them together with the meat or poultry with which they are being served.
Season a whole chicken with onion salt and pepper and herbs. Place in roasting pan large enough to hold vegetables as well. Surround the bird with equal amounts of parsnips, carrots, potatoes and onions. Roast uncovered at moderate temp 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until juices begin to appear – stirring from time to time. Add chicken broth, water, or a splash of wine as needed making sure that every bit of flavor, fat and juice is being absorbed by scraping and stirring. Remove bird to a smaller pan to finish cooking, once the vegetables have reached the softness you desire.