Spanish Orange Chicken for the Feast of St. Dominic: August 8th

August 11, 2011 - One Response

St. Dominic (1170-1221) was born in Spain and was the founder of the Dominican order (the Friars Preachers).  The Blessed Virgin gave St. Dominic the Holy Rosary in order to combat the heresies arising during his lifetime. According to legend, St. Dominic planted Italy’s first orange tree at the convent of Santa Sabina in Rome, so a Spanish dish involving oranges seemed apropos for this Feast.

Daniel roasted an organic chicken (yes, organic meat can be pricey but if you buy a whole chicken, you can roast it, use the leftover meat for chicken salad and then boil what remains for stock which makes the purchase well worth it!).


1 whole chicken

½  an orange

½ cup butter

3-5 cloves of garlic

Fresh herbs chopped(I used rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano)

Salt and Pepper

Mix the herbs, zest and juice of the orange, and the herbs. Stuff this mixture under the skin of the chicken. This will make the meat juicy and the skin crispy. Just stick your finger between the meat and the skin and stuff the butter up under there. It’s a little bit gross at first. But it’s worth it. And you’ll get used to it. Stuff an orange half and the garlic into the cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken in a rack in a roasting pan. Cover with foil and roast in a 350-degree oven for about an hour and a half. Take the chicken out, uncover it and spoon some of the drippings over the chicken. Put back in the oven and roast for another 20-30 minutes.

For a side, I made Spanish Rice by sautéing onions, garlic, and banana peppers from our garden, adding rice, water, tomatoes from the garden, and chili powder, bringing it to boil, and then simmering until the rice was cooked.

Daniel steamed some various greens from the garden, as well.



The Feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim: July 26th

July 26, 2011 - 4 Responses

St. Anne and St. Joachim are the mother and father of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the grandparents of Our Lord. Having been barren for 20 years, St. Anne gave birth to the Blessed Virgin at age 40. Her Hebrew name, Hanna, is the same as Hannah in the Old Testament and their stories mirror one another.

In this image painted by Giotto, St. Anne and St. Joachim (age 40 and 69), kiss and embrace after being told separately by angels that they are pregnant with a daughter who will be consecrated to God. They are the patron saints of parents and grandparents and St. Anne is the patron saint of homemakers and women in labor.

Because shellfish is a traditional food to prepare on St. Anne’s Day and Brittany is a region particularly devoted to St. Anne, Daniel chose a dish from that region: moules marinières or Mariner’s Mussels.

Moules Marinières:

Mussels in the shell – 1 pound

Shrimp – 1 pound (Get Gulf Shrimp if you live near Florida!)

Butter -3 tablespoons

Onion, finely chopped — 1

Garlic, minced — 3 cloves

White wine — 1 cup (Muscadet would be most authentic but Sauvignon Blanc will work fine)

Parsley, finely chopped — 1/4 cup

Tomatoes – 1 Large or 2-3 smaller ones, diced

Salt and pepper — to taste

Peel the shrimp and wash the mussels, scrubbing them to remove the “beard.” Heat the butter in a large pot. Saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes. Stir in the tomato and parsley. Add the mussels, shrimp, and wine, stirring gently so as not to break the shells. Cover the pot and let it steam for a minute or two. Stir about every minute so the shrimp will cook evenly. Season with salt and pepper. It should be ready in about 4-5 minutes. Make sure to save the sauce to dip bread in. Technically, moules marinières should be just mussels but some people don’t exactly love them so we added shrimp to be safe.

He also found a recipe for Gateau Sainte-Anne, a traditional cake from the Alsace region, in Cooking with the Saints. We simplified it a little bit.


4 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp. dark rum

2 cups flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

1 cup butter

1 cup grated chololate

1 cup ground almonds

1 tsp vanilla


2 cups powdered sugar

1 tbsp milk

1 tbsp rum

1 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. With an electric beater blend eggs and sugar until frothy. Add rum and flour mixed with baking powder. Blend in rest of ingredients.

Grease and flour your cake pan and fill with the mixture. Bake for 50 minutes or until done.

Mix the ingredients for the icing. Add more powdered sugar or more rum until the consistency is right.

Girls named after St. Anne traditionally wore red and green ribbons in their hair on her feast day and we had some beautiful tomatoes in our garden so we made an arugula and tomato salad with goat cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy. Next time you’re in Thomasville, go by their wonderful store located in historic downtown. Or pick up their products for New Leaf or Tomato Land.

We served the shellfish dish over sliced baguette with roasted potatoes. Yum.

And you might want to invite some grandparents since St. Anne and St. Joachim are the patron saints of grandparents.

There is a beautiful novena to St. Anne that can be said on the nine days preceding her feast (or at any other time):

O glorious St. Ann, you are filled with compassion for those who invoke you and with love for those who suffer! Heavily burdened with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you to take the present intention which I recommend to you in your special care.

Please recommend it to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and place it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted. But, above all, obtain for me the grace one day to see my God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the saints to praise and bless Him for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father, . . . Hail Mary . . .Glory Be

O Jesus, Holy Mary, St. Ann, help me now and at the hour of my death.

Good St. Ann, intercede for me.

Trinity Sunday Blueberry Pie

July 6, 2011 - 3 Responses

On Trinity Sunday we celebrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity–the doctrine that distinguishes Christianity from all other faiths.

A concept like the Holy Trinity is difficult to denote through food, but part of the goal of this blog is to start food traditions for the Christian Year that also tie into what’s seasonal where we live. During early summer in Florida, blueberries are fully in season.

My dad and I even took my toddler to a U-Pick-Em local organic blueberry farm and we stocked up on pounds and pounds of them. (See the post about our excursion here.)

We celebrated on Trinity Sunday evening with a delicious feast that Daniel made including Grilled Pork with a Molasses Marinade and a homemade salsa garnish (tomatoes, onions, and cilantro from our garden), and grilled cabbage and squash (from the garden).

We followed up that scrumptiousness with some hot-out-of-the-oven Blueberry Pie.

For the pie crust I used Ree Drummond’s recipe but I substituted butter for shortening.

For the filling mix:

5 cups blueberries

3/4 cup Sugar

3 TBS Flour

1 tsp Cinnamon

Once you add the filling to the crust, bake in the oven at 375 degrees for approx. 40 min. Just keep an eye on it so that the crust on top doesn’t brown. Then, of course, you can top it off with some vanilla ice cream. Very easy, very delicious.

St. Anthony of Padua’s Creamy Pasta with Seasonal Veggies (Gluten-Free)

June 18, 2011 - One Response

On Monday night we celebrated the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)—patron saint of things lost. St. Anthony was a Portuguese-born Franciscan who died in Italy and is also a Doctor of the Church, often called the Evangelical Doctor because of his commitment to missionary work. He was also known as the “Hammer of Heretics” which is a pretty great title, you must admit.

Because Italy became his adopted home, I thought a pasta dish would be apropos. We’ll call it St. Anthony’s Pasta, but it’s really just a fancy macaroni and cheese style dish with seasonal veggies thrown in the mix. I used the Pioneer Woman’s Macaroni and Cheese Recipe as a jumping off point.  Warning: we’ve been doing a lot of gluten-free cooking because our two-year-old’s eczema is much better when he doesn’t have gluten. I’ll just note when I’ve used a gluten-free substitute for something but the regular wheat ingredient will work just as well (probably better).

4 cups Pasta (We used Gluten-Free pasta shells)

1 beaten, egg

4 TBS Butter

2 .5 cups Whole Milk (What other kind is there?)

2 tsp dry mustard (We didn’t have any so I used regular mustard, about 3 TBS)

8 oz. Cheddar Cheese (grated)

Optional but recommended: Fancy Cheese (I added some Smoked Gouda and Gruyere)

1/4 cup Flour (as a thickener, we used King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Flour and it worked pretty well)

Seasoning  to taste(Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Chili Powder)

Seasonal Veggies (from our garden we harvested Swiss Chard, Leeks, and Tomatoes)


Boil the pasta, cook, and drain. While you’ve got that going, whip yourself up a yummy creamy cheese sauce. Melt the butter and add the flour then whisk together, about 5 minutes. The gluten-free flour didn’t thicken as well as the regular flour, but the end result was still good. Add milk and mustard, whisk together. Add some of the milk mixture to your beaten egg so that it won’t scramble when it joins the sauce, then add it to the pot. Toss in the grated Cheddar and add some of your Fancy Cheese saving some of the Fancy Cheese for the top. Add your seasonings. I always do this by taste so I can’t help you out with the exact measurements.

Add your pasta to the yummy sauce. Then sauté your veggies (I just sautéed the swiss chard and the leeks in some olive oil, the tomatoes can just be chopped up and tossed into the pasta.)

Fresh tomatoes from your garden can’t be beat! If you grow one thing this summer, please let it be tomatoes! Add your veggies to the pasta and mix it together. Grate a little of the fancy cheese (Gruyere and Smoked Gouda) on top before popping it into the oven to get bubbly and golden on top (20ish minutes). While it’s in the oven, fry up some bacon. When the cheesy pasta is ready to come out of the oven, serve it into bowls and sprinkle some chopped up bacon on top. If you’re in the Tallahassee area, please get yourself some Thompson Farm Bacon. It’s from a South Georgia farm and you can get it at New Leaf Market. After you try it, no other bacon will satisfy you. I mean it.

Tomorrow is Trinity Sunday! We will be feasting on something involving these organic local blueberries:

Picked just this morning with my little fellow:

St. Thomas Aquinas

March 19, 2011 - 2 Responses

Lundi Gras, “Fat Monday,” is the Monday before Ash Wednesday. This year it fell on March 7th, which is the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Thomas was a 13th century Dominican priest and scholar from Aqino, Italy who made gigantic contributions to theology, philosophy, and Academia. For these reasons he was made a Doctor of the Church, a recognition of his importance and the trustworthiness of all of his teachings. Even secular scholars consider him to be one of the most important Western thinkers.  It would be difficult to overstate his genius and holiness. However, towards the end of his life, Christ visited Thomas while he was celebrating Mass. As a reward for all of his work, Christ offered to give him whatever he desired. When asked what he wanted, Thomas replied, “Only you Lord. Only you.” After this, Thomas experienced an ecstasy and saw a vision. He never told anyone what he had seen but he no longer desired to write. When a friend suggested he take up his pen again and finish his books, Thomas replied, “I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me.” That’s probably worth thinking about.

Since St. Thomas was from Aquino, which is in the Lazio region of Italy, I made Costarelle di Maiale alla Laziale (grilled pork chops Lazio style). We also had a bottle of Sangiovese/Chianti, wine from that area.

To make the costarelle di maiale all you need are some pork chops, good olive oil, wine, pepper, salt, and some Italian bread.

1.     Get your grill going. A wood fire is best, especially since the recipe is so simple.

2.     Slice your bread, nice and thick. Dip the chops into the oil, wine, pepper, and salt.

3.     Toss the chops on the grill and place the bread on top to soak up some of the juice.

4.     Flip the chops and place the bread directly on the grill. Be careful, you don’t want the bread to burn or the meat to dry out. Nothing is worse than dry pork. That’s probably in the Summa somewhere.

We ate this with some greens from the garden. I forget what kind. Maybe cauliflower leaves. We also drank the rest of the wine. St. Thomas Aquinas said many brilliant things. Among them was, “Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath, and a glass of wine.”

Here’s a prayer of his:

O creator past all telling, you have appointed from the treasures of your wisdom the hierarchies of angels, disposing them in wondrous order above the bright heavens, and have so beautifully set out all parts of the universe.

You we call the true fount of wisdom and the noble origin of all things.
Be pleased to shed on the darkness of mind in which I was born,
The twofold beam of your light and warmth to dispel my ignorance and sin.

You make eloquent the tongues of children.
Then instruct my speech and touch my lips with graciousness.
Make me keen to understand, quick to learn, able to remember;
make me delicate to interpret and ready to speak.

Guide my going in and going forward, lead home my going forth.
You are true God and true man, and live for ever and ever. Amen.

A Good Reason for Not Posting

March 15, 2011 - Leave a Response

Sorry for the long absence! Food has been just about the last thing I’ve wanted to think about for the past few weeks due to the constant morning sickness I’ve been experiencing because of a new pregnancy! We are so excited about the blessing of this precious new life and things will start picking up here again as my queasiness is starting to ease. Daniel is going to post about a wonderful meal he made for the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas in the next couple of days. He’s been plenty busy with work and patiently tending to his needy, queasy, pregnant wife.


Fish Fridays: Volume 1, Baked Tilapia with Spicy Cilantro Cream Sauce

February 12, 2011 - 2 Responses

Catholics abstain from eating meat (in this case defined as meat from fowl or mammals) on Fridays as a sign of penance because Our Lord was crucified on a Friday. We thought we’d start a series of seafood and vegetarian dishes that are simple, inexpensive, and seasonal to be cooked on “Fish Fridays.”

I was inspired to create this Baked Tilapia with Spicy Cilantro Cream Sauce because of an amazing Stuffed Tilapia dish at a mexican seafood restaurant where we used to live in Waco, Texas. I craved this dish at least once a week when I was pregnant with our son, Benjamin, and I wanted to try to recreate it since we don’t have any similar restaurants here in Tallahassee. The Stuffed Tilapia was filled with delicious crab, shrimp, and veggies but what really made the dish was the spicy cream sauce. In order to make it more simple, I decided to bake the Tilapia in a spicy cream sauce and just have sauteed veggies and rice on the side.

Baked Tilapia with Spicy Cilantro Cream Sauce, Serves 4


4 fillets of Tilapia

Olive Oil

1 Pint  Heavy Whipping Cream

1-2 cloves of Garlic, minced

1-2 TBS lime juice

Handful of Cilantro, chopped

1/3 cup to 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Spices (to taste):

Black Pepper, Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, Paprika, Thyme, Onion Powder, Cumin, and Garlic Powder (combine to make a Cajun style seasoning with the right amount of spicyness for you!)

Side Dishes: Brown Rice and Seasonal Vegetables


Start cooking the brown rice. Preheat oven to 400. Rinse Tilapia then season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes.

While baking, add heavy whipping cream to a saucepan and barely bring to a boil. Add minced garlic, spices to taste, lime juice, cilantro, and grate the cheese into the sauce. Stir continuously until it becomes slightly thick but don’t let it boil too much or it’ll become a weird chunky consistency.

Remove Tilapia from the oven and cover with the Spicy Cilantro Cream Sauce (you will have some sauce left). Return to oven for approx. 15 minutes or until fish is done.

At this point, saute your veggies in olive oil. We used minced garlic, sliced onion, and diced carrots and a variety of baby greens from our garden.

Serve immediately once the fish is done and add some of the extra Spicy Cilantro Cream Sauce to the veggies and rice. Garnish the Tilapia with cilantro from your herb garden!

Candlemas: The Presentation of the Lord

February 5, 2011 - 4 Responses

February 2nd is the Feast of Candlemas. It celebrates the Presentation of Christ at the Temple and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary forty days after Christmas. This is the event described in the Gospel of Luke when the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph present Jesus at the Temple and the faithful Simeon and Anna behold and recognize Jesus as the Messiah they have been waiting for.  After seeing the infant Christ he had been promised to see before death, Simeon prays the Nunc Dimittis in Luke 2:29-32:

Lord, you now have set your servant free to go in peace as you have promised;

For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior

whom you have prepared for all the world to see,

A Light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.

February 2 is traditionally the day when candles and blessed for the coming year. We used this blessing from Meredith Gould’s The Catholic Home:

Lord Jesus Christ,

Pour forth your blessing on these candles and

sanctify them by the light of your grace.

May our hearts be illuminated by your light,

May our actions be guided by your light,

so that when our lives here are finished, we may come into the ternal presence of your redeeming light.

We pray this in the name of the Father, and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.

Since it’s an important day, we pulled out our china and I chose a white tablecloth to remember that Candlemas is also a remembrance of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin at the Temple. Last year we made a butternut squash polenta inspired by a Candlemas recipe in Sacred Feasts. Since we already had a beautiful butternut on hand, we decided to make it a tradition. We paired the polenta with a sausage, onion, and apple dish from another of our favorite cookbooks: Simply in Season. We used delicious local sausage from Thompson Farms.

It wasn’t my finest hour with presentation but I promise it was tasty!

We followed the meal with my Dad’s delicious pumpkin bread:

St. Brigid of Ireland

February 1, 2011 - 3 Responses


February 1st celebrates the Feast of St. Brigid (c. 451-525), a nun, abbess, and friend of St. Patrick’s in early Christian Ireland. St. Brigid founded the monastery of Kildare where the Book of Kildare, an illuminated Gospel manuscript was created. The art historian in me needs to follow a brief tangent to say that according to 12th century writer, Gerald of Wales, this manuscript was so wondrous that he believed the illuminators were assisted by angels. The Book of Kildare has since been lost but would perhaps have rivaled the Book of Kells in intricacy and beauty.

To celebrate this patron saint of Ireland, I made “St. Brigid’s Oaten Bread” from a recipe I found on the Catholic Cuisine blog. I used 3/4 whole wheat flour and 1/4 spelt flour and it turned out great.

It was so simple to make! We paired the bread with a simple chickpea soup inspired by a recipe in Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette. I made some substitutions, simplified, and added some seasonal veggies we already had.

Here’s my recipe:

2 cups dried chickpeas (soak them the night before)

1 onion, diced

olive oil

10 cups vegetable broth

chopped spinach

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 turnips

seasonings: dried thyme, rosemary, oregano, salt, pepper and 1 bay leaf

Directions: Sauté the onion in olive oil then add the other ingredients. Bring to boil then cook for an hour.

Daniel concocted our favorite supplement to a dinner of soup and bread: honey butter. It makes a simple meal into a treat.

We even used our green dishes!

St. Anthony of the Desert

January 17, 2011 - One Response

Sorry for the long absence! Our household spent most of Advent and some of Christmas suffering from a terrible cold virus and sinus infections. We’re finally recovered and getting back to normal life. We have photos and information about the feasts we celebrated between St. Andrew’s Feast and now but haven’t organized them yet. I thought we might as well go ahead and share our St. Anthony’s Feast instead of getting farther behind and we’ll catch up on December and early January later.

St. Anthony of the Desert was an Egyptian saint born in the year 251. Although born to wealthy parents, St. Anthony gave all of his possessions away at the age of 18 and lived a life of prayer as an ascetic in the wilderness for the remainder of his life. He is celebrated as the Father of All Monks and much of what we know of him is recorded in a biography by Athanasius of Alexandria.

In order to honor his ascetic life, a simple meal seemed appropriate. Daniel boiled turnips and sweet potatoes to be mashed and sauteed the turnip greens with spinach, onion, garlic, and sausage from a local farm.