May Musings.

easter table2

Easter Brunch has come and gone.  We served 200 people and had just a great time!  There was a special encore appearance by Ryan – who came up from London to lend a hand … thanks, buddy!  You make service fun and easy.

Book your tickets early for next year!  We can’t accommodate many more … unless we build an addition (and add a couple of ovens!).  There’s something for every taste.muffin eggs 2Well, maybe not the above … if I tried to get my staff to make (the dis-respectfully-named)  “muffin eggs” for 200 people, I am sure I would face insurrection!

An easier recipe follows.  It was passed on to the kitchen by our Executive Director and we’ve been using it without a change.  Occasionally I will add a handful of slivered almonds for texture but it is a wonderful treat just as it is.

Father Roger’s Rice Crispy Squares for Grown-ups.  

Line an 11 x 7 inch pan with parchment paper.

Heat slowly, stirring constantly, in a large pot…

2/3 c honey

2/3 c almond butter

1 t vanilla

1 t cinnamon 

As soon as mixture is warm and well blended, stir in…

6 c whole grain rice crisps (or other cereal).

When well coated, move mixture to pan and gently press it in to all the corners (wet hands help!).  Cool completely before slicing. 

Not ideal for mid summer as it tends to get too soft and fall apart.

I do have to note that we use honey from Tuckamore Bees … who are so local that their bees harvest nectar from our land!

Enjoy the spring!  Stay dry and take care of each other!  ❤

 

 

 

 

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Kitchen Advent-ures.

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Our Emily is an accomplished gardener.  This year she grew an astonishing variety of peppers and gifted me with some.  I fermented them with garlic and pink Himalayan salt and now I will have hot sauce all winter -thanks,  Em! I though I’d share a little colour (and heat) on this grey day…. especially since the recipe that I have been asked to post is for yet a another monochromatic delight.  Good for eating … but not so much for photographing.

pepper-ferment-for-blog-3

Trying to find a dessert when you don’t eat gluten OR dairy can be quite challenging!  We have come up with a few really good ones (and we’re always looking for more… hint, hint).  To the Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies and Chocolate Black Bean Cake (see previous entries) we now add …

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Melt together …

3/4 cup coconut oil

4 oz good, dark baking chocolate

Stir in and whisk together until smooth …

1 c mashed banana

¾ c maple syrup

1 t vanilla

1 c cocoa powder

Stir in …

5 c unsweetened, shredded coconut

¼ c chia seeds

¼ c coconut flour

Form into balls, “haystacks” , nests or your preferred  shape then refrigerate until solid. (These are best not served in the heat of summer as the coconut oil will melt and make the consistency too soft and your fingers all gooey).

These are very popular AND they pack quite a nutritional punch!  They contain protein (chia), potassium (banana), antioxidants (cocoa), lots of good fats and lots of fibre.   But still …. brown, they’re just brown ….. so here is another unrelated yet more visually satisfying photo of our Quinoa Tabbouleh with calendula petals from our kitchen herb garden.

tabbouleh-close

As we begin this holiday season, please remember the Jesuit Community of Guelph is having their annual Open House at Loyola House on Sunday, December 4, 2016 from 2 pm until 4 pm.  We’d love to see you out here!

Take good care of yourself so you can take good care of others and the world.

Hello world, too!

Well, Kate is enjoying a couple of well-deserved days off – she is probably at the Hillside Festival right now, as are most right-thinking Guelph people – so I thought I would sneak in a post or two.  I’m susan, kitchen manager here at Loyola House.

Today I spent some time in our kitchen herb garden, something I haven’t done enough of recently.  I dead-headed our chive border, harvested some sage and tried to persuade the mint that it didn’t need to take over all the available space….  I was about to trim back the dill before it seeded itself in inappropriate places when I noticed at least 5 pre-butterflies (sounds more picturesque than caterpillars, n’est pas?).  Looking closer, I saw a sixth one writhing on the ground – which even to an indifferent entomologist such as myself didn’t seem like optimum behaviour.  It must have fallen off and was being attacked by a large red ant.  I bravely fought off the ant – which was fully 1/800th of my size and placed the caterpillar on the highest dill umbel I could find.  If it thrives, we’ll have a naming ceremony on Tuesday (when Kate gets back with her camera) and follow its progress.  I think it must be a black swallowtail.  Time will tell.

I was mainly after mint to make up a large batch of Tabbouleh for Saturday’s supper.  This group of retreatants includes several who are gluten-sensitive, so we make the salad with quinoa instead of couscous. It is tastier and more nutritious, although more expensive.  Tonight I took the extra time to rinse and toast the quinoa before cooking it, curious to see if I could detect a difference in flavour.  I do think it is worth the extra time but for heaven’s sake, no matter what the Joy of Cooking says, 2 cups of liquid to 1 cup of quinoa is TOO MUCH!  It came out gluey and the delicate structure of the grain was lost, alas.  I add really extravagant amounts of well-dried, chopped parsley and mint so that leavened the texture somewhat.  It was darn tasty though and all that chlorophyll is so good for you!  I will try it again next week and append the recipe when I get it just right.

What we did get right tonight was a wonderful batch of cookies for the gluten and dairy-free diets.  Try them, you will not believe the texture!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Mix until smooth….

2 cups smooth peanut butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar … ok, we use organic cane sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

(optional, 1 teaspoon ground ginger)

Shape into balls of about 1 heaping tablespoon each and place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Flatten cookies with a fork – dip fork in coarse sugar in between so it doesn’t stick.

Bake at 350 F for 10 – 12 minutes or until puffed, golden and beginning to brown around the edges.  Cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes before attempting to move them.  Hide them well if you want any left tomorrow!