Friday, August 24, 2012

CL Hint of the Day: Hanging on to those summer berries

Conventional wisdom says not to wash your berries until just before you use them to prevent spoilage, but this method works even better. I've even had berries that lasted so long they started to lose their flavor, but still didn't start molding. The secret ingredient?

Isn't it always vinegar?

Wash the berries in a container, covered by a 3:1 water:vinegar solution. Rinse in a strainer, and drain thoroughly. The vinegar kills off anything that might want to eat your berries before you do!

Source: Cook's Illustrated, via Amy Welborn

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Church Lady Feast Days: Rose of Lima

“If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! Without doubt they would devote all their care and concern to winning for themselves pains and afflictions. All men throughout the world would seek trouble, infirmities and torments, instead of good fortune, in order to attain the unfathomable treasure of grace. This is the reward and the final gain of patience. No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighed when they are distributed to men.”
- from the writings of St. Rose of Lima, as found in the Office of Readings for her feast.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oh dear ...

There are so many lessons here, dear Church Ladies!

In general, I guess, it's wise to avoid any activity that will end with the words "The woman appears to have realised she was out of her depth..." 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Make this now: Tomato Tart

I was going to save this one to post during Lent for our meatless meals series, but it's just so amazing with all of the tomatoes that are in our gardens (or at the farmer's market) right now, that I just had to share the weath. So, while it may make a reappearance for Lent, if I were you, I'd run out right now and find the sweetest little things you can for this dish. (Thanks to Margaret Mary for the cherry tomatoes!)
The original calls for goat cheese, but for my version I used half a batch of homemade mascarpone. Fresh mozzarella would be quite good, too, of course. Something with this much flavor calls for a rather robust honey, so look for something from your farmers' market. Otherwise, Trader Joe's Raw Wild Collected Honey has a good, molassesy flavor.
Why, yes, I do have an awesome pizza wheel. Thanks for noticing.

French Tomato Tart

(Source: David Lebovitz)

Serves two as a main dish, four as a side.

  • 1 1/2 cups (210 g) flour 
  • 4 1/2 ounces (125 g) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1-3 tablespoons cold water 

  • Dijon or whole-grain mustard 
  • 2-3 large ripe tomatoes 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, chives, chervil, or tarragon 
  • 8 ounces fresh goat cheese, sliced into rounds 
  • Optional: 1 1/2 tablespoons flavorful honey 

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and blend until the mixture has a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture. Beat the egg with 1 T of the water. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add egg mixture, stirring until the dough holds together. Add additional water as needed

Gather the dough into a ball and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, adding additional flour only as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the counter. Once the dough is large enough so that it will cover the bottom of the pan and go up the sides, roll the dough around the rolling pin then unroll it over the tart pan.

If making a freestyle tart, simply transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 425ºF

Spread an even layer of mustard (about as thick as for a sandwich) over the bottom of the tart dough (leave a 3" border, give or take for a freestyle tart) and let it sit a few minutes to dry out.

Slice the tomatoes (or halve cherry tomatoes) and arrange them over the mustard in a single, even layer. Drizzle the olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with half of the herbs, then arrange the cheese on top. Add some more fresh herbs, then drizzle with some honey, if using. (If baking a free-form tart, fold up the edges)

Bake the tart for 30 minutes or so, until the dough is cooked, the tomatoes are tender, and the cheese on top is nicely browned, rotating halfway through baking.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A question from a reader

I am on a mission to provide chapel veils for free to anyone who is interested in wearing them.  I've been buying on ebay, vintage, and my wallet just won't tolerate it anymore =)  I sew.  I know I can make them.  What I need are patterns or size suggestions.  I've seen the shell type, your D shape, the large circles and have quite a few of the triangular mantilla on hand.  I'd like to make some for young girls and was thinking the large circle or maybe an oval shape that would cover hair but be off the shoulders would be a good way to go.  That is also a good shape for moms with squirmy babies =)  Is it really just a big circle or is it oval in shape?

You can go to our archives to find more on working with lace or veils in general, but I also found very nice directions here, some general guidelines here, and etsy is always a source of inspiration.

I've also made something like this from a pattern I bought.  (I can't remember the manufacturer off hand, but it is definitely something I bought at JoAnn Fabrics. These free online directions look pretty much the same.)  You can fold up the lace to wear it as a regular headband, and fan it out during Mass.

As always, we'd love to get your suggestions as well.  Just leave them in the comments box!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sometimes We Need a Reminder!

Good morning ladies!  I wanted to let you know about this very helpful service I've been subscribed to for the past month or so that's helped me to pray a couple novenas from beginning to end.  Each day I get not only the reminder, but the actual text of the prayers via email.  It really couldn't be easier!  There is no charge (but donations are accepted), and no ads or junk mail either. :)  You can read more about it below and on their site.
Have you ever started praying a novena only to forget to pray it after a few days?This used to happen to me all the time!
I started this website to help me and you to remember to pray all 9 days of the novena prayers. I do this by sending you email reminders with the novena prayers right in the body of the email.
Now, if you’re like me, you check your email every day. So, when you’re checking your email, you will be reminded to get praying!
It turns out that I’m not the only one who needs reminding… So far, several thousand people have joined in praying novenas with the help of these little reminders!
You can get your own reminder and pray together with thousands of others by signing up here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for August, 2012

General Intention: That prisoners may be treated with justice and respect for their human dignity

Missionary Intention: Youth Witness to Christ. That young people, called to follow Christ, may be willing to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all our associates, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father for this month. Amen.