Monday, April 27, 2009

Mindful Mondays: Ethiopia

Mindful Monday cause:
Ethiopian children are being sold for as little as US $1.20 to work as domestic workers or prostitutes, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on 20 October 2005. Up to 20,000 children, some 10 years old, are sold each year by their parents and trafficked by unscrupulous brokers to work in cities across Ethiopia, the IOM added. The figures were announced as the Ethiopian government, the UN and the IOM launched a campaign to highlight the suffering endured by vulnerable children in this Horn of Africa nation. Dubbed "Ethiopia's Campaign for Vulnerable Children", the campaign encourages candidates running in local elections scheduled for early 2006 to push the issue onto the agenda. [source]

Mindful Monday Recipe: Ethiopian Lentils & Sweet Potatoes
Mindful Monday Cookbook: More with Less

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Million Rosary Campaign

Unless you gave up all media contact for Lent, you're probably aware of the controversy caused by Fr. Jenkins of the University of Notre Dame when he invited President Obama to be this year's commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary degree.  In response to this scandal, the campus Right to Life group has joined with a number of other student groups in "respect, prayerfulness, outspoken fidelty to the Church, and true concern for the good of our University."

Go to their site to learn more about the events, read press releases, see the updated list of supporters (including faculty, Holy Cross priests, and over 30 bishops) and see what you can do

Of particular interest may be their campaign for one million Rosaries prayed for the "change of heart of President Obama, particularly regarding the sanctity of life; for the Catholic character of the University of Notre Dame; and for a greater respect for human life around the world."

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Practical Problems of Celibacy

From Father Dwight Longenecker:
...we need to love our priests, pray for our priests and realize how very difficult it is for many of them.

Today's assignment ...

Many thanks to our friends at The Art of Manliness for their  recent article on the art of letter writing.

In the days of cell phones, email, and text messages, letter writing can seem hopelessly outdated. But it’s an art worth bringing back, and not because of  some misplaced sense of nostalgia either. The writing and reception of letters will always offer an experience that modern technology cannot touch. Twitter is effective for broadcasting what you’re eating for lunch, and email is fantastic for quick exchanges on the most pertinent pieces of information. But when it comes to sharing one’s true thoughts, sincere sympathies, ardent love, and deepest gratitude, words traveling along an invisible superhighway will never suffice. Why?

Because sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door. Ink from your pen touches the stationary, your fingers touch the paper, your saliva seals the envelope. Something tangible from your world travels through machines and hands, and deposits itself in another’s mailbox. Your letter is then carried inside as an invited guest. The paper that was sitting on your desk, now sits on another’s. The recipient handles the paper that you handled. Letters create a connection that modern, impersonal forms of communication will never approach.

The Church Ladies are most enthusiastically in agreement with such wisdom and suggest the following as your assignment for the day:
  1. Read the post for inspiration, links to supplies, and other practical advice.
  2. Write a letter to at least one person this week.  (And at least one next week, and every week until it becomes a habit.)
Of course, love letters should be at the top of this list, but of equal value are letters encouraging others in their faith, and letters of appreciation to all those who make your life a little nicer in some way.   As so often happens, there is a great Catholic tradition of patrons to encourage us in this endeavor and it would be particularly appropriate to ask the intercession of the beloved Epistle writer, Saint Paul, in this year where we are celebrating his life.

Go!  Get off the computer and pick up your pen!
Image Credit: Gerard Terborch, Woman Writing a Letter found at the Web Gallery of Art

Mindful Mondays: We are Family

The real measure of a successful Lent is not whether we can discipline ourselves to make a sacrifice for 40 days, but whether we can re-evaluate our lives and make permanent changes for the better.

I believe that mindfulness is increasing, perhaps as a side effect of the current economic situation and greater environmental awareness. People are analyzing what they really need, and are making a concerted effort to waste less, and in that asceticism, seeking inner peace.

This current mindfulness movement in secular society reminds me of St Bernard's first and second stages of love in On Loving God. People are mindful because it creates a more flattering self image and has direct positive personal implications. The challenge is to move to the third stage: loving God for His sake, or being mindful of others for their sake. I believe that only through a Christian worldview can one be truly mindful.

Today, more than ever, as we may struggle with less, we are called to be aware of those who have less. During Lent, we focused on putting to death our own inclinations towards concupiscence. Perhaps for the rest of the year, we can remain in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in need, suffering from the sins of others: the victims of hunger, human trafficking, genocide, and poverty.

Too often, the message about the needy is rejected because we can't support the group presenting awareness of it due to other theological or moral positions they hold. I would be disingenous if I ignored the secular mindfulness movement's anti-child position. However, the orthodoxy of the messenger does not determine the legitimacy of the cause. Personal prayer and reparation, however, give us a way, in good conscience, to be mindful of the atrocities afflicted on fellow members of the human family.

Mindful Mondays call us, as Christians, strengthened from the spiritual benefits of the Sunday Eucharist, to be more aware of the needs of others in thought and deed. Our spiritual ancestors such as St Benedict provide a path to holiness in writings about charity. Perhaps it is also time to embrace another aspect of the Benedictine life: simple fare. Through the deliberate consumption of simple, meatless food one night a week, we can reflect on how much closer that is to what the rest of the world eats. In a spirit of ecumenism, let us consider the Episcopalian grace before meals:
Give us grateful hearts, O Father, for all thy mercies, and make us mindful of the needs of others; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mindful Monday cause: Human Trafficking in Cambodia
Mindful Monday Recipe: Eggplant in Ginger Sauce
Mindful Monday Cookbook of the Week: From A Monastery Kitchen
Diet for a Small Planet Article in America Magazine

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy birthday, Holy Father!

A Sachertorte for our Papa!

Quote of the Day

"My first pastoral letter's gonna be a condemnation of light beer and instant mashed potatoes -- I hate those two things."

--Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York

(Cloche Tip: Whispers in the Loggia)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Knitted with Care

Fellow Raveler Laylock has generously offered these gift tags with garment care instructions for your free use. Attach them to your hand knit gifts!

Monday, April 13, 2009

I can now haz cheeseburger

For perfectly shaped hamburger patties, fill a round half cup measuring cup with ground meat mixture, decant into the hot pan, and use the bottom of the cup to flatten.

What to do with all those Easter Eggs?

From Fabulous Living:

Okay. Easter is over. A good time was had by all. There were chocolates and grand style feasting, and of course, Easter Eggs. Lots and lots of Easter Eggs. So many Easter Eggs. Never have you and your family turned out such masterpieces of Easter art. You just couldn't stop!

But what are you left with after the bunny goes home? A couple of extra pounds from all the chocolate, a pile of brightly colored egg shells and lots and lots of hard boiled eggs.


We love coloring eggs as much as anyone. But we HATE wasting food. What follows is a list of ten fabulous things to make with leftover eggs. Oh, by the way, you don't have to wait till Easter to enjoy these recipes.

1. Scotch Eggs -- Britain's favorite bar food makes a great snack, hot or cold.

2. Deviled Eggs -- Why wait till your next party to serve this great hors d'ouervre?

3. Pickled Eggs -- Another pub favorite!

4. Beet Pickled Eggs -- Brightly colored pub food. Yummm!

5. Egg and Arugula Stuffed Tomato -- Cut up a tomato and stuff it with a special egg salad. Almost instant lunch.

6. Egg Salad Sandwich -- A classic: egg salad spread it on bread, topped with lettuce and sliced tomato (pumpernickel bread is especially good).

7. Meatloaf -- Bury a few of hard boiled eggs in a meatloaf for a visual and taste surprise.

8. Potato Salad -- Bet you never think of this favorite picnic side dish until summer, but it makes a great way to use extra boiled eggs now.

9. Cobb Salad -- Eggs add the perfect flavor touch to Hollywood's most famous salad.

10. Scalloped Eggs -- This is an old fashioned recipe that was a favorite in your grandmother's (or great grandmother's) day.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen!

A blessed Easter to you and yours!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Today's History Lesson

Maria Trapp tells us, "We cannot be grateful enough that the Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, has given us back the ancient Easter night! Even as children, we felt that something was not quite as it should be when the Church broke out early in the morning of Holy Saturday in the three-fold Alleluia, while the Gospel told us that Our Lord was resting the grave to rise on Easter Sunday morning. Now the word of the Holy Father has put things straight, and Holy Saturday has regained its ancient character." [source]

Here's Wikipedia's explanation
In 1951, on an ad experimentum basis, Pope Pius XII introduced the Easter Vigil, a new celebration of Easter night by means of De Solemni Vigilia Paschali Instauranda. This has been highlighted as his most important reform, as the Easter ceremonies are the centre of all Christian faith and life.

In antique times Christians had baptised neophytes during a night-long Vigil preceding Easter Sunday. The celebration concluded after dawn by the offering of Mass. In time this Mass became the Mass of Easter Sunday, which was separated liturgically from the observance of the Easter Vigil, itself being anticipated on the morning of Holy Saturday. This practice of celebrating the Vigil on the morning of Holy Saturday was in place by the twelfth century, after the hour of the liturgical observance had already been moved back bit by bit over preceding centuries.

Pius XII restored the older time for the observance of the ceremonies, but most importantly created a dramatically restructured form of the ceremonies. His re-introduction of the Easter Vigil was generally popular, although it faced a cool reception from prelates like Cardinal Siri of Genoa and Cardinal Spellman of New York. Other Christian denominations adopted the popular Roman Catholic Easter ceremonies in later years, an ecumenical influence of Pius XII. The new Easter Vigil reduces the number of prophecies (Old Testament passages read before the blessing of the font and the Mass) from twelve to four.

The rite for blessing the Paschal Candle was also changed: formerly the deacon would process into the church with a triple-branched candlestick known as the arundo (a symbol of the Blessed Trinity), which would be used to light the Easter Candle. With Bugnini's reform to the Easter Vigil, the Paschal Candle itself is carried in procession and the arundo is suppressed. The Candle is no longer blessed during the singing of the Exsultet, though the liturgical text in question refers to the blessing of the candle. The "renewal of baptismal promises", devised for the new Easter Vigil, introduced into the liturgy of the Mass the principle of vernacularism for the first time. (source)
After her canonization in 1267 this miracle was attributed to Hedwig:

When the son of a prominent judge was still unable to walk at eight years of age, his mother brought the boy to the grave of St. Hedwig in her arms and was praying to St. Hedwig to heal him when, lo!, a miracle happened. In the presence of the priest who baptized him and the abbess of the monastery, the boy suddenly stood up, took an egg that lay before him and walked around the saint's grave. The abbess took other decorated eggs and threw them at the feet of the young boy, compelling him to walk further from the tomb. This miracle is said to have happened near Easter between 1274 and 1287" (p. 107, Polish Customs, Traditions, & Folklore by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab).

[image source]

CLOCHE tip: Catholic Culture

Friday, April 10, 2009

40 Meatless Meals- Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce

3 cloves of garlic, mashed
1 small onion, diced
1/3 c olive oil
1 t salt
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I like a lot of texture in sauce, substitute sauce if preferred)
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 t parsley
1 10 oz can clams
1 lb spaghetti

Sautee garlic and onion in olive oil, adding salt to draw moisture out of the onion. Stir in pepper flakes, and cook until onion is translucent.

Add crushed tomatoes with liquid and tomato paste. Stir well to combine. Simmer 30 minutes.

Prepare spaghetti according to package directions.

Stir in parsley and clams with clam juice. Cook until heated through; serve on top of spaghetti.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

40 Meatless Meals- Seven Vegetable Couscous

4-6 servings of couscous, uncooked
vegetable stock
1 t turmeric
1 t cumin
1 t corriander
1/2 cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, mashed

2 T olive oil
1/2 to 1 cup each of 6 fresh vegetables, chopped
1 14 oz can chickpeas
1/4 cup raisins or chopped dried apricots

Prepare couscous according to package directions, substituting vegetable stock with spices for cooking water.

Meanwhile, sautee fresh vegetables in olive oil until tender, allotting more time for vegetables like potatoes and carrots. Stir in chickpeas and raisins.

Transfer couscous to serving bowl then arrange vegetables on top.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Satisfying the hungry heart

This book takes us into the world of the medieval cook, from the chefs in the great medieval courts and aristocratic households catering for huge feasts, to the peasant wife attempting to feed her family from scarce resources, from cooking at street stalls to working as hired caterers for private functions. It shows how they were presented in the art, literature and moral commentary of the period (valued on some grounds, despised on others), how they functioned, and how they coped with the limitations and the expectations which faced them in different social settings. Particular use is made of their frequent appearance in the margins of illuminated manuscript, whether as decoration, or as a teaching tool. (from Amazon)

Ultimate Church Lady

The Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were founded by Mother Teresa Casini in Grottaferrata, Italy on February 2, 1894. They are women who strive to attain union with God by offering their lives for the diocesan priesthood. Their special charism is both spiritual and ministerial. The sisters are called first of all to pray for priestly holiness and to offer the joys and sorrows of their lives for the good of priests. Ministerially, the sisters care for retired and convalescent priests and collaborate with them in parish ministry which includes teaching, directing religious education, hospital visitation and distribution of the Eucharist to the homebound. [website]

Beautiful thought of the day

My professional Church Lady occupation required researching religious communities today, and I came across this lovely passage:

"As he crossed the vast ocean, he dreamed of mounting any pulpit, stepping down any street, stopping into any hovel just to reach them, to touch them, to save them…

He was like many of the other good American priests, but there was something about him, something unique, something special. Was it because he was like the people? Was it because he was one of them, talked like them, used their words, knew their first names? He seemed always to be there. His church and rectory were open from dawn to dusk. Like his people, he, too lived a family life. He prayed and ate and laughed and lived in a home with his Redemptorist family. He waited on tables, washed dishes, did the shopping and sat around at night telling stories…

He looked on his days as days of privilege, wonderful moments of grace and life. He heard the laughter of their weddings, graduations and baptism. He tasted the tears of their sickness and death, their mistakes and sins. He got them out of trouble and into heaven by walking with them as one of them. And they grew old together."

-- Rev. John McGowan, C.Ss.R

40 Meatless Meals: Pierogi

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons sour cream, buttermilk, or plain yogurt
1 cup water (more if required)
butter or oil
salt and pepper

Combine flour, half of the water, eggs, and the sour cream, buttermilk or yogurt in a large bowl.  Stir vigorously to incorporate the eggs.

Slowly stir in the remaining water until a dough begins to form. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently, lifting dough to stretch.

Continue lifting and stretching the dough until the dough is smooth and somewhat sticky inside 
(I don't know what this actually means; just knead it for a little while), about 3 minutes or so. Do not overwork the dough - if it begins to become elastic, allow it to rest 5-10 minutes under an overturned bowl before working with it again.

When the dough has been kneaded enough, place in a storage bag in the refrigerator to rest 20 minutes, or leave on the counter under an overturned bowl 30 minutes, to allow any gluten which may have developed to rest. (I skip this step, and it still works, but it couldn't hurt)

While the dough is resting, you can prepare the filling.

Filling: (this part is totally up to you; I made up this recipe as I went, but there are all sorts of other filling recipes online)
4 potatoes (boiled, mashed, etc.)
1 sm. onion
2 cloves garlic

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and form it into balls 1 1/2 to 2" in diameter. Roll each out with a rolling pin into a 3-3 1/2" round approximately 1/8 inch in thickness. Cover the ones you've made with a damp paper towel as you work.  (It works best if you flour one side and leave one unfloured.  Put the filling on the unfloured one so that the edges stick together when you shut it, and the floured side will keep them from sticking together while you're stacking them up before you boil them.)

Hold the dough in one hand, and place a round ball of filling or spoonful into the center. Fold in half to enclose the filling, and pinch the edges securely together. Use water to help with the sealing, if necessary.  Don't allow filling to touch the edges to avoid an imperfect seal. Be sure there are no openings along the edges, or the filling will boil out.

Boil a large pot of salted water as you continue to fill the remaining pierogi until all the ingredients run out. As you work, place a sheet of waxed paper dusted lightly with flour or corn meal over and between the pierogi layers until ready to boil.

Cooking: Gently lower pierogi into rapidly boiling water 3-5 at a time and cook for a few minutes until they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and continue til all are cooked. Saute in butter 
(or oil) until lightly brown on outside.

An alternative to cooking these in water is to boil them in the broth remaining from a boiled ham, or in chicken broth.

After you boil them, they can be frozen and then reboiled/sauteed later.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

At this time, the Church Ladies' thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the Italian earthquake. One survivor should be especially commended:

Another of those rescued today was Maria D’Antuono, 98, who said that she had spent 30 hours knitting as she waited to be freed from her ruined home.

"I worked, I knitted," said Mrs D'Antuono, from the village of Tempera, close to L'Aquila. The redoubtable nonagenarian told rescuers that she was in good health when she was found this morning, according to Sky TG24.

40 Meatless Meals- Pasta alla Vodka

1 lb 5 oz penne
7 T unsalted butter
1/2 red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 cup less 2 T vodka
1 scant cup tomato sauce
1 scant cup heavy cream
1 t coarse salt
1 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, warm serving bowl.

Melt butter in large skillet. Add pepper flakes and vodka, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce and cream, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt.

When pasta is cooked, drain well and toss with sauce and cheese in skillet. Transfer to warmed bowl and serve immediately.

Serves 6.

A Little Something to Go with your Water

Many people ramp up their Lenten penances during this holiest of weeks, so, just in case you're looking to go from Forty Meatless Meals to all-out bread and water, I give you this excellent bread primer from Even as someone who's been baking bread for years, I learned a lot about how yeast works and various methods of rising. I also appreciated the fact that the recipes give weights, so I got to use my new kitchen scale and discover just how much more accurate that method is.

And, for your tip of the day, one of the most valuable pieces of advice: in a cold house, give your bread a warm, humid place to rise by placing it in the (not running) microwave with a mug of hot water.

The best part about waking up

is a little bit of the Eternal City in your cup!

Caffe San Eustachio, the best coffee in the world in my humble opinion and that of food critics the world over, is now imported by Gustiamo Foods. Now I can relive my Roman days, which were spent less than a block from this fine establishment.

Caffe' Sant'Eustachio is a Roman legend. This is the coffee bar where Romans in the know stop for their liquid fuel----daily doses of espresso and cappuccino. Located in the heart of Rome between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, Sant'Eustachio has been producing its signature coffee since 1938. Sant'Eustachio coffee is slow roasted over wood on the premises without chemical processing. The beans, selected by the owner Roberto Ricci, are a blend of 100% Arabica. The taste is smooth and sweet and the acidity low.

William Grimes, formerly of the New York Times, advised those in the U.S. seeking a perfect espresso, "When the need for a real espresso becomes over powering, buy a ticket to Rome, tell the taxi driver to head straight for the Sant'Eustachio Caffe. The espresso will be perfect. A little expensive, but surely worth the trouble."

Monday, April 6, 2009

40 Meatless Meals- Tempura

The very word tempura is supposed to come from the Latin name for Ember Days: the Quattor Tempura. The earliest Christian missionaries in Japan, in the late 16th century, were Spanish and Portuguese [Jesuits]. They brought with them, as Catholics, the commitment to abstain from meat and pray at these moments of the year. From this need one one hand, and from Japanese culinary tradition,s, on the other, was born this wonderful dish.
[Evelyn Birge Vitz, A Continual Feast]

NB: This dish takes a bit of prep work, so enlist a friend

chopped fresh vegetables (broccoli, onion, sweet potatoes, peppers, etc)

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg yolk
1 cup ice water
1 cup flour

Beat egg yolk lightly. Add water, and mix quickly to combine. Fold in flour, and stir until roughly mixed.

Heat oil in sauce pan. Dip vegetables in batter and deep fry until golden brown. Serve with rice or noodles.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Official Knitting Pattern of Holy Week

The Crown of Glory

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.
And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns
and placed it on his head,

and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,
"Hail, King of the Jews!"
[Jn 19, 1-2]

Knitting Pattern here
Image Source: The Knitting Fool (knitted by Elaine Joann Lyons)

And for the more POD:
The knitters of Fair Isle, inheriting their designs from Spanish sources, still preserve the Catholic tradition that made Christendom. We can still find on the sweaters they knit 'The Sacred Heart', 'The Rose of Sharon', "The star of Hope' and 'The Crown of Glory'. [source]

Friday, April 3, 2009

40 Meatless Meals- Macaroni & Blue Cheese

Blue Cheese Pasta

While living in Rome, I was dubious that being a great civilization involved eating moldy cheese. Moving to America's dairyland made me more open to the concept, and I have found a couple kinds I like. Think of this as mac & cheese for adults. I simplified a recipe for Spaghetti alla Gorgonzola [It's a great cookbook, but the recipes involve at least 4 pots. Although I suppose doing all those dishes could be penitential. ].

Blue Cheese Pasta
Serves 4 [I made a half recipe, in light of the 3 pounds of paella in my freezer]

1 lb pasta

2 T butter
1 small onion

8 oz blue cheese [in honor of Zadok, I used bally cashel]
1-1/2 cups milk


Sautee the onion in the butter until softened, but still clear. While the onion cooks, prepare the pasta according to package directions and crumble the cheese in a bowl. In a blender or food processor, combine the onion mixture with the milk & cheese, blending until smooth.
After the pasta is done & drained into a colander, gently heat the cheese sauce in the pasta pan and sautee some vegetables in the onion pan. Add the pasta and black pepper to the sauce pan and toss, coating completely. Serve with vegetables.

1. If you find blue cheese is too salty for you, consider substituting a milder cheese for a portion of the quantity. I used 2:1 bally cashel to pecorino ratio.

2. If the cheese sauce looks too thin after being heated, dissolve 1 t of cornstarch in water and add it to the sauce.

All my bags are packed...

I'm ready to go to Seminarian Pat's transitional diaconate ordination!

As a memento of the occasion, I have assembled a Seminarian Emergency Kit containing:

Cardinal Cushing's Social Manual for Seminarians
Irish Saints (Emergency Spiritual Reading)
Sewing Kit
Lint roller
Green Scapular (because you never know when you'll need one)
Deck of playing cards
Emergency Latte Fund
Our Lady's University decal for the Paschal Mystery Machine Central Edition
Holy cards to give to the children (a long time dream of Seminarians Joseph & Pat)
A trophy for the best altar boy in the parish

and the sign for when neighbors of the House with Mary on the Gazebo pick me up at the airport!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

40 Meatless Meals- Polenta with Vegetables

1 cup cornmeal
1 t salt
2 T Olive oil + extra for greasing casserole dish
3 cups fresh vegetables
Grease 9x13 casserole dish; set aside.

Prepare polenta according to directions on cornmeal package (this generally involves whisking one part cornmeal into 3 parts water and simmer for 45 minutes).

Spread polenta in greased casserole dish.

Preheat oven to 350. Saute vegetables in 2 T of olive oil.

Place polenta casserole dish in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Spread vegetable mixture on top of the polenta, and bake another 10-15 minutes. Top with grated cheese, if desired.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

40 Meatless Meals - Chicago-Style Stuffed Spinach Pizza

Note: This recipe is the latest iteration, as I'm always working to perfect it, and any suggestions are welcome. I'm going for something akin to Giordano's here, in case the real purists are curious.

3/4 c. warm water
1 package yeast
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
3 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
3 T. canola oil
1 T. olive oil

Combine water, yeast and sugar, and allow to sit. Meanwhile, mix 2 c. flour and salt. Add yeast mixture. Form the dough into a rough ball, then alternate adding the oil and flour a little a time until all of the oil is added and the dough comes together into cohesive ball. Knead very briefly. (Minimal handling of the dough gives it the more pie-like consistency Chicago-style is known for.) Let rise until doubled.

Meanwhile, assemble the filling:
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 packages frozen spinach, well-drained
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 3/4 c. shredded mozzarella

Saute the onion, garlic, and red pepper in a large skillet until soft, remove from pan. Place spinach in the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until all the excess water is removed (about 10 minutes). Add to onion mixture and allow to cool before adding mozzarella.

Once the dough has risen, roll it out with a rolling pin. Allow to rest 10 minutes. Repeat.

Set aside 1/3 of the dough and roll the remaining 2/3 into a circle about 1/4" thick. Place in a greased 10" deep dish pan. Trim the dough close to the edge of the pan, and add filling. roll out the remaining 1/3 of the dough into a circle large enough to cover the pie. Place it on top of the pan, trim the edges, and seal, rolling the edge of the bottom crust over the top. Cut a 1" slit in the top to vent.

Bake at 400F for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350F. When the crust is golden (about 10 minutes), remove the pizza and spread:

1/2c. crushed tomatoes*

onto the top crust. Sprinkle with basil and a bit of mozzarella, and return to the oven for 15-20 more minutes, until the cheese just begins to brown. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, and enjoy!

*Note: If you are using a cast-iron skillet, take care that the tomatoes don't touch the pan, as the acid is bad for the iron.