Category Archives: Recipes

Spaghetti Squarrrsh just in: yum yum!

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450 degrees for @45 minutes in my oven at this elevation in the mountains… There’s about 1/3″ of filtered water on the cookie sheet. That will just about boil off by the time the squarrrsh are done, having some partially lightly browned shells. Careful when you open the oven door. Stand back immediately as a rush of steam will come out. Yikes!

Before starting, the seed rubbish inside was scooped out and frozen for next year. Drying the seeds is probably better. I’m likely killing them by freezing them, but no one tells me nuthin…

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The squarrrsh were three pounds even and one pound 13 ounces. I had to harvest them early as they each had a worm hole and I wanted to cut that out. The worms only got in about a quarter inch just in the one spot so I was able to save the squarrrshes.

To cut them open without cutting myself, I took a butcher knife and set it on the top lengthwise for the knife and lengthwise for the squarrrsh. Then I tapped the top edge of the knife with a hammer. Works like a charm. This takes out the danger, at least for me. These veggies are as hard as a rock.

After letting the halves cool the “spaghetti” was scooped out and put in a plastic container to the brim for freezing. With about a cup left over, I put that in a small bowl, threw in a few fresh picked tomatoes also from the garden, added some double-sharp cheddar cheese shreds, salt and pepper. A perfect Covid-19 meal from a Covid-19 garden.

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It ain’t Keto, which I want to start up again, but it’s a real treat super-fresh. God is good.

Here’s the deal: If it all hits the fan come November 4 because of confusion as to who is elected and a civil war erupts and food supplies are extremely limited, having a garden really helps, although we will, in the northern hemisphere, be heading into winter.

Whatever with that. I’m enjoying the garden right now and hope to put up a half-dozen or so spaghetti squarrrsh for future reference.

We trust in God, but we also want to be smart with the smarts He gave us.

 

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Coronavirus trying something new: baking raisin nut loaf. Yum!

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Even during the Coronavirus 15 Day Presidential Social Distancing Program, I’ve only had some minutes of extra time at home. I’m guessing that I’ve been successful at keeping my mission-of-mercy mileage down to somewhere less than 3,500 miles in the last ten days or so. Today I haven’t gone anywhere outside of the supermarket to get some flour. Super-expensive as the only thing left was organic. Fine.

It’s important when having an extra few minutes at home to do stuff. I know I should be writing something on Genesis, but I found two other things with which to put that off for at least a few more hours.

  • Yard work. The neighbor donated his rubbish twigs and branches to me for filling up the huge holes that Shadow-dog has been wearing into the ground on his rounds. It’s not digging, mind you. Just his wearing out the ground. He’s got energy. So I threw those in the Shadow-dog pits and then got my branch-cutter and went to work first on the Jasmine, ripping it all off the interior fence to make room for new growth, and then off cut off all branches higher than three feet off a bush-tree that grows some ten to fifteen feet every year, threatening the car-port. I threw all that into the Shadow-dog pits as well. Ha!
  • Baking. I haven’t done this in – like – forever. Result: really, really good. I had two full slices, which is 75% more than my Keto diet allow for in carbs. But I figured if lots of other things were fatty and I did up all that exercise above, and then more, I might just continue in the Keto. We shall see tomorrow morning.

That’s a 9″x5″ bread pan. The cooling rack is actually from inside the toaster oven. The space between the wires is exactly 0.75″. That will give me 12 slices at 0.75″ thick. Perfect. And that’s what the recipe calls for, giving the nutrition info for each slice:

  • 273 calories
  • 11.8 g total fat
  • 39.3 g carbohydrates
  • 4.9 g protein

Half of each slice, the amount intend to eat each morning toasted in the toaster over and then adding an ounce of butter – Mmmmm! – comes to:

  • 136.5 calories
  • 5.9 g total fat
  • 19.9 g carbohydrates
  • 2.45 g protein

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Ingredients and measurements. I’ve seen this recipe on any number of sites. No copyright infringement intended. If it’s truly yours and you want we to take it down, drop a comment. This site doesn’t garner anything from this…:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1.3 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Lightly grease 9×5″ loaf pan
  • In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon
  • In a separate bowl, beat together egg, applesauce and butter
  • Stir applesauce mixture into flour mixture just until combined
  • Fold in walnuts and raisins
  • Pour batter into prepared loaf pan
  • Bake in preheated oven 45 minutes, until a toothpick in center comes out clean
  • Allow to cool before slicing

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Keto Day 82 – Imaginative recipes

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The ice cube soup picture was sent in by a reader making fun of Keto, all for encouragement, mind you. Day 81 was finished by having lost 44.6 pounds. That’s more than 1/2 pound a day, if you’re counting. Still feeling much, much better and full of energy and not hungry and able to exercise and lots of other health and psychological benefits. I’m NOT saying I’ll be on this diet much longer. Just until I reach my goal, which is to be in the upper range of “healthy” on the BMI scale.

BTW, I think ice cube soup is what pilgrims get to “eat” while doing a penitential pilgrimage to Saint Patrick’s Purgatory on Station Island in Lough Derg, County Donegal, Ireland. I think the cooks also throw in a very granules of black pepper for taste. The pilgrimage tradition goes all the way back to the fifth century, when Patrick was there.

Mind you, it’s not the ice cube soup that is in any way Keto. Whilst the pilgrims at Lough Derg relish their ice cube soup after having walked the rock in the ice cold water, they smell the aroma of bacon wafting along from the windows of the warm kitchen of the priests house. “Bacon.” That’s Keto! ;-)

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Asparagus & Bacon recipe, edition)

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Returning to the rectory for just a second between hospitals and home visits the other day, I spied on what I guess is a welcome newcomer to the gang of Flowers for the Immaculate Conception providers out at the back creek bank. We shall see what appears as it springs up this Spring. :-)

There’s that. Meanwhile, there’s also this at the very beginning of April:

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And, another was to be spied spying through winterized concealment as the day warm up. And then more. We’ve seen other “asparagus” family relatives in the bluebells. But these aparagi(pl?) won’t count toward Flowers for the Immaculate Conception until the zillion red berries come out after the plants have been allowed to grow to full forest height (almost 9 feet this past autumn, if stretched out on the ground). But the next three months it looks like this asparagus bed will have to be harvested even daily.

Recipe?

What if I took the thick asparagus spears and wrapped them in bacon and put them on tin foil on a cookie pan and then placed them in the oven.

Question:

How long should they be in the oven and at what temperature?

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Catheads ‘n Soppins. What’s the diet of your priest in the midst of the storm?

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It’s been a long standing tradition after the Thursday Noon Mass in Robbinsville to have a bit of lunch together. I’ve never heard mention of “Fried Oreos.” Must be a new recipe from the Yankees up north. I went instead for the “Catheads ‘n Soppins” aka biscuits ‘n gravy (along with other bacon enhanced delights).

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I think I have the best parish in the whole wide world. The parishioners are very good to me, perhaps even especially while the storms storm away. I very much appreciate that. How about your priests?

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Asparagus: I waited a day too long

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Generous green thumb parishioners planted two-year roots last year. This year, I’ve done nothing to help them really. No lime. Kind of weeding only once, and now the weeds are taller than them. They don’t seem to mind. Those above were left a few too many hours and really took off. They’re so fast. They are still good. You break them starting at the top, about every six inches or whatever is convenient. When they don’t pop apart, discard the rest. The taller one popped only to half way. The others went almost to the bottom.

Laid out on a plate, microwaved for until you hear the first explosions (about 10-15 seconds). A bit of salt or just as they are. Even not heated up. Mmm mmm.

If you’re quick, from garden to stomach in less than a minute. :-)

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The tip of the spear, best with bacon

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A most wonderful daily treat as these spears jump up from the ground each day, eager to be ever so slightly browned in bacon grease saved from past extravaganzas. A slight sprinkling of salt is savory. Just ever so slight.

I heartily thank my parishioners who dug the bed and and planted 2-year-old roots one year ago. I ignored those entirely for the year, letting them forest out to get a good hold. But now’s the time to start enjoying them. The same parishioners weeded everything some weeks ago. I’ll have to follow up on their great work and get out there myself.

While I was gone to Rome, my neighbor who was feeding Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog was able to enjoy the spears. He himself was the tip of the spear, as it is said, having been 82nd Airborne. Now he’s out in his yard digging a patch up to plant asparagus roots.

I was taught to cut them about 3/4″ below the ground, careful not to injure other spears working their way up. You can’t let them grow too tall as they get too woody.

Do you have an asparagus patch? How do you prepare them?

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Donuts after Mass? Yes. These too! Politically incorrect. Hah.

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Heavenly.

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“Trailer Trash.” Mmm Mmm good! Christmas happiness continues.

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Marshmallows, Fruit Loops, Pretzels… “Trailer Trash” is what it’s called locally. I like that. People poking fun at themselves because they know they themselves are not trash but can make the most of the trash food around them to come up with something really quite exquisite tasting, at least to me. Salty-sweet.

The happiness of Christmas continues. And we’ve just begun. Christmas season continues. We’re in the thick of it with three red-vestment feast days in a row.

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Recipes (Bacon Monster edition)

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For the sake of a diet (I’ve been stuck at 252 since Eastertide began), I’ve given up on pasta, though bacon has re-entered my life. Not very consistent. It’s just that someone gave me ten pounds of the meatiest bacon. And it’s really good. Since I’m only just beginning to learn how to cook, it’s getting fried. I’m told bacon is best baked. When the asparagus grows it will be wrapped in bacon and baked. Really good. Anyway…

From a letter to Diognetus (Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401) The Christian in the world

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They Continue reading

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This isn’t a sandwich. How do you…?

lobster

From last night… The last time I had lobster was on Prom night after the dance (in the school gym) at a fancy restaurant overlooking the Mississippi river in central Minnesota with a wonderful Canadian girl from the famous Ecumenical Institute at Saint John’s Abbey, my home parish at the time. This girl and I had put in lots of horse back riding together there in the southern most reaches of the northern woods. We talked about how many kids we would have. She said she had dreamed about twelve. I said that I thought that honestly a good number would be sixteen. We both agreed that God is the one to decide. She went back to Canada and I went to the seminary. The memories! Funny what you think of when you have a meal you’ve only had once before in your life.

This lobster was eaten in the company of a fellow priest and his parents. His father was ordained a permanent deacon in the same Mass that the son was ordained a priest, and this was the tenth anniversary. So, four lobsters, still very much alive before being put into pots to be steamed. Steamed, it seems, is the only way to make lobster. I didn’t hear any screams from the lobsters. I usually just eat toast and think that to be extravagant. So, what do I know about recipes?

I hope people aren’t scandalized by this. But there are things to celebrate. It’s good to celebrate. Catholics do know how to celebrate. Though others do as well. I’m sure you remember a favorite of many (the final scene of Babette’s Feast):

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PASTA AUTO-DA-FÉ, New Seminary, Eucharistic Congress, Cookbook (variant: Rotelle Puttanesca!)

The request: Dear Father Byers, […] We are so thankful to be a part of the Diocese of Charlotte under the courageous leadership of Bishop Jugis. We truly believe the new college seminary is an answer to prayer, and we are eager to to offer our support. So a few other ladies and I are collecting recipes from our Diocesan priests. We will edit, compile and publish them in a cookbook to be sold at the Eucharistic Congress. All proceeds will go directly to St. Joseph College Seminary.

george david byers.jpgWhen you have a moment, would you email me your favorite recipe to be included in the cookbook? Also, would you mind attaching a current photo to be published along with the recipe? This will help those outside of your parish to recognize you. And finally, would you please complete just one of the following sentences:

  • “My favorite food in the world is _____.”
  • “A mealtime tradition my family shared is _____.”
  • “I never did enjoy cooking; instead I prefer to go to the store and buy ____.”
  • “The strangest dish I’ve ever eaten was ____.”

My response: The strangest dish I’ve ever eaten was Saint Peter Fish roasted on an open fire along the southeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, strange because it was so different from any other fish I’ve ever eaten: sweet, substantial and, while retaining its own unique flavor, is available to be spiced up in ways other fish cannot be.

My recipe:

PASTA AUTO-DA-FÉ

I love eating good food, but I have a mental block about cooking so severe I can’t even look at a menu in a restaurant as that would be too much like cooking. I just listen to what others are getting and say: “I’ll have that as well.” Having said that, returning to America after having spent twenty years in Rome forced me to come up with a pasta recipe that wasn’t even remotely reminiscent of the sauces we so wrongly call “Italian.” Behold, my one and only recipe that I call “Pasta Auto-da-Fé,” which has nothing to do with trusty autos but everything to do with burning heretics at the stake. Heretics do not believe the entirety of the truth, but pick and choose a few things out of context, which they further twist in favor of political correctness to other reactionary individuals. Real cooks will immediately see that my ingredients do not make for a harmonious whole, and so are simply burned together. It’s delightful. And good for you.

At the ready:

  • a few fresh tomatoes (a can of diced tomatoes will do in a pinch)
  • a pinch of salt
  • olive oil (first-cold-press extra-virgin)
  • Watkins Black Pepper (just because)
  • Lemon Pepper (with its own salt and spices)
  • crushed red pepper
  • ground (cayenne) red pepper
  • Italian seasoning: the usual mix of herbs and spices
  • fresh basil from your garden if you have it
  • Pasta proportioned to your appetite, made of semolina from pure durum wheat. I like to use rotelle (ruote) or “wagon wheels” since Saint George, my patron, was martyred on a “breaking wheel.”

To be prepared before beginning:

  • lots of garlic cloves chopped finely
  • large green olives chopped in eighths (with pimentos of course)
  • a large onion chopped roughly
  • chunks of cheese of your choice (besides parmigiana)

Having set a kettle to boil, throw the onion chunks along with the garlic into a non-stick skillet on good heat with a bit of olive oil. You’ll want to get the onion heated right through, browned only just a bit. Meanwhile, dice up the tomatoes and dump them into a Pyrex bowl (you’ll be eating out of this if you’re as barbaric as I am). Add the olives and the cheese. Over this, shake on layers of the four types of peppers and Italian seasoning. Be especially abundant with the ground and crushed red pepper. Toss this into the microwave for 2 ½ minutes. Leave it sit in the microwave. When the water comes to a rolling boil, throw in a dash of salt, a few drops of olive oil and the pasta. Keep stirring the onion and garlic so that it doesn’t burn. As the pasta is arriving to a perfect “al dente,” dump the onions onto your “sauce” and microwave for another ½ minute. Finally, strain the pasta and mix it in with the tomatoes. Over this put on some parmigiana. A few basil leaves make it look surreal. You’ll want something to drink when the fire gets hot.

Variant: Add 2 tablespoons capers and about 8 anchovy fillets to make Rotelle Puttanesca!

UPDATE: A response from the nice lady making the request:

Father, I absolutely love it! I read this aloud to my family and my 15 year-old howled and said, “I like him. I like him a lot!” If it’s alright with you, I’d like to publish every word. Thank you!

And then, I think in reaction to the variant at the end, she added:

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, pray for us.

I think I have too much fun…

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