Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Great O Antiphons

Catholic Cuisine contributor, Jennifer Gregory Miller has a great article on Observing the O Antiphons over at Catholic Culture

From the Archives here at Catholic Cuisine:

O Antiphons (also by Jennifer Gregory Miller)

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel...

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Pope St. Clement - Clementine Cranberry Tea Bread

On this feast of Pope St. Clement I think of clementines for feasting. The timing is prime as clementine cuties are just starting to become abundant in the stores - right as we celebrate St. Clement's feast. This tasty sweet and tangy tea bread is a fitting tribute to today's patron.  Enjoy this bread with breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea.

Clementine Cranberry Tea Bread


4 ounces butter, at room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
zest of 3 clementines
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons clementine juice


Preheat oven to 325º. Grease and flour 8 x 4 or 9×5 loaf.

Combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar and zest in mixer bowl. Beat on medium until light, 3 – 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition, and scraping sides. Stir in the vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add it to batter, stirring on low speed until just combined. Fold the batter a few times with a rubber spatula to make sure zest clumps are distributed throughout the batter. Fold in the cranberries. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake 75-90 minutes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool for 15 minutes and remove from the pan. Poke it all over the top with a toothpick or skewer.

Make the glaze:
While loaf is cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar and juice. Brush the glaze over the top and sides. Cool completely and serve. Makes one 9×5 loaf.

Pope St. Clement, Pray for us. 

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Monday, November 16, 2015

St. Elizabeth Rose Rolls

Roses and bread are both symbols for St. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 17) and St. Elizabeth (Isabel) of Portugal (July 4) so a bread in shape of rose serves as a dual reminder for their feast days. Last year I shared a braided twist rose bread idea but here is another variation on the rose bread for the feasts of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Elizabeth of Portugal. 

This recipe uses the same sweet roll dough from the previous St. Elizabeth Rose Bread idea.

Sweet Roll Dough
1 pkg. dry yeast
½ c. warm water
1/2 c. lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
1/3 c. butter, margarine or shortening
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 ½ to 4 c. flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk sugar, butter, salt, egg, and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 1 ½ hours.

Cinnamon Filling
2 T. butter, melted
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. cinnamon 

Mix until all sugar and cinnamon is moistened. 

Make 4 small balls (golf ball size) of dough and roll them out into 3 1/2 inch diameter circles. Overlap dough circles as shown. Sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar mixture across middle, leaving curved edges clear. 

Roll circles up into rolls as shown. You should end up with rolled dough with both ends fluted. Cut roll in half. 

Place dough in greased muffin tins. Cut/flat end should be down and the pretty, fluted/curved end up. 

Let rise until double (30-40 minutes). Bake in 375 degree oven 14-18 minutes. 

St. Elizabeth, Pray for us!

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Apple Slices with Cinnamon - Fall Harvest Treat for Feast Days

Autumn and apples - it is the consummate harvest food. So many delicious varieties. Because apples are harvested in the late summer and fall months and they keep well into the winter, they were a common feast day food inclusion for a number of fall saints. We see apples at Michaelmas (September 29), Martinmas (November 11), and also for this week's feast of St. Charles Borromeo (November 4 on the General Roman Calendar and November 5 on Traditional Calendar). St. Charles is the patron of apple orchards so has a special connection for anything apple in feast day celebrations.  Another saint associated with apples is St. Dorothea (Dorothy) of Caesarea (February 6). She is usually depicted holding a basket of apples and roses for a pious legend associated with her martyrdom and the conversion of one of her persecutors.  And in Eastern rite churches (like Ukrainian Catholic) the Feast of the Transfiguration (August 6, August 19 for Orthodox) is traditionally called Apple Spas. Apples are blessed on that day.  The apple is also symbolic of Christ, the new Adam. When Christ is depicted holding an apple it symbolizes the fruit of salvation (as contrasted with the apple in Adam's hand, meaning sin). 

Simplicity is always helpful to me in feast day ideas and this apple treat is a very easy and healthy snack option. It consists of freshly cut apple slices, sprinkled with cinnamon.  It is delicious and it tastes like a treat but is so easy to make.  I find I prefer a crisp and sweet apple for this treat (Gala, Fuji, Cameo, Honeycrisp, Braeburn). Use as many or as few apples as you need. Since they will be sliced you will only want to make what will be eaten in a fairly short time so they don't brown. 

Core and slice (thinly) the apples. Place in bowl. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Mix apples to coat evenly. Add more cinnamon if needed to taste. Serve.  

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Saints Louis & Zélie Martin :: French Vanilla Cake and Cupcakes in Honor of the Watchmaker and Lace Maker

"God made me a Father and Mother more worthy of Heaven than of Earth." 
~ St. Thérèse of Lisieux

I spent yesterday afternoon creating a few treats to celebrate today's canonization of Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse.  I didn't really have a plan when I pulled out a box of French Vanilla cake mix from the cupboard, but was so happy with how it all came together!

I started by making "lace" mini cupcake wrappers using some 8" Doilies I had with my craft supplies. These were so easy to make and really turned out beautifully! If you have larger doilies you could make larger wrappers for full size cupcakes. 

While I was assembling the cupcake wrappers, I baked 24 mini French Vanilla cupcakes, saving the remaining batter for a small 8" round cake

Once the mini-cupcakes had cooled I topped them with some homemade buttercream frosting:

1 cup butter, 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp milk, 1/8 tsp salt
Whip until smooth.

At first I thought I would decorate the 8" cake as a clock face, but after placing the cake on the platter I decided to surround it with twelve of the mini cupcakes. I added Roman Numerals and clock hands using Black Decorating Icing. I probably would have opted for melted chocolate if I had any dark chocolate candy melts in my stash.

I also made some Saint Zélie Martin Cameo in Lace Candy. These little candies would work great as cupcake toppers!

You can find additional ideas for Commemorating the Canonization of the Parents of Saint Thérèse, Saints Louis and Zélie Martin over at Shower of Roses!

Saints Louis & Zélie Martin, ora pro nobis! 

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Saint Zélie Martin Cameo in Lace Candy

Marie-Azélie Guerin was an intelligent woman and a hard worker. She had considered becoming religious, but the superior of the Hotel-Dieu of Alençon had discouraged her inquiry outright. Disappointed, Azélie learned the trade of lacemaking. She excelled in it so rapidly that at the age of twenty-two, she set up her own business on rue Saint-Blaise.

To celebrate the canonization of St. Zélie, the Lace Maker, I made some Cameo and Lace Candy!    


Cameo in Lace Chocolate Candy Mold
White Candy Melts
Pink Candy Melts


Melt the white candy melts. Using a small spoon and toothpick, fill each cameo with some of the melted candy, tap gently or use the toothpick to spread the candy and make sure all the air bubbles are removed. Place in refrigerator to harden.  If you'd like to save some time, you can make the candies solid white, or whatever color you choose, and fill the mold completely. 

Melt the pink candy melts. Remove the candy mold from the refrigerator and fill the rest of each mold with melted candy. Place back in the refrigerator to harden.

Gently bend the mold to remove each of the candies. 

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Canonization of Zelie and Louis Martin - Parmesan Lace Bowls

With the canonization this upcoming weekend (October 18, 2015) of Bl. Zelie and Louis Martin I was looking at additional ideas to add to the celebration. In previous posts, I suggested a couple recipes that were lace-themed because of Zelie's profession as a lace maker in the French region of Alencon. These quick and easy lacy-looking Parmesan bowls are a fun and delicious addition to the collection of "lace" foods. They make for a lovely presentation and are also edible!

Frico, or "little trifles" in Italian, are very thin and crisp disks made from small mounds of grated Parmesan, melted and cooled. They can be left as flat disks or formed into delicious edible bowls for a filling of salad, marinated vegetables, fruit, custard, or pasta.

Frico - Parmesan Bowls


2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Chilled salad of choice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place oven rack in middle of oven. Dump 1/3 cup cheese onto greased or silicone mat lined baking sheet. Spread into 5-6 inch circles. Put in oven and allow to brown in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden.

Working with one round at a time, quickly transfer cheese with a thin spatula to an inverted custard cup or small bowl. Repeat with the next cheese round. Cool completely, and then remove carefully.  It is suggested that you bake only 2 or 3 at a time so that you can transfer and form them quickly before they cool too much.

Let Parmesan bowls cool about 5 minutes before removing from flipped bowl. Makes approximately 6 bowls depending on desired size and consistency.

Divide prepared salad among the Parmesan bowls and serve.  As mentioned, the bowls can also be filled with fruit, custard, whipped cheeses, etc. Using a smaller amount of cheese can be made into appetizer sized bowls. I saw some recipes forming the bowl over a cork end, so that would be the size.

Bl. Zelie Martin, Pray for us.
Bl. Louis Martin, Pray for us.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

For Those Sailing Related Saints - Taco Boats

I recently saw this new product from Old El Paso - Mini Soft Tortilla Taco Boats - and immediately thought of the uses for all the saints and feast days associated with boats and sailing (and there are many!).

Today's feast of Our Lady of the Pillar is connected to Christopher Columbus, the holiday also recognized today in the United States.  Under King Ferdinand of Aragon and his wife Queen Isabella, devotion to Nuestra Senora del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar) took on national importance in Spain. When Columbus embarked on his journey to find a sailing route to India, he placed the three ships under Mary's patronage. As the weeks dragged on and no land in sight, the sailors grew restless. Columbus' journal indicates he invoked Our Lady under this title, declared that if they did not see land by her feast day they would turn back. On October 12, 1492 the navigators spotted indications of approaching land - one of the islands of the Bahamas - which was named San Salvador when they landed.  Our Lady had interceded.

Today, in commemoration of Our Lady of the Pillar, and of the three ships - the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria - we enjoyed a dinner of taco ships.  These edible little boats can be filled with a variety of different fillings, made to your liking and specifications. Here they are filled with spiced ground beef, cheese, salsa and sour cream with a tortilla chip sail. Thought a "New World" Hispanic inspired meal with spices (Columbus' travels were intended to make it easy to reach the spices of far east.) would be fun. Made with or without a sail, can be a quick and ready made boat for a variety of saints and feast days.

Some ideas to consider:

  • St. Brendan (May 16)- Called Brendan the Navigator, patron of mariners; it is said he sailed across the Atlantic in 6th century
  • St. Nicholas (December 6) - patron of sailors and ships
  • St. Elmo (Erasmus) (June 2) - patron of sailors, especially against sudden storms and lightening
  • St. Raymond of Pennafort (January 7)- miraculous story of him sailing on cloak across the Balearic Sea after being barred from boarding a ship
  • St. Catherine of Siena (April 29) - often pictured holding a ship (represents the Church)
  • St. Anthony of Padua (June 13) - ended up in Italy because a storm forced a ship he was on in opposite direction and so he did not return to Portugal
  • St. Jude Thaddeus [& Simon] (October 28) - often pictured holding a ship (represents the Church)
  • St. Peter Gonzales (April 15) - sometimes also called St. Elmo, patron of Spanish and Portuguese sailors
  • St. Francis Xavier (December 4) - known for his missionary travels to Asia, often pictured with ship
  • St. Peter (June 29) - the title "Barque (ship) of St. Peter" often used for Catholic Church
  • St. Paul (June 29, February 10) - known for his missionary travels by ship to spread the Gospel, shipwrecked
  • Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7) - Naval battle of Lepanto: Christians victorious against great odds, feast of OL of the Rosary instituted after her intercession
  • St. Frances Cabrini (November 13) - Immigrated to US on ship, story of her dropping violets in paper boats as a child who wished to be a missionary

Past posts with sailing themes: Deviled Egg Boats, Victory Vessel Potatoes, Sts. Peter and Paul Sailing Cupcakes, St. Paul Apple & Cheese Ships

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Another Dents de Loup Idea for St. Francis Feast

Dents de loup, wolf’s teeth in French, is a culinary decorative cut used for fruits or vegetables. It is called dents de loup because the pointed teeth-like shapes of the outer surface or rind looks like the sharp teeth of a wolf.   Last year I shared a recipe for a French cookie/biscuit also called Dents de loup as an option for the feast of St. Francis of Assisi because of his connection to the wolf of Gubbio story.  But it is also really simple to add a dents de loup option to a meal or snack for the feast day by using this cut on an orange, watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, grapefruit, lemon, tomato, or bell pepper.

How to Cut a Fruit or Vegetable in Dents de Loup 

  • Cut thin slice off both ends of the fruit so it will hold steady in the plate or platter.
  • Start at the middle of the fruit.  Insert a sharp knife at an angle, going deep enough to reach the center.  Remove the knife and insert again at an angle but in opposite direction to form a triangle (or pointed dent de loup/wolf tooth).
  • Continue with same pattern around the fruit.  When you reach the beginning cut, separate the two halves.   
It is now ready to serve or to decorate any plate. Watermelon boats/baskets are frequently decorated with this cut.  Lemons that are cut in dents de loup are often served with fish to decorate.
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Thursday, October 1, 2015

World Cake for St. Therese

The following cake was submitted by Julie Machado, from Marta, Julie e Maria, for the feast of St. Therese. Thank you, Julie!

Seeing as St Therese is the patroness of all foreign missions, here is an idea for a world cake. I used this chocolate cake recipe and glaze from RealSimple minus the strawberries. Then I printed out a world map outline and roughly cut out the continents. I gently rested the paper on the cake and sifted powdered sugar on it, then lifted off the paper. I used a pastry brush to wipe of excesso sugar. Voilá!

A blessed St. Therese day!

Additional ideas and recipes for the feast of St. Therese can be found in the archives

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St. Thérèse the Little Flower Cake

The following cake was submitted by Anna, from Regina Coeli Baker, to celebrate the Little Flower! This was her daughter's 10th birthday cake. "It was a white and red velvet cake with raspberries and buttercream. Accents and topper were made in fondant (and totally edible)." You can find additional cakes decorated by Regina Coeli Baker here. Thank you, Anna! 

O Little Flower of Jesus, pray for us!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Michaelmas Cupcakes

One of our family's favorite ways to celebrate Michaelmas is with cupcakes. Bake Devil's Food cupcakes, decorate with chocolate frosting, and serve with cocktail "swords" (Playmobil swords work great too!) to help St. Michael defeat the "devil”!

and more recipes for Michaelmas in the archives! 

Grant us with Michael still, O Lord, 
Against the Prince of pride to fight; 
So may a crown be our reward, 
Before the Lamb’s pure throne of light. 
- Excerpt from "Hymn in honor of St. Michael the Archangel"

Happy Michaelmas!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Canonization of Junípero Serra - Tortilla Making

With the canonization today of St. Junípero Serra, we had a little community celebration at our house. Lots of kids learning about California mission life and how they lived and what they ate.  The culmination of the event was making our own corn tortillas which were eaten with toppings of frijoles, peppers, and cheese. We are doing another similar event tomorrow.

We started out by learning about how to grind corn on a makeshift metate. (Just for fun - we didn't use this flour in the actual preparation or cooking.)

Then everyone rolled out their own tortillas, placed between sheets of wax paper.

They were then fried on the griddle. The kids patiently waited and kept an eye on their special creations.

And finally everyone enjoyed their finished tortillas, topped with frijoles, peppers, and queso fresco. 

If you are learning about St. Junípero Serra and celebrating his canonization this week, give fresh tortilla making a try!

Making Corn Tortillas From Scratch

2 cups masa harina
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups hot water

Mix the masa harina and the salt together in a mixing bowl. Pour in the water and stir to combine.  Using your hands, knead the dough for a minute or two in the bowl. The dough is ready when it's smooth, but no longer sticky, and easy forms a ball.

Rest the dough for 15-30 minutes to fully absorb the water and texture of the tortillas. When ready, pinch off a few tablespoons of dough and roll it between your hands to form a ball.  Adjust the amount of dough to make larger or smaller tortillas.

Without a tortilla press: Place the ball of dough on a piece of wax or parchment paper. Place another piece on top of dough ball. Use a rolling pin to flatten the tortillas. Start in the middle and roll out to the edges until thin and about 6 inches in diameter. Peel away the top paper, flip the tortilla over onto your palm, and peel off the back paper.

Warm a large, flat cast iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook for 2 minutes, until the edges are starting to curl up and the bottoms look dry and pebbly. Flip and cook another 1 to 2 minutes on the other side.  Serve with selected toppings. Makes about 20 6-inch tortillas.

St. Junípero Serra, Pray for us!

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Homemade PayDay Bars for the Feast of St. Matthew

Last All Hallows' Eve I filled one of our All Saints Guessing Jars with PayDay bars for St. Matthew, patron of accountants! In honor of his feast today I decide to try a recipe for some Homemade PayDay bars. They were quick and easy and, according to my children, tasted better than the actual candy bars.          

Homemade PayDay Bars
adapted from

  • 1 (16 oz) jar dry roasted peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (10 oz) bag peanut butter chips
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows


Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan. Pour half of the peanuts into the pan..

Over medium-low heat, melt butter and chips. Remove from heat and mix in sweetened condensed milk. Stir in marshmallows, do not melt marshmallows.

Spoon mixture over peanuts in pan, pat down.

Top with remaining peanuts and press down to help adhere the top layer of peanuts. 

Chill until set. 

Cut into desired serving size.

These bars only took about 20 minutes to assemble and another 20 minutes to chill. If you are looking for something even easier you can always just pick up some PayDay candy bars.  I hope you all have a blessed feast day!

Matthew from The Twelve Apostles by Marianna Mayer

St. Matthew, ora pro nobis! 

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

St. Matthew Winged Cupcakes

The following recipe was submitted by Julie Machado, from Marta, Julie e Maria, for the feast of St. Matthew. Thank you, Julie!

A symbol for St. Matthew is a winged man or angel. Some link it to the geneology at the beginning of his Gospel while others to the angel that appeared to Joseph. I had the idea to make winged cupcakes, with the figure of a man, but you could also draw a lion for St. Mark, an ox for St. Luke or an eagle for St. John and put on the wings. (View the various symbols here.)

First, melt some chocolate, put it in a frosting dispenser or plastic bag with the tip cut off and draw angel wings on wax paper. Let them set in the refrigerator.

Make cupcakes and frost them according to whatever recipe you like best. I used a sugar and spice recipe from a cupcake book. Draw a man stick figure on the cupcakes using the melted chocolate. Stick the wings on.

It is hot here so my wings started melting pretty fast out of the refrigerator.

"Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her."  Matthew 1:20

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