Asparagus Risotto: Recipes From A Monastery Kitchen

By Gourmet Nun

Risotto is now considered a specialty dish often featured on menus in upscale eating places. It has, however, been a common everyday food in Italian homes for many years. Cooked in different ways to satisfy various tastes, it is almost as popular as pasta in the Mediterranean diet.

It can be prepared as a simple, meatless, light lunch or as an accompaniment to meat or fish for a fuller multi-course meal.

This time of year, spring asparagus especially lends itself to this creamy, cheesy dish to make it an exceptionally flavorful culinary experience.
Asparagus Risotto

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup chopped shallots or 1/4 cup onion
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine (or 1Ttablespoon lemon juice and 3 Tablespoons water)
4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed, tips cut off, tough skins of the spears peeled (if      working with apparatus spears), and the spears cut into 1″ pieces on diagonal
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste
Onion salt and pepper to taste

Blanch the asparagus

In a 3 or 4-quart saucepan, heat 1 Tablespoon butter on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring until nicely coated.

While shallots are cooking, bring the stock to a simmer in another saucepan.

Add the wine. Slowly stir, allowing the rice to absorb the wine. Once the wine is almost completely absorbed, add 1/2 cup of hot stock to the rice. Stir until the liquid is almost sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue adding 1/2 cup of hot stock to the rice at a time, and cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed each time. You will stop adding stock when the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 20-25 minutes. With the last ladle of stock, add the asparagus. Turn off the heat. Keep the risotto loose. It thickens a lot while it sits.

Gently stir in the Parmesan cheese and the remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter. Add onion salt and pepper to taste.

asparagus 4



Flash Sale! Praying in Color 3.95 today! Author MacBeth writes, "A new prayer fo…

Flash Sale! Praying in Color 3.95 today! Author MacBeth writes, #quot;A new prayer form gives God an invitation and a new door to penetrate the locked cells of our hearts and minds.#quot;

Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God
Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God – Need help communicating with God? Maybe you hunger to know God better. Maybe you love color. Maybe…

Friday Flash Sale! Praying in Color 3.95 today! Author MacBeth writes, "A new pr…

Friday Flash Sale! Praying in Color 3.95 today! Author MacBeth writes, #quot;A new prayer form gives God an invitation and a new door to penetrate the locked cells of our hearts and minds.#quot;

Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God
Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God – Need help communicating with God? Maybe you hunger to know God better. Maybe you love color. Maybe…

May 30 Echoes of Eternity I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, sa…

May 30 Echoes of Eternity
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Revelation 1:8
I am the beginning and source of your faith. I am the Fount from which flow the streams of life. I am the Truth that banishes the darkness of imagination and delusion. I am the End and perfection of all your journey. Not only the Beginning and Ending, My child, but the Way between. It is only in Me that you will walk the homeward path. By staying with Me, living in Me, you can finish your course with joy. That is My desire for you—that you finish your course with joy.


By Sr. Nun Other

We recently celebrated a special birthday for one of our Sisters. It was a lovely party, with many sisters sharing in preparations, and contributing a variety of creative gifts. It was beautiful. It was delicious. And it was fun. But more importantly, it was a unifying moment, when we each brought the best of who we are. I was reminded of Psalm 122:2,3: Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem stands built up, a city knitted together. Other translations use the word compacted, having all necessary components or features, and yet another reads a city that is at unity in itself. I find inward unity elusive; anxiety where I could have faith, anger when I need compassion, fighting for my own way, saying yes when I really mean no. At unity within myself – that’s my hope, prayer, and personal journey.


May 29 Echoes of Eternity Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us: for Thou also has…

May 29 Echoes of Eternity
Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us: for Thou also hast wrought all our
works in us. Isaiah 26:12
In My Spirit there is peace. In My Presence there is joy unspeakable
and full of glory. My throne-room is filled with praise. It is My
pleasure to see My children rejoicing in Me. This is why, when you
enter the secret place of prayer and praise, your heart is touched
deeply with this hidden joy. It is a foretaste of that which awaits the
faithful soul, and is meant as a bulwark against the evil that assails
you in this world.
There is another world—a world which you know now by faith.
You are not yet ready for that world, but these glimpses are My gifts
to you, that you may abide in My love and fight the good fight to the
end. Be at peace, My child. In My spirit there is peace.

God Is Nigh

By Melodious Monk

This Memorial Day, hearing the hauntingly beautiful sounds of the simple melody we call ‘taps’ brought unexpected tears to my eyes. There’s a fair bit of mystery about the exact origin of this tune coming out of the Civil War, but the emotional impact of these 24 repetitious notes is undeniable. Originally written as the call to signal the end of the day, today most of us best associate the call with funerals and memorial services. I had forgotten the lyrics to this beautiful melody:

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is nigh.

Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar, drawing near
Falls the night.

Thanks and praise for our days
Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky
As we go, this we know
God is nigh.

I especially find comfort and mystery in the last line of the 1st and 3rd stanzas, “God is nigh.” What a wonderful way to end each day, remembering that no matter what has befallen us today, God was there. It’s a gentle reminder to put our tiny individual lives in the perspective of a vast and grand Heaven. Likewise, it is a moving statement to make at the remembrance of a loved one’s life, realizing that these fallen earthly vessels are now “nigh” with God. May God bless all of our veterans, and those who continue to serve in the armed forces today.




By Renaissance Girl

We marched in a Memorial Day parade in Holden, MA Monday. We’ve marched it for a few years now and it’s a parade the whole band looks forward to. It’s almost more a liturgy than a parade – and rightly so – as we honor the men and women who have laid down their lives so that we have the freedom we have today.

For some reason I found this time especially moving. The parade route winds through the cemetery and we stop 5 times for a prayer, patriotic song by the Girl and Boy Scouts, a rifle salute and the playing of taps. When we got to our first stop, the honor guard called their men to attention and gave the salute and I happened to see a man on the sidelines. He was in shorts and a grey Army t-shirt, on a bike, wearing a black bike helmet. As soon as the men came to attention, he was off his bike and at attention, his hand to his forehead in a salute – and I think that’s what got me. This ordinary man, on a bike, had an internal response from whatever experience he’s had, that brought him to attention. And I wondered how many ordinary men and women on that street, maybe that we’d pass, had held the hands of a dying friend – or made it through boot camp with strangers who became brothers. Or, how many ordinary men and women in this town answered their phone (or their door) to the news they hoped they’d never hear. And I felt overcome with respect and gratitude and pride in our country that believes humanity is worth fighting for. God Bless America.


Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

By Cantor

Psalm 51: Have Mercy on me, O Lord

You might expect that this is a chant blog for Lent with such a title. No. At Friday morning Lauds, we chant Psalm 51 –  perhaps the most well-known penitential psalm –  throughout the year. Though we have often discussed beauty and the value of repetition in both the Divine Office and Eucharist, I think this psalm and chant deserve a special mention.

Chanting Psalm 51 reminds me that I am in need of God’s mercy and loving restoration. The gentle Mode VI antiphon creates an aural “portrait” of God welcoming us home, much as in the story of the prodigal son.

Chanting Psalm 51 reminds me that we are about to go into the weekend, which concludes with Sunday – the Lord’s Day. Though that may seem an obvious thing, I often forget this and think primarily (if not exclusively!) of the projects I must accomplish which received none of my attention through the week. Chanting Psalm 51 reminds me that I am in need of God’s mercy to help me prepare for the Sabbath.

Finally, and perhaps most important, chanting Psalm 51 reminds me that I need to offer God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love to others which has been so generously given to me. Once again, chant – the song of prayer – turns me and all of us to God’s loving and welcoming voice!

chant blog.may 23.2014

Crispy Black Bean Fritters: Recipes From A Monastery Kitchen

By Gourmet Nun

One of our cooking sisters has made it her “mission” to incorporate healthy foods into the convent diet and get people to eat things they would not naturally choose-by making them into tasty, attractive dishes. She certainly succeeded yesterday, so much so that I never got to taste her crispy black bean cakes because I was late to lunch and there was not a one left to even sample.

However, all the Sisters who had them insisted they were fabulous and that they must be written up as a blog… here is the recipe…..Let me know what you think.

P.S.  Black beans have been proven to significantly aid the digestive system.

Crispy Black Bean Fritters
3 cups black bean, cooked
1 large yellow pepper, seeded and chopped into small pieces
1 small white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large tomato, chopped into small pieces
3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
Sea salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil (for frying)

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, stir well to combine (add more flour if it’s not binding). Season with sea salt and black pepper. In a large skillet, add three tablespoons of oil to the pan on medium heat. When hot, add bean mixture by tablespoons. Fry on one side until golden brown and crispy (about 3 minutes). Flip over for another three minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Season with fresh black pepper and sea salt.

Serve with dipping sauce on the side

Cilantro Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 small green chili, seeded and finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, crushed
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon sugar, salt, and black pepper

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Graceful Waiting

By Sr. Nun Other

I’m aware of my impatience and its demands that escalate into anxiety. Impatience can be masked as virtue when perceived as efficiency. But instant results aren’t necessarily of God, at least according to scripture. Here are two examples:

Habakkuk 2:3  For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

Wait with expectation. Hope without reservation. Trust in God’s infinite wisdom.

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