It’s been an interesting Lent so far, Pope Benedict is retiring (gasp), and on top of that our dear priest, Father Fortunato is moving to a new assignment in Chicago. We went to see his last mass at Pius Union the Shrine of Saint Joseph today, not only to hug him and wish him farewell, but to spend time with a beloved family, the Campbells of Grasslake. Mark and Amy are the God Parents of our teeny Anya, and I have to say, that until Amy mentioned it, I had forgotten that tomorrow was her Baptism Day! I am pretty bad at remembering these things, I am lucky to remember their birthdays, but Baptism Days should be remembered! I was really pleased that the Campbells invited us out, and thought to have a little prayer session with the lot of us. We had a delicious brunch and sang many a good old song, with Tina on the violin and the husbands on guitar! We renewed our baptismal vows, oh that wonderous day when we received the Light and Life of the Risen Christ!
Just in case you are so baffled by said changes in the church and REAL LIFE, you can’t muster up the creativity to make simple yet delicious meals, here’s a tested and proven winner!
Mid-East Lentils and Rice
(a.k.a. The “Mess of Pottage” of Biblical Fame)
by Noel Furie
The recipe is for My Dear Mary Tew, sister in Jesus!! and wonderful wife to my brother and amazing mom to nephews and nieces that could melt your heart with their adorable sweetness! So thankful for YOU!!
1. Pick over 2 cups French Lentils to remove stones and debris. Turn into a soup kettle with 3 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer 15 minutes.
2. Add 1 cup rice and 2 cups water and simmer 15 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, thinly slice 2 large Spanish onions. In frying pan, saute the onions in 1 cup olive oil until golden brown. Turn onions and oil into pot of lentils and rice. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon paprika, and 1 tablespoon cumin. Continue cooking until lentils and rice are well-cooked.
Serve this with pita bread and green salad or green beans. And if you’re not crazy like me (dairy free), yogurt and feta too.
by Mollie Katzen
1 cup wrist-temperature water
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 TBS honey or sugar
1 teaspoon salt
about 3 1/2 cups flour
Optional : sesame seeds, extra flour or cornmeal for baking tray
1. Place the water in a medium-sized bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes it will become foamy.
2. Add sugar or honey and salt. Stir until everything dissolves.
3. Add 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time, mixing enthusiastically with a whisk. As the dough thickens switch to a wooden spoon, and eventually, your hand. Knead the dough in the bowl for a few minutes, adding up to another half cup of flour, as needed, to combat stickiness. When the dough is smooth, oil both the bowl and the top surface of the dough. Cover with a clean tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
4. Punch down the dough and transfer it to a clean, floured surface. knead it for about 5 minutes, then divide it into 6 or 12 equal pieces, depending on the size of pitas you want. Knead each little ball for a few minutes, then use a rolling-pin to flatten it into a very thin circle (make sure you have plenty of flour underneath)!
5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees, brush a baking tray with oil or dust with cornmeal. Place as many circles on the tray as will fit without touching. And bake for 6-8 minutes, or until puffed up and lightly browned.
6. Remove from oven and place in a bowl with slightly damp tea towel to keep the breads supple.
Enjoy! And join me in praying for our dear Benedict XVI and the new, upcoming Holy Father, and keep me posted if you happen upon a great Lent-inspired meal.