Tag Archives: Foodie

When Louisiana’s Highway 1 was the pathway to paradise

By the last day of school, we were well on our way with plans for our summer vacation. Freedom rang while swinging from willow branches into the cool waters of the Mississippi. We fished from the sandbar, captured crawfish behind Mamere’s, and caught river shrimp during the June Rise, the second annual flood of the spring.

By mid-July, however, we were restless. That’s when Daddy packed all eight of us into his 1949 Chevrolet Coupe for a vacation at Grand Isle – a sportsman’s paradise! We were joined by most of our extended family and a few of Daddy’s coworkers. 

We followed Highway 1 — mostly gravel then — from Bayou Lafourche, LA to the Gulf of Mexico. After hours of traveling, we pulled into the Shady Rest Apartments, where the boys and men stayed in one house while the women, girls, and babies stayed in another. To us, the Shady Rest was like Buckingham Palace. There were several wood-paneled rooms with mismatched furniture and one wall-mounted window fan that blew air for 25 cents an hour. We were in the lap of luxury!

No sooner had we arrived than the boys darted to the beach for a swim. After an hour or so, the men arrived with dogwood crabbing poles, scoop nets, and bait. We brought beef tripe (the bait) with us that had been purchased from either Chiquet’s Meat Market in St. James or ordered from “Chewing Gum” Poirrier’s mobile butcher shop. We tied the bait to the crab line, carefully spacing the meat 3 feet apart. Then we took turns walking the line with the scoop net and collecting those blue jewels of the gulf in wooden hampers.

The great thing about the apartments was the outdoor screened houses, where fresh-caught seafood was cleaned and prepared. The crabs were rinsed of sand, then tossed into the boiling water that had been seasoned with the pungent aromas of Zatarain’s Crab Boil, freshcut lemons, and onions. After what seemed an eternity, the boiled crabs, corn, and potatoes were poured onto the outdoor tables that were spread with past issues of New Orleans’ Times-Picayune.

Grand Isle vacations were a family ritual that always included Sunday Mass at Our Lady of the Isle Catholic Church. They were wonderfully predictable until the year my sister, Ruth, brought a few girlfriends along, creating a whole new level of excitement. My brothers and I fought to teach the girls to crab. We offered them the best bait in the bucket. Our chivalry knew no end. We even offered “our guests” the fullest crabs at the evening boil. Of all our years at Grand Isle, that particular summer truly was paradise!

CHEF JOHN D. FOLSE is an entrepreneur with interests ranging from restaurant development to food manufacturing, catering to culinary education. A cradle Catholic, he supports many Catholic organizations including the Sister Dulce Ministry at Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

MICHAELA D. YORK is vice president of communications for John Folse & Company.


OVEN-BAKED GARLIC CRABS

Prep Time: 1 Hour • Yield: 4-6 Servings

Comment:

This crab recipe calls for many cloves of garlic. Once the garlic has been sautéed in the butter sauce and baked with the crabs, it becomes quite sweet. The garlic can then be spread on French bread and dipped in the butter sauce from the baking pan. Delicious!

Ingredients:

1 dozen crabs, cleaned
40 cloves garlic, sliced

1 pound melted butter
1 cup olive oil
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
¼ cup sliced green onions
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 bay leaves
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Louisiana hot sauce to taste
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Pour in olive oil to prevent butter from burning. Add sliced garlic, onion, celery, bell pepper, green onions, parsley, and bay leaves. Stir constantly to prevent garlic from scorching (over-browned garlic will taste bitter). Season to taste with Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.

Place crabs in a large casserole dish with a one-to two-inch lip and cover with garlic butter mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes, remove from oven, and serve warm with hot French bread.

A taste of London in Rome, Tuscanshire Italian style

Sixty Italy trips ago, I was developing a new concept called Buca di Beppo (Joe’s Basement) with my partners and my wife, Connie. We traveled to Italy frequently while developing the menu, décor, and product sourcing, including wine.

Providentially, in 1997 we were told of the primo grill restaurant in all of Rome, a cozy, unassuming basement (buca) styled establishment off the Via Veneto called Girarrosto Tuscano — or, as we call it affectionately, GT.

Today we will feature GT’s crown jewel, Bistecca alla Fiorentina, with its blend of Italian seasonings, flair, and commitment to flavor profile that goes beyond mere taste to create a visual masterpiece. First, let’s return to 1997 as we stepped down the stone stairs to enter this zestful, aroma-filled location, greeted by a wood-fired, bread-filled oven and a charcoal-and-wood-burning griglia filled with cuts of beef, pork, and whole pescare (fish).

“Tuscanshire” refers to the English-inspired influence that would take volumes to detail. After World War II, the English fell in love with the Tuscan region. The wealthy who vacationed there bought hectares of land and brought their cooks with them to learn cuisine from all 20 Italian regions. Still longing for the great cattle of the United Kingdom, they brought in Angus, Hereford, Blue Grey, and British White breeds and raised them in the Tuscan region to produce the greatest bistecca beef.

In 1997, while traveling with my wife and two sons, Joe Jr. and Justin, we were blessed to meet Fr. Steve Pisano, S.J. It is not often when great memories and great dinning experiences can be draped in a loving, nostalgic loss.

Born in New York City, Fr. Steve spent years as dean and superior for the Jesuit community in Rome. We became friends through another priest and family friend who celebrated Justin and Renata’s wedding, and baptized our first granddaughter, Gemma.

The gift of that introduction to Fr. Steve lasted until his death last October. We had shared dinner at GT on each of 50 or so trips. He became part of our family. During an extremely special visit in August 2012, our 40th wedding anniversary, he was able to meet all three grandchildren and reconnect with our sons and their wives at GT’s of course! He has always been there for us.

While this may seem sad, I delight in the reality that we had so many magnificent meals at GT. Many an Angus were grilled to perfection as bistecca, and GT provided something more that we treasure for a lifetime: a place where the love of epicurean delights and spiritual friendship can not only coexist, but also grow for a lifetime and beyond. Ciao bella!

JOE MICATROTTO SR., KCHS, has been a founder and CEO in the restaurant industry for more than 45 years, including among his credits Buca di Beppo, Panda Express, and MRG Marketing & Management, Inc. (Micatrotto Restaurant Group). He and his wife Connie serve as councilors for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem Western Lieutenancy. They reside in Las Vegas and travel extensively, especially in the Holy Land for the EOHSJ. This column is dedicated to the loving memory of Fr. Steve Pisano, S.J.

BISTECCA ALLA FIORENTINA • (serves three, or one very hungry)

Ingredients:

3 lbs Porterhouse steak (well-aged)
3 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 sprigs rosemary/sage/thyme, wrapped
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp ground pepper

Instructions:

In small bowl, mix onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to make a spice blend. Rest herb sprigs in melted butter. Brush olive oil generously over Porterhouse; season generously with spice blend.

Place on hot grill at 500-550° for five to eight minutes per side for rare. Add three to four minutes for medium rare. After first flip of the steak, brush steak continuously with herb sprigs and butter. When grilled to your desired temperature, remove from grill and rest meat for four minutes. Carve. Finely dice herb sprigs, sprinkling over steak.

Eat, close your eyes, and sense the hills and aroma of Tuscany.

Spring to the defense of every human life

Springtime, or primavera as we Italians call it, is a time to celebrate new life!

In nature we see the beauty of trees blooming, colorful flowers peeking through, the new grass growing like a fresh green blanket thrown over the winter’s dead brown brush. In recent times, our appreciation and dedication for nature and the environment has grown on a global scale. If only we could elevate society’s appreciation for the new life of every human being!

Though the protection of the life of each person has gained momentum due to the tremendous efforts of the pro-life movement, it still pales in comparison to the global awareness promoted by modern-day environmentalists. The prolife movement desperately needs help from our Catholic communities to strengthen the awareness of the dignity and sacredness of every human life, especially the most vulnerable.

We must be united for this cause. Without the right to life, there is no need for the right to liberty or the pursuit of happiness. You cannot feed, clothe, or shelter a person who loses the opportunity to be born and to live.

You’ve probably heard that the staggering number of abortions in the U.S. since they were legalized in 1973 now exceeds 60 million. In 1994, the Wall Street Journal quoted St. Teresa of Calcutta: “America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation.” How prophetic!

“When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation. When we hold a newborn in our arms, we know the endless love that each child brings to a family. When we watch a child grow, we see the splendor that radiates from each human soul. One life changes the world.” These words for the voiceless were spoken at the 2020 March for Life in Washington, D.C., by President Donald Trump. What great hope to see thousands of young people marching for life. Let us courageously join our voices, our actions, and our prayers to theirs!

We must ask: how am I promoting the protection of life? What more can I do for those in the womb, and those just born, who cannot speak for themselves? Always in truth, always in charity, let us speak to those who do not know or understand that every life is created by God, that every soul is sacred. Let us be united in prayer. For those who are able, there are so many good organizations on the front lines promoting life that could benefit from donations. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing,” wrote Edmund Burke. So let us all do something — great things!

Here’s an Italian pizza recipe that’s ideal for primavera or any season.

CHEF NEIL FUSCO is founder of Cucina Antica Foods, Corp., a specialty Italian food-products company. Raised on a farm in San Marzano in southern Italy, he learned his family’s production and cooking with the renowned San Marzano tomatoes they’d grown there since the 1800s. His 2017 cookbook, May Love Be the Main Ingredient at Your Table, presents amusing and heartfelt stories about faith, family, and recipes from his Old World childhood.


CHICKEN LA PIZZA

Ingredients:

1 jar of Cucina Antica La Pizza sauce
1 lb. ground chicken
½ cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together ground chicken, ½ cup parmesan, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper.

Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Form chicken mixture into a large round crust, about 1/2” thick.

Bake until chicken is cooked through and golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and heat broiler.

Spread a thin layer of sauce, leaving a small border around the circumference of the pizza. Top with mozzarella and broil until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Garnish with more parmesan if desired.

Tasting Italy in Jerusalem… Grazie Dio!

My wife Connie and I are members and area councilors for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (EOHSJ), based in Las Vegas, NV. We are blessed to be making regular trips to our Lord’s homeland in the Holy Land.

Over the past seven years we have participated in and led pilgrimages for the EOHSJ, and we also are working with the Order’s newest project, FIAT (Faith in Action Today).

During a FIAT St. Helena Pilgrimage (St. Helena is a true role model for any pilgrimage), the pilgrims actually perform hands-on work at various facilities overseen by both the Latin Patriarchate and the Franciscans. What a joy to be a pilgrim who gives and not just receives from our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.

The EOHSJ’s number-one goal is personal sanctification, which is instilled best when we serve others first. The work of these two wonderful Catholic organizations in the Holy Land provides fertile ground for the Knights and Dames of the Order to build upon as a means of stepping into the Lord’s homeland and continuing the work He laid out for us to follow and perform.

Jesus was not simply a wonderful role model for all mankind, He was also one of the greatest “foodies” of all time. This statement may get me in a theological conundrum, but I am quick to point out the following biblical facts involving Jesus and meals:

  • The wedding feast at Cana: Jesus defies the aging process in producing great wine.
  • The miracles of loaves and fishes: Jesus provides marvelous food at low cost and wastes no leftovers.
  • The Last Supper: Jesus supplies the greatest dinner experience ever.
  • The grilling of fish on the shoreline: Jesus always knows how to welcome friends.
  • Jesus tells the risen child’s parents to get her something to eat: Jesus knows food is essential to good health.

Today, in the old city of Jerusalem, this wonderful foodie tradition is relived at the Franciscan Casa Nova Pilgrim Hotel on Casanova Street, New Gate, Jerusalem. Under the guidance and leadership of Fr. Ibrahim Faltas, O.F.M., atop this renowned hotel sits one of the great Italian restaurants, La Terrazza Italiana 360.

On a recent trip with my wife, Connie Micatrotto, DCHS, and Denise Scalzo, DGCHS, the Holy Land counselor for the Western Lieutenancy — the three of us had the opportunity to visit with Fr. Ibrahim and his outstanding chef, Anton Shaer. What a fabulous meal we enjoyed on top of the Old Jerusalem landmark while gazing at the Holy Sepulchre, the Kidron Valley, and the Garden of Gethsemane! This epicurean delight is available for special parties and groups. Be certain you contact them at casanova@custodia.org for more information and reservations.

Here we share a great primo piatto of lasagna. Directly from the 360 at Casa Nova… ShukranCiao.

JOE MICATROTTO Sr., KCHS, has been a founder and CEO in the restaurant industry for more than 45 years, including among his credits Buca di Beppo, Panda Express, and MRG Marketing & Management, Inc. (Micatrotto Restaurant Group). He and his wife Connie serve as councilors for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem Western Lieutenancy. They are members of the Las Vegas Chapter and travel extensively, especially in the Holy Land for the EOHSJ.

Casa Nova Lasagna (serves 8-10)

Bolognese Sauce

2 to 3 medium onions
1 bunch of celery
3 carrots

Grind the above ingredients and saute in olive oil. Add 38 oz. minced veal or beef to the above mixture plus 1/2 bottle of dry red wine. Add 3 to 4 large cans of minced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 large can of tomato paste. Salt & pepper to taste.

Bechamel Sauce

2 sticks of butter
1-1/2 cups of flour, stir into butter with whisk
In a separate pan, warm 64 oz. of milk. Stir both pans together. Once boiling, remove from heat. Add salt, white pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

Boil the lasagna pasta. When done, line bottom of large oblong Pyrex pan with red sauce.

Layer pasta on top of red sauce, then add more red sauce and Parmesan cheese on top of the pasta.
Next layer: lasagna pasta – bechamel sauce with Parmesan cheese.
Next layer: lasagna pasta – red sauce with Parmesan cheese.
Next layer: lasagna pasta – red & bechamel sauce – top with Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 325˚F for 35 to 40 minutes.

Everything old can be new again

Forty-six years ago, Peter Allen released the song “Everything Old Is New Again” which provides a commentary on the entertainment business, which has a way of reinventing and recycling popular things from the past. We have seen this many times with “reboots” of old TV shows, remakes of classic films, or songs we know we have heard before. In today’s dominating consumer culture, everyone from retailers to entertainers looks for ways to get people to buy their product, even when it is something we had in the past.

What if, however, there was another way of looking at this phrase, “Everything old is new again?” What if we viewed it through the lens of our faith and the Death and Resurrection of Christ? This would bring an entirely new meaning to the same words. In the book of Revelation, John, when describing his vision, says, “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘behold, I make all things new’” (Rev. 21:5). Isn’t Christ’s promise, through the economy of salvation as the new Adam, to make all things new again as they were, before the fall of man in the Garden of Eden? It is an essential part of our faith to believe that everything old will one day be new again.

As we begin this new year, I have a challenge for you. Whether it is your commitment to your faith that may have begun to become lukewarm, your relationship to your spouse, siblings, children, or friends, or your determination to be an active instrument of God’s love in this world by your words and actions – take what is old and make it new again. You can think of yourself as going “green” not by looking for a new path in 2020, but instead recycling and reinventing the one from 2019, this time correcting course at the points you failed to properly navigate before.

Peter Allen also has another great line in his song which says, “Don’t throw your past away, you may need it some rainy day.” We all carry our past with us and can only move forward when we embrace it, learn from it, repent for it, and change our ways. St. Paul never ran away from his past and often reminds us that he once was Saul, a great sinner.

The recipe I have provided embodies two of the themes I have laid out here. Brussels sprouts were often something we rejected as children, so I invite you to try them again but in a new way. You will find that our recipe calls for holding onto the used oil from the bacon which you otherwise would throw away, in order to use it again and bring new life to the Brussels sprouts. Don’t throw your past away; you may need it some rainy day… “Dreams do come true my friend, when everything old is new again!”

MONSIGNOR JAMIE GIGANTIELLO is the vicar for development of the Diocese of Brooklyn and host of the NET TV cooking show Breaking Bread (Netny.tv/shows/breaking-bread) and pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – Annunciation Parish, Brooklyn.

Apple Cider Vinegar Brussel Sprouts

This is a fantastic, simple side dish that goes great with a hearty winter meal! With a little sweet bacon and apple cider vinegar, it’s also a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables!

 Ingredients

2 Tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 package bacon, diced
½ Lb. baby Brussels sprouts – cleaned and boiled for 8-10 minutes
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tsp. crushed red pepper
1 Tsp. black pepper
Sea Salt

Place some olive oil in a pan, followed by the diced bacon, on medium to high heat. Cook the bacon until crispy.

Cut the Brussels sprouts in half.

When the bacon is crispy, remove the bacon and place it in a bowl, but leave the melted fat in the pan. Be sure to remove all the bacon bits or they will burn.

Put the Brussels sprouts in the pan on high flame to make the sprouts become crispy on the outside. Let them cook for 7-10 minutes.

Return the bacon to the pan and mix well.

Add sea salt, apple cider vinegar, crushed red pepper, and a little fresh ground black pepper.

Pour the sprouts and bacon into a nice dish, serve while hot, and enjoy!

Fruitcake reaches back 2000 years – to Christ

As this season of faith, family, and food approaches, I reminisce not only about holiday seasons past, but also about the original Christmas day so many centuries ago. On a 2013 trip to Israel, I had the privilege of standing in Shepherd’s Field, once traversed by Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, still cradled in His mother’s womb. This was the field where shepherds first saw the rising Christmas star and angels heralded the birth of the newborn king. This was Bethlehem. In Hebrew, “Bet Lehem,” meaning “House of Bread.”

While it may have been wanderlust that brought me to Israel, it was wonder that overcame my senses at every turn of this journey. How can you stand at the genesis of salvation history and not be overcome with wonder? In Bethlehem, I knelt in amazement, as a child does on Christmas morning, when placing my hand on the site of the nativity. I thought of the Magi’s gifts: gold for the child’s kingship, frankincense representing His priestly role, and myrrh foreshadowing the God-man’s destiny on Calvary. There is no greater gift that any of us receive than redemption through the sacrifice of the Bread of Life.

We receive the body and blood of Jesus every Sunday; we break bread with family and friends at meals; we give gifts during the Christmas season in the form of cookies, cakes, and breads. My favorite holiday bread – to give or receive – is fruit bread, which you may know as fruitcake.

According to some researchers, fruit bread was first made 2,000 years ago with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins mixed into barley mash. In the Middle Ages, fruit bread consisted of spices, honey, and fruit preserves. In the 19th century, fruit bread became the traditional wedding cake of England. Fruitcake by any other name is still fruit bread: Italian Panettone, German Stolen, Bulgarian Keks, Mexican Three Kings Bread, Spanish King Cake or Twelfth Night Epiphany Bread, Dutch Ontbijtkoek, Norwegian Julekake, Czech Vanocka, Provence Pompe de Noel, Slovenian Potica, Greek Christopsomo or “Christ Bread,” and Romanian Cozonac.

My gift to you this Christmas season was actually bequeathed to me from my maternal grandmother: her recipe for Super-Moist Fruitcake. Don’t laugh! There is no doubt that this humble yet remarkable dessert will make you wonder why you never tasted such a delicious fruit bread before.

CHEF JOHN D. FOLSE is an entrepreneur with interests ranging from restaurant development to food manufacturing, catering to culinary education. A cradle-Catholic, he supports many Catholic organizations including the Sister Dulce Ministry at Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

MICHAELA D. YORK is vice president of communications for John Folse & Company.

 

MAMÈRE’S SUPER-MOIST FRUITCAKE • prep time: 3 hours • yields: 1 cake

Ingredients

4 oz. each, candied red and green cherries
8 oz. candied pineapple, coarsely chopped
8 oz. packaged pitted dates, coarsely chopped
1 c. raisins
1 c. Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
1 c. each, chopped pecans and walnuts
3 c. self-rising flour, divided
4 large eggs
1½ c. sugar
1 c. melted butter
2 tsps ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 c. pineapple juice
½ c. brandy
6 each, candied red cherries and green cherries, optional
additional brandy or cognac for flavoring, optional

Method:

Preheat oven to 275°F. Grease one (10-inch) tube pan, set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine fruit and nuts with 1 cup flour until well coated. Set aside. In separate bowl, combine eggs, sugar, and melted butter, blending well with spatula. Continue to stir, while slowly adding remaining flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pineapple juice. Whip ingredients thoroughly until well blended. Add fruit-nut mixture and ½ cup brandy; then mix until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into greased tube pan and bake approximately 2½ hours or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
NOTE: After 1½ hours of cooking, you may wish to gently press 6 candied red cherries and 6 candied green cherries into the top of the fruitcake for decorative purposes. Continue to cook for the remaining hour. Once cake is done, remove from oven and cool. Once cooled, cover with aluminum foil and store in refrigerator. From time to time, ladle 1 or 2 tablespoons brandy or cognac over cake for a spiked flavoring.
NOTE: You may wish to bake 4 or 5 of these cakes at a time and offer them as Christmas gifts to family and friends.

Being everyday-thankful to God increases compassion

Thanksgiving Day is about family, food, sharing, and, most of all, love. Although Thanksgiving is considered a secular holiday, the feast day subconsciously evokes love for one another and an overall heartfelt appreciation that transcends our senses. In paraphrasing our Baltimore Catechism: Our hearts and reason tell us that there’s a God that made us and all things and keeps them in existence. Yes, we all work to provide for ourselves and our families, but ultimately, we know that it is the divine providence that makes the blessings possible in our homes. In Cor.1:10, St. Paul says: “But by the grace of God, I am what I am…”

More important than the feast of food on Thanksgiving Day is the intimate sharing with loved ones that happens around the dinner table. It’s as if one can make tangible the love at the table and scoop it up from a bowl. It’s that overwhelming awareness of how blessed one is, in bounty of love, food, and blessings, that makes Thanksgiving Day so special. However, when the plates are empty, the word “Thanksgiving” is put on pause for another 365 days.

Today, it’s easy to take for granted the blessings that our Good Lord has bestowed upon us because we have come to expect them, like clothes, food, shelter, employment, and more. But we must keep the value of being thankful at the forefront of our minds. Try making a special meal of gratefulness each day with your family. As the family gathers at your table, realize that not everyone in the world has food to eat, or a roof over their heads. Therefore, a heartfelt prayer is very appropriate in asking God to provide for all those less fortunate. In prayer, exclaim to our Good Lord that you are truly grateful for all that He’s provided for you and your family. In making an effort to give thanks, we can appreciate the things that we have been blessed with and, at the same time, impress upon ourselves a sense of compassion and love for the less fortunate. As St. Teresa of Calcutta said: “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into the giving.”

The true challenge is to remain thankful year-round, not just on Thanksgiving Day. G.K. Chesterton ascribed to such a life: “When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted, or take them with gratitude.”

CHEF NEIL FUSCO is founder of Cucina Antica Foods, Corp., a specialty Italian food-products company. Raised on a farm in San Marzano in southern Italy, he learned his family’s production and cooking with the renowned San Marzano tomatoes they’d grown there since the 1800s. His recently released cookbook is May Love Be the Main Ingredient At Your Table (2017), with amusing and heartfelt stories about faith, family, and recipes from his Old World childhood

Osso Buco (Veal Shank) • serves 4

Ingredients

Salt and pepper to taste
4 veal shanks with bone, about 2 to 3 inches thick½ cup flour
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and cut into ¾-inch rounds
4 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch long pieces
½ cup port wine
½ cup Marsala wine
½ onion, diced
1 cup chicken stock, unsalted
2 tbsp. unsalted butter

Preparation

Salt and pepper each veal piece, and lightly dredge in flour.

Heat extra-virgin olive oil, pan sear each veal piece, and set aside.

In a large baking dish, place seared veal. Spread cut vegetables around the meat, leaving the meat uncovered.

Salt and pepper vegetables to taste.

Add wine and chicken stock.

Cover and bake veal shanks for 1 ½ to 2 hours at 350°F.

For the last half hour of baking, slightly uncover. To check for doneness, pierce a shank with a fork. The meat should pull apart easily and feel soft and tender.

Remove meat from baking dish and keep warm.

Add butter to vegetable mixture, and cook in a sauté pan on high heat until sauce mixture thickens slightly.

Plate veal and serve topped with the vegetable sauce.

The rosary – food for life of the soul

Praying the rosary is a staple for Catholic family spirituality. The late Fr. Patrick Peyton (aka “The Rosary Priest”) said “the family that prays together, stays together.” Unfortunately, we’ve replaced family prayer with soccer, dance, and every form of technology that doesn’t bring us closer to God, or to each other.

As a priest, I should know the power of praying the rosary. I have an advanced degree in Mariology from the Pontifical Marianum Institute in Rome. My family prayed the rosary regularly, and I remember getting quizzed on knowing the mysteries in the proper order — each child tasked to lead a decade. As a seminarian and priest, the rosary has filled my travels, my personal time, and especially my difficult days with an assurance of God our Father and loving heavenly Mother.

But somedays it’s tough to pray the rosary, especially when you’re tired.

Regular meditation of the rosary isn’t a “law,” but an act of devotion to help me through challenging and tiring days.

One day, as a young priest, I had such a tough day I consciously chose NOT to pray my rosary before going to sleep. I was awakened by an emergency call to anoint a man who was “dying.” The caller was a defensive-sounding woman, dramatically telling me that she was a fallen-away Catholic, but calling for her dying dad, who’d been sick for a while. In my mind, I asked, “Why couldn’t she have called earlier?!?” I went dutifully, but begrudgingly

Since it was a 20-minute drive, I could have prayed the rosary. But now I was irritated. I thought, Mary wouldn’t want to listen to me while I’m in a sour mood. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

When I arrived, I discovered the man wasn’t actually dying. The daughter confused a coughing fit with dying. In fact, the elderly father went to the bathroom — on his own — when I arrived. He was far from dying, but I felt like I was.

I put on my best pastoral face and proceeded to offer the prayers of anointing. I politely asked this man’s name. He said, “My name is Rosario, just like my favorite prayer,” as he held out his rosary.

What a wake-up call! I realized that I was called out of sleep to pray that rosary — not just for myself, but for the dying, the dramatic daughter, and for myself when I’m weary and tired.

On the way home, I prayed my rosary. I went to sleep peacefully, knowing that Mary’s prayers always help.

LEO E. PATALINGHUG IVDEI, priest, author, speaker, TV and radio host, founder of Plating Grace and The Table Foundation. Learn more at FatherLeoFeeds.com

 

Smoked Salmon Wrap • yields 4 tortillas

Here’s a simple recipe to help us remember our Blessed Mother’s prayers and our pro-life mission as Catholics. While it’s Lent-friendly, this dish (and especially the sauce) is a crowd pleaser all year long. You can also watch my video as I prepare this meal with a message.

Ingredients:
Smoked Salmon
(2 sliced per tortilla)
4 Tortillas
Bib Lettuce, 4 leaves
1 Roma Tomato, diced
1 jalapeño, de-seeded, minced
1/4 Red Onion, 2 Tbs, minced
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1 Lime, juiced
1 Avocado, seed removed, and sliced (yielding 8 slices)
Cilantro, 4-8 small stems
1/2 tsp Salt and 1/2 tsp Pepper

Directions 

Make sauce/cream by adding the tomato, jalapeño, onion, garlic powder, cumin, mayo, sour cream, and lime juice in a bowl and stir all together.

Open 1 avocado and fan out.

Separate the smoked salmon slices.

To assemble the tortilla wrap, lay flat one tortilla and add and spread sauce/cream over the tortilla, place one bib lettuce leaf, add sliced avocado, add 1-2 slices of the smoked salmon, then a few sprigs of cilantro. Roll tortilla closed and serve with a side of the cream.

Little extra effort makes the ordinary … extraordinary

Today’s modern culture emphasizes that what is fastest is best, and what is concise is enough. As you enter these final months of the year, you may be heading back to school, closing out a fiscal year, beginning a new quarter or already thinking about 2020. Not matter where you are, I invite you to take an extra step, slow things down and think not about how eliminating a step will make your life easier, but how adding a step will make life for someone else much greater.

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He left for us the prayer we know as the “Our Father” or the “Lord’s Prayer.” In His infinite wisdom, the Lord connects each one of us together as brothers and sisters when we together call God “Our Father.” It is with this understanding, that we should live our lives daily acknowledging what we do for our brother and sister, we do for God and ourselves. As followers of Christ we are called to a different standard than that of the world. It is our duty not to rush through our day as a means to get to the end, but to make sure that as we journey though each day, we leave this world a better place for everyone.

As vicar for development of the Diocese of Brooklyn, I have the privilege of getting to know thousands of people who look beyond their needs and take the extra step to try to fulfill the needs of others. Those who sponsor our Catholic school students through Futures in Education, providing a Catholic school education to those who could not otherwise afford one, are among the best examples of how taking the extra step makes the difference. These donors do not have to sponsor a child nor do they directly and personally benefit from doing it. Some of our donors are wealthy, some are working class, and a few even live paycheck to paycheck, yet they all believe that taking the extra step and giving of their treasures does more for them than selffocus could.

Do not rush into the new school year, the last quarter, or 2020 thinking you will win the race thanks to speed, narrow focus, or brevity. Instead, remind yourself it is a journey you are on, and walk side by side with your brothers and sisters toward the open arms of our God, the only finish line worth heading toward – the spectacular finish line which requires deliberate — and extra — steps to reach. 

MONSIGNOR JAMIE GIGANTIELLO is the vicar for development of the Diocese of Brooklyn and host of NET TV cooking show, “Breaking Bread” Netny.tv/shows/breaking-bread/, and pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – Annunciation Parish, Brooklyn, NY.

 

Apple Ricotta Pancakes

Apple Ricotta Pancakes make a great treat before the school day during the week, or after morning Mass on Sunday. They’re light and fluffy, but filling enough to satisfy the whole family. The best part is it only takes a few extra steps to turn a regular pancake into a delicious surprise!

Ingredients:

2 cups Pancake Batter
2 Apples (peeled and cubed)
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Coconut Oil
Cooking Spray
Confectioner’s Sugar

Place cubed apples in dish and cook in the microwave for about 1 minute. This will soften the apples and make them chewy. (If you prefer crispy apples in pancakes, skip this step.)

In a bowl, mix apples, ricotta cheese, and cinnamon into a batter, adding water to the pancake batter mix as needed. Do not overmix.

Preheat griddle or pan and coat with cooking spray.

Add some coconut oil, and allow to melt if solid.

Pour the batter onto the griddle or pan. This batter will be thicker than plain pancake batter so the shape of the pancakes will not be perfectly round, but they will be delicious!

Cook the pancakes, flipping them only once and not patting them down. This will keep them very fluffy.

Garnish with sliced apples and confectioner’s sugar and enjoy!

Apples may be substituted with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, peaches (do not microwave these) — or anything else you can think of!

Saluting warriors of Christ who put Him first

I recently traveled TO Germany on an ongoing culinary, cultural, and ancestral quest. Though the itinerary was set months before, it happened that my trip coincided with the 75th-anniversary commemorations of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. It seemed only appropriate to honor my dad, Royley Folse – a World War II veteran, by visiting areas he spoke of often – the Ruhr Pocket, Düsseldorf, and particularly, Remagen. It was in the Battle of Remagen that the Allied Forces captured Ludendorff Bridge in March 1945, spelling the end of World War II a few months later.

Standing on this hallowed ground on the left bank of the Rhine River, I not only thought of my dad and his many comrades; I also remembered that I was in the state of the Rhineland-Palatinate, the area where so many of Louisiana’s German ancestors originated.

Scottish financier John Law attracted Germans to the French colony by propagandizing Louisiana as a semitropical paradise. A document entitled The Magnificent Country of Louisiana described the colony as a land of gold and silver; of herbs and plants for apothecaries; of healing remedies and infallible cures for the fruits of love. In some cases, entire villages migrated to this promised land of plenty.

Of the 4,000 recruits, only 700 actually arrived in Louisiana because of a host of travel difficulties. In 1722, approximately 300 Germans were located on the Mississippi River’s west bank, 25 miles above New Orleans, in an area still known as the “German Coast.” The Germans settling there came from the Rhenish Palatinate where they had cultivated gardens, orchards, and vineyards. Not surprisingly, the “German Coast” soon became the “Garden of the Capital,” saving New Orleans from famine twice. These Germans were cattlemen, butchers, dairymen, gardeners, and brew masters. They thrived on Louisiana’s swamp floor pantry of wild game, fish, and crawfish. They tilled fields and planted gardens, reaping splendid harvests. An industrious people, they filled their cupboards with jellies, preserves, vegetables, dried fruits and berries, and the spoils of the boucherie – or hog killing – for food during lean winter months.

My dad was a fabulous hunter, fisherman, and cook. With the June Rise every summer, he caught river shrimp from the Mississippi. But, when the dog days of summer rolled in, we headed to the Gulf. That’s where I learned to love his Black-eyed Pea Battered Shrimp. My dad was not only a soldier and great cook; he was a warrior for Christ. Ambrose, Father and Doctor of the Church, believed that anointing candidates with oil strengthened them for the demonic battles that lay ahead. Are you anointed? Are you a warrior for Christ?

CHEF JOHN D. FOLSE is an entrepreneur with interests ranging from restaurant development to food manufacturing, catering to culinary education. A cradle-Catholic, he supports many Catholic organizations including the Sister Dulce Ministry at Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

MICHAELA D. YORK is vice president of communications for John Folse & Company

 

Black-Eyed Pea Battered Shrimp • serves 6

Ingredients:

¾ cup black-eyed peas, cooked
36 (16–20 count) shrimp, head-on
¼ cup diced onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1⅛tsp ground ginger
Creole seasoning to taste
salt and black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
2 large eggs
¼ cup olive oil
1¼ cups beer Louisiana hot sauce to taste
2 cups flour
1 quart vegetable oil

Method:

Peel shells from tail of shrimp, without removing head. Devein shrimp; set aside. In food processor bowl, combine black-eyed peas, onion, minced garlic, ginger, Creole seasoning, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Blend on high speed 2–3 minutes, until peas are coarsely chopped. Add eggs, olive oil, beer, and hot sauce. Blend 1–2 minutes or until puréed. Add flour and blend 1–2 additional minutes. Pour black-eyed pea batter into ceramic bowl; set aside. In homestyle deep-fryer or large cast iron pot, heat 3 inches oil to 350°F. Dip only shrimp tails into batter and allow all excess to drain. Gently place shrimp into deep-fryer and cook until golden brown and partially floating. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.