Saturday, December 25, 2010

How to Open a Pomegranate

I've always loved pomegranates as decorative items in Christmas vignettes
but never knew what to do with them as food. Now I do!
 Blake (and a helpful little grocery-store pamphlet) showed me how:
With a sharp knife, cut away the top about a half inch from the crown.

You'll see sections separated by a white membrane.
 Score the sections along the membrane and separate them.

Over a bowl of water, loosen the "arils" (red fleshy seeds) and drop them into the bowl.

The arils sink to the bottom and the white membrane floats to the top.
 Scoop away the white pieces with a spoon.

Strain and and place the arils in a dish.

Try a spoonful.
Enjoy them as a super healthy snack.
 Or get creative and add them to salads, appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
They're loaded with antioxidants, Vitamin C and K.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Nativity of Our Lord

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
painting by Meister von Hohenfurth, ca. 1350

painting by Georges de La Tour, ca. 1644

il presepio, Charterhouse of Trisulti, Italia, 2010

Linda at Seven Hills sent me her photograph of the Italian cave crib located in the monastery complex near her home. Check out her post for the complete story.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Canapes, Abbey Style

My new cooking mentor is a Benedictine monk
who teaches me from the pages of his book, The Pure Joy of Monastery Cooking.

 Last year, I followed the recipes in Brother Victor-Antoine's 12 Months of Monastery Soup book.
Now I'm into his vegetable side dishes and appetizers--just in time for the holidays.
It's all about using ingredients fresh from a seasonal garden,

slicing bread that comes in round forms,
and keeping kitchen tools simple.
+   +   +
His Asparagus Canapes recipe calls for whole wheat bread but I substituted with an artisan bread--a small, round loaf of multi-grain boule for its rustic texture, look, and taste.

It's pure joy in the making--simple, easy, and quick:
 Parsley buttered bread slices topped with tenderly cooked asparagus spears and grated Gruyere, laid on a buttered cookie sheet, and heated in a 250-degree oven.
Made in minutes...
Tasty and satisfying!

For a book of your own, click on the cover image on my sidebar.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A French Carol for Advent

People , look east. The time is near of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able, trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east, and sing today--Love, the Guest, is on the way.

Angels announce with shouts of mirth him who brings new life to earth.
Set ev'ry peak and valley humming with the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east, and sing today--Love, the Lord, is on the way.
                                                                     Text: Eleanor Farjeon, 1881-1965

Monday, December 6, 2010

Split-Personality Decorating

I'm torn between two decorating worlds--
one that practices simplicity and minimalism
and the other a stylist's world requiring many objects of affection.

Blogging presented me with a similar conflict.
Do I go with the ancient/modern aesthetic I like so much
 or go with the flow of the beach while living in Florida?
I resolved it with two blogs, one for each of me...

When it comes to Christmas decorating, the style question pops up every year...
do I go simple, pure, and worshipful
 or Florida quaint and quirky?

The solution? A house we acquired during the fix-and-flip era...
one we can't sell, thanks to the real estate fiasco. It's now a seasonal rental for Canadians
 January- March and a guest house for family during the holidays.
 This year, I'm rolling with a Florida beach attittude over there.

At our house, I'll keep the faith with simplicity--
white candles and Narcissus only--but a goodly number of them.

 What's your Christmas decorating style?
I'd really love to know :)