Posted August 27th, 2010 | Uncategorized

I’m at the International Food Bloggers Convention with a bunch of foodies who love to write about their culinary adventures.

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It’s the first time that I’ve been to a conference and didn’t have to give a talk.  It was kinda’ nice actually to just sit and listen to other people who have a passion for food.

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While I wasn’t prepared to say anything publicly, my Roman Collar speaks very, very loudly!  Being the only priest in the room brought enough attention that  Morgan Spurlock – the independent film producer and star of his docu-drama “Supersize Me” and keynote speaker for the evening, offered his encouragement to our Grace Before Meals movement after he passed me the microphone to introduce myself.  Rather cool, humbling, and fun!

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His message, as well as the comments from almost every person I met, resonated with what I do for Grace Before Meals. Participants all seem to recall their own family meals, family recipes, and Thanksgivings.  Many people here saw the Throw Down episode with Bobby Flay and they were reminded of the message:  eat with your family.  This food blogger, “White Lotus Cooks,” cooks and blogs about her deceased mother’s recipes as a testimony of a love that was shared through these delicious southeast asian foods.  That food testament is definitely linked to Jesus’ command:  Take and eat and drink in memory of me.

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I’m meeting people from around the country / world and we all have something in common.  We love food so much that it transcends our difference.

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While I’m rather sure we don’t share the same political, social and moral values, we all value the need to spend time with each other, get to know each other, and eat together.  In fact, this food truck owner in Portland (this guy has like 600 of these trucks!) definitely agreed.  We kinda’ became instant friends because of this common love for food and family.  When I get to Portland he said that I should not only visit his food trucks, I will actually cook in one.  Now, that’s an episode!

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My biggest repeated line of the evening was the understanding of food as “religious.”  The Latin verb, religere,  means to bind together.  It doesn’t take a genius, but some faithful foodies, to realize that food is the most “religious” experience in humanity because it’s the one things that can bring us together!  The challenge:  Make really good food!

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You’ll hear more about this in upcoming blasts.  This event, so far, has reinvigorated my passion to do more writing.  While I’ve already written the book that was recently published by Double Day of New York, I felt even more motivated to finish my second book:  Spicing Up Married Life – 12 dinner dates to strengthen the relationship of married couples around the dinner table.

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For those who are new to this site, feel free and browse, but more importantly join the faith, food, family and fun discussion by signing up for the free weekly blasts.  This food blogger conference has really opened my eyes to just how powerful food really is. I thought I was a foodie?  Being with all of these people in the food-lovers world makes me pray even harder so that one day we’ll all be able to feast for all eternity in heaven, where we will feast on none other than LAMB – of God, that is.

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Posted August 25th, 2010 | Uncategorized

Ingredients (Sauce enough for 5-6 people)
1 bottle of ordinary red wine
1 clove garlic
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 Tbs butter
4 cups sliced baby Portobello mushrooms
½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional 1 cup water to thin out sauce

(Hearty red wine and mushroom sauce.)

(Hearty red wine and mushroom sauce.)

Instructions:

Simmer red wine in a sauce pan with garlic and rosemary and reduce to half.  Once reduced, set aside and discard garlic and rosemary.  In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat, and sauté mushrooms.  Add breadcrumbs and reduced red wine, and mix until flavors are fully incorporated.  Continue to cook over a low heat until the desired consistency.  Use some water to help thin out sauce if necessary.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve as a sauce over chicken, beef, or pork.

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Posted August 18th, 2010 | Uncategorized

Filleted:

(Roasted whole.)

(Fish in pan.)

2 Tbs peanut oil + 1 Tbs for cooking
6 fillets, 5-6 ounces
2 Tbs salt
2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 lime, juiced
1 Tbs soy sauce

Combine peanut oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, lime juice, and soy sauce in a bowl.  Clean fillets, removing any pin bones.  Score the skin.  Marinade fish for 20-30 minutes.  Remove fish, and dry with paper towel.  Excess liquid will cause the grease splatter.  Heat remaining oil in a nonstick pan until smoking point.  Carefully place fish flesh side down and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Turn over and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes.  Do not overcrowd the pan.  Cook only 2-3 fillets at a time.  Use internal thermometer to make sure fish is thoroughly cooked.  Remove fish and rest.  In the same pan, heat the marinade until it boils.  Remove and use the marinade sauce as a final “sauce” to pour over the fish when ready to serve.

(Roasted whole.)

Serve quickly and eat thoroughly – including the “cheeks,” a very delicate part hidden in the fish’s jowl.)

Whole Roasted Fish:
3-4 Tbs kosher salt
2 Tbs black pepper
4 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
1-2 cups canned vegetable broth
For basting oil:
4 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375. Clean fish and put on a large baking pan or baking sheet. Score the fish every inch. Season fish on both sides, and also inside the cavity, with salt and pepper. Place garlic and bay leaves in cavity of the fish. Pour broth in the ban to create steam effect in the oven. Put fish in the oven and cook for about 30-40 minutes, using a thermometer to determine doneness. When fish is cooked, remove and rest. In a small sauté pan combine oil, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt together until fully incorporated. One tablespoon at a time, pour the hot oil directly on top of the fish to crisp the skin and infuse a different level of flavoring. Serve immediately.

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Posted August 11th, 2010 | Uncategorized

Platanos:

Plantains

Corn oil

Kosher salt

 

Instructions:  Peal plantains and cut on a bias.  Pour olive oil in a large frying pan, and heat over medium-high heat.  Gently place plantains in hot oil, and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until the bananas are caramelized to a dark char.  Remove plantains, and place on paper towel to soak up oil.  Sprinkle with salt immediately.  Serve as a side dish with grilled chicken, beef, or pork. 

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Posted August 4th, 2010 | Uncategorized

Gambler’s Grub-Clams Casino

Here’s my version of Clams Casino.  It’s a little lighter than the recipe at Spain of Narragansett restaurant, which infused some type of tomato sauce in their topping.  But the flavors of this recipe will definitely please anyone looking for a “sure bet.”

12 Clams, cleaned and shucked

2 Tbs melted butter

1 Tbs olive oil

¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs

½ tsp garlic powder

1 Tbs Parmesan cheese, grated

1 Tbs fresh parsley, finely minced

1 slice of bacon, cut into ¼ inch strips

 

NOTE:  Special equipment such as a baking sheet with rock salt can help situate the clams to avoid tipping over.  If you don’t have rock salt, I recommend you use a cupcake pan, stuffing the individual cups with aluminum foil in order to keep the clams balanced.

Preheat oven to broil and place the oven pan in the oven to heat the pan up.   Prepare the clam topping by combining melted butter, olive oil, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley in a bowl.  Clean clams and shuck the meat, but leave the meat in the half shell.  Scoop 1 tsp of the breadcrumb mixture on top of each clam.  Distribute slices of bacon over each of the clams.  Carefully remove the sheet/cupcake pan from the oven.  Carefully place clams on cookie sheet with rock salt or the cupcake pan stuffed with aluminum foil.  Put pan directly under the broiler for 12-15 minutes or until the bacon is crisp.

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