He is risen!

By: 
Shirley Prudhomme

Lent is over. We have celebrated Easter, and survived Lent, April Fool’s Day and the Spring elections. Spring seems to be poking along, but it has to get here pretty soon.

Easter weekend was pretty chilly, but mostly dry, except for the part of the day on Saturday when our family was celebrating with an outdoor egg hunt. Wouldn’t you know, the skies picked just that time to open up with a bit of rain and snow that fell on bundled up youngsters and their parents. We all had a good time regardless. That seems to happen whenever families get together with love in the air and good food on the table.

BUG SEASON

Warning: it’s tick season! Check yourself and your family regularly for ticks. If you do get a tick bite, especially if it gets a tell-tale ring around it, get to your doctor. Ticks often carry Lyme Disease, which can have deadly consequences that may show up long after the disease itself appears to be gone.

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

There was a story going around on the web a few years ago about a local pastor (let’s call him Father O’Meary, but that’s not his real name), who woke up one fine Sunday morning in early spring and realized it was such an exceptionally beautiful day that he just had to play golf.

So he told his associate pastor that he was feeling sick and persuaded him to say Mass for him that day. As soon as the associate pastor left the room, Father O’Meary headed out of town, to a golf course about 40 miles away, where no one would know him and he would not accidentally meet anyone from his parish.

Setting up on the first tee, he realized he was all alone on the golf course. It was Sunday morning and everyone else was in church. He did feel a bit guilty.

At about this time, Saint Peter, leaned over to the Lord while looking down from the heavens and exclaimed, “Are You going to let him get away with this?” The Lord, who is rumored to be something of a golfer Himself, and also a bit of a prankster, chuckled and said, “No. Wait and see.”

Just then Father O’Meary hit the ball. It shot straight toward the pin, dropped just short of it, then rolled up and fell into the hole. It was a 420 yard hole in one!

St. Peter, astonished, looked at the Lord and asked, “Is that how You punish him for skipping Mass? Why did you let him do that?”

The Lord chuckled again, and replied, “My son, you don’t understand. That was the greatest shot he, or anyone else, is ever likely to make. But who is he going to tell?”

COOKIN’ TIME

Easter feasting often means Easter leftovers later. Don’t look on them as a bad thing. Make egg salad sandwiches from the colored hard boiled eggs, and serve with Ham and Bean Soup. Or refrigerate the boiled eggs, and next Saturday or Sunday make the Goldenrod Eggs we were taught about in home economics classes a few decades ago, when people had time to fuss as much about how their food looked as about how it tasted.

EGG SALAD SANDWICHES

2 large hard boiled eggs

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon plain yogurt

1 tablespoon yellow or dijon mustard

1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish

1 teaspoon dried dill weed, chopped

1 tablespoon minced green onion

1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Lettuce, optional

4 slices bread

Toast the bread or not, your choice. Butter it or not, your choice. For each sandwich use two slices toast or bread. On one slice put half of the filling and some lettuce, if you wish. Top with the second slice of toast or bread. Cut into triangles to serve. Great served with Cream of Tomato Soup, or the Ham and Bean Soup that follows.

HAM AND BEAN SOUP

This is a delicious way to put leftover ham to good use. If you have a ham bone, add it, because it adds flavor and protein. If your ham didn’t come with a bone, don’t worry about it. The original recipe didn’t call for one.

1 pound dried Great Northern beans, sorted and rinsed

4 cups water

1/4 cup celery, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 leeks (bulb only), cut in half lengthwise

1 pound cooked ham, cut into bite-size pieces

5 slices bacon

4 cups chicken stock

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste

1 ham bone (if you have one)

Rinse and sort beans. Place them in a large container and cover with several inches of cool water. Let stand 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse before using. Combine the soaked beans, 4 cups of water, celery, onion, bay leaves, cumin, garlic powder, and parsley into a slow cooker. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir the leeks in the butter mixture until tender and the smaller pieces start to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the leeks to the slow cooker. In the same pan, cook and stir the ham until the edges start to brown; stir into the soup. Place the bacon into the hot skillet, and pan-fry until the bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes. Cut the bacon into bite-size pieces and stir into the soup. Pour the chicken stock into the hot skillet, and stir to dissolve any brown flavor bits from the skillet; pour the chicken stock into the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Put the ham bone in (if you have one) and push it down into the liquid. Set the cooker to Low cook the soup until the beans are very tender, 6 to 8 hours. Taste, and add salt if needed. Roughly mash about half the beans with a potato masher to thicken.

CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)

1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon real vanilla extract

2 large eggs (room temperature)

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 cup ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas; mashed)

2 teaspoons baking powder (dark is best)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup hot water (*or strong hot coffee)

Garnish:

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Use an electric mixer to cream butter, brown sugar, sugar and vanilla at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat some more. Add the eggs and mix for one minute more or until well combined. Mix the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and add to the bowl, mixing until smooth. Add the mashed bananas and beat on low until completely blended. Take the beaters out of the batter and use a spoon or rubber spatula to gently fold in the flour until barely combined. Dump in the hot water and whisk to combine. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure the batter is well combined, but do not use the electric beaters again. Set the batter aside for 10 to 20 minutes while the oven heats to 350 degrees and you prepare the baking pan. Butter a 9” x 5” loaf pan and line with parchment paper, letting the excess paper fall over the two longer sides of the pan. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle with chocolate chips and bake in the center of the oven for 60 minutes or until the edges are set and the middle of the cake is puffed up and (probably) cracked.  Let sit for 10 minutes on a cooling rack and then use the parchment overhang to pull the bread out of the pan and let finish cooling on the rack. Most delicious served slightly warm or at room temperature, but not hot. *Using strong coffee or espresso instead of the water intensifies the chocolate flavor.

Thought for the week: Forgive me, Lord. Once again I have made Easter more about the celebration with family and friends than about You and the suffering You went through so we can all celebrate in Heaven when our time comes. Please help me, help all of us, focus our lives in the right direction, not only now at the end of the Easter, but all through the year. Amen.

(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo.com.)

Category:

Subscriber Login