Posted October 28th, 2009 | Recipe-Side Dishes


        Chicken broth – large container

       2 tablespoons light butter or margarine

        1 large butternut squash, cut into cubes

       2 stalks celery – 

        1 white onion, chopped into ¼ pieces

        2 carrots

        2 medium-sized red potatoes

       1-2 cloves garlic


        1 teaspoon salt

        1 teaspoon pepper

        1 cup white wine


Melt butter in large pot.  Add garlic, carrots, and chopped onion.  Peal the skin off the butternut squash and cut into small cubes.  Add into pot along with diced celery.  Season with salt, pepper, and oregano.  Sauté until vegetables are soft and fork tender.  Add white wine and chicken broth until vegetables are covered.  Bring to boil.  Puree until smooth.  Add more salt and pepper to taste if necessary. 

Posted in Recipe-Side Dishes | 1 Comment »

Posted October 25th, 2009 | Uncategorized

We just completed our seminarians’ family weekend at Mount St. Mary’s University. Nearly 100 family members came to visit their son / brother / friend studying for the priesthood at this Holy Mountain in Emmitsburg, MD.  It was a perfect weekend (minus the rain on Friday and Saturday). The leaves are in full Fall color!


Many of the families were very congratulatory to me, after seeing the Throw Down with Bobby Flay Episode that recently aired 9.9.09.  Sorry, I didn’t know that so many of you wanted to sample the Fusion Fajitas.  Remember, that recipe will come out in the next book, set to be reprinted next summer.


One of supportive family members was the mother of seminarian Jason Burchell from the Diocese of Arlington, VA.  She’s a big foodie, as well as her son who is also a very fine cook!  She’s also a devoted friend to our Grace Before Meals movement.  She tells me she loves when her son creates his special meals for the family, but she just wishes he writes the recipes down so that she can enjoy the same dishes again?  Sounds very familiar to my style of cooking!


This year, Mr. & Mrs. Hinkle with their son, James even offered me a soup recipe to post after last year’s family weekend,  but somehow it got lost in cyberspace.  Sorry about that! Mr. & Mrs. Hinkle, if you remember to send that cream of mushroom soup you mentioned, please do so!  I love mushroom soup and I’m sure, so do the other subscribers!  It’s perfect for the Fall Season.


It was a great weekend of celebrating families, especially since it was celebrated around FOOD, FAITH, and FUN!  

At one point on the weekend, when it rained cats and dogs, I didn’t have any particular dinner plans and didn’t want to go out in the rain.  So I stayed in and cooked myself a spicy spaghetti alla vongole.  I purchased the baby clams from Colluccio’s Italian Market in Brooklyn, NY.  While I have no Italian blood in me, I sometimes wonder if I have some Italian distant relative?  This dish tasted like something an Italian mother would make for her children! Delicious, if I do say myself.


To all the families that came this past weekend, thanks for coming.  And, to quote the Olive Garden Restaurant, please know you’re always welcome at the Mount. “When you’re here, you’re family!”


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Posted October 21st, 2009 | Recipe-Meats

Apple and Pork Tower: (Serving for 2)

1 pound of pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces (large medallions)

1 apple, any type, cut into ¼-inch pieces

1 red onion, cut into ¼-inch rings

2 cups of apple butter

1 teaspoon of dried ground sage

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

4 tablespoons of Worcester Sauce

2 tablespoons of butter (or margarine)

4 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt and pepper

Cut pieces of pork, apples and onion ring in such a way that you can stack them in the following order:  onion at the base, a piece of pork, a piece of apple, a piece of pork, and a smaller piece of apple on top. Put each ingredient on its own plate to facilitate cooking and assembly.  Heat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a large baking sheet. Brush each piece of pork, apple, and onion with olive oil and lightly season both sides with salt and pepper (including the onion and the apple).  Heat a large, non-stick griddle or skillet and sear pork medallions for 2-3 minutes on each side, then place on the baking tray. Repeat the process for the apples and onions, being careful not to break up the onion rings. Place baking dish in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until internal temperature of pork reaches 160 degrees.  When cooked, allow pork to rest a few minutes before plating. While the pork is cooking, prepare the sauce by melting butter in a sauce pan and combining the apple butter, sage, garlic powder,  and salt and pepper to taste (or, about ½ tsp).  Heat until sauce begins to bubble.  Keep the sauce warm until the pork is cooked.





To assemble the plate, ladle creamy blue cheese grits  (see instructions below) in the middle of the plate.  Place one onion on the center of the grits to serve as a base.  Place one piece of pork and add a tablespoon of apple butter sauce. Add the grilled apple and top with sauce.  Add smaller pork slice, topped with sauce, and finish off with a small piece of the grilled apple.  Serve with a side of fresh greens for color. 

Blue Cheese Grits (a great starchy base for any grilled or baked meat)

Box of grits (refer to the cooking instructions on the box – cook enough for 2 people)

Boiling water (per the cooking instructions on the box)

¼ cup of crumbled blue cheese

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

¼ cup of heavy whipping cream

½ teaspoon of salt and pepper, or to taste

Instructions:  Follow the instructions on the box to prepare the suggested serving size of grits for 2 people.   When grits are cooked to the preferred consistency, add the rest of the ingredients together and whisk together until the flavors are fully incorporated.

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Posted October 13th, 2009 | Events

I met the BMOC – Big Man On Campus:  Fr. Eric Bowman, pastor of St. Jude Parish in West Cincinnati, Ohio.


He has a BIG heart and love for his people of his parish.  We met in World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia where I was doing some talks.  We were in the same venue and after hearing my “schpeal,”  he booked me to come and speak at his parish for a three day mission.  It’s unusual that I was available to give a three day mission. These days, I’m only available to come out for 1-2 day talks on the weekends only.

But since it’s Fall Break for the Seminarians at the Mount, I was available to give some extended talks.  And, with any opportunity to do parish work, I jumped at it!  As usual, I met great families at these events.


Each night, I presented talks about the Saints, the Blessed Mother, and the Eucharist.  Each night, I had the chance to meet some of the parishioners and hear their stories.  It’s great to hear parents say, “my kids told me they actually wanted to go to the mission!” It’s great to see the church so full each night!  There were not  just with “regular mission participants”, but entire families coming to these evenings of prayer.

That’s the style of presentations that I give:  FAMILY MISSIONS!  I challenge people to pray the Rosary as a family, to go to Eucharistic Adoration, to develop a love for the saints, and to pray at least 5 times a day!  This one family actually took me up on the offer and are praying regularly 5 times each day: morning prayer, night prayer, and 3 grace before each meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner! (shameless plug!)


Since I’m working full time in the seminary, I don’t always get the chance to spend time with families, except when I get invited to these events.  Can you tell, I really miss parish work!  But, I know I’m called to work at the seminary at this stage of my priesthood. And, yes, I like working with seminarians too. But, I especially miss seeing  young families with babies!  No seminarian has a smile like this!


And after every talk, the very dedicated “hospitality committee” put out a beautiful spread of FOOD for the people!  Yes, I miss that too!

img_8585To all of the awesome families at St. Jude’s parish in Cincinnati, and to the pastor and staff, THANK YOU for the hospitality and invitation to come be with your parish family for a few days!  Keep up the good work of spreading the faith!  With Fr. Eric, the literal BMOC, you’re definitely in good hands!img_8586

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Posted October 9th, 2009 | Events

Happy Anniversary to my sister and her husband Gary Holden.  They’re the parents of Chad and Chrissy Holden – my twin niece and nephew and rather cool kids!


They’re a great family, completely into Band Competitions, and of course, completely into supporting a healthy, holy and loving relationship with each other.  I’m not sure what number anniversary they’re celebrating today, but it’s at least 14 years because the twins are about that age.  That actually intimidates me just how much older they’re getting – right before our eyes!

Today, I also remembered in prayer my loving grandfather who died two years ago today.  His memory is very blessed.  He did a peaceful death, and his funeral, I remember celebrating it in Canada, left us all with many hopeful sentiments of love.  We still miss him very much, but we shall celebrate his memory well! His wife, Christit, now remains a major part  of my family’s attention. She’s a holy woman who is much more than a grandma and great grandmother.  She’s an inspiration of perseverance and faith!  Since she’s getting up in years (I think she’s 91), her memory starts to fade a little. But she definitely remembers her priest grandson!img_09141

On top of all of this celebration, prayer and memories, I want to congratulate the Mount St. Mary’s seminarians in their 14-12 victory over the college’s younger and arguably more athletic intramural football team.  The seminarian’s team, known as the “Zylla Gorillas” – after the late Fr. Zylla who died this past year, pulled a championship victory in the last 10 minutes of a very tough game.  Some of the team members from the other team asked me to give them a “consolation prize”:  my fusion fajitas!  Sorry fellas – that goes to the champions!


Speaking of competition, I’m  going to Cincinnati for a parish mission this weekend.  Interestingly enough, it just happens to be the same weekend that the Baltimore Ravens play the Cincinnati Bengals!  That’s serious competition as they’re coming into this 5th game of the season with very similar stats.  I’m in “enemy territory” this weekend, so pray for me!

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Posted October 7th, 2009 | Recipe-Italian, Recipe-Side Dishes

Bruschetta al pomodoro

Olive oil
Tomatoes, not overripe
Fresh basil

FYI:  While measurements could be given, I recommend you use your senses to determine just how much of each ingredient to use.  Make sure you taste as you move through the cooking process.  This is definitely an easy recipe, so let’s not make it hard.

Turn oven to broil.   Cut bread into ¼ to ½ inch thick pieces and toast in oven for a few minutes until bread begins to turn in color.  When bread is slightly browned, remove from oven.  Peel garlic and rub on the bread to season the bread.  Cut tomatoes into 1/8 inch thick pieces and place in a bowl.  To make the tomatoes more “meaty” and less wet, gently squeeze the tomatoes to remove the juice and some of the seeds.  Drizzle 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil to coat lightly.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Top each piece of bread with the tomatoes and top off with fresh-ripped basil.

Bruschetta with Parmesan cheese and olive oil

Fresh garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
A pinch dried oregano

Cut bread and toast in oven for only a few minutes.  When toasted brown, rub garlic over the bread. Combine 4 teaspoons of olive oil , ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese and a pinch of oregano.  Brush each piece of bread with the olive oil mixture and put in to broil for another 1-2 minutes.

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