Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lovely May Days: 'Tis the Season for Most Holy Communions...

Early May is a particularly beautiful time of the year in the Northeast of the U.S., and in many other places as well. May has always been my favorite month, and I half-jokingly refer to the days from the 4th to the 6th of May as my "personal triduum" (with no theological claims). The 4th is my half-birthday (my husband sweetly surprised me with flowers yesterday!); the 5th is the anniversary of my Confirmation, and the 6th marks the day I received Holy Communion. While these are my own special dates-- and Confirmations are pretty much all over the calendar these days-- First Communions are generally still celebrated in this first week or two of May. It seems especially fitting that the month of Mary should be the time when most children receive Jesus into their own bodies for the first time. Just as Our Lady is esteemed especially for welcoming Our Lord into her heart and her womb, so too we have this opportunity to take Him into ourselves, whether it's for the first time or the thousandth.

First Communions also mean parties! And, for many parents, hectic moments of trying to get children ready for this momentous occasion. The following are a couple of recipes that may be helpful for a First Communion Day. The "Easy Doughnut" recipe is from Real Simple magazine, and is a great recipe for making a special breakfast that is also quick and easy (and, actually, not too high in fat or sugar!) First Communions are generally early in the day, and so the food often needs to be lighter than at many other gatherings. . The Asparagus and Leek Frittata (from Men's Health, originally) is great for a brunch, and makes use of two vegetables in season right now. It is a healthy--and quite foolproof--recipe.

May the Lord pour abundant blessings on all this week--especially those receiving their First Holy Communion!

Easy Doughnuts

Serves 8
Hands-on Time: 15m
Total Time: 15m
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 8-count package large refrigerated biscuits (such as Pillsbury Grands)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Heat ½ cup of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.

2. Place the biscuits on a cutting board. Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter or shot glass, cut a hole in the center of each biscuit, reserving the extra dough for "holes."

3. Test the heat of the oil by dipping the edge of a doughnut in the pan. When the oil is hot enough, the edge will bubble. Place 4 of the doughnuts and holes in the skillet and cook until golden brown, 1 to 1½ minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towel–lined plate to drain. Add the remaining oil to the skillet, reheat, and cook the remaining doughnuts and holes.

4. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Gently toss the warm doughnuts in the mixture a few at a time. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This recipe makes 8 doughnuts, plus holes.

Asparagus and Leek Frittata

6 people

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium leek, white and some green parts halved lengthwise, rinsed, and thinly sliced
3/4 pound thin asparagus, tips left whole and stems sliced 1/4 " thick
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
6 eggs
2 egg whites,
3 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat the broiler.

Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet with an ovenproof handle over medium-high heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until soft.

Add the asparagus, broth, 1/8 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper, parsley, and chives. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender-crisp and the broth has evaporated. Spread the asparagus mixture evenly in the bottom of the skillet.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, cheese, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Pour into the skillet with the asparagus. Shake the skillet to evenly distribute the egg mixture. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, without stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the eggs begin to set at the edges.

With a spatula, lift up an edge of the frittata and tilt the skillet to allow the uncooked mixture to flow to the bottom of the pan.

Place under the broiler. Broil for 1 to 3 minutes, or until the eggs are set on the top and the frittata is lightly puffed.

Cut into wedges to serve.

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