Sunday, August 26, 2012

Meet Me In St. Louis~ Celebrating St. Louis' Feast Day

Saint Louis of France- King, Husband, Father of 11

Yesterday marked the Feast Day of King Saint Louis (read more about him here). This had significance for our family since he is Brian's patron saint. We feel fortunate to live close to St. Louis, Oregon & the pioneer-era St. Louis Church.

St. Louis Church-
built 1847
We have attended numerous Saturday morning Masses at St. Louis & we knew we would want to attend for sure yesterday. Father Eric Anderson celebrated a beautiful Mass in the second oldest Catholic Church in Oregon with the church almost full to capacity. We then went out to breakfast at the Sassy Onion and had a fun surprise as my folks along with sister Dawn & bro-in-law Jeff happened to be there too. I think Brian was wondering if I had planned to meet them, but since Josh was the one to choose the restaurant, he figured out it truly was a surprise. We all had delicious breakfasts as well as some really good coffee (Josh liked it so much, he ended up drinking four cups). I am always pleased to be able to have a good cup of coffee when I am eating out, and Sassy Onion does a great job with a good "cup of joe"!

We also stopped at a new favorite place to get groceries~ Cash & Carry~ for a few things. I have been going there for quite a number of years to do large meals such as Great Expectations & different retreats for which I have cooked. A few months ago, I realized their prices are very comparable with Costco, and the service is terrific. Knowing this, plus the fact that they have a great website with all of their prices and specials listed (not to mention the easy grocery list I can make on their website), we have started shopping there fairly regular. We did pick up some essentials along with some tea for Josh to take back to school next week, Chai (enjoyed by most of the family) & a large wheel of Brie to make my "Father Todd's Baked Brie" this week sometime before Josh heads off to Thomas More again.

I also planned on making a special meal to celebrate Brian's "Patron Saint Celebration" as we call it in the Keatley family.

Since St. Louis was French, I went with a bit of a French-themed meal with a few variations thrown in for fun. We ended up eating a bit later than I had wanted, due to the lamb taking a bit longer than expected~ that's what I get for roasting an 8 pound boneless leg of lamb late in the afternoon. I wanted to serve the lamb French-style, so I just added lots of fresh herbs, a bit of olive oil & roasted it in a 375 degree oven for about 2 hours. Along with the lamb, I made cheesy grits (okay, not too French, but really tasty), green beans & salad with homemade honey-dijon dressing. This was served with the Willamette Valley Vineyards Oregon Blossom wine (one of my new favorite summer libations)~ great with the lamb!

Sel Gris- adds a crunchy, salty goodness to
lots of things, including desserts!

Mary had made meringues that we were going to fill with whipped cream & fruit. The strawberries that we had made the week before had gone bad, so we poured caramel sauce over the whipped cream instead. Keeping with my French theme, I sprinkled some sel gris (grey sea salt from France) over the cream~ mmm, thus calling it "Meringue avec Caramel et Sel Gris"
Crispy meringue topped with whipped cream,
caramel & sel gris~ a perfect way to end the day!

Here is the recipe for the meringues. They look a lot harder to make than they are! We also like to top them with fresh fruit and whipped cream or even ice cream!

3 egg whites
3/4 cup white sugar


1.In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in sugar until very stiff and glossy. Using spatula and spoon, spread mixture onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets, forming 4" circles (you can get about 6 on each large sheet). Make
a small indentation in the center of each meringue.
2.Bake at 190 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 2 hours. Turn oven off, and leave meringue in oven for 1 hour. Cool on baking rack for another hour. Store in air-tight container.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

From Farm to Feast

When Joshua returned home for the summer after a most amazing semester in Rome, we expected him to be able to find a job somewhat quickly. Within a week, he had submitted close to 10 job applications for jobs which he was definitely qualified. After hearing from not one business in a week, he decided to wait it out a few more weeks while gratefully starting to teach a few lessons at Salem Classical Fencing as well as helping me around the house with long-awaited projects that needed finishing.

Still not hearing from anyone, we all wondered if he was going to spend the summer without any being able to earn some money for school. In June, a surprise job offer came his way from our new friends, Raymond & Annette Fordyce of Fordyce Farms. We attend Saint Joseph's with the Fordyce family & had the opportunity to start to get to know them as we attended different holiday celebrations with them over this past year. Anyway, Joshua was offered a job to help out at their farm~ doing everything from helping at the u-pick strawberry stand to picking apples to sorting blueberries to working in the farm store. He has had a wonderful time & has learned a lot about farming & customer service. A special added bonus has been being able to help Mr. Fordyce with his "intellectual stimulation" as they have had numerous conversations about everything from philosophy to politics to music. I told Joshua this has been terrific to help keep his brain in gear while home from Thomas More College of Liberal Arts (plus it has given him someone other than me to talk with [insert "mom smirk" here]). 
Another benefit has been getting to know the Fordyces (mom, dad & six awesome kids)~ We've enjoyed spending time with them and building relationships. I have especially felt blessed by getting to know Annette as we seem to have so much in common (not to mention, she is really fun to make laugh)! One more benefit has been being able to go to their farm store to get the delicious produce and baked goodies- plus Graham's ice cream. I've tried all kinds of new produce plus we've got a nice variety of berries sitting all bagged up in our freezer straight from the farm. I also must talk about Raymond's scones. Now, you all know how much I like to bake. I think I am actually a pretty decent baker. This being said, the Fordyce Farms scones are the best I have ever tasted~ moist, just the right amount of fruit, chewy but not dry...I could go on, but my mouth with start watering. If you get the time to go out to the farm, do so---soon. If you can't make it this summer, be sure to go to the Salem Public Market this fall to pick up some of their scones or stop by their store for the hay maze in October!

Now that I have waxed (eloquently or not) about Fordyce Farms, I want to share a recipe I made with berries from their farm for the Feast Day of Saint Maximilian Kolbe~ I have shared before about celebrating Feast Days with special food before. The kids and I were heading to another family's farm to help prepare for the Saint Joseph's Knights of Columbus Chapter's Oktoberfest booth & I wanted to take a dessert to share. I decided on a strawberry jam tart. I made it using strawberries from the Fordyces along with puff pastry and homemade yogurt. It was a big hit with everyone who tried it. They especially liked the significance of the design and colors- red for martydom & white for purity.
Here's the recipe for you to try for your next Feast Day Celebration~

Strawberry Jam Tart


  • pound strawberries, sliced
  • tablespoons sugar
  • tablespoons cornstarch
  • tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • sheet (9-inch square) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (homemade or store bought)
  • tablespoons honey


  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees . In a large saucepan, cook the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and vinegars over medium heat, stirring, until syrupy, about 7 minutes. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring, until reduced to about 1-1/4 cups, 10 to 15 minutes; let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 10-by-14-inch rectangle. Place in 9 x 13 baking dish and fold the edges of the pastry inward to form a half-inch rim. Spread the strawberry mixture within the rim.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and honey and dollop over the jam. Bake until the crust is golden, 22 to 25 minutes.