Feast of the Presentation of Mary

It’s been a little while since I’ve shared any of my Catholic traditions with you. If you are uncomfortable with the subject, that’s fine. Please skip this as I’ve never wanted to offend anyone. If you’d like to hear more and get some delicious recipes, stick around!

Just as it is with Mary’s birth, we learn of her presentation to the temple only through apocryphal literature. In what is referred to as an unhistorical accounts, we are told of Anna and Joachim, a childless Jewish couple who lived by the three principals. As good and upright people, they divided all they posses by three. One third was given to the temple, one third to the poor and the remaining one third for their household needs. Although they were happy, they so yearned for a child to complete them. Anna and Joachim asked God to bless them with a child and promised that their child would be a servant of the Lord, dedicated to the temple. God granted this request, and Mary was born. As promised, she was given over to the temple when she was three years old.

Mary’s presentation plays an important role from a theological perspective. It completes the most significant feasts in the life of Mary on earth, bringing the total to three.  The others are the Immaculate Conception (December 8th) and the Nativity of Mary (September 8th). The Feast of the Presentation emphasizes the holiness of Mary from the very moment of her conception. Even in her mother’s womb, she was committed to God’s work and He prepared within her a temple greater than any temple build by man.

Mary accepted the will of Lord in every way. And because of this submission, Christianity exists today. Say what you will of men’s dominance in organized religion. For men might have written the law, but at the heart of faith, you will find a woman.

Feast of the Presentation of Mary
Campanelle Pasta with Zucchini and Italian Sausage
Green Olive and Romaine Caprese Salad
Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Candlemas Crêpes

The Campanella Pasta represent the bells of the church.
The Green Olives in the salad represent the Mount of Olives
Rosemary Focaccia Bread is because roses are associated with Mary
Candlemas Crêpes represent the scrolls of the Torah

Campanelle Pasta with Zucchini and Italian Sausage
1 small Red Onion
4 Garlic Cloves
1 pint Multi-colored Grape Tomatoes
1 medium Zucchini
1/2 cup fresh Basil
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 lb spicy or mild Italian Sausage
3 cups Chicken Broth
Kosher Salt to taste
8 oz uncooked Campanelle Pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Peel and cut the red onion into thin slivers. Set aside. Peel and slice the garlic. Set aside. Cut tomatoes in half. Set aside.

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Stack basil leaves together, roll tightly width-wise. Cut into thin ribbons of basil. Set aside.

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook 6-7 min. or until browned, breaking up large pieces. Add onions and garlic to skillet; cook 1 minute longer or until fragrant, stirring frequently.

Stir in broth, salt and pasta. Bring to a continuous low boil and cook for about 12 minutes or until pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally.

Toss in the tomatoes, gently heat through. Serve topped with basil ribbons and cheese.

Green Olive and Romaine Caprese Salad
1 head Romaine Lettuce
1 Red Bell Pepper
1/2  lb. Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced
2  large Tomatoes, sliced thick
6  Basil Leaves
Handful Green Olives
Olive Oil to taste
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces. Scatter on a serving platter as a bed for the salad.

Cut the stem from the bell pepper. Remove the seeds then cut into long 1/4-inch strips. Lay the pepper strips across the lettuce.

Drain the Mozzarella and slice into 1/4″ thick sliced.  Set aside until ready to build the salad.

Slice the Tomatoes into a size similar to the tomato. Set aside until ready to build the salad.

Layer the salad on the bed of lettuce beginning with one slice of Mozzarella, a whole Basil leaf pointed end up, then a slice of tomato. Repeat until all the layers are complete.

Scatter green olives around the salad. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Focaccia Bread Dough
5 cups Bread Flour
2 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 teaspoons Instant Yeast
2 cups Warm Water, divided
2 tablespoons additional Olive Oil for the bowl

To Make the Dough
In a large bowl, add flour, oil, salt and yeast. Stir to blend. Add half the water and stir. Continue to add the remaining cup of water a little at a time until the dough begins to come together into a ball.

Flour the work surface and dump the dough mixture out. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant. Form into a ball.

Coat the bottom of a large bowl with 2 tablespoons oil. Place the dough ball into the bowl, turning to coat both the sides of the bowl as well as the dough in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise.

Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Lightly oil a rimmed 13-inch by 9-inch baking sheet. Dump the risen dough into the prepared baking sheet; punching it down to deflate it.  Use your fingers to press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan right up to the sides. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for another 20 or 30 minutes.

Finishing Touches
2 tablespoons Olive Oil or as needed
1 teaspoon Coarse Kosher Salt or as needed
2 or 3 Fresh Rosemary Sprigs or as needed

To Finish The Dough
Once the dough has risen in the pan, use the tips of your fingers to  dimple the entire top of the Focaccia.

Drizzle olive oil over the top of the bread, then turn and tilt the pan carefully to allow the oil to roll into the dimples. Sprinkle coarse salt over the top of the Focaccia. Strip needles from the Rosemary sprigs and poke clusters of Rosemary around top of the bread. Let it sit and rise for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 425-degrees. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool to room temperature before slicing.

Arrange sliced bread on a plate or platter and serve with a bowl of olive oil for dipping if desired.

Candlemas Crêpes
Berry Topping
1 bag frozen mixed berries, thawed
4 tablespoons sugar

Empty bag of mixed berries in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and set aside.

Crêpe Batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch salt
Butter, for Crêpe pan

Place flour, milk, water, eggs, butter, sugar and a pinch of salt in a blender. Blend until well whipped. If your blender does not have a pour-spout, transfer batter to a large container with a spout. Refrigerate and let rest for 30 minutes.

Heat a non-stick Crêpe pan or omelette pan over medium-high heat. Brush pan lightly with butter.

When pan is hot, pour approximately two tablespoons of the batter into the pan.

Working quickly, rotate the pan until the bottom is coated with a thin Crêpe.

Cook until the top of the Crêpe is set and appears dry. Using a thin spatula or your fingers, flip the Crêpe and continue to fry a few more minutes.

Note: The general rule of Crêpe making is that the first Crêpe is sacrificed to adjust temperature and turning technique, so don’t get discouraged if everything does not come out perfect. That’s to be expected.

Flip finished Crêpe out onto a plate lined with wax paper. Continue until all the crepes have been made, placing wax paper between each cooked Crêpe to keep separated.

Cream Filling
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
4 tablespoons juice from the sweetened berries

Note: Before cooking the Crêpes, chill the bowl and whip attachment of your mixer in the freezer. 

When ready to assemble, pour whipping cream into the chilled bowl. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and just a little berry juice, enough for a light pink color. Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Set cream aside.

Place two Crêpes on each plate. Place about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the whipped cream down the center of each crepe. Roll Crêpe, placing the seam on underside of the rolled Crêpe.

Repeat with all the Crêpes for a total of six plates. Spoon berries and juice across the Crêpes.

Serve and enjoy.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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