A Feast for Saint Mary Magdalene

Today is the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. Hers is a relatively new Feast Day to the Catholic Calendar. On June 3, 2016, the Holy see raised the liturgical rank of the Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene to a Feast Day. Mary Magdalene is considered to be the Apostle to the Apostles.

It’s been a while since we talked “faith”. With all the craziness in the world, you would think faith would have been forefront. But it wasn’t. At least not directly. I believe my sense of family values and traditions are very much linked to my strong Catholic Faith. Don’t worry, I won’t go off on the deep end. Faith is a part of life, like breathing for my soul. If you breath a different air, that’s fine, too.

Let’s talk about Saint Mary Magdalene for a moment. Mary Magdalene is mentioned by name twelve times in the gospels, more than most of the apostles and more than any other non-family woman. She was one of the women who traveled with Jesus and helped support his ministry “out of their resources”, indicating that she was a woman of means. She followed him in life, witnessed his death on the cross, discovered the empty tomb and was the first to adore The Risen Lord. Yet her life is one of controversy. Once considered a repentant prostitute, she is no longer believed to be the unnamed “sinful woman” who anoints Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:36-50. At least this is true within Catholic teachings. And rightfully so, since it was Pope Gregory I who delivered an Easter sermon in 591, calling her a prostitute or at the very least a promiscuous woman. It wasn’t until 1969 that this mistaken identity was officially removed by the Church. (Hey, the Church has never been known for moving swiftly). That said, some Protestants still view Mary Magdalene as a loose woman. Regardless, there is no dispute that Jesus sought her out to bring the good news of his resurrection, earning her the title Apostle to the Apostles.

Feast to Honor Mary Magdalene
Arugula Salad with an Emulsified Balsamic Vinaigrette

Braised Pork with Pearl Onions and Sautéed Grapes
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
Rosemary Braised Asparagus with Bay Leaves

Chocolate Dipped Madeleines

Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
The Salad
2 large handfuls Arugula
1/2 cup small Red Tomatoes
1 Lemon, zested

Note: The fresher the Arugula, the less bitter and more peppery the flavor

Wash Arugula well, spin dry. Place in a large salad bowl. Cut tomatoes in half, scatter over the Arugula. Zest the lemon directly over the salad. Toss and set aside until ready to serve.

The Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and olive oil, stirring energetically to create an emulsified sauce. If the sauce does not emulsify, add a little bit more oil. Peel the garlic cloves and cut in half. Add to the emulsified vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Just before serving, remove the garlic from the vinaigrette and discard. Whisk vinaigrette well one last time. Pour over the arugula salad, toss and serve.

Braised Pork with Pear Onions and Sautéed Grapes
3 Garlic Cloves
1/2 Yellow Onion
2 lb Pork Loin Roast
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
5 tablespoons Butter, divided
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 Fresh Bay Leaf
1 Thyme Sprig
3/4 lb Pearl Onions
2 tablespoons Flour
1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme
1/4 lb Red Grapes
1/4 lb Green Grapes

Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves, set aside. Trim ends from the pearl onions. Cut yellow onion in half from tip to root. Peel half the onion, coarsely chop and set aside.

Season the pork with salt and pepper. In a small enameled cast-iron casserole, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the pork and brown well over moderately high heat, 10 minutes; transfer to a plate. Pour off the fat from the casserole. Add the wine and boil over high heat, scraping up the browned bits, until reduced by half, 3 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme sprig, yellow onion and the pork. Cover and simmer over very low heat, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan of water, boil the pearl onions until almost tender, 5 minutes; drain and peel. In a bowl, blend the 2 tablespoons of softened butter with the flour to form a paste. Set aside. Strip thyme from the stem, chop and set aside.

Transfer the pork to a plate. Strain the cooking liquid and return to the casserole; boil until reduced to 2 cups, 4 minutes. Whisk 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid into the flour paste until smooth, then whisk the mixture into the cooking liquid. Simmer over moderately high heat, whisking, until thickened. Simmer over low heat, stirring, until no floury taste remains, 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped thyme and season with salt and pepper. Return the pork and its juices to the casserole and add the pearl onions. Cover and bring just to a simmer, turning the pork a few times in the sauce to heat it up.

In a skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the grapes and cook over moderately high heat, shaking the skillet, until the skins start to burst. Thickly slice the pork and transfer to plates. Spoon the sauce, pearl onions and grapes on top; serve.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
1 lb small Red Potatoes
1 lb small Yukon Gold Potatoes
4 Garlic Cloves
2 tablespoons Fresh Rosemary
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs, for serving

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, set aside.

Scrub potatoes, cut in half or quarter if large, set aside. Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside. Strip Rosemary needles from the stem, chop and set aside.

Add potatoes to a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, garlic, and rosemary. Season generously with salt and pepper, pour out onto the prepared pan. Place in the heated oven,

Roast potatoes until crispy, stirring occasionally, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.

Transfer roasted potatoes to a serving bow. Add more rosemary sprigs for an attractive garnish and serve.

Rosemary Braised Asparagus with Bay Leaves
2 lbs plump Green Asparagus
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 Rosemary Sprigs or as desired
8 Fresh Bay Leaves or as desired
2 tablespoons Cold Water or as needed

Trim asparagus of the woody ends, rinse and pat dry.

In a skillet large enough to hold the asparagus in a single layer, combine the oil, asparagus, salt, rosemary, and bay leaves. Sprinkle with enough cold water to cover the asparagus by about one-third.

Cook, covered, over high heat just until the oil and water mixture begins to sizzle. Reduce the heat to medium, remove lid or leave ajar. Continue to braise the asparagus, turning from time to time as needed.Braise until most of the liquid has evaporated and the asparagus begins to brown in spots, 8 to 10 minutes .

Transfer to a serving platter along with the bay leaves and Rosemary. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Dipped Madeleines
3 Whole Eggs
2/3 cup Sugar
1 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1 tablespoon Orange Zest
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
6 tablespoon Butter, melted

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar with a hand-held electric mixer until pale, thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. The egg mixture should double in size. Add in the orange zest and vanilla extract. beat well until fully incorporated.

Heat butter in a pan until it just melts, remove from heat and let butter cool to room temperature.

While the butter cools, sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture. Use a soft spatula to fold flour mixture into the egg mixture. Fold gently until the flour has completely disappeared.

Once the butter has cooled to room temperature, fold into the batter without deflating.

Carefully cover the batter bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for an hour.

Note: The batter can be dome the night before and refrigerate to save time.

Heat the Oven to 350 degree. Grease a Madeleine pan with butter.

When ready to bake, use a small scoop to scoop in the batter into each madeleine cavity in the center. It will take shape as it bakes, no need to spread it fully.

Bake the Madeleines in the heated oven for 8 minutes or until lightly browned on sides.

Cool Madeleines on a wire rack.

Orange Chocolate Ganache
4 oz Semisweet Chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tablespoon Grand Marnier
Powdered Sugar for dusting

Chop chocolate and place into a medium bowl. Set aside.

Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the Grand Marnier.

Allow the ganache to cool slightly before using.

Dip the Madeleines it in chocolate ganache as desired, let it set. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Serve with coffee or a nice dessert wine.

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.

6 thoughts on “A Feast for Saint Mary Magdalene”

      1. Are they small or big? If you’ve got “sticks”, trim off the Rosemary Needles, sharpen the ends and use as skewers for chicken, shrimp or beef next time you barbecue. The flavor inside is amazing!!!

        Liked by 1 person

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