Presentation of the Lord, Alleluia

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

The Gospel According to Saint Luke

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A light of revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

According to Jewish law, male children belonged to God, and the parents had to “buy him back” on the 40th day after his birth. This was done by offering a sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons in the temple. On this same day, his mother would be ritually purified.

According to scripture, there was a man at the temple the day Christ was presented. His name was Simeon. The Lord had promised Simeon, a devout man, that he would see the Messiah before his life would end. When Simeon saw Jesus, he realized that the Lord had kept his promise. Simeon also knew that this child would become a light of revelation to all gentiles.

Inspired by Simeon’s words, by the 11th century, the custom had developed in the west of blessing candles on the Feast of the Presentation. The candles were then lit, and a procession took place through the darkened church. I can remember this beautifully moving custom as a child. Today very few parishes have kept the custom as a part of their festivities. Yet the Candlemas is still an important feast throughout much of Europe.

The emphasis on light has led the secular world in America to celebrate Ground Hog Day on February 2. So while the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord might not be on secular calendar, its counterpart day of light and shadows is. Today is also National Tater Tot Day.

As part of Tater Tot Day, I’ve included Tater Tot Appetizers to our menu. In keeping with the offering of small birds, the main course includes two Game Hens. And the Candles are represented by our dessert. As always, you don’t need to be Catholic to enjoy a wonderful feast.

Four-Course Candlemas Feast
Appetizer Course –
Tomato Asparagus Bruschetta
Tater Tot Skewers

Main Course –
Herb-Stuffed Roasted Game Hens with Red Potatoes
Asparagus Prosciutto Crêpes with Cheddar Goat Cheese Sauce

Salad Course –
Arugula Palm Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette

Dessert Course –
Candlemas Strawberry Crème Crêpes

Appetizer –

Tomato Asparagus Bruschetta
1/2 lb fresh Asparagus
3 cups Water
2 cups Grape Tomatoes
1/2 cup Fresh Bail
3 Green Onions
3 Garlic Cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon Zest
1 Lemon, juice only
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Pinch Kosher Salt
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
1 (8 oz) French Bread Baguette
1/2 cup crumbled Feta Cheese

Trim asparagus and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add the asparagus; cover and boil for 2-4 minutes. Drain and immediately place asparagus in ice water to halt the cooking process. Drain and pat dry. Set aside.

Cut tomatoes in half. Place in a large bowl. Mince fresh basil. Sprinkle over the tomatoes. Chop the green onions and scatter in the bowl with the tomatoes. Peel the garlic cloves and grate over the tomato mixture. Zest and squeeze the lemon. Add to the tomatoes.

Add cooled asparagus, olive oil, salt and pepper to the tomato mixture. Toss to blend.

Slice the baguette, brush with a little olive oil and lightly toast on a baking sheet under the broiler just until the bread begins to brown.

Arrange toasted baguette on a serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, pile asparagus mixture onto the bread.

Sprinkle with crumbled Cheese and serve.

Barbecue Bacon Wrapped Tater Tot Skewers
16 oz Hickory Smoked Bacon
40 Tater Tots
3/4 cup Barbecue Sauce such as Sweet Baby Ray’s

Fry bacon on a griddle over medium heat until just cooked through but not yet crisp. Drain on a paper towel.

Remove the tater tots from their packaging and pat them dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel to remove any ice crystals. This will keep the tater tots crispy during frying.

Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer to 375-degrees. Fill the deep-fryer basket no more than halfway with tater tots and submerge them in the preheated oil. Fry for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Keep warm.

Lift the deep-fryer basket out of the hot oil and pour the tater tots into a bowl lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil. Set aside.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Coat both sides of bacon with barbecue sauce. Place in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

Cut bacon in half and wrap each half around a tater tot, securing with a cocktail skewer.

Arrange on a serving platter and enjoy.

Main Course –

Herb-Stuffed Roasted Game Hens
1 Lemon
6 Green Onions
2 Garlic Cloves
2 Game Hens
12 fresh Sage Leaves
2 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
6 small Red Potatoes

Cut lemon into 4 wedges, set aside. Rinse and trim green onions. Cut into 2-inch lengths, divide and set aside. Peel and mince garlic, set aside.

Heat oven to 375-degrees. Gently lift skin from hen breasts and place sage leaves under skin. Place lemon wedges and a third of the onions in the cavities. Tuck wings under hens; tie legs together. Place in a small greased roasting pan.

Melt butter. Combine butter, oil, lemon juice and garlic; spoon half of mixture over hens. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake hens in the heated oven for 30 minutes. While the birds roast, scrub potatoes, cut in half and set aside.

After 30 minutes roasting time, add potatoes and remaining onions to pan. Brush hens with remaining butter mixture. Bake until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reads 170-degrees and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes longer.

Remove hens to a serving platter. Stir potatoes and onions to coat with pan drippings. Serve with hens.

Asparagus Prosciutto Crêpes with Cheddar Goat Cheese Sauce
1 cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3 Eggs
1-1/4 cup Milk
3 tablespoons melted Butter

In blender, combine flour, salt, eggs, milk and 2 tablespoons of the butter; pulse until well blended and smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat 8-inch Crêpe pan or skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with 1 teaspoon of the remaining butter.

Pour a scant 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan, swirling to coat; cook for 1 minute, or until golden.

Flip and cook 30 seconds. Transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining butter and batter. Set aside and keep warm in 200 degree oven until ready to use.

Cheddar Goat Cheese Sauce
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 cups Milk
1 cup Cheddar Goat Cheese

In saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Stir in flour and cook until it makes a thick paste, about 2 minutes.

Slowly whisk in milk and bring to boil, lower heat and cook until sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Whisk in cheese until sauce is smooth. Thin with extra milk if desired.

Asparagus Prosciutto Filling
1 Lemon, if desired
36 Asparagus Spears
12 slices Prosciutto
1/4 cup Fresh Chives
Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste

If desired, slice lemon into rounds for serving, set aside.

In large saucepan of boiling, salted water, blanch asparagus until tender crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to plate.

Fill each crêpe with a slice of prosciutto and 3 asparagus spears. Roll crêpe around filling, arrange on a serving platter. Repeat until all the crêpes are made.

Ladle with cheese sauce. Snip chives, sprinkle over crêpes. Finish with fresh cracked pepper. Serve with a slice of lemon, if desired.

Salad Course –

Arugula Palm Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette
Parmesan Vinaigrette
2 large Garlic Clove
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 pinch Italian Seasoning Blend
1/3 cup Olive Oil
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Peel and finely mince the garlic cloves.

In a bowl or mason jar, combine vinegar, garlic, sugar, and Italian Seasoning Blend. Whisk or shake well to incorporate.

Vigorously whisk while pouring the olive oil into the mixture in a slow steady stream to create an emulsion.

Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Shake well just before serving.

Arugula Palm Salad
8 cup Arugula or blend with Arugula
1 pint Cherry Tomatoes
1 can Hearts of Palm
1/2 Red Onion
2 Avocados

Scatter half of the arugula on a serving platter. Set aside.

Cut tomatoes in half. Scatter half of the sliced tomatoes in with the arugula.

Drain and slice the Hearts of Palms into bite-size disks. Scatter half of the Palms over the salad.

Cut open the avocado and remove the pit. Dice the avocado into bite-size pieces. Scatter half of the avocado pieces over the salad.

Dress the salad with some of the dressing. Toss lightly.

Scatter remaining arugula, tomatoes, Hearts of Palms and avocados. Add more dressing to taste and serve immediately.

Note: To make in advance, prepare everything except the avocados. When ready to serve, dice the avocados and whisk the dressing well.

Dessert Course –

Candlemas Strawberry Crème Crêpes
1-1/2 cups Milk
3 large Eggs
2 tablespoons Butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Extract
1-1/4 cups Flour
2 tablespoons Sugar
Dash Kosher Salt

In a large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, butter and extract. Combine the flour, sugar and salt; add to milk mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a crêpe pan or small sauté or saucier pan, coated with cooking spray and warmed over medium heat, pour a scant amount of batter and tilt pan from side to side to spread evenly.

Cook for 30 seconds and then using a spatula, flip crêpe. Continue cooking for 15-20 more seconds.

Remove to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter, greasing skillet as needed. When cool, stack crêpes with waxed paper or parchment paper between each crêpe.

Strawberry Topping
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
3/4 cup Water
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Strawberry Extract
1/4 teaspoon tasteless Red Food Coloring, optional
4 cups fresh Strawberries

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch; stir in water and lemon juice until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Stir in extract and, if desired, food coloring. Remove from heat and cool.

While the glaze cools and thickens, clean strawberries. Trim tops, slice berries and set aside.

Once the glaze is fully cooled, add sliced strawberries. Gently fold to coat berries. Set aside.

Crème Filling
1 (8 oz) package Cream Cheese
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Set cream cheese on the counter and allow to soften. Chill a small bowl and beater whisk in the freezer for at least 15 minutes Sift powdered sugar into another bowl, set aside.

In the chilled bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, sifted powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth; fold in whipped cream.

To Assemble: Spoon 2 rounded tablespoons of the Crème Filling down the center of each crepe; fold one end over the filling, then roll. Plate filled crêpes on individual dessert plates. Top with strawberry topping, serve and enjoy.

Original Recipe: Taste of Home

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.

4 thoughts on “Presentation of the Lord, Alleluia”

  1. Love the idea of cornish game hens for this feast day. I had Chicken Pastina soup planned for today so at least we’re having a bird of some sort for our dinner. I’m making a note of your idea on my Liturgical Calendar for next year. Have a blessed day!


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