Hail Mary’s Immaculate Feast

Although not spelled out in scripture, today many Catholics will fulfill their Holy Obligation and attend Mass in Celebration of the Immaculate Conception. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is probably one of the most confusing days, even for some Catholics.

Immaculate by definition means pure, untainted, free from stain. Mary, as the future Mother of God, was conceived free from the stain of Original Sin. Catholic teaching tells us that she is the only person, from the moment of conception, who by the grace and will of God was free from the stain of Original Sin. This was all a part of God’s plan to be born of woman, to know life and pain and suffering. Christ is the Lamb of God. Each day we cry out for His mercy. And Mary was the vessel that made the fulfillment of God’s Plan possible.

Hail Mary – deserving of our admiration. She is the example of a mother’s unconditional love. Some people idolize celebrities. I’d much rather look up to people filled with God’s Grace to show me the way. But that’s just my personal choice.

Years ago, we took Kiddo to Washington DC. We didn’t intend for the trip to be a pilgrimage, but that is what it became. While in DC, we had the opportunity to visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. To visit the Basilica is considered a pilgrimage of faith. Even the Pope has made a pilgrimage to the Basilica. It is an experience none of us will soon forget.

As luck would have it, today is also National Brownie Day. What better way to end a wonderful Feast that celebrates our Heavenly Mother than with a childhood favorite such as brownies. Enjoy!

Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Rosemary Chicken in a Creamy Dijon Sauce
Roasted Rosemary Gold Potatoes
Steamed Carrots with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette

National Brownie Day
French Silk Brownies

Rosemary Chicken in a Creamy Dijon Sauce
4 sprigs fresh Rosemary, divided
4 Garlic Cloves
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Butter
2 large boneless Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup Flour or as needed
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
1/2 cup White Wine
3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 cup Heavy Cream
Parsley for garnish

Remove needles from 3 of the rosemary sprigs, set aside. Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside.

Heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet.

Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise to create 4 thin-cut breasts. Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

Spread flour out in a pie tin. Dredge each breast in the flour to lightly coat, shaking off excess.

Lay breasts in the skillet and cook about 3 or 4 minutes per side until lightly browned. Remove from skillet, tent and keep warm.

Scatter the rosemary needles into the now empty pan. Let the rosemary cook for about a minute. Add the wine, garlic, and Dijon mustard to the skillet. Gently whisk until smooth. Add the cream and chicken back in the pan. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

While the chicken simmers, strip rosemary needles from remaining sprig and set aside. Finely snip parsley.

Just before serving, scatter rosemary and parsley over the chicken. Season with salt and fresh pepper as desired.

Roasted Rosemary Gold Potatoes
3 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 Pinch Kosher Salt
10 (1-inch) fresh Rosemary Sprigs
1/3 cup Olive Oil
Fresh Black Pepper

Heat oven to 400-degrees.

Peel potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes. Place potatoes in a sauce pan covered with cold water. Add a large pinch of salt to the water, bring to a boil over high-heat. Lower heat to medium-high, let cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well.

Return the potatoes to the saucepan and shake over medium-high heat until the potatoes are dry, only a few seconds.

Spread the potatoes with rosemary sprigs on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and black pepper and toss to coat.

Place potatoes in the heated oven to roast for 45 minutes, stirring a few times, until the potatoes are sizzling and starting to brown.

Carefully remove pan from the oven, shut the door to keep hot. Tilt the baking sheet to pour off any excess oil.

Return pan to the oven and continue to roast the potatoes for 15 minutes longer, until browned and crisp. Sprinkle with a little salt. Transfer to a serving platter and serve hot.

Steamed Carrots with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette
1 medium Lemon, Zest and juice
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Honey
1/3 cup Olive Oil
3 tablespoons fresh Dill, chopped
Kosher Salt to taste
3 lbs Carrots with Green Tops

Zest the lemon and set zest aside until needed. Chop the fresh dill, set aside.

Cut lemon in half, squeeze the juice into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in the Dijon mustard, vinegar and honey. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until the vinaigrette is smooth and thickened. Stir in the chopped dill, lemon zest and salt. Set aside.

Fill a medium wide-mouthed pot with 2 inches of water. Set a collapsible steamer basket insert into the pot, then bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

While the water comes to a simmer, wash carrots, peel and trim green tops to 1-inch. Set aside until ready to cook.

Put the carrots in the steamer basket and cook, covered, until tender when pierced with a knife, about 8 minutes. Gently toss the warm carrots with the dressing in a large shallow serving dish. Allow the dressing to absorb into the carrots for 5 minutes before serving.

And now for National Brownie Day

French Silk Brownies
Chocolate Chip Brownies
1 box Brownie Mix
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
1/2 cup Miniature Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom only of a 13-inch by 9-inch baking pan. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, stir brownie mix, water, oil and egg until well-blended. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spread batter in the prepared pan.

Bake in heated oven for 23 minutes or until a cake tester inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out nearly clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

French Silk
8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Baking Cocoa
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Sift powdered sugar with cocoa into a large mixing bowl. Add softened cream cheese, heavy cream and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl frequently. Spread filling evenly over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until set.

While the brownies chill, place a mixing bowl in the freezer to chill.

Finishing Touches
1 cup Heavy Cream
3 tablespoons Powdered Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
2 tablespoons Miniature Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

When ready to serve, cut brownies into 6 rows by 4 rows. Gently lift cut brownies to a serving platter and set aside.

In a chilled mixing bowl, beat heavy cream with electric mixer on medium-high speed until slightly thickened. Reduce speed; beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. Increase speed; beat mixture until stiff peaks form.

Spoon whipped cream into pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch star tip. In center of each brownie, apply steady pressure to bag while squeezing, and pipe in tight circle to make rosette flower about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Stop squeezing, and quickly lift bag off. Garnish rosettes with chocolate chips. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

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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