Advent Recipes

Pastor John's Advent Soup
“To warm the soul on a chilly December afternoon”
Yield: 4.5 Quarts  


Preparation:
1. Use a 10 quart Soup Pot.

Ingredients:
6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) of unsalted Butter
1 ½ large Onions – chopped
3 cloves of Garlic – squeezed through garlic press
6 ounces All Purpose Flour
3 quarts Organic Chicken Stock
1 ½ cups dry White Wine (Chardonnay provides the perfect "tang") 
1 tablespoon Celery Salt or Old Bay Seasoning
3 pounds of any combination of Broccoli florets, Cauliflower florets, baby Carrots.  Discard any wilted pieces and trim any dark ends on stalks

Technique:
1. Melt Butter over medium-high heat and saute Onions.
2. Add Garlic and cook for 30 seconds to release flavors.
3. Stir in Flour and cook for about a minute.
4. Whisk in Chicken Stock.
5. Add  White Wine and bring to boil.
6. Add Salt or Old Bay Seasoning and the Vegetables and return to boil.
7. Reduce heat to simmer and cook partially covered for 30-40 minutes or until floret stems are softened.
8. Puree with Industrial-Quality Immersion Mixer. Or use your blender and carefully blend in small batches.


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Saint Elysee’s Monastery Bread


That Morning
Ingredients:
1 cup King Arthur All Purpose Flour (See Note #1)
½ cup King Arthur Bread Flour 
1 teaspoon Instant Yeast
2 teaspoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon of crushed Italian Herbs
½ cup + 2 tablespoons Water @ room temp.
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil [EVOO]

Technique:
1. Whisk together all dry ingredients.
2. Add Water & EVOO.
3. Beat in Stand Mixer on low speed for two minutes. 
4. On floured surface, hand-knead just to form into tight ball.
5. Oil surface of dough ball with EVOO and seal in a 1 gal Freezer Bag.
6. Let rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours. (See Note #2)
7. Remove dough, deflate by pressing down with the flat of your hand.
8. Gently fold into a small square, oil surface with EVOO and seal again in the 1 gal Freezer Bag. 
9. Place in Refrigerator for 6-8 hours for slow rise and flavors to develop. 


That Afternoon or Evening
Technique Continued:
10. Put Pizza Stone on middle wire shelf in oven and turn oven to 550 degrees.
11. Remove dough from refrigerator and place dough ball on floured surface.
12. Use hands to press out to 1 inch thick and cover with plastic wrap to bring  dough to room temperature and let rise for 45-60 minutes. 
13. During this time, occasionally smooth dough and press with hands until dough round is room temperature and about ½ inch thick.
14. Sprinkle Pizza Peel with cornmeal and place dough on Peel.
15. Using the tips of your fingers, gently press down on the dough to create dimples.
16. Brush top of dough with the Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
17. Slide dough from Peel onto the Pizza Stone.
18. Immediately turn oven down to 450 degrees and bake for 9-10 min until golden brown.
19. Remove and place on rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Notes: 
(1) Being a baking nerd and perfectionist, I spent a long time experimenting with different flours and techniques for this perfect flat bread dough. King Arthur flour worked the best for me. (Elysee was my dog at the time I wrote this recipe. She was the only saint who ever lived here!)

(2) To create the perfect dough rising environment, place a measuring cup with a cup of water in the microwave and microwave it for two minutes. That fills the microwave with warm steam. Move the cup to the corner of the microwave, place the dough (sealed in the freezer bag) inside and shut the door.
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