The Catholic Home, Episode 2: Lent in the Catholic Kitchen

Lent-friendly stuffed bell peppers

Lent-friendly stuffed bell peppers

Lent is the perfect time to add some simple yet tasty recipes to your meatless repertoire. So grab your apron; pop on your chef's hat and listen as guests Justin Soeder and Raquel Garcia De Alba share recipes and cooking advice with host Wendy Haught in this second episode of The Catholic Home.

Justin's enthusiasm for seafood practically vibrates the airwaves as he guides listeners through the steps of preparing one of his favorite salmon dishes, then quickly moves on to his amazing Kung Pao shrimp. But he doesn't stop there. He delivers shopping and cooking tips as well, and even takes a little detour to explain why Tilapia is not his favorite fish.

Raquel, basking in the glow of old Mexico, where family get-togethers and baptism parties abound, and street vendors daily ply their wares, brings that comforting warmth to the show as she shares her aunt's Caribbean Black Beans and Rice recipe as well as her grandmother's Capirotada recipe, a Mexican bread pudding traditionally served on Good Friday. Variations of Capirotada have been served in Mexico since at least the 1400s. Raquel also delights the culinary imagination with fresh and easy Tostadas Sincillas.

Tons of information is shared on cookware, resources, philosophy, and options for learning to cook and/or simply improve your skills in the kitchen.

There is a little bit of everything in this show--laughter, reminiscing, and even a cameo appearance from Messi, the barking Schnauzer, who is named after the Argentinian soccer player for FC Barcelona. (FC stand for Futbol Club.) If you've never heard a dog bark in Spanish, this is your golden opportunity!

Helpful Links from this Episode:

Rules of the Lenten Fast (Courtesy of Most Holy Trinity Seminary)
Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course
Cast Iron Cookware Cleaning, Seasoning, and Maintenance
5 Reasons Why Concerns about Mercury in Fish Are Misguided
Lodge Cast Iron Cookware
All Clad Stainless Cookware
Tramontina Dutch Ovens

Episode Recipes:

For the recipes from this episode, scroll to the bottom of this page.

Original Air Date: February 20, 2015
Show Run Time: 56 minutes
Show Guest(s): Justin Soeder, Raquel Garcia De Alba
Show Host(s): Wendy Haught
Season 4 Sponsor:
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Recipes from this Episode:

Kung Pao Shrimp

Kung Pao Shrimp

Kung Pao Shrimp










(1) pound (0.45kg) extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 count), peeled and deveined
(1) tablespoon dry sherry or rice wine
(2) teaspoons soy sauce or liquid coconut aminos
(3) medium cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 inch (1.27cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
(3) tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil (peanut preferred)
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
(6) small whole dried red chiles, 3 chiles roughly crumbled, or 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
(3/4) cup low-sodium vegetable broth (non-Lent, use chicken broth)
(2) teaspoons rice vinegar
(2) teaspoons toasted sesame oil
(1) tablespoon oyster sauce
(1) tablespoon hoisin sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
(1) Medium Red Bell Pepper (diced into 1/2 inch (1.27cm) squares)
(3) Medium scallions (green onions) thinly sliced
Rice (Optional)
2 cups (dry) of your rice of choice (I like basmati or jasmine). Mix with a 2:1 water to rice ratio. For 2 cups of rice, use 4 cups of water. Squeeze lemon or lime juice into water/rice mixture. If you don't have a rice cooker, bring water/lemon/lime juice mix to a boil, pour in rice, stir, cover, and turn heat off. Allow to cook down 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

1. Toss shrimp with sherry and soy sauce in medium bowl; marinate until shrimp have absorbed flavors, about 10 minutes. Mix garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon oil in small bowl; set aside. Combine peanuts and chiles in small bowl; set aside. Mix chicken broth, vinegar, sesame oil, oyster-flavored sauce, hoisin sauce, and cornstarch in small bowl or measuring cup; set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add shrimp and cook, stirring about once every 10 seconds, until barely opaque, 30 to 40 seconds; add peanuts and chiles, stir into shrimp, and continue cooking until shrimp are almost completely opaque and peanuts have darkened slightly, 30 to 40 seconds longer. Transfer shrimp, peanuts, and chiles to bowl; set aside.

3. Return skillet to burner and reheat briefly, 15 to 30 seconds. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, swirl to coat pan, and add red bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 45 seconds. Clear center of pan, add garlic-ginger mixture, mash into pan with spoon or spatula, and cook until fragrant, 10 to 15 seconds; stir into peppers until combined. Stir broth mixture to recombine, then add to skillet along with reserved shrimp, peanuts, and chiles; cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan, until sauce has thickened to syrupy consistency, about 45 seconds. Stir in scallions; transfer to serving plate and serve immediately.

Poached Salmon with Herb and Caper Vinaigrette
Poached Salmon with Herb and Caper Vinaigrette

Poached Salmon with Herb and Caper Vinaigrette













(2) Lemons
(2) Tablespoons chopped fresh Parsley leaves (stems reserved)
(2) Tablespoons chopped fresh Tarragon leaves (stems reserved)
(2) Small Shallots (if you can't find them, use 1/4 of a yellow onion)
(1/2) Cup White Wine
(1) Skinless salmon fillet (1.5 - 2lbs / 0.68 - 0.91kg), about 1-1/2 inches (3.8cm) at thickest part of fillet with the membrane removed. Cut fillet into four equal pieces. (Wild-caught Salmon is preferred)
(2) Tablespoons Capers
(1) Tablespoon Honey (raw honey preferred)
(2) Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Ground Black Pepper to taste


1. Cut top and bottom off 1 lemon; cut into 8 to ten 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut remaining lemon into 8 wedges and set aside. Arrange lemon slices in single layer across bottom of 12-inch skillet. Scatter herb stems and 2 tablespoons minced shallots evenly over lemon slices. Add wine and water.

2. Place salmon fillets in skillet, skinned-side down, on top of lemon slices. Set pan over high heat and bring liquid to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until sides are opaque but center of thickest part is still translucent (or until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 125 degrees), 11 to 16 minutes. Remove pan from heat and, using spatula, carefully transfer salmon and lemon slices to paper towel-lined plate and tent loosely with foil.

3. Return pan to high heat and simmer cooking liquid until slightly thickened and reduced to 2 tablespoons, 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 tablespoons shallots, chopped herbs, capers, honey, and olive oil in medium bowl. Strain reduced cooking liquid through fine-mesh strainer into bowl with herb-caper mixture, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Whisk to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Season salmon lightly with salt and pepper. Using spatula, carefully lift and tilt salmon fillets to remove lemon slices. Place salmon on serving platter or individual plates and spoon vinaigrette over top. Serve, passing reserved lemon wedges separately.

Caribbean Black Beans and Rice:


Cooked rice to your liking and family size

Cooked black beans according to family size

Shredded lettuce

Chopped onion

Diced tomatoes

Shredded cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Scoop a serving of rice into each bowl, cover with beans, and layer with toppings.  This recipe is so basic you can really add your own touches like sliced red or yellow bell peppers, diced mango, coconut milk or oil added to the rice, etc.
Chiles Rellenos

Chiles Rellenos









Chiles Rellenos  "This recipe is almost exactly my abuelita's recipe. She simmers her chiles in a pan with chicken stock and crushed tomatoes." ~ Raquel
6 poblano chiles
5 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper
2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese or other Mexican melting cheese
1/2 cup Mexican crema
Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and preheat oven to 375.

Meanwhile, if you have a gas stove, turn heat to high on one of the burners, and set as many of the poblanos as will fit on the grate.  Cook, flipping and moving the chiles often with a pair of tongs, until blackened on all sides.  If you don't have a gas stove, turn on broiler to high.  Place chiles on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, and place underneath the broiler.  Cook, flipping occasionally with a pair of tongs, until blackened on all sides.

When chiles are blackened, transfer to a plastic bag and seal.  Let them steam for at least five minutes.  When done, peel off the blackened skins.  Cut a slit down the side of each, starting under the stem and continuing down to the tip.  Carefully remove the seeds, being careful not to tear the chile.

Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the corn cobs.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.  When simmering, add the onion and garlic.  Cook until onion is translucent, about two minutes.  Add the corn, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring often, until corn turns golden brown, about five minutes.  Turn off heat and set aside.

Carefully stuff each chile with a layer of 1/2 cup of the sauteed corn mixture, 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the crema.  Finally, add a 1 1/2 tablespoon of cheese on top of each slit.  When stuffed, place each chile slit side up on a baking dish.

Transfer baking dish to the upper middle rack in the oven and cook for ten minutes.  Turn on the broiler to high, and cook until the cheese is golden brown, about five minutes.  Serve immediately.

Tostadas Sencillas (simple Tostadas)

A bag of your favorite brand of tostadas

Refried pinto or mayacoba beans

Shredded lettuce or cabbage

Chopped onion

Sliced tomatoes

Sliced radishes

Chopped cilantro

crumbled Cotija cheese or queso fresco (traditional cheeses to top tostadas) or shredded Colby jack, Monterey Jack, or Longhorn Chedder


Spread refried beans over a tostada and top with above toppings.

Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)

Yield: 8 to 10 servings


4 bolillo rolls or French rolls
4 1/2 cups water
12 ounces piloncillo or 1½ cups packed dark brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
3 cups cheese (Longhorn Cheddar or Colby), shredded
1 cup raisins
4 tablespoons butter or spay butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut rolls in ½ inch slices and butter both sides, layer on a baking sheet and bake for 3 minutes on each side, until lightly toasted and dry. Remove and cool.

Combine water, piloncillo, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, creating a syrup. Simmer syrup uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep, covered for 2 hours. Pour through a strainer and discard cinnamon sticks and cloves. Set syrup aside.

Spray 8 x 10 ½” baking dish with non-stick spray, layer ingredients in the following order: a third of the toasted bread, third of the raisins, third of the cheese, and 1 1/2 cups syrup evenly over cheese. Wait 15 minutes and layer another third of the bread, raisins, cheese, and 1 1/2 cups syrup evenly over cheese. Let soak for another 15 minutes, and again top with the remaining bread, raisins, cheese, and syrup evenly over bread. Before baking let set for another 15 minutes.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and bake 40 minutes, uncover and bake until cheese is golden brown about 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve warm.

Note:  One could use any white Mexican cheese like Cotija or Panela. And walnuts, pecans, peanuts, or Granny Smith apples or bananas can be added.



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