International Lenten recipe tour makes a stop in India

curry-chickpeasWhile Pizza is the usual Friday fare on the table Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry sets for her family, the busy pastoral associate in St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Freehold and creator of several blogs focusing on on Catholic sense and sensibility, is also known for her creative culinary abilities.

In an inter generational home where the occupants – two growing boys (Ben and Nathaniel), husband Ken (associate director of pastoral planning for the Diocese and well-known Christian musician) and grandparents, Jean and Bill Schlameuss – are all food enthusiasts, Jen’s skill at varying the menu upon request comes in handy.

As someone who, over the years, has savored her culinary skills, I was so pleased she agreed to share a favorite family recipe with Keeping the Feast for this year’s Lenten series. Her first response was to offer her prized recipe for the home made pizza she makes from scratch.

But when she learned this year’s series features easy to make easy international dishes that can be cooking experiences for the whole family, she quickly offered her take on a vegetarian Indian curry.

The curry does involve dicing, grating and a bit of shredding of ingredients giving kids a chance to learn some basic kitchen skills that should help youngsters overcome their view of “the kitchen as a scary place,” said Schlameuss-Perry.

She made it a point to teach Ben and Nathaniel “mostly survival” skills in the kitchen. “I taught them a few things so that if I wasn’t around one Saturday,” for instance, they could put something together.

“I started cooking with my great-grandma, grandmother and aunts,” she remembered. She describes those early kitchen experiences as “a bonding thing” that became a “creative outlet – a way to express love to other people. To share and to nourish them.”

If circumstances permit, she said, Schlameuss-Perry will make as many dishes for the week ahead as she can on a Saturday. “It’s the main way I can show (everyone) I love them.”

Jen’s Chick Pea and Coconut Curry in a Crock Pot


-1 tablespoon olive oil

-1 onion, chopped

-1 red pepper chopped

-1½ cup cauliflower, chopped;

-1- 19 ounce can chick peas, rinsed

-1- 13.5 ounce can coconut milk

-salt and pepper to taste

-1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

-3 tablespoons plain yogurt

-1 tablespoon grated ginger

-juice of one lime

-1 clove garlic, grated

-1-2 tablespoons of red curry according to taste

-12-14 ounce can diced tomatoes

-2 cups of Jasmin rice cooked according to package directions


Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, and sauté the onions, garlic, pepper and fresh ginger for seven minutes. Transfer the onion mix to a slow cooker, add the remaining ingredients and heat on low for six hours. Before serving, stir in the cilantro and heat for five more minutes.


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