Saturday, October 2, 2010

Heritage Days---Warrior Run-Fort Freeland Heritage Society

Mike and I hit the Heritage Days at Hower-Slote House and Farm at Warrior Run outside of Turbottville, PA today. It was a perfect autumn day for this, bright, clear, sunny and mild temps. It was our first year going and frankly, I had no idea such a treasure lay underneath our noses. It was wonderful.
The society runs both the farm and cares for the Warrior Run Church and cemetery as well. The cemetery has the largest number of revolutionary veterans buried there of anywhere in PA. 

For the Heritage Days, they bring in all the supplies they will need ahead, extra wood etc, and then their craftsmen and tradespeople. This experience is two full days of colonial foods, demonstrations, crafts, and lectures that will help visitors of all ages better understand the lives of the early settlers in the area.

Now I have all kinds of things to share, but of course, food is the most important. And the German influence was very strong here. We had freshly made as you go samples of all the things each area was cooking, and when you go on the grounds, they give you a tasting spoon. You just know it's going to be wonderful! here is the big kettle cooking down the apple butter. Very fresh and heavenly. And since we are talking apples here, I was also interested in the apple peeler. The one they were using was a reproduction but they had the original Reading Hardware peeler there. I was amazed at how well these dang things still work!

From the food side of it, they had all kinds of neat stuff. Hearth cooking with stews and pig's stomach, which I love. Three Sisters stew which was a corn and squash and bean soup that is completely based upon companion planting methods. You plant the corn, then plant the bean vines that go up it later and then the squash at the bottom to hold in moisture etc and all come due about the same time. They had the BEST horseradish there, and unfortunately, we missed out on the last of it for sale. There was also pepper cabbage, apple molasses shoofly pie, ice cream, potato candy, corn culture, crackers, venison sausage in cider, and of course fresh cider as well, with their recipe for a the best mix, which was very interesting. They also had a lovely laid colonial table, and fresh butchering of a nice pork, so I had complete ambrosia today, fresh cracklings!
And another note, I snagged the very coveted recipe book for the period with the venison recipes among other colonial favorites as well!
As I had said before, all the tradesman from farmer to butcher to brick maker, pump maker etc plus all the household arts of tatting, quilting, hearth cooking, pottery, spinning.....they were all there.

Everything made had so much thought put into it, such as the making of rakes, No glue, so how they were fashioned that the tines stayed in and were sturdy enough for the colonial garden plus act a weapon for the missus was interesting. They used a combination of very dry wood and fresh green wood so to allow for the shrinking and natural tightening in of the tines. The clothes were so very well made, even though most folks only had two sets, they lasted a long time. It made me sad for today and how everything, from things to people, are so disposable.

I had also stated that they care for the Warrior Run Church......they had a civil war reenactment camp there of the battery, and I learned so much from that alone. It was a treat and I thank all of those who came out to make it possible to see the crafts and history live on!

A couple of the favorites served today were ham and bean soup and one of my fall favorites, chicken corn soup.

PA Dutch Chicken Corn Soup with Rivels


2 (3 pound) whole chickens, cut into pieces

3 quarts water

3 onions, minced

1 cup chopped celery

2 1/2 tablespoons salt

1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground lemon pepper

splash of lemon juice

10 ears fresh corn

3 eggs

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

1.In a large pot over medium heat, combine chicken, water, onions, celery, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 2 hours, adding water as needed, until chicken is very tender. Remove the chicken from the soup. Refrigerate chicken and soup.

2.When fat solidifies on surface of soup, remove from refrigerator and remove fat. Remaining soup should equal about 2 1/2 quarts.

3.Remove corn from cobs by splitting kernels lengthwise with a sharp knife and scraping corn from cob. Combine soup and corn in a large pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until corn is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

4.Meanwhile, place two of the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop. Set aside.

5.Chop cooled chicken meat and add to soup.

6.In a medium bowl, beat remaining egg until light in color. Beat in flour and milk until smooth. Drop batter by partial spoonfuls into hot broth to make small (1/4 -1/2 inch round) dumplings. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 5 minutes, until dumplings hold their shape and float to the surface. Stir in reserved cooked egg.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bloomsburg Fair and the Tradition of Food

All this week the Bloomsburg Fair has been going on. It's not the usual small country fair, typically having well over a 100,000 in attendance for the week with visitors from other countries and all 50 states weighing in.

As can be expected, one of the favorite things for folks at the fair is fair food! I know folks who go almost daily just to eat. Anything you can imagine is there besides all the old traditional favorites. Between the church stands that have been since inception to Heaps, Sunset Ice Cream and Bowmans Fries, and the new trendsetter of the year, whatever it may be, like deep fried bananas, there is something for everyone.

Something new we tried was a pumpkin funnel cake, and it's hard to improve on the original in my mind. However, this lovely treat sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar more than delivered and I'd have taken a picture except it didn't last long enough! They were at Snyder's Funnel Cakes and she will be at Covered Bridges festival at Knoebel's Amusement Park.  Mike already told me to bring one home for him!

Then there are my favorites, Hewlitt's Hot Sausage, Grotto's Pizza, Top of the Beef, John The Greek, Bowmans French Fries, Heaps, Strawberry Ridge Church, Our Lady of Mercy Church and the list goes on.

The one thing I always go for and bring home is the eclair. Not just any eclair mind you, but the best I've ever had that are the real deal with the real Bavarian cream middles and are as big as a loaf of bread. It lasts me a week, which is good because it's a long year in between! They also serve giant cream puffs which are also delectable!

I love to look over the buildings with their arts and crafts and projects. From quilts and photography to the canned goods etc, I am always moved and amazed at the talent here. Here is a blue ribbon winner for the cakes, I just loved the hen in the nest idea and it was beautiful! It deserved to win!

Then there are the harvest displays and scarecrows and such also plus the garden club entries and grange displays. Here are a couple of winners that I liked.

The fair will still be on tomorrow, so come visit and eat your way around, you'll enjoy it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bleenies (Potato Cakes) and Blinis and Latkes, Oh My!

Ok, so I got a request the other day for good Bleenies. Now, you need to be educated about the difference between bleenies and blinis. They are not the same critter at all. And Jewish latkes is a close cousin to a bleenie. Blinis are Russian in origin and traditionally a flour type of pancake. Bleenies are a potato pancake, and centric to the Coal Region of Northeastern PA. The best are the greasiest at all the church picnic and block parties every summer (or so it seems). I am not giving out recipes here for Blinis.

For Bleenies and Latkes, you are in luck. And a finer food God did not create. It is manna from heaven for sure.


I fill up my 11 cup food processor with grated potatoes and about 2 onions grated medium. I put that in a big bowel, add a couple of beaten eggs, salt, pepper, chive and garlic, and then a few (around 4)  tbs. of flour as a binder. You want the mixture just thick enough to not be runny. I then have a heated fry pan with a little olive oil, and I put dollops in the fry pan, flatten them out and fry until it is golden brown on medium heat, flip, finish frying and then put on plates with paper towels on them. I serve them with a side of sour cream and chives. There is also a nice variation to use with zucchini. Half drained shredded zucchini/half shredded potato, do the rest the same. Delicious! These are a little more mild and sweet.


Bleenies should have more onion in them, and be finer shredded, unlike the latkes which is coarser and has lees onion. One variation on these is that some will used mashed potatoes with the finely shredded to get a real cake. That is up to you, I find them to get too dense and realllyyy greasy.

4 potatoes (grate on fine grater)

2 eggs

1 onion (grated with the potatoes)

2 or 3 tbsp. flour

Cooking oil

Mix all ingredients. Spoon mixture into the hot oil (do put too much oil in the pan; just enough to cover the bleenies as they fry). When they are lightly browned on one side, gently turn bleenies to fry the other side. Serve with salt or vinegar. Good with sour cream or pork & beans.

Hint: Drain potatoes thru a colander to make a much firmer bleenie.

The Garden Starts Yielding

It's been a busy month for sure. It was so dry and hot that many crops suffered greatly until we started getting rain last week. WE had been irrigating the garden from the spring so that was OK. We've had our first peas from the garden, and the lima pods are filing up and sweet corn is tasseling out. Mike's mom has some first tomatoes on and tons of zucchini. I love this time of year.

I made a Montreal seasoned pork roast tonight with roasted new carrots and zucchini/red potato latkes. These were excellent and a little more mild and sweeter than lain potato latkes. I mean really, what can't you make zucchini with?

Tomorrow I am going to do a stuffed eggplant.

I wanted to share a neat article from today:

Local food trend helps more folks eat fresh fruits, veggies

and a mention of a great new book.  I am a huge proponent of eating local and organic. Support your local growers.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Oh, What To Do With All Those Tomatoes!

Yup, the tomatoes are on, and celebrating their goodness is always fun. From BLT's to sauces and salsas and pasta dishes and stuffed tomatoes and tomato salad.....well you get the idea So here are some of our favorites.

Our nephew requested his favorite dish which I've been making a least 25 years. I can't remember where I saw the original, but I've made it my own over the years anyway.


As a healthy option, I use whole wheat spaghetti.

1lb spaghetti, cooked al dente


2-3 l sweet onions, sliced thin and sauteed golden in a little olive oil over medium heat. Deglaze with a cup of a dryer white wine, then add a splash of lemon juice, about 6 tomatoes pureed and a 2 or so diced tomatoes Simmer, adding garlic, parsley, basil and oregano. Serve over top of cooked pasta. Fabulous low fat healthy dish to die for with all fresh ingredients. Some garlic bred on the side finishes it of nicely.


I do not use cilantro in my salsa. Mine is made using my 11 C food processor and it makes a nice batch.

Ratio of tomatoes to peppers/onion is 2 :1. So I fill my processor about 2/3 with seeded tomatoes diced, and then add green, red and hot peppers and onion the rest of the way. Add fresh lemon, around 2, 1/2 to 3/4 C white vinegar, and 1-2 TBS cumin. Process to chunkiness desired. I then freeze mine in quart bags, but you could also cook it down a little and hot pack into jars for later as well. Freezing is just so much faster and I like the raw veggie taste to the salsa.


This was always a farm favorite here. Take meaty tomatoes like romas, seed and quarter into wedges. Ratio of 2:1 tomatoes to onions. Add thinly sliced onions. I then make up a dressing of miracle whip and sour cream (nonfat or lowfat option), 1/2 C each, pepper, nonsalt seasoning, and 2 tbs white vinegar. Whisk well, pour over tomatoes/onions, and toss to coat. Always refreshing and same recipe can be used for fresh cucumber/onion salad too.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Some Links Worth Checking Out

I want to share some links for local things that I like and am a regular customer or fan of. If in the area or even if you aren't some of these are things you have to visit, try, or have shipped.

Right up the road from me is Rohrbach's Farm Market. They host a lot of festivals, from strawberry, peach, corn, etc and have cool things in the fall like their huge corn maze and events. A lot of great baked goods, produce, grass fed beef, canned PA Dutch goods and mixes like from New hope Mill, nice country gift shop, and my favorite? Raw milk. The raw milk is from a local Jersey (cow) dairy and just as sweet and rich as can be with no hormones or other nasty questionable stuff. And, most folks allergic to store milk can drink raw milk just fine because the enzymes have not been broken down.

Here's a nifty site for eating well in the Susquehanna Valley are of Northeastern, PA. It lists your local farm markets and producers. I am also going to start compiling a list of local restaurants that have a varied seasonal and local menu. You can download or send for a free copy.

Speaking of Farm Markets, one of my favorites for its natural grass fed beef and lamb and pork, organic veggies, and even wild Alaskan salmon is Forks Farm Market, also not far from me. Really excellent quality. If you aren't raising your own to the exacting organic standards, then this is next best. After all, farming/homesteading isn’t for everyone.

And The Beat Goes On..........

So, I am way behind blogging here. But wanted to share about the couple things I did do here while still having to work. Really need to figure out how to become independently wealthy.

All summer long here, the area is rich with favorites like peach and corn roast festivals which include a myriad of yummy things like peach dumplings. Also another huge fun thing around here is the church picnics. This being the coal region and edge of the coal region, church picnics are synonymous with great ethnic food and drinking. Yes, the local church picnics provide alcohol and bands along with food and games. It is a great time where many families bring their lawn chairs and blankets and babies to the eldest seniors come out to enjoy the evenings. Sometimes there are even fireworks to grace the end of the night.

So, some recipes are in order to reflect this good time.

HALUSHKI—Noodle Dish

1 lg cabbage head, chopped

2 lg sweet onion or yellow onion, chopped

2 crushed garlic cloves, chopped

bacon grease about 6-8 slices of bacon

1 stick sweet salted butter (add more as needed - 1/2 stick)

12 oz wide egg noodle

salt and pepper

Remove first layer of cabbage only and cut around core, leaving core out of recipe.

Lightly sauté 8 slices of bacon (for the drippings). Remove bacon once done, (do not burn bacon) then sauté onions, garlic and cabbage with bacon drippings with 1 stick butter.

Cook until cabbage has a soft texture. add bacon (this is optional). Add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper, add more to taste.

In a separate pot, boil noodles for about 7 minutes (less than al denté).

Once noodles are done, drain and add to cabbage mixture and remove from heat.

PIGEONS or HALUPKIES - Stuffed cabbage rolls (traditional version, another can be made with kraut.)

1 head of cabbage (about 3 lbs)

1 lb ground pork

1 lb ground beef

1 Tbsp salt

1/2 tspn pepper

1 can stewed tomatoes (or substitute Campbell's tomato soup)

3/4 cup uncooked rice

1 onion, chopped

1 Tbsp shortening

Cut cabbage deeply around core to loosen leaves. Boil the cabbage leaves about 5 minutes and set aside to drain. In a skillet, add ground meats, onions, shortening, salt and pepper, and fry slowly for about 15 minutes. Wash rice, drain, add to meat and mix well.

Place a tablespoon of the meat mixture in the center of a cabbage leaf and roll. Place rolls side by side in pot. Pour tomatoes over top and add enough water to cover. Add another tbsp salt and pepper. Cook 1 and 1/2 hours.


1 recipe pastry for double-crust pie (if in a hurry, Pillsbury Pie Crusts work fine) If you need a good pie crust recipe, let me know, I have it!

6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 cups water

2 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch pan.

On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry into a large rectangle, about 24 by 16 inches.

Cut into 6 square pieces.

Place an peach/apple on each pastry square with the cored opening facing upward.

Cut butter into 8 pieces.

Place 1 piece of butter in the opening of each peach/apple; reserve remaining butter for sauce.

Divide brown sugar between peaches/apples, poking some inside each cored opening and the rest around the base of each apple.

Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over the peaches/apples.

With slightly wet fingertips, bring one corner of pastry square up to the top of the apple, then bring the opposite corner to the top and press together.

Bring up the two remaining corners, and seal.

Slightly pinch the dough at the sides to completely seal in the apple.

Repeat with the remaining apples.

Place in prepared baking dish.

In a saucepan, combine water, white sugar, vanilla extract and reserved butter.

Place over medium heat, and bring to a boil in a large saucepan.

Boil for 5 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved.

Carefully pour over dumplings.

Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Place each peach/apple dumpling in a dessert bowl, and spoon some sauce over the top.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

OK, so it's the Fourth of July weekend which means great eats besides celebrating a free country. I was busy cooking the past couple of days, Friday saw me with a super menu of chicken cordon bleu, baked red potatoes with dill, and a spinach saute  will share the recipe with here:

Spinach Saute:

1 lb fresh leaf spinach, stemmed:

1 thinly sliced onion:

1 can chick peas/garbanzo beans

splash of lemon juice

clove of garlic

fresh ground pepper

1/4 C chopped fresh dill

Heat olive oil in saute pan, saute onions, add beans and toss well, add juice, garlic, pepper. Add spinach last and toss long enough to wilt---then serve. It's really good!


So then  I needed dessert. Fresh peaches are in season so I made a peach torte. The pic is on the top there. It got Mike's seal of approval he tore right into it! You could use apples/pears or similar fruit. But peaches are yummy! I just garnished with fresh blueberries and raspberries.


1 1/4 cp sifted flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cp butter

2 tsp sour cream


4 cp fruit (peeled and sliced) (Around 8 peaches)

3 egg yolks

1/3 cp sour cream

1 cp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cp flour

       Mix all the crust ingredients with a pastry blender until a crumb type mixture is formed, turn into a greased 9x9x2 inch pan. Press crumbs firmly into the bottom and sides. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes until golden.
       Arrange the fruit slices in rows over the crust. Beat the egg yolks, add the sour cream, sugar, salt and flour. Blend well. Pour over the fruit slices. Bake at 375 for 35 to 40 minutes.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday Night Supper

So tonight, I looked at what I had on hand and made cheese tortellini tossed with turkey sausage and fresh zucchini cubed with a fresh parsley/basil pesto is supper. I didn't have time to make my own pasta, I used to love doing that when I had more time. It takes  a bit to get the technique, but once you do, it's  awesome. If folks want, I can post home made pasta recipes.

So I cheated with store bought premade cold tortellini. (Not frozen.)  I used the turkey sausage and zucchini for the healthy options. If I'd had the green zucchini, that would have been prettier for more diverse color for presentation. And professional food photographer I am not. Yes, that's a pic of it before we ate. I actually do make this stuff.

The pesto is a simple one:

1 1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh packed parsley

2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or similar cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese. You can make this in batches and refrigerate or even freeze to keep for a bit. This actually tastes better with the herbs infusing the oil as it sits.

Tom Piperson's Pig and Other Culinary Delights

Foodie friends, this is an awesome cookbook, Tom Piperson's Pig & Other Culinary Delights (the pig is actually a cookie). Compiled buy a 90 something former food editor etc and features regional favorites from the Carolinas with unusual names, the recipes and how they got the names.

Corn and Apple Fritters or Datch

June is sweet corn season here, and so we have many ways to enjoy it, from traditional steaming and grilling to other recipes such as corn fritters. Fritters are PA Dutch inspired, similar to a pancake but much eggier. They are just delicious! You can have them more like small doughnuts, but I prefer the eggier flatter variety. I will post recipes for both here. These has been handed down to me from my family, some are recipes from the 1930's on or even from before.

You can use other things in these fritters or datch, as we call it. I love to use thinly sliced apples for a breakfast fritter/datch. Best with powdered 10X sugar sprinkled on top or maple syrup.

Mom's Datch

4 lg eggs
1/2 c milk
1/2 c flour
pinch salt
pinch sugar
2 ears of corn cut off or 2 small apples thinly sliced

Mix together for a slightly runny texture, drop by spoonfuls in a hot fry pan with some fat in it. Flip when egg mixture bubbles/goes dry, finish to light golden and flip onto paper towled plate to drain.


Fritters-Doughnut Type

If apple-- 1 pint thinly sliced, if Corn---- 1 pint cut, about 4 ears
1 c milk
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbs sugar
2 eggs
pinch of salt
2 c flour to stiffen

Mix liquid int dry ingredients, drop by spoonfuls into deep fat and fry as you would doughnuts.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Knoeble's Amusment Park--Best Eats!

How cool that on the Food Network's Amusement Park Eats, Knoebles was a main feature! From the alligator to the bison burgers to the waffle ice cream sandwiches to pierogis and Cesari's Hoagi Pizza (my favorite) and also touted their wooden coasters which are the best and highly rated. AWESOME!

If you head there, you MUST get the fresh cut fries.


I love to cook.

While only an amateur on the fine dining front, I certainly appreciate excellent food of all kinds. Living in the region I do, I am fortunate to have grown and been exposed to a variety of ethnic flavors from Polish, German, Jewish, Irish and Italian flavors. The area is rural with a population rich in these backgrounds, having come here for farming and mining, as it is also by the Coal Region. And bordering the farming valleys and the Coal Region is PA Dutch Country.

This makes for an interesting fusion of flavors, rustic but layered with flavors. Due to the prolific fresh produce and products, with many fresh proteins as well, flavors pop due to their freshness and quality and provide a kaleidoscope of flavor as the seasons change.There are also many rural and ethnic festivals that really celebrate food here.

I plan to share from these and family recipes as well, also sharing my favorite places along the way. My friends often tease that they like to travel with me because they always know they will eat and drink well!