Saturday, April 30, 2016

Passover Dinner--Roast Lamb, Latkes, Braised Red cabbage, Matzoh Ball Soup, Red Beets, Asparagus & Jewish Apple Cake

Passover Dinner--Roast Lamb, Latkes, Braised Red cabbage, Matzoh Ball Soup, Red Beets, Asparagus & Jewish Apple Cake

This Passover was special as my parents came down from NYS to officiate the Passover Seder here. We don't get to do the whole deal every year, so this was a treat with my family. The menu was roast leg of lamb with a maple syrup glaze served with mint jelly on the side, latkes, Mike's Mom's red beets, steamed asparagus, sauteed red cabbage, Matzoh Ball soup, cinnamon apple sauce and Jewish Apple Cake. I did a video of this (I am still learning on the editing parts there, so bear with me, they get better, LOL) and am including the recipes here. If you watch the video, you can see how it's supposed to turn out!

                            ROAST LAMB WITH MAPLE SYRUP

This is so easy and always comes out perfect! Sear lamb roast in a hot pan with a bit of butter and Montreal seasoning. Sear on all sides, transfer to crock pot. (This locks in all the juices so your lamb roast doesn't dry out.)  Pour 1-2 C maple syrup over the lamb depending on size. Add 1 C water. Put crock pot on low and let it cook. I figure it takes about an hour per pound, but it depends partly on whether it is bone in or not etc. When done, the lamb will be literally falling apart, very tender & moist. Dish up and serve with mint jelly on the side.


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.

                                       Sauteed Red Cabbage

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 red cabbage, shredded
1/3 cup white or apple cider vinegar, eyeball it
2 rounded tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon mustard seed
Salt and pepper


Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and onion and saute 2 minutes. Add cabbage and turn in pan, sauteing it until it wilts, 3 to 5 minutes. Add vinegar to the pan and turn the cabbage in it. Sprinkle sugar over the cabbage and turn again. Season with mustard seed, salt and pepper and reduce heat a bit. Let cabbage continue to cook 10 minutes or until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.

                                            Jewish Apple Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups white sugar 
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 apples - peeled, cored and sliced
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
5 teaspoons white sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 10 inch tube pan. Combine the ground cinnamon and 5 teaspoons of the sugar together and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and 2 cups of the sugar. Stir in the vegetable oil, beaten eggs, orange juice and vanilla. Mix well.
Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with 1/2 of the sliced apples and sprinkle with 1/2 of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour the remaining batter over the top and layer the remaining sliced apples and cinnamon sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 70 to 90 minutes.

Video of the Meal----

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pennsylvania Cooking is now on YouTube!

Well, guys, after suggestions from several people, including my other half, friends and family, I have entered the YouTube foray with my own channel where you can come along with me while I make my family's favorites along with specializing in PA Dutch and Coal Region recipes. Now, you'll also get to come along with me to the local festivals and fairs, farm, garden and whatever else goes along with all this, LOL. Cooking wild game will also be included. One video will be on PA MEATS alone, featuring scrapple, soupies, hog maw (stuffed pig's stomach), city chicken (hint--contains no chicken), etc. Another will be on Pot Pie vs Meat Pie.

If you are looking for super perky rainbows and unicorn farts like those terrible Skittles commercials, or high end food (which I do love) like a nice ceviche or a stunning amuse bouche, this isn't the channel for you. If you are looking for a glimpse of the food and history of Central and Northeastern PA and how to make them along with some snarky and at times somewhat sarcastic commentary, this may be more your speed. I am not a chef or professional cook. I have my own ideas and hacks, but learn something new everyday in technique and execution. I have been cooking and baking since I was 7 and now I am.....let's just leave it at middle aged, LOL.  Of course, the first rule is, it has to taste good!

To those that have read this blog for a while, if you want to see some of the recipes demonstrated, just let me know. I'll be doing a vid also on condiments and salad dressings. As always, I try to keep to local sourced produce and proteins and advocate for organic, heirloom, heritage foods and small farm sustainability.

Check out my channel, and please subscribe! Helga's Pennsylvania Cooking on YouTube and also on Facebook. I check all comments and answer as well. Thanks to all who have read over the years for your support, and also to some of the YoutTube mechanics who helped light a fire under my sizable rear to make this project and idea a reality.