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Archive for the ‘Appetizers & Snacks’ Category

postheadericon Stove Rags or Lokshe

Made from mashed potatoes and flour, these are kind of like Slovak/Polish tortillas. You can make them with day old mashed potatoes or cook some potatoes, make them into your regular mashed potatoes and use them that way. They are thin pancakes made out of potato dough that are baked on a hot plate or an ungreased frying pan but “back in the day” they were often cooked right on the surface of the hot coal stove.

Stove Rags or Lokshe

Stove Rags or Lokshe

Stove Rags

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cold mashed potatoes( use left-over mashed potatoes or mash hot boiled potatoes. Add milk/cream ,butter, salt as you normally would.
  • Add 2 tbsp. sugar (optional) & cool if necessary.
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together and shape dough into balls a little larger than a walnut. Roll out dough into circles on a floured board until thin.
  2. Brown each in a dry skillet on medium high (cast iron works well), then turn over and brown on other side.
  3. Put on plate, brush with melted butter, stack on a pile until done.
  4. Roll up and enjoy. Jelly can be used, too.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/01/14/stove-rags-or-lokshe/

 

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postheadericon Crab Spread Appetizer

When it comes to “quick and easy”, I am all for it! This appetizer is a family and crowd pleaser, simple to put together, and great to use as a last minute snack or to take to a pot-luck. For decades, during the hectic holiday season, I always kept the ingredients for this luscious spread in my fridge and pantry.  More than once it as been a sanity saver when unexpected visitors arrive. The original recipe in my files calls for using some commercially prepared chili sauce, but I much prefer using my own made cocktail sauce or a good quality commercially prepared cocktail sauce of your choice. I have also used commercially prepared chili sauce and added a dab of grated horseradish to it before spreading.  I just happen to like the added kick of horseradish in this spread. The choice is yours! I serve this with a buttery cracker like Keebler Club crackers or Ritz.

Layered Crab Spread

Layered Crab Spread

Layered Crab Spread

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • dash of garlic salt
  • 1- 12 ounce bottle commercially prepared Cocktail or Chili sauce
  • 6 ounce can crab meat
  • parsley

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, blend by hand softened cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, lemon juice, grated onion, and garlic salt until well mixed and smooth.
  2. Spread this mixture on a shallow decorative/serving plate (about 9 or 10 inches in diameter).
  3. Pour the bottle of cocktail or chili sauce evenly over the top of the cream cheese mixture.
  4. Drain the crab meat, then sprinkle it evenly over the top of the cocktail/chili sauce layer.
  5. Sprinkle the crab layer lightly with dried or chopped fresh parsley.
  6. Chill well before serving.
  7. Serve with crackers.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/12/19/crab-spread-appetizer/

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postheadericon Pickled Beef Tongue

Beef tongue has been prepared and eaten in different regions of the world since ancient times. Beef tongue is found in many cuisines that make up the Coal Region including Eastern European, German and Pennsylvania Dutch, English, Italian, and Mexican to name a few.  In Russian cuisine the cooked beef tongue is sliced and served cold for “zakuska” (a starter) by itself or as a part of assorted cold meats platter. Tongue can be roasted, boiled, barbecued, smoked, or pickled. Although it might seem intimidating, cooking beef tongue is quite simple to do. It is tender and delicious and can be served on a sandwich, with mustard and/or horseradish sauce. Some pickled beef tongue recipes call for “pink salt” aka potassium nitrate in the brine which helps the meat retain its pink color (think corned beef or salamis), but this one does  not.  Some cooks prepare it by doing nothing more than cooking the tongue in salted water, cleaning it, slicing it, pouring pure vinegar over it in a jar and allowing it to marinate.

Pickled Beef Tongue

Pickled Beef Tongue

Pickled Beef Tongue

Ingredients

  • 1 - 3 to 4 pound beef tongue
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon pickling spice
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 small peeled onion

Instructions

  1. In large pot, cover tongue with cold water, add salt, carrot, onion, celery; cover and simmer until tender (a couple of hours).
  2. Drain and reserve 2 cups broth.
  3. Cool tongue until able to handle, then peel off thick covering.
  4. Combine reserved broth with the vinegar, sugar, and pickling spices. Add salt to taste.
  5. Place tongue in non-reactive bowl or jar. Cover with vinegar mixture.
  6. Cover, chill for 48 hours. Remove from vinegar mixture, slice across the grain and serve.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/12/17/pickled-beef-tongue/

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postheadericon Mom’s Waldorf Salad

Waldorf salad is a fruit and nut salad generally made of fresh apples, celery, grapes and walnuts, dressed in mayonnaise. The name comes from the fact that the Waldorf salad was first created for a charity ball given in honor of the St. Mary’s Hospital for Children on March 14, 1896 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. The original recipe was just fruit, celery, and mayonnaise. It did not contain nuts, which had been added by the time the recipe appeared in The Rector Cook Book in 1928. The other thing it did not, and usually does not, include is miniature marshmallows, but my Mom, faced with trying to get a fussy kid (who might that be?…) to eat fruit and vegetables got creative and always added the marshmallows.  For decades, I thought she was the only one who ever did that, but lo and behold, I was going through an old cookbook with recipes from the Coal Region and found my Mom’s exact recipe for Waldorf Salad in it — maybe adding  the marshmallows is a Coal Region thing, I don’t know, but to this day, there is not one batch of Waldorf Salad made in my kitchen that does not contain those mini marshmallows! Mom never added the traditional grapes, therefore, I do not, either. Just typing this recipe out takes me back to memories of me as a kid, sitting at our chrome and yellow vinyl covered chairs  kitchen table set, chowing down on a bowl of Waldorf Salad while my Mom puttered around the kitchen doing what Moms do so well — showing you how much they loved you.  Miss you so much, Mom. This one’s for you. (The photo is  missing the marshmallows, apologies, I did  not have one with them included! Photo from Taste of Home)

Mom’s Waldorf Salad

Yield: 6 to 8

Mom’s Waldorf Salad

Mom's Waldorf Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups eating apples, peeled and cored, diced into 1/4 - 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Mayonnaise or "salad dressing" (like Miracle Whip)

Instructions

  1. In bowl, combine apples, marshmallows, celery, and nuts.
  2. Toss with enough mayonnaise or sala d dressing to moisten well.
  3. Chill.
  4. Add additional mayonnaise or salad dressing if needed before serving.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/12/14/moms-waldorf-salad/

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postheadericon Baccala for Christmas Eve

Pennsylvania was a leading state in developing heavy industries in the late 19th century such as coal, iron and steel, railroads, and cement and glass. These industries hired huge numbers of new immigrants, especially Italians and Poles, who filled the need for large numbers of men who were eager to accept unskilled low paying jobs. Immigrants also composed a large percentage of the work force of other smaller industries in Pennsylvania.  So many Italians headed to Pennsylvania that by 1890 their population was the second highest in the United States. Between 1880 and World War I more than four million Italians immigrated to the United States. Eighty percent of them were southern Italians. In Pennsylvania, over 70% of Italians who came moved to the mid-size and smaller industrial towns scattered throughout the state. Italians settled in the soft coal fields of southwestern Pennsylvania, as well as in the eastern Anthracite towns of Pittston, Shamokin, Hazleton, and Nanticoke, to name only a few and in the industrial towns of Reading, Scranton, and Allentown. The ancient tradition of eating fish on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic custom of abstinence from meat and dairy products on the eve of certain holidays, including Christmas.  As many Italians are Catholic, Christmas is one of the most important holidays to them and one of their traditions involves eating 7 different seafood dishes on Christmas Eve. The number seven is rooted back in ancient times and it can be connected to multiple Catholic symbols. Flash forward to the early 1900s, when the official “Feast of the Seven Fishes” first emerged. Italian-American families rekindled the Old Country’s Christmas Eve tradition by preparing a seven-course seafood meal that both made them feel close to their homes, while celebrating the sea, a major connection in Italy. Today, it’s considered one of the oldest Italian traditions. Many of the dishes will differ from family to family, however, one dish is usually included – Baccala. Baccala is dried and salted cod, sometimes referred to simply as salt cod; cod which has been preserved by drying after salting. To prepare for this dish soak the cod in cold water to cover in a cool spot or refrigerator for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days, changing the water frequently. After 24 hours, break off a tiny piece of fish and taste for saltiness. If fish is still quite salty, continue soaking until water is very clear and fish is almost sweet in taste. You can find salt cod at many markets, grocery stores, fish mongers, and even over the internet.

This recipe is adapted for today’s cooks from “Treasured Italian Recipes“, 1989

Baccala for Christmas Eve

 Baccala for Christmas Eve

Baccala - Salt Cod

Ingredients

    Marinara
  • 2 - 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes, lightly drained then crushed with a fork
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 leaves basil, torn
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil
    Bacala
  • Marinara sauce
  • 4 or 5 large potatoes, quartered, boiled, and hot
  • 2 pound or so fresh baccala, rinsed thoroughly OR dried (If you use the dried variety of baccala that has been preserved in salt, you will need to soak it before using, changing water frequently. Note this is the better of the two for flavor and preferred.)
  • 1 can unpitted black olives

Instructions

    Marinara
  1. In bottom of large sauce pan, saute onion in small amount of oil.
  2. Add remainder of ingredients and simmer about 30 minutes.
    Baccala
  1. When sauce is ready, cut your fish in large pieces.
  2. Carefully drop them in the sauce (they should be covered by the sauce).
  3. Sprinkle with black pepper.
  4. Poach until fish almost flakes; surround fish with hot potatoes.
  5. Top all with black olives and continue cooking until fish flakes.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Add additional salt at the table if needed; baccala usually has a lot of of its own salt. For those with a spicy appetite, a little red pepper can be offered at the table.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/12/14/bacala-for-christmas-eve/

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postheadericon Lithuanian Bacon Buns

The Southern Coal region of Pennsylvania is known as “Little Lithuania”.  Anthracite and the industry surrounding it lured many Lithuanians in during the 1860s-1910s era.  Shenandoah (Pa), earned itself the nickname, “the Vilnius of North America” and was a much larger town then than it is today, with a population of upwards of 40 000, a quarter of them Lithuanians.  Lithuanian migration to the Coal Region was often a result of Lithuanians back home being discriminated against under the Russian Imperial rule with their language banned between years 1865 and 1904.  The locations with the most Lithuanian heritage in Schuylkill County are Shenandoah itself, Shenandoah Heights, Frackville, Mahanoy City, Mount Carmel, and Tamaqua.  Almost every town here has (or had) a Lithuanian church, cemetery, and club(s).  Is it any wonder that Lithuanian foods are such a part of our Coal Region heritage and holiday celebrations?  A Christmas time treat in many homes in the Coal Region is lasineciai – Lithuanian Bacon Buns. These special bites of heaven are passed  around during Christmas in Lithuanian homes. accompanied with the salutation, “Linksmu Kaledu,” which means Merry Christmas!

NOTES:

  • Semi-frozen bacon is much easier to cut into pieces.
  • Use a nice, meaty bacon like you find at a good farmers’ market or butcher shop.
  • You can make these with frozen, thawed bread dough from the grocery store, but they will not be the same taste and texture as the scratch made dough – which is rich and a little sweet like a brioche dough – but it does cut down dramatically on prep-time.
  • As you make successive batches and get more proficient, you may find you prefer to pinch off individual balls of dough and flatten, fill, and shape them using that method rather than a cutter.

Lithuanian Bacon Buns

Lithuanian Bacon Buns

Lithuanian Bacon Buns

Ingredients

    Filling
  • 3/4 pound good bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    Dough
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons from a jar of yeast
  • 3 large room temperature eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    Egg Wash
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons water

Instructions

    Filling
  1. Put bacon and onion in frying pan, add water to barely cover. With lid on, simmer until water evaporates watching closely.
  2. Place filling in refrigerator to cool completely.
    Dough
  1. Scald milk. Whisk in butter, sugar, and salt. Cool to lukewarm (110 - 115 F degrees).
  2. Whisk in the yeast.
  3. Place this mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer or other large bowl.
  4. Add the beaten eggs and flour and beat vigorously with wooden spoon or mixer's paddle attachment until smooth.
  5. Lightly grease top of dough, cover bowl with towel and let rise until doubled in warm spot.
  6. Punch down dough and let rise until doubled one more time.
  7. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut in half and work with one half of dough at a time, keeping other half covered.
  8. Roll dough about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. Cut out 3 inch circles of dough with a round cutter.
  9. Place a tablespoon or so of cooled bacon mixture in center of circle.
  10. Fold over and pinch edges of dough together to completely cover the filling.
  11. Shape into a ball or torpedo shape and place seam side down on parchment lined baking sheet leaving space between buns to rise and expand. Repeat with other half of dough; re-roll scraps.
  12. Cover rolls lightly with greased plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled.
  13. Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Brush rolls with egg wash.
  14. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Brush with butter when removed from oven if desired.
  15. Can be served hot, at room temperature or reheated in the oven.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/29/lithuanian-bacon-buns/

 

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postheadericon Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls

With Halloween almost here and little ghouls and gobblins ready to descent on us for goodies, I got thinking back to my childhood when we “went Halloweening” in the Coal Region (many of us in Schuylkill County didn’t call it going “trick or treating”. We also worked for our treats — performing a song, dancing a little jig, reciting a poem or a joke — there was no “grab and go” collecting of treats when I was a kid!!)). It was inevitable someone passed out something other than chocolate — or that really cheap, junky candy mix stuff– and I always hoped for a popcorn ball.  I just loved them. Crunchy, and sweet, and salty, and usually wrapped in waxed paper, they were best eaten the night received and I made sure mine never saw the light of the net day! I think this little blast from my past is going to be on my to-do list this weekend.

Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls

Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls

Old-fashioned Popcorn Balls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20 cups good quality popped corn

Instructions

  1. Spread popcorn on a baking sheet, and place in preheated 200F oven to keep warm.
  2. Butter sides of saucepan. In it combine sugar, water, corn syrup, salt and vinegar.
  3. Bring to boil and cook to 250F (hard ball stage).
  4. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla carefully. (This mixture is extremely hot and will burn you easily - use care when handling).
  5. Place the warm popcorn in a large bowl and pour the syrup slowly over the popcorn, stirring and tossing just to coat well. Allow to cool slightly for safe handling.
  6. Butter hands lightly an shape into desired sized popcorn balls. Work quickly at this point!
  7. Wrap in plastic wrap or in decorative bags with ribbon when completely cooled.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/25/old-fashioned-popcorn-balls/

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postheadericon Amish Funeral Sandwich

What is it with these Amish “Funeral” recipes?? (see Amish Funeral Pie post). Actually, these little snacking sandwiches are found in many areas of the US and are usually known as “funeral sandwiches”.  However, they are VERY popular among the Amish and Mennonite in the Pa Dutch region and show up at funeral meals, church suppers and pot-lucks all the time. This recipe came to me courtesy of my friend who grew up in a Penn Dutch family in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania (Bethlehem, Pa. to be precise), labeled as “Amish Funeral Sandwiches” and I have kept the name the same in honor of Mabel, the lady who shared the recipe with me. These are traditionally made with King’s Hawaiian Rolls, but if you are not a fan of King’s, you can use the white rolls found in grocery store bakeries, usually labeled “dinner rolls” — they are square rolls packed in a block of 12 and look like the King’s Hawaiian. These travel well, can be assembled well ahead of baking time, and they usually disappear quickly. If desired, you can sprinkle some poppy seeds on top of the rolls before baking.  COOK’S NOTE: If taking these to a gathering or pot-luck, bake them in a disposable baking pan — easy clean up and no dish to collect after.

Amish Funeral Sandwiches

 

Amish Funeral Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1 - 12 roll package Hawaiian sweet rolls or the same style dinner rolls
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced good quality deli ham (black forest is a good choice)
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon style mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • Optional: poppy seeds for sprinkling on top

Instructions

  1. Spray a 7 x 10 x 3-inch deep bake dish with cooking spray.
  2. Remove rolls from the packaging and slice them horizontally in half.
  3. Place the bottom half into the prepared bake dish. Layer ham and cheese evenly over the bases, then re-position the remaining roll halves on top.
  4. Combine butter, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar and onion powder. Mix well and pour evenly over the rolls.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight (or a minimum of 4 hours).
  6. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. (Sprinkle with poppy seeds if using) Bake the rolls for about 10 minutes, covered with foil. Remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/21/amish-funeral-sandwich/

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postheadericon Schmearcase (Cottage Cheese) and Apple Butter

This is not a “recipe” in the typical  sense, but is definitely a comfort food enjoyed in the Coal Region and PA Dutch country and I felt it deserved a shout-out. It is not at all unusual to find it on salad bars or as a side dish offering in restaurants and diners in the region. Its popularity does extend to other areas, including the Baltimore, MD area. In Pa Dutch, cottage cheese is known as schmearcase  (smearcase). You can make your own schmearcase, but the extensive availability of commercially made cottage cheese means I just buy my favorite brand and go from there. Being in the Coal Region and Pa Dutch country, I have easy access to a  multitude of brands of apple butter so, once again even though I CAN make my own, I often just purchase a jar from a local market. If you do not have access to small batch producers of apple butter and want to find it in stores, Musselman’s Apple Butter is distributed nationwide, so check with your local grocer. I like both large curd and small curd cottage cheese with apple butter.

Schmearcase and Apple Butter “recipe”
Cottage cheese of your choice
Apple Butter of your choice
Take a dab of apple butter and plop it on to a mound of cottage cheese.  That’s it!

I like my schmearcase and apple butter in lots of ways. Just to name a FEW:

  • In a bowl (then I swirl them together)
  • On toast
  • On graham crackers
  • On rice cakes
  • On freshly baked, still warm homemade bread (yummmm!)
  • On a toasted English Muffin
  • Between two slices of bread as a sandwich

Schmearcase (Cottage Cheese) and Apple Butter

Schmearcase and Apple Butter Sandwich

 

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postheadericon Lebanon Bologna Spread

This spread is delicious on crackers, or as a dip with pretzel sticks. Sweet or regular Lebanon Bologna, it’s your choice which to use. I use Herlocher’s Dipping Mustard in this, but if you cannot get Herlocher’s, use a good honey mustard of your choice. This is a great appetizer for holiday parties or get-togethers. When I purchase the bologna to make this, I ask the deli person to cut a “slab” off the roll rather than slices, but you can grind either in the food processor for this recipe.

Lebanon Bologna Spread

Lebanon Bologna Spread

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound regular or sweet lebanon bologna
  • 1 - 8 ounce block cream cheese, softened
  • 2 T sweet pickle relish
  • 1 T mustard (Herlocher's Dipping Mustard preferred, or a good honey mustard)

Instructions

  1. Pulse Lebanon bologna in food processor until fairly fine but not pulverized. In medium mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, relish, and mustard until smooth. Fold in the ground Lebanon Bologna. Chill and serve.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/11/lebanon-bologna-spread/

Cook’s Note: Adjust this recipe easily to your own tastes.  Use more or less relish and/or mustard as desired. You can also add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream to the mix to “loosen” it to a softer spreading consistency.

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