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Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category

postheadericon Sauerkraut Salad

As we start in to cook-out season here in the Coal Region, the requisite potato and macaroni salads show up. As much as I am  fan of both of those, I like to “shake things up a bit” and add something to the mix that is a bit unexpected. My favorite for warm weather gatherings is Sauerkraut Salad. Embracing the Anthracite Coal Region blending of cultures — the Pa. Dutch, German, and Eastern European cuisines love to make dishes from sauerkraut and cabbage — this fits in perfectly!

Even people who normally do not like sauerkraut (GASP!!!) often like this salad. It’s delicious as a side dish, but also good on burgers, sausages, brats, and sandwiches. Make sure to make it a day ahead so the flavors can blend. I make it the night before serving. As with so many recipes, this lends itself well to adapting to your tastes;  adjust the sugar and vinegar as you prefer. If in doubt about amounts, always start with less — you can always add, but you cannot take it out once mixed in!

Sauerkraut Salad

Sauerkraut Salad

Pa. Dutch Sauerkraut Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 quart of sauerkraut
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 small jar pimentos, drained
  • OPTIONAL 1 apple, chopped (Use something sweet/tart and crisp; Braeburn, Jonagold, Pink Lady, Fuji, Gala))
  • 1 cup white sugar (or to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup vinegar (cider or white)
  • black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain sauerkraut.
  2. In large bowl, mix sugar, oil, vinegar and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add chopped vegetables, sauerkraut and pimentos. Add black pepper to taste. Stir to mix well.
  4. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/05/19/sauerkraut-salad/

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postheadericon Mom’s Ham Salad

This ham salad was guaranteed to make an appearance in Mom’s kitchen twice a year; after Christmas and after Easter — the two times a year we had ham in a form other than center cut ham steaks which were always devoured completely at the meal when served.   But in my younger years, holiday dinners at our Coal Region home included far more folks than my immediate family and so what seemed to a kid like most humongous ham known to man-kind always appeared at the dining room table. Even with a lot of hungry mouths to feed, that meant plenty of leftover ham which was always a good thing!  Because leftover ham was only available twice a year, I looked forward to another one of my favorite holiday foods – ham salad!  I loved opening my metal Barbie (or Scooby Doo, or Monkees) lunchbox and finding a ham salad sandwich made on the square white bread I loved — you know the one — same “bottom” crust all the way around.  To insure I would have my “treat”, Mom always made sure to put some slices away immediately after Dad finished carving off the remnants of the Easter or Christmas ham. Even my ham-loving Pappy (grandfather) made sure to steer clear of the reserved ham; that yummy ham salad was so important to me!

I loved to help my Mom grind the ham for the salad through an old-fashioned, hand-cranked meat grinder clamped on to the side of the kitchen table.  I remember her years later, our roles reversed – she was now the observer watching me grinding and mixing – trying to hide the horrified look on her face as I pulled out my newly acquired food processor and commenced to tossing in the ham AND onion AND celery and EGG and employed the new preparation technique known as “pulsing”.    The look on her face may have been of dismay, but the look in her eyes as she gazed at that whirring wonder said, “Where have YOU been all my life?!?”  We officially retired the hand-cranked grinder for making ham salad that day.

This recipe is one that lends itself to customizing to your taste quite well…put the celery in or leave it out; use more or less mustard; use sweet or dill relish; add more mayo to make it creamier — see where I’m going with this?  There are many, many family recipes for ham salad, this is Mom’s and it is what I have always used. Sometimes, I don’t include eggs (after Christmas is usually egg-less — after Easter usually includes eggs because there are almost always hard-cooked eggs to be found in the fridge). Make it your own, however you do it, it is a classic way to use left-over ham in the Coal Region.

Mom’s Ham Salad

Mom’s Ham Salad

Ham Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound leftover ham, chopped in a food processor
  • 1/4 cup celery, finely diced
  • 2 Tablespoons finely minced sweet onion
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish, drained OR dill pickle relish, drained
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or as needed to get the consistency you favor
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard

Instructions

  1. Run the ham through a meat grinder
  2. OR
  3. Cut the ham, onion, and celery (and eggs if using) into small chunks then pulse in a food processor until finely chopped,
  4. Place ham, celery, onion, eggs, in mixing bowl.
  5. Add relish, mustard, and mayonnaise. Mix well, adjusting mayo to your taste.
  6. Chill and use as a spread on crackers, sandwich filling, to stuff tomatoes, etc.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/04/22/moms-ham-salad/

 

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postheadericon Retro Carrot-Pineapple Salad

Dad was a “meat and potatoes” kinda guy.  Mom and I, however, had no problem with veggies. Of course, the older I got, the more open I was to them…maybe not so adventurous in my childhood (I remember Mom being “creative” in order to get me to eat more than green peas in my early years.)

Like many folks in the Coal Region, “eating out” was reserved for special occasions, like birthdays and anniversaries. We did not have the budget to indulge in restaurant meals often, but when we did, it was all the more special.  We had our favorite spots for these occasions, but there was a family buffet style restaurant where Mom and I would look anytime we went there for one particular item — on the salad bar. Mom and I would peruse the offerings before taking a plate and would get all excited if we truly got lucky and the CARROT SALAD was there — crispy shredded carrots, plump juicy raisins, sweet and tangy pineapple, chopped walnuts — and mini marshmallows – oh, how we loved that salad! Surrounded by baked ham, golden turkey, fried shrimp, a plethora of Pa Dutch “sweets ‘n sours”, and so much more Mom and I felt like we’d struck gold if the carrot salad was on the menu that night. As Pop sat there (with a plate full of fried shrimp that needed side-boards to keep it in check) looking at us like we had lost our senses, Mom and I “umm-d” and “ahh-d” our way through that carrot salad.

Funny thing is, as easy as it is to make at home, we rarely did while she was alive. I suppose the “magic” of that restaurant’s carrot salad was not in the salad itself (although there were those mini marshmallows…) but rather was in the pure enjoyment of spending an evening together, doing something that was very special to us and was a somewhat rare event, not a hum-drum, every day occurrence like eating out these days has become for so many people.

I started making the carrot salad again awhile ago and really enjoy it for Easter dinner as well as throughout the year. Unfortunately, the last time I made it, I did not have the marshmallows in the pantry, thus the salad was “mini-less”. But as I took a bite and thought of Mom, Dad, and the many special occasions we shared throughout the years I was blessed to have them in my life, I was transported in my memories right back to that restaurant with two very special people right beside me.

This recipe is easily adjusted to your taste; both the nuts and mini marshmallows are optional – but highly recommended!

Retro Carrot Pineapple Salad

Retro Carrot Pineapple Salad

Retro Carrot Pineapple Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 (8-ounce) can of crushed pineapple, drained well - juice reserved
  • Left-over pineapple juice (from draining) and enough water to make 1 cup to plump raisins
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and grated
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts (or to your taste)

Instructions

  1. Drain pineapple of excess juices, reserving juice into measuring cup. Add enough water to make 1 cup.
  2. Heat pineapple juice/water to very hot. Remove from heat. Add raisins and allow to plump and cool. (about 30 minutes) Then drain well and discard liquid.
  3. Place peeled, grated carrots in mixing bowl.
  4. In another smaller bowl, mix mayonnaise, sugar, and lemon juice.
  5. Pour dressing over carrots and mix well.
  6. Fold in raisins, pineapple, marshmallows, and nuts until combined.
  7. Cover and refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Stir before serving
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/04/10/retro-carrot-pineapple-salad/

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postheadericon Creamed Cucumbers

This cucumber salad is very simple, but delicious. It can be found as a side dish offering at some diners and restaurants in the Coal Region and in Pa. Dutch country. You can use common cucumbers in this salad, but the English/European cucumbers – sometimes referred to as “seedless” – have much fewer seeds and are less “watery” making them the preferred choice for keeping the dressing on this salad from becoming too runny. English/European cucumbers are found in the US in grocery stores usually encased in a plastic wrapping. If using regular cucumbers, I peel them, then use a spoon to scoop the interior seed pocket out to get rid of the excess seeds and moisture. Because cucumbers are available in grocery stores year-round, this salad can also be made year-round.

Creamed Cucumbers

 

Creamed Cucumbers

Ingredients

  • 1 - 12 to 14 inch English/European cucumber (also referred to as "seedless"
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • salt
  • 2 Tablespoons white or cider vinegar
  • 1- 2 teaspoons sugar, to taste
  • sour cream as needed (approx. 1/2 to 1 cup)
  • pepper
  • fresh or dried dill weed (optional)

Instructions

  1. Peel and very thinly slice cucumber and onion. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and let stand in a colander for a few minutes.
  2. Pat with towel or absorbent paper to take off all moisture possible.
  3. Place cucumbers and onions in serving dish, add the vinegar and sugar and mix.
  4. Toss with enough sour cream to lightly cover the cukes and onion and sprinkle with pepper.
  5. Sprinkle with fresh or dried dill weed to your taste if desired.
  6. Stir and chill before serving to allow flavors to blend.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/08/creamed-cucumbers/

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postheadericon Pa. Dutch Pepper Cabbage

A sweet and sour side dish, this features a German, Pa. Dutch, and Coal Region favorite — cabbage — but this time it is not in a creamy dressing as in Cole slaw, but a sweet/sour clear syrup dotted with colorful specs of sweet bell peppers. Some purists use only green pepper, I use a mix of red and green…I like the look!  Some people add some onion, celery, or even carrot, I do not.  I’m “sorta” purist!

This lasts a long time in the refrigerator thanks to the vinegar content.  I love to serve it with many dishes including my Pa. Dutch Chicken Pot Pie.   It’s great to take to a potluck or picnic because it contains no mayonnaise. You want your cabbage and veggies finely chopped like in the photo. You can use a box grater to prep by hand or a food processor, but if using the processor, do in small batches to avoid ending up with a mushy mess of watery veggies.

Pa. Dutch Pepper Cabbage

Pa. Dutch Pepper Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 1 - 2 pound head cabbage, quartered and core removed
  • 1 large sweet red bell pepper, quartered and seeded
  • 1 large green bell pepper, quartered and seeded (OR use all green bell pepper)
  • Dressing:
  • For the sweet and sour dressing:
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper or to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut the cabbage into 4 quarters, remove the core from each quarter, then coarsely chop each quarter into smaller pieces to aid in grinding nicely in the processor . Working in batches, place one quarter of the coarsely-chopped cabbage in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Using a series of 25 -30 rapid on-off pulses, process to a fine chop. Transfer cabbage to a large baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper and a few layers of paper towels and refrigerate for about an hour to drain.
  2. Prep the bell peppers as directed, and, in two batches, using a series of 15 rapid on-off pulses, process them to a fine chop. Place chopped peppers on a paper towel lined plate and refrigerate for about an hour to drain.
  3. Place the cabbage and peppers in a large bowl. In a bowl, stir all of the dressing ingredients together.
  4. Pour the dressing over the cabbage and peppers and stir thoroughly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate, several hours or preferrably overnight, giving it a stir whenever it's convenient.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/19/pa-dutch-pepper-cabbage/

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postheadericon Hot Bacon Dressing

My grandmother LOVED hot bacon dressing over tender, young dandelion greens. We never treated our lawn, just let nature take her course, and as a result, had lots of safe, edible greens growing out back of the house. I clearly remember my Nana walking the yard, stooped over, picking the greens for salad. Her advice was, “Always pick them before the dandelion flowers; after it does, the greens are tough and very bitter.” If the idea of dandelion greens is not to your taste, this is also traditionally served over shredded iceberg lettuce (“wilted lettuce”), or other dark greens like baby spinach. My favorite way of eating it? — with a spoon!! It is tradition to sprinkle the top of the dressed greens with finely diced or sliced hard boiled eggs, but that step is entirely your choice.

A.K.A. “Wilted Lettuce”

Hot Bacon Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 strips bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 finely diced or thinly sliced hard boiled egg for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Beat the sugar into the egg. Add the vinegar, water and salt; beat well. Meanwhile, brown the bacon in a small saucepan. Stir the flour into the bacon and bacon fat in the pan and stir until smooth.
  2. Add the liquid to the bacon mixture and cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly.
  3. Pour hot dressing over your choice of greens and mix toss. This will wilt the greens. Serve immediately.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/10/hot-bacon-dressing/

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postheadericon Amish Macaroni Salad

Creamy, some added crunch, and a special ingredient: Miracle Whip.  Yes, whether you are a fan or not, this recipe calls for it and I always use it.  Even people who would never otherwise eat Miracle Whip like this mac salad!

amish macaroni salad

Amish Macaroni Salad

Amish Macaroni Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
  • 2 cups Miracle Whip
  • 3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery seed

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Rinse with cool water. Drain very well and and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, onion, celery, red pepper, and relish. In a small bowl, stir together the salad dressing, mustard, white sugar, vinegar, salt and celery seed. Pour over the vegetables, and stir in macaroni until well blended.
  3. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/08/amish-macaroni-salad/

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