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Archive for the ‘Side Dishes & Vegetables’ 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 Fried Cornmeal Mush

Pa Dutch Fried Cornmeal Mush

Pa Dutch Fried Cornmeal Mush

Fried Cornmeal Mush

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Yellow Corn Meal
  • 1 Cup COLD Water
  • 3 Cups Water
  • 1 tsp. Salt

Instructions

  1. In a heavy saucepan, bring 3 Cups of water and the salt to a boil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the cornmeal and the 1 cup of COLD water.
  3. Gradually stir the cornmeal and water mixture into the salted boiling water.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Cover, and continue cooking for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (should be very thick).
  6. Pour into a loaf pan, cool and refrigerate until completely cold and firm.
  7. Slice into thin slices.
  8. Dredge in seasoned flour and fry in fat until golden brown and crispy.
  9. Serve hot.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/05/03/fried-cornmeal-mush/

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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 Easy Homemade Farmer’s Cheese

Farmer’s cheese is a fresh or un-aged cheese. It is also known as dry curd cheese or peasant cheese. This type of cheese is used in countless Eastern European cuisine recipes. It is also a part of Pa. Dutch (German) cuisine, often served as crumbles which resemble cottage cheese. Farmer’s cheese goes by many names in different languages: twaróg in Polish, surutka in Croatian and Serbian, tvaroh in Czech and Slovak, túró in Hungarian, varškės in Lithuanian, lapte covăsit in Romanian, tvorog in Russian, skuta in Slovenian, and syr in Ukrainian.

You can make farmer’s cheese easily at home with basic ingredients.. And you do not need a cheese press (unless you inherited one from your grandma … if you did, now is the time to dig it out of the “what am i ever gonna do with THIS thing” box!)

The whey or liquid by-product of the cheese making process is excellent to use when making bread; use the whey in place of water or milk. It can also be used as a soup base. Some people have even been known to drink it! As previously mentioned, it can be left crumbly or formed into a solid piece.  Some people slice it and fry it or eat it on bread with honey, some use the crumbles as a spread or in pierogi filling, add it to scrambled eggs as they’re cooking, or make it into a filling for blintzes. There are many uses, and you can add herbs like dill or chives, mix in basil and diced sun-dried tomatoes if desired.

Easy Homemade Farmer’s Cheese

Easy Homemade Farmer’s Cheese

Homemade Farmers Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts milk (whole; use pasteurized, instead of ultra-pasteurized, if available)
  • 2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • OPTIONAL: caraway seeds
  • OPTIONAL: herbs, additions of your choice
  • Cheesecloth or muslin
  • Butcher's or kitchen twine
  • Cooking Thermometer

Instructions

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, over low heat, slowly heat the milk up, stirring often, until it is just about to simmer (about 180 F).
  2. Stir in the buttermilk, and then the vinegar, and turn off the heat.
  3. Very slowly stir until you see the milk separating into curds (the solids) and whey (the liquid). Leave undisturbed for 10 minutes.
  4. If using caraway seeds, stir them in now.
  5. Line a large strainer with 3 layers of cheesecloth and place over a stockpot to catch the whey.
  6. After the 10 minutes are up, ladle the curds into the cheesecloth and allow the whey to drain for 10 minutes.
  7. Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and tie a string around the top to form bundle. Tie the string to a wooden spoon/dowel/kitchen sink faucet and hang the cheese curds over the stockpot and continue draining for 30 minutes.
    To use as loose curds
  1. After draining, remove the cheese from the cloth, and transfer into a container. Stir in the salt and refrigerate. Cheese can be used for up to 5 days. Use as a spread, or as you would use cream cheese, or cottage cheese.
  2. Store it in a nonmetallic container, cover, and refrigerate.
    To Form Into a Solid Disk
  1. Once most of the liquid has dripped out, give a last good wring, tie the bag securely, place it between two clean cutting boards and put a heavy weight on top of it to squeeze out the rest of the liquid.
  2. Press the cheese somewhere it can be undisturbed for 8-10 hours or overnight to set. The longer you press the cheese, the drier it will be.
  3. Gently remove the cheesecloth, place the cheese on a plate, lightly salt it on all sides to taste, and put it on a rack to let it dry a little so a thin rind forms.
  4. Store it in a nonmetallic container, cover, and refrigerate.
  5. .
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/03/19/easy-homemade-farmers-cheese/

 

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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 Pa Dutch Braised Red Cabbage

I have a very special fondness for the traditional German and Pa Dutch “sweet/sour” flavor. And since cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables, I am always looking for ways to serve it to keeps things exciting!. This dish features the very traditional “Dutchie” sweet/sour flavor and uses red cabbage (and BACON!!). I love this braised cabbage alongside roasted pork loin, roast beef, or even turkey, but my absolute favorite way to enjoy this is alongside a lovely piece (or two) of pan-fried fresh (or smoked) sausage made by one of the many local meat shops or butchers still plentiful in the Coal Region;  the sausages nestled next to a mound of fluffy mashed potatoes or browned butter egg noodles.  Budget friendly, left-over friendly, and very easy to prepare, I encourage you to give it a try. (And if you can, get some true, country style bacon from one of the great butchers, shops, or farmers’ markets in the Coal Region or Pa Dutch country, too!)

Pa Dutch Braised Red Cabbage

Pa Dutch Braised Red Cabbage

German Braised Red Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 10 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 bacon strips, diced
  • 1 medium tart apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir the cider vinegar and sugars until sugars are dissolved. Add cabbage; toss to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan or dutch oven with lid, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain.
  3. In the drippings left in the pan, saute apple and onion until tender, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in water and cabbage mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, several more minutes or until cabbage is tender. Sprinkle with reserved bacon before serving.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/21/pa-dutch-braised-red-cabbage/

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postheadericon Pa Dutch Hot Slaw

Many people are familiar with Cole Slaw – shredded cabbage topped with a dressing served cold as a side dish.  It is one of those dishes where every cook has “their” recipe and it seems everyone makes it a little differently than everyone else. There is never a holiday dinner in my house that does not include my version of cole slaw, passed down from my Mom. My husband loves it and I also make it a lot throughout the year. It is not unusual to find cole slaw in my fridge as the result of having left over cabbage from something else I cooked that week. My frugal side will not allow me to waste perfectly good food, so I am pretty good at finding ways to use up odds and ends. I am a huge fan of cooked cabbage dishes; it is the Dutchie and Coal Cracker upbringing, I suppose. So, imagine the thrill I find in a dish that combines cooked cabbage with the sweet/sour flavors of my version of cole slaw!  Let me introduce you to Pa Dutch Hot Slaw.  Not “hot” from spicy peppers, but “hot” as in temperature. Well, it is actually more of a “warm” slaw, but that’s beside the point. This is a great side dish for colder, winter months and graces a holiday table nicely.  If you are looking for a side to add to your holiday dinners, why not give this a try!

Pa Dutch Hot Slaw

Pa Dutch Hot Slaw

Hot Slaw

Ingredients

    Slaw
  • 6 cups finely shredded green cabbage
    Dressing
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 c. vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. light cream

Instructions

  1. Finely shred cabbage.
  2. Cook cabbage in a small amount of lightly salted water until tender making sure not to allow the pan to cook dry.
  3. Drain well. Keep warm.
  4. Toss warm cooked cabbage with warm cooked dressing.
    Dressing
  1. Melt butter in top of double boiler.
  2. In bowl, beat eggs, vinegar, salt, sugar, paprika and water together.
  3. Whisk into the melted butter and cook over the simmering water until the dressing thickens, whisking frequently.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in cream.
  5. Beat with electric mixer or hand beater water until fluffy.
  6. Pour over the warm cabbage and toss to mix thoroughly..
  7. Serve.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/19/pa-dutch-hot-slaw/

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postheadericon Leftover Mashed Potato Patties

Growing up in the western end of Schuylkill County in the Coal Region, we had access to great potatoes from local farms.  Whenever my local hosie (fire company) served a buffet dinner or did catering (for one of our iconic Coal Region “fire-hall weddings”), we went right to the farm and purchased those lovely Pa. grown potatoes by the 50 pound bags.  When my mom did the family grocery shopping Friday evenings (on Dad’s pay day), we had easy access to those same potatoes at all the local grocery stores. And so, growing up, my family had mashed potatoes…a LOT!  I remember having them at many meals throughout the week (and ALWAYS with a holiday dinner).  Inevitably, there were some mashed potatoes left over from some meals. My Mom used to gather those together in the fridge and make leftover mashed potato patties at the end of the week.  Browned in a cast iron pan in some butter and oil, they were crispy on the edges and creamy in the middle. These simple but delicious patties bring back very fond memories of my mom in the kitchen and me chatting away with her while I sat at the kitchen table waiting for her to fry up a batch. You can gild these as you please – add some fried, crumbled bacon bits, or even some shredded cheese to the basic potato mixture.  I like to form the patties and press some Panko breadcrumbs on to the outside to crisp them up even more.

Leftover Mashed Potato Patties

Yield: 4 to 6 depending on size

Leftover Mashed Potato Patties

Left-over Mashed Potato Patties

Ingredients

  • 2 cups left over cold mashed potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon dried chopped chives OR 2 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • OPTIONAL
  • 2 or 3 slices fried and crumbled bacon
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons grated cheddar
  • OPTIONAL
  • Panko breadcrumbs for coating

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix the cold left over potatoes, the AP flour, the egg, the chives or scallions, and the onion powder. Mix well. Add the optional bacon and/or cheese and fold in thoroughly.
  2. Form into patties.
  3. Press into Panko breadcrumbs if using.
  4. To a skillet, add 2 tablespoons butter and enough cooking oil to coat the bottom of the pan and hest over medium heat. Fry patties in pre-heated pan until browned on one side and set, carefully flip and brown on the other side.
  5. Serve hot.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/24/leftover-mashed-potato-patties/

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postheadericon Kapusta – Polish Cabbage, Potato, and Bacon Bake

Kapusta in Polish means “cabbage”.  Our eastern European roots and Pa Dutch influence in Schuylkill County (Pa.) mean we love our cabbage dishes!  There are kapusta soups, casseroles made with sauerkraut, and casseroles, like this favorite recipe, made with fresh cabbage and — (almost) everybody’s favorite — bacon! This recipe could be made meatless by using butter to fry the cabbage rather than bacon fat.  Potatoes, bacon, cabbage, topped with a layer of cheese and baked until bubbly – what’s not to love?

Kapusta Casserole

Polish Cabbage, Potato, and Bacon Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 pound diced bacon
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1 (2 1/2-pound) cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and parboiled
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, Edam, or Gouda

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a very large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, saute diced bacon until crisp but not burned. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon, and set aside.
  3. If desired, some of the bacon fat can be removed but, traditionally, it is left in. Add the onion and cabbage to the bacon fat, mixing well. Cook until the cabbage has completely collapsed and is al dente, about 20 minutes. Add the well-drained potatoes, salt, pepper, cream, and reserved bacon, and mix completely. Remove from heat.
  4. Place in casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole top and cover tightly with foil or an ovenproof lid.
  5. Bake 35 minutes or until potatoes are almost done. Remove cover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden, and potatoes are tender.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/23/kapusta/

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postheadericon Basic PA Dutch Bread Filling

Here in the PA Dutch and Coal Region area, we (especially us Dutchies) refer to “stuffing” as “filling”. There is no real debate about whether it’s “stuffing” if it is made/baked one way versus “filling” another way in MY house.  Nope. It’s “FILLING”. Has been to me for as long as I remember and always will be.  Mom made her filling in a big huge bowl for holiday dinners during which several dozen family members descended on our house and laughter filled the air (along with cigarette smoke because…well…seems more people smoked than not “back then”.) Sometimes some filling went into the bird, but there was ALWAYS a dish full baked in a buttered casserole. I loved that version because I just love the “crust” the filling makes along the bottom of the dish. My Aunt adored an evening snack after a holiday dinner consisting of turkey on white bread, a slab of mom’s bread filling, mayo, and cranberry sauce. Mom did not use any potatoes at all in her bread filling nor much poultry seasoning but you should adjust it to your own taste (more or less celery/onion, butter…).  Mom used milk in hers, you can use stock if you like.  Me, I keep it “Mom’s” and make it like she did! This is a moist mixture before baking, not one that keeps the bread cubes in big pieces and barely moistens them. I like to cut a slice of this once it is cold and fry it in a little butter, browning the “patty”  on both sides.

Pa Dutch Bread Filling

Basic PA Dutch Bread Filling

Ingredients

  • 8 cups cubed white bread (stale or left out to dry overnight)
  • 4 eggs, beaten well
  • 3 large ribs of celery, chopped (with some chopped leaves if possible)
  • 1 - 2 large onion, chopped (about the same amount as the chopped celery)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sage and/or savory and/or poultry seasoning and/or Bell's Stuffing seasoning to your taste
  • Milk or chicken stock as needed (mixture should be wet, but not "soupy"

Instructions

  1. Break up or cut bread into cubes. I use stale bread, leave the cubes out uncovered over night spread out on a tray or baking sheet, or you can even dry them on low in the oven. Place dried or stale cubes into large bowl.
  2. In frying pan, melt butter, add chopped celery and onions and saute on low until soft. I like to actually brown the veggies some, I think it adds to the flavor and color of the filling. Set aside to cool.
  3. Beat eggs, add to bowl with bread cubes. Pour cooled butter and cooked celery and onions over the cubes. Toss lightly to start to mix.
  4. Add the milk or stock and gently toss and mix. It should be moist but not soupy. I find I use around a cup depending on the bread, butter amount, etc. Start with less - you can always add, but you cannot take it out.
  5. Season as desired. I usually add about 1 - 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning or Bell's seasoning. Sometimes, I do not use anything other than salt and pepper - it depends on who will be eating it!
  6. Turn out into a well buttered casserole baking dish.
  7. Bake at 350F until set and browned - 45 minutes or so. You can stir the filling part way through if you desire, but I do not because I like the "crust" to form along the dish sides and bottom.
  8. Serve.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/19/basic-pa-dutch-bread-filling/

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