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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

postheadericon Pa Dutch Pretzel Soup (Shdreis’l Suppee)

This is a real Pa. Dutch comfort food that goes way back, is cheap and easy to make, warms you up and is often eaten before bed time.  I certainly have had too many bowls in my lifetime to keep count. Calling it a”soup” is actually over-kill. It is simply warmed milk with a lump of butter added to each bowl in which “Reading butter pretzels” are crushed and soak in the milk.

(Reading Pa, in Berks County, with a sizable population of Pa. Dutch folks, was home to numerous pretzel shops, earning it the nickname Pretzel City.  At one time, Reading produced one-third of all the pretzels baked in the U.S. While Berks County’s pretzel industry may not be as prominent as it once was, its legacy lives on.)

This “recipe” is from an old Pa Dutch cookbook and, naturally, specified “Reading” pretzels. Today, a good choice is a butter pretzel like Bachman Pretzels Butter Twists, Snyder’s Butter Snaps, etc. I have also used a hearty hard pretzel obtained from Amish farmers’ markets or bulk food stores in this soup.  Some people like their pretzels to retain some crunch, others prefer the pretzels soften before indulging.  There are some variations of this soup that start with a roux resulting in a thicker “milk broth”, but I like mine this way – plain and simple with just milk and butter.

Pa Dutch Pretzel Soup

Pa Dutch Pretzel Soup

Ingredients

  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Pretzels (butter pretzels are best, but plain hard pretzels will also work), broken into pieces

Instructions

  1. Heat a bowl of milk for each person to be served.
  2. To each bowl of milk add a small piece of butter.
  3. At the table each person should add enough pretzels to fill their bowl.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/04/10/pa-dutch-pretzel-soup-shdreisl-suppee/

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postheadericon Cheeseburger Soup

Welcome 2019! I hope everyone had a joyous and happy holiday season. Watching TV the other day, I was bombarded by ads for healthy living products, weight-loss programs, exercise equipment, and tips on how to organize your life, as if the only time you may think of those things is immediately after the New Year arrives (and maybe that’s actually true…). But here in my Coalcracker Kitchen, after a hectic holiday season, I crave something comforting, easy to make, and budget friendly. Winter has settled into the Anthracite region and there is nothing more comforting to me than having a bowl of steaming, hearty soup. Now, I have a ton of soups in my recipe arsenal, but this one features the flavor of another of my favorite foods – cheeseburgers! As I settle in to winter days ahead and face the task of packing up and putting away the holiday decorations, I always feel a sense of sadness. A bit of melancholy creeps over me wondering what the new year will bring and whether the Christmas season for 2019 will see us all healthy and happy when it rolls around. To lift myself out of the post holiday blues, nothing beats a pot of comfort food simmering away, sending its fragrance throughout the house. So, TV ads be damned, in THIS kitchen, being happy goes hand in hand with being “healthy” and puttering around in my Coalcracker kitchen brings me so  much joy, I think I’ll just live forever!

Cheeseburger Soup

Cheeseburger Soup

Cheeseburger Soup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups peeled, diced potatoes
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz. Velveeta cheese
  • 1½ cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, brown beef. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, sauté onions, celery, carrots, and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, potatoes, and beef. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small skillet or sauce pan, melt remaining butter. Add flour. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat. Blend in sour cream.
  5. Serve hot.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/01/03/cheeseburger-soup/

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postheadericon Peaches and Cream Pie Dessert

As long as I can remember, I loved anything made with peaches. Late summer in Pennsylvania means peach season as baskets show up at farmers’ markets and road-side stands across the Coal Region and Pa Dutch country. But when it is not fresh peach season, I need my peach fix and this dessert gives me just that. I remember the first time I had this dessert; I was invited to a summer picnic at a friend’s home. I arrived a little late and wound up finding a seat at the table on which this dessert was sitting.  In passing, someone mentioned I should, “try that peach dessert, it’s really good!”…and I did. Then I had a little more. As the afternoon progressed, I found myself, in between exchanging pleasantries with others in attendance, shaving off and devouring thin slice after thin slice of this addicting peach delicacy. I finally allowed guilt to overcome me and realized I really should stop and give someone else a chance at it.  I still wonder what the host of the party really thought as he happened to walk by, glanced at the pie, and said to me, “Wow, that is really popular…it’s nearly gone!” and I mumbled, “uh, huh” and turned red.  I call this “pie dessert” because it is not truly a pie in the sense of having a traditional pastry crust but rather looks and serves like a pie but with bottom layer from a batter. Made with canned peaches, this dessert can be enjoyed year-round. It travels well and can be made a day ahead of serving. It can be served slightly warm, room temperature, or fully chilled.

Peaches and Cream Dessert Pie

Peaches and Cream Dessert Pie

Peaches & Cream Pie Dessert

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 - 3 ounce package non-instant vanilla pudding mix (the "cook" version)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 - 29 ounce can sliced peaches in syrup, drained and 3 T syrup reserved
  • 1 - 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
    Topping
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

    Topping
  1. Mix 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in small bowl; set aside.
    Pie
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Grease sides and bottom of a 10 inch deep-dish pie pan.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and pudding mix.
  4. Mix in butter, egg and milk. Beat for 2 minutes. Pour mixture into pie pan.
  5. Arrange the peach slices on top of the pudding mixture.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer until fluffy.
  7. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons reserved peach syrup. Beat for 2 minutes.
  8. Spoon mixture over peaches to within 1 inch of pan edge.
  9. Sprinkle sugar/cinnamon topping over top.
  10. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.
  11. Serve slightly warm or chill completely before cutting and serving.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/13/peaches-and-cream-pie-dessert/

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postheadericon Pasties

Pastie (PASS-tee) are basically individual pies filled with meats and vegetables that are cooked together.  Traditionally they should weigh about two pounds or more.  The earliest known reference to the pastie contribute it to the Cornish.  Irish people that migrated to northern England took the art of pastie making with them.  Soon every miner in northern England took pasties down into the mine for his lunch.   As immigrants flooded into America seeking work, many Welsh, English, and Irish found themselves working in the mines of Pennsylvania’s Coal Region.  These immigrants brought their traditions and cuisine with them and many of these men and boys carried pasties with them into the mines in their lunch pails.  The identifying feature of the Cornish pastie is really the pastry and its crimping.  When pasties were being made, each member of the family had their initials marked at one corner.  This way each person’s favorite tastes can be catered to and also identify each pastie. It is said that the solid ridge of hand crimped pastry along the edge of the pastie was so designed that a miner could grasp the pastie for eating and then throw the crust away.  By doing this, he did not run the risk of germs and contamination from dirty hands. The crusts were not wasted though, as many miners were believers in ghosts or “knockers” that inhabited the mines and left these crusts to keep the ghosts content.  Often, one end of the pasty would contain a sweet filling which the wives would mark or initial so the miner would not eat his dessert first, while the other end would contain meat and vegetables. This recipe is for the meat/vegetable savory filling without the sweet side. It is normally not recommended to knead a pastry dough like this recipe calls for, but you actually want some gluten to develop in this dough to help the pastie hold together well.

Pasties

Yield: 4

Pasties

Cornish Pasty

Ingredients

    Pastry
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 3 ounces cold lard
  • 2 ounces cold butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup ice water, or as needed
    Filling
  • 12 ounces beef skirt steak (or chuck steak), diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 cup diced potatoes, same size dice as meat (Yukon Gold work well)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup diced rutabage or turnip, same size dice as meat
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (to your taste, but these should be "peppery")
  • OPTIONAL: 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 thin slices
    Egg Wash
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon water

Instructions

  1. Cut flour, lard, cold butter, and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt together in a bowl with a pastry blender or two butter knives until mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs.
  2. Make a well in the center and pour in ice water. Mix with a fork until mixture begins to come together; use hands to form into a dough ball.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead until dough is smooth and forms a firm ball, about 2 minutes.
  4. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper
    Filling
  1. Stir steak, potatoes, onion, turnip, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper together in a bowl until evenly-combined.
  2. Beat egg and 1 teaspoon water together in a small bowl.
    Assembly
  1. Divide dough into four equal rounds and roll each round out to about 1/8-inch thickness and 8-inches in diameter.
  2. Brush each dough round with egg mixture.
  3. Place 1/4 of the steak mixture slightly off-center on each round of dough, and top steak mixture with 2 slices butter.
  4. Fold dough over steak filling to form a half moon shape and press edges together to seal.
  5. Crimp edges of the pasty into a raised fluted edge, like a pie crust.
  6. Transfer pasties to the prepared baking sheet.
  7. With tip of a sharp knife, either cut initials into a corner of the pasty or cut a small vent slit into the top.
  8. Brush tops with egg wash.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until browned and bubbly, about 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/07/pasties/

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postheadericon Old-fashioned Lithuanian Cracker Filling

Known in the Coal Region as “Lithuanian Cracker Filling” (stuffing elsewhere — “filling” to a coal cracker/Dutchie!), this recipe more than likely did not originate in Lithuania where, if made, it would have been with bread, but rather with Lithuanian Americans.  It is a well-known dish served in Lithuanian American kitchens and many of our grandmas and moms made it.  Back in the day, this recipe often called for Royal Lunch Milk crackers, however, Nabisco no longer manufactures them. Saltines are actually called for in many recipes and people also use saltines as a substitute for their recipes that originally used the milk crackers. This recipe is one passed down from a Lithuanian family recipe collection with the following note: “I always bake this in a buttered casserole, not in the bird” and “I like to add giblets or chicken liver like my mom did” (My note to you: If you do not want to use giblets, they are optional)

NOTE: A product called Heritage Mills Milk Crackers can be found in the Northeast at Market Basket, some Hannafords, Stop and Shop and some other stores (your mileage  may vary). Amazon also sells them but they are expensive to obtain that way!

Old-fashioned Lithuanian Cracker Filling (Stuffing)

Lithuanian Cracker Filling

Ingredients

  • 1 generous cup chopped celery
  • 1 generous cup chopped onion
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 cups coarsely crushed Saltine cracker crumbs or milk crackers
  • 1-1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 beaten egg
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1-1/2 to 2 tsp poultry seasoning (to your taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (keep in mind salt will vary if using salted top or unsalted top crackers) Chopped giblets or some chicken livers (OPTIONAL)

Instructions

  1. Keep in mind you do not want this to turn to mush as you mix.
  2. Cook celery and onions in butter until tender, adding chopped giblets if desired.
  3. Crush crackers coarsely (hand crushing in the sleeve for saltines works well.) Pour into mixing bowl.
  4. Scald milk, then add to coarsely crushed cracker crumbs. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Gently, but thoroughly stir in onion mixture, eggs, parsley, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix gently but well.
  5. Spread into buttered casserole dish. (Filling will puff lightly when baking due to the eggs, use a deep enough dish)
  6. Bake 350F for 50 - 55 minutes or until nicely browned on the top.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/17/lithuanian-cracker-filling/

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postheadericon CMP Dessert

My Mom’s absolute favorite ice cream treat was what is known as a “CMP” here in the Coal Region and surrounding areas — a popular ice cream sundae consisting of a scoop of vanilla (some people prefer chocolate) ice cream topped with “C” – Chocolate syrup, “M” – Marshmallow sauce, and “P” – Peanuts.  Some ice cream producers even make novelty cups of this beloved dessert that are available in grocery store freezers.  I never hear or see anything related to a CMP without fond memories of  my Mom and her love of them coming to mind. This dessert bar version of her beloved CMP sundae brings all the flavors together in an easy-to-make dessert that is sure to be a family pleaser. I always sprinkle the top with chopped peanuts and, when serving individual pieces, drizzle with a little Hershey’s chocolate syrup as a garnish and to mimic the ice cream sundae even more. This is a budget and kid-friendly recipe and makes a 13″ x 9″ pan of yum.

CMP Dessert

CMP Dessert

Ingredients

  • CRUST
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1st Layer
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip
  • 2nd Layer
  • 1 (3 1/2 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 (3 1/2 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 and 3/4 cups cold milk
  • 3rd Layer
  • 12 ounces Cool Whip, partially thawed
  • 2/3 cup marshmallow cream (Fluff, Kraft, etc.)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped peanuts, if desired to garnish
  • Chocolate syrup for garnish if desired

Instructions

  1. For crust: Mix graham crumbs, melted butter and chopped peanuts together in bowl. Press into bottom of 13" x 9" baking pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  2. 1ST LAYER: Cream PB and cream cheese. Beat in sugar. Blend in 8 oz thawed whipped topping. Spoon scattered dollops on to cooled crust and gently spread evenly over the crust.
  3. 2ND LAYER: Beat both pudding mixes together with the milk until thick. Spoon scattered dollops on top of first layer and gently spread evenly.
  4. 3RD LAYER: Beat 12 oz.partially thawed whipped topping with marshmallow fluff and spoon scattered dollops over 2nd layer. Gently spread evenly over 2nd layer. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts if desired. Drizzle lightly with chocolate syrup if desired.
  5. Chill at least 2 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/09/cmp-dessert/

CMP Ice Cream Sundae

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