Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 203 other subscribers

Posts Tagged ‘Coal Region’

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/

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInDigg thisEmail this to someonePrint this page

postheadericon Old-fashioned Large Pearl Tapioca Pudding

My Dad was not a simple man in many respects.  As a young boy, he quit school and went to work to help support his family which included his parents, three brothers, and a sister, Pop being the youngest child in the family. He did odd jobs, including working in the local butcher shop which not only earned him some money to take home, but some things, like offal, to help feed the family.

He enlisted in the Army in WWII, saw combat with Company B, 310th Medical Battalion attached to the 338th Infantry Regiment (“Custer”) on the Fifth Army front in Italy and was the recipient of the Bronze Star for heroic achievement in action. Upon return home, he did what many men in the Coal Region did — got married and went into the mines.

A near fatal injury from falling rock in a bootleg mine in the 50s ended his days underground, but coal and the Coal Region were in his blood; he bought a tractor-trailer and hauled coal from Schuylkill County breakers to Philadelphia and New York City five days a week. When road taxes and operating expenses became too much of a burden, he sold the truck to “get away from coal”. Just months later, he fund himself once again involved with it and mining, only this time it was above-ground, driving massive Euclid trucks (“Yukes”) for a local breaker.

Although he tried at times, he was never truly able to escape the grasp Anthracite had on him. It followed him to his grave in 1989, after years of him fighting for breath as Black Lung ravaged this strong, hard-working, intelligent, loving man I am so proud to have had as a father. I know this world would be so much better off if only there were more like him.

One of Dad’s favorite things was tapioca pudding, but he only liked the large pearl tapioca. Many times in restaurants in the Coal Region, this pudding would be on the dessert menu, but he always grilled the waitress as to whether it was the “real” (pearl) tapioca or “that other stuff” (instant or quick-cook variety).  Mom often made it at home for him, and I remember helping her  measure it out and put it in a bowl to soak. To this day, I never look at this recipe without seeing Pop, sitting at the kitchen table, enjoying a big bowl of this pudding.

Dad’s birthday is May 25th, in memory of him, I am posting this recipe today. I hope you enjoy it as much as he did.

This simple homemade tapioca pudding, is creamy and rich, and filled with slightly chewy pearls of tapioca. Although simple to make, the pearl tapioca requires several hours soaking time, so plan accordingly. Don’t try to rush the soaking process or skimp on soaking time! The tapioca pearl are cooked when they become translucent with a dot of cloudy center remaining. The pudding may seem runny immediately after cooking, it thickens upon cooling. Do not use instant or quick-cook varieties of tapioca for this recipe.

 

Old-fashioned Large Pearl Tapioca Pudding

Old-fashioned Large Pearl Tapioca Pudding

Old-fashioned Pearl Tapioca Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup large pearl tapioca (not instant or quick-cook varieties)
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Place tapioca pearls in a bowl and fill with water. Swish the pearls around, drain, refill the bowl with water and allow the pearls to sit 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain the tapioca after the soak and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan mix milk, salt, and 3/4 cup sugar. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Add the drained tapioca when the milk starts to bubble around the edges of the pan.
  4. Simmer 25 minutes or until tapioca pearls are mostly clear, stirring frequently to avoid sticking and scorching.
  5. .In a small bowl, beat eggs with remaining 3/4 cup sugar.
  6. Temper the eggs by slowly adding and stirring some (about half) of the hot mixture into them.
  7. Add the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and stir well.
  8. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir constantly for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick.
  9. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  10. Transfer to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap allowing it to rest directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a "skin" from forming on the top.
  11. May be served slightly warm or chilled.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/05/16/old-fashioned-large-pearl-tapioca-pudding/

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInDigg thisEmail this to someonePrint this page

postheadericon Zweibelkuchen ( Pa. Dutch Onion Pie)

Zweibelkuchen translates to “onion cake”/”tart” in German, but it’s also known in Pa. Dutch kitchens as “Onion Pie”.  Zwiebelkuchen is related to the Black Forest region of Germany. It is tradition that it is prepared at the beginning of fall, after the bountiful summer crop of onions come in and is usually served as a lunch dish.  This traditional German dish ranges in size and shape depending on the cook (and, in Germany, the area in which it is served); some are flat and cut into squares with a thinner layer of the topping (like this version), others are thicker and deeper and often made in a spring-form pan. No matter the size, shape, or depth,  the rich and buttery caramelized onions and savory bacon filling is consistent.  The German immigrants who became known as “Pennsylvania Dutch (“Deutsch” in German) enjoyed this dish in the motherland and re-created it in their new homes in America.  Zweibelkuchen is at its best when served lukewarm. Use good quality bacon if you can get it to make zweibelkuchen.

Zwiebelkuchen (Pa. Dutch Onion Pie)

Zwiebelkuchen (Pa. Dutch Onion Pie)

Zweibelkuchen (Pa Dutch /German Onion Pie)

Ingredients

    DOUGH:
  • 1 cup milk, lukewarm (110F degrees)
  • 1 package instant dry yeast (2 and 1/4 tsp)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, (375g)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil
    ONION TOPPING:
  • 2 1/4 lbs yellow onions, finely diced
  • 5 slices good quality thick cut bacon, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup full fat sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds

Instructions

  1. Pour the lukewarm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
  2. Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to stand 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
  3. Turn mixer on low and add the flour, sugar, vegetable oil, and salt and knead until a soft dough forms (about 5 minutes).
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands for one more minute adding as little flour as necessary to keep it from being too sticky to work.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let the dough rest in a warm place 45 minutes or until approximately doubled in size.
  6. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, fry the diced bacon until crispy.
  7. Add the diced onions to it, reduce heat to medium-low and allow the the onions to slowly cook to golden brown and carmelized, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
  8. In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, eggs, salt and caraway seeds. Add the cooled onion mixture to it and combine well.
  9. Grease a 18 x 13-inch (known as a "half-sheet") baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
  10. Flour hands lightly and spread the dough evenly pinching up a slight rim at the edges of the dough to hold the topping.
  11. Spread the onion mixture on top of it and sprinkle lightly with some additional caraway seeds is desired.
  12. Preheat the oven to 390F (200C) and allow the pie to rise a second time while the oven is heating.
  13. Bake on middle rack of oven 25-30 minutes until top is light brown.
  14. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Best served lukewarm.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/05/12/zweibelkuchen/

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInDigg thisEmail this to someonePrint this page

postheadericon Fried Chicken Livers

When I was a kid growing up in Schuylkill County in the Anthracite Coal Region, one of the rituals my family participated in was a weekly (or almost weekly) visit to a farmers’ market/”auction” to pick up fresh produce, baked goods, flea market finds and other items the household needed for daily life (like vacuum parts for the ancient Hoover or to drop off the “touch lamp” for repair…)  There are two markets that have been staples for generations in the area I grew up in, Renninger’s Market in Schuylkill Haven, Pa. and Hometown Farmers’ Market , Hometown, Pa.  Because my Dad, who owned a tractor-trailer and hauled coal to NYC and Philly, was on the road during the week, our “day out” was a trip to Renninger’s on Sunday afternoon.

Pop would circle and circle the dirt portion of the parking lot, kicking up a cloud of dust behind the Buick, looking for a convenient (translates into “close to an entrance door”) parking space to make shopping easier. Standard operating procedure was to buy “X” amount of goods and then Mom or Dad took the haul back to the car to drop the items off so we did not have to carry all the purchases around the entire market, juggling donuts or tomatoes while jostling our way through the crowd.

Sunday always yielded a major haul of lovely produce in season, and if you played your cards right and shopped close to closing time, the farmers often marked the stuff waaaay down so they did not have to haul it back to the farm or dispose of it. Our purchases varied slightly from week to week, but there was one thing I got almost every Sunday we were at Renninger’s – fried chicken livers! A stand at the market sold, among other things, fried chicken livers — and I LOVED them (Pop loved gizzards and hearts). Crispy and golden brown, different in flavor than beef liver, I ate them dipped in a tangy, yet smooth horseradish sauce the stand provided. They were addicting.

After Mom and Pop passed away in the late 80s, I found myself going to the market less, but I always got some fried chicken livers any time I visited. When I moved away from the Coal Region for awhile, I longed for the fried livers and realized I could make them myself. They are a very budget friendly dish, cook quickly, and bring back very fond memories for me of Sunday afternoons spent with my beloved parents.

Most supermarkets and butchers sell fresh chicken livers relatively cheaply. If you can only get them frozen, make sure to thaw them completely in the refrigerator before cooking. To clean and prep the livers for cooking, remove the fatty-looking string that connects the small and large lobes of a complete liver and trim any visible pieces of white connective tissue.  You might also want to trim any green discoloration, which results from (harmless) contact with bile during processing.  You do not need to try to remove every thread crossing through the piece. The goal is to obtain a solid medallion. You will end up with oyster-shaped pieces from half an inch to two inches long.

Chicken livers are high in water content, so when frying in hot oil, they will “pop”; a long-handled spatula or spoon and spatter screen should always be used. The spattering will not last long and will completely subside when the livers are done. As at all times in the kitchen, take your time, pay attention and use common sense!

Fried Chicken Livers

Fried Chicken Livers

Ingredients

  • Canola oil or shortening for frying
  • 1 pound chicken livers, trimmed
  • 1 cup buttermilk OR evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • OR
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional - pinch cayenne

Instructions

  1. Clean the livers, rinse in cold water, drain.
  2. Use a deep fryer OR pour oil into a large frying pan to a depth of 2 inches; heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375F degrees.
  3. Soak livers in buttermilk/evaporated milk for 5 minutes.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, pepper, seasoning salt (or garlic powder, and salt) or in a small dish.
  5. Drain livers; dredge each liver in flour mixture, shaking off excess flour; transfer to a plate.
  6. Fry livers in batches until golden brown, 3-4 minutes, covering pan with a splatter screen.
  7. Transfer cooked livers to a paper towel-lined plate.
  8. Serve with hot sauce, cream gravy or dipping sauce of your choice, if desired.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/05/08/fried-chicken-livers/

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInDigg thisEmail this to someonePrint this page

postheadericon Liver Noodles or Leberknoedel

We Pa. Dutch and Coal Region folk are a frugal lot. Not only do we use just about every inch of a butchered animal for food and sustenance, but we get creative and come up with multiple dishes using ingredients some consider less than crave-worthy. Take liver for instance; just about everyone has heard of liver and onions, but that can get a little boring. Plus, if you are like many a “Dutchie” you have some extra beef liver hanging out in your freezer just waiting to be put to good use. Enter the leberknoedel , or “liver noodles”, a traditional dish of German, Austrian and Czech cuisines (the word “Dutch” in “Pennsylvania Dutch” does not refer to the Dutch people or language, but to the German settlers to the region, known as Deutsch). Leberknoedel is usually composed of beef liver, though in the German Palatinate region pork is often used instead. .

Actually calling these “noodles” may be a bit of a misnomer to today’s cook — they are more like a “dumpling” than the flat, thin piece of pasta found in grocery stores in cellophane bags, dried and ready to be dumped into boiling water or stock which many people identify as “noodles”. Leberknoedel, rather, is like a dumpling. It is flavorful and can be eaten in soup or as the protein for a meal served with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. They pack a nutritional punch and are very budget friendly – liver is extremely inexpensive at your grocery store or butcher. Yes, they might appear a little plain (and gray), but if you like liver, you really should give these a try!

 

Liver Noodles (Leberknoedel)

Liver Noodles  (Leberknoedel)

Leberknoedel (liver dumplings)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound calves liver
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Simmering soup or broth to cook leberknoedel in.

Instructions

  1. Clean liver by removing any veins or membrane.
  2. Using a food processor, combine the liver, butter, onion, parsley, and seasonings and process until smooth.
  3. Add the breadcrumbs and eggs and process until well mixed. Add a bit more bread crumbs (or flour) if needed, for dumplings to hold together.
  4. Using wet hands if needed, using about 2 tablespoons for each, form into balls.
  5. Bring broth (or soup) to boil. Add dumplings and reduce heat to a simmer. Dumplings will float to the top when they are done, about 20 minutes.
  6. Serve soup, garnished with parsley.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/05/06/liver-noodles-leberknoedel/

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInDigg thisEmail this to someonePrint this page

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/

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInDigg thisEmail this to someonePrint this page

postheadericon Mozhee (or Moche)

Mozhee (aka Moshee, Moche, Mozhy among others; meaning molasses related), a hard molasses candy, is a Coal Region favorite often sold at bake sales and fundraisers. It always seems to sell out quickly and people often request the recipe here. Many people fondly remember their grandmother or mother making it. It can be poured in a flat pan and broken in pieces to eat once hardened or, as was popular for bake sales, poured into muffin tins making “individual” pieces that could be easily wrapped and sold. You can keep it plain or sprinkle it with chopped walnuts, peanuts, shredded coconut or a mixture of them to your liking.

Back in “the day”, folks often got their molasses at the company or general store. It would be in a large barrel; the cook would take an empty jar to the store where it would be filled with molasses from the barrel – hence “barrel molasses”. Today’s equivalent would be unsulphured baking molasses (not blackstrap molasses).

I have two Mozhee recipes and will share them both with you. One is an old recipe that lists “barrel molasses” as an ingredient which will yield a stronger flavored candy (some people find it a bit bitter), the other is from a Pa Dutch cookbook and uses table syrup (like King’s Table Syrup or Turkey Brand Table Syrup) which yields a milder tasting candy. I will include both versions in this post. The basic method of preparation is similar for either.

Mozhee needs to be cooked to what is known in the candy making world as the “hard crack” stage – 300 to 310 F degrees.  Brittles and lollipops are made from syrup heated to the hard crack stage. As a sugar syrup is cooked, water boils away, the sugar concentration increases, and the temperature rises. The highest temperature that the sugar syrup reaches tells you what the syrup will be like when it cools.  If you are not experienced at candy making (and even if you are…), I HIGHLY suggest investing in a candy thermometer and using it. It can be your best friend and help eliminate “goofs” due to incorrect cooking. To use the thermometer, stand it upright in the candy syrup so the bulb is completely immersed in the liquid. Do not let the bulb touch the bottom of the pan. Clip it in place.

If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can still make candy from sugar syrups by using the cold-water method to test the stage. During the cooking stage, remove your pan from the heat and drop a small spoonful of sugar syrup into a bowl of very cold water. Immerse your hand in the cold water, try to form the sugar into a ball, and bring it out of the water. By examining the shape and texture of the resulting candy blob, you can determine the approximate temperature of your sugar. This method takes a little practice, and is not as exact as a candy thermometer, but it will do in a pinch! For ””hard crack” stage which is what the mozhee needs to reach, the  hot syrup will form brittle threads in the cold water and will crack if you try to mold it. I had no picture of the actual mozhee and apologize, but found one that resembles the Mozhee (sorry – I did the best I could…).

Mozhee (or Moche)

Mozhee (or Moche)

Mozhee (Hard Molasses Candy)

Ingredients

    Mozhee #1
    Ingredients
  • 1 cup "barrel" molasses (today = unsulphured mild baking molasses; not blackstrap molasses)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla
  • 1/8 lb. butter
  • Walnuts, peanuts, coconut (all optional)
    Method
  • Combine first three ingredients in a heavy saucepan or No.10 cast iron frying pan, stirring until dissolved and then stirring occasionally until the mixture forms a hard "crack" stage (300 to 310F degrees on a candy thermometer). Reduce heat, add vanilla and butter. Mix thoroughly. Pour into buttered pie pans sprinkled with nuts and/or coconut if you desire. Allow to harden, break into pieces to eat.
    Mozhee #2
    Ingredients
  • 1 lb light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup King’s Syrup or Turkey Table Syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Optional – chopped English walnuts, chopped peanuts, and/or shredded coconut
    Method
  • Combine sugar, molasses, butter and water in a heavy 2 or 3 quart saucepan. Cook until a brittle thread forms in cold water, or use a candy thermometer and heat to 300 to 310. Remove from heat.
  • Add vanilla. Pour into well greased muffin tins, about ¼ inch high or into buttered pie pans sprinkled with nuts and/or coconut, if desired.
  • Makes 20 to 24 muffin sized pieces.
  • When cool, pop out of tins and wrap in waxed paper. To eat: smack candy against hard surface to crack into bite-sized pieces.

Instructions

http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/04/30/mozhee-or-moche/

 

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInDigg thisEmail this to someonePrint this page

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/

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInDigg thisEmail this to someonePrint this page

postheadericon Pickled Beef Heart

While the heart is an organ, beef heart doesn’t actually qualify as organ meat. It’s a muscle, so it has a texture more similar to steak than liver. Not only is beef heart packed with lean protein and essential amino acids, it’s also rich in vitamins, enzymes, and minerals. Think of heart as a type of steak.  The use of beef heart has a long history among the Pa. Dutch and Amish, many of who raised and butchered their own meats.  It is also enjoyed by many in the Coal Region as it was easily obtained from farmers and at butcher shops plentiful throughout the area. When he was a young boy, my Dad left school at 8th grade in order to help support his four brothers, a sister, and Mom and Dad (who was a miner).  He did odd jobs and cleaned up at the local butcher shop and was often given things like liver, stomach, and heart to bring home which helped feed a miner’s family and their hungry, growing kids. They never complained, grew to like it and, in his later years, Pop would ask my Mom to make pickled heart for him.  “Nose-to-tail eating” was a frugality often necessary to survive and make ends meet and many cultures became creative with it!

Mom used to clean the heart first, cook it, then slice it or cut it into bite-sized pieces. Some cooks clean it after cooking. This recipe has optional pickling spice and is from a very old Pa. Dutch Cookbook, but many people, like my Mom, never used pickling spice. The option is yours.To prep the heart pre-cooking, cut away the fat, membranes, valves, tendons, and other connective tissue that doesn’t look very appetizing, so that you’re only left with nice and clean pieces of muscle. Then soak the heart in a salty cold water bath to help draw out the blood from the heart. Discard this soaking liquid. Beef heart is cooked when a knife or fork enter without difficulty.

Pickled Beef Heart

Pickled Beef Heart

Pickled Beef Heart

Ingredients

  • 1 beef heart (cleaned and cut into 3 or 4 pieces)
  • Beef stock or broth to cover meat (OR salted water)
  • One peeled and halved medium onion
  • PLUS one thinly sliced onion for layering in the jar with the heart and brine
  • Salt to taste - amount depends on how salted your broth/stock is
    Brine
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • OPTIONAL 1 Tablespoon pickling spice (cloves removed)

Instructions

  1. Clean then cook heart meat in the broth (using enough to cover and salt to taste) in covered pot approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until done. Heart beef is cooked when a knife or fork enter without difficulty.
  2. Drain, cool to handle, and slice the meat.
  3. Place the sliced beef heart and onions in a large glass jar, alternating layers. Pepper the meat generously. Set aside.
  4. Combine vinegar, water, salt (and optional pickling spices) in a saucepan and bring to a boil, remove from heat, and pour over beef heart in jar.
  5. Refrigerate and wait a couple days before eating.

Notes

Some cooks add some peeled garlic cloves to the jar.

http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/04/18/pickled-beef-heart/

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInDigg thisEmail this to someonePrint this page

postheadericon Mom’s Homemade Easter Eggs

In the Coal Region, churches and organizations turn out tens of thousands of handmade candy Easter eggs, selling them to raise much needed funds.  It is tradition among many families to make their own eggs, too. Every one who makes them usually likes their recipe best and in my family, it was no different. Over the years, I have had many handmade eggs at Easter – from far and wide – but Mom’s eggs always were – and always will be – MY favorite.  Nothing said Easter was nearing in my house like seeing the makings for these eggs come into the kitchen with that week’s “store order” (grocery shopping)

Mom called these “peanut butter” eggs, but always used some fresh, finely grated coconut in them (which Dad cracked, peeled, and grated). She never varied the ingredients. She never made other filling flavors. To this day, THESE are what homemade Easter eggs are measured against in my mind.

Mom always used her hands for mixing the filling – no electric mixer for her!  She could easily tell by touch whether or not the mix needed any adjustments to bring it to a creamy consistency that rolled nicely but did not stick to your hands. Mom and I always made Easter eggs together at our kitchen table when I was a kid and I can remember finding it amusing watching her start out with “Frankenstein hands”  as the filling was super mushy at the start but came together and rolled itself off her fingers as she added the powdered sugar.

I perched on the edge of that chrome and yellow vinyl chair just waiting to get the first teeny ball Mom would roll and hand to me, her “official taste tester”.  I thought I called the shots as to whether they were firm enough or not and, to be honest, knew immediately they were just right but always “needed” a couple more tastes “to make sure”!

Once the mixture was ready, out came the wax paper-lined cookie sheets and she and I set to work pinching off lumps of filling and doing our best to form them into acceptable, two-bite-sized, egg-like shapes. My Dad had some kind of built in detector that let him know the eggs were at the point of going into the refrigerator to set overnight before dipping and he never failed to show up when we were otherwise distracted, snag a few naked eggs for snacking, and disappear again. The only evidence of his thievery was the glaring empty spaces left on the trays among the carefully placed and spaced rows of eggs.

When it came time to dip them, Mom chopped up blocks of semi-sweet baking chocolate (found in the baking aisle of the grocery) and a little bit of paraffin wax (I can close my eyes today and see the box of “Gulf” wax sitting on the kitchen counter) which kept the chocolate shiny once it hardened, and melted them together on top of a double boiler. She would take a small amount of the naked rolled eggs from the refrigerator, snag each with a toothpick, dip the egg, deposit it onto another wax paper-lined tray and take a teaspoon and drop a tiny bit of the melted chocolate on to the hole left by the toothpick to seal it. The thin, semi-sweet coating perfectly offset the sweetness of the inside of the egg. The finished eggs were always stored in the refrigerator in a covered tin, resting layer upon layer, separated by rounds of wax paper. To this day, my favorite way to eat these eggs is ice cold from the fridge, the bite into it taking me back to Easters many decades ago in that kitchen in the Coal Region.

If you make these, you might want to coat them using what many people favor today and I use – candy coating wafers which are widely available in cake and candy making supply stores and many supermarkets carry them around Easter. Using these wafers will yield a thicker chocolate coating on your egg than the semi-sweet baking chocolate method. The wafers are available in light, dark, and white along with flavors like peanut butter and also come in a rainbow of colors allowing you to get really creative with your decorating and flavor combos. I personally prefer Merckens brand. If the eggs get soft while you are dipping them, take only a few from the refrigerator at a time to dip.  I NEVER use baking chips to coat my eggs – the results for me are less than satisfactory in appearance and the quality of chips among brands varies wildly.

You can make bite-sized eggs or jumbo ones; the yield from the recipe will depend on how much filling you use for each egg.  Make sure you have sufficient powdered sugar available before starting the recipe, amounts needed can vary slightly depending on weather, peanut butter used, etc.  I use only Jif or Skippy traditional creamy peanut butter. I have found only these two give me consistent, quality results. If using bagged coconut, rather than fresh, I use unsweetened and give it a whirl in the food processor to break the shreds/flakes down into fairly fine pieces. And yes, you can skip the coconut altogether if you prefer; adjust your powdered sugar when mixing to get the right consistency.

Homemade Peanut Butter Easter Eggs

Homemade Peanut Butter Easter Eggs

Homemade Easter Eggs

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds confectioners' sugar (approximately - have extra in case needed)
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) salted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces creamy peanut butter (Jif or Skippy)
  • 1 to 2 cups finely grated fresh coconut, to your taste (or store-bought unsweetened)
  • OR skip the coconut - you will need to adjust the amount of powdered sugar.
  • Coating wafers - the amount you need depends on how large you make the eggs; smaller eggs use up more coating chocolate. I buy a several pounds, there are lots of uses for extra if you have it..

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter (margarine) and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the coconut and mix well.
  4. Add the powdered sugar, starting with a couple cups, mix and continue to add powdered sugar as needed to get a soft filling that is not sticky and can be rolled into egg shapes using your palms.
  5. Form egg shaped balls in desired size and place on lined cookie sheet(s).
  6. Cover and refrigerate several hours.
    To coat
  1. Melt coating wafers in top of double boiler; take care not to get any steam or water in chocolate or it will seize up.. Re-warm as needed.Stir the coating occasionally. Use fork to dip egg, tap off excess chocolate on rim of pan, drop egg onto lined pan to set.
  2. Store in refrigerator.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/04/16/moms-homemade-easter-eggs/

 

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInDigg thisEmail this to someonePrint this page