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Posts Tagged ‘Retro’

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/

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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 Do Nothing Cake

My Mom always had some favorite “go-to” recipes that found themselves on the table at many family get-togethers or community events. She concentrated on foods that were easily transported, pleased a variety of palates, were budget friendly, and were not labor intensive. When called upon to provide a dessert, this cake was at the top of her list.  My Mom made this a gazillion times (ok, a LOT…) for many different occasions throughout the 60s and 70s.  I would hang out with her at our yellow vinyl and chrome kitchen table set not necessarily paying much attention to the creation of the cake but counting down the minutes until I could scrape the bowl and lick the spoon.  Mom would always intentionally leave some batter in the bowl rather than meticulously scrape it all into the baking pan “just because” I was “such a good helper”.

Although this cake was taken to many events, there is one that stands out in my 58 year old mind as if it were yesterday. Mom was a member of the local hosey’s (volunteer fire company) Ladies’ Auxiliary (back in the era when women could join the auxiliary of the organization and provide “support” and building and equipment fundraising help, but not be a member of the Fire Company itself…). The auxiliary met monthly at the hosey to discuss business (and keep up to date on neighborhood events and “happenings”) and each month it was the responsibility of that month’s “refreshment committee” to serve coffee and snacks at the official close of the meeting. I would often go with my Mom to the meeting and sit quietly at the bar doing homework or snacking on a piece of hot bologna, a 5 cent bag of Marsden’s potato chips, and a Coca Cola served in one of those little green glass bottles. When the meeting was over and refreshment time rolled around, I proudly took my place next to Mom at one of the long banquet tables while seated on a gunmetal gray folding chair that had the initials of the hosey stenciled on the rear of the backrest and told the ladies in attendance how “I helped bake the cake” Mom was serving. God love them; they smiled and nodded and made happy noises…and made my day. Of course, my chosen cake that evening out of the couple contributions available was always this one! Oh, Mom – how I miss my “baking buddy” and wish I could get you back, if even just for one minute.

This cake is very moist and makes an elegant treat for dinner guests, your family, or a potluck.  Make sure to poke plenty of holes in the cake top so the topping flows into the cake nicely. If transporting it, bake it in a disposable foil pan to safe the work of having to retrieve your cake pan later.

Do Nothing Cake

Ingredients

    Cake
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 - 20 ounce crushed pineapple, un-drained
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    Topping
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine or butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
  3. Mix all cake ingredients in large bowl until just combined.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cake just tests done (do not over-bake).
  5. Make topping while cake is baking.
    Topping
  1. In sauce pan, place margarine or butter, sugar, and evaporated milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until it bubbles, then cook 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut and nuts until blended.
  3. Poke holes across entire top of cake with skewer or a long-tine fork.
  4. Pour the warm topping over the still warm cake (the topping will ooze down through the holes you made.)
  5. Spread the topping to cover the entire top of cake.
  6. May be served slightly warm or completely cooled.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/03/30/do-nothing-cake/

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postheadericon Coconut Dusted Cake with Cooked Frosting

When I was a kid in the 60s and 70s, every holiday had its ritual in my family. Easter was no exception. Every year, without fail, Mom and I went shopping for an Easter outfit for me, complete with requisite frilly hat and often, given the penchant for the Coal Region to spew forth unseasonably cool weather around Easter, a coat (lookout Sears, Robert Hall, and Town and Country, here we come!). An order was placed with our church for a potted lily which would join dozens of other pots lined up on the altar Easter morning with cards attached to a lilac bow inscribed with the names of deceased loved ones the flowers honored. Two dozen eggs were bought and stored in the refrigerator early (because eggs that are not ultra fresh peel easier when hard-boiled, don’tcha know…) awaiting their bath in Paas egg dye which magically produced lovely bowls of color in which to dip those eggs by dropping a little tablet of fizz into a bowl of combined vinegar and water.  My favorite Easter basket came out of the attic along with the colorful cardboard bunny and egg cutout decorations that were taped to the inside surface of the picture window in the front “parlor” of our house. Evidence of tape from previous years were always clearly visible on those poor, overused decorations, but I loved them. Local hoseys (volunteer fire companies or “hose companies”), clubs, and organizations planned and held Easter egg hunts for children in their towns. It was no holds barred when the signal was given to “Go!” and dozens of kids, running in all different directions, turned over every leaf and looked under every shrub, hoping to find not only an egg, but a numbered egg which denoted a prize.  Oh, to be the lucky one in your age group to uncover and snag the egg marked with a “1”. More often than not, that number corresponded to a ginormous chocolate bunny that was coveted by every kid in attendance.  Numbers “2” and “3” also brought prizes, but oh how they paled in comparison to “1”! During the shopping trip to the local A & P for the supplies for our family’s Easter feast, my Mom would place a fresh coconut in the cart which would come home to be used for her favorite cake which she made every year for Easter dinner without fail. Once home, I would plant myself on a chair at the kitchen table and watch my Dad set to work on the coconut. Mom always told Dad she left the prep work of them to him because he was so proficient at it, but I think she preferred to get through the experience with unscathed knuckles. Dad stood at the sink, a coconut sitting on a tea towel in his left hand, a hammer in his right. With a confident swing of the hammer, and a resounding “thwaaack” the coconut split open and the water from inside poured into the sink.  Dad then separated the meat from the hard shell,  picked up the peeler and removed the brown “skin” from the creamy white coconut meat. Out came the box grater and he grated every bit of that coconut by hand, somehow managing not to scrape his knuckles even as each piece became smaller and smaller as he worked.  Perfect! Even though my child’s mind was convinced otherwise  there was nothing magical about the freshly grated coconut and, over the years, I have made this cake using store bought shredded coconut and it was delicious. I now realize the memories, the traditions, and the love in our family is what made those coconuts and the cake lovingly created with them so special.  If you can get fresh coconut to use, go for it. If not, flaked or grated commercially prepared will work just as well.  If you are not a fan of coconut, leave it off, the cake and frosting are delicious on their own. This icing is not overly sweet and is light and smooth. This recipe is in my files in my Mom’s handwriting and has been around longer that I have been.

Coconut Dusted Cake with Cooked Frosting

Coconut Dusted Cake with Cooked Frosting

Coconut Dusted Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup softened butter and shortening (about half and half)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
    Icing
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

    Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Grease and flour 2 - 9 inch layer cake pans.
  3. In bowl, cream sugar and butter/shortening until light and creamy.
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended.
  5. Stir together flour and baking powder in small bowl.
  6. Add the milk and flour mixture, alternating, ending with the flour mixture. Beat until well blended and smooth.
  7. Divide cake mix evenly in pans, bake on center oven rack until top springs back when pressed or cake tester comes out clean. (Mom never wrote down the baking time, and I am embarrassed to say I never did either. I check by sight and cake tester. I would start watching them at 20 minutes or so.)
  8. Cool in pans 15 minutes then turn out onto rack to cool completely.
  9. Once cool. place one layer on plate, frost top, place second layer on top, frost top and sides.
  10. Sprinkle coconut on top and/or sides.
    Icing
  1. Place Flour in small saucepan and whisk in milk until smooth.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
  4. In mixing bowl, place the butter, shortening, sugar and salt and beat with mixer until light, beat in the vanilla, then add the cooled milk/flour mixture and beat until smooth and fluffy.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/02/18/coconut-dusted-cake-with-cooked-frosting/

 

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postheadericon Baked Paczki (Polish Doughnuts)

As the Easter season approaches, many of us in the Coal Region look to tradition for our final indulgences in foods that were often abstained from during the Lenten season.  The day before the start of Lent, known as “Fat Tuesday” (or Shrove Tuesday) in many regions is often referred to as “Donut Day” or “Fasnacht Day” in the Pa Dutch and Coal Regions. Due to our heavy influence of Eastern European cultures and immigrants, it is also known as “Paczki Day” in many Polish households. As with other cultures in our region, the making of paczki is traditionally a way to use up all of the fat, sugar, and fruit in the house–things that are forbidden during the strict Polish Lenten season. In Poland, Paczki Day, the day when all of the last paczki are consumed, is the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. In the USA, Paczki Day is the day before Ash Wednesday. The difference between these and a basic doughnut is that paczki are made with a very rich, sweet yeast dough consisting of eggs, butter and milk. Sort of like a brioche doughnut. Traditionally, paczki are fried in hot fat, but many people either do not have the kitchen equipment to deep fry, or they prefer not to do so due to health or safety concerns. This is a recipe for BAKED paczki that are just as delicious as their fried counterparts and baking them gives you a great kid-friendly recipe and opportunity to involve the younger members of the household in the process to introduce them to family traditions! Paczki can be filled with a variety of fruit jams or cremes, but the most traditional filling is a stewed plum jam or rose hip jam. The easiest way to fill these is to use a pastry bag fitted with a Bismarck Tip. If you do not have a bag/tip, you can cut a slit in the side of the baked dough and spoon in some jam. Fill with your favorite fruit preserve or even lemon curd or custard. Baked paczki last longer than fried, but are still best consumed the day they are made.

Baked Paczki (Polish Doughnuts)

Baked Paczki (Polish Doughnuts)

Baked Paczki (Polish Donuts)

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups warm milk (105 to 110 degrees F)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) room-temperature butter
  • 1 large room-temperature egg
  • 3 large room-temperature egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (or rum)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Optional: Granulated sugar, Confectioners' sugar, and fruit paste or jam for filling

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, add yeast to warm milk, stir to dissolve and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in egg, egg yolks, brandy or rum and salt until well incorporated.
  3. Still using the paddle attachment, add 4-1/2 cups flour alternately with the milk-yeast mixture and beat for five or more minutes by machine and longer by hand until smooth. The dough will be very slack. If very soft or runny, add up to the remaining 1/2 cup flour.
  4. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk approximately 1-1/2 to 2 -1/2 hours. Punch down, cover and let rise again.
  5. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Pat or roll to 1/2 to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut rounds with 3-inch cutter. Remove scraps, and re-roll and re-cut. Transfer rounds to parchment-lined baking sheets, cover and let rounds rise until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes or longer.
  6. Heat oven to 375F degrees.
  7. Place pączki in the oven on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until toothpick tests clean when inserted into center.
  8. Remove from oven and roll in granulated sugar while still hot or confectioners' sugar when cool.
  9. To fill the pączki, let them cool completely then pipe or spoon in filling.
  10. Baked pączki are best eaten the day they are made.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/02/14/baked-paczki-polish-doughnuts/

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postheadericon Choose Your Fruit Coffee Cake

When I find myself staring at the walls or in the midst of a bad case of cabin fever…I make food.  I “cook” as much as I “bake” and if pressed to answer the question, “Which do you enjoy more?” my answer would be that baking squeaks out the win. After doing some soul searching on why that would be my choice, I realized that I have a huge file of recipes for baked goods that I can turn out quickly, often with less stress, mess, and fuss than non-desserts. Plus, there are just some days where a big ‘ole piece of cake wins out over a four-course meal in the happiness department. One of my favorite quick-to-whip-up snacks is this coffee cake which makes use of just about any fruit I might have hanging out in the fridge at any time of year. I have even used a jar of good quality jam as the fruit filling in a pinch (Oooo, I just made it easier to make – now I have no excuses not to!) This cake was a favorite of my parents. My Dad always had a cup of coffee while we were still gathered around the kitchen table after supper together every night and really liked something sweet to accompany it. After I found this recipe and made it the first time, Dad laughingly remarked it tasted “moor-ish” (he wanted “more”) and pretty much demolished the cake by the next day. After that, it became one of my most requested creations and we had a blast trying fruit after fruit throughout the year. We never did have one that emerged as a “favorite”…they were all greeted and devoured with enthusiasm. I cannot remember how many times I baked this coffee cake, but each and every time I do, in my memories I see us sitting at the kitchen table, sharing the laughs of the day with each other.  I think I’ll go stir up this cake — and some memories — right now. (Recipe from a classic Better Homes and Gardens cookbook)

Choose Your Fruit Coffee Cake

Yield: 9

Choose Your Fruit Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake

Ingredients

    Fruit
  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups sliced, peeled apricots or peaches; chopped, peeled apples; chopped pineapple; pitted cherries; blueberries, blackberries or red raspberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    Cake
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 Tablespoons cold salted butter
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk (to sour milk, mix 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar with the milk, stir, and allow to stand for 5 minutes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    Crumb Topping
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold salted butter

Instructions

    Filling
    Apricot/peach/apple/pineapple/cherry/blueberry filling – combine prepared fruit and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until fruit is tender.
  1. Combine sugar and cornstarch; stir into fruit. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thicken and bubbly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set filling aside.
    Blackberry/red raspberry filling – Combine fruit, water, sugar and cornstarch. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thicken and bubbly, about 5 to 7 minutes. Set filling aside.
    Prepare crumb topping
  1. Mix flour and sugar in a small bowl. Cut in cold butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Set aside.
    Prepare Cake
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees. (325F degrees if using glass baking pan)
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Cut in butter, until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
  3. In another small bowl, mix egg, buttermilk (or sour milk) and vanilla; pour into flour mixture. stir with wooden spoon until just moistened – some lumps may remain.
  4. Spread half the batter into a lightly greased 8x8x2-inch square baking pan.
  5. Spread cooled fruit filling evenly over batter.
  6. Drop remaining batter in small mounds on top of fruit filling.
  7. Sprinkle with crumb topping.
  8. Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Serve warm or cooled. Store covered with plastic wrap for up to two days.

Notes

Rhubarb-Strawberry Coffee Cake: Prepare as above, except substitute 3/4 cup fresh or frozen cut-up rhubarb and 3/4 cup frozen unsweetened whole strawberries for fruit. Continue as directed.

http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/01/23/choose-your-fruit-coffee-cake/

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postheadericon Irish Potatoes (Candy)

Irish potato candy is a traditional Philadelphia confection that, despite its name, is not from Ireland, and this version does not contain any potato. The candies have a coconut cream inside and are rolled in cinnamon on the outside, resulting in an appearance reminiscent of tiny, freshly dug potatoes. The “potatoes” are about the size of a large marble and are especially popular around St. Patrick’s Day. Although they are Philly-based, they are available in many areas and are made commercially by Oh Ryan’s of Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, who claims to be the largest distributor of Irish Potatoes, shipping about 80,000 pounds to major chains and smaller candy stores, mostly in the Philadelphia area. See’s Candies, based in South San Francisco, also makes a version.  You will often find these candies featured as a seasonal product in the Philly area and elsewhere in Eastern Pa (and beyond) in supermarkets and candy shops. It is super simple to make your own with a few ingredient! Rarely does a St Paddy’s Day go by that a container of these are not in my refrigerator. Be aware – they are addicting!

NOTE: You can substitute cocoa for the cinnamon if you prefer (especially if you do not like the “bite” of cinnamon)

Irish Potatoes Candy

Irish Potatoes Candy

Irish Potatoes Candy

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup salted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces (1/2 - 8 ounce package) full fat cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted to remove lumps
  • 2 and 1/2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon or as needed

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  2. Add the vanilla and confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth.
  3. Using your hands if necessary, mix in the coconut. Roll into one or two bite sized balls then slightly elongate the ball into a potato shape.
  4. Roll in the cinnamon.
  5. Place onto a cookie sheet and chill. Store in refrigerator tightly covered.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/01/21/irish-potatoes-candy/

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postheadericon Battered French Toast

My family was never fond of French toast. We liked the flavor, but took issue with the mushy interior. One evening many moons ago at my Girl Scout meeting working on a cooking badge, the recipe used to teach us basics in the kitchen was for French toast — but this French toast was dipped in a flour based batter, not just eggs and milk.  We cut each piece of bread in half to make a triangle, dipped the slices in the batter, and fried them in a mix of butter and a little oil until browned and crispy on the edges. OMG, I was in love. The next day, I was anxious to share my new found love affair with this version of French toast with Mom and Dad and it was an immediate hit. I could not fry pieces quickly enough to keep up with the demand. To this day, THIS is the only French toast I will eat. Serving options are endless and your choice. My Dad was particularly fond of a good quality grape jam smeared on top. They are great with maple syrup, fruit syrup, caramel or chocolate syrup, fresh fruit, or any flavor jam or jelly. Use your imagination when it comes to bread choices, the only requirement is to use a bread that will stand up to dipping in the batter. Try raisin bread, brioche, panettone, French bread, Italian bread, even Texas toast. If you slice your own bread, make sure to slice to about 3/4 inch thickness.

Battered French Toast

Battered French Toast

Battered French Toast

Ingredients

  • Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp white sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted plus additional solid butter for pan frying
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 to 12 slices of thick sliced hearty bread (about 3/4 inch thick)
  • Vegetable shortening or vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl place the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar together and mix well.
  2. In a square baking dish or wide bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, butter and vanilla extract.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk well. .Batter will have some lumps.
  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add 1 T butter and 1 T oil (or use all vegetable shortening) to pan and allow to heat through.
  5. Dip one side of a bread slice in batter, flip it over and dip the other. Allow excess batter to drip off.
  6. Place in heated pan. Repeat with enough slices to fill pan.
  7. Brown one side, flip, brown the other, adjusting heat to prevent burning.
  8. Repeat with remaining batter/bread. Add butter/oil/shortening as needed to fry.
  9. Serve immediately or hold in warm oven for serving.
  10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired, serve with toppings of your choice.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/01/17/battered-french-toast/

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postheadericon Crab Spread Appetizer

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

Layered Crab Spread

Layered Crab Spread

Layered Crab Spread

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

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