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Posts Tagged ‘vegetable’

postheadericon Lithuanian Kugelis (Bulviu Plokstainis)

Lithuanian Kugelis

If you asked 1,000 Lithuanian families for their Kugelis recipe, you more than likely would receive 1,000 different versions – varying sometimes by only one ingredient or amount of ingredient.  Kugelis is widely served in Lithuania in both restaurants and home kitchens. It translates to: “flat potato dish” or “potato pancake”. It is a comfort food and akin to how we, in the US, view Mac and cheese as a comfort food – we all have a family recipe and all like our own the best. Consisting of very finely grated potatoes, milk, onion, eggs, bacon and fat, Lithuanian Kugelis should not be confused with the Jewish Kugel which is a noodle dish. Because the technique for making this dish, although not rocket science, does need careful attention and the steps are important to follow — including the speed needed to grate and prep the potatoes and keeping them from graying — I have linked to a prize winning recipe that includes detailed directions for creating this delicious dish. It is more expedient than trying to explain the steps here and, since it is a prize winning recipe, I believe it is a good place to start if you are new to this dish.

Go to the Recipe: >> Prize-Winning Lithuanian Kugelis Recipe

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postheadericon AuGratin Cabbage

I love cabbage. It is the Pa Dutch and Eastern European influence of the Coal Region that introduced me to this lovely veggie as a child.  I love it in cold dishes and I love it cooked. Add cheese and buttery crumbs to the mix and I cannot wait for this casserole to come out of the oven. It consists of a smooth, creamy, cheesy sauce tossed with par-boiled cabbage then topped with buttery crumbs and baked until browned and bubbling. It is a wonderful way to use up that partial head of cabbage in the veggie bin. For an extra cheese kick, use finely crushed cheese crackers like Goldfish or Cheez-its for the topping crumbs. Either give the cracker a whirl in the food processor until fine, or place the crackers in a zip lock bag and pound with a rolling pin.  Shake the bag periodically to move the larger un-crushed pieces around and repeat until all the pieces are finely crushed.

AuGratin Cabbage

AuGratin Cabbage

Ingredients

  • Approximately 4 cups shredded Cabbage, medium shred (about 1/2")
  • 3 T flour
  • 3 T butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed crackers OR bread crumbs (Goldfish, Cheez-it, Ritz, Keebler Club crackers, etc)
  • 2 T melted butter

Instructions

  1. Cook cabbage in a small amount of lightly salted water with a pinch of sugar added. Do not overcook, should be tender-crisp.
  2. Prepare sauce:
  3. Melt 3 T butter in sauce pan, add flour, salt and pepper. Stir and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes to cook the flour. Add in milk gradually. Cook until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted and smooth.
  4. Drain water from cabbage. Alternate layers of cabbage and sauce into a greased casserole.
  5. Melt 2 T butter and toss with the 1/2 cup crumbs of your choice until well coated., Sprinkle top of casserole evenly with crumbs.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes or till bubbling and crumbs are browned.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/09/augratin-cabbage/

 

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postheadericon Creamed Cucumbers

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

Creamed Cucumbers

 

Creamed Cucumbers

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

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postheadericon Halupki Casserole

I adore halupki, (AKA golumpki, blind pigeons, stuffed cabbage, etc.) but I do not always have time to core, cook, and prep whole cabbage leaves or dedicate the cooking time to the traditional roll version. I also often find myself with a partial head of cabbage in the veggie bin left over from making another dish…no whole leaves to harvest from the head, but still lots of usefulness left. In those instances, I put together this faster to prep and cook casserole version of Halupki that provides all the flavor with far less fuss. As with the rolls, I like this served with mashed potatoes as a side. This recipe gets its sweet and sour element in the sauce from tomato soup and a little sugar and vinegar. You can add a few strips of bacon to the top when baking, or even a layer of sauerkraut; dress it up with what you like and what you have on hand if desired. This freezes beautifully; just thaw and reheat when you get a craving! I like to mimic the inside of traditional halupki by making little meatballs to layer in the casserole, but you can cut the prep time even more by just sprinkling little “globs” of the meat mixture into the dish. I have also made this in the slow-cooker. Prep the recipe as written, but layer into the crock, cook on low 4 – 6 hours or until cabbage is tender. I normally oven bake this in a disposable aluminum lasagna pan; it gives me some extra depth to avoid spill overs and makes for super easy cleanup.

Halupki Casserole

Halupki Casserole

Ingredients

  • Approx 1-1/2 - 2 lb cabbage, core removed and chopped in 1/2 inch pieces or medium shreds (approx. 1/4" )
  • Meat Mixture
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork (OR use all ground beef)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1 small onion, diced fine
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Sauce
  • 2 - 10 ounce cans condensed tomato soup
  • 1 - 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 - 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 T white vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • OPTIONAL: 1 - 2 cups sauerkraut and/or bacon strips (to layer on top of cabbage.)

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together, set aside.
  2. In another bowl, mix the meat mixture ingredients together well. Form into bite-sized meatballs.
  3. In a deep casserole dish or lasagna pan, place a few spoonfuls of sauce, then layer half the meatballs, then half the cabbage on top and pour half the remaining sauce over the top. Repeat with remaining meatballs, then cabbage, then last of the sauce. NOTE: If you are using sauerkraut and/or bacon, place these on the layers of cabbage before adding the sauce each time.
  4. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 F degrees until cabbage is tender. Baking time varies with how large or small you chopped the cabbage. Start testing the cabbage with a fork after 1 hour. Recover tightly and continue to cook until tender.
  5. NOTE #1: Natural water content of cabbage will vary with each head. You may find your cabbage has released a lot of water or not much. If your casserole seems to need more sauce or is drying, add a little water as it bakes. I always "sloosh" the tomato soup cans with some water to rinse them well and use this if I need to adjust the liquid during baking.
  6. NOTE #2: If adding bacon to your layers, keep in mind bacon will release grease as it cooks, Adding a lot of bacon can cause an excess of grease in the finished dish especially if you start with a high fat ground beef.
  7. NOTE #3: This is not a precise recipe. You might have more or less cabbage, use more or less meat, need more or less sauce...It is one of those recipes where your eyes and instincts will guide you as you put it together.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/06/halupki-casserole/

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postheadericon Old-Fashioned Potato Soup

This is my well-used recipe for Potato Soup that was a favorite of my Dad’s.  As a little girl, I remember him coming home after hauling coal from Tremont, Pa. in the Coal Region to Philadelphia and New York City in his tractor-trailer and me running out to greet him and climbing up into the cab to ride to the top of the driveway where he parked.  At least once a week, Mom had a pot of this soup simmering and ready for him when he arrived home. As I grew older and took over the kitchen, I made this for him many, many times. This is not meant to be a thickened potato soup, but rather a very simple one found in PA Dutch cuisine that consists of a thin, milky broth filled with potatoes – easy and budget friendly. If you do not like, or do not eat, hard-cooked eggs, you can omit them, but I recommend adding them otherwise. You can garnish with crumbled fried bacon, chives, paprika…your choice, but keep in mind, this is meant to be a very simple dish to keep it traditional.

Old Fashioned Potato Soup

 

Old-Fashioned Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided plus additional for garnish
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 - 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 6 large potatoes, peeled and diced in to 1/2 inch dice (about 2 pounds)
  • Water
  • 3 cups whole milk OR 1-1/2 cups whole milk and 1- 12 ounce can full fat evaporated milk (NOT condensed milk)
  • 3 hard cooked eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • OPTIONAL: Fresh or dried parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cook the onions and celery in 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until softened but not browned. Add potatoes and JUST enough water to cook (just barely to the top of the potatoes). Season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low.
  2. SIMMER until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Watch that you do not boil too hard and cook the pan dry. Do not drain.
  3. Add the milk, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat just until hot, do not boil. Stir in the chopped eggs, serve with another pat of butter on top if desired and sprinkle of parsley and/or black pepper.
  4. If you choose, you can use a potato masher to mash some of the potato cubes to thicken slightly, but this soup is meant to be thin.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/05/old-fashioned-potato-soup/

 

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postheadericon Stuffed Pepper Soup

Everything you love about stuffed peppers, but in the form of an easy and satisfying soup. Quick to whip up, this soup also freezes nicely. As the cooler weather settles in on the Coal Region, I like to have soups available for speedy meals as often as possible. This one is a favorite of mine and on frequent rotation on my schedule because it comes together quickly, is budget friendly, and does not require hours of simmering.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 can (28 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups chopped green peppers
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cooked long grain rice
  • Chopped fresh parsley, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook and stir beef until no longer pink; drain off excess fat.
  2. Stir in next eight ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Add cooked rice; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes longer. If desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/20/stuffed-pepper-soup/

 

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postheadericon Colcannon

The Coal Region is home to many with deep Irish roots. The discovery of Anthracite and the plentiful work for miners led many Irish laborers, escaping oppression and the infamous potato famine, to the Coal Region. Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish consisting of cabbage (or kale) and onion (or leeks) fried until tender then folded into creamy mashed potatoes. Bacon may be added if desired. Every family has “their” recipe and each will be a little bit different than the others. Colcannon makes a terrific side dish with ham or corned beef, but it can be a meal in itself. Simple, down-to-earth comfort food that’s easy on the budget and sure to please your taste buds. HINT: Form refrigerated leftovers into patties and fry in a pan in some melted butter until browned on both sides.

Colcannon

Colcannon

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1/2 small head cabbage, chopped (or substitute with kale)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender.
  2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, reserving drippings, crumble and set aside. In the reserved drippings, saute the cabbage and onion until soft and translucent.
  3. Drain the cooked potatoes, mash with milk and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the bacon, cabbage, and onions, then transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the melted butter. Serve immediately.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/20/colcannon/

 

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postheadericon Pa. Dutch Pepper Cabbage

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

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

Pa. Dutch Pepper Cabbage

Pa. Dutch Pepper Cabbage

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

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postheadericon Slow-cooker Pork and Sauerkraut

Pork and sauerkraut is traditionally served in the coal region and among the Pa Dutch on New Year’s Day to ensure good luck in the coming year, but it’s too good to make just once a year! It is a popular dish that is often served by churches and fire companies for fund-raising dinners This version uses the slow-cooker for an easy meal you can toss together in the morning and come home to a savory supper or prep it before bedtime and wake up to your next day’s meal ready to go.  The choice of pork is a matter of personal preference and pretty flexible, but I often use thick cut rib or sirloin pork chops; sometimes I use boneless country-style spare ribs, or a rib roast. I tend to stay away from using boneless loin roast only because I feel the lean, very white  meat tends to be “drier” than other cuts.  Some folks also toss in a few pieces of kielbasa. You should use what you want to use – remember, cooking is only “good cooking” if you enjoy eating what you make!

Since the days of many people having a pig in their back yard have passed, grocery stores and butcher shops are prime sources for the pork for this traditional dish and most stores carry sauerkraut in bags, jars, and cans on a regular basis. This dish is traditionally served with mashed potatoes and often accompanied by apple sauce. Restaurants and diners in the coal region and in PA Dutch country often have this on their menus. And I love to mix my pork, sauerkraut, and potatoes all together then squirt on some ketchup.

A bit of history: the dish is a German custom brought over by the Pennsylvania Dutch (Pennsylvania Deutsch = German) settlers to Pa.  Winter butchering often took place in the months just before Christmas or New Year’s, so celebratory meals happened around those times with a feast of roasted fresh pork. Sauerkraut was often added to the meal as a side dish because fall is the height of cabbage harvesting. It is believed that pork was thought to bring good luck because “the pig roots forward.” This “rooting forward” by the pig and its snout symbolizes progress. The Pennsylvania Dutch are known to tell children that if they eat sauerkraut on New Year’s Day, they’re in for “a sweet year.” It’s also said in Dutch folklore that long strands of sauerkraut represent a long life to be lived, and the green color that sauerkraut starts as can symbolize money: The more kraut, the more cash.

Pork, Sauerkraut & Mashed Potatoes

Slow-cooker Pork and Sauerkraut

Ingredients

  • 3 - 4 pounds pork, your choice or chops, roast, boneless or bone-in
  • 1 - 2 lb bag of sauerkraut, undrained (I prefer the bagged, you can use the equivalent from cans or jars)
  • water
  • 1 eating apple, peeled, cored, and cubed
  • 1 medium onion, in wedges or large chunks
  • 1 large rib celery, cut into 1/2" slices
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • Black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In the crock, place half of the sauerkraut from the bag and the juice from the bag, half of the onion, half of the celery, and half of the apple.
  2. Place the pork on top of the layer. Sprinkle the pork with black pepper to taste. (You may add salt to taste, but remember there is natural saltiness in the sauerkraut).
  3. Place the remaining sauerkraut, onion, celery, and apple on top of the pork.
  4. Sprinkle with the brown sugar.
  5. Fill the plastic bag the sauerkraut came in about 3/4 full with cold water and pour into the crock.
  6. Place the lid on the crock, set on low for 8 hours. Once done, pork should be very tender and falling off the bone or breaking apart. Either shred or slice the pork and serve with the sauerkraut alongside mashed potatoes.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/17/slowcooker-pork-and-sauerkraut/

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postheadericon Pa Dutch Ham and String Beans

Here is an old stand-by in the Coal Region and Pa Dutch kitchens and is a great one-pot meal.  Use fresh or frozen green (strong) beans, but I prefer fresh whenever possible even though there is a tad more work involved in cleaning the beans. In all my years (okay…decades…) making this, I have used ham hocks, frozen left-over ham ends from holiday dinners, ham ends bought at the grocery store just for this dish when I get the urge, or even a center cut slice of ham although my preference is hocks or the bone-in end for the best flavor in the broth.  If your broth winds up a little “wimpy”, add some ham broth seasoning like Better Than Bouillon brand to taste.  I use plain white potatoes for this although you could use red, yukon gold or even russets. My family always ate it with a splash of cider vinegar in the bowl when served but white vinegar or even red wine vinegar works — if adding vinegar is to your liking.  You can even add a small splash of vinegar to the pot when cooking the beans. I prefer to make this one evening and reheat and serve the next day as I believe the flavors really develop that way, but you can make it and eat it immediately (it can be hard to wait after smelling the yummy fragrance in your home as it cooks!) And no crunchy, squeaky green beans here… the beans should be very soft in this dish. The recipe is VERY forgiving…add more or less potatoes, more or less ham, add some bacon, use more or less green beans… you get the idea. Almost every time I cook this, I wind up accompanying it with a “wilted lettuce” salad using Hot Bacon Dressing and shredded iceberg lettuce

PA Dutch Ham and Green Beans

Pa Dutch Ham and String Beans

Ingredients

  • 2 ham hocks OR a 3 to 4 pound ham end (bone in preferred)
  • Cold water (to cover in pot)
  • 3 to 4 pounds cleaned (ends removed) fresh green beans OR frozen green beans
  • 1 large onion, large dice
  • 2 - 2 1/2 pounds peeled potatoes, cut into chunks (see photo for approximate size reference)
  • Optional if needed - ham flavor bouillon to taste
  • Optional when cooking - small splash cider, white, or red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste (add salt after tasting the final broth!)

Instructions

  1. Place ham in a large pot with lid, cover with water, and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook 1-1/2 to 2 hours to get nicely tender ham and a rich broth. Ham hocks may take longer to cook to fall-apart tender, but that is the stage you want them at.
  2. Remove ham from pot, set aside, and allow to cool enough to handle. When cool, pull ham from bone and cut into chunks or pull into shreds.
  3. Taste broth. You want a nice rich broth, if necessary, add some ham bouillon to enrich to your taste.
  4. Place chunks of ham, diced onion, green beans, and potatoes into pot with broth and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook slowly until beans and potatoes are very tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  5. Serve in bowls with plenty of broth and, if desired, vinegar on the side to add to taste.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/13/pa-dutch-ham-and-string-beans/

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