Monthly Archives: January 2011

poach it, eat it, love it.

I have always had this fascination with poached eggs. They look so delicious, but how is it done? The boiling but not boiling water, the length of time in the water…whats the secret?? So for my lunch i went ahead and gave it a try, no recipes or rule books in hand,and sweet heavens, it was great! Put the egg in almost boiling water, and pull it out when it looks finished. Eat it. That’s it.

most important meal of the day

I love breakfast. During the work week my breakfast is very average, just yogurt or oatmeal. So on Saturday mornings, I love to make a more tasty and substantial breakfast for Joel and I before our weekly jaunt to central market. This breakfast came about for that very reason.

Eggs in Ham Nests

Recipe submitted by Mrs. Ward Shank, Broadway, Va.

1 3/4 cups cooked ground ham

2 Tbsp ham fat

2 Tbsp flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp dry mustard

1 cup milk

6 eggs

Melt fat, add flour and blend. Add chopped ham and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add salt, mustard and milk and cook slowly until thickened.

Pour into a greased shallow baking dish. Make 6

hollows in the mixture and drop an egg into each.                                                                                            

Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until firm.

Serves 6.


Generally I am a healthy eater, not a lot of takeout or processed food. I like to keep things a bit lighter in fat as well and decided to lighten up this recipe. I used chicken sausage instead of ham, used low fat milk and did not use ham fat. The dish turned out great! It was like a healthyish version of eggs over cream chipped beef.

I sautéed some onions to serve with the eggs, and let them caramelize while the eggs where cooking. They really added to the dish. We had some homemade pumpernickel rye bread (sooo good) that my sister Wanda made, so I toasted that up and we kinda piled everything on top.

I also cut this recipe in half and it worked out great…. Joel had two and I had one. Well, he did give me a few bits of his second one……

i have a date!

Well, I actually I have 1 pound of dates. Comforting and delicious this dish was almost as good as a night out with the man. Almost.

Date Pudding (1)

Recipe submitted by Mrs. Bertie Stalter, Elida, Ohio

1 pound dried dates, chopped

1 tsp soda

1 cup boiling water

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 Tbsp shortening

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups flour

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup sugar

2/3 boiling water

Add soda at 1/2 pound dates; pour boiling water over mixture.

Beat eggs, add 1 cup sugar and melted shortening. Combine this mixture with hot dates.

Add flour, salt and baking powder that have been sifted together. Fold chopped nuts into mixture.

Pour in a greased baking dish and bake 40-45 minutes at 325 degrees.

To make dressing:

Add 1 cup sugar and boiling water to remaining 1/2 pound dates. Cook until sauce is thickened like syrup.

Pour over pudding while hot, just before serving.


This dish was very sweet. In a good way. Joel, Shawn, Abbey, and I all had a serving and everyone really liked it. I thought it would be a bit too sweet for Joel, but he said it was perfect with coffee. It went down rather quickly and for me, it was fairly addicting.

No direction was given on what the size of the baking pan should be, so I used a 9 inch pie pan. I think maybe an 8×13 inch pan would have been better, because I don’t think I could have poured all the syrup on top.

The route I took for the syrup was to keep it separate, heat it when needed, and let each person put on the amount they wanted. This worked well, except that the syrup got very thick as it was repeatedly heated. If you use this approach, make the syrup fairly runny by shortening the initial cooking time.

I think next time I will just pour all the syrup on from the start. It would look really pretty and the syrup would be evenly distributed.

Hmmm, I think I am going to have some right now, for no real reason except to taste the goodness.

Final Thoughts

As I randomly made date pudding at 1pm on a Friday afternoon, I suddenly stopped and wondered why I was okay with it. I mean, it was in the middle of the day, I had no real reason to make date pudding except that that’s what I wanted to do. What was going on?

Snow.  Outside my kitchen window, it was snowing big, white, lazy flakes. My whole world seemed peaceful and still. I stopped for a minute, said a little thank you to God and then continued to beat the eggs.

cranberries make me happy

I can’t eat lard and dumplings all the time now can I? It is all about balance. This simple salad was my lunch. Nothing super special………except for those cranberries. Yum.

Well, the cranberries and that whole wheat homemade french bread……

When the moon hits your eye like a baked sausage pie

Sunday night was very festive, felt like a family reunion of sorts.  It was partly because of the large representation of children, and partly because it was so crazy noisy! Everyone was excited to see each other and I loved it. The guests included my friends Steve and Nicole and their two children, my friend Matt, my brother Shawn and sister in law Abby and their two children, my boyfriend Joel, my niece Trinity and my nephew Stirling. What a crew!

It was really fun to get comments on all the food and hear everyone catch up and get to know one another. When the guys left to go work on a scooter in Joel and Shawn’s motorcycle garage, it really felt like a Mennonite reunion with all the girls hanging out and cleaning up….actually, it was kinda perfect.And let’s not forget about the food….pretty darn tasty.

Refrigerator Rolls

Recipe submitted by Miriam Shaffer, Martinsburg, Pa; Mrs. Moses H. Yoder, Hartville, Ohio; Emma Witmer, Columbiana, Ohio.

2 cups boiling water

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup shortening                                                          

1 tsp salt

2 yeast cakes (2 1/2 tsp dry yeast)

1/4 cup warm water

2 eggs beaten

8 cups flour

Mix together the sugar, salt, shortening and boiling water. Let cool. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water and add to above cooled mixture. Add beaten eggs

Add 4 cups of flour and beat thoroughly. Add the remaining 4 cups of flour and beat. Do not knead.

Cover tightly and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Remove from refrigerator 1 1/2 hours before serving time and shape as desired.

This dough may be kept in the refrigerator for 7 days.

Bake at 400- 450 degrees until golden brown (15-20 minutes).


These rolls are soooo good. We only had 2 left.

I think the lard really helped in these rolls. Be warned however, when it is mixed in with the hot water, it smell like a wet dog. Really appetizing.

The dough almost killed my mixer. It was very stiff. I would say beat the first batch of flour in and then do the rest by hand. In the recipe there is no indication of how long you should let them rise, I just shaped them as soon as I got them out of the refrigerator and then left them rise for an hour and 15min. It seemed to be the perfect amount of time.

I made 16 larger rolls out of this batch. If you are going to do this then bake the full 20 minutes. If you make them smaller, more like 2 dozen, bake the 15 minutes. I pulled mine out a bit under baked and had to throw them back in.

Make these. You will love them.

Let’s talk for a second about lard. Yup, lard. So alot of recipes in the Mennonite Community Cookbook call for shortening or fat. Lard was commonly used years ago and I remember it vaguely from my childhood as white and gloppy. Hmmm, how good could it really taste? Plus I think it went out of vogue for some reason, something to do with saturated fats….and death. I have heard it briefly talked about as making a comeback, (not being hydrogenated

and all) and I decided to give it a whirl when I randomly saw it at the organic meat stand at market ( I think i might be hooked.

Baked Sausage Pie

Recipe submitted by Mrs. Huber, East Petersburg, Pa.

1 pound fresh sausage                                                            

4 cups diced cooked potatoes

2 onions, minced

½ cup celery

1 Tbsp chopped parsley

1 ½ tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Milk to cover mixture

Pastry for top a bottom crust (recipe to follow)

Line the bottom and sides of a flat baking dish with pasty.

Fill dish with alternating layers of fresh sausage and cooked, diced potatoes.

Add onion, celery, and seasoning. Cover mixture with hot milk and add crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Serves 6-8.


This dish tasted great but had a weird consistency. I think I added more milk than I should have. I would recommend putting in enough milk so you just so see it through the layer of onions and celery. Also chop the potatoes on the small side (I removed the skin).

The diners wanted more sausage; I say add 1 1/2 pounds instead of 1. And about the sausage, it should be removed from its casing but I made the mistake of flattening it into patty like shapes and then layering it. This technique turned the sausage into big sausage patties in the pie. No good. Mince it up instead and sprinkle it around.

Lastly, I used a 9×13 inch flat baking dish. Too big. I did not have enough pie dough to cover

the top. I recommend an 8×8 inch pan.

Pastry (for a 9-inch double crust pie)

21/4 cups flour

2/3 cup shortening

½ tsp salt

1/3 cup cold water

Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut shortening into flour with pastry blender or 2 knives. Do not over mix; these are sufficiently blended when particles are the size of peas.

Add water gradually, sprinkling 1 Tbsp at a time over mixture. Toss lightly with a fork until all particles of flour have been dampened. Use only enough water to hold mixture together when it is pressed between the fingers. It should not feel wet.

Roll dough into a ball, handling as little as possible.

Divide into 2 equal portions.

Roll out on a lightly floured board until dough is 1/8 inch thick and 1 inch larger then diameter of pie pan. (Or in the case of sausage pie, the dough is slightly larger than the size of your flat baking dish.)


So I haven’t made homemade pie crust in quite some time and never with lard so I was a bit on edge when I tried to make this dough. I think I dough sensed my stress and decided to be a bit difficult.

It did not hold together. So although I could roll out some of the dough, there was a lot of pressing and patching. More water was needed; use the whole 1/3 cup, if not a bit more.

The lard was stiffer than butter which made it harder to work with. But, it made the crust really good and flavorful.

So I say more water and smaller pan.  P.S above is my new fav rolling pin. Marked with measurements and with adjustable height. Love it.

Hot Slaw (1)

Recipe submitted by Anna Miller, Denbigh, Va.

1 quart shredded cabbage

1 tsp salt                                                  

2 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 Tbsp butter

1/2 tsp mustard

1/2 cup sour cream

Melt butter in a saucepan and add shredded cabbage.

Stir until butter is well mixed through the cabbage. Add water and salt and cover tightly.

Cook for 10 minutes and then add the sugar and vinegar and mustard.

Simmer another minute and then add the sour cream.

Serves 4.


This was my favorite dish…I loved the texture and I loooved the taste. However, sour cream is very close to my heart so that might explain a few things.

One thing I would change is that while I was drinking a beer and chatting with my guests, I did not let the cabbage cook in the liquid long enough. Definitely let it cook the ten minutes or it will be too watery.

I used course ground Dijon mustard which I think added a delicious kick.

Also, I might add some pepper, other than that I thought this dish was killer. My boyfriend liked the taste but not the cut and texture because it got caught in his mustache. So if you have a beard, beware.

Raw Cabbage Pickle (Old)

Recipe submitted by Mrs. Amos K. Mast, Cochranville, Pa.

1 large head cabbage

1 1/2 Tbsp salt                                    

1 tsp celery or mustard seed

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup vinegar

Shred cabbage coarsely. Add salt and sugar and work it well into the cabbage.

Add vinegar and spice and let stand 12 hours before serving.


This dish was super easy and really good. It’s like simple, none dairy coleslaw. My mans favorite of the night, hands down. I ate it for lunch the next day, even better after sitting another 12 hours.

Ok.  So this was not on the menu but I had extra cabbage. You know the deal, waste not want not. So I used the extra and how delicious it was.

Because I made this spur of the moment, it only set for 8 hours. It was still really good, but let it sit for the full amount.

Also, I used celery seed, would love to see how it is with mustard seed.

Dampf Knepp or Caramel Dumplings

Recipe submitted by Mrs. Edgar Strite, Hagerstown, Md; Mrs. Betty Beck, Archbold, Ohio.

1 cup warm water

1 egg

1 tsp salt

3 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp shortening, melted

1 yeast cake (small) (2 tsp yeast)

2 1/2 to 3 cups flour


To make syrup, combine all below ingredients and boil for 5 minutes.

3 cups water

2 cups brown sugar                                                                    

1 Tbsp butter

Dissolve yeast in warm water.

Beat egg and add sugar and salt. Combine yeast and egg mixture. Add flour and melted fat and work to a smooth soft dough.

Turn onto a floured board and knead for several minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl and brush surface with melted shortening. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.

Divide dough into 6 parts; work into smooth round balls

and let rise until light.

Place on top of boiling syrup. Cover and cook slowly for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not remove lid.

Raisins may be added to syrup if desired. An old favorite of Grandmother’s day.

Serves 6.


This dish was…. Not good. I think it could have been operator error. The dough never really rose, and it was really really sticky. The kids loved it and rightly so, if you tasted it with your eyes shut, it was like a syrup drenched pancake.

I think it might have been saved if I had added all the flour. Add all the flour if you give it a try.

It just sounded so good……sigh.

Final Thoughts

I always think of church on a Sunday. No matter where I am, what I have been doing or how long it’s been since I have attended. It is rooted in me. So as I was starting to prepare my Sunday night meal ( on Sunday morning), church crept into my mind. Along with it came a touch of guilt and a pinch of relief.

As peeling, chopping and boiling commenced, I wondered what to do with these feelings. I began to reflect on church as a house of worship, and as I cooked through the afternoon, I decided that my actions, these simple acts of cooking were my acts of worship.

The rolls came out of the oven, the table was set, and as I watched my friends and family together, I was in my  own kind of church.

sour cream cookies

I picked these cookies because, really, they didn’t sound that good  but they did sound PA dutch. I do love sour cream but all the sour cream cookies I have ever had have been dry and iced. Not my thing. Anyway, these were such a wonderful surprise. Soft but still kinda chewy around the edges. Sweet but not ” hurt your teeth ” sweet.  And the sour cream gave them a rich tang.With the sugar cinnamon topping they kinda reminded me of snicker doodle cookies. But they were better. It probably didn’t hurt that we were eating them straight out of the oven……..

Sour Cream Cookies

submitted by Mrs O. Weaver, Canton, Kan and Mrs Mabel Lytle, Smithville, Ohio

1/2 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

4 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp soda

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup sugar sugar cinnamon mixture

Cream shortening and sugar together.

Add vanilla.

Add eggs and beat until fluffy.

Shift flour. Add salt and soda. Sift again.

Add shifted dry ingredients alternately with sour cream. Mix thourghly.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet, spaced 2-3 inches apart.

Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Bake at 375 for about 12 minutes. Makes 5 dozen cookies.


The cookies look under baked when you pull them out, but they aren’t. I think over baking they would loose that slight chewiness. With me using a cookie scooper, my batch yielded about 4 dozen.

So. Loved these cookies. Thought is was funny how the recipe called for sugar cinnamon mixture. No direction what so ever on the sugar cinnamon ratio. And everyone knows its cinnamon sugar not sugar cinnamon… right? Guess not in Pa Dutch county in 1950.

Sunday Supper!

I’m super excited about my first Sunday cooking day. On the menu is;

– “Baked Sausage Pie” (pg 77), a recipe submitted by Mrs. Roy Huber, of East Petersburg, PA

– “Hot Slaw #1” (pg 146), a recipe submitted by Anna Miller, of Denbigh, VA

-“Dampf Knepp” or “Caramel Dumplings” (pg 318),  a recipe submitted by Mrs. Edgar Strite of Hagerstown, Md and Mrs. Betty Beck of Archbold, Ohio

The guest list for the evening’s event includes, my darling boyfriend, Joel. My brother Shawn, and his wife Abbey (and their two babies!) and two, very lucky, yet to be determined guests.

I can’t wait to let you know how it goes!