Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Appetizers on St. Patrick's Day

   There is nothing that says "Irish" more than seafood.  Steamed mussels are not only delicious, they are easy to prepare.
   Rinse off your mussels first in cold water.  Discard any that are open.  Melt a half stick of butter in a saucepan over medium heat and saute a clove of minced garlic in it.  Add a cup or so of dry white wine and some chopped scallions.  Pour in your mussels and steam until open.
  Serve immediately with some lighter Irish beer, like Harp and sliced sourdough bread with a hunk of good Irish white cheddar.  For extra color and freshness, serve the mussels on a bed of watercress leaves.  

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Celebrate the Groundhog!!

  For this Groundhog Day, how about celebrating that famous Phil (as in, Punxsutawney), by delving into some traditional Pennsylvania Dutch treats.  Since the Penn. Dutch love their doughnuts, why not make it a breakfast party!  Here are some delicious ideas to get you started.  Dutch Baby Pancakes, traditional Dutch Potato Doughnuts, Scrapple, and Warm Apple Cider Punch. Oh, and don't forget the coffee! Black, no sugar please.

Potato Doughnuts Recipe courtesy of


  • 2 cups hot mashed potatoes (with added milk and butter)
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6-1/2 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • Oil for deep-fat frying

  • 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, sugar, buttermilk and eggs. Stir in the butter, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, salt and enough of the flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; pat out to 3/4-in. thickness. Cut with a 2-1/2-in. floured doughnut cutter.
  • In an electric skillet, heat 1 in. of oil to 375°. Fry the doughnuts for 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place on paper towels.
  • For frosting, combine the confectioners' sugar, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the water, butter and vanilla. Dip tops of warm doughnuts in frosting. Yield: 4 dozen.

Delicious Potato Doughnuts published in Taste of Home February/March 1994, p27

Scrapple Recipe  (courtesy of


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork sausage
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper


  1. Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and rinse in colander under cold water, breaking sausage into pea sized pieces.
  2. Return to skillet along with the condensed milk, and heat over medium until just bubbling. Immediately stir in the cornmeal and pepper and reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking, 5 minutes total; mush will be stiff.
  3. Pack into 8x4 loaf pan, cover and chill overnight. To serve, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and saute until golden in nonstick skillet.

I like to fry the slices in butter until crispy on the edges.  Then, serve with warm maple syrup.  Delicious!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Little Romance

   In preparation for Valentine's Day, here are a couple of items that will inspire the romance in all of us.
Lace handkerchief from Linen Whites on Etsy

  What better gift than a personalized handkerchief.  Although not necessarily a practical gift, it will be guaranteed to be tucked away in a special place forever.  Another romantic notion would be for a lady to spritz it with her favorite perfume and give as a gift to her special someone.  

Jane Austen word magnet set by Wicked Pen on Etsy
   Another item to add a little romance to your Valentine's Day would be this set of Jane Austen magnets from Wicked Pen.  Make up your own words of love or craft some Regency poetry and place them on the fridge for your loved one to discover when they reach for the creamer for their morning coffee.