Celebrate National Ice Cream Soda Day

Hello world! Today is the official first day of summer. I am reposting this composition. Collingswood is a beautiful town with a perfect Main Street to stroll along.

On Saturdays in the early morning is a vegetable market with other food vendors until 12:00 pm. Afterwards, there’s their Main Street called Haddon Avenue to explore. Love, the the Ice Cream shop! Another favorite shop of mine is the Painted Cottage, antique furniture like dressers, armoires, desks, that have been repainted shades of white.

Life Is Beautiful-La Vita e Bella Weblog

Today is National Ice Cream soda day and the one place I wish that I could be now is at the Pop Shop .  It is a cafe and creamery designed like an old fashioned soda shop.   Here’s some photos of our recent first vist in the month of May.

Here’s a glimpse of the menu:

Among the choices, there’s a a Black Cow, a Brown Cow and an Orange Cow.   There’s create your own Soda Fountain pop, made with soda ( seltzer) , syrup and a shot of fizz.  The flavor choices are :  Banana, bubblegum, cherry, chocolate, cupcake, coconut, green apple, grape, raspberry , peach pineapple, mint , strawberry, vanilla, and an unknown because only half the word is in the photo.

A flavor that called to my taste buds  was Banana Daiquiri, pineapple and banana syrups.   I hear that the Pop shop is featuring…

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Breakfast, the most important meal of the day

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Buckwheat Pancakes recipe, My grandmother’s staple food

My maternal grandmother always like buckwheat , in the form of pancakes.  My mother recalls that my grandfather made the pancakes on the weekends, adding sliced apples to it.  I am like a sponge wanting to know more details.  My mother added that there was a lady who had a store that sold the kids pieces of fudge for 2 cents a piece.  We have come a long way from those days.  Maybe 70 years ago, buckwheat was the predominant staple.  My mom said that there wasn’t much money for meat when she was growing up. Buckwheat  is high in protein, B vitamins, Folacin, Niacin, calcium.  I’m learning that it is much more nutritious than the boxes of “pancake mix ” that is commonly sold in grocery stores today.  Although , you can find Buckwheat pancake mix  in specialty stores like Stonewall kitchen ( in Vermont), a blueberry pancake mix with both whole wheat and corn flours in it or at Whole Foods in Princeton, NJ. 

Buckwheat pancakes Recipe:

Buckwheat flour,  Grind your own from buckwheat bran.

Use 1 cup white flour for every 2 cups buckwheat flour.

Into large bowl, Sift the flours together, than add 1 cup of water .

In small bowl, beat 2 eggs, then add to the flours.  Whisk by hand the flours, water and beaten eggs. You can add 4-5 TBSP of olive oil.

Ratio: 3 cups flour ( combo of buckwheat and white), 3 cups water , 2 -3 eggs.

Cover and let the mix rest in the frig for several hours or at least one hour.

Cook the crepes or pancakes on a cast iron pan that was very lightly oiled; it should not be visibly full of oil or butter.

Using a ladle, pour the buckwheat batter all at once onto the hot cast iron pan.

Wait for the pancake to cook on top until it looks dry and the edges start to curl.  Do not lift up the edges of the pancake to check, it will tear/rip the pancake.!!

The fillings can be sweet or savory.   Roll up the crepes with :

Savory: Cooked chicken, ham, Gruyère cheese.

sweet: jam or Serve with chives and a spoonful of sour cream.

Buckwheat Pancakes:

1 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup white flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 TBSP brown sugar

1 tsp salt

1 oz vegetable oil

1 egg

1 1/2 cups milk

Mix well.   Pour onto hot griddle.  Yield 6 to 8  ( 6 inch cakes ). 

Another recipe using BUCKWHEAT GROATS:

Good to prepare during the Lenten season.

Source:  Whole Foods website

Kasha Varnishkes

Serves 4 to 6

Kasha Varnishkes, a delightful mixture of sautéed onions, buckwheat groats and bowtie pasta, graces many Jewish holiday tables. This version features caramelized onions and hearty mushrooms.

Ingredients

1 cup whole buckwheat groats
3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste
4 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
2 cups dried bowtie pasta
Black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

Method

Bring 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Stir in buckwheat groats, 1/2 teaspoon of the oil, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 18 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Warm 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms, raise the heat to high, and cook for 4 to 6 more minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for 10 to 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions and mushrooms begin to caramelize.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain pasta and toss with mushroom mixture.
Lightly fluff the groats with a fork and then stir them into the pasta and mushroom mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, parsley, and pumpkin seeds, if using.

Nutrition

Per serving: 310 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 9g protein, 52g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 110mg sodium

Tags: Family FriendlyAmericanVegetarianVeganLow SodiumHigh FiberDairy Free

Happy Saturday, Cheddar corn muffin

Cheddar

corn muffin

Cornmeal is a staple that has been used in cooking since first a colony here in the U. S. The best cornmeal to buy is stoneground , undegerminated cornmeal ( corn is not stripped of its nutritious germ). It is found in boxes in the supermarket. Enjoy your time in the grocery store, and read all the boxes/ packages that has been supplied. My usual method for purchase is to buy what is on sale, but first priority is to choose the most nutritious!!!
Store cornmeal in a cool, dry place and use within 1 to 2 months. In the summer months, keep refrigerated. Yellow cornmeal is more common than white have slightly more protein and vitamin A. There are other types, not mentioned here.

Cheddar corn muffins

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 corn meal

1/4 cup unbleached white flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 eggs beaten

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup margarine melted

1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup corn kernels , optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine first six ingredients in a mixing bowl . In a smaller bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly . Add the wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. Pour into oiled muffin cup/12 cup muffin pan.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes clean, to test for done ness.

Makes: 1 dozen.

Breakfast Chicken With Biscuits

Breakfast Chicken:

Serve for breakfast or brunch or when” you”re hungry for chicken”.

I found a yellow “post-it ” note with the words “breakfast chicken, p 51”, in my mother’s familiar handwriting in pencil; all of these years, her trademark is that she has always has sharpened # 2 pencils  both in a pencil cups and in her purse in an old eyeglass case

1 pound chicken fillets ( about 4 fillets)

2 cups water for soaking chicken

1 teaspoon salt

14 teaspoon black pepper

self-rising flour

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup hot water for simmering chicken

Directions:

Soak the chicken  fillets for 15 minutes in the water and salt.  Rinse, lay on paper towel, and sprinkle with the pepper.  Coat the fillets lightly with self-rising flour.  Place in a pan and fry in hot oil until lightly browned on both sides.  Drain off the oil, add the hot water to the pan, and simmer the chicken for 5 minutes.

Makes enough to fill 12 2-inch biscuits  ( to serve 4 to 6 people).

Old Fashioned Soda Biscuits:
2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk
Add the baking soda to the bowl along with the flour and then mix, shape , and bake biscuits as in the preceding recipe.
Makes 12.
Resource:
Southern recipes cookbook: “Mama Dip”s kitchen 1999.
I was intrigued to read about her southern upbringing, starting to cook at the age of nine  for her brothers , sisters and father while they worked on the cotton farm.  I recall my first cooking around the age of nine both at home with my mother and in 4-H club called “All Thumbs”.
My mom tells me that she got this cookbook while working at Baker and Taylor books.

Super Oven Pancake

Super Oven Pancake, Use your Iron skillet for this tasty recipe.

1/4 cup Butter

2 eggs , slightly beaten

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup milk

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Confectioners’ sugar or syrup

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. 

Melt the butter in a 9 inch IRON skillet placed in the oven while the oven is preheating. 

In a bowl combine the eggs , flour milk and cinnamon.  Beat but not until smooth: Leave a little lumpy ( like traditional  pancake batter). Scrape into the hot skillet. 

Bake at 425 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with Confectioners Sugar on top or syrup.

Makes 2 to 3 servings. 

From the “Ivy Hall Cookbook”

I’m absolutely liking many of the recipes  that I read in this cookbook.  With our thrifty ways, we found this cookbook at a book sale for 50 cents;  the cookbook is locally written, too.

Saint Lucia Day is December 13, 2010

Saint Lucia day is December 13, 1010 and my dad’s cousin Lucy’s birthday is today!

Happy birthday, cousin Lucy!

Saint Lucia Coffee cake wreath:

Saint Lucia Wreath

A Saint Lucia coffeecake is the traditional offering on Dec. 13. The rich dough is colored and flavored with saffron. Either a large wreath or a plate of individual buns — formed in the shapes of wreaths, crowns and cats — is perfect for a holiday brunch or when guests come to call. This authentic recipe is from Beatrice Ojakangas’s “Scandinavian Feasts” (University of Minnesota Press). If yours is a small household, divide the dough in half and make two smaller wreaths.

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick ) butter, melted
1 teaspoon saffron threads (a good pinch)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup currants
2 eggs, warmed
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
1 large egg, beaten
Sugar sprinkles, optional

To make the dough: In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Add a pinch of sugar. Heat the milk and add the melted butter to it; cool until the mixture is lukewarm.

Pulverize the saffron with 1 teaspoon of the sugar, using a mortar and pestle or with the back of a spoon in a small dish. Add 1 tablespoon of the warm milk-and-butter mixture and allow the saffron to steep for 5 minutes.

Add the saffron mixture, milk-and-butter mixture, sugar, salt, currants and eggs to the yeast. Using an electric blender on medium speed, beat until blended. Add 2 cups flour and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of the remaining flour and mix with a wooden spoon to make a medium-stiff dough. Let dough rest for 15 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Knead for 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and satiny. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough over to lightly oil the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

To make a braided wreath: Punch the dough down and divide into 3 parts. With the palms of your hands, roll and shape each part into a rope-like strand about 36 inches long. Braid the strands by aligning them vertically and alternately crossing each outer strand over the center strand. Shape the braid into a circle and place on a greased or parchment-covered baking sheet. Pinch the ends together where they meet to seal the strands and to conceal the beginning and end of the braid.

Transfer to the baking sheet. Brush with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles if using. Let rise for about 45 minutes or just until puffy.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the dough comes out clean and dry. Cool on a rack. Makes 16 servings.

Note: To make two smaller wreaths: Divide the dough into 2 parts and braid as above. Place each wreath on a baking sheet, allow to rise and bake for about 20 minutes.

NOTES:
reposted from another blog, POST Gazette.com from Pittsburg.
As far as weather, my mother always says, “whatever Pittsburg, Pa gets, that we’re going to get”; for example SNOW is coming our way, since Pittsburgh has it.

Saint Lucia was Italian

Oddly, Saint Lucia was Italian, a Sicilian martyr. So how did an Italian girl-turned-saint come to be honored in Sweden?

There are several legends about the real Saint Lucia. One of the most common is that she was born of wealthy, noble parents about 283 AD in Syracuse, Sicily. Her father died when she was very young.

When her mother fell ill and her death appeared imminent, the desperate Lucia took her on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Agatha, where miraculous healings were rumored to take place. The mother was healed and both women embraced Christianity. Together they pledged to use their wealth to help the sick and the poor.

At the time, Sicily was under the rule of an emperor, and Christianity was forbidden in favor of pagan gods. But the devout young Sicilian virgin held to her faith and distributed food to the homeless and starving.

Many of those poor families sought refuge in caves, and Lucia would make her way through the passageways with armfuls of bread. She wore a crown of candles on her head to light the way, leaving her hands free to distribute the food.

Now the plot thickens. Lucia vowed to remain a virgin. But before her father died, he had arranged her marriage into a pagan family, a deal that Lucia had no intention of honoring. Her betrothed, however, demanded her hand as his bride. Lucia flat-out refused. In a rage, the suitor took his revenge and reported Lucia’s Christian faith to the Roman officials, setting up a worst-case scenario.

On Dec. 13, 304 AD, Lucia was led before a court where she was sentenced. But she was one tough cookie. When the guards tried to drag her away, she was immovable. They tried to poke out her eyes, but she could still see. In desperation, the court ordered that she be burned. Bundles of wood were piled up around her and the fire ignited. But she was not consumed by the flames. Lucia was finally killed by the sword of one of the soldiers.

Later she was venerated as a martyr and saint, and the day of her death, Dec. 13, was named Saint Lucia’s Day.

Bringing light to Sweden

Time passed, and the day had no real significance for centuries. As Christianity spread through Europe and into Scandinavia, though, the pagan celebration of Winter Solstice had to be replaced with a Christian celebration. In keeping with “timing is everything,” winter solstice happened to fall on Dec. 13, so Saint Lucia was the natural choice.

The legend of the celebration was cemented when a terrible famine came to the Province of Varmland in Sweden during the middle ages. The poor village was starving to death. But on Dec. 13 of that year a large white ship was seen coming through the night across Lake Vanern, with a beautiful young woman standing on the bow. She was wearing a brilliant white gown, and a ring of light encircled her head.

The country people boarded the ship to find that its cargo was food, clothing and supplies. They quickly unloaded it, and as they carried the last baskets away the people looked back to see that the ship was no longer there.

Probably, it had been a much-needed supply ship from another province. But many felt in their hearts that it was a gift from Saint Lucia, and as the story spread, celebrations of Saint Lucia’s Day began. Even after the calendar was reformed and winter solstice fell on a later day, the 13th of December remained the celebration of Saint Lucia.

Visiting Lucy and family in Vermont, 2008

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