Cooking Like the Amish!

Thursday, February 24, 2011
Way back machine 1990, I was a young(er) homemaker and looking to expand my cooking horizons. This was in the day just before Food Network and the internet. I would often times try to catch the limited cooking programing offered by PBS....that was when, where and how I met Marcia Adams (an award-winning food columnist, who is an authority on Amish foods and folkways and writes with equal knowledge about Midwestern and American cuisine) and Cooking From Quilt Country. I didn't know much about the Amish but I was quickly tutored by Miss Marcia. I simply loved those shows...AND the food, the best of homestyle cooking for sure!

Here is a synopsis of the first episode:

Program 101 ~ Maple Syrup ~ Maple Syrup Season. Marcia makes maple mousse, maple cream pie, maple syrup dumplings, and maple baked ham. Also shown on this program is a segment shot on an Amish farm showing the process of taking sap from maple trees and making it into maple syrup. A friendship quilt was shown at the end of the program from Nappanee, Indiana.

See why I was hooked! After watching a few episodes, I ordered the companion cookbook. I have loved that book dearly! Over the years I have recommended that book (as well as ANY book by Marcia Adams) countless times. Since that first book, I have added more Amish-themed cookbooks to my collection, including More Cooking From Quilt Country (also from Marcia Adams). Recently,my sweet friend Marilyn sent me a copy of Amish Cooking edited by Jillian Stewart. Stunning pictures and such yummy recipes. Thank you certainly speak my launguage.
I've had the pleasure of visiting Amish communities in Wisconsin, Ohio and Missouri and if you get the chance, visit a Amish will go away well-fed.

Sharing what has become one of our favorite recipes from that first book!

Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings
(Printable Recipe)

Pastry for 2-10-inch pie shells
6 medium-firm cooking apples
2 Tbsps lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp mace
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375°f. Roll out pie dough to form a rectangle 14x21 inches. Cut into 6 uniform squares. Peel and core the apples, but leave them whole. Pour the lemon juice into a small bowl. In another bowl combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Roll each apple first in lemon juice, and then in the sugar and place each on top of a dough square. Fill each core cavity with approximately 2 Tbsp of brown sugar and 1 tsp butter. Pull the pastry squares up over the apples and crimp the edges tightly; you will have pretty round pastry balls. Place in an oiled 9x13x2-inch pan. Bake for 1 hour or until apples are tender.

While the apples are baking, combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan set over high heat. Bring to a boil ande cook rapidly for 1 minute. After dumplings have baked for 30 minutes, pour the sauce over the top of the dumplings and bake for 30 minutes longer, basting occasionally. Serve hot with cream.

Note: Unbaked dumplings, without the sauce, can be frozen before baking. Bake unthawed, at 400°F for 30 minutes, then cover with the sauce and proceed as above.

Posting to Miz Helen's Fill Your Plate Thursday, Michael's Foodie Friday and Tina's Potluck Sunday! Thank you to these gracious hostesses!

Pink Saturday ~ Back to Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 19, 2011
(click on photo to see a larger version)

I am behind...very behind! Please forgive me if I haven't visited and left comments in a while. I work in the world of tax preparation and our first deadline is on the horizon .... FARM returns are due March 1st and since I live in farm country, many of our clients are farmers. All excuses aside, we did have a sweet Valentine's dinner and had friends over with their little girlies. I spread as much red and pink around as possible, including this gorgeous pink hyacinth for my centerpiece. A lovely sampling of what spring will bring. Happy Pink Saturday and thank you to Beverly for hosting!

Faithfulness Farm Kitchen Tour

Sunday, February 13, 2011
Lynn over at Happier than A Pig is having a My Favorite Kitchen Gadget Party! My kind of party for sure. I don't think I am going to show you anything new...I am always blogging about one gadget or another but I LOVE a party and I LOVE my ktichen, so come on in and take a look around.

Here at Faithfulness Farm, I operate a working kitchen. I cook, bake, can and cater out of my small home kitchen. I don't have room for frivolous gadgets...only the ones that earn their keep stay around in my kitchen. That said, I have many favorites. Recently I told you about my new coffee maker. Grab yourself a cup. You're only company on your first visit. We're old friends now!
Something every working kitchen needs is good knives. Like any tool, you have to maintain your knives. You are much more likely to get cut from a dull knife than a sharp one. If you don't know how to sharpen your knives, find someone who can maintain them for you....many malls have a cutlery shop that offers sharpening services. Notice in my block there is a pair of poultry sheers and a pair of sissors. Both are great tools to have around. Hand-in-hand with good knives is cutting boards. I prefer wood ones. I have these three babies staged in different places around the kitchen. Ready to grab and chop, cut or carve.
My kitchen is a microwave-free zone. One of my most important gadgets is my kettle. It boils water for tea as well as recipes. A great hint to keep drains running free is to pour boiling water down the drain on a regular basis. I do this weekly and can't tell you how many years I've gone without the services of a plumber. I wouldn't want to be without a kettle sitting on the stove *at the ready*! That little whistle attachment is pretty important too....I burned my last kettle up because there was no whistle and I got distracted. Number #2 son made sure that won't happen again!
I am always going on about my beloved cast iron cook and bakeware. They are HIGH on my favorites lists BUT....I have other cookware that is special to me too........
My dear children decided I NEEDED red cookware. They gifted me with this set of Paula Deen cookware and I love having them hanging around my kitchen (and I love using them too). My pot rack is also a pretty handy gadget. It hangs over my homemade kitchen island made from an old Singer sewing machine base. The two just seemed to be made for each other. And while we're dicussing what is handy...crocks of hand tools next to the stove is about as handy as it gets. I especially love wooden spoons. Many of mine are Amish made. So simple and yet some of the best gadgets I own.Timers are valuable gadgets to a baker. Even 1 extra minute can mean something is too browned to be acceptable to sell. I like both the high tech and low tech versions.
Low tech....can you imagine making meringue with one of these babies. My grandmother did....regularly. I am glad to have this instead HERS..... and HIS! I use several of the attachments, the grain mill for making whole wheat flours, the meat grinder and sausage stuffer, and the pasta maker. These machines have been a very wise investment for my kitchen.

Lastly, I wanted to tell you about this little gadget that is always ready to lap up spills and take care of any and all crumbs that make it to the floor...... JOSEY - my sweet corgi dog!

Thank you for dropping by and thanks to Lynn for hosting such a FUN party!

From The Hymnal ~ The Love of God

I never think of Valentine's Day without thinking of the LOVE our Heavenly Father has for us. I love this hymn and how it tells us of that endless love. Happy Valentine's Day!

The Love of God

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When hoary time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Valentine's Rosettes?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Rosettes......My Grandmother-in-law and her daughters (known at *The Aunts*) made these every year at the holidays. I had never made them and being non-norwegian I really haven’t eaten that many of them either. I do own an iron though. I picked it up years ago at a garage sale with the intention of making them, but I never had. I am not so fond of frying....that was my excuse.

Flash forward to NOW…the theme for our church Valentine’s Supper is Snowflakes. Guess what I was asked to make?! SERIOUSLY?! I could make some beautiful snowflake cut-out thought was to dip the little edges in white chocolate and then edible glitter. No, the sweet lady organizing things wanted rosettes. I agreed to make them....probably not with the right attitude but I did say I would. She even provided me with an easy enough looking recipe from Taste of Home. They are really pretty!

So I dug out my iron. Nothing that looks like a snowflake.

So I found a snowflake attachment on Amazon. So now I have the equipment I needed and a recipe and really no desire to make these. I went in search of a tutorial on making rosettes since Grandma isn't around to call anymore and I surely needed some inspiration. I found this post at Left Handed Chef. He had my attention when I saw that he used a cast iron skillet to fry them. GREAT step-by-step tutorial. The rosettes turned out beautiful and hopefully will be the hit of the dinner tonight...and if not, I learned a lot about making rosettes and I just might add them to my Christmas goodie routine...both my family and Grandma B. would be pleased with that! Miss you Grandma B.

(Printable Version)

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Oil for deep-fat frying
Confectioners' sugar

In a small bowl, beat the eggs, milk, sugar and salt. Add flour; beat until smooth. In a deep-fat fryer or electric skillet, heat 2-1/2 in. of oil to 375°. Place rosette iron in hot oil for 30 seconds. Blot iron on paper towels, then dip iron in batter to three-fourths the way up the sides (do not let batter run over top of iron). Immediately place in hot oil; loosen rosette with fork and remove iron. Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack covered with paper towels. Repeat with remaining batter. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar before serving. Yield: about 2-1/2 dozen.

Sharing at Foodie Friday, Feasting in Fellowship Friday and Potluck Sunday!

Made A New Friend.......

Saturday, February 5, 2011
I have a very old friend. We became friends years ago when we lived in the Seattle area. That friend is STARBUCKS. Oh, how I LOVE their coffee. I drank coffee before then but never because I loved it....more because it was what my husband did and as a Mom of young children, the caffiene jolt was welcomed. But I couldn't get enough *flavors*, add-ins and sweeteners to make it too enjoyable. After experiencing good coffee, that was different. Just a splash of real cream and it is perfect. I can say in my sleep ..... a grande, bold pick-of-the-day please, leave room for cream.
Usually I try to avoid visiting with this friend often.....mostly because the nearest one is 30 miles away. BUT, it is in the town I work in and this time of year, I am in that town 6 days a week and I drive right past...or should I say, right through, many of those days. I have purchased the coffee beans and have tried brewing at home BUT it just isn't the same. Really, to me, it doesn't taste much different at home than the comes from a red plastic can, coffee. I have even looked into purchasing one of their coffee makers, but gasp, I cannot part with that much money for a coffeemaker. That has all changed. While shopping at my local Sam's Club, I decided to stroll over where the coffeemakers are displayed. I wanted to see the Keurig and what all the brewhaha (lol) was about. Standing in the asile was Cindy.
I know her casually. We chit-chatted a few moments, then she asked me if I was considering a Keurig. I told her I was pretty much a coffee snob and she started in. After 20-30 minutes of her going on and on about the attributes of this machine, I had the Keurig in my cart. Now I wonder if she works for the company and stands there all day to help the undecided's make up their minds, lol. I brought it home, scooted the old Mr. Coffee over and brewed myself my first cup.

Oh, my GOODNESS! I LOVE this coffee. The first day, I drank so much coffee, I thought I'd never get to sleep that night. Now I have to cut myself off about 7PM. My maker had a sample pack of 5 or 6 different types of far, my favorite is... The other beverages in my beverage center are feeling a bit left out. Mr. Coffee isn't seeing much action these days. Well, I've worked so hard at this post that I am thinking I need a coffee break. C-ya!

Miss Lynn over at Happier Than a Pig is hosting My Favorite Kitchen Gadget Party on February 14. Come join in the fun.......I am not sure I can pick just one favorite!

Delmar Lace & Old Doilies

Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Remember my repurposed doily tablerunner project? I knew I had the perfect dishes to do a sweet tablescape using my new runner. Isn't it all just perfect for dessert and coffee?
I have a few crazed, chippy, faded pieces of Delmar Lace by Royal China. Although they are crazed, chippy and faded, I love them. I've used some old Homer Laughlin plates as chargers. They are in about the same condition as the Royal pieces.
No romantic story behind them, just thrifty finds. Although they do remind me of dishes that my great-grandmother had. I remember spending a few days at her house as a teenager....just her and I. She lived several hundred miles from where we lived and we only saw her once a year or so. She left quite an impression on me though. My oldest daughter, Jessica, is named for her. When I stayed with Grandma Jessie, she was in her 90's (she was born in 1885) and still living on her own. During that stay, we had tea in the evenings in her dishes. These old dishes do remind me of that time. Oh, I guess there is a little romance in these thrifty dishes.
I wish I had a full set but alas, I only have a few pieces....4 cups & saucers, 6 small dessert bowls and 8 small dessert plates. Enough for a dessert setting for 4.
I shopped the house to complete the tablescape. Pink crepe paper flowers. As a girl, I loved crepe made the most fun things.
Vintage relish bowls hold the crepe paper roses.
Vintage ercu napkins with crocheted edging matches the tea stained runner.

Old textile spools hold votive candles.

Old mismatched silver plate fork & spoon at the ready for eating dessert.

Pretty pink roses bringing out the faded pink of the dishes.

I have a confession. Last summer I saw the sweetest blog post (cannot remember who's) where old china plates were used to edge a flower bed. I decided I wanted to do that, but once I started picking up old plates, I didn't have the heart to set them outside. Aren't I a sap?...oh, well, the way I see it, these still have a few parties left in them!

Sharing at Tablescape Thursday, Vintage Thingie Thursday and Pink Saturday.

Cast Iron Cooking ~ GBP's Slow Cookers, Casseroles & Skillets & A Product Review

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Last year Gooseberry Patch published Slow Cookers, Casseroles & Skillets. With *SKILLETS* in the title, it got my full attention but for whatever reason, I didn't run out and buy it. I always meant to, but simply hadn't got around to it. Fast forward to this week and the blizzard of the century. I ran to our local Allen's Superstore in Hastings, NE and purchased this book. While everyone was standing in line with bread, milk and eggs (what they gonna make, French Toast, lol), I was in line with a new cookbook to read, review and cook from!

This book is EVERYTHING I've come to expect from Gooseberry Patch. Lots of wonderful recipes and commentary contributed by readers.....ALL the fabulous cooks from around the country. Since I am all about skillet and cast iron cooking, I mainly concentrated on the *Speedy Skillets* segment of the book. Speedy Skillets is divided into 3 catagories -- Just 5 Ingredients!, Easy Family Meals & One-Dish Dinners (actually ALL 3 segments are divided into these same 3 catagories...very clever). I asked my daughter to choose a recipe for us to try. She picked Easy Chicken Fettucine. The name is spot-on -- this is a very easy recipe. No fussy ingredients and received thumbs-up all around.

I am looking forward to diving into the other 2 segments of this book BUT I do not plan to wait until the next blizzard of the century. Thank you Gooseberry Patch for another GREAT book.

***Time SAVING Tip*** Whenever I cook boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs), I cook twice the amount the recipe calls for. I refrigerate or freeze the excess and use for bullet-fast meals or as additions to salads and such. Always comes in super handy and takes no more time or effort that just cooking what the recipe calls for.

Easy Chicken Fettucine
(Printable Version)

8-oz pkg cream cheese, cubed
3/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c butter, sliced
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 Tbsp oil
12-oz. pkg fettucine pasta, cooked (I used Dreamfield's Low Carb Linguine since they don't have fettucine)

Combine cheeses, butter and milk in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until cheese melt and mixture is smooth; keep warm.

In a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, cook chicken in oil until juices run clear, drain.

Add cooked pasta to skillet and top with cheese sauce; toss to mix well. Serves 6.

I have shared before that I follow a low carb diet to control my weight. Basically, over the last year, I've made eating lower carb my lifestyle. That said, I was pretty sure I had kissed pasta goodbye FOREVER....then I discovered Dreamfields. I can eat pasta again....and it is wonderful. I find the price is in line with the major brands and our little town grocery carries it so I am supposing you can buy it anywhere, but if not, they do sell it on the website. If you are watching carbs and even if you are not, I highly recommend this product.

Sharing at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday and Potluck Sunday.