Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Pork, Sauerkraut, and Potato Dumplings

My family is mostly German and Bohemian.  My Grandma Bettlach made this every Sunday for her family.  So, of course I grew up with this meal and my family certainly has enjoyed it as well.
My sons ask for it for their birthday meals.

Although my favorite pork cut is a fresh picnic roast, sometimes called a pork Callie, this cut is a large roast from the shoulder area of the hog.  For a smaller gathering I have used a Pork Tenderloin or even a  pork loin roast.  Both of these last two cuts will be much leaner.  The best part of using the fresh picnic is the rind that gets crispy when cooked.  As kids, all five siblings fought for pieces, as did my dad.  YUM.

Fresh Picnic Roast - approximately 8 lbs.
Season with Salt, Pepper and 1/4 Cup Caraway seed

3 lbs. Potatoes, peeled and cut up.
3-4 lbs flour for dumplings
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 large onion
Sauerkraut in a bag - Flanagan's or Frank's
1/2 Cup oil
1/4 cup flour - Sauerkraut

Rub Caraway, salt and pepper on roast.
In a large Dutch oven or pan, cook roast skin side up, with no lid. until meat reaches a temperature of 160 degrees.
I like to start from a frozen state in a 350 degree oven for a total of 7-8 hours.  This ensures the skin is always crispy.  If roast is thawed, cook at 300 for about 6 hours.

For Sauerkraut
Drain most, but not all, of juice from package.
Place in a sauce pan and cover with water.
Add 2 TBL caraway seed.
Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1 hour, you may need to add more water while cooking.
To make sauce for the sauerkraut;
In a skillet, sauté chopped onion in oil until browned.
Add up to 1/2 Cup flour to onions to thicken to desired consistency.
Add to sauerkraut. Keep on warm till the pork and dumplings are ready.

For the Dumplings
While the sauerkraut is cooking, cook and mash potatoes using only salt and butter; NO milk.
After the potatoes cool, put two cups of flour on the counter top and put potatoes on top of flour.
Add one large egg and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.  Mix and kneed potatoes and flour, adding a cup of flour at a time until the potatoes are no longer sticky to the touch.  Roll into a long log or two, and cut into balls about 2 inches wide. Cook in boiling salted water, stirring to loosen from bottom, until they float, about 15 minutes.

When I started this blog on Monday, it made me really hungry for this recipe.  So I bought the ingredients and invited my son and his girlfriend to join me for dinner.  I chose two small pork tenderloins instead of a large roast.  I also purchased McCormick's Pork Gravy mix, since my tenderloins would not give me any drippings.

The Sauerkraut needs to cook for an hour.
The onions need about 15 minutes to brown and thicken.
The potatoes need 15-20 minutes to boil in salted water.  Then a little longer to cool.
I cooked the two pork tenderloins for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

It didn't take long to brown the onions.  Then, depending on how much oil you start with, determine how much flour to add to thicken the onions.  Then add to the sauerkraut.

Making the dumplings, start with plenty of flour, add the baking powder, add the cooled and mashed (with butter) potatoes, add one egg, and begin to kneed until the dough holds together and is no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed.  Be careful not to add too much flour though, or the dumpling with be too firm.

Roll into a long rope or log, about two inches wide and then cut about two inches in length.  Roll into balls.  Drop into boiling salted water for 10 - 15 minutes.  Stir with a wooden spoon to keep from sticking on the bottom of the pan.  The dumplings will float when they're done.  Three large potatoes made 19 dumplings.  Two large potatoes would have been plenty for three adults.

Our dinner was delicious!.  Everything goes well together.  And you'll find that your bites must come out even when you get to the end of the meal or you must get more.  You'll see what I mean when you make this.

I must add, this meal grows on you.  Some people don't like it the first time they try it.  Or they don't think they will.  Maybe it's the strong caraway seasoning.  Or they think the sauerkraut will be too tangy, which it's not at all.

If you try this recipe. please let me know what you think!  ~ Shelly

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing 

Inspired by California Pizza Kitchen’s recipe, this Thai crunch salad with peanut dressing is wildly addictive! You can serve this salad as a light lunch or pair it with grilled chicken for a more substantial meal.
By Jennifer Segal


For the Thai Peanut Dressing

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from one lime
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce (use gluten-free if needed)
2 tablespoons honey
2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1-inch square piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

For the Salad

4 cups chopped Napa cabbage or shredded coleslaw mix (I like to toss in a little shredded red cabbage for color)
1 cup prepared shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 small English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup cooked and shelled edamame
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro


For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients except for the cilantro in a blender and process until completely smooth. Add the cilantro and blend for a few seconds until the cilantro is finely chopped. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the salad, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. If serving right away, drizzle the peanut dressing over top and toss; otherwise, serve the dressing on the side so the salad doesn't get soggy.

If you use cucumbers, be sure to remove the seeds, as they can make the salad watery.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Classic Yeast Rolls Recipe

I absolutely LOVE yeast rolls.
This classic yeast rolls recipe really hits the spot. Find everything you need to make these delicious rolls at Harter House and Harter House World Flavors.

This recipe is adapted originally from the Farm Journal's Homemade Bread book (copyright 1969!). This is a very good, reliable recipe and really didn’t need much tweaking.

While these are totally delicious, another version can be stuffed with ground beef, pepperoni and cheddar cheese.  I understand, It is mind-blowing.  

Technique-wise, this recipe is really pretty easy.  It's been adapted from a hand-mixed version to a stand mixer version thus making it even more easy to have delicious homemade yeast rolls.  Over 2/3 of the three hours listed as prep time below is inactive time – time that the yeast spends rising.  So while this does take some time from start to finish, it leaves plenty of time for doing things in between like relaxing… or cleaning the bathroom.  Ha.

Since this is a yeast roll recipe, the yeast is a very important component. The yeast is bloomed very simply in warm water. As you can see below in the course of five minutes, the yeast is fed by the water and starts to get bubbly and activated. This reaction is the yeast coming back to life, ready to work on rising the bread dough it’s about to go into.

Something else I like about this recipe is that it uses all purpose flour. No need for bread flour. Which is good because this roll remains a little more tender than breads with bread flour. I also use shortening in this recipe, staying true to the old-school 1960′s bread-making style. If you don’t wish to use shortening, you can use butter instead.

As I said before, this recipe takes a while because the yeast needs to rise twice, for a total of about two hours and fifteen minutes. Below you can see the bread after the first rise and how it looks after it’s been kneaded (step #9 in the recipe). Like many roll recipes, this one calls for the bread to be portioned into rolls before it goes into it’s second proof (yeast rising).

I’m a big fan of butter on bread so I like to butter these rolls both before they go into the oven and after they come out of the oven. The application of melted butter prior to baking helps the roll produce a brown and crisp crust on the outside.  The buttering after baking gives the roll a long-lasting soft, tender crumb.

While this bread can be used as a savory dish accompaniment, my favorite way to have it is slathered with yet more butter on the inside and topped with some homemade marmalade. If you don’t have any on hand, fear not – these rolls taste great with just about any type of jam you can find. If you’re keeping these more than one day, simply pop them into the fridge in an air-tight container and reheat in the microwave for 45 seconds while covered with a damp paper towel. The butter on the outside helps to keep the bread soft and moist, and the rolls actually taste very good reheated that way.

Now that you’re pining for some fresh baked bread, on to the recipe!
Yield: 12 rolls

Classic Yeast Rolls Recipe  This classic yeast rolls recipe produces tender, tasty rolls. These are versatile enough to serve alongside dinner or to eat alone with butter and jam for a light breakfast. Enjoy!

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 1-3/4 ounce package of yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted salted butter


  1. Combine milk, sugar, kosher salt and shortening in a small sauce pan and just barely heat, until shortening melts. Set aside for the moment.
  2. Sprinkle yeast on the warm water and stir. Allow to sit for 5 minutes so yeast can bloom.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk mixture and one cup of flour. With the paddle attachment, stir on medium for one minute. Add the yeast/water and egg and stir again on medium until just smooth.
  4. Continue with the paddle attachment on medium speed and add two cups of flour. Mix well and then switch to the dough hook.
  5. Using the dough hook, add two more cups of flour and mix until dough is smooth. It will still be rather sticky.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and manually knead in the last half cup of flour. The dough will still be a little sticky but will be workable with your hands. Add more flour if you feel dough is still too sticky. It shouldn't stick to your hands when you're kneading.
  7. Spray a bowl with nonstick spray and place dough in bowl. Flip dough once and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  8. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour and a half.
  9. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and toss to coat with flour. Knead about 15 strokes until bread is smooth.
  10. Shape into 2" balls and place evenly spaced apart in a greased pan.
  11. Brush with melted butter then cover again and let rise another 45 minutes.
  12. About 15 minutes before the rolls are ready to go into the oven, preheat to 375 ºF.
  13. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Run a cold stick of butter over the rolls to coat with butter after coming out of the oven.
  14. Turn rolls out onto wire rack and serve hot.

Store leftover rolls in the fridge in an air tight container. Reheat rolls in microwave for 45 seconds covered with a damp paper towel.
Prep: 3 hours  Cook: 30 minutes
3 hours, 30 minutes

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Perfect Roast Chicken by Ina Garten

Serve with sides like fresh vegetables, seasoned potatoes, or creamy mac and cheese. Any leftovers can be shredded into chicken salad and packed in your lunch box for the next day.  It’s easy enough for even beginner-level cooks to perfect.

Photo: Melanie Acevedo

1 5- to 6-pound roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large onion, thickly sliced
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of the lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Scatter the onion slices around the chicken.

Roast the chicken for 1-1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove to a platter and cover with aluminum foil while you prepare the gravy.

Remove all the fat from the bottom of the pan, reserving 2 tablespoons in a small cup. Add the chicken stock to the pan and cook on high heat for about 5 minutes, until reduced, scraping the bottom of the pan. Combine the 2 tablespoons of chicken fat with the flour and add to the pan. Boil for a few minutes to cook the flour. Strain the gravy into a small saucepan and season it to taste. Keep it warm over a very low flame while you carve the chicken.

Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve immediately with the warm gravy.

From the cookbook:
by Ina Garten

Mama's Rum Cake

A double dose of rum in the cake and in the glaze makes this cake extra moist and fragrant. One bite and you’ll see why it’s a favorite.



3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup (6 oz.) gold rum (such as Bacardí Gold)
3/4 cup heavy cream

Rum Syrup

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz.) gold rum (such as Bacardí Gold)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to Make It

Step 1
Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously coat a 10-inch (10- to 15-cup) Bundt pan with cooking spray; set aside. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside.

Step 2
Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and egg yolk, beating well after each addition. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually beat in rum. Add flour mixture to egg mixture in thirds, alternately with heavy cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating on low after each addition.

Step 3
Transfer batter to prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes (cover loosely with aluminum foil after 30 minutes to prevent excess browning, if needed). Remove from oven.

Step 4
During final 10 minutes of bake time, prepare the Rum Syrup: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium. Add sugar and 1/4 cup water; let mixture come to a boil. Boil, stirring occasionally, until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Carefully add rum and vanilla. (Mixture will bubble.) Boil, stirring often, 1 minute. Remove from heat.

This recipes comes from Southern Living