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Category Archives: December
German Pork and Sauerkraut Recipe
Thought to symbolize progress and prosperity, pork and sauerkraut is a New Year’s Day tradition throughout the world. Since pigs move forward while foraging for food, serving pork is thought to bring progress for the New Year. Since the color of cabbage resembles currency, serving cabbage dishes like sauerkraut is thought to bring prosperity.
Why not bring progress and prosperity to your family with our German pork and sauerkraut recipe this New Year’s Day!
This pork loin is baked in a bed of sauerkraut to succulent perfection. After tasting this dish, no one would believe how easy it is to prepare. Juniper berries and caraway seeds impart marvelous flavor that will have your guests coming back for more.
We used a five and three-quarter pound pork loin for our recipe and sliced it into 16 generous pieces, which is plenty for refilling plates. Four pounds of sauerkraut is a generous amount, too — especially when served with creamy mashed potatoes.
German Pork and Sauerkraut
- 5.75 lbs boneless pork loin
- 1 large onion, chopped
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 4 lbs sauerkraut
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 12 juniper berries
- 12 black peppercorns
- 3 whole allspice berries
- ½ tsp caraway seeds
- 1 bay leaf
Yield: serves 10.
Preheat the oven to 275°.
Heat some olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or sauté pan and sauté the onion until translucent. Turn off the heat and remove the onion from the oil with a slotted spoon. Purée the onion in a food processor and set it aside.
Generously sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of the pork loin. In the same dutch oven or sauté pan, sear each side of the pork over medium to high heat until brown. (Depending on the size of your dutch oven or pan, you may find it easier to cut the loin in half and brown each half separately.)
Remove the pork from the oil. Drain and discard the olive oil.
Cut a piece of cheesecloth into a rectangle and fold it over twice to form a dense mesh. Place the spices in the center of the cheesecloth and tie opposite ends of the cloth together to form a pouch for the spices.
Place the sauerkraut in the bottom of a dutch oven or covered roasting pan. Add the onion purée and wine. Stir to distribute the onion and wine throughout the sauerkraut.
Place the pork on top of the sauerkraut (fatty side up). Submerge the spice pouch in the sauerkraut and cover with a lid.
Bake at 275° for four hours. While baking, baste the pork once or twice and move the spice pouch once or twice to distribute the spices evenly.
Remove the pork and sauerkraut from the oven. Place the pork on a cutting board and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Spoon the sauerkraut and its juices into a deep serving platter. Slice the pork loin and arrange it over the sauerkraut. Serve with mashed potatoes.
Glückliches neues Jahr!
Greek Moussaka Recipe
Our Greek moussaka is a hearty and delicious casserole of layered potatoes, tomato sauce, ground beef, and béchamel sauce. It is comfort food to our family and a dish we serve for birthdays and other special occasions.
A dear family friend shared this Greek moussaka recipe with us many years ago and we have been enjoying it ever since. We think it is perfect as it is and follow her recipe exactly every time. The combination of flavors is simply wonderful.
Many traditional recipes include eggplant, but ours does not. You could layer some slices into yours. Just peel and slice an eggplant; salt it generously; and allow it to drain in a collander. Before layering it in the casserole, rinse the slices and dry them well with paper towels.
This recipe serves up to six people generously. Leftover moussaka reheats very well and is every bit as delicious the next day. We are always disappointed when it is gone!
From the Kitchen of Ruthann Schumacher Wagner
- 6 medium potatoes
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 TBS flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup grated romano cheese
Yield: serves 6.
Grease a 3-quart oblong baking dish with olive oil.
Peel the potatoes. Slice them about 1/8” thick and cover them with cold water.
Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and ground beef. Cook over medium heat while gently crumbling the meat with a fork. Cook until the meat loses its pink color.
Add the tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper, cinnamon, and parsley. Cover and simmer for five minutes.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in the flour to form a roux. Turn off the heat (while keeping the saucepan on the stove) and gradually whisk in the milk; stirring constantly to keep it smooth. Stir a small amount of this milk mixture into the beaten eggs. Then, return this egg mixture to the milk mixture to make béchamel sauce. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and a dash of pepper to the béchamel sauce. Remove the saucepan from the warm stove burner.
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Drain the potatoes. Arrange half of the slices on the bottom of the greased baking dish. Sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the meat and tomato sauce mixture over the potatoes. Top the meat mixture with the remaining potatoes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Pour the béchamel sauce over the potatoes and spread the sauce evenly.
Bake at 375° until the potatoes are tender — about one hour. Serve hot with a fresh green salad.
Caramel Corn Recipe
If you have been to a carnival or walked on the boardwalk past the stands that make caramel corn, you know how unbelievably intoxicating that aroma can be.
Nothing tastes better than freshly made caramel corn — and if it is still warm from the oven, just forget about it!
Surprisingly, making your own caramel corn is simple. It only takes seven ingredients and you probably have all of them in your pantry already.
Our recipe does not include peanuts, but you could add a few spanish peanuts or redskin peanuts for that ballpark feel.
If you store your caramel corn in an airtight container, it will taste fresh and crunchy for several weeks.
Caramel corn is a delicous year-round treat for all ages. It goes well with cookies at Christmastime and with cake at birthday parties. It never lasts long, either!
From the Kitchen of Judy Haftl Naujalis
- 1 cup butter, plus extra for greasing pans
- 2 cups brown sugar
- ½ cup dark corn syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 6 quarts freshly popped corn, kept warm
Yield: about 5 quarts.
Pop the corn and keep it warm in a 300° oven.
Grease two baking sheets with butter.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Boil five more minutes without stirring. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla.
Pour this caramel mixture over the popcorn and mix it well. Divide the mixture between the two greased baking sheets. Spread the caramel corn into a single layer across the baking sheets. Bake at 250° for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Remove the caramel corn from the oven and allow it to cool. Break it apart and store it in an airtight food storage container.
Restaurant Style Buffalo Chicken Salad And Blue Cheese Dressing
This buffalo chicken salad makes a deliciously satisfying one-dish meal. The chicken is juicy and full of spicy buffalo wing goodness. Fresh romaine and celery give this salad crunch while chunky blue cheese dressing cools the heat — a blissful combination.
While hardly spa cuisine, two aspects of our recipe are spa healthy. We roast our chicken rather than fry it and our buffalo hot sauce is blended with olive oil rather than butter. Despite these healthy modifications, absolutely no flavor is compromised.
If you’ve been searching for the ultimate blue cheese dressing, you may have found it here. Ours is every bit as decadent as the dressing on those famous iceberg wedge salads served at chichi steakhouses. (Sorry, no healthy modifications here.)
The blue cheese and sour cream you use will make all of the difference in this recipe. Use a fine quality block of blue cheese and break it up right before preparing your dressing. Also, the thicker the sour cream, the better. Unlike bottled blue cheese dressings, our homemade dressing should be used the day you make it. It will not spoil in 24 hours, but its consistency will thin considerably.
Buffalo Chicken Salad
- 4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
- extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup buffalo hot sauce (Frank’s or your favorite brand)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 heads romaine, washed and chopped
- 4 stalks celery, cut in strips
Yield: serves 4.
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Rub the chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Place the chicken in a covered casserole dish and bake at 375° for 40 minutes.
While the chicken is roasting, prepare the chunky blue cheese dressing (see below).
After 40 minutes remove the chicken from the oven and place each piece on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. Scrape off the rosemary and then slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Place the chicken pieces in a medium mixing bowl.
Whisk the hot sauce and olive oil together in a small saucepan. Heat until just simmering. Pour this sauce over the chicken and toss to coat evenly.
Place some of the chopped romaine on a plate. Top it with a few pieces of celery, roasted buffalo chicken, and some of the chunky blue cheese dressing. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing
- 1 ½ cups crumbled blue cheese
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3 TBS white balsamic vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper
Yield: 4 cups.
Stir the first five ingredients together in a bowl with a fork. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Refrigerate until serving.
4 O’Clock Walnut Cookies Recipe
4 o’clock walnut cookies are delicate, crunchy, and irresistible. We make them as Christmas cookies, but they are perfect for showers and other special occasions, too.
Dusted with confectioners sugar, they are melt-in-your-mouth goodness — and, they look festive.
One of my cousins created this recipe many years ago. I remember her visiting my grandparents one year around Christmas and she brought a tin of these delicious walnut cookies with her. My family has made them ever since!
Arlene’s recipe is quick and easy to prepare. Remember to grease your baking sheets and watch their baking time. Since these are small cookies, they bake quickly.
The cookie dough drops are surprisingly small, but just the right size when they come out of the oven. Of course, you can’t eat just one!
4 O’Clock Walnut Cookies
From the Kitchen of Arlene Millheim Rader, 1909 – 1989
- 1 cup confectioners sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Yield: about 6 dozen cookies.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease two baking sheets with shortening.
Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Blend in the egg.
Sift the flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda together. Add it to the butter mixture and beat until well combined. Mix in the walnuts.
Evenly space half-teaspoon sized drops of cookie dough on the baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes.
With a spatula, carefully place the walnut cookies on lint-free towels to cool. Continue this process until all of the cookies are baked.
After these Christmas cookies have cooled, dust them with confectioners sugar.
Store these 4 o’clock walnut cookies in an airtight food storage container for up to three weeks. Happy Holidays!
Hungarian Liptauer Cheese Recipe
Liptauer cheese adds an unexpected burst of flavor to party cheese and cracker assortments. Commonly served with bread at meals in Hungary, liptauer cheese makes an extraordinary addition to appetizer menus. Serve it with crackers or toast points and your guests will be delighted with its robust flavor.
While this recipe is quick and easy to prepare, it does require nearly a full day of refrigeration. You will need at least eight hours for draining the cottage cheese and another eight hours or so for refrigerating the prepared liptauer cheese.
Capers and anchovies can be added to this recipe for even more flavor. Simply purée one anchovy or a tablespoon of capers (or both) with the onions before blending in the cream cheese and sour cream.
Experiment even more with the paprika and caraway seeds. If you like the texture of caraway seeds, use them whole. Otherwise, grind them. Similarly, use your favorite paprika — regular or smoked.
- 12 oz large curd cottage cheese
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup diced onion
- 1 large clove garlic
- 2 ½ tsp Hungarian paprika, regular or smoked
- 1 tsp caraway seeds, whole or crushed
- ½ tsp dry mustard
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
Yield: 3 cups.
Note: for best flavor, refrigerate this liptauer cheese overnight before serving.
Place the cottage cheese on a square of cheese cloth and tie the corners together to enclose the cottage cheese in a bag. Hang the bag of cottage cheese over a bowl or place it in a sieve suspended over a bowl. Place this bowl in the refrigerator and allow the liquid to drain from the cottage cheese overnight (eight to 12 hours).
The next day, finely purée the onions and garlic in a food processor. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, and spices. Blend in the food processor until well combined. Spoon this cheese and spice mixture into a mixing bowl.
Discard the liquid that drained from the cottage cheese. Add the cottage cheese to the cheese and spice mixture. Gently mix by hand until well combined, while being careful not to break up the cheese curds.
Refrigerate overnight and serve with crackers or toast points cut from rye or pumpernickel bread. Enjoy!
Christmas Cookie Recipe: Chocolate Wafer Cookies
Sometimes less is more and this chocolate wafer cookies recipe is a prime example of this truth. These chocolate cookies have simple, pure chocolate flavor without being complicated by chunks of anything.
Their rich chocolate deliciousness is marvelous served as a Christmas cookie, as a crunchy topper for ice cream, or as a crust for pies and cheesecake. Despite how they appear in this picture, these are thin cookies — only slightly taller than Christmas cutouts.
The recipe for these chocolate wafer cookies belonged to one of my distant cousins. I remember her serving them when my grandmother and I visited many years ago. She was a talented baker and my family still makes many of her Christmas cookie recipes every holiday season.
Her original recipe includes a cup of crushed nuts of an unspecified type and a sprinkling of sugar. I forgo both options since I cannot remember any nuts in the cookies she served us and the dough is perfectly sweetened as it is. This is exactly how I remember them, so why change a good thing!
Chocolate Wafer Cookies
From the Kitchen of Arlene Millheim Rader, 1909 – 1989
- 3 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cup butter, room temperature
- 6 TBS whole milk or evaporated milk
- sugar for sprinkling over cookies, optional
Yield: 9 dozen chocolate wafer cookies.
Preheat the oven to 300°. Line your baking pans with parchment paper.
Sift the dry ingredients together. Add the milk and butter and blend with an electric mixer to form thick dough.
Shape the cookie dough into three rolls and wrap them tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the cookie dough for about 20 minutes.
Remove one roll of cookie dough from the refrigerator and slice it into thin cookies (approximately 3/16″ thick). Place the cookie slices on parchment lined baking pans. Return any unused cookie dough to the refrigerator between batches.
Optional: sprinkle each cookie slice with a tiny dusting of sugar or skip this step.
Bake at 300° for 15 minutes.
With a spatula, carefully place the chocolate wafer cookies on lint-free towels to cool. Continue this process until all of the cookies are baked.
Store these chocolate wafer cookies in an airtight food storage container for up to three weeks. Enjoy!
Coconut Baskets (Coconut Tassies) Recipe
This is one of my all-time favorite Christmas cookies and the recipe belongs to my childhood friend, Jason’s grandmother. Born in Pennsylvania to Hungarian immigrant parents, Mrs. Suranofsky has always been an amazing cook with the most lavish Christmas dessert buffet you can imagine. My relatives and I make her wonderful recipes year after year and her coconut baskets are always on our Christmas table.
These coconut baskets have a flakey crust with a heavenly lemony coconut center. You really can’t eat just one coconut tassie! They are so good.
Pressing the dough into five dozen baskets takes a little time, but the recipe is easy and the end result is outrageously decadent and delicious. Just remember to bring your cream cheese and butter to room temperature before you make the pastry dough and this will simplify mixing.
These cookies taste fresh for up to three weeks if you keep them sealed in an air-tight container in your refrigerator.
From the Kitchen of Theresa Belso Suranofsky
- 4 cups flour
- 1 lb cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 lb butter, room temperature
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ½ cup melted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 ½ oz flaked coconut
Yield: 5 dozen coconut baskets (mini muffin size).
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Blend the flour, cream cheese, and 1 pound of butter with the flat beater of a mixer to make pastry dough. Roll the pastry dough into a ball and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough while you prepare the filling.
In a mixing bowl, blend together the eggs, sugar, melted butter, vanilla, lemon juice, and coconut to make the filling. Pour this filling into a large measuring cup.
Place a small ball of pastry dough in each cup of your ungreased mini muffin pans. Press the dough into the cups to form baskets for the filling.
Pour some of the filling into each cup so that they are slightly more than three-quarters full. Keep mixing the filling in your measuring cup to ensure that each basket gets its share of flaked coconut.
Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes until the pastry shells are light brown and you can lift them out of the pans by inserting a knife along the edge of the shell.
Enjoy these decadent and delicious coconut baskets warm from the oven or at room temperature. Store these Christmas cookies between layers of waxed paper in an airtight food storage container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Happy Holidays!
Pecan Tassies Recipe
This is one of my family’s tried and true Christmas cookie recipes. It belonged to a longtime family friend and I remember her baking these pecan tassies with my grandmother every December. They always baked in my grandmother’s kitchen while us kids ran around waiting for cookies to emerge from the oven.
With their luscious gooey center and crunchy pecan topping, these pecan tassies were among our favorite Christmas cookies. Luckily, my grandmother had a few secret hiding places — otherwise, these cookies would not have lasted until Christmas day!
This recipe is easy to make since the pastry dough and the filling are both mixed with an electric mixer. No rolling is involved with the pastry dough; you simply press it into the muffin pan cups. The more muffin pans you have, the faster you will be able to prepare these pecan tassies.
Store these cookies tightly sealed in a food storage container and they will taste fresh for up to three weeks. They do not need to be refrigerated.
From the Kitchen of Aggie Eschbach Toncik, 1912 – 2007
- 4 cups flour
- 4 sticks salted butter, room temperature
- 12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups dark brown sugar
- 3 tsp melted butter
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups finely chopped pecans
Yield: 78 to 80 pecan tassies (mini muffin size)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Add the flour, 4 sticks of butter, and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and blend with a flat beater to form the pastry dough.
Press the pastry dough into the cups of ungreased mini muffin pans to form a shell for each pecan tassie. Depending on the number of pans you have, you may need to make these in batches. Set these pans and any remaining dough aside.
Blend the eggs, brown sugar, melted butter, and vanilla together in a clean mixing bowl. Pour this syrup into a large measuring cup.
Carefully pour the syrup from the measuring cup into each pastry shell. They should be three-quarters full when you are finished pouring.
Top each pastry cup with a sprinkling of chopped pecans.
Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes. The pecan tassies are done when you can rotate the tassies within their cups. Immediately after removing them from the oven, gently lift the tassies from the pan. Place them on a lint-free cloth to cool.
These pecan tassies are delicious warm right out of the oven or served at room temperature. Keep them tightly sealed within a plastic food storage container at room temperature for up to three weeks. They will make a fabulous addition to your Christmas cookie recipe collection!
Did you know that sauerkraut is good for you? Thanks to natural fermentation, sauerkraut can help to boost the body’s immune system, balance healthy gastrointestinal bacteria, and inhibit cancer growth. Plus, it is low in calories and rich in Vitamin C. Even better yet, it tastes great!
Serve it with pork chops or roasted pork and mashed potatoes. Simmer it in a slow cooker with kielbasa or bratwurst. Garnish hotdogs with it. Serve it with noodles. Add it to soup or even bake with it. Sauerkraut is a natural complement to so many great dishes!
With only two ingredients, making sauerkraut is easy. Simply shred the cabbage; toss it thoroughly with salt; pack it into a crock; and allow it to ferment.
Before you start, there are a few things to consider. You will need a crock or a food-safe bucket for fermenting the cabbage. Please see our reference chart below to determine which size is best for you (based on volume and cabbage weight).
1-gallon: holds about 5 pounds of shredded cabbage
3-gallon: holds about 15 pounds of shredded cabbage
5-gallon: holds about 25 pounds of shredded cabbage
10-gallon: holds about 50 pounds of shredded cabbage
You can shred the cabbage manually with a sharp knife and cutting board or more quickly with a food slicer. If you are filling a five or 10-gallon crock, we recommend using a food slicer.
Air temperature determines the fermentation period for sauerkraut. Please see our temperature chart below for expected fermentation time. For best results, we recommend avoiding temperatures above 75° and below 60°. Fermentation causes a slight aroma, so take this into consideration when selecting a place to store your crock during fermentation.
Temperature vs. Fermentation Period:
68 – 75°: three to four weeks
60 – 67°: six to eight weeks
above 80°: sauerkraut may spoil or become too soft
below 60°: sauerkraut may not ferment
Be sure to use non-iodized salt for this recipe, otherwise, your cabbage will not ferment.
Basic Sauerkraut Recipe
- 5 lbs fresh cabbage, shredded
- 3 TBS non-iodized salt (pickling, canning, or sea salt)
Note: The recipe instructions below apply to any quantity of cabbage. Be sure to weigh your cabbage and then apply the above salt-to-cabbage ratio to the batch you are preparing.
Discard the outer leaves from the cabbage and remove the hard center core. Wash the cabbage under cold running water. Shred the cabbage into thin pieces.
If you are using a 10-gallon crock like the one pictured here, please keep in mind that the crock is very heavy (about 38 pounds) — without anything in it. Before continuing with the recipe, consider moving your preparation to the room where you will be storing the sauerkraut while it ferments. This way, you will avoid having to carry a heavy crock filled with 50 pounds of cabbage!
Place the first five pounds of shredded cabbage in the crock. Sprinkle three tablespoons of salt over the cabbage and then mix it thoroughly with your hands to ensure that the salt is distributed well. Continue layering your cabbage and mixing it with salt until all of the cabbage is in the crock and mixed with salt.
Using your hands, firmly pack the cabbage and then place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the cabbage.
Cover the plastic wrap with ceramic crock stones, a fitted wood disk, a ceramic or glass plate, or a saltwater-filled turkey basting bag. It is important to keep the cabbage firmly packed in the crock. Within a few hours, the cabbage will release a large amount of water. Since the cabbage will rise in the water, you should use something with decent weight to it. We placed a heavy river stone in a freezer bag and used it to weigh down a large glass platter in our 10-gallon crock. Ceramic stones work well, since they are heavy. Wood disks work with a weight placed on them. Another way to do it is to add a few inches of saltwater to a turkey basting bag. Knot it securely and then cover the cabbage with the bag. Whichever method you choose, just be sure to cover the entire cabbage surface.
Cover the crock with a clean towel. After a few hours, check the cabbage to ensure that it has started sweating its water. If several hours pass and there is no sign of water, then you can either add a little more salt or add a little water. The cabbage should be covered with an inch or two of water.
Check on your cabbage once a week. If a layer of scum develops, simply remove the cover and skim off the scum. Cover it up again and allow it to continue fermenting.
During fermentation, small bubbles will appear on top of the cabbage. When the fermentation process is finished, there will be no more bubbling. After your sauerkraut ferments for the number of weeks recommended in the temperature chart above, it is ready to enjoy.
Carefully skim off any scum or discolored cabbage pieces that appear on top of the sauerkraut. At this point, you can use the sauerkraut in your favorite recipes.
Sauerkraut can be stored tightly sealed in the crock at a very cool temperature. Alternatively, you can can it or freeze it.
For the freezer method, simply package it in plastic freezer bags with some of its brine and freeze.
By the way, if you are looking for ideas for your freshly made sauerkraut, our German pork and sauerkraut recipe is delicious!