Loaves & Dishes
By Jennie Geisler Erie Times-News staff blogger
Follow Jennie Geisler's kitchen adventures on her Loaves & Dishes blog.   Read more about this blog.
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Archive for May, 2013
Posted: May 31st, 2013

Epicurious.com made my mouth water with its recipe for Lemon Soda. (As well as some strange-looking ice cubes.) Summer, here we come.

Epicurious.com made my mouth water with its recipe for Lemon Soda. (As well as some strange-looking ice cubes.) Summer, here we come.

I’ll admit that I drink a lot of diet pop. Too much. Perhaps much too much. I rationalize this by saying Diet Coke is better than other habits, such as smoking, bingeing and shopping.
I drink so much that my husband actually suggested buying a carbonator kit so I could make my own. Now, there’s no way I’m going to be able to replicate Diet Coke at home, but I do love alternative summery beverages — sparkling or not — such as lemon- and limeade, sangria, Crystal Light and the like — which might make for bubbly fun for a patio night.
I don’t know if it’s $80 fun, but fun anyway.
My citrus-ade craving probably started a couple of weeks ago when I was in possession of several limes that didn’t have any specific destination, and my son wanted to use my citrus squeezer/dish to juice them. So I let him squeeze them all while I made a simple syrup by heating 2 cups water and adding 1 cup sugar and stirring until the sugar dissolves. Added ice, juice and served it up. Incredible.
At long last, my point is that Lemon Soda with Bay Leaf Ice Cubes reached out of the computer and grabbed my hand and made it hit the “print” button. For now, I’ll have to use the suggested sparkling water from a bottle.
(As for the bay leaf ice cubes, I don’t know. Maybe. But the Lemon Soda is definitely headed into a glass near me.)
It might also serve as a tasty foil for any clear liquor, such as Absolut citron … but you didn’t hear that from me.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 30th, 2013

desserts2Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing for “As American as Shoofly Pie,” by William Woys Weaver. The winner is Gay D. Cook. I’ll pop it in the mail today.

If you are not Gay D. Cook, you are eligible for the drawing for “150 Best Desserts In A Jar,” by Andrea Jourdan.
The paperback is full of highly doable but inspired ideas in sections devoted to “Warm and Comfortable,” such as crumbles, cobblers, steamed puddings, custards and soufflés.
“From the Fridge,” including sections for “deliciously creamy” “Not Your Mother’s Jell-O,” trifles, freezer stuff and sweet soups, parfaits and more.

To enter, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com including your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK YOU WANT. I do not share or store this information.

The first recipe in this book that caught my eye looks long, but it’s no more difficult than making batter and baking it in jars instead of a pan.
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1 package (3.9 ounce/110 grams) instant chocolate pudding mixture
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 bar (3 ounces/100 grams) milk chocolate, cut into 6 pieces
2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika

1. Butter insides of 6 8-ounce wide-mouth jars and preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a bowl, whisk brown sugar with cocoa powder. Pour in boiling water and whisk until smooth.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, cocoa mixture and baking powder. Add milk, eggs, butter, chile flakes and vanilla; whisk until well combined.
4. In another bowl, whisk together sour cream and pudding mix. Pour into flour mixture and mix quickly. Fold in chocolate chips.
5. Pour mixture into prepared jars. Place a piece of milk chocolate in the center of each pudding. Place jars in baking pan, spaced apart and not touching the sides of the pan, and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the jars. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until cakes are just firm when gently touched but still jiggly in the center. DO NOT OVERBAKE. This dessert should remain gooey.
Sprinkle with smoked paprika and serve immediately.
– “150 Best Desserts In A Jar,” by Andrea Jourdan

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 29th, 2013

Better Homes and Gardens' barbecued chicken will wow you on and off the scale.

Better Homes and Gardens’ barbecued chicken will wow you on and off the scale.

Barbecued recipes can kill your diet. They often call for fatty meat, oil-based sugary marinades, and crispy skin.
Well, I’m not sure how Better Homes and Gardens managed this, but All-American Barbecue Chicken will only set you back 182 calories per serving.
One key to keeping those numbers low is removing the skin and replacing it with a monstrously favorite marinade of onion, butter, brown sugar, mustard, cider vinegar, pepper, Worcestershire, lemon juice and a smidge of cayenne.
Try to say that 10 times fast. On second thought, don’t bother. Just make it.
While Memorial Day picnics might be over, that was only the start of the heavy barbecue season, and this dish would qualify as a main dish for any gathering of hungry meat lovers, such as me and my husband.
Admittedly, it’s hard for me to figure the serving size, since drumsticks’ weight can vary a great deal. You’ll have to do the math when you know how many drumsticks you’re making and divide that by 14 to figure out how much meat will equate the nutrition values compiled by BHG.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 23rd, 2013

shoofly pie
Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing for “Wicked Good Burgers,” by Andy Husbands, Chris Hart and Andrea Pyenson. The winner is Patty Mazzarese. I’ll pop it in the mail today.

If you are not Patty Mazzarese, you are eligible to enter the drawing for “As American as Shoofly Pie: The Foodlore and Fakelore of Pennsylvania Dutch Cuisine,” by William Woys Weaver.
The hardback book is half entertaining cultural history and half recipes that will make your eyes widen. Delicious-looking ones such as Ham-And-Cheese Dumplings, the requisite Honey Shoofly Pie, as well as Peach and Yellow Tomato Pie, appear right next to Sour Marinated Rabbit and Stewed Squirrel. Those last two might be delicious, too, but I haven’t had the pleasure …

To enter the drawing, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com, including your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK YOU WANT. I do not share or store this information.

Since we find ourselves at the beginning of patriotic celebration season, I thought you might like to see a Pennsylvania Dutch take on the venerable apple pie.

Pastry for one 9- or 10-inch (double crust) pie
3 cups boiling water or cider
8 ounces tart apple Schnitz, (dried apple slices), see note
2 tablespoons potato starch (can use cornstarch)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. Pour the boiling water over the schnitz. Cover and let stand 4 to 6 hours or overnight until the Schnitz are soft. Drain and chop into lima-bean-size pieces, then place them in a large work bowl.
2. Combine the potato starch, brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice, working the mixture with a fork to create fine crumbs. Take out 1 tablespoon of the crumb mixture and set aside.
3. Line a 9- to 10-inch pie dish with short pastry. Dust the Schnitz with the brown sugar mixture and arrange the fruit in the pie shell, pressing down with a spoon so that the Schnitz fit together closely.
4. Mix the sour cream and sugar and spread this evenly over the fruit.
5. Combine the reserved tablespoon of brown sugar mixture with the butter and work this to a crumb texture. Scatter the crumbs over the top of the pie.
6. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.
Serve at room temperature.
Note: If the supermarket doesn’t have dried apple slices, you might find them in a bulk food store such as Grammy’s in Girard.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 22nd, 2013

Spicy Turkey Burgers can help tame the evil picnic diet

Spicy Turkey Burgers can help tame the evil picnic diet

Don’t be sad. You’re not alone. Memorial Day picnics loom large over the heads of everyone trying to lighten up.
Big juicy hamburgers, sausage, hot dogs, will rolling off the grill, and Aunt Evy’s brownies are sure to appear next to your sister’s potato salad.
Trying to make room for everything without blowing your pant buttons is more than a challenge. It’s often a lost cause.
Ever had a turkey burger at a cook-out? Yeah, how was it? Dry, bland, with a side of sneer by the grill master?
Well, one of my favorite Foodie websites, www.epicurious.com, offered up these Spicy Turkey Burgers today, and the ratings — by serious foodies — gave it an average of 4 forks, the best rating you can get on anything, even big juice hamburgers.
75 serious foodies can’t be wrong, right?
Well, they caught my attention at least. Many reviewers suggested adding breadcrumbs to help hold them together, and the other ingredients look yummy AND healthy, not an easy thing to pull off.
If you’re going somewhere else for dinner, make the patties and take them with you. You might have room for that brownie after all.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 21st, 2013
Go ahead and say you don't want to try smoked macaroni and cheese. Go ahead. Right. I don't believe you. Better Homes and Gardens doesn't either.

Go ahead and say you don’t want to try smoked macaroni and cheese. Go ahead. Right. I don’t believe you. Better Homes and Gardens doesn’t either.

There are cool recipes and hot recipes and intriguing recipes and then there are recipes that are all three.
Smoked Macaroni and Cheese from Better Homes and Gardens belongs in the last category, or all the categories, or whatever.
Actually, this dish defies categorization.
Serious grillers claim anything can be cooked on a grill, and this gives support to that theory.
It also gives support to my appetite. I can’t wait to try it. I just wish we were going to be home this weekend, but instead we have to go on vacation.
Looks like I’m going to have to try it before then. Now would be good for me.

Oh, yeah. And there’s chicken.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 20th, 2013

Leftover avocado and limes inspired super-fast guacamole at la casa de Geisler.

Leftover avocado and limes inspired super-fast guacamole at casa de Geisler.

Have you ever noticed that all Americanized Mexican food contains the same list of ingredients? Cumin, lime juice, meat, tomato, cheese, sour cream, chile powder, peppers, cilantro, onions.
OK maybe not every single one of those, and maybe a few others, but enough that if you have leftover ingredients from one dish, you can probably use them up in a different dish.
When cooking for the print version of Loaves & Dishes, I made an avocado salsa to go with this week’s Chili-Spiced Skirt Steak Tacos (Check out the Food section Wednesday). The salsa called for one avocado, but I bought two to be safe.
The salsa was great, and I didn’t need the other avocado. While scrounging around for something to make for lunch yesterday, I found that and was instantly ravenous for guacamole.
In addition to the avocado, thanks to the tacos recipe, I also had everything else to make some. We even had tortilla chips to dip.
I had no desire to also scrounge around for a recipe even to use as a guide, so I winged it. It made about a cup of wonderfulness, none of which lived to make another serving.
Hard-core L&D fans might remember a guacamole recipe from years ago that left out the mayo and included tomatoes. This is a quick and dirty version, sans tomato, since I didn’t have any.

1 ripe avocado, peeled and seeded
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon any chili powder
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1. Mash avocado. (I used my hands) Stir in the rest of the ingredients except cilantro. Put a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole to prevent browning. (If it browns anyway, it won’t affect the taste.)
2. Do something else for 30 minutes or so, to let the flavors blend at room temperature.
3. Fold in the cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.
Note: You can also add a clove of minced or pressed fresh garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. I was already eating a ton of garlic in hummus I ate earlier, so I didn’t want any more.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 17th, 2013

Hello. I'd like to come home with you tonight and help make dinner. Whaddya say?

Hello. I’d like to come home with you tonight and help make dinner. Whaddya say?

Recipe e-mails flow into my mailbox every day, and I often find myself sorting the keepers into two categories: Fast, easy ones to try at home and “more interesting” ones to share with readers.
I always want to write about something new and challenging that I can gas on about for my column, but I also realize that many of you just want something they can make tonight, or tomorrow night, or sometime really soon, like around now.
I’m a working mother, and if we’re out of leftovers, I often spend my drive home figuring out what I can serve within the hour.
These separate piles find their ways onto opposite sides of my desk. Well, today I came across Rotisserie Cashew Chicken and figured I had plenty of time to pick up a roast chicken and throw together this sauce before my family members start in on the potato chips.
This is for everyone who’d like to do the same. It’s from Rich’s Recipe du Jour.

1/2 rotisserie chicken, meat removed from bones and diced
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoon corn starch
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (black and/or white)
1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes (I’ll use garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup cashews Whole, unsalted if available
Serve with white rice and parsley

1. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, corn starch, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce and whisk to form marinade.
2. Add the diced chicken, mix with marinade and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
3. During that time, in a wok or large saute pan, heat chicken stock to simmer. Add the marinated chicken, including all of the sauce in the bottom of the bowl. Stir to combine and mix with the stock.
4. Continue heating until the sauce begins to thicken (the corn starch will do that).
5. Add the lemon juice and cashews. Do not overcook the cashews as you want them hot but still retain a bit of their crunch. Add the sesame seeds, garlic flakes and salt.
Serve over prepared rice or noodles
– Rich’s Recipe du Jour

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 16th, 2013

Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing for “200 Best Ice Pop Recipes,” by Andrew Chase. The winner is Amy Brown. I’ll pop it in the mail today.

If you are not Amy Brown, you are eligible to enter the drawing for Wicked Good Burgers,” by Andy Husbands, Chris Hart and Andrea Pyenson in honor of Grilled Burger Weekend, a holiday which I just made up.

The book is by the same authors as “Wicked Good BBQ.” It has terrifyingly sinful recipes, almost obscene — and I meant that in the best way possible. In addition to the burgers, it includes recipes for buns, sides (i.e. bean salad), toppings (I.e. crispy onions), dressings (i.e. ketchup, mustard) and methods (i.e. steaming). The book has a photo of each burger as a work of art.
The book even offers techniques for grinding your own beef, which is obviously optional.
To enter the drawing, please send an e-mail to mailto: jennie.geisler@timesnews.com Please include your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK you want.

The Pastrami Burger looks impossible to hold, as well as impossible to put down.

1 1/2 pounds beef chuck or ground chuck
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 slices pastrami
1 cup sauerkraut
2 tablespoons sauerkraut liquid
4 slices Swiss cheese
Softened butter, for toasting
8 slices rye bread
Russian Dressing, recipe follows

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. If grinding, cute the beef into strips and freeze until stiff, about 45 minutes. Salt the beef. Using the coarse grinder plate, grind according to the technique in Chapter 1 (page 15). If using ground chuck, mix with salt before shaping.
3. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into rectangles roughly the size of the bread and about 1/2 inch thick.
4. Heat a skillet over high heat until very hot. If you have an infrared thermometer, the skillet should register at least 500 degrees. Or test by brushing on a bit of oil. When the skillet starts to smoke, it’s ready.
5. Cook the patties for 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the patties to a baking sheet.
6. Saute the pastrami slices on the skillet for 1 minute. Place on top of the burgers. Saute the sauerkraut and 2 tablespoons reserved liquid for 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon some sauerkraut on top of each burger. Lay a slice of Swiss cheese over each burger and place the baking sheet in the oven just until the cheese melts, about 1 minute.
7. To serve, wipe the skillet clean. Brush both sides of the bread with softened butter. Toast the bread in the skillet until it just begins to color. With a spatula, place each burger on a slice of toast. Schmear Russian dressing liberally on the other slices of toast, place on top of the burgers, and serve.
Makes 4 burgers

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons pickle relish
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, drained
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch salt and pepper

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients well. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
“Wicked Good Burgers,” by Andy Husbands, Chris Hart and Andrea Pyenson

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 13th, 2013

Mexican Pulled Pork from www.simplyrecipes.com will wake you up.

Mexican Pulled Pork from www.simplyrecipes.com will wake you up.

It’s really hard to improve on old-fashioned pulled pork. You can grill it, smoke it, slow-cook it, braise it, as long as you cook it slowly with love and patience.
That sweet and sour and spicy flavor can’t be rushed.
My slow-cooker method is one of my favorite recipes ever, but last week I was in the mood for something completely different. Mexican Pulled Pork, from simplyrecipes.com,, encrusted with a blend of heavy seasonings, didn’t last long in my house. It’s hard to believe John and I ate a 3-pound pork shoulder in four days. I’ll blame him, the always-hungry runner, but I will admit to enjoying my generous share.
I added chopped bell peppers and onions, and, perhaps unwisely, a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes.
The vegetables were great, but the water they released made the mixture a little too soupy. I probably should have drained the tomatoes first or gone without them.
Also, the recipe said it would cook six to 10 hours on low. That’s quite a range. I poked at the meat after four hours and it was still pretty tight, so I upped the heat to high and after seven hours total, it was perfect. My regular pulled pork recipe calls for eight hours on high, so when I make this again, I think I’ll just start with high heat.
The key to the bold flavor of this dish is to rub the spices on generously, let them sink in for an hour, and then brown the meat all the surfaces before putting it into the slow cooker, or on the grill, or in the back seat of your car this summer, and then cook it until fall-apart tender.

Posted in: Uncategorized

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