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Until I spent a weekend in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, I had always thought of apple butter as one of those elusive foods that was sold in jars or served on relish trays at quaint country inns. But visiting with Mennonite and Amish families, I was treated to the most delicious, perfectly spiced apple butter imaginable. I knew the time had come for me to have a lesson in this all-American spread. To begin with, I learned that any old apple won't do. For the perfect consistency, it has to be a mealy-textured cooking apple, such as Gravenstein, McIntosh, or Rome Beauty. Cooked with cider, then baked with a touch of cinnamon and a splash of vinegar, this apple butter is thick, dark, and deeply aromatic. Although this recipe may be more work than a trip to the supermarket, it is eminently worthwhile, and the apple butter will keep for up to 3 weeks--if you don't eat it all with the first taste!
6 pounds mealy apples (Gravenstein, McIntosh, Rome Beauty)
1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1. Peel and core the apples, then quarter them. Place the apples in a heavy ovenproof pot, add the cider, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the apples are soft, about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
3. Press the apples, along with any liquid, through a strainer into a bowl. Return the mixture to the pot and add the cinnamon, vinegar, and brown sugar. Bake, uncovered, for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 weeks.
Makes about 5 cups
DEVILED LAMB CHOPS
Wait till you taste these little devils. They're just nicely spiced, not searingly so, but they do pack a surprise because most folks, I've found, don't expect to have their lamb served with a little heat. Pile the chops on one half of a large platter with grilled corn piled on the other. If you're not in the mood for wine or beer, an icy pitcher of iced tea is the drink of choice.
Wine: Sonoma County (CA) Cabernet Sauvignon
Beer: Pennsylvania double bock
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt, to taste
8 rib lamb chops, cut 1 inch thick, bones frenched
1. Prepare the marinade: Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Add the lamb chops and coat them well with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours, turning them occasionally.
3. Prepare a barbecue grill with medium-hot coals or preheat a broiler.
4. Grill or broil the lamb chops, 3 inches from the heat source, brushing them with the marinade, for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare meat.
Serves 3 to 4
FENNEL AND ACORN SQUASH WHIP
Fennel and acorn squash have surprising affinity for each other. Although sugary winter squash is delicious on its own, the sweet licorice flavor of the fennel brightens the taste and makes for a more interesting side dish.
1 acorn squash (about 1 pound)
1 fennel bulb (about 1 1/2 pounds), ferns trimmed off, chopped into 1-to 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives, chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, or slivered fresh basil leaves, for garnish
1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil.
2. Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and then cut the squash into large chunks. Cook the squash in the boiling water until tender, 10 minutes. Drain. When the squash is cool enough to handle, remove the skin with a paring knife. Cut it into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, bring another pot of water to a boil. Add the fennel and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
4. Melt the butter with the orange juice in a large skillet over medium-low heat, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes.
5. Transfer the vegetables to a food processor and puree until smooth. Serve warm, garnished with the chives.
Excerpted from U.S.A. Cookbook. Copyright c 1997 Sheila Lukins
Reprinted with permission by Workman Publishing.
The Breakfast Nook--Breakfast Fruits & Cereals; Eggs & Hash; Pancakes, Waffles & Sides
Coffee Break--Muffins & Sweet Breads
Caf, Lunch--The Salad Plate; Sandwiches
The Cocktail Hour--Mixed Drinks; Complements
Dinnertime--The Relish Tray; Breads; Soups; Dinner Side Salads; The Farmer's Market; Noodles, Grains & Beans; Beef; Pork & Ham; Lamb; Poultry & Game; Fish; Shellfish
For Dessert--Fruit Desserts, Puddings & Pies; Cakes & Cookies; The Big Scoop
Fill a large stockpot, ideally fitted with a perforated basket insert, two-thirds full of water.
Add 3 tablespoons of Old Bay and bring to a boil. Insert basket, if available, and add sausage. Return to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Add corn and cook 2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes (do not wait for water to return to a boil before timing corn and shrimp).
Drain by lifting basket or pouring contents into a colander. Dust with remaining Old Bay.
To serve, dump contents on a newspaper lined picnic table and let your guests go wild.
Short Ribs Baked in Beer
Heat oil in large, oven-proof pot over medium-high heat. Brown ribs in batches, sprinkling generously with pepper on both sides. Remove ribs and reserve.
Reduce heat to medium and add onions, garlic and thyme. Cook and stir for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle in flour and brown sugar and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Return ribs to pot with any accumulated juices. Add ale and bring to a boil. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours. Uncover and bake 30 minutes longer.
Transfer ribs to a platter, arranging onions on top. Skim fat from gravy. Pour gravy over meat.
Sprinkle with parsley.
Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add sour cream, poppy seeds, lemon juice and rind; combine well.
Stir in dry ingredients just until combined. Scrape batter into a greased and lightly-floured, 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. Bake in the center of the oven at 350 degrees until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.
Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges and turn loaf onto the rack to cool completely.
Excerpted from U.S.A. Cookbook. Reprinted with permission by Workman Publishing.
Posted December 29, 2009
This is my favorite cookbook. It has been used so much that it has fallen appart. I love her down-to-earth recipes. My favorites are her Banana Pudding and her Boston Cream Pie. USA Cookbook has everything in it that an American woman would want to know, including; information about Hawaiian Vintage Chocolates, how to make marshmellows, great omlets, to name a few. I gave this book to my friend and we both love it and we've both used it for about 10 years. I highly recommend it for any 'new' American Bride, as well as anyone who just wants to cook American...Recipes come from various restaurants, Bed and Breakfast, and hotels around this Great country...Try Shelia Lukins USA Cookbook, I've never been disappointed. I have been truly blessed by this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.