Monday, November 30, 2009

Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie

Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie
Dorcas Annette Walker

My most vivid holiday memories at my grandmother's house were of her enormous table filled to overflowing with all kinds of food as a traditional Dutch meal consists of seven sweets and seven sours. In fact the first time my husband encountered a Pennsylvania Dutch meal, he thought he had died and gone to heaven. All family visits were celebrated around a table laden with food. It wasn't until I was older and learned about our family history that I began to understand why food played such an important part of family gatherings. Each Thanksgiving our family has much to be thankful for.

My tenth great grandfather, Hans Landis, was beheaded for his faith in Zurich, Switzerland when he was seventy-two years old. His family fled Switzerland to Germany and then to Holland. My sixth great grandfather's family then immigrated to Pennsylvania in search of religious freedom. His son, Jacob Landis, helped build the Salford Mennonite Church and later the Franconia Mennonite Church. From humble simple beginnings meeting in homes and barns where for two centuries church services were conducted exclusively in German, both churches now have modern facilities with a large staff and several pastors to oversee congregations that number three to four thousand members.

My father, Samuel Landis, grew up speaking Pennsylvania Dutch, which is a dialect of high German. I grew up hearing Dad pronounce victory as "wictory", and welcome as "velcome" along with "very goot" instead of very good, no matter how many times my mother tried to correct his English. My Dad would also ask us to "pass him down the table the salt" or "throw him down the hall his hat". My English mother made sure that we children spoke only correct English. Today my father is buried with his ancestors at the Salford Mennonite church where the first old meeting house still stands.

My Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie, a recipe handed down from my grandmother, has a creamy smooth texture like a custard pie. At each holiday gathering of our family, I make up traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pies. The one year I decided not to bother considering all the many other desserts we have and figuring that my family was tired of always eating cheese pies, my son-in-law wanted to know why there wasn't any Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie. My Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie takes only fifteen minutes to prepare and this recipe makes two pies.

Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie

2 10-inch unbaked pie crusts
3 eggs
1 (16 oz) container of cottage cheese
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 1/2 c sugar
2 c milk
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
3 tb self-rising flour
pinch of salt

Separate and whip egg whites until stiff. In another large bowl beat together the cottage and cream cheese, egg yolks, sugar, salt, and flour with a little milk until smooth. Slowly add the rest of the milk. Fold in egg whites. Divide and pour into the two pie crusts. Bake at 350º for one hour. Chill and serve!

Weekly tip: When making homemade pie crusts do up a couple extra crusts and freeze the unbaked pie crusts for later!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Blog at:

Holiday Goat Meat

H0liday Goat Meat
Dorcas Annette Walker
Tired of eating the traditional turkey or ham this holiday? Why not try goat meat instead. I didn't realize how popular goat meat was until the day I ended up selling our two goats: Billy Boy and Bessie. After raising and putting Bobby in the freezer we decided to sell the parent goats as they had cleaned out our woods. Of course selling the goats was supposed to be in my husband's department. Dana called a fellow and arranged for him to come the following evening. Instead of coming when decided on two fellows showed up at my door around noon the next day. After inspecting our goats and chit chatting back and forth awhile like mountain traders here do, a price was finally decided on, and they left to get a trailer to haul the goats. An hour later the fellows arrived back at my place to load up the goats. Since the goats wouldn't go near the strangers they instructed me to grab the goat's horns for them. Bessie went like a lady, but Billie Boy was a different story. One of the fellows finally coaxed him close with some feed while the other fellow grabbed his horns. Immediately Billy Boy began bucking and kicking up the dust. It took both fellows quite some time to drag Billy Boy to their trailer. My husband was disgusted that I let the goats go for such a low price, but by then dirty and covered with dust, I was ready to pay anyone to take the goats.
Goat meat is often called chevon or kid. Some 63% of red meat consumed worldwide is goat meat. Goat is a staple of Africa, Asia, and South/Central America. The cuisines most well-konwn for their use of goat include the Middle East, Indian, Pakistan, Mexico, and the Caribbean. While in the past goat meat in the West was confined to ethnic markets, it can now be found in upscale restaurants in cities such as New York and San Francisco. The goat meat industry in the United States is largely supported by production in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arizona.
The ethnic demand for goat meat is derived from a number of social and religious traditions such as the Greek or Orthodox Easter, Jewish New Year, Passover, and other festivals. As a result, there is a lot of seasonal demand for goat meat. Two of the main peaks occur in early spring and late fall from October to February. Other holidays when goat meat is consumed include Christmas, July 4th weekend, and the numerous Caribbean holidays in August.
Holiday Goat Meat can be prepared in a variety of ways including: stewed, curried, baked, grilled, barbecued, minced, canned, fried, made into sausage, served in sandwitches, or marinated. Goat jerky is also another popular variety. Despite being classified as red meat, goat is leaner and contains less cholesterol and fat than both lamb and beef. This makes it healthier to eat, but can require low-heat and slow cooking to preserve tenderness and moisture as the texture is coarser.
Holiday Goat Meat
2 lb goat meat
1/2 c vinegar
1 tb mustard
1 tb minced onion
garlic salt
9.5 oz bottle vinaigrette dressing any flavor
In a large Crockpot cover the goat meat with with vinegar and mustard. Sprinkle on onion and garlic salt and then pour the dressing totally covering the meat. Cook on medium for about eight hours. This recipe serves six to eight. Garnish with lemon or mint!
Weekly Tip: Leftover goat meat can be frozen or used as a substitute for any beef recipes!
Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer for Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin Blog at:

Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake

Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake
Dorcas Annette Walker
I can remember when recipes for Carrot Cake suddenly became popular. Every cook wanted to try out a recipe for Carrot Cake and there were many discussions over which secret ingredients made the best texture or moist cake. At church dinners and reunions you always found a couple of Carrot Cakes to sample among other desserts. Then Carrot Cake mixes became available simplifying the preparation of this intriguing cake and suddenly Carrot Cakes were considered an ordinary cake that anybody could make. Even though I have used Carrot Cake mixes, I never was completeely satisfied with the end result. So I decided to mix some of the old with the new. I came up with waht I call my Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake. This rich cake is a perfect holiday dessert.
Food historians say that the origin of Carrot Cake was likely a type of carrot pudding enjoyed during medieval times and during the Middle Ages when sweetening agents were hard to come by. Carrot Cake became popular in Britain because of the rationing of sugar during the Second World War so as a result carrots were often used. American cookbooks did not start listing Carrot Cake recipes until the early 1900's. It wasn't until the 1960's that Carrot Cake became a dessert of choice at summer family reunions, picnics, and Mother Day celebrations in the United States. Carrot Cake Day is celebrated on February 3rd. Today carrot cake-flavored treats come in such varieties as: carrot cake latte, carrot cake ice cream, and carrot cake flavored treats for dogs. When traveling abroad you can even find fried Carrot Cake in Singapore and Malaysia.
Carrot Cake or Passion Cake is a cake which consists of grated carrots mixed with a spicy batter. The carrot softens in the cooking process making a cake of a soft dense textrure. The carrots themselves enhance the flavor, texture, and appearance of the cake. More adventurous bakers have branched out to embrace some rather exotic carrot cake recipes, which feature such ingredients as: pumpkin, coconut, figs or prunes, chocolate chips, oranges, zucchinni, crystallized ginger, beetroot, mashed sweet potatoes, and papaya. Some chefs also spice their batter with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Carrot Cake can be eaten plain, but is commonly frosted with white icing or cream cheese icing.
My Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake has a rich, moist cake texture filled with soft raisins, crunchy nuts, and bits of colorful carrots topped by a cream cheese icing that is not only pleasing to the eye, but gives you a homemade tasting delicacy as well. Nobody will believe that this cake uses a store-bought mix. You can substitute raisins for other dried fruit and individualize the taste by experimenting with different spices. The Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake can be as simple or complicated as you wish. Preparation time for my Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake is about twenty minutes (not counting baking or cooking time) and this recipe serves twenty.
Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake
1 carrot cake mix
1/2 c raisins
1/4 c diced or shredded carrots
1/4 c chopped nuts (your choice)
2 (12 oz) containers of cream cheese frosting
1/2 c caramel ice cream topping
Prepare the cake mix as directed adding the raisins, carrots, and nuts before beating. Divide the batter into (2) 9-inch round greased cake pans and bake at 350º for thirty minutes. Let the cakes cool. Whip the cream cheese frosting on high for five minutes and then frost the first cooled layer. Drizzle half of the caramel topping on top of the frosting. Position the second layer over the first and completely cover the cake with frosting. Garnish the cake with shredded carrots, chopped nuts, and caramel topping drizzling it over the top and down the sides!
Weekly tip: You can always change any layer cake recipe into a sheet cake using a 9 x 13 baking dish saving more time. Only use one can of frosting for a sheet cake!
Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin Blog at:

Taco Bean Soup

Taco Bean Soup
Dorcas Annette Walker

A friend of mine sent me a Taco Bean Soup recipe and I was instantly intrigued. What a nifty way to introduce the younger generation to eating a healthy bean soup. Of course you know me, I had to experiement around. Since my husband isn't too crazy over Mexican or hot foods, I finally came up with a milder taco tasting bean soup that suits our family. My husband goes back for seconds every time I serve my Taco Bean Soup.

Tacos are a traditional Mexican dish composed of wheat or corn tortillas folded or rolled around a filling eaten without utensils. In Mexico the word taco is like our English word sandwich. The contents of a taco vary according to the geographical region where you are eating them. Tacos predate the arrival of Europeans in Mexico. Writings at the time of the Spanish conquistadors' document tacos.

There are many types of tacos served today in Mexico, the United States, and Canada. In the early part of the twentieth century the U-shape version hard-shell tacos became popular. Mass production of U-shape tacos were deep-fried and then filled with seasoned ground beef, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and topped with sour cream. Soft tacos made of wheat flour tortillas use the same ingredients as the hard taco. In 1978 a variation called puffy tacos (uncooked corn tortillas fried in hot oil that expand and become puffy) orginated in Texas became widespread. These tacoes are also filled with various ingredients like the soft and hard tacos. Some well known tacos include: the shepherd-style taco, whose main ingredient is spiced pork, breakfast tacos, fish tacos, and chicken tacos. Taco Bell serves over two billion tacos each year.

My Taco Bean Soup is a colorful, thick, and filling soup that is a healthful addition to your diet, perfect for chilly days, and very easy to make. You can also prepare this soup in a Crockpot and let it simmer all day long. Instead of using crackers like regular soup, the Taco Bean Soup is eaten with corn chips. Any leftovers can be frozen and heated up on another day. My Taco Bean Soup takes around thirty minutes to prepare and this recipe serves sixteen.

Taco Bean Soup

1-2 lb hamburger
small onion diced
garlic & regular salt and pepper

2 (15 oz) cans each of:
pinto beans
navy beans
red kidney beans
northern beans
hot chili beans

1 pkg taco seasoning

Brown the hamburger and onion in a large kettle. Sprinkle with salts and pepper. Add the ten cans of beans, stir until all the ingredients are mixed together. Add taco seasoning bring to a boil and then simmer. Serve hot. You can garnish the Taco Bean Soup with shredded cheese and sour cream!

Weekly Tip: Soup tips: use cereal-size bowls, a crusty bread bowl, or hard taco shell to serve soup placed on a large plate with a folded napkin; serve soup from a pretty ceramic pot; and add a variety of finger appetizers to fill up your table when serving soup!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin Blog at:

Kidney Beans on Foodista