The Amish Cook from Oasis Newsfeatures

It's Up Early....

Hey, since I messed up with posting the column this week, next week's column (week of Dec 21) is up early, in fact, it's posted now. So check it out in the "weekly column" section!

Wisconsin Amish, Part I

PHOTO: I found this kind of amusing and just a testement to Amish entrepreneurialism: a harness shop and a bakery rolled into one! 

I had the opportunity to visit a couple of Amish settlements in Wisconsin this past week.  Wisconsin has experienced an explosive growth in its Amish population over the past 10 years.  The area that Amish are really flocking to is in the west-central part of the state near the town of Cashton.  I didn't make it there, but I did make it to a couple of other older, smaller settlements.  The first one was just north of Brodhead, Wisconsin.  There are a handful of church districts around Albany, Wisconsin, and one around Brodhead.  This is in the south-central area of the state near the Illinois line.  Near Brodhead, Rachel and I visited Detweiler's Bent N Dent, which is an Amish-owned and run "salvage store", where one can find all sorts of deals on slightly expired foods, dented cans, and cosmetics.  Heck, Rachel even found a bargain on a car charger for her Ipod!   I will have a video from this store to share soon.  This Brodhead settlement is very small, with one schoolhouse, one church district and a harness shop that shares space with a bakery.  At the end of July the settlement holds an auction at the schoolhouse to raise funds for the pupils.   One interesting observation: the Amish woman at the Bent N Dent was wearing a wedding ring on her finger, something I have not seen before. 

Word of warning, it seems many Amish-owned bakeries in Wisconsin seem to be just open for business on Fridays and Saturdays.  I'm not sure if Wisconsin just regulates home-based bakeries to death and that they can only operate two days a week, or perhaps the settlements are just two small to support a 6-day a week operation?  If anyone from Wisconsin has any insights, please share.  Meanwhile, I'll talk about my visit to the Dalton area in the coming days!

Showcase Minnesota.....

I had a great time this morning on "Showcase Minnesota."  The program is aired each morning on the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis.  Besides the negative temperature I woke up to, the day -and the segment - was enjoyable.  If you'd like to see the video of our segment this morning, click here.  Tomorrow is a travel day and on Thursday I think I'll be able to get this site back to normal with lots of recipes, photos, videos, etc to post!

Note re Lovina's Column This Week....

Lovina's column did not run this week.  It was just too tough to juggle with my travel schedule.  Some newspapers will be running a collection of her Christmas recipes this week instead.  So, stay tuned until next week when her column will resume as usual!

Morning Blend, Part II

I'm in the Twin Cities this morning about to do a segment on the program "Showcase Minnesota."  I am going to make an oatmeal pie, but if you want to see yesterday's segment in Milwaukee, click here.

Welcome Morning Blenders....

I had a great time on WTMJ's Morning Blend show this morning.  I'll be posting the clip later today.  But I know we have a lot of new registered users this morning from Milwaukee.  Welcome!  Check out the site and stay awhile. We did discuss "whoopie pies" on the air and some of you have emailed me asking for the recipe, so here it is:



For the cookies:
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 tablespoons boiling water

For the filling:
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
¼ cups shortening, softened

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.

To make the cookies: Cream the butter, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together the salt, flour, and baking powder. Add to the creamed mixture. Add the cinnamon and oats. Mix well. In a small dish, add the baking soda to the boiling water, and then stir the mixture into the rest of the batter. Mix well. Drop by the tablespoon onto the baking sheets about 2 inches apart and bake until the cookies are firm and just starting to turn golden around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on a wire rack or a plate.

To make the filling: Combine the egg white, vanilla, milk, and 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Cream well. Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar and the shortening and beat until smooth. Spread 1 tablespoon of filling (more if desired) on one cookie, and then top with a second cookie.

Wrap each whoopie pie cookie in plastic wrap and then put into sealed containers. These cookies will stay fresh for up to 5 days.

From the cookbook The Amish Cook's Baking Book.

Cherry Coffeecake...

I am in Wisconsin this evening preparing for a segment on a local Milwaukee talk show called "The Morning Blend."  On this show, I don't have to do an actual cooking demo, so it'll be a bit more relaxed.  I'm just bringing a bunch of finished baked goods from our book to talk about.  So yesterday Rachel and I were making oatmeal pie, whoopie pies, cherry coffeecake, peanut butter swirl bars, and honey bars.  We are now in the process of cutting the cakes and bars and putting them on nice plates.  A lot of these segments come down to just making the set look "homey and inviting."  Rachel might have a second job as a set decor person!Smile  Above is the photo of the cherry coffeecake we made before cutting it into bite-sized pieces.

Who's On?

Okay, I did a little site tinkering before heading on the road this morning.  Notice the "Who's Online" feature on the left side of the screen.  It's back.  Personally, I like it. I think it helps create a sense of community if one doesn't feel like they are all alone on amishcookonline.   That feature has never left my screen, so I've always had "eyes" to see who is online and when.  SIGH, I suppose if there's a lot of griping, I'll remove it again, but I like it.   Now if someone is logged in and online for 5 hours ,while I would love it if they were actually surfing the site that long, it probably just means that they logged in and left their computer for a bit....let me know what you think. Okay, off to the great polar north!

AmishCookTV: Home Canning Discussion....

AmishCookTV subscribers should have received notice about the posting of a new video. This was a glimpse of some of Lovina's canned goods.  Wasn't the pure volume of food amazing?  The salsa is mouth-watering all homemade, just made of items directly from her garden.  Yum!

Headed to Wisconsin......

Um...I am glad we didn't go to Wisconsin THIS week.  The state got clobbered with a foot of snow and most roads there remain impassable.  I'm hoping the snowplows do their thing over the weekend because I will be in Wisconsin on Monday doing the NBC affiliate's "Morning Blend" show in Milwaukee and then on to Minneapolis for another NBC show, Showcase Minnesota.  On Showcase I'll be making one of my favorite Amish Cook recipes: oatmeal pie and I'll demonstrate the no-roll pat-a-pan pie crust.  En route, I'll also explore a few of Wisconsin's many Amish settlements. AmishCookTV subcribers, there will be new videos from the journey which I think you'll enjoy and I'll post some pictures here for everyone.   My schedule isn't 100 percent set yet, so if anyone has any recommendations for "Amish stops" to make in Wisconsin or Minnesota, please post your suggestion here!