Friday, November 13, 2009

Gastronomy: Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Filling

My husband's ancestors emigrated to Pennsylvania from Germany prior to 1800. When I found my partner, I didn't just marry a man, but an entire Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. My first Thanksgiving with my new family showcased the Pennsylvania Dutch specialties: Cope's dried, sweet corn; endive salad with a warm, bacon-kissed dressing; slow-stewed tomatoes; and, the prized show stopper, potato filling.

Instead of a traditional bread stuffing, many of the Pennsylvania Dutch filled their turkeys with a rich and buttery bread and potato mixture. My husband’s grandmother and mother never measured the ingredients, but were kind enough to estimate the quantities and let me shadow them a few times over the years. Because of its popularity in our family, we not only stuff the turkey with potato filling, but serve it as a side in a large casserole, baked to perfection. The filling provides a wonderful accompaniment to poultry, is brilliant left over, and can be made a day ahead of time or even frozen. To top it off, using this recipe means that you don’t have to prepare both potatoes and stuffing on the same day—the Pennsylvania Dutch managed to beautifully marry the two.

Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Filling

5 lbs white potatoes, peeled, quartered
5-6 onions, delicately diced
1-2 sticks butter, + 2 T butter
6 slices of white bread, broken into small pieces
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 c fresh, Italian parsley, finely chopped (or 4 t dried parsley)
Milk, if necessary (usually ½ - 1 cup)
Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in a large boiling pot for approximately 20 minutes, or until you can easily stick them with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan, melt butter and add chopped onions. Cook over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until onions are tender and translucent. Set aside.

Drain water from potatoes; return potatoes to pot to mash. (For a chunkier texture, use a potato masher; for a fine texture, use a hand mixer, which I prefer.) To the potatoes, fold in cooked onion, broken bread pieces, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper. If too dry or stiff, add enough milk to create a light, creamy texture. Place in greased baking dish, dot with remainder of butter, and bake uncovered at 400 degrees for approximately 1 hour or until golden brown.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Style: Two Tree Designs, Something to Tweet About

We recently attended our local, artisan fair. Walking through the funnel cake eating masses and passing booth after booth of reggae paraphernalia, hair removal gimmicks, and hand-painted "this way to the beach" signs, I finally spied some light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel: Perched on a side street, away from the inflatable kids' toys and the kettle corn stand, was Two Tree Designs, standing like a beacon.

Two Tree Designs doesn't offer anything particularly fancy, but each item is whimsical, practical, and, well, cheap. I picked up the birdie bag with cellphone pouch and secret compartments for a mere $22.00. Use it as a school satchel, a travel carrier, a substitute diaper bag, or as a funky purse. Also offered are ol' school music designs, including turntables, microphones, and tape cassettes. Each design can be placed on a bag, laptop carrier, or t-shirt—buyer's choice. At these prices, why not buy one of each? Details:

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About Mod City Mom

After becoming mothers, sisters Sarah Romine and Leah Weyandt wanted to marry the activities and interests that they experienced before motherhood with their new found lives with children. This was not always an easy task—traveling to obscure places, shopping at off-beat boutiques, and sipping lazy-afternoon cocktails doesn't always fit neatly with parenthood. Stemming from their frustration, they meticulously searched, and continue to search, for activities, establishments, and entertainment that they take pleasure in and their families benefit from. The result? Mod City Mom.

About Sarah

Sarah is a passionate cook, fashionista, writer, actor, and mother. Like all actors, she ended up working at many-a-restaurant to make ends meet and shopping at countless bargain boutiques to maintain her sense of personal style. Her culinary journey, love affair with fashion, and desire to remain true to herself after becoming a mother are the inspirations for this site. Sarah lives with her husband and two sons in Chicago.

About Leah

A polymath wannabe, Leah loves books, films, music, cooking, and travel. After co-starting a writing and editing shop in 2002, Leah has spent her spare time frequenting her favorite cities, hangouts, and haunts. Her obsession with finding the new, innovative, and quirky is the impetus behind this site. Leah lives with her two sons and husband in North San Diego County.
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