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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

MIXED FRUIT by MAUREEN WEIDMAN

This is another recipe that we are the first to get.  It is again by Maureen Weidman who works for Cornell University Cooperative Extension.  As her previous recipe, it was presented to our Nutrition Group before anyone else's.  We gave her our approval.  In fact, some even asked for seconds.  I gave it to Jean who said this would be great with the change of seasons - you can change the fruit in this recipe. You can use fresh or canned fruit. This recipe would be great for yourself and your family.  Also would be great for pot luck, church dinner, or dish to pass.

MIXED FRUIT

1 (8-ounce ) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 (8-ounce) can fruit cocktail, drained
1 (8-ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
2 apples, chopped
1 banana, sliced

Mix all ingredients together.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Maureen adds: Be Creative! Try using any canned or seasonal fruits.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ANNA TELLS OF CURING

Hello, this is my first time on a computer.  I didn't want to do this, but Elmer and my son showed me his computer and said I wouldn't be talking to the computer just Marilyn so I agreed.

I want to say something about Olive's canning.  Someone said that many of the Amish still  use the boiling-water method in canning meats and he is correct.  I still do my meat canning that way.  It's the way I always did it and haven't had anyone get sick, yet.  I will not tell you how to do it the way I do as the government thinks it is the wrong way.

Also someone mentioned about Amish and Old Order Mennonites do not make soup anymore.  We sure do. But, like everyone else, we have canned soup on our shelves, to use for a quick meal or to streach it a bit.  Also, many people do not make soups, so we want recipes on New York State of Mind for everyone.  If we have a can of soup and you want to put in homemade soup, that is fine.

I am just going to tell about curing.  If someone is interested in my going into it deeper, please let me know and I can do another post or answer your questions.

All meats have a large amount of water in them that must be removed to prevent spoiling.  Putting salt on the meat takes out most of the water and produces an antibacterial action to prevent the meat from spoiling.  It takes time for the salt to penetrate the meat.  The bigger the pieces, the longer it takes.  A big factor is also, the temperature.  It must be high enough for the salt to penetrate the meat, but low enough so the meat doesn't spoil.

As salt alone can dry out the meat, making it hard or taste salty or discolor it, we counteract it with a sweetener like honey or maple syrup.  I usually use maple syrup and add some of my spices.

There are two kinds of curing - dry cure and wet cure.  The dry cure is faster than the wet cure, but the wet cure is less salty tasting than the dry cure.  You do not use your table salt.  Some use kosher salt and others coarse household salt.  I hand mix the salt, maple syrup and spices I want for my curing, but they do sell Morton Sugar Cure and Morton Tender Quick in some stores, already mixed.

The picture at the top, shows the type of box that Elmer made for me to put the curing meat in.  Ours is made of wood and looks exactly like the picture.  There are racks under the box so the meat doesn't touch the bottom or ground.  There a wholes in the bottom of the box for drainage.

Once the animal is killed, all blood out, the meat is chilled as close to 32 degrees as possible without freeing.  The meat must be chilled completely through.  As we do not have refrigerators large enough to hold all the meat, we do most of our slaughtering in the winter months. Also, we believe that the temperature in our gas refrigerator freezer is not as cold as other freezers.  If we have to slaughter an animal before that, we take it over to Jean and David's and they refrigerate it in their commercial freezers in their barn.

I am not going into all of the supplies you need or how to make dry curing or wet curing recipes.  If you would like this, just ask.  Most of the supplies except the dry curing box, you may have in your home.

I will do the dry curing first as that is the one I use the most.  Once the meat is chilled, cut and your ingredients mixed, each piece of meat should be completely covered with the dry mix.  Make sure you cover around the bones and joint area - and all the meat.  There shouldn't be any part of the neat not covered.  Before putting the meat in, put a thick layer of the curing mix on the bottom of the curing box. Meat is placed on top of the curing mix, large pieces first, skin side down.  Smaller pieces are on the top.  The top of the curing box is then covered with the curing mix, closed  and sealed.  Meat will remain in there for 4 days between 34 to 39 degrees.

On the 5th day, I make up the same ingredients I have on the meat, open the box, remove all the meat and repack it, making sure all the meat is covered with the ingredients.  If there is a spot not covered, I do so and repack in the box again.  Once the meat is repacked, I figure about it staying in the box 2 days per pound of meat. So for a 5 pound of meat - 10 days.  Of course the weather makes a difference.

Wet Cure

You can use the same ingredients for the wet cure as the dry cure, but it should be dissolved in pure cold water.  As we are on town water, I always boil it first as I do not want any of the bacteria that is in our water or chlorine to change the taste.  Once the water is boiled - let it cool.

When the ingredients have been dissolved in the water - fill a container about one third full with the ingredients and place the meat in.  All pieces are to be completely covered. This method is best for small pieces of meat about 2 inches thick.  Put a plate on the top piece of meat to keep all the meat submerged in the brine.  Meat should be un the brine for at least 4 days  at 35 degrees or below but not freezing.  Meat should soak the brine for about 1/2 inch for 24 hours.  During the curing rearrange the meat at least once.  Once you are done get rid of brine - do not use it again.

Pumping Brine

For large pieces of meat you should use pumping your meat.  What you are doing is injecting the brine with a needle that has several holes in it.  There is about 4 or 5 ounces of brine in the needle.  Once the needle is full, it is injected deep into the meat to the bone, joint areas,  and into the middle of the meat.  Injecting will make it more even and quicker cure, if injected evenly.

Cleaning

When all the meat it is cured, soak it in cold, boiled water  from 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on the size of the meat.  This will remove all the excess salt from the meat and equalizes the salt content. Once the meat is thoroughly drained, it is ready for cooking, smoking or drying and wrapping.

Wrapping and Drying

Once the meat is dry after cleaning, you may want to add spices as you may want to improve the flavor during storage. Wrap several small pieces tightly in cheesecloth or muslin.  Then wrap them tightly in heavy paper and seal with tape.  Do not use plastic to wrap meat because it will trap moisture and promote mold growth.

In wrapping large pieces wrap in cheesecloth or muslin then in heavy paper or in cloth bags.  Hang all wrapped meat in a cool, dry place  until needed.  Make sure that no strings are directly connected to the meat that will cause a direct where insects can invade and contaminate the meat.

When in storing individual packages of meat, they should not touch each other.  Make sure that air can circulate freely around each piece to keep it cool and dry.  No sunlight should contact the packages, it will cause meat to lose some of it's color.  Also, make sure the meat is protected from insects. There is a mixture you can make to cover all the packages against insects.

I hope you understand what I wrote.  If you have any questions, please ask.  My next post will be on smoking meat.

Trust God's Wisdom,
Anna (Elmer's wife)\\\\\\\



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Monday, April 21, 2014

ELMER CONTINUES ON HIS WAY WITH THE LORD

How is my way in the Lord changed me?  It has brought my humor back.  I am more open to people no matter if they are Amish, Englishers, Old Order Mennonite or whatever - I enjoying talking to them whether it be the Lord, our Amish ways, or things in general.  Also, I learned that the Lord is with us no matter what happens.

Anna and I have had a lot of bad times together and good times together, but the Lord has been with us through all of them.  We have had many more good times than bad.  I remember when our daughter had the accident where the car hit her buggy.  We weren't sure she was going to live for almost a week.  After, we found she would live and she was on her long road to recovery, I wondered why the Lord had let us go through that and I can remember what my Father said.  Father said it is like when you were in school and on a certain day you thought you were going to just have lessons that day, but when you get inside the teacher gives you a surprise test on a subject that you weren't so good at.  When you ask the teacher about the test, she says she wanted to know how you were coming in this subject.  So with the Lord, He tests us to see how well we are doing.  He might want to show your strength or maybe you were swaying away a little bit and this is to bring you back.  Maybe it's a lesson.  The Lord has a reason for everything that happens.  We just, at this time don't understand it.  Because of this accident our family is closer together.  We also have more strength in our prayers with the Lord.  We know He can do anything. Sometimes it is not what we think we want.

How do Anna and I make life changing decisions?  Well, we first discuss it and then we pray.  Sometimes, if it is really important, I will ask Anna to pray in one room and I in another, and write what she thinks the Lord is telling her and I will write what I think the Lord is telling me. After praying we compare and see if they match.  If they match, we feel that we should do what we both wrote.  Sometimes it is not that easy.  We sometimes write the good side and the bad side of what we are going to do.  Yes, we sometimes go to our Bishop, but as I said, he is also my closest friend so I go many times friend to friend rather than member to Bishop. But sometimes he says to me: "Do you want my friend advice? Or my Bishop advice?"  I tell him, I will take whatever advice he wants to give.

As far as starting a new business, I went to see the Bishop to make sure what I wanted to do would be okay with the church.  He knows and has approved our house for a Bed and Breakfast with certain regulations, that we knew anyway.  We know he would approve Anna and I buying a cottage in Pinecraft as he has one there, too and would like us to retire there when the time comes.  Anna and I are still tossing that around.

How do Anna and I make financial decisions?  We usually talk it over.  Anna does the books in our home.  Our church does not make us donate a certain amount.  Once a month there is a dark bag in the back of whose home we have service.  We put in whatever we want.  Unless we write a check, no one knows how much anyone puts in there.  Anna and I discuss how much we should put in.

Our church keeps the money for sort of an emergency fund.  Like when our daughter was in the hospital after the accident, the bill was very expensive.  We paid what we could and the Bishop paid the rest from the church fund.  I felt bad, we had to get money from there, but Bishop said, it was partly our money.  We had paid in there many years and never used it.  Now we used it.  Over the years, we had probably donated more money that we received.  He said look at it that way. So we didn't feel so bad.

Not all our helping others is through money.  Shortly after we moved here, one of our neighbors roof came in on his barn because of the weight of the snow.  It killed some of his cattle, but most of them got out.  He had to have a roof on the barn and fast, so many of us: Amish, Old Order Mennonite and Englishers went over and got the roof back on.  We also told him next he has a snow storm to clean the snow off the roof.

Sometimes it is just visiting someone or bringing them dinner or going to the store for them.  If they are farming, maybe it's giving them a hand.  Where we use to live, or neighbors house burned to the ground.  Money was nice, but they needed food, clothes, blankets, furniture, etc.  The ladies were sewing for days and many of us men not only helped with the new house going up, but the making of the furniture.  We help where we are needed, in the way we are needed.  We also know, if it was reversed, they would be here.

We contribute to our local community in many ways.  I along with David - Jean's husband, Bishop Joseph-Martha's Husband and their son Kevin are members of the fire department.  Many items that we make are donated to sales to raise money.  We also donate our time helping them put on these sales.

Not just local, either.  I was down in New Orleans after Katrina.  Was down state after another storm.  We go where we are needed.  Now it is getting so not only do the men go, but women too.  Amish will go where they are needed.

When we went to Katrina, Eli and I went with a minister in his motorhome.  Now that is whole story by itself.  Although there was a lot of tragic and hard work in New Orleans, we did have fun it that motorhome.

I am not bragging, but I want you to know that not only us, but Old Order Mennonite and many others do what we do.  You just don't know about them.

Trust God's Wisdom,
Elmer










Sunday, April 20, 2014

HAPPY EASTER - ST. MICHAEL'S CATHOLIC CHURCH, NEWARK, NY

St. Michael's church was established in 1868.  The church is across the street from the Catholic School I had in Friday's post.  As you can see, St. Michael's is a beautiful church inside.  Picture seven is of their beautiful music organ. Picture nine is a picture of the grotto to Our Blessed Mother that is behind the rectory.  The last picture is of the rectory.  The rectory use to be the convent for the Sisters of Mercy who taught at the Catholic School.  In 1963 there was another building for the rectory, but they had to tear it down do to termites.  I remember us looking out the school window as they tore the rectory down.  When the Sisters left, they turned the convent into the rectory and church office.

Hope everyone has a Blessed and Happy Easter,
Marilyn
Jean and Family
Martha and Family
Elmer and Family

Below is the Easter Basket I got from my neighbor just a few minutes ago. I didn't think they would give me one this year as they did last year.  I had nothing to give them.  Next year, I will be ready.  The lady and her Granddaughter came to my door. I was so surprised.  They gave me a beautiful handmade pot holder, a baby chick, and goodies.

Marilyn


Saturday, April 19, 2014

ANNA'S HAM AND BROCCOLI CASSEROLE

ANNA'S HAM AND BROCCOLI CASSEROLE

1 cup shredded cheese
2 10 1/2 oz cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chopped onions
4 Tablespoon butter
4 cups diced ham
2 10 oz pkgs frozen chopped broccoli (or fresh broccoli cooked)
2 cups Minute Rice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Cook onion in butter.  Cook broccoli according to package or cook fresh broccoli; drain.  In very large bowl combine all ingredients.  Put in buttered casserole dish.  Bake 350 degrees uncovered for 40 to 50 minutes.

NOTE:  This is a dish you can make ahead and freeze.  When you need it, put it in the oven covered for 1 1/2 hours at 400 degrees.  Then remove cover for 30 minutes more.  Stir when you remove the cover. This is great for left over ham.  Anna

Conscience is God's presence in man.

Friday, April 18, 2014

ST, MICHAEL'S CATHOLIC SCHOOL - JEAN'S CHURCH WINDOW COOKIES

St. Michael's Catholic Elementary School opened in 1950.  I graduated from there in 1963 and went on to a Catholic High School.  St. Michael's School closed a couple of years ago.  There was rumor that it would be turned into apartments, and other options, but the decision was to tear it down.  Right now, it is still standing, but I had to take pictures.  I understand the high cost of Catholic Schools and there aren't enough children to fill them, but still it hurts to see my school close and get torn down.  I know it's not the building but the people, but deep down it still hurts.  Another thing were these two signs that still remain on the building.  I would like to get inside the school one last time to take pictures.  I thought Good Friday would be the day to put this on.  Marilyn

Marilyn kept saying chocolate recipe, chocolate recipe, chocolate recipe - well here it is.  Jean

JEAN'S CHURCH WINDOW COOKIES
            DO NOT BAKE THIS RECIPE

1/2 cup butter
1 pkg, (12 oz) chocolate bits
1 cup chopped nuts
1 pkg, (10 oz) colored marshmallows
1 pkg. (14 oz) flaked coconut

Melt butter and chocolate bits over low heat.  Allow to cool slightly.  Stir in nuts and marshmallows.  Spread coconut on wax paper.  Divide chocolate mixture into two rolls.  Roll in coconut.  Place in refrigerator for 24 hours.  Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Also could be put in a mold and set in frig.  Like this recipe as it can be easily doubled or cut in half - if I had to.

Each day is God's gift to you.
Make it blossom and
grown into a thing of beauty.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

JEAN'S ASPARAGUS PARMESAN

JEAN'S ASPARAGUS PARMESAN
JEAN'S ASPARAGUS PARMESAN

24 asparagus tips
8 long, thin slices of prosclutto ham
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Cook asparagus in briskly-boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain well.  Wrap 3 asparagus in each slice of meat and fasten with toothpick.  Place into greased baking dish; sprinkle with half of butter and cheese; bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and pour on remaining butter and cheese.

God does not comfort us to
make us comfortable,
but to make us comforters.