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Paska















There is no other recipe that has found me more friends than this one. Most of the girls who share this blog with me. ..found my personal blog by "googling Paska". The recipe originated with my husband's Grandmother .. .but I made it simpler by utilizing my blender and thin peeling my citrus.


The aroma just amazing .. from the time you blend the citrus until the last loaf has cooled.
You will need 4 or 5 loaf pans or you can free form little twists or use muffin tins just adjust your baking time, and watch the oven closely.


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. In a large bowl, put your yeast, sugar and warm water. Let sit 10 minutes. 
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 1 medium orange
  1. Take your citrus and peel it very thin. I use a vegetable peeler. You don't want to use any of the white parts of the peel. Put the thinly sliced peel in the blender.
  2. Once you have removed and discarded the white pith of the citrus. Chop your lemon and orange, removing all the seeds. Add the chopped lemon and orange to the blender.
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup of real butter
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and milk until the butter melts or do it in a saucepan on the stove.
  2. Once it is melted add it to the blender. Start the blender .. and begin to puree.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Start the blender on high and allow the citrus, peel and milk, butter mixture to run for about 2 or 3 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs, sugar, and salt.
  3. Continue to run the blender for another minute or two until very smooth.
  4. Measure the milk/citrus and sugar mixture it should be about 4 1/2 cups. If you have a bit more or less that is fine. .you will just adjust the flour likewise.
  5. Pour the mixture, along with the yeast mixture into a large bowl .. or the bowl of your kitchen machine, which has a dough hook.
  6. Add flour one cup at a time until you have a smooth soft dough it will be sticky. I think about 7 cups of flour should be right. . but it will depend on the size of your eggs and the size of your lemon and orange. With a plastic bowl, it is easy to tell when the dough has enough flour because it will stop sticking to the side of the bowl but with a metal bowl you really do need to stop the mixer often and touch your dough before adding additional flour. It really is best to stop the machine once it is getting close. . and knead the last bit of flour by hand. . .a little at a time until it is smooth. Do not add more than 7 1/2 cups flour allow it to remain sticky. If you measured the milk mixture and had 4 1/2 cups 7 cups of flour will be enough sticky but enough.
  7. The amount of flour is a guide. .if your dough is still super sticky add a little more flour a dusting at a time. Look at the picture in the collage of my dough .. .that is how it should look. It should be able to hold its shape. There will be several factors in how your dough could be different than mine, the flour you purchase or how you fill your cup of flour.  (I scoop and shake to level). It could be that you have slightly more liquid. Don't despair if you think it is still too sticky, slowly add a dusting more, turn the dough on the counter and knead until you are out of flour again and then give it another dusting and continue this way until it looks silky and is elastic.  (like mine in the picture).
  8. After kneading it by hand or with the machine for about 8 - 10 minutes, transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled. This should take about an hour. .to an hour and a half.
  9. At this point, give it a bit of a punch down and let rest at least 10 minutes or up to another hour.
  10. During this time prepare your pans. I spray mine with Pam. Make loaves and let rise until doubled in bulk .. .or about an hour to an hour and a half.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 F. If you have a convection oven, set it at 325 F. Bake the loaves approximately 20 - 30 minutes depending on the size of your pans.
  12. Gently remove from pans and place on cooling racks.  Once they are completely cool,  put them in the freezer unless you are eating them the same day. 
Paska Icing
  • 1 cup of soft real butter
  • 4 pasteurized egg whites (young children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems should avoid raw egg whites)  I often use egg white powder and water.
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • enough icing sugar to make a soft icing. It will harden again in the fridge.
  1. Beat all together until light and smooth....and spread on each slice .. .and sprinkle with colored sugar.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

 
My niece, Carolyn is known for bringing these squares to family gatherings and one is lucky to get a piece, because they go fast! An oatmeal bar with a fudge filling that is hard to resist.
Ingredients:
chocolate fudge
  • 1 can (10 oz / 300 ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
cake
  • I cup butter, room temp
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups rolled oats
Method:
  1. On medium/low heat, melt fudge ingredients, stirring as needed, until well combined. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl of mixer, cream together butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs.
  3. Gradually, stir in flour, baking soda and rolled oats. This will end up resembling a stiff cookie dough. For easier mixing you can use a hook attachment on the machine if you have it ... but it works fine by hand too.
  4. Using a wet spatula or wet hands,  press 2/3 of the dough into a 9x13 inch greased pan. Glass or light colored aluminum is good. Keep 1/3 for top layer.
  5. Spread with fudge filling.
  6. Randomly scoop spoon fulls of the left over dough all over the top - like islands - allowing spots of the filling to show. (I add a few tablespoons of milk to this part of the dough to have an easier consistency to work with)
  7. Bake at 350° F for 25 - 30 minutes. (Do not over bake - may appear a bit jiggly when you take it out of the oven) Let cool. Cut into 36 - 48 bars. Keeps well for days, refrigerated. Freezes well.

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Hawaiin Style Farmer Sausage

Since I saw this recipe featured on Winkler Meats Instagram page this week, it seemed like a good time to dust it off and re-publish it.


We rather like farmer sausage around here and always have some on hand.  Farmer sausage is a smoked pork sausage; the smoky flavour is a great addition to soups and casseroles.  But if you aren't familiar with this particular sausage, I'm sure your favorite sausage would work with this dish as well.
  • 1 ring farmer sausage (about 1 1/2 pounds), sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, cut in chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut in chunks
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes (796 ml / 28 oz)
  • 1 can pineapple chunks or tidbits (398 ml / 14 oz), drain and reserve juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  1.  Stir fry farmer sausage for several minutes.
  2.  Add celery, onions, and peppers and cook until tendercrisp.
  3. Add tomatoes, pineapple, seasonings, sugar and soy sauce.  Simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Blend cornstarch with reserved pineapple juice. Add to simmering sausage dish and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Serve on a bed of rice.

Serves 6.

Porridge Pancakes


This family sized recipe makes about 16 hearty, oat filled pancakes named for their moist porridge texture within a pancake. We love them with cinnamon steamed apples on the side. This recipe works best if mixed the night before and refrigerated to cook in the morning, or mix during the day to cook for supper.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups (quick cooking) rolled oats
  • 3 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk and 1 cup yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Steamed apples
  • 2 Gala apples, unpeeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Method:
  1. Combine oats and buttermilk. Stir in oil and beaten eggs. 
  2. Add combined dry ingredients. Refrigerate overnight or for several hours.
  3. Cook on non-stick griddle between low and med heat. Adjust heat setting so that the pancakes do not brown too quickly. Cook first side for about 2-3 minutes, until tiny bubbles appear on top. Flip and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes. * 
  4. In the meantime, in medium pot, cook apple slices in butter until tender. A few minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and keep hot on low heat. 
* tips: a square (stove top) griddle/and a scratch proof flipper is a great investment for cooking pancakes/hot cakes. Keep cooked pancakes warm on an oven proof serving plate in 200 F oven. Serve with butter, maple syrup and cinnamon apples.
Left over pancakes can be stored in sealed bag (refrigerator or freezer) and toasted.


Cast Iron Pizza

Who doesn't like pizza! This pizza can be bakes on a very hot BBQ or in the oven. We have a Big Green Egg grill which really bakes up a pizza like a wood oven, but I've tried this in my kitchen oven and it turns out nicely. This is a deep dish thicker crust pizza. Baking it in a cast skillet gives the pizza a perfectly crispy crust. Because it's a deep dish crust it's important to follow the method below to insure it cooks through.

Crust:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  1. In bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, yeast, salt, water and oil. Stir to combine. Gradually add more flour kneading with your hands until you have a smooth and elastic dough.
  2. Form dough into a ball. Rub lightly with a bit more olive oil and place in a bowl and cover with lid or plastic wrap. Allow to rise on counter for at least an hour. I find that pizza dough is best made a day or two before hand. Once mixed place in refrigerator covered. Take out and let rise on counter one hour before using. 

Topping: ( personalize your pizza by omitting or adding your own favourite toppings.
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pizza sauce ( I like to add a bit of oregano, garlic and onion powder, Italian spice...any of these or a mixture to spice up the sauce)
  • 4 strips bacon, fried to lightly crisp, crumble
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped deli ham
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pepperoni
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, raw
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced black olives
  • 1/3 cup pineapple tidbits, or fresh pineapple

Making and baking the pizza:

You can heat your cast iron in the oven or on your BBQ. Place cold cast iron pan in a cold oven or BBQ. You want to preheat your cooking method along with the pan to a temperature of 450-500º.

Remember that cast iron gets very hot, you will need a good oven mitt to handle your pan and a good surface to remove it to....don't set a hot cast on your counter top!

  1. Once pan and oven/BBQ are up to temperature, working quickly, remove cast and quickly spray it with cooking spray and give it a sprinkle of corn meal. (this will add a nice crunch to your crust)
  2. Take your risen pizza dough, and working quickly pull or roll your dough to the size of your pan and without touching the hot cast lay the dough in the pan carefully working the crust into the pan and up it's sides. The dough should be about 1/2" thick.
  3. Place the cast with just the dough back into the oven or BBQ. Allow to bake (this is called blind baking) for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove pan, spread sauce over partially baked dough, add 1/3 of the cheese, all of the meats, onions, olives and pineapple. Top with remaining cheeses and bake for another 15-20 minutes until done. 
  5. Allow pizza to rest in cast for 2-3 minutes, then slide it onto a cutting board. Pizza will slide out of the pan really easily...just don't burn your hands on the cast. 

German Pancakes


In our home, growing up, Pfannkuchen, were a lunch treat made by my Oma (we called her Omi) ... and the tradition continues, the only difference being that we clarify them as being the European version by calling them German pancakes. My grandchildren have simply dubbed them  sugar-roll-up pancakes. This recipe is slightly larger than the one in our original cookbook.

Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
Method:
  1. Using a whisk or hand mixer, beat eggs well with just 1 cup of the milk. 
  2. Add flour and salt. Beat until smooth before adding the rest of the milk. Let rest for a few minutes.
  3. Heat medium sized non-stick skillet to just below medium heat. Brush with a dab of butter.
  4. Lift hot skillet with left hand, slightly tilting it toward you. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the top half, allowing the batter to spread while rotating the skillet. ( A slight rotation of the wrist) 
  5. Set the skillet back on the heat, cooking until the pancake is set. (wet look has disappeared) 
  6. Using a small thin lifter or spatula, gently flip to cook second side, which will go quick.
  7. Repeat, using a dab of butter as needed, stacking pancakes on a dinner plate. Yields approximately 18
Tips and Variations:

Batter should be smooth, thin enough to coat the pan easily when tilted. If it does not run easily, add more milk. If there are a few tiny lumps, don't be concerned. 
The traditional way to have these is to sprinkle the open pancake with sugar, fold in half and roll up from the short end - making it easy for younger children to eat by hand.
However, the options are limitless, including cottage cheese with canned peaches, nutella and sliced bananas or strawberries and whipped cream. 
I use the same recipe (half size) for savory fillings, using a smaller skillet.

Portzelky with Dried Cranberries Happy New Year

Happy New Year Friends! 

The calendar page is opened to a fresh new start. Hello 2016! Whether you have stopped by for the first time or are a long time friend of ours here at MGCC we want to thank you for visiting our blog. Many of you have supported our projects this past year by purchasing our cookbooks. We are grateful for our sponsors (visit them on our sidebar) who play a vital part through their generous giving. We look forward to what God has in store for us as we journey together in 2016.

We want to start out the first weekend of this new year with food for thought followed by a traditional recipe for New Years Cookies, better known in our Mennonite circles as Portzelky.

Each year when we gather around the Christmas table my husband Scot has something to encourage and challenge us with for the coming year. In light of giving, he found a list of 5 gifts that don't cost, but may require personal sacrifice. From youngest to oldest this list spurred on some good suggestions of how we can be generous givers of these free gifts. Join us as we seek to make a difference.

Food for Thought
  1. Giving others the Benefit of the doubt. Not everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, but in love we can extend grace. (1Cor. 13:7)
  2. A Second Chance. Hurt is real. Consider forgiveness towards those who have hurt you. Freedom comes when we forgive. (Matt. 18:21-22)
  3. Encouragement. Seize the opportunity to reach out to others with words of affirmation, and acts of kindness. 1 Thess. 5:14 includes a challenge. "...encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 
  4. Give a listening ear. "Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak...." Those wise words come from James 1:19. Heeding them can provide an incredible gift.
  5. Time. 1Peter 4:10-11 encourages us to use our God given gifts, ultimately that God may be glorified. Everything we do requires time. Whether serving your family a meal, helping with homework, cleaning, repairs, caring for the sick or the elderly. Make these a positive investment of your time. They may be life changing times for others and for you. 
May we all be encouraged in this new year to look beyond ourselves, extend grace, forgive, encourage,
listen and be generous and cheerful givers. 

New Years Cookies


I'll be making a few batches of Portzelky over the weekend to serve and deliver...fresh and warm.
Typically these have raisins in them but for a change I've used dried cranberries. Before adding the cranberries I divided the dough into two bowls, added the cranberries to one and left the other plain....some like these little fritters better without the fruit. 
(yields approximately 3 dozen)

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, plus 1 egg white, beaten together well
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast (sometimes called quick rise)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, or raisins (optional)
  • additional granulated and/or powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Place milk, water and butter in a microwave bowl and heat until very warm.
  2. Beat eggs and egg white together until frothy.
  3. Stirring continually pour very warm milk mixture over eggs until combined.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, salt, baking powder, yeast and 2 1/2 cups flour.
  5. Stir with a wooden spoon. Adding remaining 1 cup of flour. The dough will be a bit sticky, or 'shaggy'. 
  6. Stir in fruit if using.
  7. Set aside and cover with a lint free towel to rise for 45 minutes or until double in bulk.
  8. Heat oil in deep fryer or on stove top to 375º. Always stay near hot oil on stove!
  9. Drop teaspoons of risen dough into hot oil. As the portselky cook they will usually flip over when cooked through on one side. You may have to turn them with a spoon. 
  10. Remove with deep fryer basket or slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined baking sheet. 
  11. If wanting to dust with sugar put choice of sugar in a large bowl and add portzelky and shake to coat. Or, place bowls of sugar on table for everyone to dust their own.