Sunday, August 25, 2013

Shipshewana Fried Amish Pies (Great for Rosh Hashana!) & Stuffed Vegetarian Zucchini

A while back I was perusing the latest Living Social deals when I came across a “deal” for $12 a night in Indiana at the Twin Mills Resort.  It just so happened that I was looking for something to do with my girls (KIH) after they were done with camp and the guys in the family were still working.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with Living Social, it’s a web site similar to Groupon.  They have deals from all over the place and you can specify the location you are interested in.  Being from the Midwest (Yay!) I was looking for fun things to do that are nearby, or within a relatively short car ride.  When the Twin Mills deal came up I immediately clicked on the link.  It turns out that the $12 deal was for reserving a camp site on the resort.  Tents, no personal bathrooms, no beds, no kitchen, no way.  I read further and also available was a “Deluxe” Cabin that would sleep 6-8 people, that came equipped with beds, a “kitchen”, refrigerator, sink, linens and towels, and a bundle of firewood for each night, for less than $65 per night!  Awesome!  It was just the kind of thing I was looking for, the perfect adventure that was just 2 to 2 ½ hours away by car.  The resort boasted a pool, boating, miniature golf, internet, and enough sleeping space that the girls could bring friends along if they wanted to.  Located in Howe, Indiana, Twin Mills is right in the heart of the Indiana Amish Country.  How cool is that?  We had never visited any Amish Country, so combining all the fun activities (including fishing!) at the resort and the appeal of investigating the areas Amish attractions, proved to be enough of an incentive for me to book a 2 night stay.

When it was time to go, we loaded up the car with our gear - including fishing poles, a toaster oven, and small George Foreman grill (they had a kitchen…just not a Kosher kitchen).  I had also packed super long wooden skewers and metal extending forks for roasting marshmallows over our campfire.  The resort was super cute and very rustic.  Our cabin was probably the size of my living room and dining room combined (and believe me they are not all that big!) with the kids bedroom being just big enough to literally hold 2 bunk beds with space to stand between the beds.   The living/dining/kitchen room held a pull out couch for campers number 7 & 8 if you happened to bring them along.  Luckily there were only 4 of us (one of the girls brought a dear friend) so the cabin was perfect!  The first day and a half we spent boating, fishing, swimming.  We build campfires every night, grilled, roasted awesome pierogies on the super long sticks the first night (the girls are very creative), and made authentic s’mores, all while the girls played music on their ipods. The second evening we went blueberry picking nearby.  Between the four of us we picked around 18 pounds of fabulous, juicy, fresh blueberries!  The owner of the blueberry patch gave us a dozen ears of Incredible Corn (it’s really called Incredible Corn).  We wrapped a few ears in foil and tossed them on the hot campfire coals to roast.  They were truly incredible!!

Shipshewana Fried Amish Pies
Our last day on the “Matten Girls Excellent Adventure” was spent at an interactive exhibit that explained Amish culture (we were in Amish Country, at least we should understand what it’s all about right?), and at the incredible Shipshewana Flea and Farmers Market.  The Shipshewana Flea/Farmers market is a huge multi-football field sized market that takes place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays every week.  There are rows and rows and rows of booths/stalls where people sell their wares, crafts, and fresh produce – usually super cheap.  We found some beautiful hand crafted items, and purchased several to decorate our Sukkah with in another month.  There were quite a few Amish vendors, and a number making Shipshewana Fried Amish Pies. I was super intrigued.  I didn’t ask to take pictures because after our Amish educational session that morning I learned that the Amish don’t like to be in close up personal photos, so out of respect I refrained. I did go over and watch them make the pies and asked some questions – I mean fried pies??  Basically they made a pie dough (probably with butter and lard), rolled out a small circle, placed them on a small pastry tool, brushed some water around the edges, put a spoonful of filling in the center of the dough, pressed the edges together with the tool to seal the “pies” and make a fluted edge, dropped each one in a hot vat of boiling oil (or lard), then drizzled a glaze over the top.  They smelled amazing and looked delicious!  The cool part was that I actually had the tool at home!  It turns out the pie making tool they have is a very inexpensive one and I had bought mine as part of a kit for less than $6.  I knew that these pies were totally going to be something I would try when we got home.  Filled with apple filling they would also be a fabulous Rosh Hashana dessert or grab and go treat (not terribly healthy though!).

At the farmer’s market part of the market we found awesome produce – yellow tomatoes, fresh delicious apricots and peaches, small yellow watermelons, orange zucchini, and huge fresh green zucchinis.  We left Shipshewana that day after having an amazing time.  I left with a mission to make some Amish inspired recipes.

Stuffed Vegetarian Zucchini
I knew I wanted to do something fun and delicious with those zucchinis – they were outrageous!  A while ago I had purchased some large zucchinis at a local farmers market and had cut them in half lengthwise, hollowed the halves and stuffed them like large zucchini boats.  It didn’t work as well as I had hoped.  The boats didn’t hold their shapes and although they tasted great they weren’t as pretty as they could have been.  I decided to cut the large zucchini’s into pieces to cook more evenly, hollowed each piece, then stuffed them with some rice with seasoning, mock meat, vegetables, and topped each with flavorful salsa.  I baked them uncovered, and after the pieces were cooked through I sliced them into large disks and re-baked the disks.  They were pretty, held their filling, and delicious!  Keeping the pieces as filled disks helped the Stuffed Vegetarian Zucchini to keep its shape and hold the filling. I didn't realize it at the time but I had used a little spicier salsa so the Stuffed Zucchini had a little kick to it – even better!

Now school and Rosh Hashana are just around the corner and it’s time to put the summer behind us.  We were blessed to be able to get a way for a few days for some much needed fun and R&R.  I also came away with a few new great recipes. The Shipshewana Fried Amish Pies went over so well that my crowd requested that I make them again and they literally disappeared in a blink.  I know I’ll be making them during the year, bringing back a little bit of our great summer in each delicious bite.

Shipshewana Fried Amish Pies
Pie Dough (You can use chilled margarine instead of butter)
Flour for rolling
Canola oil for frying
Your favorite pie filling

2 cups powdered/confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon corn syrup (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Boiling/hot water

Powdered sugar (optional)

Pie making tool (You can find it on Amazon) or a fork

Divide the dough into small pieces.  Sprinkle a little flour on a pastry board.  Roll each piece of dough into a small circle.  Sprinkle a little flour over the pastry tool.  Place a dough circle on the tool, brush the edges with water, place a teaspoon of filling in the center of the dough, then close the tool to seal the pie.  If you don’t have the pie making tool, simply fold the dough over the filling and crimp with a fork to seal. 

Line a large baking sheet with paper towels.  Set aside.

In a large stock pot, dutch oven, or deep fryer, heat the oil over medium-high heat to 350° F.  Drop pies into the oil and fry each, turning occasionally, until brown on each side.  Remove from the oil and place on the prepared baking sheet.  (Be careful not to put the baking sheet too close to the burner with the pot…I’m just saying the paper towels covered with oil might just catch on fire, and you might just need to use baking soda to put out the fire.  I’m just saying…not that it happened to me Erev Shabbat making the pies or anything…)

Prepare the glaze:  Place the powdered sugar in a large bowl.  Add the corn syrup and vanilla and enough hot water to make a thick glaze.  Drizzle or spread the glaze over the pies, and if you like sprinkle them with powdered sugar.

Stuffed Vegetarian Zucchini
This recipe makes enough filling to have some as an additional side dish at your Shabbat meal.
1 or 2 super large zucchinis cut into 6” pieces
2 cups brown rice (or 14 ounces Instant Uncle Bens Brown Rice)
4 cups vegetable stock (or 3 1/2 cups if using instant Uncle Bens Rice)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound imitation ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed (I use a frozen cube)
4 colorful peppers, diced
1 package taco seasoning
1 16 ounce jar salsa
Nonstick vegetable spray

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Spray with nonstick vegetable spray.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Hollow out the center of each zucchini piece with a long, thin, sharp knife, or a long apple corer.  Reserve the hollowed center pieces, and set the cored zucchini chunks aside.  Dice the reserved hollowed center pieces and set them on the prepared baking sheet.

In a large pot bring the vegetable stock to a boil.  Add the rice, return to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes (or according to package directions) until all the liquid is completely absorbed.  Set aside.

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet or wok.  Add the diced onion, garlic and mock meat.  Sauté until the onions and “beef” are browned.   Add the diced zucchini and peppers and sauté until the vegetables are soft.  Sprinkle with the taco seasoning and stir until completely blended.   Mix the cooked rice with the sautéd vegetables.

Stuff each of the hollowed zucchini sections with the rice mixture.  Place on the prepared baking sheet and top with the salsa.  Bake for 30 minutes until zucchinis are soft.  For super large zucchinis bake a little longer.  Remove the zucchinis from the oven and allow to cool until cool enough to handle.  Slice each zucchini log into 1 ½ inch thick rounds.  Return the rounds to the original baking sheet and spread the cooked pan salsa on top of the rounds.  Bake for an additional 30 minutes until lightly browned.  Serve warm with additional salsa if desired.

Shipshewana Fried Amish Pies
Here's the kit...I paid $5.49!
 Make the dough...
 Cut it into 16 pieces...
Roll each piece into a circle...
 Press in onto the dough press then
add the filling...
Brush the edges with water...
(Or use a fork to seal)
A pie! 
 Pop it into the boiling oil...
 Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble...
(wait until they are golden brown!)
Golden brown & ready to be glazed...
 Make the glaze...
(You can make it a little looser if you want to
glaze the entire top of the pie)
 Drizzle the tops of the pies...
 So pretty they needed a close up!
 YUM!! Shipshewana Fried Amish Pies!!

Stuffed Vegetarian Zucchini
All the ingredients...
These zucchini are HUGE!!
 Saute onion, mock beef & garlic...
 Cut up the zucchini so it's easier to work with
and bakes more evenly...
 Core the zucchini then chop up the part
you removed...
Add the peppers & chopped zucchini...
 Add the taco seasoning...
 Stir until combined...
 Add the rice...
 Now it's time to stuff the zucchini...
Stuff one side then turn it around and
stuff the other side...
 Cover the stuffed zucchini with salsa...
 Bake then slice...
 Put the slices back on the original tray...
 Fresh & healthy & delicious!

Here's some stuff I did this week...

Kosher Everyday is dedicated to the memory of my father
Dr. Theodore Saltzberg - Tuvia Ben Nachum Z”L
May his memory be for a blessing - Yihi zichro baruch.

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,, Mishpacha Magazine’s Kosher Inspired Magazine,
The Chicago Tribune Syndication,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fresh Turmeric Brown Rice with Grilled Mini Peppers

Fresh Turmeric Rice with Grilled Vegetables
Last week was wacky fruit & vegetable week at our favorite mega-fruit store.  I’m not sure what was up but suddenly there was “mutant” produce filling the aisles.  There were cool varieties of unusual oriental mushrooms (Yay! Mushrooms!), and weird fruits that looked like alien mutant infestations.  SO cool!!  The store had actually cut open the large knobby Jackfruit.  I almost bought one (just for the fun of the experience) but put it back when I found out that out of the whole “fruit” only little orange sections around the seeds were edible.  Really?  I’m going to purchase this monstrous fruit, whose cost is by the pound and only be able to enjoy 1/50th of it?  Thanks…but no.  

No caterpillars in this bin
of fresh turmeric!!
I did buy a beautiful, fuschia colored dragon fruit.  I fell in love with this pretty, unusual looking fruit – and it wasn’t a huge investment to take it home and try it.   It was a great hit - sweet with a cool poppyseed-like inside.  One of the more interesting items that I’ve seen many times in the store and was super tempted to buy but was too chicken, was Fresh Turmeric.   I’m a huge turmeric fan and have published a bunch of recipes on Kosher Everyday featuring turmeric.  The thing is, the bin of fresh turmeric in the produce store looked like a swarm of little caterpillars.  Ewwwwww.  I have large containers of the processed, dried, powdery version of the fragrant spice but had absolutely no idea what to do with the fresh variety.  I took a leap and grabbed a handful (no, they didn’t squirm, although they did look like they would!), brought them home and sat down at the computer to do some fresh turmeric research.  According to the very notably reliable, turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia. I found a lot of information about fresh turmeric on, and it has lots of health benefits “Activities of Fresh Turmeric include: Alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-allergic, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, appetizer, astringent, cardiovascular, carminative, digestive, diuretic, stimulant, and vulnerary.  Turmeric is known to be used medicinally for ulcers, parasitic infections, various skin disorders, strains, bruises, inflammation of the joints, cold and flu symptoms, preserving food and as a digestion aid.”  Betcha didn’t know all that!  I also found out that fresh turmeric needs to be peeled (similar to ginger) and has a milder less-strong flavor in comparison to the dried, powdered version.  With my newly acquired fresh turmeric knowledge it was time to plan the fresh turmeric recipe.  In the past I’ve added bright yellow turmeric to brown rice to give it great flavor.  The mega fruit store also had fabulous multi-colored mini peppers on sale, which I had to toss into my cart!  I decided to grill them to achieve maximum flavor greatness, then diced the grilled peppers and a grilled super-sweet-super-large Vidalia onion, and tossed them into the rice.  Now, during my fresh turmeric investigations I learned that it is often used in Middle Eastern/Indian dishes and is frequently accompanied with other fragrant spices.  I tasted the rice dish and felt that something was missing (I had an idea of what it was…) but didn’t want to mask the great flavor of the fresh turmeric.  So…during our Shabbat dinner, I served the rice and asked our guests what they thought might be missing (we’re pretty informal).  Our dear, sweet guest Cory suggested cumin.  Correct for 1000 points!  I brought out the container of cumin and we all sprinkled a little on our rice.  Yippee Skipee!  That was it (as I suspected).  Using a little bit of cumin in the recipe totally enhanced the flavor of the fresh turmeric rather than overpowering it.  Success!!   So, in the recipe below I added a teaspoon of ground cumin – but feel free to add less or more to your own recipe.

Some people need to go to exotic places, and thrilling far away locales for excitement.  Me…just a trip to the local mega fruit store and I’m good to go for a while.  Don’t forget your camera!  

Congratulations ME on my 100th Kosher Everyday post!! WAHOO!!

Next week…Shipshewana!

Fresh Turmeric Rice with Grilled Vegetables
5 small fresh turmeric “caterpillars”, peeled and finely grated (should yield approximately 1 heaping tablespoon)
1 medium Vidalia or sweet onion diced
1 garlic clove crushed or 1 frozen garlic cube
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups brown rice (I like Uncle Bens)
4 cups vegetable stock (I like Manischewitz)

2 pounds colorful baby peppers
1 extra-large Vidalia or sweet onion
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat grill to medium heat.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the diced medium onion and the crushed garlic.  Sauté until soft and slightly caramelized, then add the grated turmeric and stir to combine.  Add the brown rice and mix until rice is completely coated with oil and turmeric.  Pour the stock over the rice, stir to thoroughly blend, then increase heat to bring stock to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook rice according to package directions, usually 20-25 minutes until vegetable stock is completely absorbed.  Set aside.

In a large bowl toss the peppers with ¼ cup of olive oil until completely coated.  Slice the large oinion into ½ inch wide slices – do not separate the rings of the slices.  Brush or spray both sides of the onion slices with olive oil.  Place the vegetables on the heated grill and cook until lightly browned, turning frequently.  Note, the onions will take longer to cook through and soften.  Place grilled vegetables in a small casserole or on a large plate.  Remove the stems and dice the soft peppers leaving on the skins.  Dice the grilled onions.  Combine the diced grilled vegetables with the cooked rice.  Stir in the salt and pepper until evenly blended.  Serve warm.
 This is what fresh turmeric looks like up close...
 Pretty colorful baby peppers!
 Tossed with a little olive oil...
 Stick 'em and the onions on the grill...
 Meanwhile peel & grate the turmeric...
 Saute' another sweet Vidalia onion...
Add the grated fresh turmeric...
 Stir to combine...
 Add the brown rice...
 Stir to combine...
 Add the vegetable stock and cook according
to the package directions...
 Hooray! Peppers are done!
SO pretty!
 Onion slices took a little longer...
 All chopped up and ready to go!
 Rice is done...
 Add in the vegetables...
 Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and cumin...
 YUM! here's some other stuff I've been up to this week...
Rose Topped Cupcakes
Bride & Groom Cupcakes!

Kosher Everyday is dedicated to the memory of my father
Dr. Theodore Saltzberg - Tuvia Ben Nachum Z”L
May his memory be for a blessing - Yihi zichro baruch.

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,, Mishpacha Magazine’s Kosher Inspired Magazine,
The Chicago Tribune Syndication,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!