Friday, March 30, 2012

Recipe: Shoofly Tarts

If chocolate truffles (See: last week's post) did not take you to Paradise I guarantee today's recipe made with molasses and brown sugar most certainly will!

Shoofly tarts, a miniature version of an Amish classic (shoofly pie) will not only fulfill your sweet tooth's desire but it is said to be even better than Intercourse.

No other desert personifies Amish country (Lancaster ,PA) like shoofly pie. Think coffee cake with a gooey bottom.

According to local lore, the uniqueness of its name hales from the most logical of explanations. The sweet treat in all its sugary goodness while cooling attracted flies leaving the baker to "shoo" them away. And there you have it - the birth of shoo fly pie.

If you like sweet deserts then you are sure to love all this pie has to offer! I suggest you serve it warm with a dollop of whipped cream on top accompanied by a tall glass of ice cold milk.


Crumbs - 2/3 C. brown sugar, 1T. vegetable shortening, 1 C. flour.
*Reserve 1/2 C. of crumbs for topping.

Filling - 1 C. molasses or Karo dark syrup, 3/4 C. boiling water, 1 egg - beaten, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 packaged pie crust.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place baking soda in boiling water. Add egg and syrup. Next add crumb mixture. Stir well and pour into unbaked pie crust. Cover with 1/2 C. reserved crumbs and place into oven. Bake 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake approximately 40 additional minutes OR until firm.

NOTE: Paradise and Intercourse are actual names of Amish communities. For additional information contact the PA Dutch Visitors Center at


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Recipe: Disaronno and Malibu Truffles

Disaronnno Truffles (Hazelnut)

Next week my wife Tammy will celebrate her birthday.

Purchasing a gift for her special day has always been difficult. Actually, purchasing any gift for her has been difficult. It's not that she is difficult. She prefers the simple things. That's what makes it difficult! It's much easier to give her money and let her shop for herself than to use the ole noggin and surprise her. I should tell you she also dislikes surprises. Her simplicity gives me a headache! What's a guy to do?

Her favorite leisure activity is to curl up with a good book and read the day away. She also enjoys food as much as I do. Deserts mostly - Anything chocolate. There's a surprise! Crossing off my list of options, I was left with very little in which to choose. And just like that it hit me!!

Needing a recipe for this week's post I decided to take out two birds with one stone. I prepared Truffles with Disaronno and Malibu. Chocolate and alcohol. Sort of like dinner and a movie. And it was simple. How could I go wrong? I also purchased her a book.

Malibu Truffles (Coconut)

5 oz. Milk Chocolate melting wafers
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1/4 C. Heavy cream
1/4 C. Nutella
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1-1/2 T. Disaronno liqueur
* same ingredients for Malibu just sub in the Malibu liqueur for the Disaronno.


(1) In a double boiler over medium low heat combine chocolate, heavy cream and nutella.
Heat until melted. Stir until smooth.

(2) Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes. Whisk in vanilla and Disaronno liqueur. Pour into a shallow glass bowl, preferably flat Pyrex. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it sets up firm.

(3) Place parchment paper onto a baking sheet. With a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop create 1 inch balls. Roll in hazelnuts and refrigerate until ready to serve.

** For Malibu Truffles follow all steps above replacing Disaronno with Malibu liqueur. Roll in coconut.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Recipe: Corned Beef and Cabbage Pizza

Hidden away in what seemed to be an endless pile of inserts to my Sunday newspaper, I found "A Slice of Heaven", Parade's look at pizza in America. (

"The United States of Pizza, Why we all love a good pie" by Jane and Michael Stern provides the reader with an informative historical glance at one of the nation's favorite foods. However, it falls exceedingly short on answering " the subtitle implies. I found their recommended list of pizza offering restaurants from coast to coast (and all points in between) to be useful and tucked it away for future reference. The recipe for Margherita pizza was a nice tie-in to the history of the pie. "Pie Personality" by Scott Wiener, a pizza tour leader from New York City, claims that "the way you get that slice from plate to tummy can say a mouthful." Pizza tour. Really? Only in New York City!

Hungering for more, I did not find 'Parade's pizza" to be very satisfying! So... with a fondness for pizza, inspiration from a fellow blogger ( and St.Patrick's Day only hours away, I tossed together a recipe that put aside tradition (bangers, corned beef and cabbage) for a more creative dish - Corned Beef and Cabbage Pizza.

Me grandfather (McComsey) would be proud!                                          

1- package of your favorite commercial brand pizza crusts **
4C. cabbage - sliced
Olive oil - (EVOO)
1 Medium potato- thinly sliced
1 - Large ball of fresh mozzarella cheese - sliced using an egg slicer
1/2 C. Colby Jack cheese - shredded
12 oz. Corned Beef  pre-cooked and sliced
1 - 2 teaspoon Pecorino Romano cheese
White pepper - to taste


(1) Place a large pizza stone in the oven and pre-heat it at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes.

(2) In a large saute pan caramelize the cabbage in EVOO, seasoning with white pepper. Set aside. Place potatoes onto a baking sheet, drizzle with EVOO and roast them for 7-10 minutes until light brown BUT not crisp. Set aside.

(3) Assemble pie. Place pie crust onto a pizza tray or pizza board. Arrange 5-6 slices of mozzarella around  the crust in a circular motion. Add 1/2 Colby Jack, saving remainder for top of pie. Next add the Corned Beef. Place sliced potatoes on top of meat and finish with the cabbage. Top the pie with remainder of mozzarella and Colby cheeses.

(4) Transfer the pizza onto the heated stone and bake for 12 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with Pecorino Romano cheese and serve.

**NOTE: For this recipe we opted to make our own pizza dough.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Recipe: Popovers

Whenever birthdays in our family fall on a weekend, we celebrate the entire weekend. This year it is my turn for the "weekend special" as March 11th falls on a Sunday.

Like a Folgers commercial of old, I awoke this morning to a wonderful aroma of fresh brewed coffee. Served up with the piping hot cup of joe were the morning paper and buttery popovers with raspberry jam. A simple but delightful start to my day.

Popovers, the American version of Yorkshire pudding, is a buttery light hollow roll served as a sweet breakfast treat with fruit or jam. It can also be served with meats for lunch or dinner.

The Origin of popovers is a disputed one. The first recipe can be found as early as 1876 in Practical Cooking and Dinner Giving by M.N. Henderson (

Much like naming a golden retriever puppy, Goldie, simplicity gave popovers its name. As they bake they rise above or "pop over" the pan.
Popovers, coffee and the morning paper. Not a bad way to start the day. I wonder what other surprises are in store for the weekend. Maybe I'll get that large screen TV that was on my Christmas list. Ooh, just in time for March Madness!

I hope you enjoy today's kid-friendly recipe. With only five basic ingredients and three simple steps, it is a great way to introduce the little ones to the kitchen.


1 1/2 T. Unsalted butter - melted * Also need some softened butter for greasing the pans.
1 1/2 C. AP flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 Large eggs - room temperature     
1 1/2 C. milk - also room temperature


(1) Grease popover pans. Be sure to have enough pans to make 9-12 popovers. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees and heat pans for 2 minutes.

(2) Whisk together the flour, salt, eggs, milk and melted butter until smooth. When mixed thoroughly you should have a thin batter.

(3) Fill the popover pans halfway and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool. They should pop out with ease.

NOTE:  Popovers bake successfully if you follow these three important directions: 1-Be sure the popover pans are preheated before adding batter. 2- Only fill pans halfway. 3- NEVER open oven door during baking! If you must peek, turn on your oven light.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Restaurant Profile: Graziano's Pizza and Grill

Living in the Upper Mid West for 13 years, there was one thing that I missed more than anything else - Pizza. Oh sure there was pizza.Or at least that's what they called it. But it wasn't really pizza. I mean, how can you call a thin wafer-like crust cut into one inch squares, pizza. Squares? Really? In addition to the local places that served squares, there were the pizza-hype type National chains. Need I say more...

So, upon returning home to Lancaster last Spring, I sought out pizza wherever I could find it. Did you know that there are nearly 120 different pizza joints in Lancaster? I didn't want just pizza though. I was looking for GREAT pizza! Great pepperoni pizza to be exact. Pizza where the dough is freshly made, the cheese is real and the grease from warmed pepperoni slides down your arm as you eat it. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about!

GREAT greasy pepperoni pizza slice

While there are many pizza joints that fit the above description, there is another important characteristic of great pizza - GREAT owners! Andre Pellerito is one such owner. Pellerito moved to the United States from Sicily in March 1998 with only the clothes on his back (literally) and speaking only Italian. He came with a dream and an attitude to be successful. Living with and working for family he not only learned how to be successful in business but he learned how to speak English as well.
In October 2003, Pellerito decided it was time to put his plans into action. Continuing to follow his pursuit of the American dream, he opened Graziano's Pizza and Grill. Located in the Manheim Shopping Center just off of Doe Run Road, Graziano's offers more than just great pepperoni pizza. Salads, Stromboli, pasta and hogies (hot and cold) round out the menu.

Besides his strong work ethic and a desire to succeed, what  also makes Pellerino GREAT is that he and his employees make you feel like family "where everyone knows your name." Although, they might not know my name, I am recognized as the guy who orders "the usual" - 2 slices of pepperoni pizza and a large coke, no ice.

Graziano's - "A Unique Treat from Italy"

Graziano's Pizza and Grill
107 Doe Run Road
Manheim Shopping Center
Manheim, PA 17545

Monday-Thursday 11am - 10pm, Friday - 11am - 11pm, Saturday 11am - 10pm  Sunday - CLOSED