A Reminder of the Past


I am very partial to cinnamon rolls, just ask my family. You might say I am even a connoisseur of them. Once, when I was, well, honestly a not so young child, I stuck a fork in the top of my grandfathers hand (I didn’t really break the skin, I swear) as he tried to take one off my plate. My maternal grandmother, when she was alive, was the queen of cinnamon rolls, and would always make sure she had a batch made up when we came to visit. She even let me help make them a couple of times, and despite that insight, I have never been able to duplicate them, not even close. In fact, the only person I know who has even come close is my Uncle Charlie, but even they lack, well, that certain something grandma had. 

With all that said, I am kind of a harsh critic when it comes to other people’s cinnamon rolls and sticky buns, and yes, there is a difference between the two. A while ago while on assignment I was at the Country Cupboard in Lewisburg on assignment and I got to have one of their sticky buns. One of the perks of my job you might say. So when I first saw it I must say I was impressed by its size, but looks aren’t everything you might say, although it did provide a nice desert for my family of 4. It had a good flavor to it, plenty of cinnamon in the layers, although I think it could have used a bit more butter in the mix. Now, believe it or not, I prefer my cinnamon rolls without icing, I think a good cinnamon roll can stand on its own without the icing, with that said though, I know that sticky buns always, always have icing on them. To me, the icing was a bit to sugary and on the thin side, but that is a bit on the minor side I realize. Overall it was a nice treat, good flavor, great size and value, and most importantly, it made me smile to think of my grandmother. So now for my rating, I give it 4 cinnamon sticks out of 5.

My First Time


You might be wondering that surely I have had pasta before, and yes, many, many times. However, this was my first time having homemade pasta, from scratch, as fresh as fresh can be. It was a gift to me from a couple that I did some photos for, and a gift my taste buds greatly appreciated. I don’t know if they will be making any more for a while because they just celebrated the birth of their first daughter, and although they insisted they would keep on making it, I know first hand how busy you get with new babies, so good luck guys.

With that said, I wasn’t really sure what to expect with fresh pasta, it’s something I have always wanted to try but deemed it to time consuming, not to mention I don’t have a pasta machine, but now that I have had it, I am going to have to try and make it myself, somehow, someway. For starters it doesn’t take near as long to cook, and more importantly, I know that it was probably healthier for me than any other pasta I have eaten before. I do believe in the chefs simple rule that fresh is always better. It had a nice texture to it, and honestly, it just made me happier to eat knowing it was a nice gift from friends.

So I encourage all you home chefs, and lets face it, there are more home chefs than those working at restaurants, to make your specialty, and then give it as a gift, put not only a smile on the recipients face, but a warm feeling in your heart knowing you fed someone with something you made with love.

Making Whoopie


I am a transplant to this area, that is to say about 10 years ago I moved here from central New York. Up until then, I really had never heard about whoopie pies before, and since the first time I tried one, it completely baffled me how they had not spread to my home area and swept the country by storm.

Now that I have had my fair share of whoopie pies, in many, many flavors, including red velvet, oatmeal, pumpkin, chocolate chocolate chip and others, I feel somewhat confident that some of the best ones I have had are from Hilshire’s General Store on Route 11&15 South. First, they price them by the pound, not that I have ever eaten a one pound whoopie pie (although I bet I could) so you know you’re getting your money’s worth, and believe me, they are worth every penny. Although, in truth, the last one I got was bought for me by a co-worker who was going there that I begged and begged, and I would grovel for one again in the blink of an eye. The cake portion is moist and rich, but doesn’t fall apart, and the filling is the right amount of sweetness but not over the top and actually has a creamy flavor rather than a sugary one. It was in short, the perfect pick-me-up for a not so good afternoon.

I don’t recommend eating as a coping mechanism generally (not that I haven’t done it, and who really hasn’t) but sometimes it can really help. It won’t actually solve your problem, but it sure makes you feel better for a bit, and hey, after you’re done eating, you will have a nice little sugar rush to go tackle the problem with. And with that said, it is almost time for me to go tackle my lunch, so the next time you are headed down 11&15 South, be sure to stop in at Hilshire’s General Store, on the right hand side, and pick up your favorite flavor of whoopie pie, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. I give them 5 out of 5 Whoopies!

Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart

I enjoy a good lemon, I really do. Generally when I need a lemon for a recipe I will end up sucking on it for a bit after I get what I need out of it. I have even gotten my kids to try it, although they are not as sold on it as I am.
As for the saying, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, well, lets just say I prefer lemon tart. Lemonade can be good, don’t get me wrong, but usually it ends up being to sweet and not lemony enough. Not everything in life has to be sweet as long as it has a good flavor to it and lemon definitely falls into that category.
I got the recipe for this lemon tart from The Joy of Cooking cook book, my go to book as it stands currently, and liked it the minute I read it called for the use of three whole lemons. The crust for the base is a shortbread crust with a decent amount of butter, which makes anything taste better. If only that worked on lima beans I’d be set.
This was a new recipe for me to try so I wasn’t sure what to expect. My wife makes a nice lemon desert as well so I thought maybe it would turn out like that, but it was definitely a lot different, which just goes to show, you shouldn’t pre-judge a recipe before it’s done and should keep an open mind when trying new things, or meeting new people. I won’t go saying which I like better, hers or mine, I know better than that. The finished product turned out, well, in my opinion pretty good, but if you really want better proof, just ask my colleague Francis Scarcella who ate about 5 pieces of it when I brought it into work. It had enough sweetness to it, but the predominate flavor was that of lemon, pure unfiltered lemon.
It just goes to show that sugar coating things doesn’t always make it better, and can in fact mask wonderful flavors hid beneath. So the next time you see those little yellow fruits of pure bliss, pick a couple up and try something new, you never know what you might find.