Most of you know that Tom and I are in the bakery Tuesday through Saturday, leaving Monday as a day to run errands, pick up ingredients and catch up on paperwork. It’s a schedule that doesn’t leave much time for play, but every once in a while, we get out there and have a bit of fun.This week Tom and I went adventuring. We stopped in at the Asian market while running errands. It was quite amazing. So many things we couldn’t identify and others we were thrilled to see – Thai basil, fresh bean sprouts, dragonfruit (a new experience for us…not sure if we’ll do it again), and quite the assortment of meats, fish, and seafood. Since we love Asian food, we decided to get the ingredients for Pho while we were there. We already had some meat cooking, so we skipped that and went for the fresh vegetables, basil, and rice noodles. That’s where things got interesting.In our search for noodles (of which there were so many it was overwhelming), I came across a box that looked like a Pho kit with all the right noodles and other ingredients. Eureka! A solution to my noodle questions. We purchased the box, along with the bean sprouts, jalapenos, limes, and basil. (I already had fish sauce and Siracha at home. Those are some of the many sauces that crowd our refrigerator door. Someday I’ll have to post a photo so you can all be as entertained as our daughters who claim there’s little to eat in the house other than sauces.) Armed with our Pho box and other supplies, we trundled home anticipating a feast.Upon arriving home, I excitedly dove into the box only to find it was a box of those instant noodle bowls that you see in the grocery store. Major oops. How to rescue the adventure? Simple. We pulled the noodles out of the bowls and used the beef and broth that we had on-hand. With that and the other ingredients we had purchased, we were able to get out the chopsticks and enjoy. It wasn’t quite the Pho that our Vietnamese neighbor has made for us in the past, but it was yummy and warm for a cold evening. (Note: If you’re going to try this – and I think you should – make the pilgrimage to the market and get the Thai basil and bean sprouts. They really “make” the dish.)So, no recipe this week, but next week we’ll talk about Christmas lamb (yes, lamb, not ham). Stay warm and come see us this weekend to enjoy holiday treats (see menus below) and place your order for next week! Christmas is coming!
When you have four kids, that’s a lot of wonderful noise and chaos over the holidays. This Thanksgiving, our married daughter and her husband and dog joined us. We also had one daughter bring a friend home from school, so that added to the fun. Since the meal wasn’t at our house, we had Wednesday evening to relax a little while preparing the sides for the next day’s dinner. While I was doing that, our daughter and her friend were recreating a sandwich that they enjoy while at school. The neat part about that was they even shared! It was so delicious! They had come out to the market and picked up all the ingredients they needed, scavenged some rolls from the bakery, and found the panini press when they got home. They whipped up a yummy aioli and proceeded to crank out sandwiches for us. Oh, my! Who knew that a panini could be so amazing?!Here’s what they did:Start with panini rolls from the bakery. You can also use any variety of our crusty loaves, or the hoagie rolls. Pick up fresh basil, tomatoes and mozzarella. Mix the aioli, butter the outside of the bread, and construct the sandwich on the press. Press the sandwich until the cheese is gooey. Enjoy.
1 egg yolk¼ c olive oil (EVOO)¼ c mayo1.5 – 2 cloves garlic, crushed2 T parmesanSalt and pepper to tasteBlend the yolk and EVOO with a whisk. Combine mayo, garlic and parmesan in a separate bowl and whisk well. Combine the two and whisk until the mixture is creamy and well-incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.Now, I must also let you know that our little post-Thanksgiving vacation was a great thing. We had a wonderful time visiting with my brother on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, reading books, eating great seafood, seeing amazing wildlife, and going to the Harriet Tubman museum. Thanks so much to all of you who were so supportive of us being closed for a couple of days so we could relax. It was great to hear so many of you say things like, “Good for you!”That said, we’re back into the swing of things and headed straight into Christmas. Check out the menu below and e-mail me back if you have questions or requests.
One of the best things about writing a blog is getting to share my adventures with you. This week’s adventure is, of course, food related (but does not include a recipe…sorry if you’re disappointed. I will definitely have one next week.). It begins with a story.I belong to a book club. It’s a group of wonderful, smart, funny women who enjoy reading, eating good food, and drinking good wine. All in all, it’s a great group to spend an evening with once a month. Last month we carpooled to an event to hear an author of one of the books we had read. (It was a great experience! I would recommend if you have a chance to visit with an author of a book you’ve enjoyed, take it!) On the way home, we were talking about food and the topic came up of those boxes you can order that have complete meals in them and all you have to do is assemble them. (Apparently, I’m behind the curve on this type of thing because a few of them had subscribed to different services and had good things to say.) So, when one of my friends mentioned that she had a free week of meals to give away through one of these plans, I jumped at it. Why not? Meals that we can eat at home and not have to do the prep for? Why not give it a shot?So, I sat down and signed in. I went to the menu and picked out the meals we would try for a week. Then, I waited. I’m happy to say that the meals came when they were supposed to. (I have a relative who tried one and they repeatedly delivered to a wrong address. After three misses they gave up.) I was excited to be able to come home from the bakery in the evening and not have to decide what to make for dinner, think if I had to run to the grocery and then do all the dinner prep. Instead, I dove into the box of goodies and pulled out two of the meals. (I figured that I could make two of them for three of us and have left overs. They were technically meals for two.) I must say that there was more prep to one of the meals than I anticipated, but it was worth it. A spicy Thai basil tofu dinner over brown rice is worth a little chopping. The eggplant parm, on the other hand was a surprise. Surprise because the eggplant arrived, but not the rest of the meal. Hm. Good thing I happened to have fresh mozzarella and red sauce on-hand. (I also had some great bread to eat with it. So, the meal was a good one.)My daughter was helping me at the time, so we each took a meal and began. Within about 20 minutes, we had both meals done and on the table. And, they were good. So, the question is this: Would I subscribe to this service and keep getting meals this way? Is it worth the expense?I’m not sure. Actually, I had cancelled the subscription as soon as possible so I wouldn’t be charged for meals I didn’t plan on getting. (I did purchase one, so it wasn’t just a free week.) I think I’ve concluded that, while the meals were good, they weren’t great. For the expense, I would like a little bit more…something. (Oh, we did get two complimentary chocolate chip cookies that one of my daughters baked right away and enjoyed.) I guess if I were not a food professional, I might be interested in having my meals come to me this way. And, I have to confess, the allure for me would be the lack of planning for a few nights a week. That would be wonderful. However, I do have the skills and the fridge full of sauces so maybe I’ll just stick to “Sandi-fied” meals for now. I’d be interested in hearing about your adventures!
Here we are just a few days out from the big holiday and we’re running hard, as I’m sure you are, too. We’ve got the cranberry relish and the make ahead gravy planned, and the turkey is someone else’s responsibility this year. Lucky us!As for other things like sides, we’ve got them, too. Stuffing? Check! Bread and rolls? Check! Breakfast items to keep the hungry hordes from invading the kitchen (like Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake and muffins)? Check! And, finally, desserts (Rustic Fruit Tarts, Pumpkin Pies, Pumpkin Pecan Pies, Shoofly Pies, and Pumpkin Rolls)? Check!No matter what your plan, we’ve got you all set. Now, just stop by on Wednesday to pick up all that yumminess!If you think of something you need and want it put aside, e-mail me asap and I’ll see what I can do for you. Otherwise, we’ll see you Wednesday!For those of you who won’t be in, please have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving and stop by soon.Sincerely,Sandi and Tom
Last week was all about sides for the bird. This week is about the bird and how to make it the most memorably wonderful turkey you’ve ever served. However, before I get to that, let me just say that we WILL be open tomorrow. We spent the day as we spend every Thursday – prepping and baking to be ready to provide our customers with lots of delicious breads and yummy pastries. The only difference today was the amount of time it took to get home. (Don’t even get me started…) So, tarts and pies, muffins, pies, pumpkin rolls, and lots of dinner rolls will all be waiting for you tomorrow starting at 8 a.m.!Now, about that turkey. Let’s just talk our way through the roasting process, shall we? First of all, it helps to know how many servings you’ll get out of a bird: a 12–15 pound bird will feed 10-12 people, a 15-18 pound bird will feed 14-16, and an 18-22 pounder will feed 20-22. I find it’s easier to cook two smaller birds than one huge one, but that’s me. Now, for the turkey tips:
If your turkey is 12-18 pounds, you’ll want to roast at 400, breast side down, for about 45 minutes before turning it breast side up for the final 60 to 75 minutes.
Use an instant read thermometer to check that the breast measures 160 at the thickest part and the thickest part of the thigh measures 175 degrees. (If you have a turkey with one of those popup timers, you should still test with your own thermometer.)
Think twice about stuffing the bird. It’s so much easier to cook an unstuffed bird. The stuffing tends to slow the cooking and risks drying out the breast meat before the rest of the bird is done.
If you purchase a fresh bird, you will want to begin with brining. For this step, plan on starting the day before and giving the brining process 6-12 hours. (For the record, I tend to purchase birds that don’t require this step.) There are a myriad of brining recipes and techniques out there…just ask Google.
After brining you’ll want to pat the turkey with paper towels, then air dry it in the fridge overnight. This process will help develop that wonderful, crisp skin that seals in the juices and tastes so good. If you have a turkey that doesn’t require brining, you can still air dry it in the fridge for the same effect.
While we don’t stuff the bird, we do still put some veggies inside and around to flavor the meat and the gravy. So, chop 2 onions, 2 carrots, and 2 celery ribs, toss in about a tablespoon of melted butter, and place half in the bird and half in the pan. Also, grab about 6 sprigs of fresh thyme and place in the bird with the vegetables. Add a cup of water to the vegetables in the bottom of the pan to start the gravy
Roast the bird on a V-shaped rack, starting breast side down to protect the white meat from drying while you allow the dark meat the additional roasting time it needs. After the initial roasting, use two large wads of paper towel to grasp the turkey and turn it breast side up to complete the cooking. (If the bottom of the pan is dry at this point, add another ½ c water.)
When removing the turkey from the pan, gently tip it so the juices in the cavity run into the pan to become part of the gravy.
Always let the bird rest, uncovered, for 30 minutes before carving. It takes this long for the juices to be reabsorbed into the meat. Carve it too early and all the juices end up on the carving board. Use the 30 minutes to finish up the gravy and get the sides on the table.
Research how to carve a turkey. Ideally, the leg quarters come off first, then you can remove the breast meat, one side at a time, by using the knife to follow the ribs all the way down from the breast bone. Once you have the breast removed, it is easy to carve it into lovely, thin slices.
Whew! I know it’s a lot of information, but these are tips that take some of the guess work out of the main course and that always gives me a bit of room to breathe.As for the rest of the meal, well, we have the dinner rolls, stuffing mix, and lots and lots of yummy desserts – pumpkin roll, pumpkin pie, pumpkin pecan pie, and rustic fruit tarts!We can’t wait to see you this weekend! If you haven’t placed your order for next week, (Yes, we’re open on Wednesday, November 21 for all your Thanksgiving needs!) we are still taking orders!
What a week! I had a double appearance on ABC27’s Good Day, PA! show where I had a chance to introduce our new Shoofly pie to the viewing audience. In the bakery, we made another new pie – Pumpkin Pecan. It’s the best of both worlds and I’m so excited to hear your feedback on it. We think it’s delicious. And, if you haven't tried our new cider donuts, you're missing out. We'll have more of them this weekend. (I must confess that, with Thanksgiving coming at us fast and furious, it’s probably not the time for developing new products, but it’s so much fun!)Also earlier this week, Tom and I had a fun night at the bowling alley with a bunch of family. The guys bowled and we all got together and planned our Thanksgiving dinner. With nineteen of us, there are plenty to share the cooking and we’re all set to have a great meal. A few of the guys wanted to bring pie, so we’re having a total of 8 different pies! As usual, I’ll bring the special cranberry relish. (It’s the recipe I mentioned last week. A shocking pink relish that is made ahead and frozen, then defrosted on Thanksgiving morning. It’s an odd combination of ingredients that makes a wonderful topping for turkey and gravy.) I’ll also probably make my make-ahead gravy so there’s enough to go around. (It’s another easy recipe that can be made far in advance and frozen.)So, without further ado, here are this week’s recipes.
Make Ahead Gravy
6 turkey thighs1 medium onion, peeled and quartered1 cup white wine2 quarts chicken broth (I use Better Than Bullion to save time.)3/4 cup chopped carrot (Masser’s carrots give the most amazing flavor to the gravy. Make sure to pick one up for this!)1/2 teaspoon dried thyme3/4 cup all-purpose flour1/4 teaspoon ground black pepperDirections
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange turkey pieces in a roasting pan. Add the onion. Roast in the preheated oven for about 1 hour or until browned.
Place browned turkey parts and onions in a 5 quart stockpot. Add wine to roasting pan to deglaze. (Stir, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.) Pour into the stockpot. Stir in 6 cups broth, carrot, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 1-1/2 hours.
Remove turkey parts from the pot. Strain contents of stockpot through a large strainer into a 3 quart saucepan. Press on the vegetables to extract any remaining liquid. Discard the vegetables and skim the fat off the liquid (keep the fat!). Bring the contents of the pot to a gentle boil.
Place the skimmed fat into a small sauce pan and heat. Add flour slowly while whisking vigorously until you have a golden brown thickened mass. Using a ladle, slowly add heated gravy to the sauce pan, while stirring. After about 3 ladles full, pour the thickener into the larger pot and simmer to thicken. Season with pepper as needed.
Serve immediately or pour into containers and refrigerate or freeze.
Now for the cranberry relish. This is Susan Stamberg’s recipe. Those of you who listen to NPR will recognize it, as she gives us the recipe every year - usually with a story or two. As I mentioned, it has an unusual combination of ingredients but it’s become such a favorite that the family has requested I make it as Christmas gifts so everyone can enjoy it into the new year.From Susan Stamberg:
Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish
This relish has a tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and gravy. It's also good on next-day turkey sandwiches and with roast beef.Ingredients* 2 cups whole raw cranberries, washed* 1 small onion* 3/4 cup sour cream* 1/2 cup sugar* 2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar (Red horseradish is a bit milder than white, but we like horseradish so we use the white and I use more than 2 tablespoons.)InstructionsGrind the raw berries and onion together. (If you’re using a food processor like I do, just pulse it a few times. You want a chunky relish, not a puree.)Add everything else and mix.Put in a plastic container and freeze.Early Thanksgiving morning, move it from the freezer to the refrigerator compartment to thaw. ("It should still have some little icy slivers left.")The relish will be thick, creamy, and shocking pink.
Do you have trouble planning dinners ahead? I do. I frequently run to the store counting on the spirit to move me. This week, though, I had to plan because I offered to make a meal for another family. (The bonus of making meals for “new baby” families is getting to cuddle the new baby. Right?!) So, I made certain to get to Linda’s Country Meats at the market and picked up a pound and a half of beef cubes and a chuck roast. Then I just had to figure out what to make with each of them.The chuck roast went into a crock pot with a packet of onion soup mix and the tops from a bunch of celery. Slow cook on high for 4 hours, turn to low for another 2 and tada! We had a lovely roast to be served with roasted potatoes, a fresh loaf of French bread, veggies, fruit, and a small shoofly pie for dessert. That got packed into a box and toted to our friends’ house.As for the beef cubes, I haven’t made stew in ages and we have been making bread bowls (perfect for soup, stew, or chili!), so I made beef stew with Masser’s carrots and potatoes. The trick I’ve found with beef stew is to dredge the meat in flour and spices (always including thyme…it gives the stew such an amazing flavor), then brown it and deglaze the pan with a blend of red wine and beef broth. Here’s what I did:
Sandi’s Beef Stew
1 ½ pounds beef cubes¼ c flour (You may need to increase flour and spice amounts, depending on how it is sticking to the meat.)1 T thyme leaves1 T Montreal chicken seasoningSalt and fresh-ground pepper to taste4 T EVOO1 ½ c broth½ c wine1 15-oz can diced tomatoes2 carrots (remember these were Masser’s carrots, so equivalent to at least four grocery store carrots) cut in 1-inch pieces3 medium potatoes, cubed3 stalks of celery, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, thyme, seasoning blend, salt and pepper in a Ziploc bag.
Add beef cubes in batches and shake to coat. Again, working in batches, brown beef cubes in EVOO. When all the cubes are browned and removed from the pan, add deglazing liquids (broth and wine). Bring to a simmer while scraping the bottom of the pan.
Move the cubes, deglazing liquids and remaining ingredients into a Dutch oven. Mix remaining flour and spices in with beef and other ingredients. Place in oven. Cook for 2 hours.
On another note, it’s time to start thinking and preparing for Thanksgiving. We are starting to take orders for the holiday. If you want us to make or reserve baked goods for you, just let us know. We have order forms at the counter, but we also take orders over the phone, e-mail, Facebook Messenger, you name it. As always, if there is something that you would like but it is not on the order form, just ask and we’ll probably be able to accommodate your request.Finally, I’m getting ready to post some Thanksgiving recipes and I’m looking for suggestions. I have a cranberry relish recipe that I usually post this time of year. (For those of you who listen to NPR, you’ll recognize Susan Stamberg’s recipe.) I won’t be posting any stuffing recipes, since we are making plenty of our stuffing mix. (If you haven’t tried it yet, stop in and sample it. We are thrilled with how well it’s turned out and folks are giving us great feedback.) It’s so easy to make – just boil water with some butter, dump the mix in the pot, give a stir, cover, and let steam for about 20 minutes. Viola!We’re looking forward to seeing you all this weekend and having you share with us what your Thanksgiving traditions look like.
When our kids were young and we were homeschooling, we did a lot of food preserving – canned tomato sauce, raspberry syrup, canned peaches and cherries. Of course, we also made lots of apple sauce (amazing to serve hot over fresh gingerbread cake – a meal in itself) and apple butter. We had a special device called the Magical Musher that we used to process tomatoes and apples. It was great. The kids could take turns cranking the handle while another filled the hopper with the warm fruit. The sauce went one way and the shmutz (waste – stems, peels, seeds) went the other. What fun! The kids remember these times with such fondness. The apple butter was one of the easiest things to do since we made lots of apple sauce. I just took some of the sauce, added more spices and let it cook in the slow cooker until it was nice and thick. Great culinary memories! All that to say when I saw this recipe featuring apple butter on pork loin it caught my eye and brought back those memories. That sweet-spice and apple flavor is perfect for pork. The addition of cider to marinate the loin is a great touch. This is a great recipe for a cool Fall evening. (Accompanied by some dry hard cider…hm.) Serve with mashed potatoes. (Sweet potatoes would be great, too.)Dessert options this weekend will go perfectly with this meal, too – Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Roll, Pumpkin Snickerdoodles (If you haven’t tried these cookies yet, just ask for a taste! They’re my favorite after the Molasses Ginger.)The recipe is written to go right into the oven, but an alternative is to pan the roasts, seasoned, in cider and topped with apple butter. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Pop them into a 350-degree oven for approximately 90 minutes. Keep an eye on the internal temperature (145-degrees F) so they aren’t overdone.
Apple Butter Pork Loin
2 (2 pound) boneless pork loin roastseasoning salt to taste (Mrs. Dash will work very well.)1 cup apple cider1/2 cup apple butter 1/4 cup brown sugar2 tablespoons water1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Season the pork loins with seasoning salt and place them in a 9x13 inch baking dish or small roasting pan. Pour apple cider over the pork and cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil.
Bake for ½ hour in the preheated oven. While the pork is roasting, mix together the apple butter, brown sugar, water, cinnamon, and cloves. Remove pork from the oven and spread with apple butter mixture.
Cover, and return to the oven until internal temperature reads 145-degrees F. (Figure about 30 minutes per pound.)
NOTE: Once the roasts are out they should sit for a few minutes to cool before being sliced. You can use that time to reduce and thicken the pan juices to top the roast and any sides.
It’s been an amazing couple of weeks since I last wrote. I know that you missed me because I heard from you about it. Let me explain. Two weeks ago I was overwhelmed just trying to hire our new bakery help. Those of you who know Cris and Leah know that they are both moving on to other callings. We’re sad to see them go, but we understand they are feeling the need to go in other directions. So, after innumerable interviews and no-shows, we found two new great employees. When you are here, you will probably meet Elle at the counter, as she will be with us on both Fridays and Saturdays. Nate will be busily working in the back with Tom, but will also pop up to the counter as needed. Say hello and welcome them to the team if you get the chance.That said, it’s been a very busy time bringing them up to speed so, while munching on tonight’s meal of a Honeycrisp apple with a toasted cheese sandwich (Thanks, Tom!!!), I found myself journeying back through old posts and I realized that some are worth repeating. This one comes from 2015 – a time when we still had high schoolers at home and were juggling parenting, sports, and a bakery business. Fun times! I thought you might also enjoy this blast from the past. Here we go…A couple of weeks ago, I shared an improvised recipe created when I discovered I was missing some key ingredients to the original recipe. The reactions from you were priceless - many of them along the lines of, “Really? Who has oyster sauce in their fridge?!” In the spirit of that recipe, here is a story…and another recipe.This week brings to an end the 2015 track and field season for our daughter. Just like soccer season, track season means lots of meals cooked on the fly and served up late, between running in the door and getting started on homework (for both school and business). This week’s “Mad Dash Meal” was based around the beef cubes I had forgotten (but not for long…don’t get upset), a bag of beautiful colored peppers Tom brought home, and creative use of sauces and wine.A pound or so of beef cubes marinated in the teriyaki sauce (that same sauce I couldn't find two weeks ago - for the record, it was in the fridge at the bakery...don't ask) made a great start. Then, I used a technique I learned from a great Chinese cookbook – dredging the meat in corn starch before browning it in a hot pan with coconut oil. Once the meat was cooked, I moved it to a bowl and added washed, uncut green beans to the same pan. Cooking them quickly at a high temp gave me a bright green bean with a bit of crispiness. Then, off to the side went the beans. The final ingredients were three colored papers – red, orange, and yellow – sliced into strips and sautéed quickly in the same pan. After all that cooking, the pan had a layer of flavorful bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. It was time for some serious deglazing.My first choice for a dish like this would always be a dry sherry. However, once again, I was missing a key ingredient. (Surprise!) So, I pulled a bottle of merlot off the wine rack and poured a good bit into the pan. As it cooked down and loosened the bits on the bottom of the pan, I went searching for other things to add. TaDa! That amazing garlic sauce from Torchbearer became my new key ingredient, again. A healthy addition of “Oh My Garlic!,” a few splashes of soy sauce, and a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar later, and we had a fantastic brown sauce. I added all the meat and veggies back to the pan for a bit of warming and I tossed it all into the serving bowl.The best part? My daughters pronounced it a great dinner! And, it took about 20 minutes.I don’t tell you these things to brag, rather to reiterate that most great food begins when we look at what we already have on hand. Keeping good fresh vegetables in the fridge, along with a few well-chosen sauces and some wine will ensure you always have the makings of a healthy meal you can make at a moment’s notice.
Mad Dash Meals –Beef with Green Beans and Peppers
1 ½ lbs beef cubes1 lb cleaned green beans3 colored peppers – red, orange, yellow1-2 T Coconut oil¼ c Torchbearer’s Oh My Garlic sauce (or any good garlic aioli – you can even make your own!)¼ c Merlot2 T soy sauceThe only thing missing is a fresh loaf of Country French bread to sop up the sauce. Pick it up this weekend at the bakery. The other makings of this recipe are all available at the market (except the garlic sauce, which is available at various local grocery stores).
I feel like I begin many of my posts with “It’s been a busy week at the bakery,” but it really HAS been a busy week! We started by cranking out 14 pumpkin rolls, then made a bunch of apple pies, all the while producing breads and other things for the restaurants and coffee shops that we supply. It was great. We love being busy! To top it all off, I ventured up to Harrisburg and did another spot on Good Day, PA! What fun! Then, it was back to the bakery to finish getting ready for a busy (yes, busy!) weekend. (If you want to see the spot, head over to our Facebook page or the Good Day, PA! page and take a look.)In the meantime, we still had to eat, so Tom and I collaborated this week on a delicious roast from Bow Creek Farm and Cattle Company. Amy and Rob Hess raise Red Angus cattle. The beef they produce is outstanding and, as I found out, very easy to cook. Since they were having a sale on roasts (and Tom had told them I don’t cook roasts!) I decided to step up to the challenge of making us a nice pot roast dinner. Amy had given me some good tips and they really paid off.I started by seasoning the roast well with fresh-ground salt and pepper and searing it in a pan. I then moved it to my Pampered Chef Roc Crock (shout out to Velvet, our resident Pampered Chef lady!), added about an inch of water to the bottom of the crock, and topped it with a packet of Knorr’s Spring Vegetable Soup mix. (Yes, it was a total cheat and I’m not even going to be embarrassed…I was short on prep time and this worked.) Into the oven it went for about 2 hours at 350 and it came out tender and delicious! Served up with a mashed butternut squash and some crusty bread, it made for a very lovely dinner. (If I had thought ahead, I would have grabbed some carrots and baby potatoes, as well as an onion or shallot, to throw into the pot with the roast after about an hour.)Now for the collaboration. The next day I was slicing mushrooms for mushroom pie filling and Tom decided that mushroom gravy sounded like a good idea. He whipped up some gravy with ingredients we had on-hand in the bakery, then added a few cups of sliced mushrooms and thickened it. We brought home the gravy, sliced up the leftover roast, added it to the gravy, then served the whole thing over egg noodles. Yum! Two fantastic meals out of one roast. It was a great week for eating at the Smith house!This week’s menu should make it a good week for eating at your house, too. We have three specialty breads this week! We are featuring the newest in our bread line – Chocolate Cherry Bread – that we developed this summer for the Hotel Hershey. We will also have our Rosemary Loaf and Herbed Olive loaves available. (For those of you who are in Jonestown, start checking out Swatara Coffee Company’s weekly special sandwiches featuring our specialty loaves.)