Pittsburgh Wedding Cookie Table Benefit

Western Pennsylvania is noted for the wonderful wedding cookie tables.  Some regions of the country have never heard of a wedding cookie table let alone experience and devour the cookies.  Today my good friends and I drove in the teeming rain, alongside swollen and rising creeks, over hill and dale on winding roads, to get to this lovely event. We are so happy we did!

THE PITTSBURGH WEDDING COOKIE TABLE BOOK BENEFIT
Sunday, September 9
1—3 PM Connoquenessing Country Club

We went to taste the varieties of dozens of cookies to help in the “creation of a cookie table book in this benefit for VOICE (Butler’s Victim Outreach Intervention Center), Young Writers of the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project and Animal Friends.”
The three hosts were  “cookbook author Suzanne Martinson, of “The Fallingwater Cookbook” and retired food editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette”( who graciously answered many questions and who has initiated many cookie tables in other states) “portrait photographer Linda Mitzel of Linda Mitzel Photography and journalist/WPWP teacher consultant Jane Miller of The RUFF Writers of New Sun Rising, a new family/school/ neighborhood writing project.”

We had a wonderful afternoon sampling cookies and sipping tea and coffee or lemonade.  Someone baked adorable doggy cookies in the shapes of bones and doghouses, using pumpkin and peanut butter. Now dog cookies aren’t the usual offering at a wedding but appreciated as a welcome home treat for Fido. There were white bakery boxes to fill with cookies to take home. (Thanks Deb)

Thanks to Suzanne, Linda and Jane, for hosting a wedding cookie table afternoon.

I baked Esther Maiolo’s Pignoli Cookies and Mrs. Scarano’s Italian Strip Cookies

Pita Breadmaking at Pitaland Guest Blog

A couple of dear friends flew from Florida to Pittsburgh to see my art show and attend the closing reception. They’d gone online at home and arranged to go on a walking food tour of the Pittsburgh neighborhood, Brookline.

Yesterday, Shuey sent me the photos and captions. They really enjoyed the ‘Burgh Bits and Bites tour. There are tours in other neighborhoods,the Strip District, Bloomfield and Shadyside. In fact, two were already booked up and so they chose Brookline.

Shuey made it easy for me by numbering the photos and text.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #1

I’m sending individual pics to tell the story of how pita bread is made.  First the secret recipe dough is made fresh, formed into a biscuit of dough and comes out here where it makes a left turn and heads into a machine that flattens it out.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #2

After it’s flattened into a super thin pancake it makes a few turns and heads into the oven.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #3

In the oven for 22 seconds at 1200 degrees.  They are so thin entering the oven that I couldn’t even see them until about half way through they just materialize out of thin air in a second . . . like magic!  Out of the oven they continue their journey cooling off.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #4

The cooled pita breads drop off the conveyer onto a table where they are manually deflated and stacked then handed off to another worker who bags them up for shipment to stores in 14 states.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #5

This is Joe Cuchines, owner of Pitaland and two of his employees.  He came to America with 1 dollar in his pocket and . . . he’ll tell his story best.  

Pitaland History

Thank you Shuey for such a great guest blog. I’m going to have to take the tour.

Shuey was a guest blogger with his fabulous Barred Owl Photo in 2012 https://rutheh.com/2012/03/12/barred-owl-niceville-florida-guest-post/

Good Butter is Key

Using good butter to make rolled sugar cookies is the key to successful taste and texture.

Since today was the official birthday, Charlie took rocket and star shaped sugar cookies to the playground for his playgroup friends. Laura sliced up a baby watermelon, too. The hardest part is rolling out the chilled dough to an even thickness.

Here’s the recipe we used

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/10402/the-best-rolled-sugar-cookies/

Aftermath of Christmas Cookie Baking

When I saw MESSY was the WordPress Daily Prompt for today, I had to respond.

From the archives

 

ChristmasCookieDecorating

Aftermath of Christmas Cookie Decorating in Ohio.  The colored sugar is green mixed with red.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/messy/

Two Tangy Lemon Bars

It’s buttery crumbly shortbread on the bottom layer and a tangy sour sweet lemon curd- like top. I love lemons.

I met a friend for breakfast and she brought me these two delicious lemon bars. She knows they’re a favorite of mine. They were leftover from her book group gathering.

It’s the kind of taste that makes a mouth water. I opened the foil package and took this quick shot on my car’s console before I pulled out of the diner parking lot.

I nibbled at the first, my mouth watering with pleasure and then eyed that second bar. I managed restraint, wrapped it up in the wrinkled foil and put it out of reach, avoiding the temptation to make it disappear.

Steve certainly enjoyed it at lunch, unaware how vulnerable it had been to my midwinter gluttony.

My mother always said “it’s better to have a hankering for more, than to regret you had too much.”

Here’s a Lemon Bar recipe I found online, a woman says they’re the best. The 50 year old recipe from Wisconsin.

https://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/best-lemon-bars/

Fruit Variations

Three photos-variations on Fruit- pastries, a bowlful and a single red apple.

Mark brought a pastry box filled with “fruits” from Mozart’s Austrian Cafe down on High Street in Columbus. The peach had marzipan inside. I checked out their menu and plan to get a piece of apple strudel before I return to Pittsburgh. Their dessert descriptions are enticing. You can eat in their restaurant, too. Piano bar.

Gluten free Tortes available

Esterhazy Torte
A traditional Hungarian torte, the Esterhazy is made from individually baked layers of flourless almond meringue filled with a rum-infused almond buttercream, and decorated with a distinct chocolate striped pattern.  7″, $35, Decorated $40

And at Mark and Erika’s home, on the same kitchen counter as the pastries sat a large wooden bowl filled with fresh fruit.

I chose one to wash and cut up into slices.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/variations-on-a-theme/

Granny Smiths

Yes, it’s winter. Seriously cold winter.

What better time to bake apples?

I used my sister’s method and added a few tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar in the bottom which I later spooned onto the apples’ core opening. Nothing else. No cinnamon or raisins or butter or sugar. Granny Smiths snd Balsamic vinegar.

I used an apple shaped Glasbake Vintage baking dish (a gift from Molly) and baked them at 350F for an hour.

The kitchen was warm from the oven and the whole house smelled delicious. Looks like an electric element but it’s gas.