I hope you are enjoying the year 2015. As I mark my 83rd year on this grand earth, every year seems to go faster. Travis and I are thankful for our good health, and we keep very busy. I garden, read and cook. Travis continues to mow all the family yards and tool around on his tractor. He has become quite the craftsman, carving unique “walking sticks.” He calls his little studio “Whittler on the Roof.” The fact that his studio is neither on the roof nor even located in the barn (pictured), did not deter him from putting up one of his custom-made signs. Yes, Travis and his signs are notorious. We still laugh about how the one that read “Cookies for Sale” lured a woman into the bakery wanting to buy a dog. “Oh,” she said, “I thought the sign said “Collies for Sale”! “In fact, Travis’ walking sticks have become an unexpected sales hit, causing daughter Mona to complain that, “Daddy’s canes are taking over the whole bakery sales area!” (I think Ramona just wants to make sure there is room to display her hand-built pottery.)
Actually, our bakery is becoming known not only for our cookies (and walking sticks!), but also for the pottery our children, Mike and Ramona, and our son-in-law, Scott, make. If you live nearby, come visit! You may find a beautiful bowl in which to “serve up” your cookies. Then, if you get tired from all your shopping, you can purchase one of Travis’ walking sticks to help you back to your car.
Cooking for my family and our friends continues to be one of my great joys. In 2014, I supported our Friedberg Moravian Prison Ministry by “donating” dinners at my table for $30 each. All the proceeds went to support this ministry and garnered around $2,500. This year, over 140 eager eaters bought dinners, making the donation close to $4,200! During sign ups, Ramona leaned over and whispered, “Mom, please don’t die before you cook for all these people!” (Ramona hates to cook!)
Since cooking satisfies both me and my guests, I thought I would share with you one of the signature Moravian dishes I serve. I cannot invite you all to dinner, but I can give you the “tools” (recipes) so you can create delicious memories with your own family and friends. I hope you will find this tradition of hospitality as gratifying as I do!
Moravian Chicken Pie
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into one-inch chunks (see note)
1-1/2 cups chicken broth (made from cooking the chicken)
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. butter
2 pie crusts (I use the ones in the dairy section)
Salt and pepper to taste
Note: I use all white meat. I buy split chicken breasts; you probably only need two. To cook the chicken, cover it with 2 cups of water, add salt and pepper to taste, then simmer until done. Remove from broth. Let cool, discard the skin and bones, and chop. Reserve broth to use in pie.
Line a 9-inch pie plate with bottom crust. Place chicken over the crust. Sprinkle with flour, then add broth and butter. Add more pepper if desired. Top with other pie crust and crimp edges together. Cut a slit in top of crust for steam to escape. Bake at 350° for approximately one hour, until brown.
This pie will serve 4, 5, or 6, depending on how hungry you are. At our church suppers, we serve ¼ of a pie per person, along with cole slaw, green beans and corn, potato salad, and pickles. As we serve 600-900 folks in three hours, this is a big fund raiser for our church. All of the money goes to support charities. For these suppers, we may make as many as 800 pies. All the pie crusts used to be rolled out by hand, but seven years ago we invested in a pie press. What a time saver! After the pies are made, we let them cool, then freeze them until ready to bake. Chicken pies freeze beautifully! (So you should really make several at a time.)
2 cups water
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. celery seed
Medium head of cabbage
small green and red peppers
Bring the water, vinegar, sugar and celery seed to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool. Cut head of cabbage finely with a knife, or grate. Dice and add the small green and red peppers. Completely cover the cabbage and peppers with the liquid, add salt to taste, then refrigerate. This slaw keeps indefinitely. (Well, until you eat it, that is!)
I wish all of you another wonderful year! Now gather round the table and make some memories!
Food & family make memories.