North Country Brewing

  A few months ago I came across a post on The Wandering Gourmand that looked just fun. We live in Florida so getting to Pennsylvania would take some doing, but since Laura and Dylan had just announced their engagement, I knew we would be “in the area.” Admittedly an hour outside the airport, which is almost an hour from the wedding in the opposite direction does take some stretching to make it work, but we did.  

  I am incredibly glad we made the side trip. When Val asked if we could pick them up from the airport, this side trip made actual sense. They were getting in four hours after us, so the hour drive each way killed time. Bob got to try some good beer, and we both got a fantastic lunch.  I’m just sorry I didn’t have room for dessert. 

  Somehow my hummas pita didn’t make my camera roll. But Bob’s brisket and beer cheese did. It isn’t pretty food and wouldn’t make a magazine cover, but it was excellent. My hummas had the perfect consistency and a lot of depth of flavor. It was well seasoned and had the perfect amount of topping. Bob’s beef was moist and had taken the flavor of whatever they cooked it in – probably beer of some kind. Not health food, but really good food. I was so glad we made the trip. Even if the bathroom sink had me confused for a minute.

 So thank you to The Wandering Gourmand for the suggestion, to Laura and Dylan for the reason to go to Pennsylvania, and to Val and Bill for the excuse to make the drive. Well worth the detour.

Easter Dinner (Yes, I know this is late)

I am well aware that Easter was a few weeks ago. I am also aware that I never posted the pictures of Easter dinner. I meant to – several times – but somehow I never got to posting. So here it is …


A while back I decided I wanted Shepard’s Pie. I’ve never made a real Shepard’s Pie, and this may not count either. I did go with ground beef instead of a vegetarian version or lamb. We were having guests, including Dad, for Easter, so I wanted more traditional. Lamb is hard to find and I do, generally, have a hard time eating lamb since they fall under the cute category of animals. Cows are cute too, but not in the same way as sheep. So it was a compromise, but it worked. 


I started with the basic carrot and onion mix. To that I added the ground beef and let it all cook. Once the meat and onions were cooked through, I added peas, tomato paste, beef broth, soy sauce (as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce, which contains anchovies, which I can’t have) and spices. I let this cook for a while and made the mashed potatoes to go on top. I did use really good English Cheddar for the top.   


It looked great. It tasted fine. Everyone else thought it was really good, but I wanted more tomato taste. I wanted more depth to the dish and this just wasn’t what I was looking for. It was fine, but that really is all I can say about it.

Now dessert on the other hand …. Dessert. 

 I went with cheesecake for dessert because it had been a long time since I made one and I really wanted cheesecake. I went with Dulche de leche cheesecake because it gave me an excuse to try and make my own Dulche de leche sauce. Did you know it is terribally easy to make? I didn’t. Can of condensed milk, salt and an oven. That really is it. The cheesecake was a combination of several recipes, but I thought it came out really well. 

 But crust, caramel cheesecake with Dulche de leche glaze on top. 

Hopefully I won’t get so far behind on the updates. Happy Spring! 

For Erin

I’ve been bad about posting lately and this is a recipe I’ve said I’m going to post a few times (in my head) but kept forgetting, or was too tired or any number of things that came up. Val gave me her Jerusalem cookbook and this was one of the first recipes I tried from it. I added the egg noodlges to make it more of a dinner, and I have to say, it will be a make again.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar

  • 1 butternut squash cut into wedges
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tahihi paste
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoonswater 
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped/crushed
  • 1 tablespoon za’atar
  • parsley, chopped for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pine nuts, pecans or walnuts as desired
  • Noodles (egg noodles work well here) if desired

Cook noodles according to package directions.

Preheat the oven to 475 (or in your oven is like mine and runs hot, 450)

Place the squash on a sheet pan and mix with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on pan and roast for about 20 minutes. 

Coat the onion with a little oil and add it to the pan with the squash, turn the squash here. Roast both for an additional 10-15 minutes.

While the squash and onion are roasting, mix tahini, lemon juice, garlic and water. Combine to make a thin, honey consistency, sauce.

Make a bed with the noodles, top with squash and onion; sprinkle nuts if using then add the tahini sauce. Sprinkle on za’atar and parsley. Serve hot or warm.


Erin, it really was the prefect dish.

*Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi