Friday, September 30, 2011

Education Nation - Day 6 'Good enough is never good enough'

I'm fixated on shoo fly pie. I go to the York Fair and do shoo fly pie 'tastings' where I eat every available shoo fly pie and decide which one I like the best. As with the chicken and dumplings, Shoo fly pie=PA Dutch. Plain and simple. Shoo Fly Pie Float=New Pa Dutch. Plain and Simple.

This is the 2011 version of The Pie. Last year, it was a deep fried molasses ice cream. This year, well, you'll see. Molasses soda. Spiced ice cream. Toasted oat whipped cream. Pie crust twist. Done. Holy cow.

We're always looking to make it better. Good enough is never good enough.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Education Nation - Day 5 'Be Who You Are'

I don't know if it gets any more PA Dutch than 'creamed chicken and waffles'. No, this isn't Snoop Dogg's Roscoe's Fried Chicken and Waffles. This is Andy's Creamed Chicken and Waffles.

Wanna 'Eat like you live here'? Then you NEED to tuck into some chicken and waffles.

What's up with 'Be who you are'? We're not trying to reinvent the wheel here. We're just trying to put together great plates of food that honor the cuisine of our area, respect the product and producers and make people happy.

So, here it is. Creamed Rettland Farms chicken, oyster mushrooms, tiny vegetables and a toasted oat waffle. I gotta tell's REALLY good.

Education Nation - Day 4 The Importance of Looking Back

The long and the short of this post is 'know your history'. How many times have you heard someone talking about a current event say 'if they had studied their history, they would have never done THAT'?

I take 'looking back' very seriously. At the restaurant, we are trying to present a real sense of our area. The flavor of the land; an experience you can't get anywhere else. In order to do that, we need to look to the land, but also look to our past generations and see how their foods can influence and inspire the food that we cook and the menus that we write today. Creativity for creativity's sake is simply mental masturbation. Cuisine needs roots, plain and simple. You HAVE to look back in order to look forward. In 'looking back' we are able to explore dishes like 'schnitz und knepp', shoo fly pie, chicken and dumplings, and scrapple. Reading old cookbooks from the area is a great resource, but one of the greatest resources in talking to people about dishes they loved growing up or dishes they were served at a gathering that still resonate in their memory.

One such item is sauerkraut balls. Sauerkraut is one of 'our' things in central PA, having been handed down by German ancestors. Anytime we can do something interesting with sauerkraut, I'm in. The idea of sauerkraut balls actually was put in my head by my dad a couple of years ago. He related a story to me about how great they were and told me bits and pieces of the ingredients. Basically a 'Cliffs Notes' version. After doing some research in old, local cookbooks, I came up with a Sheppard Mansion version. This isn't a 'play on' or 'deconstructed'. It's simply inspired by a classic PA Dutch dish. There's no cute, whimsical term for them either. They are simply 'sauerkraut balls'

So, what is a sauerkraut ball? It's basically a mix of ground Rettland Farms pork, sauerkraut, brown butter, sage, rye bread crumbs, and eggs. Once cool, the mix is rolled in bread crumbs and fried. The dipping sauce is a whole grain mustard cream and arugula adds a final sharp bite to bust through the fattiness. I gotta tell you, these are really good bites of New PA Dutch food. Book yourself a reservation and give'em a try. Yes, you can even giggle when you say 'balls' during your order.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Education Nation - Day 3 What Does Food Mean to You?

Food isn't just a convenience. It's not just something you 'grab'. The act of cooking can affect people in many different ways. For home cooks, cooking can be a calming influence at the end of a long day. It can also be a stressful event if you aren't comfortable over the stove(at The Sheppard Mansion, we're looking to make cooking less stressful and more FUN and REWARDING through our cooking classes and demonstrations at The Carriage House Market. Note that I said it would be FUN and REWARDING, not 'easy peasy' and done in 5 minutes with 90% store bought garbage.) For professional cooks, cooking is a way of life. You don't choose this life, it chooses you.

For Day 3 of Education Nation week, I decided to explore the question 'What does food mean to you'. I posed this question to Brent Golding, my sous chef and Michelle Leonard, my baker. I also pose the question to you. Please use the comment section of my blog to tell everyone what food means to you. There is no correct or incorrect answer. It's how you feel. What is of utmost importance is that we start a dialogue. Start talking about food.


P.S. As a reminder, free apples for all children who come to the Carriage House Market this week! Pass it along and lets start talking food!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Education Nation - Day 2 - How to make butter

Butter doesn't just show up magically on the shelves in the grocery store. I've posted a quick video below showing how we make butter from local Apple Valley cream in the kitchen. This butter makes its way on to the table during our tasting menus and is also used in the pastry kitchen as we're making our saturday morning favorite, pretzel croissants.(stop by the Carriage House Market any saturday and pick up a dozen or 2!)

This is also a fun exercise to do with your kids. As you can see, it really doesn't take any time at all and if you have access to amazing cream, it's a snap!

Grab the Wii remote out of your kid's hand, get in the kitchen and COOK!


P.S. Don't forget. Bring your child to the Carriage House Market any time this week for a free apple. Also don't forget to SPREAD THE WORD!!!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Education Nation

This morning I caught a little bit of TV before heading off to the garden and was inspired by some interviews and conversation regarding NBC's 'Education Nation'. If you don't know me well, you may not know that I am the son of two retired public school teachers; to say that they were 'public school teachers' is like describing Michael Jordan as a 'basketball player'. Needless to say, they were good.

Real good. I decided on another career path, but the desire to teach and help inspire kids is physically hard wired. So, after watching these conversations this morning, I immediately started to think 'what can I do'? Teachers, as much as they try, can't do it on their own. The education of our nation's youth is EVERYONE'S responsibility. Think it's not? You're wrong.

With inspiration in hand, I've decided to feature educational videos every day this week via my blog. This week we'll be talking about REAL FOOD. How to cook it. How to grow it. Who grows it. I want you to engage your children about food. REAL FOOD. Not chicken nuggets from the freezer section. Not frozen pizza. Here's the deal. Come to the Carriage House Market this week(wed-fri 10-6 sat. 8:30-4). Bring your child and we'll make sure that your son/daughter leaves with a free apple and perhaps a little bit of literature so that you can talk about local farms and the people who produce amazing products in your backyard.

So, I say again. Bring your kid; leave with a free apple courtesy of The Sheppard Mansion. No obligation. Come in, say hi, grab and apple and browse around. Or don't. Having your child take a big bite out of south central PA is really all we want......

Listen, we're bringing in A LOT of apples this week and I want to give them all away. Please tell your children's teachers about this.(what a wonderful field trip....walk over to the Carriage House Market and grab an apple....just sayin') Tell your friends. Tell your enemies, I don't care. What I do care about is putting local apples in kid's hands. Period.

Check out the video.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Yep, it's back again. Harvest Dinner 2011. So, what is it? Is it 'farm to table'? Sure, but even TGIFriday's claims to be 'farm to table' these days. Is it 'artisan'? Sure, but allegedly so is Olive Garden. Will it be as fresh as a Quizno's 'Farmer's Market Fresh Salad'? Well, no, it won't. It'll be fresher because our produce doesn't even hit the farmer's market. It goes from the ground to our back door. By the way, I've been to the Quizno's in Gettysburg and I HIGHLY DOUBT they are buying their salad greens at the Outlet Farmer's Market. Just sayin'.......

Hey, I've got an idea. Let's dispense with the overused buzzwords and terms that have been hijacked by corporate food America. Let's call it what it is: AWESOME. Food produced here and a cuisine inspired by the people and their dirt. The Pennsylvania Dutch call it Boddeg'schmack. Look it up.

Do you live in York and really dig the local food movement? This is where you need to be. Do you live in Gettysburg and think Beau Ramsburg is dreamy? This is where you need to be. Do you live in Northern Virginia and want to TASTE south central PA? This is where you need to be.

What: The Sheppard Mansion 2001 Harvest Dinner
When: October 9, 2011(yep, that's the sunday of columbus day weekend) 6PM
Where: The Sheppard Mansion
Why: Because you like great food, drink and conversation

Here's the menu:

Fried Rettland Farms cheddar/preserved tomato dipper
Little loaded baked potatoes
Brent Golding's hay smoked pork cap/green tomato chutney
Garden potatoes fried in lard

A Study in Dried Corn
pudding, soup, cracker, buttered bread sauce

Morgan had a little lamb...and we bought it at the 4H Sale
lamb ragu, brown butter egg noodles

'Pork and Sauerkraut'
Rettland Farms pork rillette, arugula, sauerkraut sauce

Sheppard Mansion Farms Beef
Fingerling potato puree, pine roasted carrots, mushrooms chips

Beet Funnel Cake
Brown Butter Ice Cream, licorice, turnip candy

Cookies and Candy
Whoopie Pies with white chocolate pepper jelly
Pretzel caramel filled chocolates
Carentais melon pate de fruit

As usual, we'll have some engaging speakers before and after each course. We'll also have our youngest speaker ever at a Harvest Dinner!

I really love this dinner because it's a chance for us to showcase some amazing products, but it is also a chance for me to say thank you to our amazing purveyors for yet another great growing season. It's a celebration, baby!

FYI....This is a ticketed event. $105 per person gets you all of that food, beverage pairings, tax, tip, conversation, etc. Tickets can be purchased by calling The Sheppard Mansion 717.633.8075

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Let's talk about beets, baby!

Beets. Either you love them or you hate them. I happen to love them, so we grow them in the Culinary Garden and sell them at the Carriage House Market. Here's the thing. I've heard a bunch of people tell me that they 'don't know what to do with beets' or they 'taste like dirt'. Well, folks I'm about to present you the opportunity of the early Fall.

I'll be setting up a little space in the Carriage House Market this Saturday at 1pm. Yeah, saturday's are busy days for us in the kitchen, but I want to get out to the Market and talk about beets. I'll talk about a few different cooking methods, canning/preserving methods and there will be FREE SAMPLES. Also, if you mention this blog post, I'll give you a little handful of beets to take home and experiment with. That's right. FREE BEETS.

So, if you're a beet lover, don't miss this little demonstration. However, if you're a dyed in the wool beet hater, I WANT YOU AT THIS DEMO. I'm gonna turn you into a beet lover. Period.

Here's the DEETS.

Who: Me and you, silly
What: An amazing cooking demo featuring Sheppard Mansion culinary garden beets
Where: The Carriage House Market
How much: IT'S FREE!!!
How long: It'll last about 45 minutes, I do have to get back inside for dinner you know!

Don't forget, mention this blog post and walk away with a handful of beets to cook at home. Also, there will be 'just dug' beets available for sale in the Market. Think we don't have enough? Go ahead and try to sell us out.

Oh, also for you readers who read all the way to the end of the post. Tell your friends. If we get more than 25 people total in attendance, I'll give everyone a free slice of chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. Seriously. Tell your friends....Bring a group. Jason Konopinski I'm talking to you.