New Castle News

July 6, 2013

Culinary Conversation: Pizza burgers and garden goodness

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Getting feedback — and recipes — from our readers is always appreciated.

When Culinary Conversation received a request for the type of pizza burgers that were sold at the former Waldman’s Market, a reader responded.

Lois Owoc called to say those items that are great in sandwiches are sold at Donofrio’s Market in Hermitage.

“They’re delicious,” she said.

Our thanks to Lois for her help.

Then Pat Lysko called about the pizza burgers. However, she would like to replicate the recipe at home.

Pat recalled working at what was Vance’s Custard Stand on Route 422 East to help pay her way toward nursing school, and pizza burgers were served there.

“We threw them on the grill, added onions, some kind of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, put them on a toasted bun and they were delicious,” she said.

Now that I’m totally hungry for these things, let’s see if anyone else knows the ingredients for making them. Pat says the pizza burgers were really well seasoned, which is what makes them so good but she doesn’t know exactly what seasonings are used.

Again, we seek your help.

Meanwhile, two weekends ago, we traveled to Venango County with friends, enjoying the sights along the way.

Somebody remarked that it was almost the Fourth of July and corn wasn’t quite knee high.

I’ve been making that observation ever since I first heard that expression from my grandfather years ago.

Naturally, my imagination quickly turned to slathering butter on an ear of corn.

It’s a summer ritual, isn’t it?

Hearing about your favorite summer food routines involving the yields from the garden are welcomed at Culinary Conversation.

My travels across Lawrence County have allowed me to view a lot of great gardens.

I’ve witnessed just-ripened tomatoes so enticing I was ready to ask for salt and eat a few right on the spot. And zucchini and eggplant tempted me to instantly start digging up recipes.

What are you growing in your garden this year?

I also love that berries are everywhere. Although I could eat both raspberries and blueberries right out of the container, I’ll be a little more imaginative and share some desserts using berries instead.

Barley-Stuffed Peppers

Several dashed bottled hot pepper sauce

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium saucepan, combine mushrooms, water, barley and bouillon cube. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until barley is tender; drain.

Meanwhile, halve sweet peppers lengthwise; remove seeds and membranes. If desired, precook peppers in boiling water for 3 minutes; invert onto paper towels to drain.

In a medium bowl, combine egg, tomato, 1/2 of the cheese, zucchini, bread crumbs, basil, rosemary, onion salt and hot pepper sauce. Stir in cooked barley mixture. Place peppers, cut side up in an ungreased 2-qt. baking dish. Spoon barley mixture into peppers.

Bake, covered for 20 to 25 minutes or until barley mixture is heated through. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake uncovered, about 2 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Green Beans with Almonds

Raisins, golden raisins or currants (optional)

In a Dutch oven, cook green beans, covered, in a small amount of boiling salted water for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and return to Dutch oven.

Meanwhile, in an 8-inch skillet, cook garlic in hot butter over medium heat until tender and lightly golden. Add to green beans along with almonds, lemon juice and salt. Toss to combine. If desired, top with raisins.

Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges; set pan aside.

In a small saucepan, stir together the 2 tbsps. granulated sugar and cornstarch. Stir in blueberries and orange juice. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and set aside.

For crust, in a large mixing bowl, stir together the 2 cups flour and powdered sugar. Cut in butter until fine crumbs form and mixture starts to cling together (mixture will still be crumbly.) Pat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1 tbsp. flour until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Pour over hot baked crust, spreading evenly. Spoon blueberry mixture in small mounds over the cheese layer. Use a thin metal spatula or table knife to marble the mixtures together.

Bake for 20 minutes more or until center is set. Cool in pan on a wire rack for one hour. Cover and chill at least one hour. Remove uncut bars from pan by lifting foil. Cut into bars.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. If desired, sift powdered sugar over bars just before serving.

Fresh Red Raspberry Pie

Pastry for two-crust pie

Prepare an 8-inch pie shell; roll out remaining pastry for top crust. Set aside.

Gently toss raspberries with orange juice and a mixture of the remaining ingredients.

Turn into unbaked pie shell, heaping slightly at center. Complete as directed for two-crust pie.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes; reduce oven to 350 and bake 25 to 30  minutes more or until pastry is lightly browned.