The basics: Apple River Fort is located in Elizabeth, IL. It’s a little fort from the Black Hawk Wars. To welcome autumn, they have an intimate supper for the public (advanced ticket purchase necessary). The Ox Bow Tavern cooks the five course dinner. This year the menu was as follows:
1st course – pepper pot soup and pumpkin biscuits w/ jam
2nd course – cheshire pie and Jefferson’s mac ‘n cheese with sour dough bread
3r course – fish cakes and collards with wheat bread
4th course – sauer braten and spaetzel with red cabbage and dark bread
5th course – assorted pies, cookies, and cakes for dessert
It was really excellent to cook over a nice hearth. The other oddly delightful moment that was totally unexpected was being asked to serve at table and I was running back and forth from the house where we cooked and the block house where the diners were located. It was just like Downton Abbey!!! Only 1830s!!
Now for all the pictures!
Inside the cabin that served as the kitchen…
Cheshire pie = layer of fried smoked pork sprinkled with nutmeg, a layer of apples sprinkle with sugar, repeat. Add top pie crust. Bake in baking kettle.
Apple pudding (not on the menu; we made it for fun).
Setting the table for the guests…
(I think Mr. Carson would be proud!)
With our guests…
This may be the last War of 1812 at this site, so I’m extremely glad I went. Again, I participated as Ox Bow Tavern family staff. We served two meals during the day and drinks Sat night. Dinner Saturday evening was provided for us by Rob Stone and it was wonderful to not have to cook for a third time that day. 🙂 His staff did an amazing job!
During the day, I had the opportunity to tour Villa Louis, which I had never been to before. I love late Victorian homes and it was wonderful to walk through this house (even if I was in Regency clothing).
First, some pictures of tavern life, and then the Villa.
Salmagundi for Saturday midday meal
Ladies of the Ox Bow…
The new mulling cone for flips!
And now Villa Louis! Pictures were prohibited inside, but I hope mine will inspire people to visit the site! The inside of the house was stunning. Everything is picture perfect and when I stepped into the servants’ quarters, I felt like I would see Carson or Mrs. Hughes around the corner at any moment (even if Downton Abbey is set 1912 onward).
Last week Friday was a fabulous day at OWW! Anyone who decided not to attend missed out. Last year, I was not sure what to expect because I was new and just learning everything. But this year was more enjoyable because I knew exactly what I had to look forward to!
In preparation for the holiday, many of the sites/homesteads prepare special dishes, just like they would have done “back then.” On the 4th, we proudly display our baking skills. Three of us worked on this cake. J made it, S and I frosted it, and I added the berries on top!
The parade was so much fun later in the day and I really enjoyed all the speeches and song singing. Cheers!
I love pinterest. I may or may not spend some Saturday mornings browsing pinterest and spamming my sister’s fb message area with fun pins I find that I know she would enjoy. Well, I came across a recipe for spaghetti squash au gratin. I love anything with cheese. I thought I would try this since my husband loves squash all through the fall/winter seasons. He may or may not demand that I cook squash. It’s adorable. So I found this recipe and thought, why not? I really like trying new recipes I find online because I set up my laptop on the counter, turn on pandora, and rock out. (This is of course after a marathon sewing day).
As I write, I’m waiting for the second half of the squash to get a little cooked in microwave; our microwave, much to my husband’s dismay, is super tiny. But our kitchen is small. There is not a lot of counter space. We need a small microwave. The one I have used to belong to my grandma when my parents got it for her after my grandpa died. I can’t get rid of a microwave with sentimental value!!! haha. Because this little oven is sooo tiny, it takes twice as long for anything to cook. Ha. I don’t mind though because you just get used to it after a while.
Once this squash is done, into the oven the whole concoction goes!!!!
This recipe was amazing!!!!! It was so easy too! The only thing I did differently was after the entire thing baked for 24 min, I put it under the broiler. I really like my casserole-y type dishes to be crispy/crunchy brown on top. I may bake it for a bit longer next time too. The squash was cooked, but it could have been more so. Overall, a fabulous dish. I’m so glad there are leftovers!!
While I love summer because I can lay out in the sun and read, I don’t enjoy cooking in the summer because it is usually too hot in the house and too hot for me to feel like moving much. However, when the temps finally drop, I love cooking! Last night was one of those nights.
I’m 100% Polish so I pretty much use butter and onions in anything and everything. I especially love good pierogis and Polish sausage. I like Kasia’s brand pierogi because even though it is is a bit more pricey, the dough has a really fabulous texture that browns nicely in butter….and onions. Now, I grew up on true kielbasa. While it’s good, I actually prefer smoked beef Polish sausage. I like Klement’s and Hillshire Farms. They both taste generally the same and I usually go with whatever is on sale.
Here is what I made last night:
Follow these steps to be successful!
1. Thaw frozen pierogi. (I also had to thaw the kielbasa because I had previously frozen it when I got home from the grocery store). Everything just cooks faster when it’s not frozen.
2. Chop onions to preferred size. Meanwhile, heat pan on medium. Add butter. I don’t measure. I just take a big heaping spoonful. It should be enough to cook onions and pierogis. Butter should sizzle.
3. Add onions to pan. Stir/move vigorously to get them evenly coated in butter. About 2 min.
4. Add thawed pierogi to pan. Allow it to cook on each side for about 2 min. A slight browning will appear. While pierogis cook, cut kielbasa into 3 – 4 inch lengths. After you’ve flipped pierogis once, add kielbasa to pan. I put all the pierogis on one side and all the sausage on the other (as seen in the pic). Continue to flip pierogis and rotate kielbasa and stir onions for about 10 min. If you have enough butter, nothing will stick. Add more if it seems like it is sticking. I also put the lid on to kind of get all the flavors/aroma to mesh together.
5. When it’s ready, put on plate – with lots of tasty onions on top – and add a side of sour cream.
I also made acorn squash in the oven. Once it’s cooked, I flip the halves right-side up and add lots of butter (surprised?), brown sugar, a dash of chinese five spice powder and a dash of curry into the “bowl” of the squash. I take a fork and stab it around to get the flavors to mix/permeate. I put the oven on warm/low and just let it sit in there while I cooked the ingredients mentioned above. The aroma of onions, kielbasa, and spicey squash was to die for!!!!
So here it is plated:
Prep – 5 min to cut squash in half and put in baking dish with water. 5 min to open pierogi and kielbasa packages. 2 min chop onions.
Actual cook time – 40 min squash. 15 min pierogi, kielbasa, and onions.
This meal was so filling and perfect after a hard day’s work!