Of The Patriot-News

An unpopular vegetable transformed into a dessert stunned the
judges at the statewide Simply Delicious vegetable recipe cook-off
last week.

Retired teacher Frances Dietz of York carried off $100 and bragging
rights to the root-vegetable category with her Ruby Red Fruit and
Nut Pie.

The secret ingredient? Beets.

During an interview afterward, Dietz was ready with a quote from
cookbook author Irena Chalmers: “Beets are not well-loved, and it
takes a good stiff drink to get beets down for some people.”

Not the people at the Simply Delicious cook-off, run by the
Pennsylvania Vegetable Market and Research Program.

Contestants cooked in the teaching kitchen at Harrisburg Area Community College, while
judges, friends and family waited in the culinary classroom for the
four categories of veggies to be served.

Chef instructor Jim Switzenberg of HACC judged the event with Penn
State extension agent Debra Gregory and dietitian Karen Buch of
Weis Markets.

The pie came out ahead of a carrot cake, bacon-fried carrots and
turnips and a velvety carrot soup in the root-crop part of the
program, which was clearly the hit of the cook-off with the judges.

“This was a great category,” said Switzenberg, who teaches culinary
fundamentals and technique at HACC.

Dietz also won in the broccoli-cabbage-cauliflower division with
her Open-Face Garden and Orchard Sandwich.

Lisa Salvatore of Colonial Park won snap bean honors with Maria’s
Italian Green Beans.

The recipe came from her mother-in law, whom Salvatore credits with
many good Italian recipes that weren’t in the Mennonite Cookbook
she grew up with.

“This is one of those that when I make it, people ask me for the
recipe,” she said. “It is so simple and delicious, and it is right
up there at the top of my list of vegetable dishes my kids will

Bonnie Mortimer of Mount Pleasant, a four-year veteran of the
cook-off, won for the first time with her Spicy Corn Chili
featuring hot sausage and corn.

Looking to jazz up your veggies? Try these recipes:

Ruby Red Fruit and Nut Pie Serves 8 to 10

2 medium beets
1/2 cup of dark corn syrup
3 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
1 pie shell, 9-inch, unbaked

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and set the oven rack at the lowest
position. Cut the leaves off the beets and discard. Cook the beets
in boiling water until tender. Pour off the water and let beets
stand until cool enough to handle. Slip the skins off the beets,
trim the roots and remove a slice from the top. Slice or coarsely
chop the beets to equal 3/4 to 1 cup. Finely chop the beets in a
food processor (do not puree).

Remove the beets and add all the ingredients except the raisins and
nuts to the processor work bowl. Blend completely, then add the
raisins, nuts and beets.

Pulse two or three times, just until the raisins and nuts are
incorporated into the mixture. Pour into chilled pie shell and bake
on bottom rack at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Lower the oven
temperature to 375 degrees and bake 20-25 minutes longer until firm
when gently shaken.

Maria’s Italian Green Beans
Serves 6

1 pound green beans, fresh with ends removed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Boil the beans for 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain the beans
and return them to the pot. Toss with olive oil, oregano and garlic
salt. Adjust the seasonings to your taste. Transfer the beans to a
serving bowl and serve immediately while hot, or chill and serve

Spicy Corn Chili
Serves 12 to 15

3 pounds loose hot sausage
2 cups fresh sweet corn, cooked and cut off the cob
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped green peppers
2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
3 10 1/2-ounce cans beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 30-ounce cans kidney beans, drained

Fry sausage until it’s no longer pink. Add corn, onions and green
peppers. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add tomato sauce, tomato
paste, beef broth, cumin, chili powder and black pepper. Stir until
well combined. Add kidney beans.

Cook over medium-low for 45 minutes.

Open-Face Garden and Orchard Sandwich
Serves 1

1/2 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/3 cup broccoli, small pieces
1 medium mushroom, sliced
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise or Thousand Island dressing
1 slice whole wheat bread
1/4 apple, Red Delicious, thinly sliced
1 ounce Pepper Jack cheese, thinly sliced

Melt butter in small skillet. Add broccoli, mushroom, onion,
raisins and walnuts.

Saute vegetables until crisp tender. Stir in mayonnaise or salad

Arrange apple slices on top of bread slice. Top with broccoli
mixture, then slices of cheese.

Broil sandwich, about 6 inches from the heat for about 1 minute
until cheese is melted.

Submitted by Frances Dietz, York


1 Response to “Veggie Fest”

  1. October 23, 2014 at 11:08 pm

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In culinary school and getting ready to trade the writing life for the cooking life. Or not. Might do both. At the moment I'm a feature writer for The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. My name is Pat Carroll.

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