Pork & Sauerkraut: A New Year’s Day Tradition

Looking for a dish to bring to a potluck today? Most are familiar with Hoppin’ John, but Pork and Sauerkraut is another New Year’s Day dish that’s said to bring good fortune for the New Year. It’s a tradition in Chef Brian’s family—his grandparents would serve it every New Year’s Day in their Pennsylvania Dutch country home. And now, we’re sharing it with you!

pork and sauerkraut

We found this little history lesson at Food Timeline:

Pork & Sauerkraut

This is a German custom. Pennsylania Dutch, of German descent, also serve these foods.
“Throughout history, the lowly cabbage has played side dish to the pig on New Year’s Day, not because it bears a special significance, but because it’s a tasty complement to pork. “It’s a traditional combination,” said William Weaver, an internationally known food historian who lives in Chester County. Any Pennsylvania German worth his or her salt knows pork is served on New Year’s Day because it brings good luck. With their snouts, pigs root forward, signifying progress, lore dictates, whereas chickens and turkeys scratch backward.”
—“Eat ‘sour cabbage’ for a sweet year; Having sauerkraut on New Year’s Day brings luck, some say,” Kathleen Parrish, Morning Call [Allentown:PA], January 1, 2004 (p. A1)

And here’s an easy slow cooker recipe to follow:


1 (4 pound) pork loin roast

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

2 cups sauerkraut with liquid

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut pork loin, if necessary, to fit in the slow cooker. Season with caraway seeds, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauerkraut over the roast.
  2. Cook on High for 1 hour, then cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours. Internal temperature of the roast should be at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).

What’s your traditional New Year’s recipe?




Mashed Parsnips with Bacon and Fried Parsnip Strips

Everything tastes better with bacon and parsnips are no exception. This seasonal root veggie, which is the carrot’s sweeter cousin, makes a great side for the holidays and all winter long. Rich in potassium, parsnips are also a great source of fiber.

Mashed Parsnips with Bacon and Fried Parsnip Strips



2 pounds peeled parsnips + 2 large parsnips peeled
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic sliced into large pieces
1/2 pound bacon – cooked and crumbled
finely chopped chives

1. Season the parsnips with salt and pepper and steam them until very tender with the garlic.
2. Puree parsnip mix until smooth and season to taste. Set aside.
3. In a skillet, fry the bacon until nice and crispy. Remove from the skillet and crumble.
4. Using a vegetable peeler, make long thin slices of the two parsnips and fry in oil until golden brown.
5. Stir and heat the puree before serving then sprinkle with the crumbled bacon and fried parsnip strips.
6. Sprinkle with finely chopped chives and serve.

Homemade S’mores Recipe


S’mores make the perfect winter treat for kids of all ages. How do you make them even more delicious? Try making your s’mores from scratch with Chef Brian’s recipes for homemade graham crackers and homemade marshmallows.

Graham Crackers

8 tablespoons soft butter
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons honey
1 cup flour
¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
pinch salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Cream the butter, sugars, and honey.
  • Sift the dry ingredients together, and add until just combined.
  • Work dough until it holds together.
  • Roll between parchment papers.
  • Prick dough with a fork and chill.
  • Bake 325-350 for 10 minutes.
  • Cut and bake another 4-5 minutes until crisp. Let cool.


2 oz powdered sugar (plus more for dusting)
1 package unflavored gelatin
½ cup of water
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • Dust a 9” x 13” baking pan with powdered sugar.
  • Bloom the gelatin in cold water.
  • Combine the water, sugar and corn syrup and boil to 240 degrees using a candy thermometer.
  • While the sugar is cooking, whip the egg whites to soft peaks.
  • Add the bloomed gelatin to the hot sugar to dissolve.
  • Slowly pour the sugar onto the whipping egg whites and whip until room temp.
  • Whip the meringue until lukewarm and add the vanilla extract.
  • Pour the marshmallow batter onto the parchment paper. Then dust the top with more powdered sugar.
  • Let sit until firm at room temperature, 6 hours to overnight. Cut as desired.


A Chef’s Thanksgiving Feast

What does a chef prepare for his family’s Thanksgiving dinner? We asked Chef Brian to share his menu (and a recipe) with us for inspiration. This year, he’s going heavy on the proteins and opts for a non-traditional, yet seasonal homemade treat for dessert.

A twist on the traditional casserole: wild mushroom bread pudding.

  • Smoked Turkey– Gotta have turkey!
  • Ham– Who says turkey can’t share the spotlight?
  • Stuffed Shells– A family tradition that actually started from the Irish side of Brian’s family.
  • Brussel Sprouts– One of the most feared and hated vegetables has made a huge comeback.
  • Wild Mushroom + Leek Bread Pudding– Leeks are big this year on Thanksgiving menus. Scroll down for the recipe!
  • S’mores from Scratch– Homemade marshmallows, homemade graham crackers, the works! A fun, hands-on, family-friendly dessert.


yields one 13” x 13” baking pan

½ pound wild mushrooms
½ loaf rye bread
white part of 1 large leek
2 tablespoons butter for sweating
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
caraway seeds
salt & pepper to taste
3 cups half-n-half
6 whole eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Slice the leeks and sweat in butter until soft.
2. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook. Season well and let cool.
3. Mix the eggs with the half-n-half and cut the bread into small pieces.
4. In a large bowl, mix everything together and season with the spices and salt and pepper.
5. Pour the mixture into a buttered pan and cover with aluminum foil.
6. Bake for 30 minutes covered, then thirty minutes uncovered for a total of one hour at 350F.
7. Serve warm or let cool and cut pieces. Then reheat as needed in the microwave or oven



Making Chocolate Croissants From Scratch.

chocolate croissants

Up for a cooking challenge? This chocolate croissant recipe from Chef Brian takes some time, but is worth the wait!

Chocolate Croissants


1 tablespoon dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk
2 oz sugar
3-4 C flour
8 oz butter
One 12 oz bag Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Egg wash: 2 egg yolks mixed with 2 tablespoons of water.


  • Boil the milk and let cool to 110 ° F.
  • Proof the yeast in ½ C of the milk with a pinch of sugar and a little flour.
  • Add the remaining milk and whisk in 1/2 C flour until smooth.
  • Whisk in the salt and sugar.
  • Add flour little by little until a smooth dough is formed.
  • Knead the dough then form into a ball.
  • Place in a greased bowl and let rise 2X its volume.
  • Punch down and place in fridge until cool, 5 hours to overnight.
  • Roll the dough 1/4” thick and pound the butter out between plastic wrap
  • half the size of the dough.
  • Put the butter on 1/2 the dough, fold the dough over, and seal the edges
  • with water.
  • Fold the dough in 3 as for a business letter.
  • Let rest in the fridge 45 minutes, then roll the dough to a rectangle, then
  • fold in 3 again.
  • Let rest 45 minutes, roll, then fold in 3 again.
  • Let the dough rest 1 hour, then roll to 1/4” thick.
  • Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  • But 16 rectangles 2” x 4”
  • Sprinkle some of the chocolate in the center.
  • Roll up the croissants seam side down, and then brush with egg wash.
  • Let rise on a parchment lined baking sheet until raised about double in
  • size.
  • Place in the 400° F. Immediately turn the oven down to 375° F and bake until puffed, about 15 minutes.

Talking Turkey.

Looking for a new way to bake your bird? Chef Brian shares his turkey breast recipe just in time for Thanksgiving.

turkey breast with spices

Breast of Turkey with Spices

1 large turkey breast
1/2 onion chopped
1 rib celery chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
5 black peppercorns
parsley stems
4 cups chicken stock
1 T tomato paste
1/2 lb chicken bones or turkey carcass chopped into pieces
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste

Spice Mix:

1 T coriander
1 T cumin
1 T cinnamon
1 T mace
1 T ginger
1 large pinch saffron

1. Pat the turkey breast with the spice mixture and a little salt and pepper.
2. Sauté in a deep pan over medium heat in a little olive oil and butter. turn over and cook the
other side. Remove to a roasting pan and cook in an oven at 375F until done 30-40
3. In the same pan, add the chopped vegetables, hebs and tomato paste and brown slightly
over medium heat. Add the chicken bones and color everything. Add a few spoonfuls of
the leftover spice mixture.
4. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until reduced by
5. Strain the sauce into a clean pot.
6. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the sauce to a
boil and whisk in the butter.
7. Slice the turkey and spoon the sauce over. Serve.

Get the play-by-play as Chef Brian walks you through the recipe in this video from WLOS’ Carolina Kitchen.

What are you serving for Thanksgiving?

Apple Upside Down Coffee Cake Recipe

As apple season wanes with the cold snaps hitting us, Chef Brian has a great recipe to incorporate the last of your fresh-picked fruit. Perfect to share with out-of-town guests for breakfast or after dinner!
Apple Upside Down Coffee Cake
Yields one 9-inch cake.
Paste and Topping
2-3 apples
1 ½ oz butter, room temp
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup almond flour
4 ounces butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar packed
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum
1 cup milk
Paste and Topping
  • Make a paste with butter, sugar, and cinnamon
  • Spread on bottom of pan
  • Arrange apples on top


  • Cream butter and sugar
  • Add eggs 1 x 1
  • Add flavorings
  • Add 1/3 sifted dry ingredients
  • Add ½ milk
  • Add 1/3 sifted dry ingredients
  • Add rest of milk
  • Add last 1/3 dry ingredients
  • Bake 350 for 45 to 50 minutes

A Treat for Halloween: Pumpkin Doughnut Recipe

No flavor says fall like pumpkin. If you’re looking for a sweet to add to your Halloween party menu, try this pumpkin doughnut recipe. You can also bake the batter into muffins and bread! This easy recipe from Chef Brian is all treat, no tricks.

pumpkin donuts

Healthy donut– it’s not an oxymoron. Use this batter to make delicious (baked not fried) pumpkin donuts.

Pumpkin Batter

½  cup oil
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
½  cup water
1 ¾  cups all-purpose flour
1 ½  cups sugar
¾  tsp salt
1 t baking soda
1 ½ tsp  pumpkin pie spice
  • combine all wet
  • combine all dry
  • mix until just incorporated
  • pour into pans and bake at 350 until just done (15-18 minutes for donuts)
30 small donuts (baked in a donut pan)
20-24 muffins
3 small loaves
1 large loaf