The best thing about potluck dinners is discovering new dishes. And, getting lucky with a recipe.

I emailed the hostess with the mostest at the Lemont Village Association potluck, asking who brought the wonderful Finnish Carrot Pancake. She put me in touch with the FCP couple and they gladly shared their recipe. The dish was presented in an iron skillet, cut into pie wedges, and topped with a border of gooseberry sauce. When I tasted it, I thought of Thanksgiving dinner. Later, I found out it was adapted from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant and knew why it was so good:

Finnish Carrot Pancake (Porkkanapannukakku)

3 cups grated carrot

3/4 cup finely minced or grated onion

6 eggs

1 1/8 cup milk (we use yogurt thinned with water 50-50)

3/4 cup flour (white, whole wheat, rye, millet or a combination)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh)

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Plenty of fresh ground black pepper

Topping: sour cream, applesauce, cranberry sauce, or in the version served at the Lemont picnic, gooseberry sauce. 

Cranberry Sauce (Karpalokastike)

12 oz. berries

1/2 cup maple syrup

Grated rind and juice of one orange

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Dash of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients for sauce in a pan. Cook on medium heat 10-15 minutes until cranberries pop. (For gooseberries, delete grated rind and juice of orange, and mash with a fork. Cook down until thick.)

Instructions for pancake:

Penn State's Pasto Agricultural Museum

Penn State’s Pasto Ag Museum

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. You will cook at this temperature for 20 minutes, and then lower to 350 degrees for another 10 minutes, or until done. Pancake should be light brown, puffy, and crisp. Sticking a knife in the center should result in it coming up dry.
  1. Heat a heavy iron skillet 9 ½” to 10” into which you have put 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Spread oil up the sides an inch or so by tipping pan while it warms up.
  1. Combine everything in large mixing bowl.
  2. When pan is hot, pour batter into pan (be wary of spattering) and smooth out with a spatula.
  3. Bake as in Step 1.  Serve while hot with topping. Also good warm, and great as a leftover.

May your Sundays always be so lucky. Laurie Lynch

Speaking of Sundays: Centre County Master Gardeners are teaming up with Pasto Agricultural Museum for Penn State football Sundays in September and October, 1-4 p.m. If you are visiting University Park for a home game and looking for something to do on Sunday, check out the museum and demonstration gardens. Both are located at the Penn State Ag Progress Days site, off Route 45, west of Pine Grove Mills. Turn into Gate K, 2710 West Pine Grove Road, Pennsylvania Furnace, 16865.

Sept. 13: Simple Machines & Agricultural Invention Timeline displays. At 1 p.m., Making a Grow Box for Less than $20 at the museum. At 2:30 p.m., Luffas & Lemonade at the MG APD Demonstration Gardens.

Demonstration Gardens

Demonstration Gardens

Sept. 20: Food & Herb Harvest & Preservation—from Yesteryear to Today, Penn State Extension food specialists and Master Gardeners at the museum. Demonstration gardens open.

Sept. 27: Pennsylvania Forests and Trees with Penn State lumberjacks. Demonstration gardens open.

Oct. 4: Focus on Fibers—Spinning and Weaving guilds, and flax processing demonstration at the museum. Discussion on dye plants at the demonstration gardens.

Oct. 11: Penn State Herbarium flower pressing at the museum. Bring your favorite blossom to preserve. Preparing for winter at the demonstration gardens.


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