Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Ashery Country Store

The holiday season is on its way. And for us at the inn, that means a lot of extra baking. So last week Ian and I took a short drive to pick up supplies from our favorite bulk food store in Holmes County, Ohio’s Amish area. Along the way we also popped in to the Holmes County Flea Market just outside of Berlin.

To sum up the experience in one sentence: It certainly lives up to the adage that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

We did come out of there with a pair of work gloves for Ian and some fudge for me, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time. And from there we enjoyed the scenic drive up country road 77 throught Mount Hope and on to the Ashery.

Bulk food stores abound throughout the Amish area. They are the equivalent of convenience stores for the Amish people themselves. Keep in mind that the Amish a) don’t generally have refrigerators and freezers, b) Have large families to feed and c)are thrifty and don’t use many convenience foods. So these stores sell all the basics needed for cooking from scratch, including flour, sugar, nuts and dried fruit, herbs and spices and much more. And the prices are considerably more reasonable than the same products from a supermarket.

We like the Ashery because it has a large selection, is clean and well organized, and is always very busy, meaning the inventory turns over quickly. Obviously other people agree with us – the store recently expanded and they had to build a larger parking lot across the road.

So with our treasure of fruits, nuts, baking chips and other goodies put away it’s time to start planning the menus for our holiday events.

Here’s a sneak preview of one of the recipes we’ll be making for our Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol event in December:

Raspberry Coconut Squares

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 cup raspberry preserves

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups shredded coconut

Combine 1 1/4 cups flour with 1/4 cup of sugar. Cut in the butter and press into the bottom of a 9 inch square pan. Spread the preserves over this base. Beat the eggs with the sugar, 1 tablespoon of butter and the vanilla. Mix in the coconut. Spread this over the preserves. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until light gold. Cool and cut into 36 squares.


Innkeeper
White Oak Inn

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