Nibbles: McDonald to celebrate its hometown taste

Secret family recipes for pierogies, barbecued ribs, stuffed meatloaf, shrimp scampi, a noodle dish, fried wings, potato salad Provencale, peach cobbler, halushki, hummingbird cake, pineapple upside down cake and more will fill the tables at the First Baptist Church's second annual "Taste of McDonald," 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday in McDonald, 14 miles south of the airport.

The Pittsburgh Job Corps team that took 2nd place in the Region II Job Corps Culinary Arts competition in Philadelphia, includes, from left, Jahn Payton of East Liberty, who served as sous chef and, far right, Briston Taylor, of Akron, Ohio, iron chef. They are shown with their instructor, Chef Jeff Lee.
Click photo for larger image.

Prepared and donated by parishioners and local residents, the food items, many made on site, will be $1, except for the ribs, which will be $2, and beverages, 50 cents. The festival is being held at the McDonald Trail Station and Meeting House, an historic community center at the intersection of the Montour and Panhandle Trails. For directions:

Festa Italiana in New Ken

Homemade Italian food and live entertainment are featured at the 25th annual Festa Italiana 2006, August 3 to 5 at Mt. St. Peter Roman Catholic Church, 100 Freeport Road, New Kensington.

On the menu are lasagna with homemade noodles, spaghetti and meatballs, hot sausage sandwich with onions and peppers, pasta e fagiole, Italian rice balls, pulled pork and baked chicken. On the dessert list are cannoli, frappe, pizelles, biscotti and gelato.

Hours are Thursday and Friday 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday 4 to 11 p.m., with live bands nightly at 7 p.m. Call 724-335-9877.

Team takes second place

Two Pittsburgh Job Corps cooking students won second place in the Region II Job Corps Culinary arts competition in Philadelphia recently. Sixteen two-man teams competed for three days.

Jahn Payton, an East Liberty resident and graduate of Westinghouse High School, served as sous chef and Briston Taylor from Akron, iron chef. Their instructor, chef Jeff Lee, said the young chefs "made me proud."

Top chefs

Ronald Herbinko and Peter Locante, chef/instructors at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, were inducted into the American Academy of Chefs (the honor society of the American Culinary Federation) at the 2006 ACF national convention in Philadelphia, July 14-17.

Closer to home, cooking classes at the PCI continue through August. On the docket are Cajun Cuisine Aug. 10; Brunch with the Kids, Aug. 13; Home Beer Making, Aug. 19; Cookie Construction,Aug. 22 and Homemade Pie, Aug. 26. Call 412-325-3507.

Touch of South America

The Pines Tavern in Pine is pairing Chilean summer wines with a menu including grilled sirloin steak with South American pepper sauce, white snapper ceviche, crisp green beans and crispy sweet potato chips, beginning at 5 p.m. today and tomorrow. Cost is $28. Call 724-625-3252.

Get cozy over cooking

A few spaces remain open in Sweetwater Cooking's "Couples Night" class at 6 p.m., Aug. 12. Bring your honey to share in making goodies such as Shrimp with Guacamole Dip, Stuffed Mushrooms, Tandoori Chicken, Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad and Melon/Lime Mousse at this charming South Side cooking school. Cost is $110 per couple and includes wine. Call 412-325-2703.

Quiz your caterer

If you're planning to use a caterer for your next party, make sure the business has an Allegheny County Health Dept. permit. Unlicensed caterers do exist, despite ACHD efforts to shut them down

This warning was prompted by a recent outbreak of suspected food poisoning from food provided by an unlicensed caterer.

Freeze corn now for later

If the abundance of fresh, sweet corn at farmers markets makes you wish for summer all year round, try freezing some of the season's bumper crop.

Husk the ears, then blanch by dropping them in a large pot of boiling salted water for about five minutes. Strain and place in ice water until cool. Drain on paper towels. Remove the kernels from the cobs using a sharp knife and slicing downward.

Put kernels into a freezer-quality, sealable plastic bag, press out all of the air and place in the freezer. The corn can remain in there for up to a year. Thaw before using in most recipes.

The last word

"I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows." Henry David Thoreau, philosopher and naturalist.

Nancy Anderson can be reached at or 412-263-1661.


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