Jennifer Behm: The Best Amish Country Has to Offer
08/17/2012 AT 02:00 PM EDT
This week has been filled with lots of fun stuff. A trip to the Baltimore Aquarium, an excursion to Philly to enjoy South Street, and a trip to one of my favorite places: Amish Country.
As an avid snorkeler and surfer with an immense love of sea turtles, I find the Baltimore Aquarium such an amazing place. They have a gorgeous green turtle named Calypso, who was rescued from the wild due to an infection in her left fin. Her diet: seven heads of lettuce a day. Boy, I would have a great figure if that was all I ate. I like my lettuce with a little more accoutrements (LOL), like garbanzo beans, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and pickled vegetables.
After watching Calypso fill her belly, and our spanning every inch of the aquarium, we headed into the harbor. We hit one of the local spots on the water, and I think ordered everything on the menu. After a harbor boat ride we finished our day with something sweet – a little treat from Charm City.
After a few 15-hour work days, a fun day of people watching and taste-testing of some true Philly delights was in order. We laced up our sneakers and hit the cobblestone. Off we went to see the sights: the Liberty Bell, Penn's Landing, then off to South Street for some eclectic shopping, people watching and CHEESE STEAKS!
Pat's, Geno's, Tony Luke's, Jimmy's – I love them all, but you have to know how to order: "Large, WIT (sic) provolone and mushrooms." Be sure to get it right, or you may not get your steak!
With more work and my fiancé having surgery that kept him down for a few days, what better to eat than comfort food? Good, old-fashioned Amish food.
Off to my hometown to get some good grub. I love driving out there. The smell of the farms, the horse and buggies, how friendly and warm the people are, it's truly amazing.
So what to get? Wet-bottom shoofly pie! What's that (other than a dentist's dream), you ask? All I can say is molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg and, oh, yummy crust. Next we had to get some apple butter with German pretzels.
Plus, my fiancé loves scrapple ... I would rather eat cardboard, but if it helps him "heal" faster, then that's okay with me! Then I will cook it up: dried sweet corn noodle soup, that is, thanks to my aunt. And we'll grab some fresh fruit and vegetables for the week so I can make some yummy soups and play with our new sous-vide machine!
With the wedding just around the corner, and my getting my nephew for a few days while my brother does some military training, should surely provide for plenty of adventures in food and life to come!
Meanwhile, here's my best pickling recipe: Equal sugar and vinegar, bay leaves, thyme, crushed red pepper – I use peppers from our garden – sea salt, peppercorns and juniper berries. Root vegetables are great for pickling: Cauliflower, English cucumbers, fennel, carrots and chayote. Oh, YUM!!
Catch me every Friday on PEOPLE.com to see what crazy food and adventures I have to stimulate all of your senses!