Sweet on Pie
Fresh fruits and homemade crust make for a popular seasonal treat
From the July 2015 issue
Few summer desserts are greeted with as much satisfaction as a freshly baked pie. Picture a golden-brown crust packed with sweet — and a little bit tart — seasonal fruit. Pam Minhas should know. Pie crust is the first thing she teaches new employees to make at Baked Coffee Bar, a bakery, coffee shop and deli in Dewey Beach. “It’s an easy recipe to memorize, and it allows new staff to immediately get their hands into dough,” she says. “Everyone knows that if you want to be a baker, you’ve got to love dough.”
Minhas learned that later in life. She and twin sister Patty grew up cooking for the family because their mother worked long hours. But when it came to a career, the Camp Springs, Md., native took the practical route. She spent seven years in the Army in personnel management, which involved travel to Korea, where she was exposed to exotic flavors, including fermented foods. She also spent time in California, the “salad bowl” of the U.S., which in the 1980s pioneered the farm-to-table movement. She lived in a vibrant Indian community and learned to love Indian foods. After getting a degree in business management, Minhas spent 21 years as an IT manager for Maple Press in York, Pa. In 2007, she took the culinary plunge and opened a wine bar and bistro in Harrisburg, but within two years she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. As a distraction from the chemotherapy treatments, she took a college-level online chocolate-making course and decided then that her next career would be a sweet one at the beach.
Coastal Delaware diners are embracing Mexican cuisine, and not just around Cinco de Mayo
On Cinco de Mayo, patrons in coastal restaurants will pop the tops off Mexican beers and order up a taco or two — even in non-Mexican establishments. But many of these diners don’t understand the holiday’s true meaning. It is not, as many believe, Mexico’s Independence Day. That’s Sept. 16. The May 5 holiday marks the victory of the Mexican militia over the French Army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
This year, there’s no shortage of places to celebrate the occasion. The Delaware coast now has a large number of Mexican and Latin-inspired restaurants, from Milton to Fenwick Island. It’s hard to toss a tortilla without hitting a fish taco on a menu, even in fish houses and alehouses. Last September, Billy Lucas, co-owner of Taco Reho, a food truck, pulled up to the curb near Big Chill Surf Cantina on Route 1. Before opening the business, Lucas spent seven years as a tour caterer for musicians and up to 150 crew members. “Everyone loved taco day,” says the Philadelphia-area native, who summered in Dewey Beach as a child. “They also loved enchiladas.”
A Holiday Treat
With or without alcohol, Lewes Dairy eggnog adds spice to the season
Along the coast, nothing signals the start of the holiday season quite like a sip of Lewes Dairy’s eggnog. “I make it just the way I made it when I was young, it just takes me twice as long to do half as much,” says Chip Brittingham, the Lewes plant manager whose grandparents, Grace and Emory Brittingham, began raising Guernsey cows and selling milk in 1919.
Since the dairy’s merger with Hy-Point Dairy Farms in 2013, Brittingham has trekked to northern New Castle County to make the eggnog, which is available starting the week before Thanksgiving until New Year’s. “I want to make sure everything is done right,” he says.
He doesn’t remember exactly when the dairy began offering its celebrated beverage, but its fame was certainly set in the 1940s. Brittingham credits its popularity to top-quality ingredients and a special blend of spices, which produce a silky shake-like beverage with a minimum fat content of at least 7 percent. (The standard is 6 percent.) “It’s a good drink,” Brittingham says simply.
Some say it’s even better with a shot of rum. Mark Harrison, general manager of Nage in the Rehoboth Beach area, whips up this frothy libation for customers who like a creamy cocktail. “I prefer to use local ingredients as much as possible, whether it’s with our food or beverage programs,” he says. “Lewes Dairy is a respected business in the area, and their high-quality products make that decision easy.”