Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On to Tamar Myers

I know, it's been a couple of weeks, but things here have been hectic.......Eldest daughter is getting ready to graduate from college......three degrees, multiple honors and Magna Cum Laude!!!! But more of that later.....Today it's back to the my new resolve....to post recipes taken from books that AREN'T cookbooks (see Chris Dabney, I DO read other things than cookbooks).

Today I am taking the recipes from one of Tamar Myers' Pennsylvania Dutch Mysteries.  The premise of this series of books (I think there are 14) is that of Magdalena Yoder, a spinster who runs the Penn Dutch Inn in Hernia, PA.  Like Jessica Fletcher in 'Murder She Wrote'...this quiet little down in Nowherespecial, PA draws people who come to get killed and somehow Magdalena is always in the middle.  Although she is a hobby sleuth, she never turns down a good meal, and this is where the inserted recipes come in.  In the book I just read, 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Crime'....a movie production crew comes to Penn Dutch Inn to serialize a couple of murders that happened in Hernia earlier.  As expected, murder and mayhem ensue, but Magdalena gets her feed bag on, you can count on it.  Here are the recipes included in this books (with thanks to Tamar Myers and her Pennsylvania Dutch relatives that provided them):

Freni Hostetler's Recipe for Shoo fly Pie (Freni is Magdalena's sixth(?) cousin and housekeeper/cook)

1 9" unbaked pie cruse
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup of water
3/4 cup unsulphered molasses
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Cut the butter into pats and add it to the flour mixture.  Using a form, mash the butter into the flour mixture until you get a texture like coarse crumbs.  Combine the water, molasses, and baking soda.  Pour into the unbaked pie crust.  Then spoon the crumb mixture onto the liquid.  Bake at 375 degrees for thirty-five to forty minutes.  Best if served at room temperature.

Grandma Yoder's Secret Corn Chowder

1 lb. bacon
1 large onion, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pint half and half
2 cans creamed corn
salt and pepper to taste

Start by cooking up the bacon.  Grandma fried her bacon in a cast iron skillet.  Crumble the cooked bacon and set it aside, saving two or three tablespoons of the grease.  In a large pot, saute the onion in the bacon grease until it softens and begins to brown.  Stir in the cream of chicken soup and the half and half.  Dump in the creamed corn and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve with the crumbled bacon sprinkled on top.  The soup tastes even better when made the day before and allowed to sit in the refrigerator over night. Just remember to heat it up very slowly the next day so it doesn't scorch, as it is rather thick.

Doc Shafer's Recipe for Green-tomato Pie (Doc Shafer is an 80-something vet, who the people of Hernia ask for free medical advice for themselves, a rather handsy old goat, something Magdalena deals with in order to get to eat his cooking)

6 or 7 medium sized green tomatoes without blemishes (without wrinkles if you want to peel them), approximately 3 cups when chopped.
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoon cornstarch
Top and bottom pie crust (use pre-made if you want)
1 tablespoon margarine or butter

Wash the tomatoes. Peel them if you want, but it's a lot of trouble and not really necessary.  Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.  Combine the tomato bits with the next three ingredients in a saucepan.  Cook for about 15 minutes. Mix the sugar and the cornstarch together and slowly stir it into the tomato mixture.  Cook for a few minutes, until the sugar and the cornstarch become clear. Add margarine and allow to cool slightly.  Line a 9" pine pan with the bottom crust and pour in the tomato mixture. Put on top crust and seal the edges.  Crimp narrow strips of aluminum foil around the edge to prevent it from getting too brown.   Poke numerous holes with a fork across the top to allow steam to escape.  Bake for 40-50 minutes at 425 degrees.  Some people like to eat the pie warm, but Doc much prefers it cold.

Freni Hostetler's Version of Beef Yum Yai (Thai cold beef salad)

1 lb. of thinly sliced roast beef
2 medium cucumbers
3 bunches of green onions
juice of three limes
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Lettuce leaves

Cut the roast beef into 1/2" wide strips.  Peel and slice the cucumbers, then cut cucumber slices in half.  Chop the green onions.  Assemble the first even ingredients and mix well just before serving.  Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves.

Freni Hostetler's Rendition of Tom Yam Goonk

3 cups of chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
1 can straw mushrooms, drained
Juice of two limes
1 bunch of scallions
1 stalk of lemon grass, sliced, or zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 teaspoon of galanga powder (if available)
1 hot green chili pepper, chopped
3/4 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp

Bring all the ingredients but the shrimp to a boil.  Add the shrimp and cook at reduced heat for another three minutes, or until the shrimp are done.  Serve piping hot in bowls, with white rice on the side.

Freni's Super-Duper Company Meat Loaf

1 lb. ultra lean ground beef
3/4 lb. ground pork
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1/2 cup dry quick oats
2 raw eggs
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 teaspoon group black pepper
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

Thoroughly mix all ingredients except the boiled eggs.  In a 9"x13" glass baking dish, form an inch-high strip of mixture, approximately three inches wide and eleven inches long.  Space the three boiled eggs along this strip and cover with the remaining meat.  Pat and smooth to seal in the eggs and to give a uniform appearance.  Bake at 350 degrees  for about 45 minutes. When slightly cooled, slice with a sharp knife.  Many of the resulting pieces will display a slice of hard boiled egg for a colorful and attractive presentation.

My Own (Magdalena Yoder's) Peanut Butter Apple Cake

1/4 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup chunk style applesauce
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Cream together the butter, sugar, and peanut butter.  Beat in the egg.  Stir in the applesauce.  Sift the remaining dry ingredients together and slowly stir them into the batter. Mix well.  Liberally grease and flour and 8" square pan.  Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 350 degrees until done. (about 40-45 minutes) The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool before attempting to remove from the pan.

There are more of the Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery books and my daughter has a few more.  I will, however, attempt to mix this up, as too much of one this may be a bit boring for you, my single digit in number readers.  My next book is called Meshugganary a dictionary/encyclopedia of Yiddish culture and language.  It includes sayings about food and a few kosher recipes knows in the Yiddish communities around the country.  So, until next time..........Enjoy....I look forward to any comments  you may have (so far, you guys have been unusually silent)...and again, if you have any suggestions of books that include recipes, let me know.

'Til the egg rolls,

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hardscrabble Recipes Revisited

Earlier I stated what I intended to do with this blog and started with a book by Laurie Bogart Morrow called 'The Hardscrabble Chronicles'.  I was able to include two recipes before Morpheus claimed me.  I am now back to complete the recipes from this book.  Again, you comments and suggestions are welcome and encouraged.

Miss Frannie's Sherried Beef

3 lbs. stew beef, cut in 1"cubes
1 can sliced or button mushrooms
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
3/4 cup of sherry
2 cans cream of mushroom soup

Brown the stew beef in a little olive oil in a hot (but not spitting hot) frying pan.  Set aside. In a casserole, combine mushrooms in liquor, sherry and the only soup.  Stir well and add the two cans of cream of mushroom soup. Add beef, turn with a wooden spoon until it is well-coated. Bake 3 hours in 325 degree oven. Serve over egg noodles.  (may be made in crock pot and cook on low 3 1/2 to 4 hours).

Tutti-Fruitti Fruit Punch

1 box or small bag of frozen strawberries
1 large can of frozen orange juice
1 large can of pineapple juice, undiluted
1 jar maraschino cherries
1 liter of ginger ale.

The day before, arrange the strawberries in a decorative metal jello mold or ring. Fill 3/4 of the way with water.

Shortly before the company arrives, in a punch bowl, combine the orange juice with the pineapple juice, pouring a little of the pineapple juice at a time until the frozen orange juice is fully defrosted.  Add the liquor from the jar of cherries.  Just as your company begins to arrive, add the ginger ale slowly.  Stir gently so that the punch does not froth.  Add cherries, remove strawberry ice from the mold by topping it with a plate, turning it upside down and running it under hot water in the kitchen sink until the ice mold give.  Float it on top of the punch for a festive holiday or summertime drink that is popular the whole year long.

Venison Mincemeat for Pie

9 cups of ground venison
18 cups of apples, cored, and ground with the peel
4 1/2 cups of molasses
9 cups of granulated sugar
3 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons of cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
3 teaspoons of nutmeg
4 1/2 cups of cider vinegar
1 cup white raisins

In a large pot, brown venison thoroughly and drain fat.  Add apples and rest of the ingredients, and turn with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.  Cook until apples are tender but not too soft.  If the mixture becomes too dry, add a little water.  Cool.  Prepare pie crust and bake, as usual.  If you are not using the mixture immediately, store in airtight containers for up to two days or freeze in freezer bags, bring certain to collapse the bags of all air.

Hardscrabble Dinner Rolls

1 cup warm milk
2 pkgs. or 2 tablespoons yeast, dissolved in the milk with 2 tablespoons sugar sprinkled on top to activate the yeast.  Allow to proof in a warm, draft-free place, about 10 minutes. (Don't leave too long or the yeast will crust.  If this happens, mix gently with a for to be sure it will proof again)
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of melted butter
2 1/2 cups of flour

Preheat the oven to 350. After the yeast proofs, add salt, butter and slowly add the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon  until it becomes stiff.  Then, knead until the dough is smooth and firm. Put in a warm, draft free place for 45 minutes or until it doubles in bulk.  Pull apart dough, about the size of a ping pong ball, and twist into the shape of a Parker House roll.  Set 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet, allow to rise again, about 15 minutes.  Bake 10 minutes.  For a golden crust, brush a little butter on the top of the rolls when they're done, turn off the oven and let them sit for another minute making sure they do not over brown. Or, separate a yolk from the white of an egg and beat a little water into the yolk until smooth.  Use this to brush on the top of the roll.  Brush the batter in layers of thin coatings, allowing a little time between each layer so that the batter doesn't puddle and soften the top of the roll.  Serve immediately.

Hardscrabble Corn Pudding Bread

1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 can creamed corn
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 425. Sift dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl, mix eggs, sour cream, creamed corn, and melted butter until the mixture is creamy.  Slowly pour this into the dry ingredients and mix well with a wire whisk or on low speed in a Mixmaster until the batter again is smooth.  Pour slowly into a large buttered  Pyrex baking pan. Reduce the oven to 350. Bring the pan to the oven, very slowly, pour the cup of milk right down the middle of the pan.  DO NOT MIX. Carefully put the pan in the oven. Bake approximately 35 minutes or until done.  Done is when the milk forms a pudding and the bread is moist.  This must be served hot.

New England Boiled Dinner the Hardscrabble Way

1/2 lb. salt pork, cut into cubes
1 3 lb. piece of corned beef
1 pkg. dry onion soup
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dry English mustard
8 medium sized potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 large onions, quartered and separated
1 head green cabbage, quartered
3-4 parsnips, peeled and diced coarse
1 turnip, peeled and cubed
4-6 carrots, peeled and diced coarse
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Cut vegetables as suggested. On medium high heat, brown the cubed salt pork in the pot and turn frequently with a wooden spoon until the fat is transparent.  Add corned beef, turn and brown the outside.  Then add the dry onion soup and continue to turn with the wooden spoon, coating the meat.  Add vinegar, stir, and then add the mustard.  Stir again.  Gradually add the vegetables, turning them so that everything is well mixed.  Fill the pot with water, covering the stew right up to the top, add the bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer at least four hours at a gently rolling boil.  Once the water has boiled down to half, add only enough to maintain this level.  Turn the stew every so often so that all the vegetables cook thoroughly.

The author's take on pies is that it is 'okay' to buy pre-made pies of pumpkin, mincemeat, blueberry and cherry, but apple MUST be made yourself.  She has a recipe included for 'Grandma Bogart's Apple Pie' and it is a serviceable recipe.  She also indicates that most households have their own recipe for apple pie that should be used.

Again, the author indicates that there are hundreds of recipes for soup, but indicates that the most delicious is Hardscrabble Soup, called by the Old Timers as 'Whatchagot Soup'.  As the name implies, its ingredients include whatever can be found in the pantry or refrigerator and made by cleaning out the aforementioned.

These are the recipes found at the end of this book, and are ones mentioned throughout the narrative.  Try them as you will, I would love to hear what you think of them.  Often one reads a story and an item is mentioned and we say to ourselves 'I wonder what this would taste like'...With the books I intend to feature, we can.   Next up: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Crime.