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,


  1. The PA Dutch Mysteries series sounds really interesting--and these recipes look delicious! Gonna try the PB apple cake tonight or tomorrow. Thanks, Ginny!

  2. This makes me want to come up and eat in Amish country! I love shoo fly pie!!