Tag Archives: Cook

Some People Like Peanut butter Pie, Some Don’t

In the South, luscious diet-busting peanut butter pie is the pride of local eateries. Especially the small mom and pop sorts of diners and restaurants.  If you can call Fat Boys Pork Palace a restaurant.  Folks drive over the twisted mountains to savor the peanut butter pie at Fat Boys.  And our favorite little diner, Thomas House, in the nearby town of Dayton makes wonderful pies of all sorts, but peanut butter is the best ever.

However, to my amazement, a good friend of mine, a transplant from the Midwest,  doesn’t adore it.  Won’t even allow a creamy bite passed her lips. How can this be,  I ask myself?  She also doesn’t like the peanut butter cookies with the Hershey’s Kisses in the center either.  Practically my favorite kind.  But she does love peanut butter, so that’s not it.  Go figure.

All of which brings me to my point–yes, I have one.  People vary wildly in their likes and dislikes, which is a factor I need to bear in mind when I get bad reviews. Outlandish as that may seem I sometimes do.  I know, boggles the mind.

No, I can’t give you Fat Boy’s  or Thomas House peanut butter pie recipes because they guard them with their lives.  *My daughter has a T-shirt that says, ‘I pigged out at Fat Boy’s Pork Palace.’

Old Time Recipe for Corn Pudding

I’ve always been a fan of corn pudding, an old fashioned dish and one of the foods my characters would have eaten in my early American historical novels. Corn pudding, corn bread, and corn mush reach well back into America’s history.  This basic recipe is from The Mennonite Community Cookbook.


2 Cups grated Corn (recipe assumes, of course, you grew you own)

*Substitute canned yellow corn (drained)

2 Eggs

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 Tab. Sugar

2 Tabs. Butter

1 Tab. Flour

! cup milk

Mix corn, salt, sugar, pepper, flour and melted butter.  Add beaten eggs and milk. Pour into greased baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Old Time Mennonite Pumpkin Pie Recipe

I found this recipe eons ago in the Mennonite Community Cookbook by Mary Emma Showalter.   This vintage collection is fun to read simply for the colorful descriptions of rural life, back in the day,  and the quaint illustrations.  It’s also a treasure of old-fashioned recipes and useful ‘how tos.’  The by gone age this book hearkens back to is reminiscent of Laura Ingalls Wilder, though some Old Order Mennonites and Amish still live that way.  Maybe back-to-earth homesteaders do as well, although I suspect many of them have computers.  As  for the rest of us, the Mennonite Community Cookbook is entertaining and has many excellent recipes.  However, they weren’t created for the modern time conscious cook.  This is the ‘make it from scratch’ book.

Regarding  pumpkins, my youngest daughter Elise is an avid fan  so every May/June we set out our cherished seedlings and every July/August we fight a mostly losing battle to keep them alive.  But there was a time when every insect in the world didn’t attack our vines and we had enough pumpkins to make our own pie filling.  Wow, what a feeling.  Maybe someday.  Next summer we shall triumph in the garden!  We say that every year.  And we actually believe it.  Hope truly does spring eternal for gardeners.  Either that or we’re incredibly gullible.  I think the wonders of spring lure us to giddy heights.

Onto the recipe.  It assumes you, of course, grew your own pumpkins, but you can substitute canned.  If you do want to grow your own, seed catalogues specify which varieties are best.  These are the medium/small kinds with names like ‘Small sugar,’ not the ones grown for size.  The larger pumpkins produce a watery filling and are grown only for show.   Elise and I are ever in search of good organic methods to thwart vine borers and other pumpkin pests so if you have any tried and true suggestions, please share them.  We found planting radishes in the pumpkin hills and letting these go to seed seemed to help deter insects, as did planting pumpkins in random places where we’ve never grown them before, such as in with the native clematis vine taking over the backyard that we call ‘the beast.’  ‘The Beast cradled our last surviving pumpkin and hid the orange globe from evil doers.

Pumpkin Pie:

1 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups scalded milk

3 eggs, separated

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tab. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp cloves

1 tsp cloves

Pastry for one 9 inch pie crust.


Cook pumpkin and rub through a sieve.

Add beaten egg yolks, sugar, salt, cornstarch, and mix well.

Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.

Pour mixture into unbaked crust.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for 30 minutes.

*I reduced the milk by 1/2 cup.

*I use good sized eggs

*Elise and her prize pumpkin saved by The Beast.

*Three of the best pumpkins for pie making are heirloom varieties: Small Sugar, Connecticut Field and the Cinderella Pumpkin (Rouge Vif D`etampes). This last one is the most beautiful deep orange ribbed pumpkin pictured above.  The smaller ones in the pic are small sugar.

Southern Spicy Gingerbread


We got hit by cold, lashing winds and rain here in the valley this week. The sun is struggling to emerge from behind a veil of gray clouds and the air still nippy this morning.  Which puts me in the mood for comfort food.  With the holidays fast approaching,  gingerbread comes to mind.  This recipe is from an old fashioned cookbook called Charleston Receipts that my mom bought eons ago on a family outing to Charleston.  I love  old Southern recipes, probably because I’m from the South, although I make some modifications to reduce the fat.

Southern Spicy Gingerbread:

2 eggs

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup dark molasses

3/4 cup shortening or 1/2 cup butter (I have used 1/2 cup oil)

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup boiling water

2 tsps baking soda

2 tsps ginger

1 1/2 tsps cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp baking powder

Add beaten egg to sugar, molasses and melted shortening (or butter, or oil) and beat well.

Add dry ingredients which have been mixed, then the boiling water.  Stir well and pour into shallow

greased pan, (sheet cake size or a smaller depending on how tall you want the gingerbread).

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

Serve with lemon sauce or whipped cream.  We use the canned lemon pie filling.

I often make this for my husband’s birthday, but was remiss this year so I owe him one. 🙂

While I’m on the subject of food, I am one of the authors with a recipe in the cookbook put together by The Wild Rose Press.  For a FREE download of the cookbook, go to The Wild Rose Press and look at the upper right hand corner of the home page.  They’re also offering a spiral bound version for sale at:


It’s entitled: 2009 Garden Gourmet


This recipe was shared with me by a dear myspace friend, Patricia Joy. As my garden is currently abundant in yellow summer squash, I was quite pleased to receive this and with how well it turned out.

3 lb. yellow squash
2 T. butter
1 small onion
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup cracker crumbs
1/2 stick margarine, melted
Generous sprinkling of nutmeg (“do not omit”) recipe book says!

Wash and cut squash into small pieces, cook w/onion in salt water until tender. (do not overcook) Drain well. Add salt, pepper, butter and nutmeg. Combine milk, beaten eggs, cheese and margarine. Mix well with squash. Spoon into shallow casserole. Top with cracker crumbs sautéed in butter or dot with butter.
Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

*I substituted 1/2 cup Smart Balance Omega Oil for the margarine.
*I sautéed grated squash and chopped onion together instead of boiling.
*I used a lot of squash so had to bake longer.
*I mixed some of the cracker crumbs into the casserole itself to add flavor and soak up some of the extra liquid. If you use as much squash as I did, an extra egg might help thicken the mixture as well.

Mongiello’s Famous Italian Cheesecake

Contributed by Author Mary Ricksen~

My grandfather came over from Italy, as they called it, “on the boat”. And with my grandfather came dozens of the finest recipes ever. Here is a family favorite.

2 eight ounce packages of cream cheese
l lb. Ricotta
l pt. sour cream
l small package marscapone cheese (optional) depends how Italian you are, but it comes out just fine with or without it.
4 large eggs
1/4 lb. melted butter
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla (the real stuff)
3 tbsp. of flour and 3 tbsp. of cornstarch mixed
1 1/2 cups of sugar

Blend the cream cheese with the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, add the melted butter, beat again. Add the lemon juice and the ricotta and beat again.
Add eggs one at a time and beat well, real well. Add the vanilla and the flour/cornstarch mixture and beat at least five minutes. Add sour cream and beat again till smooth and creamy. Bake at 325 degrees in a large size springform pan lined with the graham cracker lining listed below. Bake for one hour, do not open the oven. Then turn off the oven and let it sit for two more hours in the off oven. Chill, put strawberries on top, whatever you like, or just put a dab of whipped cream. Everyone in our family has their preference. One sister likes blueberries, all six of us used to fight over what was put on top. My mother was a very patient woman.

Graham cracker lining
melt three tbsp. of butter and put in the bottom of the springform pan. Add three quarters of a cup of graham cracker crumbs, mix and spread over the bottom of the pan. Press to even our.

Then eat the very best cheesecake you have ever, ever had. You like cheesecake? Trust me this is cheesecake heaven. It makes a lot of cake and it gets even better as it sits. Your friends and family will be begging you for the recipe. Even if they are not Pizons. (I hope I spelled pizons right, but if you are Italian you will get it). Eat, Mangia. By the way Mongiello in Italian means they eat, and boy did our family eat!