Gloria Yoder is a very natural cook and baker. That was one of the first things I was struck by when first visiting her home several years ago. One just had to glance outside her window to see a bountiful garden bursting with fresh veggies that only had to travel 100 feet to her kitchen.
There are green beans: chewy, rubbery, watery Jolly Green Giant in a can beans, and then there are GREEN beans, fresh, full of flavor and straight from the garden. I’m not a huge fan of the former, but salivate at the all too rare latter. I enjoyed some awesome green beans while first visiting Gloria's home a couple of years ago. Gloria prefers Roma or Jade green beans. And she has some fond memories from her youth, of when she and her sisters would can about 85 quarts a year. “We sat on the ground in a circle and each had a pile of beans in our lap, tossing them into a large bowl in the center,” she recalled. “To make time go faster and keep the motivation level higher, we played guessing games, sang, or raced as we worked.”
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 pounds green beans
- 1 /2 pound bacon, cooked to desired crispness and cut in small pieces
- Salt and black pepper
- Seasoning salt
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook until browned.
- Add the green beans to the butter, and stir to coat.
- Continue heating until the green beans are steaming hot.
- Add the cooked bacon, along with the salt, pepper, and seasoning salt, and serve.
The other fond food memory I take from our visit was homemade ice cream. My first journey to the Yoder homestead was on a blistering hot July day when the farmland of southern Illinois practically baked in the sun. Which made the idea of some fresh, homemade strawberry ice cream even more appealing.
This is where “Schlick and Quick Strawberry Ice Cream” comes in. Shlick is a Pennsylvania Dutch term for “simple” or “easy,” and this refreshing dessert is an amazing antidote to the heat (which has been largely absent this summer, but not that first summer I visited!). This unpreserved homemade ice cream will melt faster than commercially bought brands and does not require an ice cream maker—just stir and freeze . This recipe calls for a product called Clear-Jel, which acts as a thickening agent. Clear-Jel can be purchased in most bulk food and baking stores. It is a very popular baking and canning ingredient among Amish cooks, but cornstarch could be used in a pinch. I like this recipe because you just dump, mix, and plop it in the freezer. Wow, this was a delicious ice cream! Stay tuned for more yummy recipes from Gloria's kitchen in the weeks ahead and in the weekly Amish Cook column.
- SHLICK AND QUICK STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM
- Serves 6
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup instant Clear Jel
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 quart frozen, chopped strawberries
- 3 cups of whole milk
- Stir the sugars, Clear Jel, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the cream, and stir vigorously.
- Add vanilla, strawberries, and milk and mix well.
- Transfer to a freezer safe container, seal tightly, and freeze until firm.