Friday, February 3, 2012

Institute For Advanced Computing

The Denizens of the Institute ate pizza with a knife and fork
When I began the novel, The Shadow Warriors, I knew I wanted Goettingen to be a big part of the book, and I knew technology was a huge part of the story.  My in-laws lived in Goettingen on the Prinzenstrasse on the 4th floor of an office building.  I went through the phone book to make sure there was not already a computer institute.  Whew!  There was not.  I came up with the name "Institute for Advanced Computing" and created Dr. Mittelstadt, Jacob Loose, Marcus, Christof, Marlies and Verena.  All the folks who worked there.

Did you catch my beginning author boo-boo.  Marcus and Marlies.  Never have character names that are too similiar.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Recipes from the Shadow Warriors

The Shadow Warriors is certainly NOT a cozy mystery, so why are there recipes?  Because, that's why, and here they are for your delectation.  Emma is the protagonist, the heroine if you will, although sometimes she is very unheroic.

Emma bought a well-thumbed copy of Elizabeth Schuler’s German Cookery at a rummage sale in Wisconsin, and hoped the recipe she found in it was as tasty as Frau Eisenach’s.  Pflaumenkuchen. Since Emma thought it was, she wanted to share that recipe and a couple of others with you.]

Plum Tart
1 recipe sweet mellow dough (see below)
2 lbs. Prune plums (sometimes called Italian prune plums)
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup chopped almonds.
Prepare dough (see following recipe) and line a greased cake tin with it (Emma used a 10 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom). Pit the plums and arrange in a circle on the dough. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and almonds. Bake in a fairly hot (375º) oven for 30 minutes.

Mellow Dough, Sweet

2 cups flour
1 stick (¼ lb.) butter
½ cup sugar
1 egg
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. Baking powder
Mix all ingredients and, on a breadboard, knead to a supple dough. Roll out (Emma spreads it right into the pan with her fingers) and line a tart pan. Due to high butter content, chill a bit before baking.

Frau Eisenach finds a better selection of smoked meats in the Göttingen markets than Emma finds Stateside. Frau Eisenach’s recipe for Kassler calls for a smoked pork rib roast; however, Emma feels fortunate when she can find smoked pork chops. When she does, she makes--

Kassler Rippenspeer.
4 –6 smoked pork chops
1 onion, chopped 
1 tomato, chopped
2 ribs of celery, sliced thin
A half dozen mushrooms (thinly sliced)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Freshly ground pepper
2 T. canola oil or 1 T. oil and 1 T. butter or lard

In a skillet large enough to hold the meat in one layer, brown chops in oil. Remove from pan and add vegetables. Cook and stir until onion is wilted and transparent. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place chops on bed of vegetables and add 1 cup liquid. Emma uses a mixture of dry white whine and beef broth.) Cover and bake for one hour a 325º. Serve with mashed potatoes and a salad.
Like her mother and grandmother before her, Emma seldom cooks straight from a recipe. The quantity of the ingredients can be adjusted according to what’s on hand. A few chopped mushrooms could be added along with the tomatoes to:

Frau Eisenach’s Hoppel-Poppel
For 2 persons:
2-3 slices of bacon cut into ¼ inch pieces
1 small boiled potato, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
¼ onion, minced
4 eggs, beaten with 1 T. water
2 T. chopped chives (fresh are best)
1 T. butter
salt and pepper
½ tomato, seeded and juiced and chopped into ¼ inch dice

Brown the bacon in a heavy skillet. Emma likes the big cast iron skillets her grandmother used. Heavy?  Yes, but hoisting them around the kitchen does tone the arm muscles. Remove the bacon and cook the onion and potato in the remaining fat. When the potato is slightly browned, add the chopped tomato. Cook and stir for a minute or two, then add the butter, eggs and chives. Continue to cook and stir over low heat until the eggs are cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Serve right from the skillet.

Renate Mittelstadt made a delicious fruit salad for Verena’s party at the Ballhaus. When Emma asked why it tasted so special, Renate shared her secret: two tablespoons of Apfel Korn (a mild apple liqueur). Kirshwasser, Apple Jack, Calvados, or even rum can be used as a substitute.

Renate’s Fruit Salad

Use some or all of the fruits listed: 
Peaches (skin removed)
Nectarines (skin removed)
Apples (peeled)
Dried Cranberries (for color in winter)
A little sugar depending on the sourness of the fruit
2 T. Apfel Korn or a substitute
Emma likes to add a few chopped pecans or walnuts. If she feels industrious, she toasts the nuts first. The salad can be made with as few as three fruits. Try to vary the colors. Serve plain or with a dab of whipped cream.


Goulash Soup is found is many restaurants in Germany and Austria. Emma eats it summer and winter, but she’s more likely to cook up a pot in winter. The recipe below serves 3-4, but can be doubled.

Goulash Soup
1 pound boneless sirloin or top round steak
2 T. vegetable oil (Emma likes Canola)
2 cups finely chopped onions
2 t. finely minced garlic
1 red or green pepper, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 boiling potatoes, peeled and diced
1 t. caraway seeds
2 cups fresh or canned red tomatoes
1 T. sweet or hot Hungarian paprika (Emma uses some of both)
1 bay leaf (optional)
Salt and pepper
3 cups beef broth
Sour cream
1. Trim the meet and cut into half-inch cubes
2. Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan. Add meat and brown.
3. Add the onions, garlic, green pepper and carrot. Cook stirring, for a few minutes. Add all the seasonings. Add the tomatoes and potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally for about one hour.
Place a dollop of sour cream on each serving. Serve with a good rye bread and a cucumber salad.

Guten Appetit!