Native Cooking

(Readers should note that some of the ingredients in the following recipes could cause severe allergic reactions in susceptible people.)

This has been a bad year with drought in many parts of the country. That is true here in the Northeast as well. Some trees are turning colors early, or dropping their leaves to say they are thirsty. I was walking about our land and thinking of ways to use the things not in the garden. There are marigolds and four different varieties of goldenrod to play with. Bee Balm, comfrey, mints and other teas. Purslane and plantain, watercress, nuts, nasturtiums, rose hips, yucca, staghorn sumac and very soon, tons of chestnuts. The chestnuts are a story in themselves.

Once I was asked to bring a bread to a friend's for a very special dinner. I decided to make a colorful goldenrod bread. It was actually an experiment. Usually, I would have put in some edible marigold flowers chopped fine), but I didn't have any that year. Certainly had plenty of goldenrod though. The result was a pleasing color, although not quite as yellow as I had hoped. Didn't matter, it tasted good.

Goldenrod-Honey Bread
Dry Ingredients:
6 cups whole-wheat flour
6 cups white flour
1 cup goldenrod flowers
1 tablespoon salt
1-3/4 cups instant dry milk
2 tablespoons yeast
Mix all the above together
Wet Ingredients:
3 cups warm water
3/4 cup honey (dissolve completely in the water)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Mix the wet ingredients together

Honey Butter:
1 cup sweet butter
1/2 cup honey

Now add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and blend with a wooden spoon. This dough should be stirred a little every l5 minutes or so for an hour. Now knead the bread until it becomes elastic. Form two large loaves and allow them to rise for an hour. Bake them at 400 degrees for ten minutes. Reduce the heat right away to 350 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes longer. Serve warm with Honey Butter.

Goldenrod ? Watercress Soup
4 cups of chicken broth (or, broth from any fowl, wild or domestic)
1 large bunch of scallions, sliced very fine (use green, too)
1 bunch of watercress, finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cup of goldenrod flowers, peeled from their stems
1 or more cups cubed, cooked chicken (pheasant, duck, etc.)

At this point, you can add small cut-up potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, rice or barley, if desired. The goldenrod has a slightly licorice taste and watercress can be peppery. These are subtle flavors though.

One little sentence inspired me to write this recipe. "If carrots are so good for the eyes, how come we see so many dead rabbits on the highway?" Good question. Not everyone likes rabbit, but I found it interesting that people, in general mind you, either like rabbit or lamb. It seems to be rare that those people like both. Read recipe through first!

Madegwas (Rabbit)

Pot Pie

Put a clean, cut-up rabbit in a soup pot Add little salt, a stalk of celery, a large onion, some black pepper, a bay leaf and some parsley. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until rabbit meat is tender and comes off the bone easily. Drain and save about 1 cup of the liquid. Debone the meat as soon as it is cool enough to handle and put this meat aside.

Now cut up 1 medium onion, dice 4 medium carrots, and add 3 cut-up medium potatoes and 2 cups of green peas. You can

substitute a half bag or more of frozen mixed vegetables.)

Thicken the rabbit liquid with about 2 tablespoons of flour and the same amount of milk. Put the meat in a pie pan and the vegetables on top. Pour the thickened liquid over all.

Place an unbaked pastry crust over the top. Gash to vent and bake at 425 degrees until crust is brown and pot pie is cooked through, about 35 minutes.

Peanut Pie
1/2 in a plastic bag and beat with a wooden mallet)
2 eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup light corn syrup
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat the eggs in a medium-size bowl and add melted butter, corn syrup, sugar and flour, mixing well. Blend in the crushed peanuts and pour into the unbaked piecrust. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. (The filling will puff up and then settle.) Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Usually, my friends, I never give you a recipe for something I wouldn't like myself, or something I have never tried to make for my family or myself. I must tell you, I have never made the peanut pie. I have, however, made peanut butter cookies, which I absolutely love and the pie sounded very similar in taste and ingredients. Hope you try it and like it. If you do, please let me know.

Notes & Tips:

oIf you have a freezer, or one you can use, it's good to save money by "batch" cooking. It saves time down the line, too. When I make Pumpkin Bread, for example, I make about four at a time in the long thin loaf pans. It is one of those rare things that actually improve after being frozen.

Pasta meals such as lasagna or manicotti are also good "batch" meals. It is especially good to have one in the freezer when you get unexpected company.

oAn open box of baking soda keeps odors under control in the refrigerator for up to two months. Don't have any? Use an empty coffee can filled with charcoal or dried coffee grounds. (Punch some holes in the can for air to pass through.)

oIf your power goes out during this hurricane season, it's best to keep the refrigerator door closed, but if it's out for more than a few hours, put as much as you can in an ice chest or cooler.

oI've been getting some really great wisdom and silly e-mails lately. Most are just there, not attributed to anyone in particular. I will put the name after if it's given.

oIt's true that if just one person says to you, "You've made my day!" It makes your day too.

oIt is more important to be kind than to be right.

oOpportunities are never lost; someone will always take the ones you missed.

oWho knew that ...

All polar bears are left-handed?

An ostrich's eye is bigger than it's brain? (Gee, I know a couple of ostrich-like people!)

They say you can lead a cow upstairs ... but not downstairs? (I'd really like to know how someone tested that statement!)