The winter solstice is upon us! The days are already a tad longer, and just that little bit of time in a day is renewing for the spirit. Hard thaws, little food and frosty conditions were part of our heritage. Those who came before us were hearty, strong people who survived. They would be sad to see so many of us dependent on a diet of processed food filled with preservatives.
Living in a rural setting holds food traditions far better intact than in urban settings. Those who do not have that lifestyle must become so wary and self-educated. If we didn't have massive malls and huge urban sprawl selling millions of things we really don't need, that former farmland could be turned back into local farmland supporting individual communities with homegrown healthy foods and other good lifestyle endeavors.
Pumpkin and Corn
1 can creamed corn
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup crushed chestnuts or walnuts
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Heat the pumpkin and corn in a small saucepan on low heat; stir to blend. Add nuts and syrup. This is especially good with a roast meat of any sort.
Good Green Beans
2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and strung
1/2 cup scallions, sliced thin, include greens
1 cup walnuts, chopped (not too fine)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon adobo powder
Cook beans in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, until bright green. Drain off the water and add the butter, oil, scallions, walnuts and adobo powder. Stir and heat.
*Note: You can substitute almost any seasoning instead of adobo; salt and pepper is fine.
1 pound chicken tenders, cut lengthwise in thin strips
1 tablespoon corn oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 cup salsa
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup olives with pimento, chopped
4 large flour tortillas
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Remove to a plate, add onion and cook until almost caramelized, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin and chili powder, cook 1 minute. Now add salsa, raisins and olives and just heat to boiling. Turn off heat and return chicken to pan. Warm the tortillas in oven or microwave. Spoon the filling down the middle of each tortilla, wrap and serve.
Note: It's good with refried beans and rice, brown or wild.
If you grew a lot of these delicious squash, you may quite a few left, as they keep so well. This simple recipe is one of our favorites and may become yours as well.
1 medium to large butternut, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon corn oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup real maple syrup
1 pinch cayenne
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the squash in pan. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and toss to coat. Bake for 20 minutes. In a separate small measuring cup blend syrup and spices. Pour over the squash and toss to coat. Bake 20 minutes more until tender. Put squash and pan juices into a serving dish.
Potato and Bean Chowder
2 pounds of potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1/3 cup flour
8 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded
1 16-oz. can chicken or vegetable broth
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon each: basil and oregano
1 15-oz can navy beans, drained, rinsed
1 tablespoon hot sauce (optional)
Bring broth to a boil. Add potatoes and reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, toss together flour and cheese. Slowly stir in milk, basil and oregano. Add this to potatoes. Cook and stir over medium to low heat until it thickens and becomes bubbly. Now stir in beans, and add hot sauce (if desired).
Notes and Tips
-- If you need to sweeten a vegetable dish just slightly, sprinkle with a few raisins or cut-up dried apricots. I found out too late that apples were called for in a recipe, so I substituted applesauce and some golden raisins, and it worked perfectly.
-- New research reports that the aroma of green apples offered to people with migraines reduces the severity of the pain. The theory is that the aroma of apples is associated with pleasant, happy thoughts and this might relax the muscle contractions around the brain that cause the pain.