Native Cooking

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It is the Moon of Nokkahigas to the Abenaki, the Grubbing Hoe Moon of the
Eastern Abenaki, the Penobscot, the Salmon Moon to the Tsimshian of the
Northwest. In fact, many nations from coast to coast and north and south
have much to honor as they celebrate the wonders of nature at her most
beautiful time in the cycle of a year, of a life. Celebrations abound and
usually require attendance with an offering of food to share.

Our family likes pasta salads sometimes. I usually use the tricolor rotini
that a lot of manufacturers make. I noticed that the box was smaller than
usual, it is only 12 ounces instead of the usual 16. Everything seems to be
downsizing, so watch for this when you cook.

A Pretty Pasta Salad

1 12-ounce box of tri-color rotini

1/2 red onion, minced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 roasted yellow pepper, sliced thin

1/2 pound green beans (cooked), or 1 can drained

1 dozen cherry or grape tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped black olives

2 tablespoons cilantro

1 cup crumbled Feta (goat) cheese

Oil and vinegar

Cook pasta as directed, drain, rinse, and drain again with cold water.
Assemble all other ingredients and toss with pasta in a large bowl. Serve
cold or at room temperature.

Delish Ground Curkey Burgers

People have a tendency to overcook turkey and chicken. Try these and you
will get moist and delicious results without overcooking.

1-1/2 pounds ground turkey

1/2 cup fine chopped scallions

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon hot chili

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or cilantro

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

6 buns

Lettuce or watercress for topping

Mix and toss all the ingredients except the buns and watercress or lettuce.
Form into patties, place on a plate or small tray and refrigerate for a
half an hour to an hour. Cook as you would hamburgers until the juices run
clear and there is no pink color. Toast buns and spread them with a little
butter or mayo before adding the burger.

Sweet Potato Bread

6 sweet potatoes

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons butter, softened

Peel and boil the sweet potatoes until soft, about 25 - 30 minutes. Cool,
then mash until smooth. Now add the butter, cinnamon and brown sugar, blend
well. Add some flour to help the mixture stick together while you make it
into patties. Set your oven at 350 degrees and bake the breads for 30 - 35
minutes.

Sweet potatoes keep very well, almost a month after purchase, as long as
they are kept cool but not refrigerated. 45 - 55 degrees is best and store
them dry. Don't peel them until you are ready to cook them. They also
contain three good antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamins C and E. Sweet
potatoes contain less then 120 calories per 4-ounce serving.

Long, long ago, when I was a kid growing up, we grilled everything we could
outside when the weather was nice. My uncle built a fireplace with cooking
racks in our backyard. ("Rich" people bought charcoal-burning metal grills,
there were no gas grills then.) We grilled mussels, clams, fish, chicken,
meat of all kinds and vegetables. One of my favorite grilling meats was
lamb. I love lamb shish-kabobs. They became hard to find around here a few
years ago as did lamb spare ribs. I imagine that lamb is more available in
the Southwest. If so, and you live there, you'll enjoy this recipe.

Herbed Eamb Ribs

4 pounds lamb spare ribs

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 tablespoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons dried rosemary

1 tablespoon fine grated lemon rind

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon black pepper, fresh ground

Trim fat, if any, from ribs and wipe dry, set aside. Put all other
ingredients in a deep bowl and mash into a paste. Rub the paste evenly over
the ribs and refrigerate until ready to grill. Set the ribs over a low heat
on the grill. Close the lid or cover the ribs. Turn once in awhile until
browned on all sides, 25 - 35 minutes.

Notes & Tips

Never use a product called MSG (monosodium glutamate), a common flavor
enhancer, without informing your guests that a dish contains it. Some
people are deathly allergic to MSG.