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Native Cooking

Have you been monitoring your garden? In times past, scaffolds were erected
to hold a "watcher of the garden." It looks like an elevated tent with
sunshade. The watcher would sing and make noises to scare away any
predators like crows, for example. This is probably where the word
"scarecrow" was derived.

I have made a couple of scarecrows over the years. I use one of those
Styrofoam heads used to hold wigs. Then I cover it with black cloth or old
pantyhose and stick some hair on it. A horsetail works great. Then an old
ratty bright colored shirt and old, used up jeans complete the ensemble. I
fill the shirt and jeans with those plastic bags from the grocery (at least
they are good for something that doesn't ruin the environment). After
fussing with it, trying to make a shape that will stay together, it gets
attached to a fencepost. It really seems to work. I know of people who
leave radios on loudly to fool the pests, however, this seems like a waste
of other resources. If any of you have a good scarecrow idea, and would
like to share it with others, please write to me.

Potato Ranch

4 large baked potatoes, chilled

1 cup ranch dressing

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley or

1 teaspoon fresh, minced

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice the cold potatoes lengthwise into
spears. Put all the other ingredients in a large bowl, blend together. Toss
the potatoes in this mixture and place them on a lightly greased cookie
sheet. Bake for 20 -- 25 minutes.

Potato Salad

8 medium new (or other thin skinned) potatoes

1 medium onion, chopped very fine

1 hard boiled egg, chopped fine

1/2 stalk celery, chopped fine

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream (low fat mayonnaise and sour cream will work)

1/4 cup oil and vinegar or bottled dressing of your choice

Cook the potatoes just until they are fork tender, but not mushy. Cool to
room temperature. Add the oil and vinegar dressing first to the potatoes,
then all the other ingredients. Toss to completely coat each piece, then
cover and put in the fridge until ready to serve.

Corn Pudding

2 eggs

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2 cups creamed corn

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 14-1/2 ounce can evaporated milk

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Using a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs
with a whisk. Slowly beat in the flour, salt and pepper. Then add the corn,
butter, and milk, blend well. Pour the batter into a 1-1/2 quart buttered
casserole. Then place the casserole in the oven in a bainmarie. (Make this
by putting the casserole in a larger baking pan and fill the baking pan
with hot water about half way up the outsides of the casserole. Bake for 75
minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Beans -- Beans -- Beans

Mash two cans of pinto beans and fry them up in a little oil in an iron
skillet long and slow, until they almost have a crust. Put on or in warm
tortillas, top with a little cheese and chopped scallion. Voila! Yumminess.

Peppers and Squash

2-3 large yellow squash, slice in 1/4-inch rounds

2 green or red bell peppers, cut in 1-inch stripes

2 tomatoes, cut in 1/4-inch slices

5 scallions, green and white parts, cut in 1/4 inch pieces

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dill weed

1/2 teaspoon red hot pepper seeds

1 tablespoon butter

2 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first nine ingredients in a large
roasting pan or baking dish. Dot with butter and sprinkle with bacon. Cover
the pan lightly with aluminum foil. Bake in the center of the oven for 30
to 40 minutes. For an extra crunchy top, sprinkle with a cup or less of
dried stuffing.

Notes & Tips

When you buy bacon (especially the thick kind), bake it all on a rack on a
jelly roll pan at 350 -- 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. It may need more
or less time, so check often. The grease drops into the pan and the bacon
comes out flat, not curly. Let it cool, then place on paper towels and
separate layers with waxed paper and freeze. Just grab a couple of slabs
and heat up, it doesn't take as long as frying, plus the fat has been
drained off.

Daffynitions:

"Avoidable" -- What a bullfighter tries to do.

"Polarize" -- What penguins see with.

"Relief" -- What trees do in the spring.