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Native Cooking

This column should probably be called "Native Americans Cook" because that
is just what we do, be it in a primitive rural fashion or in an urban,
state-of-the art modern setting and everything in between. Cooking is an
activity that can take minutes or hours. Sometimes you just want to get it
over with quickly and clean up. Other times, you might want to dawdle and
contemplate any number of things, including experimenting.

Whether you do one or the other, the most important aspect is to enjoy what
you're doing. If you cannot afford the time it takes to compose and prepare
a meal for yourself or family, at least take a few minutes to plan ahead. I
must admit that the first thing I do in the morning is say to myself "what
are we going to have for dinner?" This way, I can get anything I need out
of the freezer, the cupboard or the garden before getting on with my day.

Unique Salad

3 Granny Smith apples, cored, diced to 1/2-inch

1 pound red potatoes, cooked, chilled and sliced thin

1-1/2 cups frozen peas

1-1/2 cups frozen yogurt

2 teaspoons horseradish

2 teaspoons fresh mint

1/2 teaspoon salt

Lettuce

Combine the apples, potatoes and peas in a medium bowl, set aside. Combine
yogurt, horseradish, mint and salt in a small bowl, mixing well. Pour this
over the apple mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least two
hours. Serve on a platter lined with lettuce.

Chicory Salad

2 cups of young Chicory leaves

1 bunch of watercress, chopped

2 cups of fresh beets, chopped

Dressing:

2 tablespoons extra light olive oil

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 scallion, sliced very thin

Combine chicory, watercress and beets in a bowl. Combine dressing
ingredients in a separate jar or container and pour over vegetables. Chill
all for one-half hour then serve.

Succotash Salsa

1 cup fresh corn kernels

1 cup frozen baby Lima beans, thawed

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red Bell pepper, finely diced

1 yellow Bell pepper, finely diced

1 Jalapeno, (or more) finely diced

1/4 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons good olive oil

Salt and fresh-ground black pepper

Mix all together in a bowl, season with salt and pepper. Let sit at least
30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.

Chicory is beginning to appear along roadsides in our area. That means the
wild blue flowers and their basal leaves can be found in cleaner places
along the edge of meadows. Chicory is known for its roots which can be a
stand-in for coffee when camping. The roots can also be utilized and eaten
like parsnips.

Root Stew

4 large Chickory roots

2 Jerusalem artichokes

2 medium potatoes

1 sweet potato

1 large carrot

1 small turnip

1 teaspoon herbal seasoning like Beau Monde, Spike or Mrs. Dash

Wash all the vegetables very well. Cut all into 1/2-inch pieces. Barely
cover with cold water in a saucepot. Bring heat to simmer, cover and cook
until all the vegetables are tender. Now pour off any remaining water and
serve with seasoning sprinkled on top.

Summer Casserole

2 pounds summer squash (green or yellow or both)

1/2 cup fine chopped onion

1 can cream of celery soup

1/2 cup low-fat or regular sour cream

1 cup thick-grated carrot

1 cup butter, melted

1 8-oz. package herbed stuffing mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the squash and onion together for 5
minutes, then drain. Mix the soup and sour cream together and stir in the
carrots. Add this to the squash in a casserole baking dish. Combine the
melted butter and stuffing. Put in a layer of squash, cover with stuffing
mixtures. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. This is a good recipe to
personalize with other herbs, cheeses, a little bacon, a different cream
soup, etc.

Notes & Tips:

Apply soap to get instant relief from mosquito bites.

I hope you never need this hint, but peroxide on a cloth gets blood stains
off clothes.

To hard-boil eggs take four eggs and place gently in a large saucepan.
Cover with water and bring to a boil for 12 - 14 minutes. Add one minute
for every two additional eggs. Take eggs out of the boiling water and
immerse in ice water immediately. Leave the eggs in the cold water until
cooled. Then peel and eat or refrigerate until you need them.

I want to thank all of you who have sent in suggestions and ideas to
NativeCooking@aol.com. I am always learning things. Please let me know what
YOU want to see for recipes in this column.

Dale Carson is the author of three books, "New Native American Cooking,"
(temporarily out of print) "Native New England Cooking" and "A Dreamcatcher
Book."

For ordering information write to Dale Carson, P.O. Box 13, Madison, CT
06443 or e-mail NativeCooking@aol.com.