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Native Cooking

I have pictures to prove it. We have corn stalks that are 15 feet high! No
kidding. We ordered seed from a seed company in the Midwest. It is an
open-pollinated, non-hybrid flint corn, much like the variety planted by
the Mohawk. It is still growing, so I can't expound on the taste yet, but
if it keeps growing like this I'll have to call the local newspapers!

Mohawk Corn

Saute 2 cups of whole kernel corn in 3 tablespoons butter. Add 1/2 cup of
black walnuts and 1/2 teaspoon black walnut flavoring. Heat and serve.

Popcorn

The first popcorn was probably discovered by accident. A stray kernel may
have fallen into some hot bear fat or fish oil. The Iroquois are credited
with elaborating on this "popcorn" by pouring hot maple syrup over it. A
man who tasted this treat told his friends it was "crackerjack."

Heat about 1/3 cup of oil and test by throwing in 1 kernel. Add 2/3 cup of
white popcorn. After popping add: 1/4 cup melted sweet butter. Season with
herbed salt or sea salt.

Variation: Experiment with different oils like safflower, sesame, corn,
coconut or walnut.

Cornbread Casserole

2 large onions, chopped

6 tablespoons butter (or substitute)

2 eggs

2 tablespoons milk

2 17-oz cans cream-style corn

1 pound package cornmeal muffin mix

1 cup sour cream

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease or spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Saute the onions in butter or substitute until golden. Set aside. In a
medium bowl, mix together the eggs and milk, add muffin mix and blend all
together well. Spread this batter in the baking dish. Spoon the onion over
the top, then the sour cream over the onion. Sprinkle with cheese and bake
for 35 minutes or until puffed and golden. Let stand for about 10 minutes
before cutting into squares. May be refrigerated, or frozen and reheated.

Native to South America, tomatoes are the fruit (yes, fruit) of a vine in
the deadly nightshade family. The first tomatoes introduced to Europe by
the Spaniards were yellow. These were soon introduced in Italy where they
became the rage. Their Italian name Pomo d'oro means golden apple. Tomatoes
had been cultivated for centuries before the Spanish came to the Americas.
Once cultivated, many varieties were developed and widely grown. It is
believed that tomatoes first appeared as weeds in cornfields. The English
name tomato is from the Aztec xtomate or xtomatle.

Fried Red Comatoes with Sage

5 large ripe tomatoes

1/4 cup yellow corn meal

1/4 cup white cornmeal

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 tablespoon crushed sage leaves

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Cut the tomatoes in 1/2-inch slices and dip into melted butter on both
sides. Mix cornmeals, cheese, sage, cumin, salt and pepper. Coat each side
of the tomato slices with this mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and saute 1 clove of garlic. Add
some of the tomato slices to the pan and saute for 3 or 4 minutes until
brown. Turn carefully and saute the other side.

Repeat until all the slices are done. (This side dish is especially good
with pork or other grilled meat).

Tomato Salad

3 or 4 fresh beefsteak tomatoes

1 small onion minced, or two scallions with tops, minced

1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons good olive oil

1 teaspoon parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup of pine nuts

Slice the tomatoes into thick rounds and place on a serving dish. Sprinkle
with minced onion and basil. Now, using a small, non-reactive bowl, combine
the next five ingredients. Whisk to emulsify into a dressing. Drizzle this
dressing over the tomatoes, sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

Notes and Tips:

Tomatoes contain two strong cancer-fighting compounds, coumaric acid and
chlorogenic acid. These compounds help block harmful nitrosamines which are
cancer causing. Coumaric and chlorogenic acids are also found in green
peppers, strawberries, carrots as well as other fruits and vegetables.
Tomatoes also have a healthy amount of vitamin C and lycopene, an
antioxident.

If you have an abundant tomato crop, consider drying tomatoes for winter
use, make sauce and freeze it. Use them up in recipes that require many
tomatoes, like Gazpacho.

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.