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Native Cooking

Recession? What recession? Something new? I don;t think so. In Indian country, we have always lived on this edge and will probably continue to do so; not such a big deal, eh? It must be time for the fat cats to get real. What goes around comes around - enough said.

I'm just happy we have some warm spring in the air and that we are able to take advantage of it. Just walking outside and sniffing about, seeing what's coming up in the woods and the field, makes me happy. Having just enough is better than having too much or too little. Knowing when you have enough and are able to share it, is wisdom.

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Squash Blossom Quesadillas

8 flour tortillas

2 cups grated cheese (Monterey Jack or Cheddar)

1 cup chopped squash blossoms

1 cup chopped peppers (jalapeno or other hot variety)

1/2 cup chopped onions or scallion

Use about 1/2 cup of cheese and 1/4 cup squash blossoms and peppers per tortilla, and sprinkle a little of the chopped onion on each of 4 tortillas. Top with remaining 4 tortillas and fry in vegetable oil until golden, turn over carefully once and do other side until golden, about 2 - 3 minutes per side.

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Baked Lima Beans

2 10-oz. packages of frozen lima beans

1-1/2 cups crushed Ritz crackers

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup low-fat sour cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1/2 stick butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place beans in a 2-quart

baking dish. Combine the brown sugar, sour cream, mustard and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl and stir into the beans. Melt butter and combine with cracker crumbs. Sprinkle over beans evenly and bake for 45 minutes, uncovered. (This is a nice side dish with pork and sweet potatoes.)

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Frog Legs

Harvest your own frogs, order from select butcher shops or get them by mail order. However you procure them, check local and state laws, as they are considered an endangered species in many areas. 12 frog legs 1-1/2 cups lemon juice 1 cup vegetable oil 2 eggs, beaten 1 cup flour 1 cup cornmeal Pinch of each: cumin, cayenne and salt Marinate the frog legs in a nonreactive bowl (glass or ceramic) in lemon juice for 2 hours. Beat the eggs in a pie plate and the flour in a separate plate or shallow bowl. Mix together the cornmeal and seasonings in a third pie plate or shallow bowl. Heat the vegetable oil over medium to high heat, but don't let it smoke. Roll the legs first in the flour, then in the eggs, then in the cornmeal mixture. Shake off excess flour or cornmeal. Cook in the hot oil 12 - 15 minutes per side, less if they are very small. Turn frequently until golden. Drain on paper towels. ***Cornmeal Mush with Wild Mushrooms and Onions 1-1/4 cups chicken stock 1 cup milk 1 cup cornmeal Salt and pepper to taste 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil or butter 1 cup assorted onions (yellow, white, Vidalia, leeks, shallots) 1 cup sliced assorted wild mushrooms (morels, chanterelles, oyster) 3 ounces minced ham Dash cider vinegar 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced 2 tablespoons raisins 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted Pour one cup of stock and milk into a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Slowly add the cornmeal to the boiling liquid, stirring constantly until thick and creamy. (This could take a while.) Heat oil in a large skillet and saute onions for 2 or 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and ham and saute for another 3 - 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of stock, vinegar, rosemary and raisins. Bring to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer until mush is ready - add more stock if necessary. Put in a serving bowl and top with the mushroom and onion mixture and garnish with toasted pecans. Serve hot. ***Berry Good Dessert 1 quart fresh berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries) 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 cup cornmeal 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup milk 2 tablespoons melted butter Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place berries in a baking dish. Mix cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Add milk and melted butter to the mixture. Drop this batter by tablespoons on top of the berries. It will expand to cover as it bakes. Bake for 1 hour and serve plain or with whipped cream. ***Notes and Tips *Pears and Cheddar or apples and Cheddar make for a healthy after-school snack that will hold off kids' hunger until dinnertime. *Save foil you have used for baking. It can be re-used for scraps while preparing other dishes. Save on paper towels that were used to wipe up wetness. It can be used again when dry for plate scraping.