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Native Cooking

Just a minute ago it was the beginning of summer and it was going to last
forever. Guess not, it's winding down nicely though. We still have some
time before frost here in the northeast. A few weeks ago, I mentioned our
15-foot corn grown from non-hybrid flint seed was not ready yet. It is now.

It is definitely flint corn and not really that good to eat. We simply
could not waste it so we have been picking it, cooking it and scraping off
the kernels. Then drying it on a flat jellyroll pan at a very low
temperature, about 200 degrees for about an hour or more, until it is dry.
(It is easy to put in a turned-off oven after you cook something else. This
way you don't have to use any energy or dry it in the sun.) Then we store
it for winter use, so we can use it in many ways. We can even grind the
corn into meal. I've been going through my recipe files for corn-related
ideas. While doing this, I have found a few other simply delicious recipes
you might want to try.

Artichoke-Cheese Dip

This recipe has become a staple at our house for the holidays. You can
compose the dip a day ahead, refrigerate, then bake at 350 degrees for 25
minutes. Stir once after 10 minutes.

5 slices of pre-cooked bacon

1 can artichoke hearts (14-oz.), drained, chopped

1/2 cup Gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, fresh grated

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with
cooking spray. Chop three slices of the bacon, reserve the other two slices
for garnish. Put the bacon in a medium bowl and add the rest of
ingredients, mixing well. Spread in the pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes,
stir, then bake 15 minutes more. Chop the reserved bacon and sprinkle on
top of hot dip. Serve this warm with crackers or little pieces of toast.

A 2 tablespoon serving has 105 calories and 20 mg cholesterol.

Sweet & Sour Green Beans

4 cups fresh green beans, cooked

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup sugar or substitute

1/2 cup bacon grease

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a layer of cooked beans in a flat baking
pan, then a layer of onion, then beans. Make a sauce of the vinegar, sugar
and grease and pour this over the bean and onion layers. Bake uncovered for
30 minutes.

Potato Dumplings

These dumplings are great with meat. I cook them on beef or buffalo stew
for the last 15 to 20 minutes of cooking. Be sure to cover.

6 large potatoes, peeled, cooked until soft

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon marjoram

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

2 tablespoons melted butter or substitute

4 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon salt

Mash the potatoes in a large bowl, add salt, spices, flour, crumbs, butter
and eggs. Beat thoroughly. Drop by large tablespoons onto simmering meat
and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.

Fresh Corn Delight

6 ears of fresh-picked corn

1 large green pepper

1 large red pepper

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup corn oil

Husk the corn into a bowl (do not drain or wash them). Cut the peppers
smaller than chopped and larger than minced. Put the oil and butter in a
saute pan. Use medium to high heat, add peppers and stir until they are
slightly softened. Add corn and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring a
few times. Lower heat, cover and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add cilantro just before serving.

If you have any leftovers, dress them with oil and vinegar and serve as a
salad.

Try this delicious snack or dessert: You'll need a container of plain
yogurt, some walnuts or almonds, sliced seedless grapes and top it off with
lightly sweetened crunchy wheatgerm.

Notes & Tips

When buying corn, check out the bottom where it attaches to the stalk. It
should be white and moist. If dry or browning, it has been around awhile
and is probably too starchy.

If you think your corn has cutworms, a common pest on corn, lift the corn
by its silk. If the silk stays attached, it's unlikely to have cutworms.

Jelly makin' time. If you use paraffin, put a piece of sterile string
across the top of the jar (let it rest on the jelly) with some hanging over
the sides. Put the paraffin on top of this so that later you can pull off
the wax by pulling up on the string.

A damp rag dipped in baking soda works great to get crayon marks off walls.

Don't worry about avoiding temptation ... as you grow older, it will avoid
you!

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.