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Native Cooking

It is the month of "freezing river maker," Mezatanokas-November to the
Abenaki. In a few weeks it will be Bebonkas - December - or "winter moon."
Each year about now I agonize over what to get who for Christmas. We don't
have any young ones, the youngest is 16 and into cars and trucks, and we
don't like being in debt at any age. The holidays can escalate into
extravaganzas filled with either the joy of giving or the joy of shopping.
They can collide, causing debt and depression in January. So, this year,
and I think I say this every year, we are going to exchange foodie gifts,
either purchased or homemade.

One time I went crazy for fudge, everyone got fudge! Everyone got fat.
Everyone blamed me. Then we had a year of pumpkin bread. That really is a
good one since it can be made ahead and frozen, yet taste great. Done that
though. We had cranberry chutney year. That was fun, but the ingredients
and process is complicated.

Maybe pickled vegetables this year, though I'm leaning toward tea for some
reason. Chai tea is very popular now. It's just tea with spices like clove
and others, quite good. Hot chocolate is always fun. A basket of tea and
hot chocolate, that's it! Here we go again.

Taos Turkeyburgers

1 pound ground turkey breast

1/2 pound turkey bacon or other bacon, cooked

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon ground cumin

4 shots of hot pepper sauce

1/2 pound Pepperjack cheese, sliced

Sweet red pepper relish

Hamburger rolls

Cook bacon, drain on paper towels and set aside. In a large bowl, combine
turkey, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, thyme, cumin and hot sauce, a little
salt and pepper. Make into 4 or 5 patties and fry, or grill 5 minutes or so
on both sides. Put a slice or two of cheese over the patties during the
last minute or two of cooking to melt. Put the cheeseburgers on rolls,
spread with relish (if desired), top with bacon and roll top.

Turkey Meatloaf

2 pounds ground turkey breast

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 cup stuffing, herbed or cornbread

1 hard-type apple, cored and chopped

2 eggs

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl.
Work with a wooden spoon or your own hands (gloves if feeding more than
one), until ingredients are integrated and hold together. Form a loaf in
large baking dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Great served with mashed
potatoes and gravy.

Turkey is not always the major leftover from the turkey dinner. Mashed
potatoes can become potato pancakes, or top a Sheppard's or other type pot
pie. Mix potatoes with a little leftover butternut for an interesting
combo. Stuffing can go well with pork chops and applesauce as a change from
turkey or chicken. Since any leftover meal can get tiresome, try this easy
seafood one-dish meal for a change. It uses canned salmon. However, in
other times salmon was dried then pounded into flat sheets like pemmican,
then stored in baskets for winter use.

Salmon Fluff

1 16-ounce can of red salmon

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup cream

4 eggs separated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 1-1/2 quart baking dish with sides.
In a saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour, salt, mustard and
Worcestershire until blended. Stir in milk and cream until thickened. Cool
this a bit, then beat in egg yolks one at a time. Flake salmon in a
separate bowl then fold into yolk mixture. Beat egg whites in another bowl
to stiff peaks and fold this into the yolk mixture as well. Gently pour all
into the baking dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve immediately from
oven.

To make this dish healthier, use 2 percent milk and half and half in place
of milk and cream. Egg beaters would work as well.

Salmon Cakes

1 can salmon, red or pink, including liquid

1/2 cup of white corn meal

4 juniper berries, crushed

1 cup milk

2 eggs, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin, or use those paper
inserts. Combine all the ingredients and spoon into the muffin cups. Bake
for 30 minutes.

notes & Tips:

This tip is news to me. If you try it and it works, please let me know.
Hang air fresheners in trees where you want the deer to stay away. Sounds
good!

Save all your egg cartons and cut in half lengthwise. Put lemon and orange
peels in some of the cups and use as a fragrant fire starter.

Before the holidays, put some new baking soda boxes in your fridge and your
freezer.

A smile is the best way to improve how you look.

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.