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Native Cooking

In my supermarket this morning, I was just looking around when one of the
regular employees passed me with a nearly full shopping cart of items
people decided not to buy once they got to the checkout. I suppose there
are many reasons for changing your mind at the last minute, you never know
if they didn't have enough money or had bought too much of something. The
employee chatted with me for a moment and said, "you wouldn't believe how
much they throw out." I've heard this before from others, especially
produce that has passed its peak or just isn't pretty anymore.

A few years ago, people who had pets like rabbits, horses or goats could
come and get free greens and the like. For awhile some shelters for the
homeless in two nearby cities would pick up leftovers or overstock by
arrangement. I think one soup kitchen still does. My point, if I ever get
to it, is to remind everyone to take care of each other. With colder
weather coming, elders, children and people who are shut-in or live in
remote areas may need food, medicines or wood chopped. At the very least
they could use a few kind words, guess we all could.

Sausage, Beans & Rice

1 pound of smoked sausage (buffalo, kielbasa, linguica) cut in 2-inch
pieces

1 large onion, chopped

2 1-pound cans of red kidney beans

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

2 dashes hot sauce - optional Cooked rice, enough for 4 to 6 people

Brown the sausage pieces in a small amount of oil. Remove and set them
aside. Now saute the onion and garlic until soft, then return sausage to
pan and all other ingredients except the rice. Cover and simmer for about
20 to 30 minutes. Steam the cooked rice to keep it hot. Now serve the
sausage mixture over the rice.

Creamed Parsnips with Pine Nuts

1 pound parsnips, peeled

1 large white potato, peeled

2 tablespoons butter (or substitute)

1/2 cup half and half (or substitute milk)

3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Cut parsnips and potatoes into large chunks and cook in salted water until
just soft. Drain. Mash and add the butter and cream or milk until smooth.
If you have a food processor, this would work as well. Sprinkle with pine
nuts and serve immediately or keep warm in a serving dish in the oven up to
30 minutes. This is an unusual side dish, perfect for holiday company.

Interesting Meatloaf

1 pound ground buffalo

1 pound ground turkey (or pork)

1 large onion, chopped

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 pieces of bread soaked in water, then squeeze it out

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, fresh minced

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 small can tomato sauce - optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Saute the onion, garlic, basil, oregano
and thyme until soft. Put the rest of ingredients in a large bowl and add
the sauteed vegetables. Mix all together and form into two loaves in a
shallow baking dish. Pour the tomato sauce over the tops and bake for about
an hour. Cut through the middle of one to test for doneness.

For many years, we were fortunate enough to have wonderful chestnut crops.
Now, we have to compete with lots of squirrels who must have put the word
out that we had a hot commodity. We love chestnut stuffing, but now we have
to buy the expensive nuts if we want to make it, so needless to say, we
don't have it every year.

Chestnut Stuffing

1 pound of shelled, boiled chestnuts

6 cups variegated bread crumbs

1 cup onion, minced

1 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

1 cup of hot water

2 teaspoons celery

1 teaspoon black pepper

Press the chestnuts through a potato ricer or a food processor. Saute onion
and celery in the butter until softish, add the bread crumbs, egg,
chestnuts, water and herbs. Mix well. Makes enough for a 10 - 12 lb.
turkey.

Sauce for Warm Gingerbread

1/3 cup butter, or low-fat substitute

1 cup of confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Cream all together and spread. Refrigerate any leftover sauce.

Speedy-Spicy Corn Chips

3 cups of corn flour (fine ground meal)

6 cups white flour

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1-1/2 teaspoons cumin

1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons salt or seasoned salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 cups water

Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add water slowly to form a
dough. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least two hours, longer is
better. When ready to roll out the dough, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out the dough as thin as you like it and cut to the size you want.
Place on cookie sheets and bake for 7 to 10 minutes.

Notes & Tips

Put a fabric softener sheet in your shoes overnight to deodorize them. In
fact, those smell-good sheets can work in lots of places; suitcases, under
car seats, dresser drawers ...

E-mail fact file says that we burn more calories sleeping than we do
watching TV.

Oak trees are 50 years old before they produce acorns.

Apples, not coffee, are better at waking you up in the morning.

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.