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Native Cooking Column by Dale Carson

There are many important crops that will be ready for harvest this month. Corn, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, beans, melons, garlic and more will be vying for our attention. When our children were small I canned, made jams and big batches of things to blanch and freeze. I don't do too much of that anymore, but I love the knowledge that our pantry is in good shape. Where we live now there are fine farm stands and fresh produce in our supermarket. It does save money when I take advantage of the sales. It can be time consuming to watch for coupons and sale dates plus plan everyday meals, so doing it is a personal choice.

Planning and cooking for a family is quite a job in itself, but many people today have jobs and some don't even know how to cook. It helps to write things down like a list of your favorite meals, favorite snacks and drinks. Cooking is not as hard as people make it out to be. I used to make dreamcatchers and give workshops to teach others how to do them. The children picked it up right away, the adults kept trying to put in extra steps and it became hard for them.

Same with cooking, don't try to make it harder, start simple. Read cookbooks and magazines with cooking articles. After you've tried a few recipes there may be leftovers. I was brought up not to waste anything, especially food. Here are some ideas for beginners and accomplished cooks.

Tomatoes & Pasta

This is a quick sauce to use over cold, cooked pasta which, admittedly, is not Native, but we all use it from time to time because it is economical. This recipe is good especially if you have a big tomato crop.

4 cups of diced fresh tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons white vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

2 tablespoons black olives, chopped

Combine all ingredients except pasta. Season this "almost salsa" sauce with salt and pepper and let flavors marinate for about an hour. Toss with the pasta.

This original dish evolved for me over a wonderful summer when I was cooking outside a lot and trying to elaborate on both chili and succotash. It is a great one-pan meal that can be different every time you make it. Utilize leftovers. All you need with it is a good bread and maybe a green salad and some applesauce.

Indian Vegetables

2 large onions, chopped

4 slices bacon

3 cups sliced green and yellow summer squash

1 cup cut green beans

1 bell pepper, sliced

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 8-oz. can tomato sauce

1 pound can of red kidney beans

1 pound can of butter beans, limas or chick peas

1 pound meat (ground beef, pork, sweet sausage, or any combination any or all)

1/2 cup rice, white or wild

1/4 cup molasses

This dish is best cooked outside in a large skillet, but it is also good cooked inside on your stove. Vary the recipe each time by using up what you have available. I don't recommend beets, but corn is a good addition. Saut? bacon, remove and save aside. Remove half the bacon fat. Cook the onions in the remaining bacon fat, add pepper, mushrooms, other vegetables, meat and cook for five minutes. Before adding the rest of the vegetables, season with parsley, garlic salt, sage, thyme and chili powder. Add balance of ingredients and saut? for about 15 minutes.

Buffalo Wraps

1 pound of thinly sliced or shaved cooked buffalo roast

4 large (10-inch) flour tortillas

1 8-oz. package onion and chive cream cheese spread

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack

1 cup shredded carrot

Green leaf lettuce

Spread each tortilla with cream cheese spread, sprinkle with carrots and cheese. Now layer with lettuce and thin sliced or shaved buffalo roast. Roll up tightly and refrigerate for at least a half hour. Cut rolls in half or into one-inch slices cut at an angle.

Peanut Butter

Chocolate Bars

6 ounces chocolate bits

6 ounces peanut butter bits

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1 cup chopped nuts

3 cups mini marshmallows

Melt bits in a double boiler. Add peanut butter, stir and remove from heat. Add marshmallows and nuts, mix well. Pour into an 8 x 11 pan and refrigerate. Cut in squares when chilled.

Notes & Tips

*If you put a few drops of lemon juice in simmering rice it will keep the grains separate.

*If you have a new frying pan, put some vinegar in it and bring to a boil. This will prevent foods from sticking.

*To ripen tomatoes, put them in a brown bag, close it and leave at room temperature for a couple of days.

*Eggs and cream will fluff up fluffier if you let them come to room temperature before beating.

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The only people in the world who tell you how to raise your children are people who have never had any.

The average human heart in a person who lives to be 72 beats more than three billion times.

A sneeze can travel as fast as 100 miles per hour.