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Native Cooking Column by Dale Carson

It is the Moon of the Moose Hunter - Mozokas. It can be a gentle month, or not. When I recall the fact that there can be a planting of peas on or around March 17, I get a small welling up of hope in my heart. But, this is the Northeast, so I presume people who live in the warmer areas of the country are already enjoying the renewal of life cycles.

Cranberries and corn, what could be more Native. This recipe is a new take on these two favorites. If you make cornbread in an iron skillet, it is always a good idea to preheat the pan after you grease or butter it. If you preheat the pan in a 400 degree oven for 8 - 10 minutes, this seems to do the job right. While it's in the oven you can combine the ingredients.

Corn & Cranberry Bread

2 tablespoons of corn or canola oil

2 tablespoons minced onion

1/2 cup sweet dried cranberries

2/3 cup yellow corn meal

1/3 cup flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

Grease iron skillet and preheat it in a 400 degree oven for 8 - 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat and add the onion and cranberries. Cook until the onion is just a bit soft, about three minutes. In a bowl, stir the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Gently add the onion, cranberries and oil from the pan into this. Slowly stir in the egg and milk to make a batter. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees and carefully remove the pre-heated skillet. Pour this batter into it and return to oven and bake for l8 - 20 minutes. Cool completely and serve.

Herbed Stuffed Flounder

1 pound flounder fillets

1 cup white wine

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Herb Stuffing:

4 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup plain white bread crumbs

1 cup fresh spinach, chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon combined savory, sage and thyme, fresh or ground

1/2 teaspoon mace

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 hard boiled egg yolks only, chopped

1 tablespoon pine nuts, optional

Combine all the stuffing ingredients together in a bowl. Rinse and dry the fillets then spread the stuffing on them and roll up like a jelly-roll and secure with wooden toothpicks. Mix together the wine, vinegar, and sugar.

Arrange the fish roll-up in a large frying pan and pour the liquid mixture around the fish. Cover and steam/poach for about 15 minutes until the fish is tender, but not falling apart. Put on a serving plate and garnish with a little sprinkle of parsley or paprika.

Sweet Potatoes - Maple Glaze-Apples

8 cups of sweet potatoes, cut into chunks (about 3 pounds)

2 pounds tart apples, cored and cut into thin wedges

1 cup of maple syrup

1/4 cup apple cider or apple juice

1/4 cup butter

Using a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan, combine the apples and sweet potatoes. In a separate saucepan, bring the syrup, cider and butter to a boil. Pour this mixture over the potatoes and apples. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour and a half or until the potatoes are tender.

Roasted Quesadillas with Chipotle Dip

1 small butternut squash

1 onion

3 whole cloves garlic

1 tablespoon corn oil

Salt and pepper to taste

6 flour tortillas

1 sweet bell pepper

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 stick unsalted butter

Chipotle Dip:

1 can chipotle chilies, minced,

1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 cup of sour cream.

Combine chipotle chilies, lime juice and sour cream. You can also make the dip in advance and keep chilled and covered.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel squash, discard seeds and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Peel onion and cut in quarters, peel garlic and put all three vegetables in a shallow baking pan and brush with corn oil. Roast for 30 minutes and remove from oven. Using a food processor or blender, puree the squash, onion and garlic, salt and pepper. The puree can be made ahead and kept chilled for a couple of days ahead.

When ready to make quesadillas, spread the puree on three of the tortillas. Sprinkle each with some chopped up bell pepper, put some cheese on each, then top with a plain tortilla pressing down lightly. Melt some of the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the quesadillas until golden on each side, turning over once. Remove from heat and cut into wedges and serve warm with chipotle dip.

Notes & Tips

*I received this e-mail and it struck me as ironic because it asks that one do what we have always and still try to do. It is a good thing though, because it should be a global credo...

1. Free your heart from hatred.

2. Free your mind from worries.

3. Live simply.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less.

*We are all trying to lose weight, aren't we? For a 125 - 150 pound person to burn 100 calories they need to:

Grocery shop 25 - 30 minutes

Rake leaves for 20 - 25 minutes

Walk briskly for 15 - 20 minutes

Stack firewood for 15 - 20 minutes

Blow snow for 15 - 20 minutes

Shovel snow for 10 - 15 minutes