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Native Cooking Column by Dale Carson

When it is very cold out, hot Southwest dishes are very appealing. Heavy, meaty, warm comfort foods are also fine.

In the Northeast where I live, we've been experiencing a rather lengthy cold spell. Our woodstove has been fired up for weeks. With the last few winters being really quite mild, this is more like the real winters we remembered as kids. Frozen ponds for skating, mufflers, mittens and red noses. It's kind of nice and feels cozy.

I'm one of those people who loves the change of seasons. A time for everything in the circle of life. If you can't go out, stay in and do those kinds of things that you can't in July. In the summer you can't really curl up on a sofa with a blanket, good book and a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Who wants to stay in on a beautiful day and organize a closet, photos or file cabinets. Now is the time to do all of that so you might as well enjoy it.

Southwest Pizza Crust:
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup of milk
1/3 cup of shortening

Mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Now cut in shortening and mix until crumbly. Add the milk slowly while mixing with a fork until a kind of dough forms. Put this dough on a floured board and knead until smooth. Roll the dough into a large circle, 12-14 inches, and put it on an un-greased cookie sheet. Pinch the edge to form a rim and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Topping:
1 pound ground beef
1 fresh clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound can of refried beans
1 small (4-oz.) can chopped green chilies
1 9-oz. jar of taco sauce
3 scallions, sliced
2 cups shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese

Saut? the beef and garlic and break the meat up into little bits. When the meat is browned, drain off some of the fat. Now spread the refried beans on the dough and evenly distribute the meat on top. Now put the green chili evenly over the pie, then spread the taco sauce evenly and sprinkle the top with the scallions. Top all with the cheeses and bake for 20 minutes or until crust is browned and the cheese is bubbling.

Brunch or Anytime Enchiladas
1 pound chorizo sausage, cut small or crumbled
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
6 eggs
2 10-oz. jars or cans enchilada sauce, hot or mild
12 corn tortillas
2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 head lettuce, shredded as a
garnish (optional)

Brown the sausage and carefully drain off the fat. Add the eggs and stir until the eggs start to firm, or set. Remove from heat and add the Monterey Jack. Put a light coating, about 1/2 cup, enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan. Warm the tortillas individually in a warm fry pan to soften them. Turn them once. Fill each tortilla with about 1/2 cup of the filling. Roll and place them seam-side down in the baking pan. Cover with the remaining sauce and then the Cheddar cheese. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. When the cheese is melted and bubbly it's ready to serve. Garnish with shredded lettuce if desired.

Brunswick Stew was once made with chubby, wild, woodland squirrels. It was sort of a succotash with corn, beans and other vegetables. Then people opted to put in other game like raccoon, muskrat and possum. Today, because the laws do not allow un-inspected game animals shot in the wild to be sold in restaurants or even commercial butcher shops, Brunswick stew now usually contains chicken plus another variety of meat.

Brunswick Stew
1 3-4 pound chicken, cooked and de-boned
1 quart chicken broth
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/4 stick of butter
1 quart butterbeans, fresh or canned
1 quart whole kernel corn, fresh or canned
2 quarts of tomatoes, diced
4 potatoes, diced
1 carrot, sliced

Take the cooked chicken meat and shred it into the quart of chicken broth. Add all the other ingredients and cook all very slowly for about three hours. You will need to add water or broth occasionally and stir from time to time. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and a little thyme.

Ground Buffalo - Corn - Tomato Pie
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove fresh minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
1 pound ground buffalo
2 cups canned tomatoes
2 cups canned corn
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt

Pie crust, biscuits or buttered bread

Saut? the garlic and onion in the olive oil, add the ground buffalo and stir about to brown it. Add the corn and tomatoes and butter. Sprinkle the flour over all and blend in well. Season with sugar, chili powder and salt. Put this in a greased baking dish. Top with pie crust, biscuits or slices of buttered bread. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Notes & Tips

*It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it in the first place.

*Could it be possible that the average person ingests about a ton of food and beverage each year?

*It's easier to smile than to frown. We use 17 muscles to smile but 43 muscles to frown.

*This can be a hard, lonely time of year for some elders. Think about them, visit or communicate in some way. It will be appreciated.