Tuesday, December 4, 2007


This is an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, Ginny Bates. Just in time for Hannukah tomorrow is a recipe for Lesbo Latkes and Homemade Applesauce. If you are already a familiar reader, skip down to Read More. If not, here's links background information in the sidebar to the right, third item from top.

Mid August 1987

A week after Myra's birthday, Ginny woke up, stretched, took a big sniff and said "Apples!"

Myra asked "What, do I smell like apples?"

"Not yet" grinned Ginny. "But it's harvest time for Galas. And then all the rest start coming in. This year, our house is in shape and we can put up apples."

"Applesauce?" asked Myra.

"Mmm. And apple butter. And big shiny jars of stewed apples" said Ginny.

"And pies" said Myra. "One of the reasons to have that giant freezer in the storage room."

"After breakfast, let's cruise the farmer's markets outside of the city. Galas are best for applesauce, we'll start with that."

For the next two weeks, their house smelled like baking apples and cinnamon. After September arrived, they began making apple butter with Cameos; stewed apples with Braeburns; and pies with Jonagolds. In October, they switched to Granny Smiths for the pies and Cripps Pink for stewed apples. They bought Mason jars in bulk, in big and little sizes. Ginny designed labels for their "MyGin" brand and gave away jars of butter and sauce to all their friends. She mailed cartons of carefully packed jars back to her family in Denver. And Myra made enough pies to feed them (and dinner guests) four a month for the next year.

For general eating, the fruit bowl always held Golden Delicious, and the rest of the year (depending on the season) also Fujis and Jonagolds. Myra used the jars of stewed apples for baking cakes or as side dishes when she roasted duck and pork. Ginny's applesauce came out of the cupboard for latkes and fritters. They used apple butter as much as they used jam on toast or syrup on pancakes.

During berry season (blue, rasp and cran), they went to U-pick farms and came home with 20 or 30 pounds of berries at a time. Most of these were frozen for use all year. They didn't buy blackberries, however, because the bramble along their eastern fence produced all they could eat or bake into cobbler. Likewise, grapes could be browsed from neighbor's vines when they went out for an evening walk.

The first weekend in October, they went on Saturday to the SalmonDays Fair in Issaquah and came home with cases of smoked salmon and huge steaks to freeze. Then on Sunday they drove to the Washington State Seafood Festival in Shelton and brought home shucked oysters (for Ginny), steelhead, scallops, snapper, yellowfin, sole, prawns, clams, and crab meat for the freezer.

In July they went to Bon Odori, the local Japanese Buddhist Festival. They celebrated the Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras. They kicked off summer with the Northwest Folklife Festival, then attended the Highland Games where Myra always cried when they piped "Will ye no' cume back again?" In July they went to the annual powwow at Daybreak Star, making sure to be there for the salmon bake. They also attended the First Nations Powwow at U-Dub in the spring. Most years, they took a four-day weekend in late August and drove with Sima and Chris to the Nimipu Sapatqayn and Cultural Days at the Nez Percé Reservation in Spalding, Idaho.

They of course fasted and went to Temple for Yom Kippur. They attended services for Rosh Hashanah, then went home and ate apples dipped in honey with their friends. They drove to Puget Sound for Tashlikh, and always either hosted or helped organize community seders. They held tamaladas in December. They marched for Martin Luther King Day, Take Back The Night and International Women's Day. They attended the lesbian and gay film festival, the Dyke March, and Cinco de Mayo. Myra kept her eyes peeled for any event that might have taiko drumming, which she found mesmerizing. They got mammograms every other October, donated blood each month for the local hospice, and in April Myra read her poetry everywhere she was asked to perform.

And they celebrated two anniversaries each year: June 6, when they had walked to Aux Delice and along that walk decided to move beyond friendship, and again on June 11, the day they had become lovers. Allie joked that their having waited five whole days between their first date and plunging into total commitment was probably some kind of a lesbian record.


Feeds 4 usually. This will only feed two if one of them is Ginny and there is no other main protein dish. Serve with Myra's mayonnaise to which fresh chopped dill has been added.
2 cups fresh salmon, cooked (other fish can be used as well)
If you must use canned salmon, one large can pink salmon, drained, skinned, boned and flaked
Juice of one fresh lemon plus another lemon sliced thinly for garnish
2 beaten eggs
1 small Walla Walla or Vidalia sweet onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup stone-ground corn meal
1/2 cup whole-grain crackers, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup canola oil
Chop the onion finely and sauté in 1 tablespoon butter until clear.
Mix salmon, eggs, parsley, cracker crumbs, baking powder, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add sautéed onions and butter. Form into patties and roll each in corn meal, setting them on waxed paper. Chill for half an hour. Heat canola oil in skillet with remaining tablespoon of butter. Fry croquettes until crispy brown. Drain on brown paper before serving.

This is what Myra's Mama served when they had enough money to buy meat. It is Gillam's favorite main dish, and what he requests for his birthday dinner every year. It makes fabulous sandwiches the next day if there are any leftovers, which is seldom. Even Ginny, who doesn't much like beef, will eat this pot roast. Serves 4.
3.5 pound boneless chuck roast
1 cup of beef stock (okay to use good canned stock, but watch the salt accordingly)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large Walla Walla or Vidalia sweet onion
5 cloves of garlic
6 carrots
3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt
Use a large cast-iron Dutch oven. Preheat over to 275 degrees F.
Peel the carrots and cut into large chunks. Crush and peel the garlic. Cut the onion into large chunks.
Put the oil into the pot and get it medium hot. Rub the roast all over with pepper and salt. Sear the roast several minutes on all sides in the pot -- let it sit while a side is browning, so it sears properly. Remove the roast temporarily and reduce the heat in the pan.
Spread onion chunks on the bottom of the pan. Place the roast on top of the onions. Sprinkle garlic on top of the roast. Add the stock and molasses. Cover and place in the oven.
Cook for 5-6 hours, checking once an hour. During the last half hour, add the carrots. The smell is gonna be driving everyone nuts, so plan to have a tide-me-over on hand a couple of hours before dinner is actually ready.

Myra and Ginny never quite get enough of this while fresh corn is in season. It's also a great basic chowder to which they can add cooked lobster or fresh clams. Myra likes to offer crumbled crisp bacon or pancetta as topping for those so inclined. Great with thick wedges of whole-grain toast and sliced tomatoes sprinkled with salt and olive oil. Serves 6.
5-6 ears of fresh corn, shucked
3 large organic Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes
2 fresh carrots, peeled
2 fresh scallions
1/2 large Walla Walla or Vidalia sweet onion
3 cups raw milk
1 cup fresh cream
2 tablespoons butter
Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste
Strip the cobs of kernels, "milking" them with your knife to get all the juice, saved in a bowl. Scrub the potatoes and dice into 1/2 inch pieces, without peeling. Grate the carrots.
Chop the scallions finely. Mince the onion. Melt the butter in a large thick-bottomed pot with a lid, then add the onions and scallions. Sauté over medium neat until the onions are soft. Add the potatoes, carrots, milk, pepper, and generous salt. Bring to a boil. Stir, add the corn and cream, and keep stirring. (If you are adding lobster or clams with their juice, do that now, too.)
Once the soup comes to another boil, cover, turns off the heat, and let it steep for five minutes. Remove about one-third of the potatoes into a separate bowl, mash them thoroughly, and stir them back into the soup. Serve.

This is the batter she just piles into the bread machine and makes for basic sandwich bread. Makes one short loaf. Takes about 3 hours on most machines.
3 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
1.5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup honey (Ginny argues against this, but it's to feed the yeast, dammit, it's chemistry)
1-1/8 cups warm water
1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon dry milk powder (actually works better than real milk)
Put ingredients into your breadmaker and push the appropriate button. Note: The warm water and honey start the yeast process as soon as they come into contact, so don't mix this and wait to start the breadmaker.
VARIATIONS: You can alter the chemistry of this bread by substituting a small amount of white flour for whole wheat and adding nut meal or dried potato flakes. Just make sure the main dry ingredient quantities add up to about 3 cups and experiment away. A teaspoon of pepperoncino adds a lot of flavor without heat to this recipe. And fresh minced herbs are a great idea in small amounts.

One of the staple breads of their household, this is Ginny's first choice for toast or sandwiches. Makes two 1.5 pound loaves.
1/4 cup cooked brown rice, about 3 tablespoons uncooked
1/3 cup millet, 2 tablespoons uncooked
1/3 cup cooked barley, 2 tablespoons uncooked
1.5 tablespoons dry yeast
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
3 cups hard whole wheat flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, chopped fine
1/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1.5 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon honey
1.5 tablespoons safflower oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
VARIATIONS: Instead of the cornmeal or rolled oats above, substitute an equal amount of buckwheat, wheat germ or wheat bran. Instead of the rice, millet or barley cooked grains, substitute an equal amount of cooked bulgur or kashi.
Cook the grains first. The rice, millet and barley can be cooked together in the same saucepan with a lid. Use about 1 to 1.5 parts water to 1 part grain; cook until water is absorbed. Cool to room temperature.
Make your sponge by dissolving yeast in 2 cups warm water. Add in 3 cups hard whole wheat flour, the molasses, honey and rolled oats. Mix well and let rest to make soft sponge in a floured bowl in a warm place, covered with a damp dishtowel. After it has rested, add the safflower oil, salt, vinegar, sunflower seeds, cornmeal and 3 cups hard whole wheat flour. Knead on a floured board until elastic, about 100 times. Add the cooked grains, kneading until fully mixed. Place in oiled bowl; cover with damp cloth, set in a draft-free spot and let rise to double in bulk.
Punch down and form into 2 loaves. Place in oiled bread pans and let rise to double. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until done. Let cool completely before cutting or bagging for storage. Can be frozen.

Myra uses this as the base for their homemade pizzas. Makes 24 small chewy slices.
1 tablespoon regular white sugar (spread out over so many slices, it's okay, it really is)
1 0.75 ounce packet of yeast
1.5 cups all-purpose flour (yeah, white flour AND white sugar -- listen, it's better than giving money to that fascist who runs Domino's, isn't it?)
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.25 teaspoons kosher salt (but don't put it away yet)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (don't put this away either)
VARIATIONS: Sprinkle the top with fresh rosemary, sesame seeds, or parmigiana reggiano.
Stir the sugar and yeast in 1.5 cups of warm water. Let this stand for 5 minutes, until the yeast is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.
Combine the flours and salt in your food processor with the dough blade attached. Add the yeasty mixture and process until a soft dough forms.
Pour the olive oil through the feed tube of the processor while the motor is running. Process 2 more minutes, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Transfer the dough to an oil-coated bowl, cover with a kitchen towel in a draft-free warm spot and allow to rise 45 minutes.
While it's rising, you can make the pizza sauce and toppings.
Oil a baking sheet and dust with corn flour. Transfer your dough to this baking sheet, pressing it into a rectangle. Cover with towel again, put in warm spot and allow to rise another hour.
Preheat over to 425 degrees F. Poke texture all over the top of the bread with your fingertips. Brush the top with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt plus toppings like rosemary or parmigiano. Bake 20 minutes. Pull from oven and put on pizza toppings. Bake another 10-15 minutes. Cool at least 5 minutes before slicing.
Note: If you want to save this focaccia for future pizzas, bake it 30 minutes before adding pizza toppings. Cool, wrap in plastic, and freeze. When you want to make a pizza, pull out of the freezer (no need to thaw it, put back on baking sheet, add pizza toppings and bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees F.

This is good for pies, quiches and empanadas alike. You can line pie crust tins with it, cover with waxed paper, then plastic wrap, and freeze ahead of time. Makes one pie crust -- double for a pie with a top crust. Note: When it comes time to roll this out, a chilled board makes a world of difference.
1.25 cups whole wheat pastry flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon wheat germ
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 7 slices
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 tablespoons ice water
Combine flour, salt and wheat germ in mixing bowl.
Cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly.
Add egg yolk and water, stirring until mixture forms a ball.
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. Can leave in fridge for up to 24 hours before using.
Roll out as desired.

3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups white bread flour
2 medium Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
At least 3 cups water
If you don't have leftover mashed potatoes, then peel the potatoes, cut into chunks, boil in water until done, and mash thoroughly.
In a large wooden mixing bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, yeast and as much water as you need to make a sponge. (Like a thick batter.) Set aside for 10 minutes so the flour will hydrate well.
When hydrated, add the mashed potatoes, oil, and 2 cups of the white bread flour. Mix well. Add more water if you need to make a slightly sticky dough. Let it rest in a draft-free place for 20 minutes.
Flour your board and turn the dough onto it. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the rosemary. Knead for five minutes using more flour, if necessary, to produce a smooth, soft but not sticky ball of dough. Oil a ceramic or stainless steel bowl, roll the dough into it so every surface of the dough is coated with a thin film of oil, and cover with a damp dishtowel. Place in a warm, draft-free spot and let rise until doubled (around one hour).
Turn the dough out again onto your lightly floured board, lightly punch down, and divide in half. Shape the dough into two loaves and put in greased loaf pans. Cover loosely with damp dishtowel and let sit until it doubles (about 1.5 hours). Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and bake the loaves on a middle rack for 20-30 minutes until golden. Let cool thoroughly before slicing or bagging.
VARIATIONS: Use other herbs instead of rosemary, such as marjoram, dill, fresh garlic, or dried onion flakes. May want to switch black pepper to pepperoncino.

Not as popular as Myra's hand-kneaded rosemary potato bread, but it's a time saver because of the bread machine. Makes 1.5 pound loaf.
2-2/3 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white bread flour
3 tablespoons wheat bran
2.5 teaspoons dry yeast1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
Add ingredients to bread machine hopper and push the basic bread cycle button.

A real staple from Myra's childhood. Best with fresh summer corn, especially Silver Queen. Serves 6.
2 cups corn stripped from cobs, with cobs "milked" to get all of interior juice from kernels
3 large brown eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons buttermilk
3 green onions, chopped fine
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Canola oil for frying + 1 tablespoon butter mixed in
Mix together all ingredients, with flour adjusted to hold fritters together. Heat oil and butter in cast iron skillets. Drop by tablespoons into hot oil and cook 3-5 minutes, turning once. Drain on brown paper. Watch out, folks eat 'em as fast as they cool off.

Excellent for stuffing game. Serves 4 as side dish.
2 cups long-grain wild rice
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup chopped Texas pecans
Kosher salt to taste
Cook wild rice according to package directions, likely an hour. Drain. Add blueberries and pecans. Add 1/2 cup water and salt. Cover and cook over low heat or bake in 300 degree oven for 15 minutes. Stir before serving.

Takes 2.5 hours to bake, but worth it. Serves 6.
1 head organic green cabbage
1 Walla Walla or Vidalia sweet onion
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Rinse cabbage and pat dry. Discard any old outer leaves. Cut into 6-8 wedges, depending on size of cabbage, and trim core but leave wedges intact.
Arrange wedges in a 9 x 13 baking dish with a lid, in a single layer. Cut the onion into slices and arrange over the cabbage layers. Mix stock, oil, and red wine vinegar together, and pour over the entire dish. Season with pepper and (light) salt.
Place lid on dish and bake for an hour. Remove lid, turn cabbage, and if it is getting dry, add a few tablespoons of water. Replace lid and back for another hour.
When the cabbage is completely tender, remove the lid and turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Cook another 15-20 minutes until the vegetables begin to go brown at the edges.
Season to taste. Serve warm. Great with pork dishes.

These can be made with a wide variety of grated veggies, but use at least two different kinds in the batter. Great for making winter root crops look new and interesting. Serves 4-6.
1 cup each of grated carrots, sweet potatoes, red or golden beets, squash -- peel before grating
6 green onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 brown egg per cup of grated veggies, beaten
Canola oil as needed for shallow frying
Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt to taste
1 cup of feta, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine grated veggies in a bowl and add salt, mix. Let them rest for a minute; the salt will leech out moisture.
Put veggies in a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then transfer back to dry bowl.
Add green onion, spices, cornstarch and eggs. Add pepper and mix well.
Heat thin layer of oil in non-stick skillet. Shape mixture in patties, pressing firmly. Cook fritters in batches over medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Drain on brown paper.
Transfer fritters to an oiled baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Arrange on a platter and top with crumbled feta.

These are of course made for Chanukah, along with fresh doughnuts, in a group effort. But they are also popular other times of the year. For the quantities this entails, Myra gladly sidesteps the mandolin or hand grater in favor of a food processor. You can make these up to eight hours ahead, and reheat them on a rack set over a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about five minutes. One recipe makes 12-16 latkes, which is enough for a family dinner but not enough for Chanukah.
1 pound Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes (although blue potatoes work well, too, and make deep purple latkes)
1 cup grated onion
1 large brown organic eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Enough canola oil to fry these latkes, 1/2 to one cup
Scrub the potatoes but don't peel. Grate them in a food processor, in more than one batch if necessary. As they are grated, place in a large bowl of cold water. Soak them 1-2 minutes after the last batch is added, to reduce the starch. Drain well in a colander.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Place the drained potatoes in a dishtowel and roll up in a twist. Keep twisting tightly over the sink to wring out as much liquid as possible. Put the potatoes in a bowl with the onions, and stir in the egg and salt.
Heat 1/4 cup oil (to begin with) in a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Spoon four latkes (two tablespoons potato batter per latke) into the skillet and spread them into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce the heat to medium and cool until the bottom side is browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the latkes and cook another 5 minutes or until browned. Drain on brown paper and season with salt and pepper. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep making latkes. Place the drained and cooked latkes on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan and keep them warm in the over.
Serve with real sour cream and Ginny's applesauce.

Here's the scoop: Margie really prefers to not have onions in dishes. So Myra makes this half with onions, half without, and marks the "tainted half" with a green onion X on top. Serves 5 with one serving left over for Margie's lunch the next day.
6 medium Yukon Gold, Yellow Finn or blue potatoes (Margie especially likes blue scalloped potatoes)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups raw whole milk
1/2 cup cream
3 tablespoons sifted flour
7 green onions with 2 inches of green left on
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/4 teaspoon good mustard
Pinch of nutmeg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
Grease an 11 x 17 inch baking dish with a lid. Tear off a strip of foil and fold it until it is 13 inches long by 2 inches wide, and thick enough to be a little stiff. Squeeze it into place as a divider, bisecting the baking dish in half.
Scrub the potatoes but do not peel. Using a mandolin, slice very thinly into a large bowl. Cover with water to keep from turning brown.
In a small saucepan, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Finely chop 6 of the green onions, add to the butter and sauté for one minute.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large saucepan, melt the rest of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. When the butter is melted but not turning brown, sprinkle in the flour and stir with a whisk until smooth and bubbly. Stir in the salt, pepper, nutmeg and mustard. Add the milk and stir with whisk until flour is well-blended into the hot milk. At the last, stir in the cream and turn off the heat.
Drain the potatoes in a colander and squeeze out excess water. Return them to the bowl and pour the flour/milk mixture over it. Mix well. Pour half of the potato mixture into one side of the baking dish. Into the half remaining in the bowl, add the onion/butter mixture and stir well. Pour this into the other half of the baking dish. Cut the remaining green onion in half and use it to make the "onion" half with an X.
Put on lid and place in oven, baking at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and bake another 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

The best asparagus is young and tender, but you can make all your asparagus come out evenly cooked and tender using this method. Serves 4.
12 asparagus spears
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon Ginny's mustard
Freshly-ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste
Cooking twine
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the bottoms of the asparagus spears until they are as slender as the top. Arrange them in two bundles of six, with the tops aligned; trim away the bottoms so they are all the same length. Tie the bundles together at the top and bottom.
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a vigorous boil. Drop in the two bundles of asparagus and cook until bright green and tender. Remove from the water and cut apart, fanning them on a plate.
Melt the butter with the mustard and drizzle over the asparagus. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6. But you should double this recipe and have leftovers, 'cause they're great the next day and you can do all sorts of dishes with 'em.
6 large Yukon gold, Yellow Finn or blue potatoes
6 cloves roasted garlic (see recipe for this elsewhere on this list)
3/4 stick of unsalted butter
1.5 cups cream
1/4 cup milk (optional)
Fresh white pepper and kosher salt to taste
Scrub potatoes and cut into chunks but do not peel. Fill large saucepan with water, add salt, and place in potatoes so they are covered. Place on lid and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to the sauce pan so the heat of the pan dries them thoroughly.
As the potatoes are drying, melt the butter in another saucepan (but do not brown it) and mash in the roasted garlic. Add a little salt and pepper to this mixture. Add the cream and bring to a careful boil. Turn off the heat.
Rice the potatoes into a ceramic serving bowl and add the garlic/cream mixture, beating well along the way until pureed. If you are not going to serve immediately, keep the potatoes fresh in this manner: Smooth the top of the potatoes flat with a spatula and cover the top surface with 1/4 cup milk. Place in warm oven or at back of stove to keep warm. Right before serving, stir in the milk. Preventing the potatoes from oxidizing in this way greatly enhances their flavor.

Serves 6. Great with a curry dip or a spicy peanut sauce, or just on their own as a starch side dish.
6 organic sweet potatoes
1-2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
One-half cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Scrub sweet potatoes and cut off tips, but do not peel. Cut lengthwise into slices half an inch thick. Cut these slices in into 1/4 inch wide sticks.
Put slices into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, rubbing it into all sides. Sprinkle with cheese and toss.
Arrange on a non-stick baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes until browned and crisp, turning at least once. Season to taste.

(Nimipu root digging bag used by women, from 1800s)

Myra: Okay, Kash-Kash, here's a pad, will ya write down your recipe for roasted camas root?
Chris: Well, no. It's a family tradition.
Myra: (after a pause) Fair enough. But how about a recipe that the average person out there could use, without any secrets given up?
Chris: I didn't say it was secret. I just said it was a family tradition.
Myra: (after another pause) So, you mean only people in your family get to make it?
Chris: Any Nimipu who has camas roots and a way of making it can make it, that's not up to me.
Myra: But not someone who isn't Nimipu?
Chris: If they have the roots and a way of making it, sure, that's fine. It's not for me to say.
Myra: Is this some sort of rejection of codependency? I mean, I'm not doing my share of something?
Chris: (sighs) We gave you not just the recipe, but the root itself. In 1805. All you could eat of it. Saved your lives, although some of your Corps of Discovery gorged themselves and puked for a while. The most important vegetable of the entire Northwest. We gave cooking methods to Narcissa Whitman, too, but she didn't think it was important enough to write down in detail. You also took most of the land it grew on and turned it into plowed fields. Although our children are now going out each spring to replant the bulb, learning how to find the blue flowers that distinguish it from its deadly cousins. Seems like a lot of the energy is going in just one direction here. Why do you want to put it into this recipe book of yours, again?
Myra: (quietly) Because it's one of my favorite things to eat. When you make it for me, I feel nourished in ways I don't know how to describe.
Chris: (laughing) It's very high in iron and vitamin C.
Myra: That's not what I mean, and you know it.
Chris: I'll make it for you any time you want, Myra. For the rest of my life. How's about that for an offer?
Myra: (long silence) Deal.

These are baked, not fried, and come in both savory and sweet varieties. Makes about 10 empanadas.
Begin by making a double batch of whole wheat pastry dough (find recipe elsewhere in this list) and rolling out on chilled board. Cut into rounds with dessert-sized bowl.
1 pound flank steak
2 large Walla Walla or Vidalia sweet onions
2 brown eggs, hard-boiled
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup milk
Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste
Salt and pepper the flank steak. Grill or broil until done enough to shred (not too dry). Shred the beef.
Dice onions finely and put into bowl with shredded meat and cumin.
Melt the butter with paprika and let stand a minute. Pour this colored butter over the meat and onions, adding a little more salt and pepper, mix and allow to cool. When cool, use this mixture to fill empanada rounds along with 2-3 slices of boiled egg. Put filling on one side of the round and fold over the other half to make a half-moon shape.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Seal edges of filled empanada rounds with moistened fingertips, making sure the seal is tight, then curl up edge onto itself and crimp like piecrust. Brush with milk and bake for 20 minutes or until done.
2 cups fresh blueberries (can use other berries, or sliced fresh fruit)
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mascarpone or ricotta
In a saucepan combine fruit, sugar and vanilla. Stirring thoroughly, heat over medium until hot. Pour into a bowl and cool. Mix in mascarpone gently.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put fruit filling on one side of the round and fold over the other half to make a half-moon shape. Seal edges of filled empanada rounds with moistened fingertips, making sure the seal is tight, then curl up edge onto itself and crimp like piecrust.. Brush with milk and bake for 20 minutes or until done.
1 large Walla Walla or Vidalia sweet onion, diced
1.5 tablespoons shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1.5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped (Myra prefers shitaki or chanterelles)
4 ounces carrots, grated
4 ounces zucchini, diced
4 ounces yellow squash, diced
8 ounces broccoli, diced
8 ounces chopped fresh spinach
8 ounces corn cut from cob (or frozen, if need be)
8 ounces tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 pound of fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
2 large brown egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 tablespoons vegetable or chicken stock (depends on whether you want this to be totally vegetarian)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1.5 teaspoons paprika
1.5 teaspoons fresh oregano, minced
1 teaspoon pepperoncino
Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt to taste
In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, garlic and shallots, and cool until soft and clear but not browned.
Lower the heat and add the tomatoes, parsley, stock, wine vinegar, and mushrooms. Simmer while bringing a large pot of water to a boil.
In the boiling water, drop the carrots, zucchini, squash and broccoli. Cook until al dente. Add the spinach and heat through. Scoop out and plunge into ice bath. When cool, drain well.
Put the vegetables back into the pot along with the corn and mozzarella. Mix in the pepperoncino, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put veggie filling on one side of the round and fold over the other half to make a half-moon shape. Seal edges of filled empanada rounds with moistened fingertips, making sure the seal is tight, then curl up edge onto itself and crimp like piecrust. Brush with egg yolk and bake for 20 minutes or until done.
2 pounds organic chicken, whole legs including thighs
1/2 pound cooked basmati rice
1/2 pound fresh or frozen baby peas
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 large Walla Walla or Vidalia sweet onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 green chili, seeded and minced (wash your hands afterward)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon garam masal or 2 teaspoon curry paste
3 ounces of cream
4.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt to taste
Place chicken into sauce pan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and turn off heat. Leave for 45 minutes. When cooked and cool, bone and skin chicken, then shred into a bowl.
Prepare the basmati rice according to package directions.
Sauté the onions in the olive oil until the onions are softened, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and green chili, and keep sautéing for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes, peas, garam masal or curry paste, and spices. Stir well. Lower the heat and allow to cool for a minute or two. Add the shredded chicken, stir. Add the cooked rice and cream. Mix well and taste. Add salt and pepper as desired.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put chicken curry filling on one side of the round and fold over the other half to make a half-moon shape. Seal edges of filled empanada rounds with moistened fingertips, making sure the seal is tight, then curl up edge onto itself and crimp like piecrust. Brush with egg yolk and bake for 20 minutes or until done.

Myra's absolute favorite. But when cooking for Sima and Ginny, substitute oil + butter for the lard. Or, if you've cooked goose or duck the day before, save and strain the fat from that pan for superior hashed browns. Note: It is NOT cool to serve Jewish people tref food without their consent. Sneaking sugar into a recipe if you are serving a diabetic is likewise acting like a tool of the patriarchy.
Use a cast-iron skillet with a lid. Feeds 6, or three if Myra's eating.
6 Yukon gold potatoes (really, no others will quite do)
1/2 Walla Walla or Vidalia sweet onion
Lard (or, for non-tref, equal amounts canola oil and butter)
1-2 tablespoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt
Shred the potatoes, skins and all. Gillam can do this if it's not on the mandolin. Shred the onion separately.
Rinse the potatoes until the water is clear. Pat them completely dry with a dish towel -- this is crucial. Mix the onion in with the potatoes.
While that's happening, preheat the skillet to medium high. Add oil and wait until it glistens. It must be thoroughly hot before you begin. Test by dropping a shred of potato into the hot oil -- if it begins sizzling immediately, you can add the rest.
Add the potatoes in an even layer. Press down to flatten then with the back of your spatula, then add salt and pepper over it.
Cover skillet with lid. Do not mess with the potatoes. After five minutes, take a look. When the edges of the hashed browns look dark brown and the top of them looks like it's cooking (maybe another five minutes), loosen the sides with your spatula.
Drip a little bit more oil over the top of the potatoes, then drizzle honey over them. Flip the hashed browns. Cook just a bit longer. Drain on brown paper and serve.

Halve the recipe if it's just her and Myra. Great with blueberry muffins. Serves 4.
8 fresh brown eggs at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into bits
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Chives (cut from the upstairs deck)
Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt to taste
Put butter to melt slowly over a low heat in a nonstick skillet. Beat together the eggs and cream cheese. Add a little pepper and salt (you can finish seasoning after it's done to taste).
Turn up heat to medium low. Add the egg mixture to the butter and cook slowly, stirring constantly. When the eggs are set but creamy, remove from heat. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

Myra prefers to use egg and onion matzohs for this. Very quick breakfast that always puts Ginny in a good mood. Serves 4.
4 egg and onion matzoh
4 brown eggs
1/2 cup raw milk
3 tablespoons butter
Fresh white pepper and kosher salt to taste
Turn on the kitchen tap and run each matzoh under the running water on both sides. Crumble the matzoh in medium pieces into a bowl. In a separate large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Add the matzohs and blend.
Melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the egg mixture and cook, stirring from the bottom with a large spatula. Keep the matzoh in large scrambled pieces. When eggs are done, serve.

Creates one 9 inch pie. Will make those Northern wimmins of cullah swoon.
1.5 cups white flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans plus 1/2 cup whole pecans
1/2 cup of Crisco (can use unsalted butter if folks freak out about the Crisco)
1/4 cup ice water
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 quart when cooked)
2 large brown eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Cut off the ends of sweet potatoes, then peel. Boil in a pot of water until soft, about 40-50 minutes. When done, turn off heat.
Sift together flour and salt. Add pecans, then Crisco. Mix together until it beads. Add ice water. Continue mixing with your hands until it comes together in a dough, adding more water if necessary.
Make a ball of the dough and press it into a pie plate, make sure it comes up the sides. Flute the edges. Prick the bottom of the pie crust with a fork and put it into a 375 degree F oven for about ten minutes.
While it bakes, make your filling. Scoop the sweet potatoes out of the water and mash in a large bowl, using a potato masher to make sure there are no lumps. Add sugar and cinnamon, and mix well. Add the nutmeg and the eggs. Whip with a whisk. Add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, mix again.
Melt butter in small saucepan. Add to sweet potato mixture and whip well.
After pie shell is cool, fill with sweet potato mixture. Arrange whole pecans in pattern on top of pie. Sprinkle cinnamon over this and bake pie in oven at 375 degrees F for 55-60 minutes. When cool, serve and top with whipped cream.

Chris doesn't make these, Myra does. But Chris appreciates them out of all proportion. Makes one 9-inch pie.
1.5 cups Tejas pecan pieces + half cup of whole pecans (East Texas papershell pecans are best)
1 cup light Karo syrup
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
3 large brown eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package of McVities cookies (from the U.K.) or pecan shortbread cookies
Crush enough cookies to make 1 cup of crumbs. Melt 1/2 stick butter and add to crumbs in a pie plate. Moisten the crumbs with the butter and press them into the plate, up the sides, creating a crust. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Melt the remaining 1/2 stick butter in a small sauce pan. Beat the eggs in a large bowl.
Mix into the eggs the brown sugar, Karo, melted butter, salt and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Add in the pecan pieces. Pour into pie shell. Arrange the whole pecans in a pattern on the top. Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees F, then lower heat to 350 degrees F and bake an additional 40-45 minutes.
Great for freezing to save for special occasions.

These began as a recipe by Myra, but Gillam added on the glaze and intensified the peanut butter layer. Makes 16 brownies.
First, make the brownies:
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 organic brown eggs
1 tablespoon molasses
1 cup whole grain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of a 8" square baking pan.
Melt chocolate in double boiler, stirring until smooth.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk butter until light, slowly adding sugar until well-incorporated. Stir in eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in milk and molasses. Add the melted chocolate and beat well.
Stir in flour, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Spread evenly in greased pan.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Set aside to cool in pan.
Now, for the peanut butter layer and glaze:
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup organic peanut butter (can use other nut butter for different flavors)
1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
2 ounces softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
In mixing bowl, combine the softened butter and cream cheese, peanut butter, confectioner's sugar and milk. Beat until it is light and fluffy. Spread this evenly over the brownies.
In double boiler, combine semi-sweet chocolate chips and unsalted butter. Melt slowly over low heat, stirring until smooth. Drizzle in cross-hatches over the peanut butter. Chill.

These are technically scones, not doughnuts, because doughnuts in the shape of a triangle with fruit added turned out to be too hard to make. But Margie and Gillam never knew the difference. They frequently asked for STDs as a treat after Myra developed this recipe. Makes 16 triangular scones.
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1.25 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup fresh (NOT frozen) strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh lemon balm leaves, or zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
Confectioner's sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Sift together flours, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse crumbs. Gently add the strawberries and lemon balm/zest.
In a second medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Do not overmix.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead several times. Divide the dough in half. Form a rectangle from each half using your fingers. Cut lengthwise down each rectangle, then cut the halves into four triangles, alternating top to bottom.
Place the triangles on the cookie sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes or until just light browned on top. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Can be served warm or frozen for future use.

This recipe is for small batches but can be expanded for your annual "putting up" of applesauce. With the right combination of apples, you won't need sugar and the mix of flavors will be extraordinary.
3 organic Red Delicious apples
1 each of organic Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, and Pink Lady apples
2 lemon slices
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Wash the apples well. Core them and cut into thick slices (no need to peel them -- most of the antioxidant value of an apple is in its skin).
Combine the apples, lemon slices, and 1/2 cup water in a large nonstick saucepan. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, or until apples have fallen apart into sauce and chunks, stirring often. Do not leave unattended or allow to burn. You may add more water if needed, but it should be thick.
When done, add cinnamon and nutmeg. Store in covered container in fridge and eat within a week.
To make larger quantities for canning purposes:
1 bushel = 4 pecks = 8 gallons dry weight
One peck of apples = 40-45 medium-sized apples
Multiple the above quantities of apples by pecks or bushels. If you buy 3 pecks of Red Delicious and 1 peck of each of the other six varieties, you'll end up with around 32 quarts of applesauce. If you use bushels instead of pecks, you'll end up with around 128 quarts of applesauce, which is what Ginny and Myra make. (Gillam alone consumes 15 quarts a year.)
If you upgrade the above apple quantities to pecks, you'll need 80 slices of lemon, 10 teaspoons of cinnamon, and 5 teaspoons of nutmeg to make your 32 quarts.
Can in the usual manner. Get Ginny or Allie to make your labels for giving jars away to friends and family.

Copyright 2007 Maggie Jochild

1 comment:

kat said...

you're my hera....I spent all evening pining for latkes....