Native Cooking Column by Dale Carson

Dale Carson
8/28/03

When I was a kid my uncle worked on a farm and my mom would take me to visit him or pick him up. He was a sweet man, never married because the love of his life turned him down. He lived with our family, my mom (his sister), my dad, grandma (his and mom's mother) and me.

Once when we visited the farm he had a big pot of boiling water ready. He lifted it and brought it out into the cornfield. Taking an ear and stripping it, he put it in the pot, then another and another. It did taste good, the way I suppose corn should taste. Later in life I learned that a chemical reaction converts the sugar into starch almost immediately after picking. So, the sooner you cook and eat corn after picking, the sweeter it will be.

There are many varieties of corn, as you know, and most people have a personal favorite. We like what is called "cow corn" around here, big thick ears with a bright yellow color. It's meaty to chew. A lot of people like the bicolored corn, butter and sugar.

We find the kernels too shallow, but it is popular. An unusual variety is Oaxacan green dent corn. These are small, fat ears in variegated shades of green and blue. It is a dent corn which means that once the corn is completely dry they become wrinkled or indented.

Soft Corn Fritters

1 large can creamed corn

2 eggs

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon salt

A little fresh black pepper

1/2 cup or more flour

Mix all ingredients together to the consistency of pancake batter. Fry in hot oil or shortening until golden.

Crisp Corn Fritters

2 cups of corn kernels

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

Vegetable oil

1-1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Dash fresh ground pepper

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add the egg, milk and butter into the dry mix, then add corn. Fry in very hot vegetable oil until browned on both sides.

You can also add a can of minced or chopped clams to this recipe for an interesting and tasty variation.

Marinated Sardines

Sardines are really baby herring. In Maine and other coastal areas of New England it was the Native custom to cook them skewered on sticks on a rack over an open fire. Children would often be seen eating them like a walking snack right on the stick. Make this recipe a day before serving so the flavors can meld in the chilling process.

Mix together for the marinade:

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup vinegar

4 tablespoons white wine

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon horseradish

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup thin sliced onion

1 cup thin sliced cucumber

Drain and arrange three cans of sardines in a shallow pan. Spread the above marinade over them and chill.

Good-Easy-Pretty

6 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1/2 cup onions, sliced thin

4 cups of corn kernels (8 ears)

2 cups zucchini, sliced

1 large tomato, chopped

1 tablespoon parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter or olive oil to saut? onions. Then add corn and squash. Cook, stiring frequently. When vegetables are tender, stir in the tomato, parsley, salt and pepper. Heat through and serve.

Baked Chicken

4 boneless chicken breasts, skinned and cut in half

1 package dry onion soup mix

2 cups bread crumbs

1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/3 cup parsley, chopped

Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil. Combine the onion soup mix, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and parsley in a separate bowl. Melt the butter in a saut? pan and saut? the garlic in it for about one minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Worcestershire and mustard. Dip the chicken in the butter mixture, then in the bread crumbs to coat. Coat all the chicken this way and arrange in the baking pan. Pour any remaining butter mixture over the top and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Notes & Tips

* Mace - the dried cover of the nutmeg's seed. It tastes similar to nutmeg but has a delicate fragrance that is different. Whole, it is used for pickling fish, sauces and stewed fruit. Ground, it is used to flavor baked items like doughnuts, quick breads and pastries. It also adds an unusual flavor to chocolate desserts.

* Wash out a squirt bottle from mustard, mayo or even ketchup. Fill it with your cooking oil.

* If you're worried about too much sugar in your recipes, try cutting half the amount of sugar with a diet sweetener. Every little bit helps.

* E-mails: Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don't have any film.

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