Native Cooking

Dale Carson
6/30/04

Summer brings so much joy and freedom to work, play, dance, eat - repeat!
It is very important to remember to hydrate. Naturally, water is the first
and best choice, lots of it all day long. This is essential, especially for
dancers at the pow wows. I must confess that I buy bottled water from time
to time for my family, but I usually refill the empties from our own well
water. We happen to have very delicious water. Kids home from school seem
to be thirsty all the time. They are better than adults at knowing when
they're thirsty, we adults tend to delay that urge.

Carbonated soda is not a good choice for anyone. Once in a great while if
there is nothing else, it may hit the spot, but not a good thing to make a
habit of.

Awhile back, I wrote about smoothies and vegetable juice drinks. Now I have
a few ideas for summer social beverages that might appeal to a crowd.
Before I do that, however, here is a small list of naturally Native drink
flavorings. Any of these with water makes a pleasant light drink or a tea:
birch; blackberry; chamomile; chickory; dandelion; dill; elderberry;
goldenrod; maple; strawberry; mint; sassafras; sumac; atole; cocoa and
vanilla

Super Summer Drink

1 large can of pineapple juice

1 quart of lemon or orange sherbet

Chill the juice, soften the sherbet. Put the two in a large container and
beat or blend together. Add ice and serve in tall glasses.

Cranberry Punch

1/2 gallon of cranberry juice

1 large can (46-oz.) orange-pineapple juice

3 tablespoons lemon OR lime juice

1/2 cup or less sugar (or sugar substitute)

1 quart gingerale

Combine everything but the gingerale, add ice. Just before serving, add the
gingerale. If using a punch bowl, float some orange or lime slices and
sprigs of mint on top.

Sumac-ade

To make sumac juice, pick the red cones and cover them with water. Boil for
10 minutes, mashing frequently. Let cool a bit then strain off liquid. Now,
boil 3 cups of sumac juice with 2 cups of sugar for 3 minutes. Now you have
a syrup that will last a while if refrigerated. For a drink, add two
tablespoons of this syrup to water, club soda, tonic, lemonade, etc. Add
ice and serve.

You can also freeze ice cubes or ice blocks of unsweetened sumac juice. Add
whole strawberries or mint springs for interesting cubes.

Quick Corn Fritters

1 large can creamed corn

2 eggs

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon salt Dash pepper

1/2 cup, or more, flour

Mix all together until it seems like pancake batter. Drop by tablespoons
into hot oil. Brown on both sides, drain on paper towel, then serve. (For
best results use a cast iron skillet and canola or corn oil)

Make-A-Meal Grill

2 - 3 large portabella mushrooms, sliced 1/2-inch thick

2 large sweet onions, sliced

2 yellow summer squash, sliced 1/2-inch thick

2 green summer squash, sliced 1/2-inch thick

1 - 2 green, red or yellow bell peppers, sliced thick

3 large sweet potatoes, washed and slit lengthwise

1 package turkey sausage or smoked sausage

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley

3 tablespoons olive oil

Optional, 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

Prepare the vegetables to be cooked in heavy duty foil or in one of those
flat pans with lots of holes made just for grilling small things. In a
small bowl mix together the garlic, parsley, oil and seasoning if used.
Brush this on all the vegetables, coating all sides. Now you can split and
grill the sausage separately, then slice and add to vegetables. This meal
can also be made with leftover meat instead of or in addition to the
grilled sausage.

Grill the vegetables long and slow, 20 - 30 minutes, fork test for
doneness. Serve with crusty bread, fry bread or corn bread.

Notes & Tips:

This crazy e-mail I got really makes you think. There is no egg in
eggplant, no ham in hamburger, no apple or pine in pineapple. If the plural
of man is men, then shouldn't the plural of pan be pen? If a vegetarian
eats vegetables, then what does a humanitarian eat?

If you have an opportunity to pick berries of any kind, do it! They freeze
beautifully, but DO NOT rinse or wash them first, that will turn them to
mush when they defrost.

I want to thank all of you who have sent in suggestions and ideas to
NativeCooking@aol.com. I am always learning things. Please let me know what
YOU want to see for recipes in this column.

Dale Carson is the author of three books, "New Native American Cooking,"
(temporarily out of print) "Native New England Cooking" and "A Dreamcatcher
Book."

For ordering information write to Dale Carson, P.O. Box 13, Madison, CT
06443 or e-mail NativeCooking@aol.com.

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