Miners Shovel Bread & Watercress, Potato & Tomato Salad

Fast food for miners.

After a long, hard day in the creek bed shoveling and sifting gravel, the last thing a 49’er miner wanted to do was prepare a meal. This simple fare offered a quick fix as well as a host of health problems.

Shovel Bread

Start a fire. Let the wood burn down to coals.
Mix:

2 tbsp butter
1 ½ cup flour
water
salt
onion powder
1 egg

Stir until smooth. *The batter should be thick.

Using a clean shovel, rest it in coals until hot.

A deep fire pit is NOT necessary for this recipe.

Support shovel firmly over coals. Pour batter over the blade. Use a long-handled spatula or spoon to keep it in place until the base sets.

Lightly press against batter to determine doneness.

It’s done when it feels spongy.

 

Click on the photo to watch a video about malnutrition during the California Gold Rush.

Learn about Scurvy in California’s Food Capital.

Watercress, Potato & Tomato Salad

Finely chop potatoes.
Fry in oil till done.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Set aside to cool.
Chop or tear watercress into bite-sized pieces.
Add fresh or sun-dried tomatoes (in oil).
Dress with red wine vinegar and oil.
Top with grated cheese.

 

Resources:

 

Huffington Post – Recipes That Show You How Watercress Is Supposed To Be Eaten

Sauteed Potato and Watercress – Quick Vegan Side

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Corn Fritters – Mary Schmidt Schwaller

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“I only eat Corn Fritters with butter and syrup – simple and delicious.” Mary Schmidt Schwaller, niece of Betty Wrysinski

This recipe for Corn Fritters came from the 1949 edition of Joy of Cooking. (My mom wrote it out by hand for me as part of a wedding shower gift.)

1 cup cooked green corn or canned corn.

Drain and mash with a potato masher.

Beat until light and add:

2 eggs

Add:

6 tblsp. flour

1/2 tsp. any baking powder

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Melt in a small skillet:

2 tblsp. butter

When it is very hot, add the batter by the tablespoonful. Permit the bottom of the cakes to brown, reverse them and brown the other side.

 

In the Joy of Cooking, the recipe begins with this story.  My mom used to read to me.

When I was a child, one of eight, my father frequently promised us a marvelous treat. He, being an amateur horticulturist and arborculturist, would tell us of a fritter tree he was going to plant on the banks of a small lake filled with molasses, maple syrup or honey, to be located in our back yard. When one of our children felt the urge for the most delectable repast, all we had to do was to shake the tree, the fritters would drop into the lake and we could fish them  out and  eat fritters to our hearts’ content.

My mother was a good cook and a good helpmate, so she developed the fritter that was to grow on and fall from the tree into the lake of molasses or maple syrup or honey, as the case might be. Mr. William N. Matthews.

Joy of Cooking, 1949 excerpt, reprinted with publisher permission.

 

Guest Post by Mary Schmidt Schwaller

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Adrian (Bud) and Virginia (Ginger) Windus Schmidt

While researching genealogy, I found Lisa’s Shared Tastes blog. It had pictures of my Aunt Betty as well as some of her recipes.  It was clear that she left her mark on her family. I wish I had known her.  We both entered apple pies in contests.  She won first place, I won second.

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Adrian (Bud) and Virginia (Ginger) Schmidt on their wedding day. (Mary Schmidt Schwaller’s parents.)

There is a picture of a birthday celebration; the meal was pork roast and sauerkraut.  My dad Adrian, Betty’s younger brother, loved that meal.  He used to say, “If I die today, I will die a happy man,” after eating it.  This tradition lives on in Park Falls as this meal is served at most restaurants for “Sunday supper.”

We didn’t have much money so my parents had to be inventive when trying to create special treats.   I clearly remember Sunday evening Disney movies on the TV and the dining room table full of homemade deep fried potato chips and French fries.   The recipe would be as you would expect, fresh potatoes, boiling oil, and lots of salt.

I was asked to share a Wisconsin Schmidt recipe.  Every recipe I considered was already there from Grandma Betty.  Potato dumplings, casseroles, pork roast, etc.

Through the blog, I was able to connect with my California family.  I have gotten to know my cousin Mary and was lucky enough to meet my cousin Peggy in October, 2016.  It is odd how similar our lives have been even though we lived so far apart.

 

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Lisa’s Notes about Names:

I asked my Aunt Mary (family historian) to help sort out the names for this post. Her response clarified why the confusion exists:

“Bud equals Adrian.  Betty equals Elisabeth.  Josie equals Joanne.  Stanley equals Gus.”

“I asked Uncle Bud (Adrian Schmidt) once if anyone was ever called by their given name.  He said the German community in Park Falls had nicknames for a lot of people.  Below is part of an article he wrote for 100 Years on the Flambeau, a local history book about the Price County area in upper Wisconsin.  Apparently nicknames were a tradition.”

uncle-bud-article

 

 

 

 

 

Sauce Series – Taste Testing – 1 of 5

Learn the skill of sauce making.

To begin this process, start with an exercise program…taste testing. By exposing your taste buds to a variety of seasonings, you’ll increase your flavor recall and you will know what to add to develop the flavors that you desire.

(Start with items that you have on-hand in your cupboard or pantry.)

Set up a side-by-side comparisons to discover the subtle differences between varieties of sweeteners, salty flavors, and vinegars.

Sweet flavors – maple syrup, honey, agave syrup, molasses, etc.

Salty flavors  – soy sauce, tamarind sauce, liquid aminos, Worcestshire sauce, etc.

Vinegarsfruit vinegars, balsamic, white wine, rice, red wine, white, etc.

Arrange the tasting items from mildest to strongest; taste them in this order.

*If you begin to loose sensation in either your taste buds or in your sense of smell, take a break. Drink some water or milk, eat a few plain crackers, bits of bread, or sniff coffee grounds to clear your pallet.

The Sauce Series is organized into three basic sauce categories; red, brown, and white. Each blog post contains recipes for several simple sauces to make and taste.  Number three in the series includes in-depth tutorials about working with thickening agents. Finally, the series is wrapped up with a humorous cooking challenge modelled after one of my favorite cooking shows, ‘Chopped‘.

Sauce Series #1 – taste bud training

Sauce Series #2 – red sauces

Sauce Series #3 – brown sauces & thickening agents

Sauce Series #4 – white sauces

Mock ‘Chopped’ #5 – group cooking challenge how-to

 

 

 

 

 

Sourdough Starter – Grandma

A cousin, who is just about to turn 21, has been experimenting with making sourdough starter recently. We’ve enjoyed times together in the kitchen experimenting with making different foods – especially salsa.

When a recipe for this just turned up in Grandma’s things (as I was searching for something else) I took it as an ‘attaboy!’ cooking sign for Brennan from Grandma.

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To make starter, place 1 cup milk in a glass jar or crock (nothing metal) and allow it to stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

Stir in 1 cup flour (to speed the process, place in front of an open window to expose the dough to the wild yeast cells floating in the wind). Leave uncovered in a warm place (80 degrees) for 2 to 5 days, depending on how long it takes to bubble and sour.

fermented flour and milk

*If it starts to dry out, stir in enough warm water to bring it back to the original consistency. Once it has a good sour aroma and is full of bubbles, it is ready to use.

Try to maintain 1 12/ cup starter. Each time you use part of your starter, replenish it with a mixture of equal parts of milk and flour. Leave at room temperature until it again becomes full of bubbles, the cover and store in the refrigerator.

home made bread

 

Here’s a step-by-step sourdough starter making video series by Food Wishes.

Updates:

“I had a slight resurgence in interest in sourdough a couple of months ago and looked up “how-to” on the internet. What’s written below is repeated over and over with very little variation (i.e. maybe mix the flour in originally) in many, many places. So this is the method. My bacteriology and mycology training just can’t seem to settle with this. It seems dangerous. Yet this is how people have done it for generations. ….There was one time when I sustained a sourdough culture for about 4-6 months and it worked great. But it was from a purchased “starter kit.”

“Wayne has some experience with sourdough starter I think. I clearly recall him talking about “throwing it a biscuit” every now and then, meaning replenishing it with flour & water to keep it going if you didn’t bake any bread for a while.” – Jeanette

“Sourdough is a wonderful hobby, it doesn’t take much luvin’ but one needs to keep it fed so it doesn’t go bad and get “ugly” and die. I’m told, though I never tried it, if you grow weary of your friend you can add enuff flour to make a pretty hard ball and just put it away. Then ,when you feel inspired again . you just squish it up in some water and VILOA! yer back in bidness 🙂 What a great friend !! Better’n a dawg or cat even.” – Wayne

“Thanks Jeanette.  I was hoping you might have an explanation about how letting the milk “sour” sets up a fermentation process that kills germs.  Now I know skepticism is okay.   I have discarded sourdough starter that had the “pink, green or dark brown” look.  It probably happened because I failed to “feed” it.  In any case, I don’t like to experiment with my intestinal tract.” – Mary

Jeanette’s Online Research:

I “Googled” it and here’s the link:  http://motherhood.modernmom.com/can-sick-baking-bread-bad-starter-9205.html

The use of a starter when baking bread shortens the rising time and gives the bread a complex, developed flavor not ordinarily available through the use of only yeast. Making your own sourdough — or starter-based — bread is not hard, but it is an act of commitment; the use of a bad starter is not only dangerous but could be deadly.

Bad Starters

Starters work by creating an ideal place for wild yeast and friendly bacteria to settle and populate. If treated correctly, these friendly microorganisms will make the dough untenable for unfriendly germs — the friendly bacteria will produce lactic acid, which will make the bread tangy and the starter toxic to most microorganisms. However, if you allow the yeast in your starter to die, room will become available for germs and toxin-forming bacteria — such as E. coli — to settle in. While many bakers would argue that almost all starters can be saved — considering that there may be a chance of serious contamination — discard starters that show signs of distress to be safe.

Signs of Contamination

A starter should be white, light gray or light tan. It should smell like bread dough, of yeast or of its ingredients. It should bubble subtly and occasionally burp. If the starter has liquid on top of it — this is called hooch, and it is the alcohol the starter’s yeast produces from fermentation — it should be clear, white, light gray or light brown. If the starter or its hooch is pink, green or dark brown, discard the starter. If it smells or looks moldy, discard the starter. If the starter is fizzing or the starter has spots or patches — which are signs of foreign bacterial growth — discard the starter.

Additional Resources:

Lactic Acid Gone Bad

Lisa’s recommended Fermentation books:

click on the image to visit the book’s Amazon page.

art of fermentation art of fermentation2

nourishing traditions fermentation for beginners

 

 

 

Detoxing, Recharging and Cleaning Out the Pipes

Stefan Krause, Germany

I’ve watched many friends doing detoxes and cleanses but was never brave enough to try one myself.  What is a detox? It is like flushing out  slow-running pipes in your plumbing system….except this one is in your body. Over time, our soft tissues and circulatory system accumulates things that we wish it wouldn’t; chemicals from cleaning products, preservatives from processed foods, heavy metals from environmental pollution and the list goes on…

On a scale from one to ten, I figured that my daily eating habits rated about a 7.5. There was room for improvement. A system-wide preventative-maintenance program seemed like a good idea at this point, because I’d clicked over another zero on the odometer of life. Finally, I was curious to find out if I had the willpower and resolve necessary to be really good with everything that I put in my mouth.

I signed up for an 11 Day Clean Eating Program with Zywies (Z ī -wees) Health Coach, Mafer Frantz. In the beginning, I was worried that I might fail. I love my morning coffee and enjoy satisfying a desire for something sweet after lunch.

IMG_6987-lrwebAccording to Mafer, “detoxing at least 4 times a year supports a healthy body for a lifetime.” Her program promises that you won’t go hungry, you will eat whole, seasonal foods and you will have more energy and feel great. Her promises are true.

The regime begins with drinking lots of water! First thing in the morning, a splash of apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper is added to it. For the remainder of the day you are drinking water with unsweetened fruit juice concentrates. The next step is the elimination of some of the things that we all know are not good for us – sugar, caffeine, bread, cheese and certain meats. Going along with every step, Mafer provides educational articles to read about what happens inside our bodies as a result of  eating the foods we habitually consume.

Alternatives and substitutions are where things start to get interesting and where my failure-worry was replaced with curiosity and enthusiasm for all of the new things to eat, snack on and prepare.

At the conclusion of the program, I did feel more energized. I haven’t resumed my prior coffee habit and I have adopted new, healthier, practices that will be incorporated into my (and my families) everyday life. I have also learned, once again, that I don’t have to be afraid of change.

Since this blog follows the ebb and flow of Shared Tastes, you will be seeing my own take on preparing and eating superfoods, more seasonal whole foods and more vegetarian dishes. Many of these are directly inspired by Mafer Frantz’s 11 Day Clean Eating Program.

 

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Turkey – Brined & Self Basting – with Stuffing on the side

How do you know when something is done? When you can smell it…  This meal creates delightful aromas and flavors.

meal

Brine Mix:

Sea Salt
Dried herbs: juniper berries, rosemary, black peppercorns, cranberries, garlic, apples, thyme, rosemary, sage and orange peels.

In a heavy white garbage (compactor) bag combine 1/2 cup brine mix with 4 cups warm water.  Shake it around so that the salt dissolves.
Place bag inside of a 5 gallon bucket.brine mixture

brined

Remove packaging from turkey as well as giblets or packing in the body cavity. Rinse turkey with fresh water then pat dry.
Without poking holes, run your hands under the turkey skin on the breast and back to create skin pockets.
Use a fork or knife to pierce turkey meat in the breasts, thighs & legs.

Put turkey into basting bag inside of bucket. Fill bag with water until turkey is submerged. Place bucket in refrigerator several days prior to cooking.

Self Basting Herb Paste:

1  cup barely softened butter
4 strips bacon uncooked – chopped
1/2 onion – chopped
3 cloves garlic – chopped
1/2 bunch fresh parsley – chopped
Fresh sage – chopped (about 3 tblsp.)
1 preserved lemon – chopped (less if a less salty gravy is desired)

1 cup dry white wine

4-5 more strips of bacon

Use your hands to squeeze the mixture together till well mixed.

Gently place handfulls of the Self Basting Herb Paste into the skin pockets.

basting paste

Place turkey –  breast side down –  into baking pan.

Lay remaining strips of bacon on top of bird & cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Cook in 350 degree oven till done. (See package cooking instructions for how much time to cook based on weight.)

Check center of breast meat with meat thermometer. Once it’s reached 155 degrees it’s ready!

Adam prepares the 2013 Thanksgiving turkeys; a wild hunted bird and a store bought.

Adam prepares the 2013 Thanksgiving turkeys; a wild hunted bird and a store bought.

Strain out solids from turkey drippings. Place in pot on stove top. At medium heat, start adding sprinkles of Wondra Flour once bubbles start appearing at the edges.  Blend with hand-held whisk until desired thickness.

Stuffing:

Meyer Lemon Bread Crumbs – about 4 cups

1 bunch fresh cilantro – chopped
3 beaten eggs
1/2 onion  – copped
3 stalks celery – chopped
3 cloves garlic – chopped
chicken broth – enough to moisten bread crumbs
1 drop food-grade Oregano oil (stirred into broth)

Combine all ingredients, cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

jaja with turkey

Leek & Potato Soup

potato leek soup

1 cup leeks – chopped – sautéd in 2 tblsp. bacon drippings
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 tblsp. catsup
2 cups potatoes – chopped
1 small onion – chopped
1 stalk celery – chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley – chopped

salt & pepper to taste
sprinkle of paprika

1/2 to 1 cup lemon roux

to water add, leeks, bay leaf & catsup – simmer for 20 minutes
add remaining ingredients – bring to boil – reduce heat once potatoes are done.

add roux or other cream sauce

top with home made croutons & a splash of cilantro sauce

Home Made Croutons (Breadcrumbs) – Meyer Lemon Rosemary

croutons

cut a favorite bread into bite sized cubes

place cubes in single layer on baking sheet

heat in 200 degree oven till cubes are slightly brown and thoroughly dry

season as desired

store in plastic bags in freezer (crunch up inside plastic bag for finer crumbs)

My favorite: Meyer Lemon Rosemary by  www.thebakerandthecakemaker.com

Poached Eggs on Cheese Bread

Delicious day old bread uses.

2 cups chicken broth

2 tblsp. cilantro sauce

day old bread slices

Kerrygold Dubliner cheese – shredded

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Use a little bit of the chicken broth to poach the eggs in.

Slice and toast day old bread.

Place the toast into a baking pan.

Top each piece with shredded cheese.

To the remaining chicken broth, add cilantro sauce.

Pour chicken broth/cilantro sauce over bread then microwave for 30-45 seconds to melt cheese.
Let this sit until the bread has soaked up enough liquid to make it soft.

Remove cheese bread from pan, put on plate then top with poached eggs.

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Click here for more uses for hard bread.

Persimmon Pudding

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar (or maple syrup)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts
2 cups fresh persimmon pulp
2/3 cup milk (or soy milk)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
zest from 1 lemon

persimmon pudding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix all dry ingredients. Add liquid ingredients and stir till smooth.

Place mixture into greased loaf pan.

Bake at 325° for about 50 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Top with Coconut Milk Whipped Cream