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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One Step Tamale Pie – Casserole

Casserole comfort food.

1 pound ground meat (beef)|
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Saute in skillet until onions are clear and meat is thoroughly cooked.

2 – 8 oz cans seasoned tomato sauce
-12 oz can corn, drained skillet
1/2 cup pitted olives, sliced
Few dashes hot pepper sauce
2 – 2 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons salt

Add above to skillet.

1 cup chicken broth
2 eggs slightly beaten
3/4 cup cornmeal

Blend in a bowl until smooth then add to skillet & cook for a few minutes.

Cook in a baking dish in 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.

Add cheese, if desired, in the last ten minutes.

Lisa’s Adaptations:

Same way of prepping and cooking – slightly different ingredients

1 pound ground elk meat
1 chipotle pepper
1 – 12 bag frozen peas, corn & green beans, thawed
1 large onion, chopped
1 entire bulb of garlic, chopped
two pinches salt
6 shakes chili powder

Saute in skillet until onion and meat are cooked.

To pan, add

1 cup polenta
1 – 6 oz can green olives with juice ( I like them whole)
1 – 7 0z can Embasa Salsa Casera
1 – 6 oz can tomato paste
2 tblsp. oregano
1 tsp. Better than Boullion Chicken Base (water from olives adds more salt and dilutes chicken base)
3 eggs, slightly beaten

Mix thoroughly & cook for a few minutes.

Cook in a baking dish in 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.

Add 1 lb of shredded cheddar cheese, if desired, in the last ten minutes.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sauce Series – Red Sauces – 2 of 5

Red sauces (tomato based) are some of the easiest sauces to start learning to make. Typically, they don’t require thickening agents and can be ready in minutes.

 

Quick Tomato Sauce

1 can condensed tomato soup

½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/8 tsp. salt

Pinch of pepper

¼ tsp. sugar

Combine ingredients and heat to boiling.

Makes 1 /4 cups

 

Quick Red Pasta Sauce

2-4 tbslp. Olive oil

6 cloves to and entire head of fresh garlic, crushed and chopped

1 can chopped tomatoes

Salt as needed

Italian spices

Sauté garlic in olive oil till just brown around the edges. Add the other ingredients and heat till bubbling. Server immediately over pasta

 

BBQ Sauce

1 can tomato paste

2 tsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. Caro Syrup, Molasses or Honey

2 tblsp. Vinegar

¼ tsp. salt

Pinch of pepper

Dash of red pepper

¼ tsp. paprika

¼ tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. mustard

¼ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Dash tabasco scauce

Clove of garlic chopped.

 

Dip meats in sauce before broiling, use as baste during roasting or BBQ on the grill.

 

Ketchup

__________

Check out the other videos in this Sauce Series

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

Chicken with Rice – Pollo Con Arroz

chicken with rice

A recipe from ‘Life at Home in Mexico’ cookbook [1944].  It is one of those simple comfort foods that satisfies with every bite.

The recipe was incorporated into an encaustic (hot wax) art piece. (An interesting side note. When working with hot wax, one uses tools that heat it until it turns, temporarily, liquid.  While heating the wax with the dried onions in it, the onions gave off a smell like they were being cooked…which they were!)

 

1 frying chicken – cut up

1/2 cup oil

1 cup rice, uncooked

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup tomato puree

21/2 cups boiling water

Salt and Pepper

Cut chicken in pieces and fry in oil until a delicate brown. Remove from pan. rice1Add the unwashed, uncooked rice to the oil in the pan and fry until golden, stirring frequently. Add onion, garlic, tomato puree and boiling water.rice 2 Season with salt and pepper. Add the browned chicken, and let simmer covered,f or 30 minutes. Do not remove cover. It must steam thoroughly. Serves 6-8.

 

* Lisa’s note:  I added cumin seed (about a teaspoon per serving) at the end to jazz it up.
chicken and rice