Traditional Foods

"Traditional" in the context of these projects means pre-contact foods. No beef, mutton, goat, chicken, pork, milk, butter, cream, wheat flour (no fry bread), rye, barley, okra, black-eyed peas, or any other "Old World" food that many of us have lovingly incorporated into our diets and tribal cultures. No processed foods (Doritoes, Lays Chips, etc), even if the base is corn or potatoes. No chocolate unless it is unsweetened cacao or sweetened with honey from the Melipona bee, fruit, stevia, camas or agave. Be adventurous and try unfamiliar foods! There are many foods to choose from. My American Indian Health and Diet Project site lists and defines many of them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


The remainder of the peppers. I cut the stems off the red ones, the Kung Paos and Tobasco Seasonings, and put them in the food dehydrator. After they're dry, they'll get ground up in the coffee bean grinder to be used as sprinkles on spaghetti, eggs, pizza, potatoes, etc.

Easy Beans

Beans are staples at our house and I cook them in the crock pot at least once a week. Black beans are especially nutritious. This weekend I soaked a bag of black beans overnight then the next day tossed the water (some argue that you should use the water, but I normally just pour it in the compost bin). Put in the crock pot along with 6 chopped tomatoes, a chopped onion, black pepper, and three cups of turkey stock then cook 6 hours on high--or longer if you're at work.

Peppers make nice props

The tomatoes turn black. Add some salsa and corn bread. Dinner is ready.

Baked Squash

The Black Eyed Pea restaurant has a delicious squash casserole, but it's made with butter, milk and sugar. This is my riff on the dish with indigenous ingredients.

Four small yellow squashes, two zucchinis, 1/2 cup agave syrup, 1/2 chopped sweet onion, 3/4 cup corn meal. Black pepper and hot sauce to taste.

Boil the squashes and onion until tender. Drain, put in casserole dish and add the corn meal, agave, pepper then mash. Cook in oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Josh says that it almost tastes like dessert, so maybe I added too much agave--but perhaps not!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Last Call for Peppers and Tomatoes

It did not freeze last night like the weather guy predicted, but it will tonight. I assessed my peppers and tomatoes and still had hundreds on the vines, but they are not quite ready.

Upside down plants in one the sheds. My Risden mushing sled hangs in there, too. That's my old AZ truck plate.

I pulled them, shook the dirt from the roots, tied the plants to together and hung them upside down. The green ones should ripen.

Upside down peppers in the greenhouse.

I also dug up the elephant ears. I'll cut the stems close to the roots and will let them dry before storing in a bad full of vermiculite. That will keep them until next year.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Turkey Pepper Pot

This morning I put a turkey breast in the crock pot along with 30 peppers of various colors and sizes from my garden, black pepper, salt and green chile sauce. It cooked 8 hours and was done by the time we were really hungry. I served it with sweet corn and a side of tomatoes and leftover sauteed squash.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Squash Dinner

Here is a quick dinner made of squash, tomatoes, onions and spices. Cut a spaghetti squash in half and place cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 about 25 minutes or until it is soft.
In a skillet heated on medium, add sliced zucchini, yellow squash, onion, tomato, salt, black pepper and sage. Cook until tender.
Rake out the insides of the spaghetti squash with a fork into a bowl then top with the skillet ingredients.

The only clean up is the cuttng board and the squash leftovers.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend Meals

 Here are a couple of dishes I prepared this weekend. On top are sweet peppers stuffed with venison, onions, zucchini and jalapenos, all chopped very fine (see two pictures at bottom). The bigger the pepper, the easier it is to get the stuffing inside.
Just saute the filling with a bit of vegetable oil until tender, then place inside the halfed (and de-ribbed) peppers, then broil for about ten minutes.
Below is broiled salmon with four different garnishes, from left to rt.: tomatoes, onions and poblano peppers; tomatillo sauce; agave; and red peppers and onions.

chopped zucchini

chopped sweet onions

saute in skillet until done

Friday, September 21, 2012

Almost the last crop

 It's supposed to frost tonight, so I picked over 100 peppers from my raised bed (left) and from the big garden. There are still many blossoms so I'll cover with a tarp and hope for the best. My hoops aren't large enough to cover the tallest plants so I can't construct a regular cold frame.Here are some of the mild peppers I plan to stuff this weekend.

Another bed of peppers (rt) and butterfly plants in the other bed.

I got a few yellow squashes and zucchini from my garden and the butternut and acorn squashes from the farmer's market. Squash will be a major component in my Week of Indigenous Eating.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Despite the heat, I still have a lot of tomatoes and peppers. The squash slowed down for a few weeks but is now making a comeback. Today I picked a variety of colors. For lunch I cut up a few of the squash, peppers and tomatoes, put in a pan and sauteed with vegetable oil. Here is the recipe: although I only used what was in my garden plus some garlic powder and an onion from a local farm.

I got out previously-cooked pinto beans from the freezer and thawed them. Here is the recipe:
 Then I cooked some wild rice. I find this rice more filling than other kinds. You can substitute brown or another kind of rice if you prefer.
 Then I layered the cooked rice, beans and vegetables. The beans already were cooked with salsa so there is lots of flavor.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Squash "hummus"

Wild rice
Squash and rice "hummus"
Hummus is an Arab "mash" or spread made out of cooked chickpeas, ground sesame (Tahini), olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Variations include additional red bell pepper, pine nuts, cilantro, jalapenos, etc. Store bought hummus is very expensive, but you can make it yourself with garbanzo beans from the store (usually about a dollar a can).
I created two completely different kinds of hummus--not really hummus because these are made with squash. Still, is an interesting dip. Regular hummus is about 80 calories per 2 tablespoons (or two chips worth). In the first variation, I sauteed two zucchines, then mixed them in a food processor with 2 cups of cooked wild rice, plus 2 T olive oil, pepper and garlic. The result is above (in the processor). It's sort of gummy from the rice starch, but not bad. It needs to be eaten warm.

Below is another type. I sauteed two zucchines with onions, tomatoes, garlic and 2T of oilve oil.
Below is tabouleh, a Middle Eastern "salad" made of bulghur wheat, with added parsley, rice flour, onion, mint, etc. I bought this in a box as the store. Simply add hot water and olive oil and let it set. After reconstitution it looks like the picture on the left.

Mix the prepared tabouleh with the squash, onions and tomatoes (in a processor or blender). It will not have the same creamy texture as hummus, but it still is interesting. You can add other items such as hot peppers, cilantro, etc. Eat with crackers, carrots or celery. Josh put a bunch on his sandwich.

Squash/tabouleh hummus with a Trisket

Friday, July 6, 2012

July Vegetables

A huge squash
The hot weather continues. It's been over 100 degrees every day this week. The vegetables are heavily mulched so I don't have to water too much at one time, but it's required every other day.

Cucumber vines latch on to the fence

A late squash plant. I put a twirley from the Dollar Store next to it to deter the rabbits and a funnel so water can reach the roots.

This giant squash looks like three fused together

A nice pick of peppers

Yellow squashes grow next to a watermelon

These tomatoes should ripen in a few days

Luckily the corn developed tassels before it got hot. It gets a drink every day but still looks stressed

A nice little bounty from this morning

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hot Vegetables

Sunshine peppers
It's about 102 degrees outside. I mulched my gardens in early spring so I only water every three days. Everything has survived this hot month, but it is going to be challenging to keep the plants going if we have another week of 100-plus days.

I planted way too many squash plants in these raised beds. Now I can't get in there to pick anything.

A look under the thick canopy. That little whirly is there to scare off rabbits--when the pants were only an inch high, that is. Now a small rabbit stays under the leaves all day. I feed it scraps and so far it hasn't nibbled on my plants.

Cucumber vines have found the ladder.
I picked a few things today, inclduing squash, a zucchini, and peppers. This year I planted several types of tomatoes: Manitoba, Alaskan Fancy, Black Pineapple, Cherokee Purple, Chocolate Cherry, Golden Cherry.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Taco Salad

My daughter Ari created this healthy version of a taco salad yesterday. Instead of using a white tortilla she substituted a tomato tortilla, then baked it in a large bowl instead of deep frying it--like restaurants do. She used vegetable protien crumbles by Morning Star in addition to shredded romaine, peppers, and salsa. She flavored the fake meat with cumin and chili pwder instead of the salty taco seasoning you can buy in packets.