Heads up, this will not be
about the Mormons and their travels to Utah in 1847.No, I am going ahead in time to 1914 with the
establishment of “Russian Settlement”.It is not known if the settlers there had another name of this now ghost
town in the Park Valley area of Box Elder County.By 1917, the residents had moved to either
California, or towards Salt Lake City; continual crop failures, children sent
to outside schools, supplies not shipped in as promised broke them.The only remnant that the town ever existed
is a little white fence built around two gravesites, Anna Kalpakoff, who was
accidentally shot by her husband, and her sister-in-law, Mary Kalpakoff, who
died during childbirth.
These settlers were
Molokans, a Russian Protestant-like Christian sect; this particular group
belonging to a sub-sect called the “Jumpers and Leapers”.These believed they were visited by a manifestation
of the Holy Spirit, held revivals with intense zeal, reporting miracles that rivaled
the stories from Christ's apostles.Molokans were also pacifists; they refused to bear arms, or join with
any of Russia’s military forces.Life in
Russia became exceptionally difficult, for any religious sect, after the
publishing of Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” (1848); with Lenin finally
overthrowing the Emperor and his court in 1918.
As with any other persecuted
religious groups (Amish, Mennonite, Puritans, Quakers, Mormons), moving
elsewhere to find freedom was a very good idea.As with any immigrants that came to the United States, they brought with
them culinary goods they could carry and recipe books.America is called “The Melting Pot”, a
gigantic living, breathing, working version of the child’s book, Stone Soup.Picture this, the country is the cooking pot
being filled with ingredients from every ethnic, religious, racial populace
that has settled its lands.Our language
which we call English, is a variation of Olde English, Spanish, French, German,
Latin and a few others thrown in as seasonings.While we are all American, sometimes we tend to forget where our
ancestors truly came from; we have forgotten, or not bothered to learn
ancestral histories.We also tend to
forget that our ancestors were not that welcomed by residents already well-established
here; they had to fight for their, and your, rights.
There is your mental meal
to chew upon, now something to prepare for dinner to make your stomachs
happy.Since I have brought up Russia, a
popular meal prepared with either beef cubes, strips or ground is “Beef
Stroganoff”.The history behind this
dish is vague: #1 – 1850s created by a chef for Count Grigory Stroganov who had
rotten teeth and needed the meat to be very soft.#2 – 1891 created by French Chef Briere for
Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov; using shallots.#3 – 1871 Elena Molokhovets writes a cookbook
for young housewives; her recipe uses mushrooms, onions, bouillon, allspice and
mustard.None of the recipes include the
use of egg noodles, rice or ground beef; those are strictly American inclusions
along with the invention of cream of mushroom soup and crock pots.
Personally I have made
many versions of Beef Stroganoff using lean meat or ground beef; in a skillet
or crock pot; sauce made of sour cream or cream of mushroom soup.To avoid any disappointments, always make
sure to drain any excess oil after browning the beef; who enjoys a slimy sauce
really?When using beef cubes or strips
in a skillet, tenderize the meat overnight with a drizzle of red wine vinegar;
breaks up the fibers and even Count Grigory’s teeth wouldappreciate it.Ground beef (90% or higher lean) is the
quickest to brown in a skillet and this is the recipe I will now share.Enjoy!
1 package (12 oz.) extra
wide egg noodles.
1 lb. lean ground beef
(90% or higher)
1 medium onion, diced
1 package (8 oz.)
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. beef stock
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 container (16 oz.) sour
Prepare noodles according
to package instructions; begin browning meat, medium-high heat, in 12 inch,
deep skillet.When meat is partially
browned, add onions and continue to brown until no pink shows in meat; drain
any excess oil.
Add mushrooms, garlic,
black pepper, beef stock and Worcestershire; mix and let cook for 5 minutes.Add cooked egg noodles and sour cream; mix
thoroughly; remove from heat and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Bonus Recipe:Beef Stroganoff for Crock Pot
3 ½ - 4 lbs. lean beef,
cut into ½” cubes
½ cup flour
½ cup olive oil
1 bag (12 oz.) frozen,
1 can or jar (8 oz.) of
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 beef seasoning packets
or bouillon cubes
2 cups water
1 can (10 ¾ oz.) cream of
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ lbs cooked, broad egg
Mix beef cubes and flour
together; heat oil in large skillet, medium-high heat, and brown all sides of
cubes; drain excess oil
Set 6 quart crock pot on
low, place in all ingredients, except sour cream and egg noodles. Cover, cook
for 8 hours, stir in sour cream.Let
cook for 15 minutes; serve over egg noodles.
When I began to see the advertisements for Campbell's new "Well Yes!" soups, I immediately thought, "Oh great, another product that is supposed to be healthier and tastes like garbage. What a waste of money this will be." I purchased two varieties, waited for a cold, snowy day which called for soup, and opened up the "Sweet Potato Corn Chowder".
After heating, I dipped the spoon into my bowl and gave it all a stir; thick yet creamy; diced vegetables yet generous; the taste? Wow, simply wow; this was very like homemade, and absolutely delicious. I ate the entire bowl full and...well, licked the bowl clean as much as I could.
While this soup does have salt added (590mg per serving); what I truly loved is that it's diabetic friendly. Only 25 grams carbohydrates per serving (only 6 grams of sugar!)
Well Yes! Soups (https://www.campbells.com/well-yes/soups/) currently carry 9 varieties; and more than likely I'll be trying all of them; choosing my favorites to keep purchasing afterwards. So long as Campbell's continues to make them tasting homemade, low in sugar and delicious; I'll be a loyal consumer.
What can I say, I like the ease of preparation, taste, and variety of flavors using Knorr Products; whether Rice, Noodle, or Combo Sides. Sometimes I can simply serve it as an actual side with whatever protein I've cooked up: pork, meat, poultry, seafood. Then there are times I want to make it into a complete skillet meal which involves adding vegetables, maybe extra seasonings, sometimes a dairy product like cheese or sour cream. It's my skillet and I'll cook in it if I want to!
For ground beef, beef strips or cubes; Knorr Beef Flavored, Asian BBQ or Teriyaki are three flavors we enjoy eating the best with meat.
One Skillet Beef and Sugar Snap Peas
1 lb. lean ground beef (90% lean or more)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup diced onions
1 package (5.5 oz.) Knorr Rice Side, beef flavored
1 and 1/2 cups hot water
1 package (10 oz.) frozen sugar snap peas
Partially brown beef, medium-high heat, in a deep, 12 inch skillet; add mushrooms and onions, continue to brown beef till no pink shows.
Add contents of Knorr package and water; bring to a boil. Add sugar snap peas, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir contents of skillet together and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Notes: Do not add the oil/butter recommended on Knorr package directions; oil from the browned beef will complete that requirement. Instead of 2 cups of water, only 1 and 1/2 cups is needed, the remaining 1/2 cup will come from the frozen vegetable.
Valentine’s Day is just
around the corner; a day celebrating romance, love, passionate embraces and
kisses.For some, it is just another day
on the calendar; either they have no one to lavish their love upon, and vice
versa, or the spark has gone out of a romance altogether.Many couples celebrate their relationship on
a daily basis; while others make it a grand event, and it better be a perfect
one!Personally, during our lifetimes,
Roy and I have experienced all of the above; we have blissfully been in the
“celebrate on a daily basis” stage for fourteen years now.
What exactly is the origin
of Valentine’s Day?We have to travel
back in time to The Christians vs. The Romans; to the stories of three
different martyrs who defied the emperors of Rome.All were named Valentine (English) or
Valentinus (Latin); their stories center on love; love between couples, love of
freedom, compassionate love.After the
fall of the Roman Empire, and the rise of the Catholic Church, February 15th
was chosen for Valentine’s Day to replace the now outlawed Pagan fertility
celebration of Lupercalia.However, this
was not a great way to convince the Pagans to convert to Christianity; here is
where the French come to the rescue.February 14th was thought to be the day when bird mating
season began; mating for people meant love and marriage.Hence this was now a celebratory day of love,
and that could not make anyone angry, right?
Well it seems to have
worked out quite well, especially for greeting card and candy making
companies.One decadent treat very
popular is chocolate covered strawberries; rich, sweet, lips colored ruby red,
begging to be kissed.However, that is
more a late 20th century indulgence; and what was old, once again
becomes new.1915, The Black Forest (German:
Schwarzwald), a large forested mountain range in the state of Baden-Württemberg
in southwestern Germany.Pastry Chef,
Josef Keller, prepares a dark chocolate, four layer torte (made with ground
nuts, not flour) with whipped cream, sour cherries and Kirsch (brandy made from
cherries).He names it after the region
which is known for, what else, dark chocolate, Morello cherries, and Kirsch; oh
and cuckoo clocks, but you cannot eat those.
Black Forest Cake is a
beautiful cake that is perfect for birthdays, special occasions, holiday
season, as well as the holiday of love.This past season, I did make Black Forest Cupcakes, but they did not
turn out the way I had wanted them to.Into between the two layers of cake batter, I placed several cherries;
after baking, the cherries had sunk through the bottom layer.Still yummy, but very, very messy.My fix for this will be to add chopped, dried
cherries to the cake batter itself next time, making a sort of dark chocolate,
cherry chip cake; keeping the vanilla frosting and cherries with glaze on
On a side note, since
1915, many versions of this cake have been created; in America, white flour
replaced ground nuts.While I have nut
flours to use, I hesitate as I have no idea if someone trying the cake has an
allergy to nuts (grown on trees, peanuts are legumes grown underground).Since the 1990s, I’ve noticed an increase in
people, mainly children, developing this allergy, and must wonder if it is due
to pesticides, processing methods or any other type of use to get the nuts to
stores.Therefore, my recipe for this
article will be one containing basic white flour; no one you know have an
allergy, then try a nut flour instead!
Another side note, the
frosting is only meant to go on top of both layers of cake; the sides are left
open so the layers can be seen.I
recently found out this is a new fad (been doing this, on various types of
cake, for years myself) in the baking industry; it is called “Naked Cake”.Guess the cakes sell better if they are
“sexier”, go figure.
Black Forest Cake
1 ½ cups flour
3 Tbsp. baking cocoa
powder 2 tsp baking powder 1 cup sugar 2 tsp chocolate syrup ¾ cup milk ¾ cup melted butter 2 eggs
12 Tbsp. butter, softened
3 cups confectioner’s
sugar ½ cup baking vanilla powder 2 tsp vanilla extract 4 Tbsp. room temperature
Note: This is a buttercream
frosting which holds up better over time (if there are any leftovers that is)
1 (15 oz.) can tart
cherries in water; drain all water.
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie
Preheat oven to 350F.Cut out two circles of parchment paper that
fit within two 9” cake pans; spray cake pans with nonstick baking spray; line
bottom with paper circles.
In a large bowl, sift
flour and mix in cocoa, baking powder and sugar.In second bowl, beat together syrup, milk, butter
and eggs; do not get mixture frothy by over beating.Pour wet ingredients into bowl of dry
ingredients; mix on medium speed till smooth.Pour half of batter into each cake pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes;
until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out cleanly.Let cakes cool before flipping out of pans;
remove parchment paper before frosting cakes.
While cakes are baking,
make the frosting; cream together the butter and sugar; add vanilla powder,
vanilla extract and milk; mix until smooth, but do not over mix.Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to
firm up; frost cakes after they have cooled.There will be enough frosting for the tops of both cakes.
After making sure to drain
all water from tart cherries, mix in small bowl with pie filling; keep cool
until time to construct cake.
Place one layer of cake on
plate; use half the frosting to spread over the top only; make frosting a
little thicker one each in from the edge of the cake.Place 1/3 of the cherries with glaze in
center, spread out, but not over the extra thick frosting on the one inch from
the edge.The cherries and frosting will
be even, so the second layer of cake will lie flush with them.
Place second layer of cake
on top; spread remaining frosting on top only. Spread remaining cherries and
glaze over top (if glaze drips over side, don’t worry, just makes it a little
Place in refrigerator for
half hour to let it all firm up before slicing and serving.
Before I begin, I better
put the disclaimer; this is a work based on historical fact and historical
fiction (which means not exactly fact).Why the disclaimer?Recently, a
new documentary about the Hole in the Rock Expedition was aired on PBS.Hosted by Gerald Lund, it was based upon the
actual event and on his historical fiction novel, “Undaunted”.As a writer of fiction, Lund took several
facts of the expedition, did a twist on them, and presented a livelier version.Seems a few folks were a bit bent out of
shape on Lund’s playing with the facts.That’s
called “poetic license”; I’ll sort of be doing the same by calling it an
On December 17, 1879, four
pioneers, George Morrell, George Sevy, George Hobbs and Lemuel Redd (they ran
out of men named George apparently), set out as a scouting party.They were hoping to find, not just an easier
route for the over 200 waiting, but the pioneers that had stayed on from a
previous expedition group from Salt Lake.Rations for six days were taken, however, they were gone by December 22nd;
the men were lost, hungry, weary and very cold.Should they go back, should they go forward?Forward it was and on the morning of December
25th, Salvation Knoll was crested; the beautiful blue of the Abajo
Mountains only ten miles estimated.Four
days later, the men finally reached the encampment at Fort Montezuma which
wasn’t really a fort-like fort, just a few cabins and wagons.
Much of the information
about this adventure came from the journals of George Hobbs.On Route 163, there is a memorial plaque on a
red rock which his descendants dedicated to him.Originally, George had carved his name upon a
rock once the four men had reached the San Juan River area.However, this rock was eventually removed by the
BLM; that rebel, George Hobbs, had vandalized BLM land even before its
institution!There is a geocache nearby,
before the fenced off area, for those interested in this hobby.
In Saga of San Juan
(DUP of San Juan County, 1957), and later on, Hole in the Rock (David
Miller, 1959); a section of Hobbs’ journal is quoted, establishing San Juan
County’s first eating contest (my contribution of historical fiction). “Food
enough cooked for three families and set for us.After eating 5 biscuits and the meat all
being consumed, I thought I would quit, as it might injure me.…couldn’t resist the temptation of taking
another biscuit.In all I believe I ate
22 biscuits.”While he mentions that the
other men also ate more, Hobbs kind of infers that he was the big winner.“I thought this would be a happy death…”
(George Hobbs Photo Courtesy of The Hole in the Rock Foundation)
Gerald Lund’s version of
the story had the men eating “Johnny Cakes: which is made from cornmeal;
biscuits are made from white or wheat flour.Guess what?It is not unlikely that
both may have been served, since the Mormon pioneers did bring the recipes for
both from wherever they originally hailed from.Now as the amount eaten, I tend to wonder if George Hobbs was either
being exaggeratory, delusional or doing his own version of historical fiction. His
journal of the Hole in the Rock Expedition was written sometime after settling
at Bluff Fort.
Think about it, he’s
starving, yet his stomach had probably shrunk due to lack of food and water;
how did he consume all that food in one sitting?Whether biscuits or Johnny cakes, they would
have been slightly dry; maple syrup was not available, so butter and/or honey
might have helped get them down.Nowadays, eating contests are serious, money making business; oh, but
there are still the small hometown contests at the local fairs and celebrations.Which brings me to a GREAT suggestion for Pioneer Day Weekend…two eating contests, one
for biscuits, the other for Johnny cakes.Contestants would have some type of liquid available for drinking;
honey, syrup, butter for slathering on, so the food slides down the gullet
easier and quicker.The person who can
eat the most in say, one hour (typical length of a starving pioneer’s meal)
wins!Someone pass this article onto the
Chamber of Commerce people, in charge of Pioneer Day activities, right away!
Guess I better warn my
boss now, I do intend on being off that day from work.I am not missing this event (which I truly
hope will take place) for anything; and of course would do a bang up job of an
article for the San Juan Record.It’s
only January, let the planning begin; and here are two pioneer recipes that
should be used in preparing the biscuits and Johnny cakes.
(Favorite Utah Pioneer
Recipes by Marla Rawlings)
2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder ½ tsp. salt 2/3 cup lard or shortening Up to ¾ cup buttermilk
(available for baking since the 18th Century)
In a large bowl, combine
flour, baking powder, and salt.Cut in
shortening until crumbly.Stir in just
enough buttermilk to moisten.Turn
biscuits out onto floured surface and roll to ¼ inch thickness.Cut with “recipe” cutter (round instrument of
some type) and bake at 425F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Note: more than likely,
the biscuits were laid inside a cast iron skillet or pan, then baked over a
(A Melting Pot of
Pioneer Recipes by Winnifred C. Jardine of DUP)
3 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour 2 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt 2 Tbsp. molasses 3 cups buttermilk 2 well-beaten eggs
Sift together dry
ingredients.Slowly stir in molasses and
buttermilk, mix well.Add beaten eggs
and beat hard for two minutes.Pour into
shallow, well-greased pans and bake at 400F for 30 minutes.(A favorite dish of Prophet Joseph Smith)
Note: Johnny Cakes
originate with the Native Americans; introduced to the white man as the
founding of North American (1500s-1600s) began.They would have resembled a tortilla, or a cornmeal flat bread.
The first time I ever
tasted Jalapeno Jelly was at the wondrous Kitchen Kettle Village located within
Gordonville, PA. the store itself produces and sells hundreds of jarred
jellies, jams, relish, salsa, pickled vegetables, and contains a bakery
creating the most delicious baked treats.Visitors are encouraged to sample from miniature jars with pretzels and
crackers to munch on; recipe cards are available for use ideas.Within the Village itself are all manner of
small shops and restaurants; on the main street is a Quilt Shop full of fabrics
to make any quilter(and I am one)faint in ecstasy (purchased my quilter’s frame there!)
Besides sampling the
products au natural, some of the recipes were created, so you can taste why you
needed (yes, needed) to have the item.The Jalapeno Jelly was mixed together with cream cheese to make this
delectable spread for crackers or vegetable sticks such as celery and
carrot.Ah, but I have a creative mind
when it comes to the kitchen; and somehow knew this jelly would be a wonderful
accompaniment to chicken or pork.After
trying out several cooking techniques, the best were either baking in the oven,
or grilling on the barbecue.Slathering
on the jelly as another might do with barbecue sauce; the flavors were drawn in
by poultry and meat alike.Sweet,
savory, mildly spicy; it paired with sides mild, medium or hot quite well.
This past holiday season,
a lovely woman, Leslie Hyde Kelley,gave
me a jar of Jalapeno Jelly.“Oh”, I
exclaimed in joy, “this will be so wonderful on chicken!”To which she answered, “Finally, someone who
doesn’t just mix it with cream cheese!”Now as much as I and hubby do enjoy this spread as a treat (instead of
fish fingers and custard while watching “Doctor Who” on BBC America); having it
on chicken is a lovely meal.So Leslie,
thank you again for the jelly, and here’s what I did with it.Unfortunately, with all the rain, ice and
snow we’ve experienced over the last few weeks, barbecuing outside was not an option;
the oven had to do.
Jalapeno Chicken with Rice Side
4 chicken breasts, cut in
half widthwise 1 Tbsp. salt and paprika
1 tsp. ground black pepper 1 (8 oz.) jar jalapeno
jelly 2 (5.6 oz.) packages Knorr
Rice Sides – White Cheddar Queso Flavor or Spanish Rice Flavor 1 cup diced green bell
peppers ½ cup diced onions
Preheat oven to 350F;
spray 9” x 13” baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix together salt, paprika
and ground black pepper; rub onto both sides of chicken and place chicken
inside baking dish.
Spread half the jar of
jalapeno jelly over the chicken; place in oven and bake for 10 minutes.Remove dish from oven, spread remaining half
of jelly over chicken again; return to oven for 10 additional minutes.
Place baking dish on top
most rack in oven, turn on broiler and broil for 5 minutes to give chicken a
While chicken was baking,
prepare Rice Sides per package instructions, but add in bell pepper and onion
to cook with package ingredients.
When it comes to bone-in chicken, there is only two ways I usually use it; deep fried or baked in barbecue sauce. So, when I received a ten pound bag of chicken leg quarters, all I could think was, "That's a lot of chicken to fry up." Yes, when it comes to bone-in chicken, I don't have much imagination for its use; Roy and I are more prone to eat boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Ah, then an idea hit me, why not make the chicken and stuffing crock pot recipe, but use this chicken instead. I layered the chicken on the bottom of a six quart crock pot, covered it with whole kernel corn, stuffing mix and a soup mixture. Six hours later, on low heat, the meal was done; miserable part was, the chicken came off the bones. As I spooned out stuffing with chicken, included were pieces of bone that had to be picked out before serving. Talk about a mess and nuisance! The chicken was parboiled to remove skin and fat, so I wonder if I should have simply cooked it for four hours instead, to keep the chicken intact.
Alas, I have no photos of that cooking mishap; hint, do NOT allow your spouse to use a camera without taking photos off of it first! He doesn't know how he did it, but all my photos had been deleted while he was recording a snowfall outside. Fortunately, I used the loss of the photos as an excuse to make the dish again, but in a different fashion.
After parboiling, skin and fat removal, seasoning, the chicken was placed into a baking dish. Corn, stuffing and soup mixture went into a separate baking dish. The corn stuffing finished 10 minutes earlier than the chicken, but this gave it time to settle. Now this meal was so much better; the chicken came easily off the bone, but didn't have to be picked out of the stuffing. Roy brought over some to his mother and brother to try; they cleaned their plates and wondered if more was available. I'd definitely say it was a huge hit!
Trial and error; sometimes cooking is a fail, but it spurs you on to try again and find a delicious solution.
Chicken with Corn Stuffing
8 chicken leg quarters
2 tsp. each salt and
ground black pepper 2 Tbsp. paprika 2 cans (14.5 oz.) whole
kernel corn 4 Tbsp. butter 2 boxes (6 oz.) chicken
flavored stuffing mix 1 can each (10.5 oz.)
cream of chicken and cream of celery soup 1 and ½ cups milk
Parboil the chicken for 15
minutes; let cool slightly before removing skin and any remaining pieces of
fat.Preheat oven to 350F; spray inside
of two 9” x 13” baking dishes with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix together salt, black
pepper and paprika; split mixture in half and sprinkle over both sides of
chicken.Place chicken, bone side down,
into one baking dish; place inside preheated oven.
In second baking dish,
pour corn (with liquid) inside and place butter in four corners of dish; spread
stuffing mix over corn.In a medium
bowl, mix together soups and milk; pour over stuffing and spread out evenly.Place in oven alongside baking dish with
Chicken will take about
40-45 minutes to bake (internal temperature of 185F); corn stuffing will take
about 30-35 minutes to bake (soup mixture firmed up, liquid from corn entirely
absorbed by stuffing).