Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Doing Indian in Native American Lands.

Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, let me ease your minds by stating that the title, and subject matter, are not even close to being politically incorrect.  Though we live in Utah which is most definitely Native American lands (primarily Ute and Navajo), doesn't mean we cannot enjoy Indian (and that is from India) cuisine. Fooled you good, did I not? We are here to enjoy cooking, so let’s leave politics to others, shall we?

Spices and Mixes of India can be purchased online.

Now if you are familiar with Indian cuisine, you have probably heard of, or tried, curry, tandoori and masala.  Curry is a basic term for dishes originating not just in India or Pakistan, but Thailand, Japan and most Asian cultures. It is a collection of spices, herbs, dried and/or fresh chile peppers which gives a dish its particular taste and heat. Often the curry plant will be confused as the main ingredient for curry, but this is not so. The plant resembles lavender in structure, but smells and tastes similar to sage. I highly recommend it for jazzing up chicken salad.


Tandoori is actually a method of cooking using a clay, cylindrical oven called a tandoor. A most popular dish is Tandoori Chicken, an Indian and Pakistani dish consisting of roasted chicken prepared with yogurt and spices.  Raw chicken (skin removed) is marinated in a mixture of dahi (yogurt) and tandoori masala; a spice blend of roasted, then ground, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and mace.  It is seasoned and colored with cayenne pepper, red chili powder, or Kashmiri red chili powder, plus turmeric.


Masala is a combination of ground spices; garam refers to the intensity of the spices, not to the heat of the chile peppers.   Also referred to as Allspice or Jamaican pepper, its aroma is similar to clove, black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon.  It is usually added last in the cooking process to keep it from getting bitter if cooked too long.  Do not confuse Garam Masala (spices) with Marsala (wine), or you will be in for a big surprise if you do not enjoy spicy food.


Garam Masala can be purchased at online herbal and spice sites, or you can make your own at home.  If stored in an airtight container, the powder can last up to four months. While you can use a mortar and pestle or a blender to ground up the spices, I recommend a typical electric coffee grinder. I have two, one for grinding up my coffee beans and one for grinding up herbs and spices. I labeled the latter one, so my coffee does not accidentally taste like my herbal pantry. To make Garam Masala, you are using whole seeds and pods which will be toasted before grinding; the toasting will intensify the flavors.


Now after making Chicken Tikka Marsala, may I suggest a movie, for viewing, while dining?  The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014), featuring Helen Mirren, is the story of a displaced Indian family.  They open an Indian cuisine restaurant across the street from a very fancy and classy French restaurant, run by Helen Mirren’s character.  While viewers will drool over the various recipes created throughout the movie, the story itself will tug at the heart.  There will be laughter, sadness, smiles, anger, and at the end, a whole feel good sensation.


Basic Garam Masala


2 cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces

4 bay leaves

1/2 cup cumin seeds

2/3 cup coriander seeds

2 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns

1 Tbsp. whole cloves

2 small dried chile peppers (stems removed, but not the seeds)

1/2 tsp. whole nutmeg, broken into small pieces

1/4 tsp. ground mace


In a medium skillet, over medium-high heat, add all the ingredients, except the nutmeg and mace; stir often until the cumin seeds darken to a deep brown. Do not worry if the ingredients crackle or smoke a little; it's all part of the toasting process.

Remove to a bowl to let cool before grinding. Once cool, add the nutmeg and mace to the bowl; work in batches to add the ingredients to the grinder and grind to a fine powder.  Store in an airtight container for up to 4 months.   Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Chicken Tikka Masala is basically a two part process where you would make Chicken Tikka, then make a sauce using the Masala mixture. Feeling scared? Just think of it as making a basic meal, for example Chicken Fried Steak, and then making the gravy for it. Same idea, just another country's cuisine.


Chicken Tikka


1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic

1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger

1 tsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1/2 tsp chili powder (ancho or cayenne)

1 tsp each ground turmeric, cardamon and fennel

1/4 tsp Garam Masala

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into cubes

2 Tbsp. butter, melted



Mix all ingredients, except chicken and butter, in a medium bowl and transfer to large plastic sealable bag.  Add the chicken and make sure to coat completely; seal the bag and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours; the longer the better.


Preheat broiler; line a large jelly roll pan with parchment paper and brush the paper with the melted butter.  Remove the chicken from the bag and discard any excess marinade; spread the chicken out on the buttered paper.  Place under the broiler for 4 minutes; turn chicken, broil again; remove to platter.


Makes 4 servings.


Note: this dish can be served with jasmine or basmati rice as is.


Chicken Tikka Masala


3 Tbsp. canola oil

1 medium red onion, diced

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1/2 tsp. Garam Masala

3/4 cup heavy cream


In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, sauté onion until softened and edges begin to brown; add the tomatoes and cook for 6 minutes.  Add in garam masala and heavy cream; cook for 2 minutes before adding in the prepared Chicken Tikka.  Coat all chicken in sauce, let cook additional 3 minutes.  Serve over rice.

There you have it, Indian cuisine that will inspire you to explore.

Mary Cokenour



Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Edible and Healthy Spears.

Before the internet and cable/satellite television, home cooks found out about new recipes, food products, growing and harvesting of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs by only a few sources.  Cooking and gardening books/magazines at a local bookstore (oh, the smell and feel of a real book’s pristine pages), shows featured on PBS, newspaper columns and featured articles, advice from friends, family and neighbors, or a shop which was dedicated to one or the other.  Now, by the click of a mouse, or the swipe of a finger across a screen, the world has become everyone’s oyster; or, in my case, salmon and asparagus.

Facebook features pages and pages on the topics of cooking and gardening.  Posts are constantly being shared, and shared again, so it is no wonder they pop up on a newsfeed.  One such post was about salmon and asparagus, baked together within an aluminum foil pouch.  I have cooked with aluminum foil pouches before, but not ever considered the combination of these two items. 

Normally, with salmon, I have seared it in a hot skillet; grilled on a hot barbecue rack; baked in an oven.  Typical seasonings or sauces would be teriyaki, butter, lemon and dill; oh heavens, not all at the same time!  This new recipe though did combine butter with lemon, and I was curious as to how that would turn out; a sort of piccata perhaps?

Teriyaki Salmon, Fried Rice, Asparsgus

Then there was cooking the asparagus with the salmon, how would these two distinct ingredients influence each other?  When it comes to asparagus, adding it as a main ingredient to quiche is a favorite.  Sautéing it with butter and toasted almonds makes a delicious side dish; or a main dish when featured in a savory omelet.

Then it happened, an advertisement appeared for Muhlestein Greenhouse (217 East 300 South, Monticello, UT, 84535; (435) 587-2704) for asparagus crowns at only $2 each!  How appropriate that I was attempting a new asparagus related recipe, and looking to start a new vegetable garden this year as well.

Asparagus Crowns and Roots; soak in water until reading for planting.

Asparagus, tall and usually green (there are also white and purple varieties), a bit woodsy at the base, and so tender to eat when picked early.  The spears are actually the leaves of the plant, and become more fibrous as they are left to grow.  The spaced out triangular sections which look like leaves eventually grow out lovely feather-like branches that will flower.  Pollen bearing flowers are male, while fruit bearing are female, but the crown is how this vegetable becomes king, or queen.  Underground, the root system can spread up to six feet; above ground is three feet; so plant those crowns with room to spare.

Asparagus loves sunlight (8 hours/day), and well-drained soil, so pick an area in the garden that will obtain both.  Regular watering is 1 to 2 inches of water/week during its first two growing seasons; older plants about 1 inch/week.  While dappled sunlight will still allow growth, it will not be as profuse as with full sunlight.

There are many health benefits to asparagus; low in calories, nutrient rich in fiber, folate, potassium, iron, and vitamins A, C and K; weight loss, improved digestion, healthy pregnancy outcomes and lower blood pressure.  Unless allergic, a person could eat asparagus on a daily basis, however, there is a foul side effect to doing that.  The creation of asparagusic acid occurs within 15-30 minutes after consumption.  As the digestive process continues, sulfur compounds are released, then expelled during urination.  So, the usual rule of thumb applies to this vegetable as well, “eat within moderation”; or wear a gas mask while peeing.

Now to the recipe which was easy to make, and born from it was a new side dish as well.  When it came to taste, my husband thought it was quite delicious, and enjoyed the combination of vegetable stock, garlic, butter and lemon.  Me?  Not so much, and I believe it was the garlic that turned me off.  Do not go by our likes/dislikes, try it out; it is your pallet, so create! The use of the aluminum foil was a typical Reynold’s Wrap commercial; easy, and basically, minimal cleanup.

Ah, timing.  Cooked together, 15 minutes, at 425F, will give a fully cooked and moist salmon portion; the asparagus will be tender, yet still maintain a slight bite, aka al dente.  However, if cooking the asparagus alone, 10 minutes for al dente; 15 minutes will make the spears very soft.  Now the very soft version is not a bad thing, especially if wanting to create a “nest”, place a cooked protein within, and wallah…haute cuisine!

Another hint to make this dish more wow; instead of using broth, use Knorr Concentrated Stock; each container equals the two tablespoons needed.  The hot sauce in the recipe?  Definitely optional.


Baked Salmon in Foil with Asparagus and Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce

(Homemade Recipes:


2 salmon fillets

2 tablespoons vegetable broth or chicken broth 

1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

1 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce  

4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

3-4 tablespoons butter, diced into small cubes (or ghee)

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or cilantro

1 lb. (450g) medium-thick asparagus, woody ends trimmed



To prepare the oven-baked salmon in foil packs: Preheat your oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Cut 2 sheets of 14 by 12-inch (35 x 30 cm) heavy-duty aluminum foil then lay each piece separately on the countertop. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the garlic butter sauce: broth, lemon juice, and hot sauce.

Season both sides of the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and divide salmon onto the aluminum foil near the center then place trimmed asparagus to one side of the salmon, following the long direction of the foil.

You can adjust salmon fillets seasoning with more salt and pepper, then sprinkle garlic on top. Drizzle the garlic butter sauce generously over the salmon fillets and asparagus.

Divide butter pieces evenly among the foil packets, layering them over the salmon fillet and asparagus.


Wrap salmon foil packets in and crimp edges together then wrap ends up. Don’t wrap too tight – keep a little extra space inside for heat to circulate. Transfer the salmon foil packs to a baking sheet and bake salmon in the oven, sealed side upward until salmon has cooked through, about 9 – 12 minutes. Carefully unwrap the baked salmon in foil packets then drizzle with more lemon juice and garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro and a slice of lemon.  


…and my side dish.

Asparagus Side Dish Only (Perfect with Teriyaki Salmon too!)


1 lb. asparagus, woody ends trimmed

2 tablespoons vegetable broth or chicken broth (or Knorr concentrated stock, 1 container)

2 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. lemon juice

Bend Asparagus

Will Snap Apart Before Woody Section

Ready for Cooking


Preheat oven to 425F.

Place long sheet (double length of asparagus) aluminum foil onto pan.  Place asparagus long ways on sheet. Put broth, butter, garlic and pepper into small bowl; microwave for 30 seconds.  Add lemon juice and mix thoroughly.  Pour over asparagus.

Fold foil over asparagus and seal sides.  Bake in oven for 20 minutes, or 15 minutes for al dente.

 Remove from foil; place on serving platter.

 Makes 4 servings.

*Option: French green beans aka Haricots Verts

Mary Cokenour

Friday, May 21, 2021

Being Kind to our Pollinators.

March of this year, we began to see the return of the honey bees.  Even though spring had sprung, winter did not want to release her hold fully.  During the day, the sun warmed the water at the watering stations, and the bees were thirsty.  However, as the sun began to set, it was becoming usual to find bees lying in the water.  Quickly removing them from the cold liquid, some were revived and sent on their way back to the hive.  Sadly, at least one, nightly, did not revive and its tiny soul was sent away with a blessing.

The small branches and flat rocks placed inside the stations were not doing the intended job; keeping the bees out of the water.  What to do, what to do?  This question was suddenly answered by a photo on, of all places, Facebook.  It showed a deep metal bowl, full of marbles and water; the bees safely out of the water, walking atop the marbles.  Now our watering stations are heavy plastic storage containers, the lids a half inch deep.  Their new use was a happy accident.  While cleaning out a shed, they were outside, it began to rain and the lids filled with water.  Afterwards, we noticed the bees sitting on the rim; their tiny proboscises sucking up the precious liquid. Adding the small branches and flat stones, the bees were able to move over the water, giving each other room to share.  Of course, this did not keep them from falling into the water, and if not rescued quickly, going into forever sleep.

Before I forget, each storage container is wedged inside a tire.  It keeps the containers from being blown over by the wind.  Also, when the dogs are playing soccer, the ball, and the dogs themselves, will bounce off the tire.  The containers might shake slightly, but definitely not tip over, sending water, stones and bees tumbling to the ground.  Several flowering plants have begun growing around the tires, so the bees have a pollen, and water, source within reach.

Experiment time!  Being given a garden pot full of florist stones, I now had a use for them.  I washed them in hot water only; do not use soap as any residue will contaminate the drinking water.  Now here is where it got a little nerve wracking for a minute or so.  Removing the branches and rocks, dumping the old water and cleaning out any dirt and debris.  No, that is not the “heart skipped a beat” moment; it was several of the bees showing up, landing on my hair and waiting.  Deep breath, find that Zen spot; add the clean stones to cover the bottom and up to the rim of the lid.  Add clean water, a few flat agate stones for diversity; and the bees flew down to try it out! 

Container wedged into tire; wildflower seeds will be spread around tire.

Add florist stones, quartz, agate.

Add water.

Our first visitor to the new watering station.

Having a dozen, or more, honey bees, attaching themselves to one’s hair, or shirt; buzzing and vibrating, is an adrenaline shot to the system.  Not being stung, not once; then having them fly down to the water is, well, a precious, priceless moment.  Then again, that is my take on my place in this vast universe; a caregiver and nurturer of nature’s creatures.

Having a bench nearby, I sat, watched and waited; I needed to know if the experiment would be a success.  As bees flew away, more would come, and then more; none were falling into the water either.  They walked over the stones, their tiny heads dipping downward, and tiny rear ends happily vibrating.  Now I needed to create the second watering station, but was out of florist stones; and, of course, I could not find my jars of marbles.  I rushed to one local store, but it did not carry florist stones or marbles (what, don’t kids play with marbles anymore!?!)   Then I tried Unique Creations (116 South Main Street, Monticello, UT, 84535, (435) 587-3355), and there they were.  Bags of florist stones, different shapes, sizes, colors, and each bag only 99 cents!

Florist stones in a variety of shapes and colors.

At home, the process of washing in hot water, cleaning the second plastic lid, adding stones and clean water, began again.  As with “Field of Dreams”, it was built and they did come.  In fact, with the blooming of the plum trees this month of May, a third station was built.  The honey bees designated to collect pollen are in the trees, while the water gatherers are nearby.  To keep pollen as available as possible, wildflower seeds were planted around the tire the container is wedged into.  Do not be surprised if the watering stations have to be refilled, up to 3, or more, times per day.  Setting them up in sunny areas will keep the bees warm, but also evaporate the water.  Add the fresh water slowly, as the bees will push themselves between the stones, and you do not want to accidentally drown any.

Water Station #1

Water Station #2

Water Station #3 by plum trees.

The stones are bright, multicolored, and there is much hope that other pollinators will become attracted to the watering stations.  Butterflies, hummingbird moths and hummingbirds are also pollinators; and just as important, to our existence, as the bees.  Hummingbird feeders have been set up, but well away from the bees’ domain.  Why?  The sweet liquid attracts insects such as flies and wasps. 

In fact, there is a particular wasp, the yellow jacket, which looks very similar to a honey bee. Honey bees have hairy front and middle legs, used as brushes to comb the pollen off the body. Pollen is packed into hairy recesses, called pollen baskets or corbiculae, on the rear legs.  The wings are more oval shaped, and their overall demeanor is calm, not aggressive.    Yellow jackets have shiny, smooth and hairless bodies; long tapered wings, and are quite aggressive.  They will integrate themselves into a “gathering party”, fly back to the hive, and attempt to take it over which means killing the honey bees.  I recently found out that a neighbor's bee hives had been destroyed by wasps; his precious bees beheaded, or driven away, by those vicious wasps.

So, with all the talk, in the news, about ways to save our planet, and you are not sure of your part in this, focus on pollinators. Find out what species are in the area; what their needs are, and how to attract them.  “Pollination is one of nature's most important functions; it is the way many plants reproduce. Pollinators assist plants with reproduction; they take pollen from one plant to another. If plants aren’t properly pollinated, they can't bear fruit or produce seeds to grow new plants.” (The Importance of Pollinators by Joe Lamp’l -

To watch a video, of the honey bees at a watering station, go to:

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Chile or Chili, it's still Green.

May 5th, Cinco de Mayo is today, so a perfect opportunity to talk about chile peppers.  Is it Chile or Chili?  If it is the country in South America, it is Chile.  If it is the singer from the group "TLC", it is Chilli; and when it is very cold outside, well that is Chilly.  However, when it is the vegetable, it is the Green Chile Pepper, but when exactly does it become Chili?  Then there is the plural, is it Chiles or Chilies?  Confusing, and so many sources have so many definitions; so many recipes use the spellings so interchangeably.  Let’s just get to the story of the Chile Pepper itself and the most popular one in the Southwest is the New Mexico Green Chile Pepper, primarily grown in Hatch, New Mexico.  Oh yes, there are numerous types of chile peppers within the United States, and worldwide, but I am just going to focus on this one type for now.

Hatch chiles (ies) are available in a canned version, all roasted, seeded and peeled for you which is advantageous if you cannot find fresh chiles in your area.  This is what I had to do when I lived in Lancaster, PA, and while convenient, there was still that metallic taste from the aluminum cans to contend with.  Nope, there is no better alternative to fresh chiles than fresh chiles.

Roasting vegetables such as the chile pepper is actually not that difficult.  No, you do not need that large barrel type roaster you may have seen on a cooking show or outside of Walmart in Cortez, CO.  Your own barbeque grill, stove top burner (gas only), or oven will do will do that job, and very well.  Do make sure to grease up the rack on your grill or in your oven; otherwise the chiles will stick and tear apart when being removed.

Remember, you can do the roasting technique, not just for chile peppers, but those large bell peppers too.  When jalapenos are roasted, they become known as chipotle, so be careful if you are one of those people who says, "I hate jalapenos, but love chipotles"; they're the same. Anyway, once the peppers are blackened, place them in a brown paper bag, seal it and let the steam from the peppers make your work easier. Once the peppers are warm to the touch, the skins will easily peel off; give the stems a twist and pull the seed pods right out. Give them a rinse, let them dry and they can be frozen for up to six months, or used immediately.


Two items you can make with your roasted peppers are Green Chile (or Chili) Sauce and Salsa Verde. With Salsa Verde, it is made using tomatillo instead of actual green tomatoes. The tomatillo, also known as tomato verde (green tomato) or Mexican husk cherry is related to the gooseberry, and in the nightshade family.


Basic Green Chile Sauce


1 small onion, diced

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 Tbsp. canola oil

6 large green chile peppers; roasted, seeded, peeled and chopped

1 tsp. cumin

2 cups water



In a large sauce pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat; sauté' onion until softened; the garlic should be added when you see the onion just beginning to soften. Reduce heat to low, add the peppers, cumin and water; simmer for 30 minutes; stirring occasionally. Puree to desired consistency using a blender or immersion blender; add salt to taste.  Makes 1 and 1/2 cups.

Basic Salsa Verde


6 tomatillos, removed from husks and washed


1/4 chopped onion

1 clove garlic

3 large green chile peppers; roasted, seeded, peeled and chopped



Place tomatillos and water into a large saucepan; on medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes.Quarter the tomatillos; add tomatillos, onion, garlic and peppers to a blender. Set on puree and slowly add 1/4 cup water until ingredients achieve a smooth texture.  Makes 1 and 1/2 cups.

You now have two sauces, but what to do with them?  While you can enjoy them as dips for a party, they can be used in such Mexican recipes as enchiladas or burritos; used as toppings for a breakfast skillet or even in a main dish.  Here is a simple recipe you can make quickly at home; rice, grilled vegetables or a salad can serve as the side dish.

Green Chile Chicken


2 Tbsp. olive oil

8 skinless chicken tenderloins

1 tsp. Mexican oregano

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

2 Tbsp. white wine (NOT cooking wine, real wine!)

1 cup green chile sauce, warmed

8 tsp. diced red tomatoes


In a large skillet, medium-high heat, heat the oil; place the chicken "skin side up" and evenly sprinkle with the oregano, black pepper and salt.   Brown chicken for 3 minutes.

Turn the tenderloins over, remove the skillet from the heat and add the white wine; this will keep the wine from accidentally catching on fire.  Remember, you are not making a flambé', just searing the chicken.  Set back on heat and cook 3 minutes before removing from skillet.   

Two tenderloins per serving, a tablespoon of sauce over each plus a teaspoon of diced red tomatoes.  You will get the heat temperature from the seared chicken and warmed sauce; the spicy heat of the green chiles grabs you; but now the cool, sweetness of the tomatoes gives you a full flavor taste explosion in your mouth. Mexican style rice, grilled vegetables or even a simple salad as a side, makes this a complete meal; and there is the key word: simple.

Enjoy and Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Mary Cokenour


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Such a Sweet Tart.

When I was a child, one dessert, that adorned the Thanksgiving and Christmas tables, was egg custard.  A firm, yet smooth and creamy, confection within its own small bowl; topped with a sprinkling of nutmeg.  No whipped cream, or any other topping, needed; it was pure perfection as is.  Once we moved to Pennsylvania, and began frequenting the farmers markets, custard pies were offered at every bake stall.  The filling was the same wonderful egg custard, but now baked inside a flaky pie crust.  The best part, I could have this all year long!  No more waiting for those two special winter holidays.  What could make it even better?  Learning to make it myself, and not depend on someone else to create it, or hope there was any left at the market to purchase.

So, of course, as with most of my food related articles, a bit of origin/historical want of knowledge nudges my brain into research mode.  While the French and the British debate on which country invented custard first, it was actually developed in Ancient Roman times.  Bakers and cooks understood the binding power of the incredible, edible egg.  Simmering milk, eggs and honey, in a clay pot, within a wood burning oven, the coagulation of egg proteins thickens the milk during baking.  The ingredients formed a firm texture, yet still had a slight wiggle in the center.

With the invasion of Britain, the Romans also brought with them their culture, and that includes food techniques, tools and recipes.  By the Middle Ages, the English were baking, boiling or steaming their custards.  The French though were adding fruit and fresh cream, then baking the mixture in a round, flat crust which became known as a tart.   While tart referred to “a flat open-topped pastry”, it was not until the 1800s that tart began to refer to “a woman of ill repute”.  Which might answer a question regarding the several cookbooks I have on pioneer cooking, “Why did they make puddings and custards, but no tarts with these fillings?”  Of course, later on in the 1900s, pudding and custard pies began making the rounds of the home kitchen.

Now I must warn you, while the recipe calls for the filling to go to the top edge of the pie crust, be prepared for spillage.  Aluminum foil covering the rack, and even a sheet on the oven bottom itself, will prevent a load of burnt on cleanup afterwards.  Maybe others have a better way of getting a very loose filling into a pie crust, but I have tried several techniques, and always manage to spill.  So I admit to being a baking klutz, but my goodies are still quite delicious, if not runway model perfect.

For this recipe, I also substituted Swerve for the sugar; due to my need for lower sugar content.  Allowing the pie to cool completely, for at least two hours, in the refrigerator, will give it a firm texture, but remain smooth and creamy.  Also, use whole milk as a lower fat milk will cause a need to bake the pie up to an hour longer.

Egg Custard Pie



1 cup sugar (can substitute with 1 cup Swerve Granular or Truvia Baking Blend)

6 large eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. nutmeg, divided in half

2 and 1/2 cups whole milk

1 deep dish pie crust, frozen, unbaked




Preheat oven to 350F.  Line baking rack with aluminum foil, in case of spillage.


Beat together sugar, eggs, vanilla and ½ tsp. nutmeg.  Add milk and whisk until smooth; pour mixture into pie shell. Sprinkle remaining ½ tsp. nutmeg lightly on top of the custard.  Carefully place pie into oven, on top of foil.


Bake for 45-60 minutes; filling will rise and firm up, with very slight looseness in center.  Remove from oven, let cool for 20 minutes before placing into refrigerator to completely cool; about two hours.

Makes 1 pie, 8 servings.


While delicious as is, adding fresh fruit to the top, or on the side will pretty it up.  Whipped cream, I have found, washes out the flavor of the custard and nutmeg.  Enjoy your sweet tart!

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Main ST. Drug & Boutique is Community Proud.

Main ST. Drug & Boutique

140 S Main Street

Monticello, UT, 84535

Phone: 435-587-2302

Fax: 435-587-3441

Hours of Operation: Mon-Thurs.: 9:30a.m.-6p.m., Fri: 9:30a.m.-2p.m, Sat-Sun: Closed


“I am Grateful, Happy and Blessed, but most of all, I am Thankful, truly Thankful for all the support shown and given by the community.” ~~ Tim Young, Owner and Doctor of Pharmacy


Now while the quote would typically be the ending of this article, this beginning will best be understood by beginning at, what else, the beginning.

While the Great Depression wrecked financial havoc, there was one place to go, in Monticello, to help ease the stress for a short while.  This was The Oasis, a confectionery store owned by George “Uncle Mutt” Palmer and, brother-in-law, Claude “Hop” Foy.  It offered up scoops of creamy ice creams, cold soft drinks, sundaes with a multitude of toppings, and a variety of treats to satisfy the sweet tooth.  The back room of The Oasis became a gathering place for the local men to play cards.  George Palmer leased the building to J. Ward Palmer, and off to Provo he went to find a new fortune.  1936, Ward built The Little Theater, in the back half of The Oasis; it could seat 120 people.  What a way to spend a Friday or Saturday afternoon or evening; a movie, a cold drink and ice cream!

However, 1938, George returned to Monticello and wanted his business back; not much Ward could do to stop him.  1939, a building boon began in Monticello, and only one block south three new shops opened up, Palmer’s Confectionery, The Little Theater, and the Bailey and Wood Market.  The Oasis closed its doors, and that is where The Merc resides today.  Of course, the construction of the Monticello Millsite caused the building boon to go Boom!  More shops, and affordable housing, for the workers, who moved to Monticello, were built. 

March 2021

This has what to do with the pharmacy?  Now get yourself a cold drink, maybe some ice cream, and keep reading.  Main ST. Drug & Boutique is where Palmer’s Confectionery once conducted business.  The façade of the building has changed little, except the inclusion of a second floor.  To become the business it is today though, tragedy had to befall two residents of Blanding.

Jumping to 1960, the Pay Day Drug Store was purchased by Thomas Wesley Brockmeier, and his wife Emma Mae, originally from Springville, UT.  By 1965, the name had been changed to Leader Drug Store.  November 24, 1965, Thomas, with his son Tommy, was flying a Cessna 210, when it crashed near Payson, AZ; killing both.   In the spring of 1966, the business was sold to a pharmacist in Salt Lake City, Kirk Nielson.  Kirk, and wife Maxine, loaded up their seven children to make their home in Blanding, and become the community’s new pharmacist. In the same year, Kirk purchased the old Palmer’s Confectionery building; he named both businesses San Juan Pharmacy.  Eventually Kirk inspired three of his sons to also become pharmacists.  After the death of the family patriarch, the businesses were run by the sons.  Lee Nielson and his wife were there for 15 years, before selling it to Ken Nielson; who eventually sold the Monticello store to Tim Young, in 2007.

…and now for Tim Young’s story.  Born (1976), and raised, in Monticello, Tim did his undergraduate studies at State University of Utah, Cedar City.  Now Tim had dabbled in various types of work, but what did he truly want to do as a life goal?  He had to make a checklist, and see what industry fit into his plans.  First, it had to be a skill that could be useful anywhere; being useful was a very important factor.  Since Tim wanted to return to Monticello, it also had to be a skill that would fit into, not just a small town scenario, but the region as a whole.  Attending Idaho State University, he found his interest to be geared towards Organic Chemistry, but what field would that lead him to?  Research?  Doctor of some specialty?  After speaking with fellow students, and professionals in medical fields, the business side of a pharmacy peaked his interest.  It was a business, it was useful, and he knew it would be something to build a productive life on. To become a pharmacist, a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, also known as a Pharm. D. degree was required, and that is exactly what Tim focused upon.

In between obtaining his degree, and the building, Tim married Sydney.  Married 23 years, this May of 2021 (and Tim was very careful to remember the exact number of years), children were born and raised, a house made into a home, and establishing himself within the community.  Being born and raised, himself, was not enough, he wanted a stronger foothold based upon giving to the community, and developing a good reputation as a businessman.  For two years, Tim served as a City councilman, but he knew Monticello needed more guidance into the future.  Running for mayor was the next step, and he easily won the peoples’ vote.  He is serving his seventh year, but once his eighth year is up (2022), so will be his mayoral tenure. 

Tim’s time is currently spent 80% with family and business, and 20% devoted to the government sector.  “The City staff has done a great job taking care of things, and I think I have been fair at looking at both sides, and finding the best solutions.  Sometimes someone will not come in due to a decision the City Council has made, but I cannot control that.”  So, after ten years in City government, Tim will be 100% all about family and business.

Before getting into future plans, let me tell you all about Main ST. Drug & Boutique.  Originally San Juan Pharmacy, it was felt that a name change was necessary, due to the same named pharmacy down in Blanding.  No, it was not a competition issue, as the two stores would often run sales together, and definitely promote each other.  It was due to suppliers, pharmaceutical and sundry, that kept confusing the two shops.  Orders were often sent to the wrong address, and with medications needed in a timely manner, that simply could not continue.  2009 became the year of change, not just for the name, but for what the shop would sell.

Of course the main focus was the pharmacy, OTC healthcare and self-care.  There is a daily delivery of medical supplies, so ordering a specific item is no problem.  Tim listens to his customers, and works diligently to make sure their wants and needs are satisfied.  I can attest to the fact that he is knowledgeable about what he sells; and will do whatever he can to get the best pricing on prescriptions.  This is no huge chain store that tells you an item is in stock, makes you travel to their location, only to tell you, “Sorry, not in stock yet”.  You will receive a call from Tim, if there are any issues, and a specific time of delivery to the store.  Heck, I have even had Tim visit my home, after closing, delivering a late received item, to make sure I would not do without.  Would a chain store do that!?!


How has Covid-19 affected business?  “It was hard not allowing people to come into the store at first.  We tried to make things go smoothly by offering home deliveries, back door pickups, and mailings.  In fact, we’re still doing it even though we’re allowed to open, and keep open, our doors, to customers.  People need their medications, and we have to make sure they get them when they need them.”~~Tim Young

 There is one more benefit to the pharmacy, and that is compounding.  Drug compounding is often regarded as the process of combining, mixing, or altering ingredients to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient. Compounding includes the combining of two or more drugs, as prescribed by a doctor.  Besides another pharmacy in Durango, CO; Tim’s shop is the only other that will do compounding, in the 4 Corners area.  Otherwise, the nearest pharmacy is in Spanish Fork, so unless you enjoy the journey there, Main ST. is for this special need.


Best selling items for personal wellness are probiotics, vitamins/supplements, and allergy medications.  There are many other standard brand products, but special requests and doctor ordered are, once again, no problem.  Personal care also includes hair salon products, foot care, braces, bedding, baby care and first aid. 


There is more to personal wellbeing than medications though; with offerings of toys, silly pillows, cards for any occasion, home décor, jewelry, and clothing.  

Originally, under the San Juan Pharmacy name, the majority of items sold was home décor, but that has drastically changed.  This is where I now introduce Sydney, Tim’s wife, the greater woman behind the great man, and the person in charge of ordering.  It would be so easy to buy in bulk, offering a few nondescript sundries that so many people could buy; but how boring would that be?  The store is meant to be useful to the community, and that also encompasses being unique, and offering unique goods.  Sydney goes to many showcases, researching what is being pushed; making sure not to follow a current fad or trend that will be out of style too soon. 


She also has an eye for style, so is it any wonder she has a clothing line, with friend, and coworker, Monique?  The name of the line is Moxsi Apparel which sells at the store, as well as online (  While Sydney and Monique are not designers themselves, they search out artisans and designers, picking out the best goods, and rebranding under the Moxsi label.  The clothing is geared for the woman, of any age, to look fabulous in any situation; and feel good while looking good.


Now is the time to write about my very favorite part of Main ST. Drug & Boutique; the snacks, treats, and sweets.  Brandy is the front end manager and basically runs what is not pharmacy based.  She sets up the displays to catch the eye, and helps bringing in sale items that are unique as well. With her vast experience in the food industry, she does this unique purchasing very well.


Two new items are The Crispery and Candy Club.  What is The Crispery?  It was founded by a stay at home mom, Judy Soldinger, in 1995.  Brandy knew of her, as she lived in a nearby town, in Virginia, and wanted to promote the business.  Personally, I am hooked on these, and mint chocolate and coconut are my faves.   Let the website explain what they are, “The gooey sweetness of the marshmallow and the delectable crunch of the crispies come together in a treat that is handmade to perfection. One bite and you’ll enter the Crispery Zone where treats are always soft and gooey, never hard and sticky.”  Basically, this is the ultimate rice crispy treat!  The price charged, for each, is only $4.99 which is much cheaper than ordering directly from the website, and no shipping charge either.  So many flavors, candy additions, and often there is a specialty treat geared to a holiday.


Candy Club are six ounce or 13 ounce, reusable glass jars, full of a variety of candies…sweets, sours, hard, chewy, gummy, chocolate covered, etc.  There are also gift sets available.  All I really know is that I posted a photo on Facebook, and there were so many comments of, “I love those!”


Also available are Now Real Food organic nuts, seeds and dried fruits, Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn, brand name candies, and Abdallah Chocolates and Sweets.  Abdallah has been making gourmet chocolates, using the finest ingredients, for four generations.  They also offer a selection of sugar free chocolates for those who crave chocolate, but have to avoid real sugar.  When it comes to most items sold, Tim admits that his customers have made consumables popular, and desired items.

Now I asked Tim, “What is your favorite area of the store?” and he answered with, “The Jelly Belly display, and especially the Jordan Almonds, I can’t stop eating those!  I tell Brandy not to order them, but they’re popular, so she has to.”  “Now Tim”, I said, “just go to a lot of Italian weddings, and they’re a must to have.”  He admitted that is exactly why they are such a huge seller, for weddings.

Of course, the jelly beans are what make the Jelly Belly brand so popular in itself.  I personally enjoy mixing up lemon, lime, orange, pineapple and cherry flavors; it’s like a fruit salad!  Of course my husband has to burst my delusional bubble by informing me that they are not a real serving of fruit.  Hey, I can dream!


Speaking of weddings, Main ST. does have a gift registry, and for any other occasion, order up gift bags or baskets.  Brandy, herself, will pick specific items to please, pamper and satisfy for birthdays, holidays, engagements, weddings, anniversaries, or any other special day.

For the future, the idea of expansion has come to mind several times.  With San Juan Credit Union moving out of next door, “There is only a wall between us and the other section.”  However, what would expansion mean?  Main ST. keeps its integrity by, once again, being unique, not following fleeting fads, listening to customers and bringing in what they want and need.  Main ST. does not want to be just “every other store”.

Main ST. Drug & Boutique has a motto, “Trusted Care from People We Know”.   All employees are treated as friends and family; and Tim feels blessed that his employees treat all customers the same way.  Whatever the future may hold, the overall goal is to create a good experience for every person who comes in.  No question will be too ridiculous to answer.

So, here is the end, and a good place to repeat the end, that was the beginning…

“I am Grateful, Happy and Blessed, but most of all, I am Thankful, truly Thankful for all the support shown and given by the community.” ~~ Tim Young, Owner and Doctor of Pharmacy

Mary Cokenour