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The Native American students involved with the Dream of Wild Health Network recently held their last sale of the summer at Little Earth-  There was a wild summer storm that afternoon in Minneapolis, and we stood protected from the warm tempest… and admired the harvest.

Of course I made a few things right away – cold Borscht, coleslaw and icebox (cucumber) pickles.  When I was growing up in the prairie provinces in Canada, I had Russian and Ukrainian friends.  Borscht was and the famous pysanky, or Ukrainian Easter Eggs were very popular.

I gradually learned how to make borscht over a period of years, particularly after I spent some time in our hippie vegetarian collective with one of our head cooks, who was Ukrainian American.  She could make borscht; and she has a fund of family heirloom recipes with poppyseed.   Actually everything she cooked was quite amazing.  I keep my borscht simple – veggies sauteed lightly, seasoned with salt, pepper, bay leaf, caraway seed and a little dried dill- and lots of good fresh cabbage and shredded beets.  Caraway is very good for digestion and it tastes good.   I simmered everything in chicken stock and let it cool before taking an immersion blender to the whole soup pot (always remember to take the bay leaves out).  Chilled, in the summer, with a little yogurt or sour cream.  Some people have been known to put a suggestion of orange zest in borscht- and it’s tasty.

Cole slaw originates in Dutch language- the word for salad I believe.  I like my cole slaw simple, but I also added pineapple from a little can, as a tribute to country-church basement dinners.

The other two dishes that came out of this trip to the Native garden stand were cucumber ice-box pickles, and some skillet cooked summer squash.  The cuke pickles have maybe 6 ingredients in total: cukes, shavings of red onion, a bruised clove of garlic, vinegar, salt and a bit of sugar.  Mix a light pickle and keep the thinly sliced cukes in your fridge.  It’s very refreshing in the heat of summer.

got to try new things

got to try new things

We used to pick prairie rose fruits in Alberta- the preserves I used for this pastry comes from a jar, and this jar comes from Croatia.  This experiment is sort of like a Kolache- with a sweet cream cheese filling and a spoonful of rosehip jelly.  Rosehips are very rich in vitamin C and they make a good tea, especially if you have a cold.

Real Kolache (by people who know how to make them- they originate in Eastern Europe) are beautiful and tasty.  We have a nearby town here in Minnesota where I believe they have a Kolache festival annually.  They come in a couple assorted styles and many flavors- apricot, date, poppyseed and various other fillings.  I’ve heard it pronounced Ko-la-chees, as well as Ko-lotch-keys.  I don’t know if I’ll make this experiment again, but at least one guinea-pig said it was edible 🙂  It turned out to be kind of like a labor-intensive, boutique Pop Tart.