Greg Dennis: Some fresh recipes for summer
“The garden provides a list of ingredients, inspires the recipes, and collaborates on the menu. It’s more interactive. It’s more fun.”
—Barbara Damrosch, “The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cook Book”
Lake Champlain Algae Oatmeal
This unique breakfast dish is available every summer on the west coast of New England.
Serves: Several thousand residents of eastern New York and western Vermont.
One pristine body of freshwater
Two mountain ranges (One east, one west. Consult a geologist or God on creation.)
150 years of cow manure
Pour cow manure into freshwater lake between mountain ranges. Let stew for a century. Add yearly infusions of raw manure. Supplement with chemical fertilizers and legislative inaction. Heat to 70 degrees.
The oatmeal is ready to serve when the lake begins to turn from blue to green and the algae forms a floating crust.
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Deer Fly Flan
This flan was developed by Vermonters looking for a better way to use pesky deer flies, rather than just swatting them wherever they landed. It’s a way to cook with the often underutilized deer fly, which is readily available throughout the summer months. This flan is easiest to make in July, when deer fly populations reach their peak and you’ve run out of insecticide.
Serves: Everyone, the minute they step outside
One cup white sugar
One can condensed milk
Tablespoon vanilla extract
50 dead deer flies
Liquefy sugar in sauce pan. Pour sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla and deer flies into baking dish. Bake in 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and immediately toss into compost pile.
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School Budget Hash
This dish is a favorite around Town Meeting Day. School administrators and board members actually begin preparations before the new year, only serving it up to voters once the books are fully cooked in early March.
It’s common, however, for voters to refuse to eat the hash when it’s first prepared. School boards and administrators must then return to the kitchen to prepare a new batch of Budget Hash Lite. In some places such as Vergennes, this process can be repeated several times before the voters will finally eat the whole thing.
Serves: Taxpayers, renters and children
One incomprehensible state formula for school funding
Economically strapped citizens (adjust the quantity for recessions and town size)
Dedicated school board members and administrators just trying to do right by our students
Line-by-line budget that no one every reads
Throw administrators and board members into cold dusty rooms in the middle of winter. Allow them to stew in there for several late-night meetings. Remove when tempers grow short. “Warn” the budget for voters.
(Key tip: This dish turns out better if you require it to be approved by a small group of people who must come to a meeting on one designated evening each year. Placing it before the entire electorate is more democratic but tends to make the hash go sour in voters’ mouths.)
Repeat the process until voters say “uncle” and eat the hash.
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Swimming Hole Soup
A favorite throughout New England, this simple soup is popular with kids and adults alike.
Serves: Anyone hot enough to jump in
One large hole in rock
One mountain water source
Pour mountain water source into hole in rock. Serve until October.
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Alternative Energy Anxiety Roast
As new solar and wind energy projects are proposed to cut energy costs and cool the planet, more people are cooking up this roast in response. It doesn’t taste very good and tends to dismay scientists who have proven the dangers of eating other dishes such as Electricity from Coal. But Anxiety Roast provides some people with a sense of civic activism, because it’s a close cousin to BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything).
One proposed solar or wind energy project within view of at least one house or business
Concerned home or business owners worried about property value from building proposed project within distant view
Drivers on Route 7 burning greenhouse gas-producing petroleum and tsk-tsking as they drive by clean-energy projects
Combine ingredients in letters to editor, public meeting or conservative website. Stew until project champions go away. Wonder why the weather is weird and the climate is changing.
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Summer Amnesia Dessert
The tasty repast comes but once a year. It’s usually best cooked between July 4 and the first week of August – after memories of the frigid winter have begun to fade and before the kids start complaining about being bored.
One glorious Vermont summer and a smorgasbord of your choice. Consider porch sitting, catching fireflies, swimming in the nearest lake or river, a walk in the woods, and watching a pointless Red Sox game as the evening drifts by.
Gregory Dennis’s column generally appears here every other Thursday and is archived at www.gregdennis.wordpress.com. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @greengregdennis.
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