Country CousinIssue Date: May 17, 2018
Spring into summer....
Spring! No fooling. This time it seems to be for real. June Berry trees are in bloom. Leaves are popping out all over. Fresh asparagus signs are popping up along roadsides everywhere. So are Rummage Sale signs. Roads are under construction.
The rhubarb I've seen isn't big enough to pick yet, but it's getting there quickly. Lilacs are way behind schedule, but they'll be here. Life is good. The air is wonderful - filled with springtime scents and bird songs.
In true Wisconsin fashion we seem to have gone almost directly from Winter to Summer. Temperatures are supposed to get into the 80s this week, with sunshine.
Read on the web that Wisconsin's detour on the way to Spring happened because Old Man Winter got lost while he and Mother Nature were delivering Spring to the north country. He was driving and took a wrong turn. In true man fashion, he refused to stop and ask for directions, so for a time they were traveling the wrong way. Good a reason as any. Sure can't blame it on Global Warming!
A famed travel writer who visited TIMESland some years ago said the winters here are so long and cold and summers so short and wonderful that folks here start celebrating in spring and don't stop until Deer Season. He was pretty much right.
Caps and gowns are also popping up all over, snowed out baseball games are being made up, and plans for family reunions are being made.
Communities all over TIMESland are planning summer celebrations, starting with Memorial Day weekend events that include graveside services, picnics, flea markets and the Red White and Music celebration at the park in Crivitz on Saturday, May 26.
There will be a plant sale and pest clinic from 9 a.m. to noon at the Harmony Arboretum Demonstration Gardens on County E off Hwy. 64 a few miles west of Marinette. You can buy plants from Northern Lights Master Gardeners to help support their work and enhance your own garden. The UW-Extension Horticulture Agent will be on hand to identify plant and pest samples brought in and assist in pest management issues.
See the stars at the Arboretum from 8:15 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22. Learn about stars, constellations, and other space-related topics. The evening includes a stargazing tour. Those who attend are advised to dress for the weather. Hot beverages will be provided. In case rainy or cloudy weather the star gazing event will be cancelled.
St. Vincent de Paul Society is hosting a chili and cupcake cookoff and fundraiser from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 19 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1502 Main St, Marinette. This fun event that will pit area cooks and restaurants against one another to determine the city's best chili and cupcakes. Promoters say judges are the Marinette Fire Department. "so the heat is on!" A $10 entry ticket gets you chili, corn bread, and a cupcake. Lots of prizes and one of a kind silent auction items. Kids under 10 are free. Buy tickets or pick up an entry form at St Vinnies thrift store at 1619 Main Street, Marinette.May 19
A Senior Expo featuring products, services and organizations geared toward all facets of mature adult life will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pine Tree Mall in Marinette. Events include dance exhibitions by the North Country Kickers. Caution! You might be tempted to get moving by joining that fun group.
River Cities Community Pool Association is hosting a rummage sale from 10 a.m, to 2 p.m. from Tuesday, May 22 through Thursday, May 24 at the pool, which is located in the UW-Marinette fieldhouse at 1125 University Dr, Marinette.
These are just a few of the fun things going on. Watch community bulletin boards and the pages of the Peshtigo Times for more activities and events.
SALUTE THE SALVATION ARMY
This week, May 14 to 20, is National Salvation Army Week. From its simple beginnings in 1865 in the poverty-stricken East End of London, England, the Salvation Army has grown to provide services, comfort and support to those in trouble or in need just about everywhere in the world.
They expanded to America in the 1880s, and then began adding services all over the world. Beginning with a seven-member board in Chicago in 1904, The Salvation Army has developed advisory boards and other advisory organizations devoted to specific purposes and programs around the world. Today there are more than 71,000 advisory organization members in the United States.
Salvation Army volunteers are best known to most of us because of their bell ringing fund raisers to provide Christmas gifts for the needy, but they do much, much more. In addition to proclaiming the Gospel message, they operate thrift shops, provide meals and shelter to the homeless, operate alcohol and drug recovery programs, help stranded travelers get back home. Salvation Army volunteers provide help in disaster areas, and much, much more all around the globe.
According to Major Carol Lemirand of the Marinette Salvation Army, their organization has been serving this area for approximately126 years.
Many years ago, two cousins in our family, young teenagers at the time, ran away from home because they had smashed up a family pickup truck. By hitchhiking, the boys, with a lot of luck and very little skill, made their way to Paris, Texas. They arrived there hungry, dirty and in need of some rest. They were taken in, looked after and kept safe by the Salvation Army there.
The Major in charge of that homeless shelter fed them, cleaned them up and helped them get jobs. Then he discovered how very young they were, and decided being small town boys they were too innocent to be on their own in the great cruel world, and definitely not prepared to deal with the dangers of big cities.
Having discovered the home town of one of the boys, he determined to call every family there with the same last name until he found the right one. In those days, before cell phones, phone numbers were in phone books so the search was at least possible.
By luck, he hit the right family on his second call. In less than eight hours, two very worried sets of parents were in a car heading to Texas to pick up their errant sons. The boys by then had been missing for three weeks, with nothing heard from them except a letter saying they were sorry they had to go.
Meanwhile, because the boys had been talking about going on to Houston, he yielded to the parents' wishes and had them held in the local jail so they couldn't leave before they were picked up.
Though they wouldn't have returned home on their own, at least not right away, the boys admitted they were happy to be back with their parents, and relieved to find that those parents (also very relieved) forgave them for the smashed truck. They were no longer outcasts.They both went back to school, grew up, and eventually became successful adults with homes and families of their own.
The Salvation Army officer who helped reunite the runaway boys and their parents stayed in touch for several years afterward to keep track of how they were doing. he really, really cared!
In another instance, not nearly so dramatic, a free pair of work shoes provided by the Salvation Army allowed an impoverished young lady accept a job and literally get back on her feet. She has been doing okay ever since.
Know of at least one alcoholic who was helped back to lasting sobriety by a successful Salvation Army program.
Stories of people who have been helped by the Salvation Army could go on and on.
St. Vincent de Paul Society offers some very similar assistance.
The sort of "get on your feet" charity offered by Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul and other religious organizations is infinitely more effective than the dole system through which our government takes money from those who work and gives it to those who do not. God Bless them all, and bless all the people who support their good work!
Wrote in last week's column about how I've inherited my mother's prejudice against wasting food. That got me thinking about some examples of the lengths she would go to to salvage inedible edibles.
That probably contributed to my own experiments that have led to creation of some recipes that are pretty good, if I do say so myself.
She fought for a week once with a tough old rooster - a gift from an aunt. Mom roasted that bird. So tough you couldn't cut it. Chewing it was out of the question. So she boiled it. Soup was okay, but again, meat was still tough. This had become a battle between her and that bird. She lost!
Her final attack was with a pressure cooker. The now tasteless meat emerged from that cooker with a texture like heavy duty rubber bands, and was every bit as edible. Neither the dog nor the cat would eat it. She finally gave up and threw it out.
For whatever reason, Mom was always putting things in containers not intended for them. That once led to putting salt in cake batter instead of sugar, and there was no saving those ingredients. However, she also had put onion powder in a pretty little container marked "nutmeg," and I, as a fledgling cook making spice cookies, put onion powder in the dough. Tasted terrible!
Mom refused to waste the good ingredients. She kept adding spices until the cookie dough tasted good again, and every one of those cookies got eaten!
PARMESAN HERB VEGGIE PIZZA
This is a great offering for a party, shower or pot luck get together.
1 package Crescent rolls
1 large egg white, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
8 ounces Wisconsin cream cheese, softened
1 cup (about 4 ounces) Wisconsin parmesan cheese, grated, plus additional for garnish
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons fresh basil, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon milk
6 spears tender asparagus
3 radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shelled peas
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely shredded
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a cookie sheet and on it roll out the Crescent roll dough. Press to bring out to edges, leaving a bit of a rim around the edges. Lightly brush with egg and water mixture. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and cool completely. In small bowl, combine cream cheese, parmesan, garlic, basil and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add milk and stir mixture until creamy and evenly combined. Carefully spread cheese mixture in even layer over the crust, except for the rim.
Trim ends of asparagus and chop on the diagonal into about quarter-inch slices. Blanch in small pot of boiling water 30 seconds. Drain immediately and cool. Scatter asparagus, radishes, peas, green onion and carrot over pizza. Garnish with additional grated parmesan. Slice into squares and serve.
CHEESY BAKED ASPARAGUS
2 pounds asparagus, stalks trimmed
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place asparagus in a shallow baking dish. Pour over heavy cream and scatter with garlic. Generously season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle on Parmesan and Mozzarella. Bake until cheese is golden and asparagus tender, 25 to 30 minutes. (Broil the last 2 minutes to brown the top, if desired.)
RHUBARB DREAM BARS
2 c. flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups rhubarb
1 teaspoon vanilla
For Crust: Cut butter into flour and powdered sugar; press into 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Watch carefully. When done, take out of oven and add filling. For Filling: Blend eggs, sugar, flour, salt and vanilla; add rhubarb. Spread over hot crust and bake 45 minutes.
WISCONSIN RHUBARB CHEESECAKE
Lots of steps, but well worth it. You'll get rave reviews!
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
8 1 - ounce square white baking chocolate with cocoa butter
2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 20 squares)
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 8 - ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 16 - ounce carton dairy sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream (optional)
White baking chocolate curls (optional)
Mint leaves (optional)
In a medium saucepan, combine rhubarb, 1/3 cup sugar and orange juice. Bring just to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until rhubarb is tender, stirring occasionally; set aside. IN a heavy small saucepan, melt white chocolate baking squares over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool. For crust: In a medium bowl, combine graham crackers and butter. Press crumb mixture onto the bottom and about 1-1/2 inches up the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Wrap outside of the springform pan securely with heavy foil. Set aside. For filling: In a very large bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and salt with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until combined after each addition. Gradually beat in melted white chocolate until combined. Pour half of the filling into crust-lined pan. Spoon 1 cup of the rhubarb sauce over the filling, spreading evenly. Top with remaining filling. Spoon remaining rhubarb sauce over filling. Using the back of a spoon, gently swirl the rhubarb mixture into the filling. Place springform pan in a large roasting pan. (Make sure there is at least 1 inch between springform pan and edges of roasting pan.) Place roasting pan on oven rack. Carefully pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until edge of cheesecake is firm and center appears nearly set when lightly shaken. Check water level every 30 minutes, adding more water if needed. Carefully remove cheesecake pan from water bath; transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Remove foil. Loosen cheesecake from sides of pan by carefully running a knife around the edge of the pan. Cool cheesecake for 30 minutes more. Remove sides of pan and cool completely. Cover cheesecake with plastic wrap and chill at least 4 hours before serving. If you like, just before serving, pipe rosettes of whipped cream on the top of the cheesecake and garnish with white baking bar curls and mint. Cut into wedges. You can make and bake this up to two days ahead. Just cook the cake after it's baked, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
ORANGE RHUBARB MARMALADE
Got this recipe originally from Peshtigo's Paul Nesberg. The beauty of this recipe is you can use any kind of jell-o for whatever flavor you want.
5 cups rhubarb, young is better
3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons finely diced orange rind and pith (about one orange)
Combine the rhubarb and sugar in a heavy bottomed stainless steel or ceramic coated kettle and let stand for two hours. Wash the orange well. Peel it, and very finely dice the rind and pith, meaning both the orange and white parts of the peel. You need about three tablespoons. When the 10 minutes are up, add the rind to the rhubarb mixture. Bring to a boil quickly, then reduce heat and let boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add one 3-ounce package orange jello. For different flavors, use any kind of Jell-O, Add the orange rind or not as you prefer. Nesberg said he packed his marmalade in baby food jars gave it as a gift. He also packed it in regular jars, left a bit of head room and froze it.
Thought for the week: Before this month is out, a whole new batch of graduates will be completing their high school and college educations and heading out to conquer the world. Hope they do. Hope they leave it a better place than they found it, and also hope they care enough to preserve the freedoms and opportunities our forefathers left for us! Graduates, aim high! Reach for the stars. Even if you miss, you might hit the moon. Hold on to your dreams, and do what it takes to make them realities, as long as you don't hurt someone else by doing it. As an unknown sage once said, "The mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground."
This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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