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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin

Issue Date: September 19, 2019

Shirley Prudhomme

Was all excited! Tapped into a weather channel on the web and saw a 10-day forecast that called for sunny skies and warm temperatures for the next 10 days. Looked again. That forecast was for Washington, DC. Apparently all the hot air in our nation's capital does things for the weather there.

We don't have that advantage here. The TiMESland forecast is for another 10 days or so of clouds and rain. First day with a "mostly sunny" forecast isn't until Monday, Sept. 23. However, temperatures should be quite pleasant for this time of year. Some days are predicted, despite thunderstorms, to have daytime highs in the mid 70's, and nighttime lows in the mid 60s. Not bad at all.

Days are getting obviously shorter. Sun doesn't rise until 6:33 a.m. today, and it goes to bed at 6:57. Lots of moms wish they could get their kids to sleep that much!

COMING UP

Don't forget to save time for Peshtigo's big Historical Day celebration coming up on Saturday, Sept. 28. There's a grand day planned, complete with parade, fireworks, picnic, music and lots, lots more!

ON THE SOAP BOX

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME

Speaking of sunrise and sunset, Daylight Savings Time doesn't end until the first weekend of November. There's a story circulating on the web that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is calling for a permanent end to Daylight Savings Time. According to the story, she says adding that extra hour of sunlight each day creates extra heat on the earth and therefore repealing Daylight Savings Time would equal less heat hitting the earth each day and thus slow the rate of climate change.

Turns out, according to Google, that she didn't actually say that. The quote originated on a satirical website, "NPCdaily.com," which labels each story as satire and says on its "About" page: "NPC Daily is a satire site, providing political and cultural commentary with wanton sarcasm. NPC Daily pokes fun of modern journalism and liberalism."

According to FactCheck.org, one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on the social media network, regardless of the multiple satire disclaimers on NPCdaily.com, the story is still being shared on Facebook as though it's legitimate news, and it has been turned into a meme that features Ocasio-Cortez's picture and the made-up quote.

The FactCheck report quotes Michael Diaz, who started NPCdaily.com in October of 2018: "The idea was never actually to get people to believe it" but people will always be taking things out of context."

Diaz said he started the site because he saw an open niche for satire aimed at liberal politicians and issues and wanted to have a laugh. He said under no circumstances would he want his content to cause people to be attacked or harassed.

On the issue of posts from his site circulating as though they are real, Diaz said, "If people see my stuff and then they think that it's true, that's kind of on them." He said part of being a responsible citizen is doing research before believing something posted online.

MAKE LEMONADE

The old advice to make lemonade when life hands you lemons turns out to be good advice on many fronts, including from a health standpoint. Recently came across an old article that reports the Vitamin C and potassium in lemons can help lower blood pressure and citric acid may lower the incidence of kidney stones.

Folates in citrus fruits can help prevent birth defects and cut the risk of heart disease. Medical studies have shown that consuming citrus fruits can reduce risk of strokes by 19 percent, and of oral and stomach cancers by 40 to 50 percent.

To get full health benefits, the juices and zest should probably be consumed raw, although some of the health benefits remain in the cooked product.

GARDEN CHORES

If it ever quits raining, use the time to get some yard and garden chores done. Prune trees that are susceptible to disease if pruned in the spring, such as Maple, Birch, Oak, and Mountain Ash. Plant new trees and shrubs. The new roots still have time to become established before the spring.

According to the Old Farmers Almanac, Fall is the best time to start lawn grasses from seed.Till the soil and smooth it well before sowing, and if it doesn't rain give it several light waterings each week. That shouldn't be necessary this year.

Dig herbs like basil, rosemary, parsley, chives, and thyme from your garden and plant them in pots to bring indoors for the winter, and start moving houseplants inside.

Outdoor perennials can be divided now and replanted.

Watch for frost forecasts and be sure to harvest tomatoes before the first killing frost. They can finish ripening indoors, away from sunlight.

SAVE THE BANANAS

Just read that pressing bit of aluminum foil around the stems on your bunch of bananas will slow the process of decay, allowing you more time to enjoy your eating bananas fresh instead of having to make them into banana bread.

Remember when we were told Elvis Presley's favorite sandwich was made of peanut butter and bananas? Must admit, it is a very good combination.

Also, remember when we used to put aluminum foil on our "rabbit ear" TV antennas to get better reception? Now, some are advising wrapping a piece of cardboard with foil and placing it behind the Internet connector to improve reception. Same principle.

MORE USES FOR FOIL

To re-seal plastic food bags, fold a strip of foil over the top of the bag and press with a hot iron. The heat will re-seal the plastic, and the foil prevents it from sticking to your iron. Incidentally, if there are dirt smudges on the iron you can remove them by scrubbing the hot iron surface with a crumpled up ball of foil.

Line deep cupboard shelves and drawers with foil to reflect light into the corners. Cover cracks while you're at it, and incidence of insect attacks will be reduced.

Sharpen your scissors by cutting through crumpled aluminum foil a number of times. Have noticed that with all of today's modern packaging materials, it is impossible to cook without having a scissors handy.

TEACHER OVERSTEPS

Read on the web lately that a pre-schooler went home hungry because her teacher would not allow her to eat the Oreo cookies that Mom had included with her lunch. The teacher said later that the little girl then declined the healthy foods her teacher offered. Apparently the tyke had decided she would eat nothing if she couldn't have the cookies she had been promised.

According to the web reports, the cookies were not a violation of a school rule. The teacher then sent home a note declaring the Oreo cookies were unhealthy, and prescribing what should be in the little one's lunch, and that advice included a statement that if there were potatoes in the lunch there should be bread also, and that peanut butter was not good. Maybe the teacher should have taken some classes on nutrition before she started dictating what moms could feed her students.



COOKIN' TIME

Zucchini keep producing, and that's a good thing, because there are so many fine ways to use them. I've even chopped them with a food processor and canned them with pineapple juice to use as a substitute for canned crushed pineapple. Works very well. More on this another time.

STUFFED ZUCCHINI

This dish, which hails from Arabia, can easily be made low carb by replacing the rice with one cup of pine nuts, and can be made with yellow summer squash as well as zucchini. The spices sound strange, but they're surprisingly good. I leave out the cloves.

Meat and rice filling:

3/4 pound of ground lamb or beef

3/4 cup white rice

1 cup chopped tomatoes, peeled

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried parsley)

2 tablespoons minced fresh mint (or 2 teaspoons dried mint)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

12 medium zucchini, about 6-8 inches long

Sauce

4 cups of prepared broth, chicken or beef, or water

15 ounce can tomato sauce

14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes, don't drain

2 to 5 cloves garlic minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh mint (or 2 teaspoons dried mint)

1 teaspoon cumin

Juice of a lemon

Salt to taste

Hot sauce to taste (optional)

Start by coring the zucchini. A grapefruit spoon works well, or use a long skinny knife to cut off the stems then gently bore out a core in the middle of them. A long handled ice tea spoon works get out the seedy core. Core until till you have the walls are about 1/4 inch thick. Be careful not to poke a hole in them if possible. If you have an apple corer use that. Mix all the stuffing ingredients until well blended and gently stuff the zucchini loosely with the mixture, using your fingers. Leave room for the rice to expand. Set them aside. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, combine the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil, while stirring. Lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors marry, then gently float the stuffed zucchini in the broth and simmer, covered, for about 45-50 minutes till the rice cooks and the meat is done. Check occasionally during cooking and if the sauce needs more broth or water, add it. Serve in deep bowls, in some of the hot broth with minced fresh mint and parsley sprinkled on top, with crusty French bread or Arabic flat breads and cheese spread.

ZUCCHINI POTATO SOUP

5 cups chicken broth

1 pound zucchini, halved and thinly sliced

1 large potato, halved and thinly sliced

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

3 eggs

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, potato, and onion. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, beat the eggs. Add the lemon juice and cup of the warm broth and whisk to combine. Add the eggs and lemon juice to the hot broth gradually and stir constantly, so that the mixture doesn't curdle. Increase the heat to medium and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, but do not boil. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Makes 8 servings.

CINNAMON APPLE PIE BREAD

Apples are plentiful right now, so take advantage of it. Even windfall apples are great in this treat, which can be baked now and saved for Deer Camp or Christmas, if you make enough. This is a somewhat cake-like bread, very well suited for dessert.

1/3 cup brown sugar, not packed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter (or use unsalted and add 1/4 teaspoon salt)

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup milk

2 apples, peeled and chopped

Topping:

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9X5 inch loaf pan. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and set aside. Beat white sugar and butter together until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time until mixed. Add vanilla and beat again. Mix flour, salt and baking powder and stir into the butter and egg mixture. Add milk and mix until smooth. Pour half the bater into the prepared loaf pan. Add half the apples and sprinkle on the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Pour on remaining batter, and top with remaining apples and push down lightly. Sprinkle on remaining brown sugar and cinnamon and then, using a flat bladed knife, swirl apples and cinnamon sugar through the batter. Mix the final batch of sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the top seems to be getting too brown before the bred gets done, put aluminum foil over the top.

APPLE CREAM CHEESE DANISH

This is super easy already, but if you want to make it really, really easy, add some cinnamon and lemon juice to canned apple pie filling and use that instead of fresh apples. Won't be as good, but still well worth eating. (P.S. No one ever needs to know that you didn't make the whole thing from scratch if you take care to hide the crescent roll container and the apple pie can. Erma Bombeck used to suggest scattering some flour around the kitchen and on yourself to make it look like you'd been working really, really hard.)

You need:

1 package of 8 crescent rolls

CREAM CHEEESE FILLING:

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

APPLE FILLING:

4 tablespoons butter

3 apples, peeled and diced

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 to 4 tablespoons water

FROSTING:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Dash salt (optional)

2 to 3 tablespoons water or milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a pan or line it with parchment paper and set aside. Mix cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth and set aside. In a medium pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons water and cook until apples are soft, about 7 minutes. Add more water one tablespoon at a time if apple mixture gets too thick. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Place crescent roll dough on prepared jelly roll pan, making a rectangle. Use a rolling pin to seal seams and thin dough out slightly. Make 2-inch diagonal cuts about an inch apart on the long sides of the dough. Cut in toward the center, but leave at least 4 inches down the middle uncut, because that's where you're going to put the filling. Spread cream cheese filling in the uncut center of the dough. Spoon apple filling on top of cream cheese filling. Pull the top and bottom of dough over filling and then pull the dough slices from the sides in toward the center, creating a braided look. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for at least 20 minutes. Then make the frosting by mixing powdered sugar and salt with vanilla and water in a small bowl until smooth. Add additional water if needed to get to desired consistency. Drizzle over warm Danish. Serve slightly warm, at room temperature or cold.



Thought for the week: Understand that Noah ran into such serious zoning and building permit problems while he was trying to build the Ark, along with environmentalists who didn't want any trees cut or any endangered species disturbed, and union labor woes so bad that he nearly had to give up his plans to build the Ark and God almost decided to call off the flood because government alone could destroy the world without His intervention.



(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 shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo.com.)


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