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elkahani's picture
Joined: 2012-09-08 17:58

I have been cooking a few years, ran a restaurant a bit so I call myself a chef
My current goal Revive traditional native American dishes and elevate them to top level cooking (a hard goal indeed)  
currently I prep/cook in an employee dining room in a quite well known place I'm sure many of you have visited. it's seasonal and in my off time a cater a few events to keep my skills sharp, but it's not a real business and hope it never becomes one.
I hope i don't get to crazy in my culinary uneducated ways

elkahani's picture
Joined: 2012-09-08 17:58

right now I'm researching strawberries.
Cherokee tradition says that first man and first woman had a fight and the woman left. the man waited and soon realized she would not return. he then gives pursuit but is unable to catch up and asks the great father to stop her. the great father hears his plea and makes all the berries bloom to stop her, but she ignores them. trying to think what to do he cast down the fruit of heaven. She sees the strawberries and unknown to her so she ate one. She thought of how he would love them. She fills and basket she makes and runs home. Meeting her on the path she feed him one. They return home together as she feeds him strawberries on the way. they never fight again. and traditional homes keep strawberries in stock to feed each other and remember not to fight.
The best I have so far is a form of honey sweetened Strawberry corn muffin as a desert. It's kind of in the works. Flavors not right. No cows then so no cream. I do know the berry is added to a lot of savory dishes but their basic grilled/roasted items with sauce.
i am trying to avoid copying "reservation created dishes" based on the government rations
but we all love Navaho bread anyway.
the easiest dish is venison or elk stew a tomato base with squashes, pole bean and wild rice seasoned with local wild herbs.

labradors's picture
Joined: 2011-05-16 04:52

Welcome to the forum.  Souds like a fascinating goal.

elkahani's picture
Joined: 2012-09-08 17:58

heh trying to get people to eat pemmican the real stuff is quite interesting something about cornmeal jerky meat and mushed berry doesn't make mouths water.
but you make it tomato & basil polenta with grilled bison tenderloin rubbed with sage and a berry gastrique, or berry wine reduction sauce and they change their mind somewhat. the popcorn side gets them everytime though
so much was absorbed into European cooking though it's tuff to sort out real dishes from adjusted
"why is their popcorn on my plate?"

Jacobite's picture
Joined: 2011-06-20 19:10

G'day Elk. Welcome to the forum. I'm really looking forward to some revelations on Native-American cuisine.

skflyfish's picture
Joined: 2011-12-27 12:12

What, you mean that Indian Tacos are not indigenous? ;-) What doesn't go well with fry bread? ;-)
An Odawa friend shared his corn soup recipe with me. You make the corn the old way by soaking and cooking the whole dried corn in hard wood ashes (1 cup finely sifted ashes to 1 cup of corn) and lotsa water. It really makes hominy. (I like the flavor of corn processed in an alkaline solution. I have also made grits from dried homemade hominy and then ground it in a Corona hand grinder. I am wondering if grits are an indigenous food also.) He diverges by using pork instead of venison/elk/bison. It is good.
The book chronicling Buffalo Bird Woman talks about soups with corn and beans in them.
I really like winter squash that is baked with real maple syrup in it, then scooped out and mashed. Simple but very tasty.
Manoomin (wild rice) is really fun to harvest and process, but I have not had a recipe that I like, even the ones with lowbush cranberries. Do you have any good wild rice recipes.
I know that Winona LaDuke (White Earth Chippewa) is working hard on growing indigenous foods. She is fun to listen to when she talks about how the local deer skip over the GMO corn to head to her old white heirloom corn.
I will be interested in what recipes you come up with.

elkahani's picture
Joined: 2012-09-08 17:58

right now just mainly a mushroom that i harves resoto
many european rice dishes are what we cherokee did only refined with their nuances

wild rice stuffing in mallard with mushrooms and hominy is quite spectacular. the cranberry would be a nice touch added to that.

ahh the legend goes to keep deer away we planted our squash corn and bean together. as it grew the bean went up the corn stalk and the giant squash leaves kept the deer from getting close to the corn. acording to the legend i was told.
being i'm not fullblood i have little contact with the real trib only grandma and grandpa's tellings.

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