October 23, 2008

go ahead honey... it's gluten free! indigenous foods

venison* and a new england fall fruit egg bake
When I proposed indigenous foods for this month's "Go Ahead Honey... It's Gluten Free!" I was thinking of all the wonderful New World foods that the Americas have to offer. I wanted to encourage research into what food stuff are native to an area. I wanted to have an idea of what people were preparing here 600 years ago. Before the arrival of the Dutch and English what were the natives of Manhattan Island and New England harvesting and storing for the winter.

Corn, fruits, berries, game and seafood I discovered. Apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cranberries to name a few that we still enjoy. Others are lost to history or only found wild in the woods.

On the New England coast fish were a staple and shellfish abound. The clambake is a tradition adopted from the natives. At thanksgiving every school child hears the story of Squanto, the native who taught the newcomers to plant each seed with a fish to fertilize it.

In the wooded areas game was plentiful. I expect anything that could be caught could be eaten. I must confess I had a desire to cook venison when I formulated this month's theme.

The natives of this area dried fruits, berries and nuts for the winter, to be eaten along with smoked meats, stews and pemican.

After dutiful research and a thorough brain wracking my New England Fall Fruit Egg Bake was born. Mixing squash, apples and New England's fall favorite: cranberries. An experiment with good ingredients that turned out wonderfully, great as a side, elevenses or even dessert. In the spirit of authenticity, I attempted to dry my own cranberries with partial success, not having a dehydrator at my disposal.

New England Fall Fruit Egg Bake
1- apple, sliced
1/4- baked squash, about 1/2 cup
1/4- cup dried unsweetened cranberries
1- tbsp dark honey
6- eggs or egg whites
Sea salt
Butter, oil or fat to grease skillet

•Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease cast iron skillet, pie pan or baking dish

•Arrange apple slices to cover the bottom of the dish.

•Sprinkle dried cranberries over apple slices.

•In a blender, whiz the squash, eggs and a liberal pinch of sea salt.

•Slowly pour egg mixture over apples and cranberries

•Bake for 30 minutes or until firm.

While the torte was in the oven I managed to trip the circuit in my electrically challenged apartment when I started to heat my electric grill to cook the venison. The frittata had to finish cooking itself in the preheated oven, but after a trip down to the basement, flashlight in hand, the power was restored and I was able to finish cooking the meal.

The venison was simple to cook, 4 minutes in my grill at 400 F was just rare enough for me. The sweet frittata was a perfect compliment to the flavorful, hearty meat.

*Those of you who are squeamish, please turn away, but I must get this out of my system. Yes! Yes, I had Bambi for dinner, he was delicious, and I make no apologies!

Sent from my iPhone

1 comment:

seamaiden said...

I have my entry in the oven. Cross your fingers it turns out and comes out before the sun goes down for photo taking!