A Carrot Salad for a Veteran

In about 10 days, between 50 and 100 World War II veterans from the area will embark on a trip to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorial to their wartime service and sacrifice.

I’m sure if my dad, Ervin "Hap" Tiedeman, were alive, he would have been excited to go on this trip. Probably just as excited as my uncle, Curt Hendrickson.

Uncle Curt, who turns 90 this month, is among five veterans from Crookston who wil be on the April 18-19 trip. The group includes a retired teacher, a retired Minnesota state trooper and my childhood barber, Phil Olson.

We chatted with Uncle Curt the other day about the Honor Flight, and he showed us the itinerary for the trip. What caught my eye was that the veterans will be having "rations" on their chartered flight from Grand Forks to Washington.

I joked with Uncle Curt about that, and my Aunt Harriet said he wouldn’t touch Spam for years after he got out of the service, although he said he now likes it fried.

During World War II, fresh meat was difficult to get to the soldiers on the front, so GIs started eating Spam for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some referred to Spam as "ham that didn’t pass its physical" and "meatloaf without basic training." I bet they had other names, too. But they aren’t printable.

Continuing to talk about food, Aunt Harriet said she was going to make a carrot salad for my uncle before he goes on the trip. It’s one of his favorites. She’s shared the recipe with me, and I can see why Uncle Curt occasionally will have a midnight snack of the carrots when he gets up from bed. They’re really yummy.
Give the salad a try. I’m sure you’ll like it, too.
Carrot Salad
2 pounds of sliced carrots, cooked but still firm
1 medium onion, sliced
1 small green pepper, sliced (optional) 
1 can tomato soup
½ cup salad oil 
1 cup sugar
¾ cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Slice carrots and cook them for about 5 minutes. They should be firm, not mushy. Place them in container large enough to hold them and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until mixed thoroughly. Refrigerate. Use as a side dish or even as a snack.

 

The Many Faces of Chili

Chili can have many looks. It can have beans. It can be without beans. It can have meat. It can be without meat. If it has meat, it can be ground. Or it might be chunky.

No matter what variation it is, there probably hasn’t been a chili that I haven’t liked.

If I had my druthers, chili would hot, hot, hot. My favorite is called 10-Alarm Chili. It’s a concoction I came up with years ago. The name comes from the fact that the chili has 10 kinds of chilis in it.

It’s a little too spicy for my wife, but most of my friends love it. There have been ice fishing forays on some mighty cold days that were made bearable because of the chili’s heat.

I’m always looking for new chili recipes. Just recently, George Whalen, principal at Lake Agassiz Elementary School in Grand Forks, passed along a venison chili recipe he found in Field and Stream magazine. It’s quite similar to mine. In fact, it might even be hotter. It’s loaded with hot peppers and has a lot of tomatoes. It also contains a few other ingredients that have piqued my curiosity, including Guinness beer, red wine and black beans. The recipe looks like a keeper.

Here are both chili recipes, just in case you might like to try them.

Editor’s Chili
2 pounds venison, cut in bize-size chunks
¼ pound thick-cut bacon, diced
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
2 jalapeno chili peppers, seeded and diced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
¼ of an 8-ounce can of chipotle chilies, seeded and chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cinnamon
¼ honey
1 tablespoon molasses
1 bottle Guinness or other stout beer
½ cup good red wine
1 can whole plum tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 cans black beans
Chopped cilantro
In a large pan, saute venison until just cooked. Drain and set aside. Cook in batches if necessary to keep from crowding in the pan.
In a large pot with a heavy bottom, saute bacon over medium heat until brown and has given up its fat. Remove and set aside.
Saute onions and peppers in bacon fat, stirring frequently until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and vinegar and cook for 2 minutes. Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper cinnamon and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes. Add venison and bacon. Stir well and cook for 1 minute.
Add honey, molasses, beer,wine and tomatoes. Mix well, bring to a boil and lower heat to low.
Cook at a slow simmer, uncovered, for an hour and stir frequently. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more chili powder or chipotles if you want more heat.
Add beans and cook for another hour, continuing to stir. The chili is done when it’s thick enough for your liking.
Garnish with chopped cilantro.
10-Alarm Chili
3 pounds ground chuck or buffalo
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 banana pepper, chopped
1 Hungarian wax pepper, chopped
4 jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 cherry peppers, chopped
4 dried cayenne peppers, chopped
4 dried chili peppers, chopped
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 quarts whole tomatoes
1 quart tomato juice
1 cup sugar (can be brown)
1 can kidney beans
1 can pork and beans
1 can red-hot chili beans
Brown meat and drain. Brown onions, peppers, celery and garlic in some of the meat drippings.
Mix all the  ingredients in a large kettle. Cook for 3 hours. Serve with grated cheese.

Stroganoff Beyond Beef

I love a good stroganoff. It’s classic comfort food.

People are most familiar with the beef version, and that probably was the first I ever tried. Now, being a hunter and usually a successful one, I’m especially fond of those made from venison or elk.

But once in a while, I like to change things up. With a freezer that contains several pheasants, I recently decided to put together a stroganoff featuring the popular gamebird. And instead of using egg noodles, which is standard fare with stroganoff, I made mashed potatoes. I also decided to toss in some frozen green peas.

To try keep the lid on the calories, I used reduced-fat sour cream for the stroganoff to offset a can of cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup. And I also used skim milk for the mashed potatoes.

The result was a tasty entree that still had the comforting taste of the traditional Russian dish. An oil-and-vinegar salad containing lettuce, chopped shallots and carrots rounded out the meal.

If you’re in the mood to try something different, give this recipe a try. Or if you want to stick to the traditional version, here’s also one containing beef.

Chicken Stroganoff
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 chicken breasts or 4 pheasant breasts
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Louisiana Cajun seasoning
½ to 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 10¾-ounce can Campbell’s Cream of Roasted Garlic soup
Place chicken or pheasant breasts in 1-quart sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Reserve broth. Let meat cool and then cut into small chunks.
Meanwhile, saute onions, garlic and celery in olive oil. Add meat and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients except broth. Heat over medium heat for 1 to 2 hours, gradually adding the broth as the sauce thickens.
Near the end of cooking, dissolve cornstarch in water and gradually add to sauce.
Serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.
Beef Stroganoff
Steamed broccoli or brussels sprouts are good accompaniments to this satisfying classic dish.
4 cups uncooked medium no-yolk noodles (about 8 ounces)
1 cup reduced-sodium, fat-free beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon black pepper, divided
Nonstick cooking spray
1 pound boneless sirloin steak (about ½-inch thick)
1 cup chopped onion
1  8-ounces package presliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Cook the noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and oil.
While the noodles cook, whisk together the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, tomato paste, ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl.
Spray a Dutch oven or large pot with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add beef to pan and cook about 3 ½ minutes. Remove from pan.
Add the onion and mushrooms to pan; saute 3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth mixture; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly.
Cut the beef into thin strips; return to pan. Stir in cooked pasta, sour cream and parsley; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.
Yield: Serves 5 (about 1½ cups per serving).
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 353 calories (26 percent from fat), 8 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 43 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams protein, 569 milligrams sodium, 57 milligramms cholesterol, 56 milligrams calcium, 3 grams fiber.

Let’s Hear It for Jerky

Whenever I see Keith Haus walking my way at work, my mouth starts to water.

That’s because Keith, our production manager, usually is bringing me something to sample. Most of the time, it’s venison jerky. And I must say, he’s never disappointed me.

Just this past week, Keith dropped off his latest creation. It was fairly mild on the Scoville scale, but nonetheless very tasty. Keith made his latest batch out of some venison he was given by Mark Young, our information systems manager. I’m pretty sure Keith made the jerky with less kick than he usually does because Mark is kind of a whimp when it comes to hot stuff.

Sorry, Mark.

Keith likes to use a jerky mix from Hi Mountain Seasonings of Wyoming that he purchases at Cabela’s in East Grand Forks. Hi Mountain says its seasonings and techniques have been passed on down from generations of  mountain men, pioneers, cowboys and American Indians, which they have preserved in their Jerky Cure & Seasonings, Western Style Seasonings, bacon cures and other products. I’ve never tried the products but hope to in the near future.

My only foray into making jerky was years ago, using small pieces of venison, seasoned with a few spices of my choice, and baked in the oven. And that was years ago.

Below is a recipe I used years ago. I think you will like it.

Venison Jerky
2 to3 lbs meat (cut in small pieces)
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoon accent
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Dash red pepper
Put in crock pot on low for 2½ hours.
Remove and spread on cookie sheet and put in preheated oven at 175 degrees for 50 minutes. Leave oven door cracked
Note: leave in oven longer if you want the meat drier.

Tilapia — A Tasty Catch

There are only two more Fridays left in Lent — today and next week. Being a Catholic, that means a couple of more days that I have to abstain from eating meat.

That’s usually not much of a problem, since we only eat meat once or twice at the most each week, and I have quite a few recipes that rely solely on vegetables.

But since we eat out most Friday nights, every year at this time, I’m looking for places to go to try new things order to observe this ritual.

I have an idea where we might go tonight — Red Lobster, where Lobsterfest is going on. The restaurant chain bills it as a one-time-a year event at which they "turn lobster into a celebration everyone can enjoy," and at a reasonable price.

Co-worker Dale Stensgaard raved about a dish he and a friend had there just the other night — Rock Island Stuffed Tilapia. According to the company’s Web site, the fish is roasted with crab-and-seafood stuffing and topped with langostino lobster meat in a creamy lobster butter sauce. The cost is $15.99. That’s not bad considering the entree comes with choice of salad and unlimited Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

I’m no stranger to tilapia. It’s been on my radar for several years. It’s a tasty fish that’s very economical and goes with a lot of different ingredients.

One tilapia dish I’ve tried at home and liked is a healthy one-pot meal that can be prepared in 15 minutes. It calls for the fish to be marinated for a few minutes in lemon juice and cracked black pepper before placing it atop a bed of onion, garlic, tomato paste, capers, olives and couscous that have been sauteeing in a skillet.

You don’t even have to be a Catholic to enjoy this recipe.

Lemon Pepper Tilapia and Couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
¾ pound tilapia fillet
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen onion
3 medium garlic cloves, crushed
½ cup couscous
2 tablespoons tomato paste or puree
2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons capers
6 pitted black olives, cut in half
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Mix olive oil, lemon juice and cracked pepper in a bowl or self-sealing plastic bag. Add fish fillet and marinate for 5 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Remove fish from marinade and set aside. Reserve marinade. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat and add marinade. Add onion, garlic and couscous. Saute 1 minute. Mix the tomato paste and broth. Add to the skillet with the capers and olives. Place the tilapia on top. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and gently simmer 8 minutes.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 459 calories (21 percent from fat), 10.8 grams fat (2.4 grams saturated, 6.5 grams monounsaturated), 84 milligrams cholesterol, 41 grams protein, 48.8 grams carbohydrates, 5.3 grams fiber, 965 milligrams sodium.

Time for Asparagus

I’ve really been enjoying the asparagus that’s been in the supermarkets lately. The stalks haven’t been too big or woody, and the price has been right.

Most of the time, we blanche our asparagus and serve it as a side with our main dish. I also like to broil it for about 4 or 5 minutes, on cookie sheet sprayed with vegetable oil, seasoned with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes.

The leftovers (if there are any), are pretty tasty, too.

Of course, I can’t wait to harvest my own asparagus later this spring. Over the past several years, I’ve been busy planting making an asparagus bed on the east side of our house, in full sun all morning. (Asparagus is ready to harvest the third year after planting.)

Planting the asparagus bed may well be the smartest thing I’ve done in all my years of gardening. How many things can you plant in your vegetable garden that will allow for harvests over 20 years or more?

I recently received an e-mail from the California Asparagus Commission with a nice recipe for an asparagus scramble (below). It looks like something that might be pretty tasty.

The group’s Web site also has many, many more asparagus recipes. If my Mary Washingtons (variety) produce like they should, it will be a site that will be bookmarked and visited quite often.

Fresh Asparagus Scramble with Herbed Cream Cheese & Tomatoes
1 pound asparagus spears, ends trimmed
8 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces whipped garlic and herb cream cheese
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Blanch asparagus spears in medium pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Whisk eggs in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add eggs. Stir until eggs
are almost set, about 1 minute. Add cheese in dollops and then
add tomatoes. Stir until cheese melts and eggs are softly set,
about 2 minutes.
To serve, cut asparagus spears into 2- to 3-inch pieces and fold into egg mixture and place on heated plate or oval ovenware. Garnish with chopped parsley. Option: serve an additional 2-3 spears of cooked asparagus on the side.
Note: 3 whole eggs and 9 whites can be used instead of 8 whole eggs.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 193 calories, 14 grams fat (5 grams saturated), 152 milligrams sodium, 298 milligrams cholesterol 3 grams dietary fiber, 12 grams protein.

Clams on the Half Shell

I’m going out today to eat some fresh clams on the half shell.

April Fool’s.

Actually, I have eaten some clams on the half shell recently, abeit frozen, not fresh. I picked them up at the Hugo’s store in East Grand Forks, after Denny Wynne, the manager of the meat department, pointed them out to me. The clams come from Stavis Seafoods Inc. in Boston.

To prepare the tasty clams, all you need to do is put them on a cookie sheet and pop them in the oven for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, or microwave them on high for 2 minutes. I preferred the oven method.

Not only does the store have the clams, it also has shrimp, raw oysters in the shell, mussels, scallops, crab cakes and, believe it or not, frog legs.

Denny says he decided to try something different, and the response has been tremendous.

I’m going to pick up a few more of the clams. They cost only about 70 cents apiece, a real bargain. And while I’m at it, some of the other goodies might find their way into my shopping cart for the seafood soup recipe below that looks quite appealing. 

Smokey Tomato and Seafood Soup
8 to 10 ripe plum tomatoes or 1 can (15 ounces) diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large shallots or 1 white onion, finely chopped
1 small leek, trimmed, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded, chopped, or 1 bottled roasted red bell pepper, diced
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 quart vegetable broth
1 8-ounce bottle clam juice or water
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
¾ teaspoon smoked sweet Spanish paprika (pimenton)
1 pound small fresh clams, scrubbed clean, or 1 16-ounce box frozen steamer clams in garlic butter sauce, left frozen
½ pound large (26-30 count) raw shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 pound boneless, skinless fish fillets, such as tilapia, pollock or snapper, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
½ pound bay scallops
Garlic mayo (optional, see recipe below)
Chopped fresh parsley and chives
If using fresh tomatoes, heat the broiler to high; put tomatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 6 inches from the heat source, turning occasionally, until the skin is lightly charred on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool, peel and chop coarsely, collecting all the juices.
Heat the oil in a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven or deep saucepan. Cook the shallots and leek until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the red pepper and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, broth, clam juice, wine, tomato paste, salt and smoked paprika. Simmer 15 minutes. (This base can be refrigerated, covered, up to 3 days. Shortly before serving, heat the tomato mixture to a simmer.)
Add the clams; cook 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish; cook 2 minutes. Add the scallops; cook 1 minute more or until all fish is opaque but still tender. Ladle the soup into wide serving bowls. Place a dollop of the garlic mayo into the center. Sprinkle with parsley and chives.
Garlic mayo: Mix 1/3 cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice in a small bowl. Use a garlic press to crush in 1 large clove of garlic; mix well. Add a pinch of salt if needed. This can be made up to 1 day in advance; cover and refrigerate.
Yield: Serves 6 (main course).
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 392 calories, 27 percent of calories from fat, 12 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 211 milligrams cholesterol, 20 grams carbohydrates, 51 grams protein, 1,420 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Refried Black Beans

Do you ever had trouble with leftovers? Do you find containers in your refrigerator that have been pushed into a corner, only to be found months later, covered with green mold?

It’s my experience that when there is only two of you (sometimes three or four when my stepdaughter and grandson come over to eat), you can end up with several containers a week of leftover food.

Luckily, we don’t have that problem at our house. I’m a real stickler for not wasting food.

A good case in point was the other night. I had fixed a smoked chicken that we bought from the Forest River Hutterite Colony a few days earlier. With just Therese and I eating that night, there was quite a bit of meat left over, even after using some of the fowl on a couple of homemade buns for lunch.

So, I decided to make some chicken burritos, using a packaged mix and a little water. With a little salsa, lettuce and grated cheese, it was a quick and nutritious dish. 

The coup de grace for the meal was the homemade refried black beans. All the recipe called for was two 15½-ounce cans of black beans, an onion, a little seasoning and some water. (I cut the recipe in half.) They were ready in less than 15 minutes.

I found the recipe on the Internet, courtesy of the Food Network. It was credited to Sara Moulton, the executive chef of Gourmet magazine and a cookbook author. She was the host of the cooking shows including "Sara’s Secrets" and "Cooking Live" during the early days of the Food Network in the mid-1990s.

So, if you find yourself with some leftover chicken, try making your own burritos, and don’t forget the refried beans.

Refried Black Beans
2 32-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
1½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cumin
Puree 2 cans of black beans in 2 cups water in food processor. Heat the lard or other fat in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onions with the salt and cumin until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the beans and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid evaporates and the beans form a creamy mass that pulls away from the bottom and sides of the pan, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately
Yield: Serves 4 to 6.
 

Pizza Time

Pizza is one of my weaknesses. There aren’t too many that have crossed my palate that I haven’t liked.

Just the other day, I had a few slices at the Italian Moon in Grand Forks after a rigorous ice skating exercise in which my grandson Rakeem’s hockey team took on their fathers and other family members in a game at Gambucci Arena, but that’s a story for another time. But back to the pizza, the Moon’s taco version rates right up there with the best I’ve eaten.

Speaking of the best pizza, Rhombus Guys Pizza owners Matt Winjum and Arron Hendricks recently were named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2009 Region VIII Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner. They were selected from "an elite group of entrepreneurs and community leaders representing Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming."

Congratuations, guys.

If you’ve never tried a Rhombus Pizza, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s about the best pizza I’ve ever had. They’re located at 312 Kittson Ave. in downtown Grand Forks, in the original Sanders 1907 building.

One of my goals when the weather gets nice is to try making a pizza on the grill, although I don’t think it will be in the Rhombus Guys’ class. I’ve come across several good recipes, one of which is listed below.

Give it a try, or head to Rhombus Guys instead.

Grilled Tomato and Olive Pizza
½ pint cocktail or grape tomatoes, halved
½ red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons each: pitted kalamata olives, drained, chopped sun-dried tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 package unbaked pizza dough, stretched into 12-inch round, or prepared (12-inch) pizza crust (see note)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
¼ to ½ cup shredded fontina
2 tablespoons each: torn basil leaves, shredded
Parmesan
Heat a grill to high. Combine the tomatoes, onion, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste in a bowl, tossing to coat with your hands. Brush the remaining 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over both sides of the pizza crust.|
Place the dough over a direct heat on grill; cook until puffy, about 2 minutes; turn over. Cook 2 minutes. Move crust to a cooler part of the grill; top with the tomato-olive mixture. Sprinkle the parsley, fontina and basil over the top. Cover grill; cook until cheese melts, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover; cook until cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Remove from grill; cut into wedges.
Note: If you are using a prepared crust, follow directions on the package for cooking instructions.
Yield: Serves 3.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 624 calories, 50 percent of calories from fat, 35 grams fat (7 grams saturated), 13 milligrams cholesterol, 63 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 1,045 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Hurray for Sandwiches

I can relate with the people of Fargo-Moorhead. After all, it was just 12 years ago, during the Flood of 1997, that we were in the same boat so to speak.

The time leading up to the evacuations of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks was pretty hectic. Many people spent hours upon hours sandbagging, moving personal property from their basements and doing whatever they could do salvage what they could.

One thing that sticks in my mind was how volunteers from everywhere helped out. One of the most important things to people before the evacuation and during the cleanup was the donations of food. Heaven knows we didn’t have time to cook much less the facilities to do it in.

It meant a lot to people whenever the Salvation Army truck came around with sandwiches and the like. I’m sure the same is going on down in the F-M area.

With that in mind, it was refreshing to hear how volunteers at UND Food Services have been busy the past few days makings sandwiches for volunteers and people who are fighting to save their property.

According to Denny Hogan, a UND employee, a group of about 30 people made 3,000 sandwiches this morning at Wilkerson Hall to be distributed to flood workers and those who have been displaced. He said that brings the total to 7,000 sandwiches, with another 3,000 or so to be made Monday.

It’s efforts such as this that show what people of our area are made of.

When things start to settle down a little, I have a couple of sandwich recipes you might like to try. One is for Beer-Braised Ham with Melted Onions. The other is for Ham and Gruyere Sandwiches with Melted Onions.

And with Easter just around the corner and ham popular in many homes, this might be just the ticket for leftovers.

Beer-Braised Ham with Melted Onions
3 large sweet onions, halved, thickly cut into wedges
1 bottle (12 ounces) pilsner beer
3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 small fully cooked smoked ham, 8 to 9 pounds
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix the onions, beer, mustard, brown sugar and pepper in the bottom of a large roasting pan, spreading the onions in an even layer over the bottom. Place the ham, cut side down, over the onions. Cover tightly with heavy-duty foil; bake until heated through, about 2 hours.
Remove the ham to a cutting board; cover with foil. Put the roasting pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring nearly constantly, to reduce the pan juices and glaze the onions, about 25 minutes; cool. Thinly slice the ham; serve with the onions.
Yield: Serves 16.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 304 calories, 16 percent of calories from fat, 5.4 grams fat (1.6 grams saturated), 50 milligrams cholesterol, 22 grams carbohydrates, 41 grams protein, 2,072 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Ham and Gruyere Sandwiches with Melted Onions
½ cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chili sauce
1 to 2 dashes hot red pepper sauce, optional
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 loaves (1 pound each) round or oval unsliced bread, such as Italian, Vienna or sourdough bread
½ pound thinly sliced Grueyere or Jarlsberg cheese
1 cup melted onions from ham, see recipe above
2 pounds thinly sliced beer-braised ham, see recipe above
Mix the mayonnaise, chili sauce, hot sauce and cilantro in a small bowl; set aside (refrigerate if making ahead). Up to several hours before serving, cut the tops off the bread loaves about one-third of the way down the bread. Use your fingers to hollow out the bottoms of the bread and to remove a little of the inside top bread. (Save the soft bread for crumbs.)
Generously smear the mayonnaise sauce on the inside bottoms and tops of the breads. Arrange a layer of the cheese slices on the bottoms. Top each with half of the onions and a thick layer of ham slices. Top with another layer of the remaining cheese. Place the tops of the bread in place. Wrap each loaf in heavy-duty foil. (Refrigerate up to 2 hours if desired.)
Shortly before serving, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the wrapped bread loaves on a baking sheet. Bake until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted, about 40 minutes (slightly longer if the loaf has been refrigerated). Cool slightly in the foil. Cut into large wedges with a serrated knife.
Yield: Serves 12.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 461 calories, 35 percent of calories from fat, 18 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 41 milligrams cholesterol, 48 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams protein, 1,330 milligrams sodium, 2.3 grams fiber.