June 2002 A Fiddler’s Feast Meatless Tamale Pie Eufala Angel Biscuits Howdy, Howdy, Howdy! Hot dog! It’s Festival time again! Seems like it was only a month or two ago that I was writing this same sentence. As we get older, the days get longer and the years grow shorter. If you’re in the age group under 40, I know you have a hard time understanding just exactly the true meaning of that statement. But believe me, when you zip past 40 and get into your 50’s and 60’s you will understand it immensely! I always like to remind you folks to check out the gear that you plan on bringing to the festival with you, especially if you once use it once or twice a year. Fire up your camp stove and lanterns; unroll the sleeping bags to make sure it wasn’t some mouse’s winter home; and blow up the air mattress that you’ve only had for 10 years. Don't you just love it when you wake up on a flat, cold, hard air mattress in the middle of the night? That’s not the best part of the story though. When you go to town to purchase another one, and you walk up the checkout counter with that stiff, "I slept on a flat mattress all night" gait, the person behind the counter looks at the new air mattress, checks the price, and then looks at you with a half sneer-half smile, and says "Your old one go flat last night?" Makes you wish you still had your Buck Rogers ray gun you had when you were ten years old so you could vaporize him right there! Then to add insult to injury, the mattress that you paid 15 bucks for ten years ago is now $49.95 plus tax! So you go out to the tuck and borrow 20 bucks from your wife or girlfriend, who’s not speaking to you very much at the present, go back inside where you’ve got one counter backed up with 15 people, pay the all knowing, sneering checker, and as you turn to finally leave, he says; "by the way, we sell patch kits for those mattresses for 5 bucks in Sporting Goods!" That parting remark sticks in your back like an arrow, all the way back to the Festival grounds! You finally get the new mattress aired up, fix the bed in your tent, only to discover that one seam in the tent wall not resembles another door, so its back to K-Mart again to get some needles and thread for the tent. You get into the line farthest from the sneering checker that you dealt with an hour ago, pay for your tent repair items, and head back to the festival grounds where you spend three hours sticking your fingers full of needles while trying to sew up a canvas tent that’s old and rotten. Finally about dark after wasting a whole day without pickin’ one note in all the hot jam sessions going on around you, the new mattress is in place, the tent is repaired and you are as hungry as a mama wolf with ten pups! You don’t dare ask, "What’s for supper?" because right now the lady love of your life is giving you that "you are taking me to dinner" look, "and it ain’t gonna be no Burger King, pal!" So you get in a quick, cold shower, throw on yer cleanest shirt and head back to town where you max out your credit card at the nicest place you can find. You finally get back to the festival around 11:30 p.m.; kiss your lady good night (remember, she didn’t sleep well last night!) Grab your axe and go find a good jam! Only to find that the tent repair has seriously curtailed your ability to use your needle-punctured fingers on your left hand! So you dejectedly head back to your camp where you get yourself a cold one from the cooler, sit down in your lawn chair that you’ve only had for 12 festival seasons, take a long pull on that nice cold beer, and that’s when the plastic webbing of the chair breaks! As you disentangle yourself from that octopus of plastic and aluminum, you hear muffled laughter from inside your tent. Later, as you lay in bed totaling up the day’s cost in your mind, you vow that next year "I’m checking everything out a month before I leave!" You hear a telepathic "I hope so!" from your lady love as you drift off to sleep, with the stars twinkling through your patch job. Believe me folks; I’ve had this and more happen to me, even though I try to keep everything in good shape. Make maintenance on your festival gear a habit and you won’t regret it. That also includes your vehicles and trailers too! I’m always reminded of the time a friend of mine was about two miles from his house, heading to Grass Valley when a tire and wheel passed him. Looking in his side mirror, all he saw was a shower of sparks. The left wheel had come off of his trailer and the axle was right on the pavement! Needless to say, he didn’t make it to the festival that year. As you all know, good music and good food go hand in hand. Seems like you can’t have one without the other. Besides who would want to? After all that "chin music" about your festival gear, I’m getting an appetite. So pull up a chair by the ol’ cook fire, grab yourself a cup of Cowboy Coffee and we’ll share some vittle fixin’ stories. The first recipe this month has become a favorite of the entire Board of Directors of our association. Larry Kuhn’s lovely wife Bobbie has brought this wonderful casserole to several board meetings, and there’s barely crumbs left in the dish when we get through with our "feeding frenzy!" I’m not kidding folks; you gotta get there early to get some of this! Bobbie graciously agreed to share her recipe here for all of you folks. She calls this: A Fiddlers Feast 1 lb. Ground beef 1 packet taco seasoning plus 1/2-cup water 1 16-oz can, whole kernel corn, drained 1 16-oz can, creamed corn 2 eggs, beaten 1 cube butter, melted 8 oz. Sour cream 1 package, Jiffy Corn Muffin mix 1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated 1 4-0oz can chopped Ortega chilies 1 4-oz. can green chili salsa Brown the beef; add taco seasoning and water. Cook down. Spread beef mixture in a greased 9" X 13" pan. Mix everything else together, pour over beef and bake 35 minutes at 400º F. If you bring or cook up some of this at the festival, you would be wise not to let any of the directors know it, (except me, of course) because that would be like throwing a side of beef among a pack of wolves. This stuff is wonderful! Thank you Bobbie for sharing this with the folks, and hopefully I’ll get to compare the efforts of several different batches of this dish at the festival. Anyone who has read this column for a while knows that one of my favorite types of food is good Mexican cuisine. Mexican food, when properly prepared, is some of the finest food in the world. One of my favorite Mexican dishes is Tamale Pie. Here some 10 or 12 years ago I picked up one of those "Chuck Cookbooks" at the thrift store for a buck. This cookbook has all vegetarian recipes in it. The book is at least 50 years old and the front and rear covers are missing, but it has some really great recipes that I like to try occasionally and the recipe for Tamale Pie tastes great, even though it is meatless. Meatless Tamale Pie 2 TBSP olive oil 1 cup sweet onion, diced 1/3-cup celery, diced 1/3 cup green pepper, diced 2 1/4 cups canned tomatoes 1 1/4 cup whole kernel corn, drained 1-cup cornmeal 1 cup chopped nutmeats 2 eggs, beaten 3/4 cup sliced olives 2 tsp. Vegetable salt 1 tsp. Paprika 1-cup water Sauté onions in olive oil until tender. Add celery, pepper, tomatoes, corn, seasoning and water. Bring to a boil; stir in cornmeal gradually. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs, olives and nuts. Turn into a greased casserole. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes. Serves 6-8 normal folks or 1½ banjo pickers. You’ll be surprised how good this tastes. I like to heat up leftovers and throw a couple of poached eggs and some salsa on top of it for breakfast. Wowsers! Good ol’ country breakfast "fer sure!" Speaking of country breakfasts, when I think of a real country breakfast the first thing that pops into my mind is a big pan of hot, perfectly browned, fluffy biscuits! That, along with a

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