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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin - Is It Spring Yet?

After weeks of teasing, Spring may finally have arrived in TIMESland, but her finery is still to come. We'll have to wait a bit for green leaves, dandelions and apple blossoms, but for now we can enjoy the scent of spring, balmy breezes, absence of mud, and a bit of birdsong. Isn't it grant?

Meanwhile, nights remain frosty, which keeps the sap running. Hopefully, this will be a bumper year for maple syrup producers in the county.

Easter is coming fast, and egg hunts for youngsters and other Easter week events are scheduled all over the area.

EGG HUNTS

The Peshtigo Parks and Recreation Department annual Easter Egg Hunt is Saturday, April 15 at the large pavilion at Badger Park. The egg hunt begins at 10 AM, with check-in at 9:30 AM. 

Pre-registration is required and may be done at Peshtigo City Hall from 8 AM to 4:30 PM by April 13. No late registrations will be accepted. Age requirements are from one year old to 12. Prizes are offered, including new bicycles. In case of bad weather the event will be held at the Peshtigo Elementary Learning Center cafeteria and gym.

The Crivitz Egg hunt is also scheduled for Saturday, April 15, starting at 11:30 a.m. at Veterans Park. In case of rain, the event, eggs and all, will be moved to the high school.

CRAFT FEST

Want some neat new decorations? Watkins products, cosmetics, Tupperware, gifts for special days, ceramics, bird houses, floral arrangements, pottery, jewelry and more will be offered at the annual Crivitz Spring Craft Fest to be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 6 at Crivitz High School. The event includes foods and concessions sponsored by the Crivitz Music Department, as well as a rummage and bake sale sponsored by the Cheer Team.

EASTER RIDDLES

Spring these on the kids:

1)What do you call a bunny with a large brain?

2) Why shouldn't you tell an Easter egg a joke?

3) What do you call a rabbit that tells good jokes?

4) Why didn't the bunny hop?

5) What do you get if you pour boiling hot water down a rabbit hole?

See answers just before Thought for the Day.

ON THE SOAP BOX

BAD PROFESSOR


Read recently that a professor at the fashionable Drexel University expressed outrage because "Some guy gave up his first-class seat for a uniformed soldier," and people were thanking him. The twisted-mind professor tweeted that he was "trying not to vomit or yell about Mosul."

Mosul is an Iraqi city seen as the last major ISIS stronghold in the region. Iraqi troops, with the support of U.S. forces, have been trying to oust ISIS from the city. 

Must agree with a blogger who questioned why parents would spend $42,000 per year to send their kids to the West Philadelphia school that employs him.

This is not the first outrageous statement issued by the professor, who remains employed in a position that allows him to affect impressionable young minds.

With professors like that, it's no wonder the nation is in such a mess. If he hates America so much, why doesn't he go live in one of the countries he does admire, and quit polluting the minds of young Americans, people who will likely become leaders in our nation some day? He surely would be doing all of us a favor.

If the parents who pay the tuition would pull their sons and daughters out of the school in protest, perhaps he would be out of a job. Parents who continue to pay the tuition without objecting are aiding and abetting this person. Voting with your pocketbook can be very effective.

This is the same professor who previously caused outrage by claiming the fact that 4,000 white people were killed during the Haitian Revolution was a "good thing."

Professor Ciccariello-Maher has stated that his personal views expressed off-campus have absolutely nothing to do with those of his employer, Drexel University, "and do not represent the University's views."

He can say that, but just as hospitals are responsible if they employ irresponsible and incompetent doctors and nurses, so are schools, including colleges, responsible if they pay irresponsible unconscionable people to teach.

FISHY SUBJECT

Fishing season for many Wisconsin species is upon us, in fact it never ended. Walleye should soon be running. Smelt and other rough fish (like carp, suckers, bullheads, etc.) can be netted legally on most Green Bay tributaries up to 200 feet below the first dam from April 1 through May 15, but the DNR has all sorts of regulations, so better look up specifics to be sure. Walleye, brown trout and others are also being caught, but best check the latest DNR regs before you take any out of the water.

Meanwhile, those of us who aren't fishermen like cooking and eating the catch of the day. We often find fish recipes we want to try, but aren't sure just which ones are appropriate for the species delivered by our family fishermen.

Fish generally fit into three flavors, mild, moderate, and full, and there are ways to decide which type recipe is most appropriate. Mild fish will take seasonings well and do not exert a lot of their own flavors onto a dish and so can be very easily substituted for each other.

They also have either delicate, moderate or firm texture, which is important for cooking times. When substituting a firmer fish for a more delicate one you'll need to increase cooking times a bit.

If you're not sure about how strong of a flavor a fish has or how firm it is, try asking the person working at the fish counter of your local grocery store. they might know the answer. Or call Granny, or whoever is the cooking expert in your family.

If those options aren't available, here are some substitutes that come highly recommended. While each species of fish has its own flavor, some types have similar flavors and cook almost identically, so can substitute for one another.

Delicate texture, mild to medium flavor fish include cod, flounder, haddock, pollock, butterfish, lake perch, lingcod, and sole. Great for cooking in packets.

Moderate texture, mild to medium flavor fish include tilapia, rockfish, sheepshead, redfish, black drum, walleye, pike, trout and coho. Excellent for fish tacos! These versatile fish are easy to work with and are a great base for any flavor. Salmon and trout also can very successfully be canned, but more about that another day.

Firm texture, mild to medium flavor fish are halibut, grouper, monkfish, snapper, tautog, turbot, tripletail, golden tilefish, pompano (stronger flavor), hogfish, catfish, mahi mahi, drum, shark (stronger flavor). These firmer fish hold up well for grilling, baking, pan-searing or almost any cooking method. Their solid flavor makes them a great candidate to pair with stronger sauces and bold flavors, or to serve simply to enjoy their great natural sweetness.

Firm texture, full flavor fish include swordfish, cobia and tuna. Fish with higher fat content makes them great candidates for higher, drier heats like roasting or grilling.

COOKIN' TIME

Lent calls for some meatless meals for many of us, and in general, fish for dinner is a treat at any time of year. Fishing season for most species in Wisconsin doesn't start until May 6, but rough fish like carp, bullheads and suckers can generally be caught any time, and smelt season is on, even if the smelt run isn't. Check with the DNR or your license rule book if you aren't sure. The rules keep changing, and sometimes a net legal to use on a certain date on one body of water isn't legal somewhere else, and those places are often very close.

By the way, the DNR book on rough fish has some very interesting recipes and is worth looking at.

POACHED FISH

Fish are delicious, especially if freshly caught and properly cooked. This Court Bouillon works beautifully with almost any type of fish or at least fish fillets, including bullheads, carp and suckers, if you're brave enough to experiment. Also great with pollack, cod fillets, etc. Recipe comes from the Wisconsin DNR website, where it is credited to Chef Louis Szathmary.

COURT BOUILLON

2 quarts water

1/2 up white vinegar

1 large sliced onion

1 sliced carrot

3 sprigs parsley

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon thyme

8 to 10 peppercorns

1 tablespoon salt

Handful of celery tops

Put water into a suitable kettle and add everything else. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. Strain this, cool, and use it to poach fish, which should always be put in when the liquid is just warm, not boiling, and just deep enough to cover the fish. A 1" thick fish steak cooks to perfection in 12 to 15 minutes from the tie the bouillon starts to simmer. After the steak is cooked, set aside in a warm place for five minutes so the fish becomes firm. (The original recipe says to serve with Bechamel Sauce, but I like to add a bit of butter when cooking the fish and serve simply with lemon butter. Also, the recipe says fish steaks, but it works very well with fillets of just about any kind of fish, and the squares of cod, etc. that are readily available.)

SLOW COOKER MONGOLIAN BEEF

Super easy. To save time for a busy day in the future, double batch this. Mix everything up ahead of time in a plastic bag, then freeze until the day before you want to use it. Then just dump into the slow cooker, allowing two hours if cooking on low, four to five hours on high. Cook the rice, open a can of chow mein noodles and get out the soy sauce. Dinner is served!

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 pounds beef flank steak

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup shredded carrots

3 green onions, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root

Spread cornstarch into a wide, shallow bowl. Dredge flank steak in the cornstarch to coat completely; put into a large resealable plastic bag. Stir water, soy sauce, brown sugar, carrots, green onions, olive oil, garlic, and ginger together in a bowl; pour into the bag with the beef and seal. Now, either marinate 15 minutes to 24 hours in fridge before cooking, or put the entire bag in the freezer until the day before you wish to prepare it. Remove bag from freezer and put bag into a bowl and place in refrigerator to thaw, at least 24 hours before you wish to prepare the beef. Empty bag into the crock of a slow cooker. Cook on High until the beef is tender, 2 to 3 hours. Alternately, you can cook this on low for 4 to 5 hours.

SUPER SAVORY MEAT LOAF

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup minced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds extra-lean ground beef

3 slices bread, toasted and crumbled

7 buttery round crackers, crushed

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 1/2 tablespoons sour cream

1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce, divided

1/4 cup milk, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the onion and garlic 5 minutes, until onion is tender. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix the onion and garlic, beef, crumbled bread, crushed crackers, egg, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 can tomato sauce. Gradually stir in the milk 1 teaspoon at a time until mixture is moist, but not soggy. Transfer the mixture to a 5x9 inch loaf pan. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 40 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees, and continue baking 15 minutes, to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the remaining tomato sauce and ketchup. Pour over the top of the meatloaf, and continue baking 10 minutes.

SLOW COOKER EGGLESS EGGPLANT PARMESAN

Have a friend who's allergic to egg whites, so this recipe is for her. Assemble in a jiffy Makes 4 servings. Double recipe and cook on low for 6 hours if you like. Great go-with for baked or poached fish or meat loaf.

2 eggplants, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

1/2 cup seasoned dried bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 jar (24 ounce size) marinara sauce

12 ounces mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

sliced fresh basil leaves

Coat slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Layer 1/2 each of the eggplant slices, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, sauce and mozzarella. Repeat layers. Cover. Cook on low for 5 hours. Let sit 30 minutes. Serve sprinkled with basil.

EASY OREO TRUFFLES

36 Oreo cookies, finely crushed, divided

1 package (8 ounces) Cream Cheese, softened

4 packages (4 ounces each) Semi-Sweet Chocolate, broken into pieces, melted

Reserve 1/4 cup cookie crumbs. Mix cream cheese and remaining cookie crumbs until blended; shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 minutes. Cover rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Dip cream cheese balls in melted chocolate; place on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

Thought for the Day: Dear Lord, help me to make the best use of what remains of Lent to prepare my soul for the glories of Easter. Thank You for the beauties of the Earth, the heavens, and all that live on and between them. Amen.

Country Cousin

Answers:
An egghead; It might crack up! A funny bunny! No bunny knows. Hot cross bunnies.

(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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