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Country Cousin

Issue Date: March 3, 2021

In like a lamb".

March breezed in like a gentle lamb on Monday, March 1 and seems inclined to remain on good behavior, at least for the next week or so.

Forecasters predict that for the coming week TIMESLand will have mostly sunny skies and daytime temperatures above freezing. No precipitation is expected until possible showers next week Tuesday and Wednesday bring in some even warmer temperatures.

Town and county officials are scheduling dates for the start of load weight limit restrictions to protect roads when the Spring thaw gets here.

Snowmobile trails in much of the TIMESLand area are either in poor and icy condition or closed. Check the web for trail conditions before you plan a ride.

Before we know it, Winter will be gone.

Maybe the Easter Bunny won't need to be be a Snowshoe Hare this year, but it's probably safest not to put away the parkas and mittens yet.



GROWIN' THINGS

If you plan to start your own plants indoors and move them to the garden when the time comes, this might be a good time to get started.

Personally have had good results with starting seeds in egg-shell halves, and then moving the plantings, shell and all, into larger containers and finally the garden by simply squeezing the shell enough to crack it and release the roots and then burying the whole thing either outdoors or in a new, larger container.

Scott Reuss, UW-Madison Division of Extension Agriculture/Horticulture agent in the Marinette/Oconto County area invites anyone with questions about vegetable selection, or any other horticultural or agricultural issue to contact him by phone at 715-732-7510 or e-mail to scott.reuss@wisc.edu. He says you can also find locally-oriented horticulture management articles, including seed starting basics, at the Marinette Extension office webpage, under the horticulture tab at: https://marinette.extension.wisc.edu/, or find information on other planting considerations in the Vegetable Cultivars and Planting Guide for Wisconsin Gardens, which is available free online at at https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0145/8808/4272/files/A1653.pdf

By the way, Reuss says to save seeds you've grown yourself or begged from neighbors from year to year, store them in tightly closed glass containers in the freezer. Who'd have thought?



NOT A MISNOMER

The season has come for the annual fund-raiser Cerebral Palsy telethons. An ad for one of those telethons reminded a friend that years ago a 6-year-old nephew who had a talent for technically incorrect but very appropriate terminology had referred to that cruel disease as "terrible palsy." So true!



ON THE SOAP BOX

THREE MASKS


Wrote last week about requiring three masks for some folks - one for the eyes, one for the ears, and one for the mouth, to prevent Trump Derangement Syndrome, which particularly attacks liberal lawmakers and newscasters.

Got to thinking about that, and decided some of the spokesmen (and women) for the extreme liberal left seem to have been wearing three masks for at least five years " masks covering eyes, ears and mouth " so they can see no truth, hear no truth and speak no truth, at least in regard to anything that would make conservative Republicans look good, and particularly in regard to anything that might make former President Donald Trump look good.



STILL ON THE SOAP BOX

SPENDING SPREE


To avoid indigestion, have been avoiding most news broadcasts lately, so am not sure if the proposed latest round of stimulus spending has been approved yet or not, if it includes everything that was proposed. Am afraid to find out.

If information provided to me is accurate, the lawmakers in Washington, DC who have control over our national finances have been be acting like a bunch of irresponsible kids with unlimited access to either someone else's credit card or the first one of their own that they've ever had.

They seem to have no concern that the day will come when they - more accurately, we or our children - will have to pay the piper for their "generosity."

Even though I personally would like another $1,200, feel the price is too high, and know from bitter experience that payback time will come, partly in terms of inflation and partly in terms of tax increases. Was recently given some information on what either was included or at least seriously proposed in that fat catalog of a bill, and found it pretty scary!

The several hundred pages of proposals came with a price tag of almost $2 trillion dollars. If the "generous" lawmakers trusted us to do our own thinking, they could given every American $6,000 to spend instead of the paltry $1,200 they reportedly plan to distribute to each "eligible" adult.

This multi-hundred page bill reportedly included pretty much something for everybody, and most of it has absolutely nothing to do with helping businesses survive the shutdowns imposed due to Covid-19 issues.

Spending, either approved or proposed, is mostly spelled out in terms of millions and billions of dollars, and includes vast amounts for AMTRAK, airline subsidies, and some needed money for infrastructure improvements.

As examples of less responsible allocations of dollars that were hard-earned by American taxpayers, the bill also reportedly includes over $300 million for international disaster assistance, $9 million for miscellaneous Senate expenses, $425 million of additional salary for the House of Representatives, $95 million for an Agency of International Development, $35 million to the JFK Center for Performing Arts; $25 million of additional cleaning supplies for the Capitol building, $500 million for museums and libraries without rules on where it will go,$300 million for Public broadcasting, $30 billion to the Department of Education stabilization fund (reportedly to keep people employed when schools are closed), $300 million to the Endowment for the Arts, $20 billion to the United States Postal Service (was that to compensate for the lost ballots?), plus $300 million for Migrant and Refugee Assistance, evidently to help support the horde of "undocumented immigrants" being allowed into the country under the new rules put in place by President Joe Biden and his cohorts.

Just what, if anything, does most of this irrational spending have to do with Covid-19 relief?



COOKIN' TIME

Fresh asparagus is not in season yet around here, but has been available at very good prices at some local supermarkets in recent weeks, cheaper even than frozen vegetables. Great to savor that springtime freshness this early in the year!



SLO COOKER TORTELINI

This recipe was forwarded to me by friend April Donlevy, who who had gotten it from Madlee Crawford, who found it on TikTok. It's a keeper. If you don't like spinach, try using green beans or cut up asparagus on top instead. (Haven't personally made this yet, but it sure sounds good. I plan to use sliced chicken breast, and asparagus. However, I don't trust the slow cooker to not make the asparagus mushy, so will cut it into fat slices and spears, brown them a bit in butter in a heavy frying pan and then cover and let cook for about five minutes and stir it into the crock pot mixture just before serving it.)

1 bag frozen tortellini

1 can diced tomatoes

1 box chicken stock

2 blocks cream cheese

1 pound meat (ground beef, sliced chicken meat, pork,

whatever)

1 package frozen chopped spinach

Salt and pepper to taste. Put into the crock pot in order, the frozen tortellini, diced tomatoes, chicken stock and cream cheese. Brown the meat, using a little butter if you're doing the chicken or sliced lean pork, no extra fat if you're doing the ground beef. Spread the partly cooked meat over the ingredients in the crock pot, then put the square of frozen spinach on top. Cover and cook on high for four hours, then give everything a good stir before serving.



PARMESAN CRUSTED WALLEYE

Walleye season is here, or almost, anyway. If you can't get that wonderful fish, this recipe works just fine with whitefish or other varieties of fish fillets. Use the shredded Parmesan from the refrigerator case, not the dried sprinkle on variety you find in the grocery aisles.

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon lemon pepper or seafood seasoning

2 large eggs

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

4 walleye or whitefish fillets, about 6 ounces each

1/2 cup cooking oil

Lemon wedges

Tartar sauce

Combine flour and seafood seasoning or lemon pepper in a large shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in separate large shallow bowl. Combine the bread crumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper in another shallow, large bowl. Pat fillets dry with paper towels. Coat fish in flour mixture. Dip fillets in eggs; then coat with parmesan mixture, shaking off any extra coating between steps. Place on a baking sheet. Warm canola oil in a heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add two fillets; cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily. Repeat with remaining fillets. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.



SHRIMPLY DELICIOUS PASTA

This delicious garlicky pasta is perfect for a meatless Lenten meal. Eating it certainly isn't a sacrifice, but may require use of mouthwash later. Speaking of garlic, was recently reading a cookbook written by Amelia Simmons that was first published in 1779. She says of garlic: "Garlicks, tho' used by the French, are better adapted to the uses of medicine than cookery." However, she praises asparagus as "an excellent vegetable," and definitely agree with her on that.

1/2 pound linguini, uncooked

1/2 pound fresh asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch lengths

2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing (can be

Kraft Lite)

1/2 pound frozen cooked cleaned medium shrimp, thawed

3 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup cream cheese (six ounces)

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Cook pasta in salted water in large saucepan as directed on package, and add asparagus for the last three minutes of cooking. Meanwhile, heat dressing in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in shrimp and garlic and cook and stir for one minute. Add the cream cheese and broth and cook and stir for two minutes or until the cream cheese is completely melted and shrimp is heated through. Stir in three tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese. Drain the pasta mixture, reserving a cup or so of the cooking water. Add pasta to the mixture in the skillet and toss to coat. If necessary, stir in some of the reserved pasta water, about a quarter cup at a time, to make the mixture less dry. Serve with remaining Parmesan to sprinkle on. (Recipe originally was designed to us with low fat, low sodium ingredients, such as lite cream cheese and lite salad dressing.)



ELSIE DASSOW'S CHEESECAKE

This recipe was shared years ago by former Peshtigo Mayor Al Krizenesky, and it came from his mother, who he described as a wonderful baker. This is a heartier cheesecake than the kind we usually make with cream cheese, and it is indeed marvelous and probably healthier than the kind we usually eat.

Crust:

2 packages graham crackers

1/3 cupsugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, melted

Turn graham crackers into crumbs. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon, and then the butter. Reserve one cup of the crumb mixture to put on top, and press the rest into a buttered baking pan. (Probably a regular 9X12 cake pan.)

Filling:

2 pounds cottage cheese

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 can evaporated milk

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon flour

Pinch of salt

Beat everything together until the cottage cheese is smooth and pour into the cake pan. Sprinkle on the reserved cup of crumbs and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Let cool, then serve as is, or with canned pie filling - preferably cherry or blueberry - spooned over the top. (You could probably use Ricotta cheese instead of the cottage cheese. I prepare the filling in a food processor to get it really smooth.)



Thought for the week: We are in the season of Lent, time for repentance, time to clean our souls for the coming of Easter and the glorious resurrection. Time to teach our souls to grow as Jesus taught us, to live lives of love and compassion, time to cast aside the sin, but embrace the sinner. As Father John felt Dante, in his "Inferno" may have had it right when he described the very depths of Hell, the deepest pit, for the worst of the worst, as not a blazing inferno, but icy cold, totally devoid of heat, companionship, love. Jesus suffered and died for us, and all that He asked in return was that we love Him, and love one another. During Lent, let us strive to surrender our anger and animosities and move toward a season of love.





(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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