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Cook with the Best in the Northwest
From Our House to Yours, by the Dusty BB Club
In the rolling hills of the Palouse in southeastern Washingtonhills that make me feel like I'm wrapped in a cozy quiltyou'll find the tiny town of Dusty. There's not much of the town left now, but surrounding it are farms that continue to produce abundant harvests of barley, wheat, and much of the nation's lentils.
In nearby Pullman, you can spend August 22 and 23 at the National Lentil Festival, where the Little Lentil King and Queenassisted by Tase T. Lentil, the festival mascot rule over vats of lentil chili, a cook-off, music, and a variety of activities celebrating the versatile lentil.
If you want a closer look at this fascinating area, I recommend staying at the Parsonage Bed and Breakfast run by Vicki Broeckel.
Vicki will be happy to tell you about the Dusty BB Club, which has been around for 87 years. "BB" stands for "Busy Bees." The club was formed in 1927 to allow the area's hard-working farm wives an afternoon away from chores. But these women just couldn't sit still drinking tea. They quilted and raised money for worthy causes. They taught their children and the young wives whom their sons married how to can, arrange flowers, and garden, living up to the club motto, "We will do our part." Today there are about 20 members who continue the tradition.
In 2005 the women gathered family recipes into a 250-page cookbook. If you want plain, good food, this would be a good book to buy.
I mentioned lentils above because there are plenty of lentil recipes in this book: Barbequed Lentils (see below), Herbed Lentils and Rice, Lentil Enchiladas, Lentil Loaf, Lentil Stew.
This is one of those cookbooks where you know every recipe is going to turn out pretty much as you expect. There are no fancy full-color photos, just page after page of recipes that have fed several generations of industrious farmers . . . the farmers who grow your wheat and lentils. Vicki serves some of these recipes at her B&B, in case you want to sample before you buy the book.
I love using the recipes in this book. They're simple to make, calling for everyday ingredients. It was a pleasure to find two to share here.
The following recipes are printed with permission of the Dusty BB Club.
The Barbequed Lentils depend heavily on the ketchup for their flavor, so choose wisely! I actually used a homemade rhubarb chutney that contained a lot of apple cider vinegar and was deliciously sweet and sour, enhancing this aspect of the recipe. Most lentils in the United States are grown in the Palouse, so this a typical dish for the region.
2 1/2 cups cooked lentils*
Mix all ingredients. Place in an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
* To cook your own: Put 1 cup dry lentils in 2 cups water and simmer on stove for 25 minutes. If there is still water in the pan after cooking, drain off before adding lentils to other ingredients.
If you'd like to try homemade bread but aren't a cook or have had a bad experience making yeast breads, I highly recommend this recipe for Sunday Rolls. The process is easy, and the results are superb.
Mix all ingredients, except flour, together in mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in flour. Leave in covered bowl on table overnight. Next morning, shape into any shape roll. Bake at 375 F until done.
Note: If you're not sure how to "shape into any shape roll," lightly oil or butter your hands (dough will be sticky), take a small handful of dough, and roll into a ball. Place in greased round cake pan and bake for about 12 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned. My 9-inch round cake pan held 12 small rolls, and I got two batches, making a total of 24 small rolls. I had enough to make an additional small 3x5-inch loaf. This dough is very soft but bakes into a lovely yeast-scented bread.
Buy a copy of From Our House to Yours
You can purchase From Our House to Yours at the Dusty Country Store in Dusty, Wash., or receive a copy by mail (I recommend first sending a letter to ask the current price):
Dusty BB Club
Mary Rose lives high in the mountains of Montana. She enjoys traveling to farmers markets in summer and making snowballs during the long winter. She is happy to find many locally produced foods, including lentils, cheese, and stroopwafels.
Cook with the Best in the Northwest copyright 2014.