Tuesday, October 16, 2007
There's Golda in Montana!
I bumped the first Golda post up from below because it was starting to get lost among older posts ... and I wanted it to be easy for folks to find after reading Crochet Magazine's newsletter note about Golda. So here you go:
When you think of Montana, especially if you're not a native, Glacier Park comes to mind, and the Little Bighorn, and lofty mountains, Charlie Russell paintings and Western American history. And if you've BEEN to Montana you come back with much more. Much more. The air of Montana is filled with the scent of wild sage, juniper, and trout streams, the towns are all neat, and the people? Well....
The country has a hard beauty. Its not at all unusual to see an extra length of board fence stretching along the highways; put there to keep snowdrifts from completely blocking the roadway. Summers can be hot... 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and winters can be bone chilling cold. Its not at all unusual for areas to reach -50 degrees F. This kind of beauty laced with harsh times can't help but produce some truly remarkable people. I'm guessing all this hardship tempered beauty might have had a part in raising Golda to be the person she is.
Golda is a Montanan born and raised. She grew up on ranches in the very heart of Montana, between the Snowy, the Judith, and Moccasin Mountains, and along the Missouri River Breaks; some of the most strikingly beautiful country this whole world has to offer. But for all its beauty, its a hard country. Golda worked from her childhood, paying her own way through High School in Lewistown Montana.
Golda is my friend Jack's mother.
Jack, Biff (another great friend) and I arrived Thursday night in Lewistown, after a long and awe inspiring 500 mile road trip from Spokane. Late as we were, Golda had a mouth watering meal waiting for us.... an amazing dish of Cranberry Kraut Meat Balls*, salad, biscuits and next to MY mom's, the best home made apple pie ever (home made crust and apples from a neighbor's tree). Biff and I ate so much we had to slide back just a little more from the table to make room. All this time Golda was up and down, making sure our water glasses were full, going back and forth from the kitchen with second and third helpings, then finally serving the pie and ice cream. But it didn't end there.
Pinochle was next.
Pinochle is a favorite game for entertainment and socializing among relatives and friends in the Lewistown community, and I was glad to have a little background on the game from my roots at the Ranch and thereabouts. So after Golda whisked away the dishes (she let me help fold the tablecloth), we played and laughed and talked away the rest of a truly memorable day. During the game I of course casually asked if by chance Golda crocheted.
Oh does Golda crochet. And knit. And bake. And ranch. And raise a family of remarkable people.
It turns out that all the beautiful afgans, quilts and scarves I had been admiring in Golda's apartment were made by her. You see them surrounding her in the portrait above. And those were just a sampling of her art. Golda crochets and knits for all kinds of charities and fundraisers. She's entered record numbers of projects in the local fairs, and has enough blue ribbons to paper a wall.... literally.
So.... while taking a hike of Golda's ranch where Jack grew up, we stopped for a rest on a point overlooking just another ho hum breath taking scene, to breathe the juniper and sage scented air, and groan just a little from over-eating the night before. Close by there was a Juniper with some dead branches. I just happened to have my little folding saw along, so i cut some pieces for potential hook making. Ever smell juniper? Not the berries, the wood. The berries have a fantastic evergreen aroma, but the wood? A little like aromatic cedar but even better smelling if you can imagine that.
And this is the result.... the Golda Hook. After a very short contest with only one entry that she didn't know about... Golda wins this Montana Juniper hook.. made from those branches taken from that spectacular vantage point on her ranch.
Oh and did I mention that Golda had entries in the local fairs every year for 75 years?
Did i mention that she is 94 years old?
Thanks for stopping by,
Please feel free to say hi to Golda in the comment section.... she'll be reading this.
*Golda's Cranberry Kraut Meatball Recipe, straight from Golda's hand... by popular demand:
(you can click on the image for a larger view)
And here's one of MINE!
Jimbo's Sausage Roll-ups
2 lb. Mild Italian sausage (bulk, not link)
1/2 lb diced crimini mushrooms
1 cup of Mizythra (aka Mizithra) cheese chunks, pea size
3-4 tablespoons dried onion flakes
4.25 oz can of chopped black olives
1 1/2 sticks (4oz) of butter (melted)
1 box of frozen phyllo dough sheets (whatever size you can handle) barely thawed and covered with damp towel (read the instructions on the box)
The hard part:
Use a big skillet. Saute the mushroom pieces medium high in little olive oil and remove to a bowl. In the same pan brown the sausage. Chop the beegeebers out of it while browning, to the consistancy of oh, maybe like short grain rice. As the sausage is browning, sprinkle in the mushrooms and dried onion flakes. The flakes will hydrate with juices from the sausage. Very little grease will remain in the bottom of the pan so there may be no need for draining... but use your discretion; sausage fat content varies. Keep chopping and stirring all the while as you add the chopped olives and cheese. Stir for another couple minutes, then remove the mix to a bowl.
You thought that was the hard part?? HA!! Well here it comes.
Have the Phyllo sheets next to you and a clear smooth surface in front. I made the mistake of lightly dusting the surface with flour.. don't do it, it'll just dry out the Phyllo sheets even faster then their normal 3.2 second drying time (my biased estimate).
Ok, limber up.. crack your knuckles...On your marks, get set....Uncover the Phyllo sheets, remove one sheet (easier said than done), lay it out in front of you and re-cover the stack of Phyllo sheets with the damp towel.... all in one graceful split naonsecond because if you're slow like me, the dough will dry out and you'll have a crumbled mess on your hands. Ok.. now in that same graceful but lightning speed motion, brush the whole top surface of the sheet in front of you with melted butter. Now if you're like me you're beginning to sweat... stress is building... but you have to repeat the process two more times. Uncovering the Phyllo sheets, removing one, placing it precisely over the previous buttered sheet, re-covering the Phyllo stack and buttering the top surface of the successive sheets. You now have a nice tidy stack of ultra thin buttered Phyllo sheets. Yeah. Right.
Calm your shaking hands and lay a long berm of the sausage mix on the prepared Phyllo sheets. It should be about an inch high and precisely (just kidding) parallel to and about an inch or so up from the bottom edge. The little berm should stretch out to within maybe an inch of either side edge. Fold both side edges of your buttered Phyllo stack over to cover the sausage berm ends. Now fold the bottom edge up over the sausage berm like you're wrapping a package, then deftly and with a sigh of relief, roll the whole thing up into a snug little sausage filled log. Phew!! You did it!
Now butter the seam and the top of the little log and gently make diagonal cuts with a VERY sharp knife about 1/4" deep and at precisely 1.36" intervals (just kidding again.. dont''t worry about that .06"). If your knife is dull.. well maybe you can make an omlet with the mess you'll get. But you HAVE to do the diagonal cuts or you'll never be able to cut through the roll ups without crumbling the crust into dust when the cooking's done.
If the cuts went right, you're now ready to gently lay this work of art on a cookie sheet. Take a few deep cleansing breaths, wipe your brow and go back at it. Keep making the rolls until you run out of the sausage mix or need CPR.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 -35 minutes...you gotta watch these beauties and remove them when tops are a beautiful brown. Cut all the way through on the diagonal slices you made before. Arrange the pieces artfully on a platter and serve!!
You'll be the hit of your party... Pinot Noir snobs will smother you with adoration. You'll be begged for this recipe, and you'll think gee all this was all worthwhile.
Oh and you don't HAVE to eat these with Pinot... although they're a perfect pairing...they're good for breakfast too!
Cooking Time: up to 35 minutes
Serves 1- 14
Calories: don't ask. Hay the world's overpopulated anyways!