December 30, 2010

Happy 2011 from Kokopelli's Kitchen! Roast a Pig for Your New Year's Meal!

Many cultures plan extravagant New Years Eve celebrations, but the ancient Babylonians were probably the first to do so. Four thousand years ago, they celebrated for eleven days beginning with the first crescent moon after the spring equinox. In a sense, January 1st is an odd date because there isn't anything special about it from an astronomical standpoint. Nor does the day conjure up themes of spring.

For a relatively young country, the citizens of the United States have come up with our own annual New Year’s Eve celebrations. Every year, nearly a million people crowd into Times Square for one of the world's largest annual parties. At 11:59 PM, a one-ton crystal ball will begin its one-minute descent down the 77-foot flagpole. At the stroke of midnight, party goers wearing funny hats will blow noisemakers and kiss their loved ones. Billions of people around the world will watch the televised event.

Check out the Top 10 New Year’s Traditions and Superstitions - we discovered this list at TopTenz, the ultimate top 10 list site.
10. Fireworks
9. Making Resolutions
8. Paying Off Your Debt
7. Kissing at Midnight
6. Singing “Auld Lang Syne”
5. First Footer
4. Nothing Should Leave the House
3. Lay Low & Do Nothing
2. Eat Luck Foods
1. What You Do On New Year’s, You Will Do All Year

Foods to Avoid on New Year's
Be sure to avoid "unlucky" foods -- this is considered just as important as eating the good luck foods. If you were to serve something as unlucky as a chicken to your guests it could ruin their entire year. Many cultures believe that eating anything with wings is a no-no for New Year's because the bird could fly away, taking all of your luck with it. Chicken is thought to be especially unlucky because the bird scratches backwards (unlike the forward-thinking pig), which can possibly possibly lead to setbacks. The color white is a symbol of death in the Chinese culture, so avoid eggs, tofu, or white cheese. And, remember not to clean your plate too thoroughly — many cultures believe that leaving a little leftover food on your plate will usher in a year of plenty.

For those of you wanting to prepare and serve good luck food for your guests, Kokopelli's Kitchen chose the following recipe from “Arizona Territory Cook Book” by Daphne Overstreet. Permission to reprint granted by Golden West Publishers in Phoenix, AZ.

Clean piglet. Do not remove head or feet. Make a stuffing of dry bread, grated onion, sage, salt, pepper and warm water for moisture. Fill the cavity with stuffing and sew closed. Stand pig in pan of water, beef stock, onion, and butter and baste often. Bake slowly for three hours. Put a corn cob in his mouth and serve hot with baked apples.

For additional advice and guidance on cooking the whole hog, visit Ask the Meatman!

And if you can't find a whole pig to roast, visit McReynold's Farms. They are located in Phoenix, Arizona but their "farm-fresh roasting pigs" can be ordered online and shipped anywhere within the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii. Their USDA farm fresh roasting pigs have been grain and milk fed to ensure the meat’s maximum flavor and tenderness. They are delivered raw and completely prepped and ready to cook (hair and insides removed).

December 05, 2010

Happy Holidays from Kokopelli's Kitchen - Origins of Santa Claus

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals -- murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th (December 19 on the Julian Calendar).

Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas' life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.

Waves of European immigrants brought cherished St. Nicholas holiday traditions to the United States. Over time these have melded into some common practices. If one looks closely, these reveal some distinctive characteristics of beloved St. Nicholas.
  • Christmas stockings by the fireplace: And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there, goes the oft repeated Christmas rhyme. In a story of Nicholas rescuing poor maidens from being sold into slavery, gold dowrey money, tossed in through the window, is said to have landed in stockings left to dry before the fire.
  • Orange or tangerine in the toe of filled Christmas stockings: The gold Nicholas threw to provide the dowry money is often shown as gold balls. These are symbolized by oranges or even apples. So the orange in the toe of the stocking is a reminder of Nicholas' gift. 
  • Candy Canes:These are really candy croziers, one of St. Nicholas' symbols. All bishops carry staffs, hooked at the top like a shepherd's crook, showing they are the shepherds who care for, or tend, their people.
  • Gift-giving in secret, during the night: Stockings are filled while children are sleeping. Nicholas did his gift giving secretly, under cover of darkness. He didn't want to be seen and recognized as he wanted those he helped to give thanks to God.
  • Seasonal concern for the needy: St. Nicholas gave gifts to those in greatest need—the young and the most vulnerable. Christmas gifts and baskets given to those in need, along with other seasonal contributions to charity, reflect St. Nicholas' unselfish concern for others. He never wanted or expected anything in return.

(Source: St. Nicholas Center where there is more information about the saint, customs from around the world, stories and activities for children, recipes, crafts, and much more to help families, churches and schools learn about and celebrate St. Nicholas.)

Both candy recipes that we've selected this month are used to celebrate the Feast St. Nickolas. We found the recipes at St. Nicholas Center.

SCHOKOLADEKUGELN (German and Austrian Chocolate Balls)
  • 1 cup grated MILK CHOCOLATE
  • 1 cup SUGAR
  • 1 cup ground FILBERTS
  • 1 EGG
  • 1 tablespoon RUM
  • 1 cup COCOA
Mix chocolate, sugar, nuts, egg, rum. Shape into balls. Roll in cocoa. Dry several hours at room temperature. Yield, 1 pound candy.

MARZIPANKARTOFFEL (German Potato Marzipan)
  • ¼ pound POTATOES - boiled, grated and chilled
  • 1 pound ALMOND PASTE
Mix potatoes, sugar to smooth paste. Add almond paste. Mix until dough becomes firm, smooth. Chill 1 hour in refrigerator.

Form marzipan into varied fruits, vegetables, flowers, using food coloring to give real appearance. Carrots and potatoes are popular for St. Nicholas Day. Dry 5 minutes in oven at 250º F. Yield, 2 pounds candy.  

Both recipes from The Catholic Cook Book: Traditional Feast and Fast Day Recipes by William I. Kaufman. The Citadel Press, 1965.

November 07, 2010

Southwest Indian Bread Recipes

It's November. It's kind of hard to believe that since here in Arizona since the daily highs are still in the 80's! But it will supposedly be in the 70's next the thought of creating our own breads is actually becoming bearable.

The recipes that we've elected to share this month are from the "Arizona Cook Book", a collection of more than 350 authentic Arizona recipes.  Permission to print granted by Golden West Publishers, Phoenix, AZ 85014.

  • 2 cups BLUE CORNMEAL
  • 1 tsp. SALT
  • 2 cups WATER
Pour salt into water and boil. Put cornmeal into bowl and pour the boiling water over meal gradually. Scrape the sides of the bowl until mixture makes a firm dough. Cool dough. Shape with hands into rounds, very thin. Bake on heated griddle until brown on both sides.

  • 4 Tbsp. HONEY
  • 3 Tbsp. OIL
  • 1 Tbsp. SALT
  • 2 cups HOT WATER
  • 1 Tbsp. (1 pkg.) active DRY YEAST
  • 3 cups unbleached WHITE FLOUR
  • 2 tsp. BAKING POWDER
  • 2 to 4 cups additional FLOUR
(Start the dough mixture about 2 to 2-1/2  hours before serving.)
Mix together the honey, oil and salt. Stir in the hot water. Mix well. Sprinkle the yeast on top of mixture.

Cover with a cloth and allow to stand about 10 minutes or until yeast bubbles. Add flour and baking powder. Stir well.

Add more flour until mixture is firm and cleans the hands. Use from 2 to 4 cups flour for this step.

Place in a greased bowl. Turn over to grease top. Cover and allow to rise until double (about an hour). Punch down and divide first in half, then each half into 8 parts. Form each piece into a ball and permit to rise until ready to cook.

Heat deep fat to frying temperature. Take ball of dough and flatten with hands, using stretching action. When dough is very thin and about 6-8 inches in diameter, drop into hot fat and cook until golden (about 1-1/2 minutes each side). Drain on paper toweling and serve hot with honey or powdered sugar.

Stop by and visit our newly redone website - Kokopelli's Kitchen

October 06, 2010

Happy Halloween 2010!

Back in 2008 I had blogged that October has always been my favorite month. I explained it in part to the air cooling and fireplaces starting to crackle - although here in Phoenix the daily high is still reaching the triple digits! But best of all…..Halloween falls at the end of this month. This magical day brings out the youth in us all.

When selecting your pumpkins for carving, pick up a few extra…..they make great foodstuff! Everyone’s familiar with pumpkin pie, and many with pumpkin bread. For those of you wanting to experiment with the wonderful world of pumpkins, Kokopelli's Kitchen chose these mouth-drooling recipes from “Arizona Territory Cook Book” by Daphne Overstreet. Permission to reprint granted by Golden West Publishers in Phoenix, AZ.

Pumpkins have been cultivated by Arizona Indians and are still an important crop.
  • Pima, Papago and Havasupai: Cut a peeled pumpkin into small pieces. Now shell fresh fresh corn from 3 cobs and mash to pulp. Mix corn and pumpkin together together and cook in about 1 cup of water until pumpkin is soft. Add salt and serve hot.
  • Apache: Simmer cubed pumpkin until tender, and mash. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons ground sunflower seeds to each cup of pumpkin. Season lightly with salt.

  • FRUIT OR PUMPKIN EMPANADAS by Livia Leon Montiel
    • 5 cups FLOUR
    • 1 cup LARD
    • 1 tsp. SALT
    • 1 tsp. BAKING POWDER
    • 3 Tbsp. SUGAR

    Mix all ingredients and add enough water to make a stiff dough. Make small balls out of dough and roll out to the size of a pancake. Place filling in center and fold crust in half. Crimp edges to keep fruit or pumpkin from draining out. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

    Fruit filling may be stewed apricots, prunes, apples or canned cherries and peaches. Add cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and sugar to fruit.

    For pumpkin filling, add 1 cup brown sugar, a dash of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt, to about 3 cups, cooked pumpkin. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, and cool before making empanadas.

    Pinon nuts, almonds or raisins may also be added to the fillings.
  • September 06, 2010

    Barbeque Nirvana: Bacon Cheeseburgers and Fruit Kabobs!

    Our Labor Day barbecue this year consisted of Bacon Cheeseburgers and Fruit Kabobs. Kokopelli's Kitchen choose these mouth-drooling recipes from "The Secrets of Caveman Cooking" by Rick Snider. Permission to print granted by Golden West Publishers in Phoenix, AZ.

    Anyone can just put the toppings on a burger. Let's include them inside the meat. When you get to the cheesy bacon middle, it is pure nirvana!
    • 2 pounds lean HAMBURGER
    • 8 slices cooked BACON
    • 1 cup shredded CHEESE
    • SALT and PEPPER to taste
    1. Preheat gas grill for 10 minutes with burners on high.
    2. Make 8 burgers that are thin and wide. Place a slice of bacon in the center of each burger and sprinkle with cheese, add salt and pepper. Fold edges in to seal the center.
    3. Turn burners to medium. While it seems ironic to use lean hamburgers, it has less fat so the drippings don't increase the flames and burn the meat.
    4. Place burgers on grill. Close grill lid. Cook 3 minutes per side for rare, 5 minutes for medium and 7 minutes for well done. Remember, they'll take a little longer than usual because they're thicker.
    5. Don't forget to toast the buns on the grill
    Serves 8.
    FRUIT KABOBS Choose your favorite fruits because you can use them all. However, apples, pineapples, plums, bananas and pears work best.
    • 1-inch CHUNKS OF FRUIT (apples, pineapples, pears, etc.)
    • 1 tsp. SUGAR
    • 1/2 cup WATER
    1. Preheat gas grill for 10 minutes with burners on high.
    2. Alternate fruit on skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak for 20 minutes before using).
    3. Turn burners to low. Place skewers on burners. Close lid. Cook 4 minutes.
    4. Turn skewers and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
    5. Mix sugar with water. Place in a sprayer bottle. After removing fruit from grill, spray with sugar water to moisten.
    6. Serve in bowls.

    July 30, 2010

    Kokopelli Chile Cornbread

    Kokopelli's Kitchen has some really exciting news to announce to all of the Kokopelli lovers out there. "Kokopelli's Stories and Recipes" has just been published this past month. This book, created by Bruce Fischer, provides the story of Kokopelli, the Southwest's most colorful character. The book also provides twenty-nine southwestern recipes - appetizers, side dishes and main dishes.

    To introduce this book to the public, we are sharing the recipe for Kokopelli Chile Cornbread. Permission to print granted by Phoenix Publishing Group(

    • 1 cup CORNMEAL
    • 1 cup FLOUR
    • 1 Tbsp. BAKING POWDER
    • 1 tsp. SEA SALT
    • 1 cup SKIM MILK
    • 2 EGGS, slightly beaten
    • 1 can (4 oz.) diced GREEN CHILES
    • 1 can (15 oz.) creamed CORN
    • ½ cup SALSA
    • 1 cup shredded CHEDDAR CHEESE
    Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour into a nonstick 9x13 inches baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or allow to cool.

    July 01, 2010

    Southwest Recipes for July 4th Picnics

    Happy Independence Day from Kokopelli’s Kitchen! On July 4th, 1776, a great nation was born declaring its independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. It is now known as the United States of America. Enjoy the neighborhood parades and colorful fireworks, as well as your family picnics and barbeques.

    Want to add a taste of the southwest to your table this year? Then, check out these contest winning recipes we found in "From the Queen's Cookbook". Permission to reprint the recipes has been granted by Adobe Milling in Dove Creek, Colorado.

    LAYERED ANASAZI BEAN SALAD (White Ribbon 1989 by Genevieve Wells)
    • 6 cups shredded LETTUCE
    • 2 cups cooked, drained ANASAZI BEANS
    • 1 (8 oz) can drained WATER CHESTNUTS
    • ½ cup thin sliced GREEN ONION
    • ½ cup thin sliced CELERY
    • 1 (10 oz) package GREEN PEAS
    • 2 cups MAYONNAISE
    • 1 Tbsp. LEMON JUICE
    • 1 tsp. SEASON SALT
    • ¼ tsp. GARLIC POWDER
    • PEPPER to taste
    • 1 cup grated CHEDDAR CHEESE
    • 1 lb. cooked crisp BACON
    • 4 chopped boiled EGGS
    • 2 to 8 TOMATO wedges
    Layer the first six ingredients in a shallow 3 to 4 quart baking dish. Combine mayonnaise, cheese, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder and pepper in medium size bowl. Spread mixture over top of vegetables. Marinate and cover overnight. Garnish with eggs, bacon, cheese and tomato wedges.
    SOUTHWESTERN DIP (Red Ribbon 1982 by Lu Millican)
    --Red Ring (bean dip)
    • 2 (10½ oz) cans JALAPENO BEAN DIP
    --White Ring (sour cream dip)
    • 16 oz carton SOUR CREAM
    • 1 (¼ oz) can MILD GREEN CHILIES
    --Green Center (guacamole)
    • 3 medium ripe AVOCADOS
    • 1 medium ripe TOMATO
    --Ripe OLIVES
    --¼ cup chopped ONION or GREEN ONION
    --1 Tbsp. LEMON JUICE
    --SALT and PEPPER to taste
    --Garnish with: GREEN ONION TOPS, chopped fine Ripe TOMATO Ripe OLIVES ONION TOPS.
    Chill the bean dip. Combine sour cream and green chilies and add salt to taste. Mash avocados, tomato and chopped onion with a fork to a fine paste. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Put 1 pit in a bowl to prevent darkening until serving. Just before serving, put the Bean Dip (red ring) in a ring around a nice serving plate. Put the Sour Cream Dip (white ring) inside the Bean Dip; place the Guacamole (green center) in the center. Garnish and serve with tortilla chips. Variations:
    • Use taco seasonings in sour cream dip.
    • Make your own jalapeno bean dip! Mash cooked and drained pinto beans, add chile powder and jalapeno pepper to taste.

    June 07, 2010

    Happy Father's Day!

    HISTORY OF FATHER’S DAY: Father’s Day is held on the third Sunday of June in the United States. It’s a day when young and old honor their fathers in a variety of ways. This year, in 2010, it will be celebrated on June 20th.

    According to historians, the earliest Father's Day traditions can be traced back to the ruins of Babylon nearly 4,000 years ago. They recorded that a young boy named Elmesu carved a message on a clay card to his father, wishing him a long and healthy life. There is no knowledge as to what happened to Elmesu & his father but the tradition of celebrating Father’s Day remains in several countries all over the world.

    The tradition of celebrating Father's Day in the United States as we do today originated slightly more than a century ago by Ms. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd; the idea occured to her as she was listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909. A doting daughter from Spokane, Washington, Ms. Dodd is recognized as the Founder of the Father's Day Festival.

    Sonora wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran. She was 27 at the time, and had begun to recognize the hardships her father must have gone through while solely bringing up his six children (including the newborn). Her mother had died during childbirth when Sonora was sixteen.

    A day in June was chosen for the first Father's Day celebration — June 19, 1910, proclaimed as such by Spokane's mayor because it was the month of Smart's birth. The idea of celebrating Father's Day became so popular in the United States that President Woodrow Wilson approved of the festival in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge also supported the idea but it was President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 who signed a Presidential Proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father's Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance that Father's Day be held on the third Sunday of June.

    ANIMAL DADS: Many animals never meet their fathers and some never meet their mothers. Some insects, fish, amphibians and reptiles hatch from fertilized eggs and face life completely alone. When animals are raised by parents, it's most often the mother who does the rearing. But there are some unusual dads out there in the animal kingdom.

    Catfish: A father sea catfish keeps the eggs of his young in his mouth until they are ready to hatch. He will not eat until his young are born, which may take several weeks.

    Cockroach: A father cockroach eats bird droppings to obtain precious nitrogen, which he carries back to feed his young.

    Frog: The male Darwin frog hatches his eggs in a pouch in his mouth. He can eat and continue about his business until his tadpoles lose their tails, become tiny frogs, and jump out of his mouth!

    Monkey: Marmosets are tiny South American monkeys. The father marmosets take care of their babies from birth. When the marmoset is born, the father cleans it, then carries it to the mother only when it needs to be nursed. When the baby can eat solid food, the father will feed it.

    Penguin: A father Emperor penguin withstands the Antarctic cold for 60 days or more to protect his eggs, which he keeps on his feet, covered with his feathered flap. During this entire time he doesn't eat a thing. Most father penguins lose about 25 pounds while they wait for their babies to hatch. Afterward, they feed the chicks a special liquid from their throats. When the mother penguins return to care for their young, the fathers go to sea to eat and rest.

    Sea horse: The male sea horse has a pouch in which the mother lays her eggs. The father then looks after the eggs for about two months, until they hatch and leave the pouch. He continues to protect the young until they are able to live on their own.

    Wolf: When the mother wolf gives birth to pups, the father stands guard outside their den and brings food to the mother and pups. As they grow, he not only plays with them but also teaches them how to survive. Wolves continue to live together much as human families do.


    We’ve selected a recipe for grilled stuffed pork chops this month that will be great for your Father’s Day Dinner! The recipe is from one of our favorite cookbooks, "Secrets of Caveman Cooking" by Rick Snider. Permission to print granted by Golden West Publishers, 4113 N. Longview, Phoenix, AZ 85014.

    Sometimes, one meat just isn’t enough for a hungry caveman. He wants pork and chicken or sausage and beef. If you can stuff a turkey, you can stuff a pork chop. Just buy the special thick ones!
    • 6 (6 ounce) butterfly cut PORK CHOPS
    • 12 ounces CHICKEN FILETS
    • ½ cup HONEY
    • 2 Tbsp. BROWN SUGAR
    • ½ cup SESAME SEEDS
    • ½ cup BARBECUE SAUCE (recipe provided below)
    1. Preheat gas grill for 10 minutes with burners on high. 2. Wash chicken fillets. Grill over high flames for 4 minutes per side. Leave grill lid open. Remove & return to preparation area. 3. Wash pork under cold running water & rinse out pocket. Combine honey, brown sugar & sesame seeds and coat chicken. Place chicken inside pocket of pork chop. Baste chop with barbecue sauce. 4. Turn burners to medium & leave grill lid open. Cook chops 6 minutes per side, basting with barbecue sauce after turning & again after removing from grill. Remember, do not eat pink pork. Serves 6. Barbecue Sauces: Some believe the secret of great barbecue is the cooking method. Others believe it’s the sauce. Several recipes for barbecue sauce are provided in “Secrets of Caveman Cooking”. Following is one example. Remember, when preparing a sauce or marinade that contains an acid ingredient (vinegar, lemon juice or wine) be sure to use a glass, ceramic or stainless steel container, never aluminum.


    • 2 cups KETCHUP
    • 2 cups SUGAR
    • ½ cup WATER
    • 1 cup LEMON JUICE
    • 3 tsp. BUTTER
    • 2 tsp. MOLASSES
    • 1 tsp. HONEY
    • 1 tsp. HOT SAUCE
    • 1 tsp. STEAK SAUCE
    Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and mix thoroughly. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover and let cool for several hours until thickened. Makes 3 cups.

    May 06, 2010

    Happy Mother's Day!

    HISTORY OF MOTHER’S DAY: Mother’s Day is held on the second Sunday of May in the United States. It’s a day when young and old honor their mothers in a variety of ways. This year, in 2010, it will be celebrated on May 9th.

    The earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. During the 1600's, early Christians in England celebrated a day to honor Mary, the mother of Christ. By a religious order the holiday was later expanded in its scope to include all mothers; it was named “Mothering Sunday” and celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent. During this time many of England's poor worked as servants. On Mothering Sunday, they would have the day off and be encouraged to spend the day with their mothers. They would often bring their moms a special cake, called the “mothering cake”, to provide a festive touch.

    Social activist Julia Ward Howe first brought the idea of a day focused on mothers to the United States after the Civil War, but Howe’s vision was much different from the flowers-and-hugs version we know today. Horrified by the carnage of the American Civil & Franco-Prussian Wars, Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation” and began promoting the idea of a "Mother's Day for Peace". It was to be celebrated on June 2, honoring peace, motherhood and womanhood. Although Howe failed to get the formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace, it is a historical landmark in the sense that it was the precursor to the modern Mother's Day celebrations. To acknowledge Howe's achievements, a stamp was issued in her honor in 1988.

    Howe's idea was influenced by Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through her "Mothers Friendship Day". In the 1900's, while most women devoted their time solely to family and homes, Jarvis worked to assist in the healing of the nation after the Civil War. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions and, in 1868, she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors. She was instrumental in saving thousands of lives by teaching women the basics of nursing and sanitation.

    But, it was Jarvis' daughter, Anna Jarvis, who finally succeeded in introducing Mother's Day as we celebrate it today. Anna never married, and had spent many years looking after her mother. When her mother died on May 9, 1905, Anna missed her greatly. Feeling that children failed to fully appreciate their mothers while alive, Anna wanted to start a Mother's Day to honor the mothers. In 1907, two years after her mother's death, Anna Jarvis disclosed her intention to her friends. Fully supported by her friends, Anna decided to dedicate her life to her mother's cause and establish Mother's Day to "honor mothers, living and dead." With their help, she started a letter-writing campaign to urge ministers, businessmen and congressmen in declaring a national Mother's Day holiday. She hoped Mother's Day would increase respect for parents and strengthen family bonds.

    As a result of her efforts the first mother's day was observed on May 10, 1908, by a church service honoring Late Mrs. Reese Jarvis, in the Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, where she had spent 20 years teaching Sunday school. Another service was conducted on the same date in Philadelphia where Mrs. Jarvis died, leaving her two daughters Anna and Elsinore. So it was more of a homage service for Mrs. Reeves Jarvis than a general one conducted in honor of motherhood.

    It was in this first observance that the carnations were introduced by Miss Jarvis. Large jars of white carnations were set about the stage and, at the end of the service one was given to each attendee as a souvenir. All this was done because the late elder Jarvis was fond of carnations. Carnations are the flowers associated with Mother's Day. White carnations are used to pay tribute to mothers who are deceased, while pink or red carnations are presented to moms that are still living.

    From there, Mother’s Day caught on -- spreading eventually to 45 states. The first Mother's Day proclamation was issued by the governor of West Virginia in 1910. And by 1911 there was not a state in the Union that did not have its own observances for Mother's Day. Soon it crossed the national boundary, as people in Mexico, Canada, South America, China, Japan and Africa all joined the spree to celebrate a day for mother love.

    On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made the first official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May. He asked Americans to give a public expression of reverence to mothers through the celebration of Mother's Day:

    "Now, Therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the said Joint Resolution, do hereby direct the government officials to display the United States flag on all government buildings and do invite the people of the United States to display the flag at their homes or other suitable places on the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country."

    Nine years after the first official Mother's Day, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis became a major opponent of what the holiday had become. This made Anna Jarvis disillusioned with her own creation. Though the original spirit of honoring the mothers remained the same, what began as a religious service expanded quickly into a more secular observance leading to giving of flowers, cards, and gifts. And Anna Jarvis was unable to cope with this changing mode of expression.

    Mother's Day continues to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. The day usually rakes in $2.6 billion on flowers, $1.53 billion on gifts (generating 7.8 percent of annual revenue for the United States jewelry industry), and $68 million on greeting cards. The occasion is now celebrated not so much with flags as with gifts, cards, hugs, thank yous and other tokens of affection. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.

    SPECIAL MOTHERS: A mother is a very special part of any living being's life. She is always loving and caring for her child. This fact is equally applicable to the mothers of all different species. Read on for some examples of mothers who do something very special for their young ones.

    • The mother chimpanzee usually develops lifelong relationships with her offspring, same as the human beings.
    • The bond between mother and child orangutans is so strong that the infants cling almost continually to their mothers until they are 1½ years old.
    • A female kangaroo that has recently given birth is capable of holding a reserve embryo inside of her after her first baby has crawled into her pouch. For her, this embryo is just like an "emergency back-up" baby, in case the first one dies prematurely.
    • A mother giraffe is unique as she often gives birth to a child while standing. So the newborn’s first experiences a nearly 6-foot drop outside its mother's womb.
    • Mother cats give birth to blind and deaf kittens. It is the vibration of their mother's purring that acts as a physical signal for the kittens.
    • A mother rabbit could abandon, ignore or even eat her young ones if she is frightened or threatened.
    • Mother Mexican free-tailed bats find and nurse their own young, even in huge colonies. In these colonies many millions of babies cluster at up to 500 bats per square foot.
    • When the baby opossum is born, it is so small that an entire litter can fit in a tablespoon. It lives inside its mother's pouch for nearly three months and then climbs out and rides on her back.
    • A female oyster is capable of producing over 100 million young ones over her lifetime.


    We’ve chosen a coffee cake recipe to share this month that will make a great Southwest version of a Mothering Cake for your Mother’s Day Brunch this year! The recipe is "Western Breakfast and Brunch Recipes". Permission to reprint the recipe has been granted by Golden West Publishers in Phoenix, Arizona.

    • ¼ lb. melted BUTTER
    • 2 EGGS
    • 1 cup SUGAR
    • 2 cups ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
    • 2/3 cups MILK
    • 1 tsp. SALT
    • 1 tsp. VANILLA
    • ¼ cup SUGAR
    In large mixing bowl blend together butter, eggs and sugar. Slowly stir in flour until well blended. Add baking powder, milk, salt, orange rind and vanilla. Stir until completely blended. Pour into a 9 x 9 cake pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Spread a thick layer of melted butter over the top of the cake. Combine sugar and flour and sprinkle over butter. Bake an additional 30 minutes. Remove when top is deep golden brown.

    April 04, 2010

    Smoke That Ham!

    The warming weather made us at Kokopelli's Kitchen feel this to be the ideal time to share a recipe from one of our favorite cookbooks, "Secrets of Caveman Cooking" by Rick Snider. We've also included Rick's descriptive of a smoker since the recipe calls for the use of one. Permission to print granted by Golden West Publishers, 4113 N. Longview, Phoenix, AZ 85014.

    Is there any part of the pig that we won't barbecue? You can grill ham on a gas grill, but it's much better in a smoker. Be sure to use maple chips as a sweetener!

    • 1 (8 pound) HAM
    • 1 can (20 ounces) PINEAPPLE CHUNKS, juice reserved
    • Basting Sauce
      • 1 cup HONEY
      • 1/2 cup VEGETABLE OIL
      • reserved PINEAPPLE JUICE

    1. Light your smoker.
    2. Trim fat from ham and wash thoroughly. Mix basting sauce ingredients in a bowl and baste ham with half of it.
    3. Place ham on rack and close lid. Baste hourly for the next 4 hours. The rule of thumb is 30 minutes cooking time for every pound of ham. Don't forget to check the coals for consistent heat.
    4. Check the meat thermometer. When it reads 180 degrees and the juices are clear, the ham should be done. I always recommend making a small incision to check for doneness.
    5. After removing ham, place pineapple chunks on skewers and place on grill (if using wooden skewers, soak for 20 minutes before using). When you're done slicing the ham and ready to serve, retrieve pineapple and serve hot with ham.
    Serves 8.

  • Smokers
    Getting serious, are you? The real caveman likes fires. Sure gas grills are fast, clean and efficient, but so are car washes. The difference between gas grills and smokers is like a power car wash versus handwashing from a bucket in your driveway. The outcome is about the same, but the slower method can be more fun!

  • Now, cavemen aren't usually a patient group. They can't stand still for too long because they never know when a T-Rex will show up. They usually like everything quick (which also explains sex) as a safety precaution.

  • But let's say you cave is a safe haven and you have an afternoon to spend around the fire without having to constantly stir the pot. A smoker provided a slow, steady heat that deepens the flavor. Just don't check on it too often because it takes 15 minutes to restore maximum heat. Hourly basting is enough.

  • March 10, 2010

    Happy St. Pat's Day!

    St. Patrick's Day is fast approaching! The day takes place each year on March 17th, the traditional religious feast day of Saint Patrick. This year, it takes place on a Wednesday. Did you know:

    • The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place in the United States on March 17, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City.

    • More than 100 St. Patrick's Day parades are held across the United States. New York City and Boston are home to the largest celebrations.

    • There are 36.5 million U.S. residents with Irish roots. This number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself (more than four million).

    • Irish is the nation's second most frequently reported ancestry, ranking behind German.

    • Irish ranks among the top five ancestries in every state except Hawaii and New Mexico. It is the leading ancestry group in Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

    Celebrate the day and surprise family & friends with a Fresh Green Chile Salsa! We found a great recipe in "Kokopelli's Cookbook" by James and Carol Cunkle. Permission to print granted by Golden West Publishers, Phoenix, AZ 85014.

    1 clove GARLIC, mashed to a paste
    1 fresh JALAPENO PEPPER, seeded and minced
    1 GREEN ONION, very thinly sliced, using part of the green leaves
    4 large fresh GREEN CHILIES, roasted, peeled, seeded and minced (see instructions below)
    2 large fresh, ripe TOMATOES, coarsely chopped
    4 Tbsp. fresh LIME JUICE
    4 Tbsp. fresh CILANTRO, minced
    1 Tbsp. OLIVE OIL
    1 tsp. SALT
    Mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to blend flavors. Will keep (refrigerated) for 2 weeks. Good as a dip, on meat and eggs, or on tacos and quesadillas. Yields 2½ cups.


    A note of precaution - Chiles may be very irritating to the skin so use rubber gloves when handling and always keep hands away from eyes and face. Puncture each chile the whole length with the tip of a paring knife. Place chiles close together in a shallow baking pan and broil about 6 inches from the heat. When blistered and browned, turned over, using tongs. Each side should take 3 to 4 minutes. The chiles should be blistered all around, so it may be necessary to turn them again. Immediately place the chiles in a tightly covered container (pan, paper or plastic bag) for 15 minutes. This steaming process allows the skin to be removed easily. Still using rubber gloves and leaving the stem intact, use a sharp knifeto slit the chiles from the stem end to the tip along the perforations. Then from the tip to the stem, carefully remove the skin. Remove the seeds and membranes and, if desired, the stem.

  • February 10, 2010

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th by many people throughout the world. Couples exchange gifts and cards to express their love and devotion to one another. Worldwide, the most popular gifts are candy, flowers and jewelry. In the U.S., heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and red roses are the most common.

    • The first heart-shaped box of candy was sold in 1868 by Richard Cadbury. Chocolate has long been considered an aphrodisiac. The Aztec emperor Montezuma drank ground cocoa beans to increase his sexual prowess. In Mesoamerican marriage ceremonies, the couple shared a ritual cup of cocoa, which was believed to increase their luck in love.

    • The red rose was thought to be the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman god of love and the father of Cupid. He is known as a mischievous, winged child, whose arrows would pierce the hearts of his victims causing them to fall deeply in love. He is prominently featured on boxes of chocolates created for Valentine’s Day.

    The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making it the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, behind Christmas.

    • The oldest known Valentine's Day card is on display at a London museum. This card was sent in 1415 by the Duke of Orleans to his wife in France. The Duke was imprisoned at the time in the Tower of London.

    • Exchanging Valentine's cards most likely began in America as early as the 1700s. The first mass-produced Valentine's Day card was sold in the 1840s by Esther Howland, a Massachusetts native. She originally sold hand-made, lace cards for as much as $35 per card!

    In Japan, the present custom that only the women give gifts to the men on Valentine’s Day was originated by a Japanese confectionary company. The traditional gift is chocolate, and is given by the woman to all of her male friends & acquaintances, including superiors and co-workers. There are two levels of gifts:

    • Giri-choko (“obligatory chocolate”) is given by the woman as a token of friendship or gratitude to her male co-workers, superiors and friends. It isn’t unusual for a woman to buy and hand out one dozen or more boxes of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. It is thought that a man’s popularity can be measured by the number of chocolates that he receives on this day; however, this can be such a sensitive issue that some might not comment on it unless assured that it will not be made public.

    It is expected for woman to give chocolates to their male co-workers. The unpopular co-workers will receive the chō-giri choko (“ultra-obligatory” or “cheap chocolate”).

    • Honmei-choko (“favorite” or “true love chocolate”) is given by the woman to the man she loves, or is truly serious about. Usually, the “favorite chocolate” is given along with another gift such as a necktie.

    One month later, on March 14th, the men are obligated (thus, the name “obligation chocolate”) to give gifts to all women who gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day. March 14th is known as White Day – gifts include marshmallows or white chocolate, or candy in white boxes; the term refers to the color of marshmallows which was the type of candy originally marketed for this day. The recipients of giri-choko are expected to return a gift of at least equal value to each woman from whom they received chocolates.


    The recipe that we’ve chosen to share this month is for chocolate truffles and is delectable enough to qualify for a honmei-chocolate! The recipe is from the "Christmas in Colorado Cookbook". Permission to reprint the recipe has been granted by Golden West Publishers, Phoenix, AZ 85014.

    NOTE: A candy thermometer is essential for this recipe.

  • 3⅓ cups HEAVY CREAM
  • Approximately 4 pounds good quality SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE, broken into pieces
  • 3 lbs. BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE (again, good quality) for dipping

    Put cream and butter into saucepan. Let butter melt over medium heat then, stirring all the while, turn up heat and let the cream come just to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the semi-sweet chocolate and stir until it is completely melted. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens and cools somewhat. Divide mixture into separate bowls (depending on the number of different flavors you wish to make) and add liqueur, a tablespoon at a time, until desired flavor level is reached. Cover, place in refrigerator and allow to thicken overnight. Stir 3 or 4 times as it cools.

    To form truffles, scoop up portions of the chocolate with a spoon. Dust lightly with cocoa and form into balls. Place balls on baking sheets and return to refrigerator immediately to recool.

    Melt bittersweet chocolate with shortening in the proportions of 12 ounces of chocolate to 2 to tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of shortening. Melt enough to dip all truffles.

    Tempering: Heat mixture to 108 degrees, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. When chocolate reaches 108 degrees, remove from heat. Stir until chocolate cools to 85 degrees. Continue stirring and scraping until mixture reaches 80 degrees. Keep mixture at this temperature, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. This is important to develop crystals necessary for the glossy finish. Rewarm the chocolate to 86 degrees – hold there for 5 minutes before dipping. Keep chocolate at 86 degrees for the entire dipping process. Remove balls from refrigerator, allow to come to room temperature. Dip each ball in chocolate to coat. Place on wax paper or cookie sheet. Refrigerate again for 2 hours. Store in plastic containers, with wax papers between the layers to prevent sticking. Keep in a cool place.

    YIELD: approximately 6 dozen.

    NOTE: To identify the different flavors of truffles, put something on the top of each while still warm (i.e., an almond slice on the top of the Amaretto ones).
  • January 05, 2010


    Did you know that, on January 1st, certain foods are eaten to bring luck during the upcoming year? This practice, started centuries ago, is one which does not leave everything up to fate. The traditions vary from culture to culture, but are generally connected to having money, being prosperous and having enough to eat. Some of my more interesting findings follow.

    Legumes: In many cultures, small beans, peas and lentils are eaten - not only do they resemble coins, but they swell up when cooked, just as you would want your fortune to swell. There are some who believe you should eat at least 365 black-eyed peas, preferably before noon on New Year’s Day, to ensure good fortune for each day of the coming year!

    In the Southern United States, it's a tradition to eat Hoppin' John, a combination of black-eyed peas and rice – in fact, this is the most popular New Year’s Day necessity in the United States. Folklore has it that the town of Vicksburg, Virginia ran out of food while under attack during the Civil War. The town residents discovered black-eyed peas; because of this discovery, the city did not starve or fall and was able to fight on for the cause.

    Cooked Greens: All over the world, cooked greens (such as cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, kale or spinach) are eaten on New Year’s Day. This is because green leaves look like folded money and have become a symbol of economic good fortune. It is believed that the more greens you eat on New Year’s, the greater your wealth in the coming year.

    Cornbread: In the Southern United States, cornbread is eaten because its color is representative of gold. As per the old Southern expression, "peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold".

    Pork: The custom of eating pork on New Year's is popular worldwide. Many cultures believe that eating a fat pig may translate to increased riches or a fat wallet in the New Year.

    But the most popular reasoning is that the pig symbolize progress since the animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. In contrast, it is believed that lobster and chicken should be avoided on New Year’s Day. Lobsters move backwards which could lead to setbacks; chickens scratch backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past.

    Fruit: In Spain in 1909, the tradition began of eating twelve grapes at midnight –one on each chime of the clock.. The practice spread to Portugal, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru. Each grape represents a different month; if one of the grapes happens to be bad or sour, the same will be true of the corresponding month in the coming year. For most, the goal is to swallow all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight, but Peruvians insist on taking in a 13th grape for good measure.

    The pomegranate's many seeds symbolize prosperity; thus, this fruit is eaten throughout the Middle East to insure fertility and abundance. Figs are a symbol of fertility.

    Noodles: As the clock strikes midnight in Japan, long soba noodles are slurped up to ensure a long life. Those who can swallow at least one of them without chewing or breaking it are supposed to enjoy good luck and a long life.

    Fish: Many cultures eat fish on New Year’s Day. Some believe forward swimming schools of fish symbolize progress and abundance, while others believe their shiny silver scales represent wealth and prosperity. Herring is consumed at midnight in Poland and Germany for luck in the upcoming year. Germans also enjoy carp and have been known to place a few fish scales in their wallets for good luck. In Japan, herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp for long life, and dried sardines for a good harvest. In China red fish is served with the head and tail attached, representing a good beginning and end to the coming New Year. But in Hungary, fish is avoided on New Year’s to ensure that your money doesn’t swim away.

    Round or Ring-Shaped Foods: Many cultures believe that round or ring-shaped foods will bring good luck as they are symbolic of the year coming full circle. Round or ring-shaped foods include cakes, bagels, doughnuts, and cookies. Many cultures serve round baked goods with coins or other trinkets baked inside. The person who receives the piece with the coin or trinket will have a lucky year ahead.

    In Greece, a special round cake called vasilopita is baked with a coin hidden inside. At midnight or after the New Year's Day meal, the cake is cut, with the first piece going to St. Basil and the rest being distributed to guests in order of age. It is believed that the person who bites into the piece of cake with the coin will have good fortune throughout the upcoming year. The cake recognizes a miracle thought to have happened in the Ottoman Empire. According to legend, a Bishop of Greece recovered a large portion of the country's riches back from the Ottomans but, when he tried to redistribute them, the people fought over the property. It is believed that Saint Basil asked the women of Greece to bake a cake with the riches inside - when he sliced the cake, the goods miraculously found their way to their proper owners.


    We’ve chosen a cookie recipe to share this month that should be extra-lucky – it has a round shape and contains beans! The recipe is from the cookbook "From the Queen's Kitchen". Permission to reprint the recipe has been granted by Adobe Milling in Dove Creek, Colorado.

    (White Ribbon 1982 by Amelia Jacobs)

    1 cup OLEO
    1 cup WHITE SUGAR (less 1 Tbsp.)
    1 Tbsp. BROWN SUGAR
    2 well beaten EGGS
    2 cups FLOUR
    1 tsp. BAKING POWDER
    ½ tsp. SODA
    ½ tsp. SALT

    Combine together oleo, sugar, brown sugar, and the egg. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Add creamed mixture to flour mixture, then add 2 cups cooked and well drained PINTO BEANS. Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet. Bake at 400° for 12 to 15 minutes or until desired brownness is reached.