Cooking at home with The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook

Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook

This week, the Marketing Department decided to take our work home with us and try our hand at cooking a few recipes from the beautiful Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook: Recipes from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (Hardcover, $22.95, ISBN-13: 978-1-55591-747-0). You may have read marketing manager Katie O’Neill’s post yesterday describing her attempt at the Cranberry Crumble(d), found on page 149. I have no doubt that if cranberries were in season right now (really, where do cranberries go after Thanksgiving?), Katie’s crumble would have been fantastic. I’m going to file that recipe away for next Thanksgiving.

I chose a couple of recipes with ingredients that are in season year-round but especially good during the summer months, when fresh local produce is available. The first recipe I made was the Quinoa Salad, found on page 53. I love quinoa and am always looking for new recipes and new ways to eat it. It’s a great light meal, perfect for lunch or summer dinner, plus it’s packed with protein. The Quinoa Salad from The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook is incredibly easy to make and very flavorful.

Quinoa in the pot from The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook

I served it with chicken breasts that I had in the fridge, and my husband and I devoured the meal. The honey and lemon vinaigrette that you pour over the quinoa was light and zesty and paired wonderfully with the cucumbers, tomatoes, and green onions. I loved it and would make this simple yet flavorful salad again any day.

Quinoa Salad from The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook

The next night, I ramped up the technical difficulty a bit and went for the Chicken Mole Verde Tacos, found on page 78 (the mole verde is on page page 134). Wow. These were a far cry from the Martha Stewart, anyone-can-cook-them recipes I typically make, but the extra effort really paid off. I was so pleased with how this mole dish came out, and again, so was my husband (who went back for seconds AND thirds).

The whole meal took about 2.5 hours to cook, but with a little prep beforehand, most of that time is spent with chicken in the oven and mole simmering on the stove. This dish is loaded with flavor from tomatillos, a poblano pepper, an anaheim pepper, and tons of fresh squeezed orange, lemon, and lime juice. We put the chicken mole on corn tortillas and topped it with queso fresco, salsa, and cilantro, and we ended up with tacos that were spicy, tangy, tender, and colorful. Yum.

I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook next time you are looking for a fresh, new recipe. After the success of this week’s meals, there are 87 more wonderful-looking dishes in the cookbook that I can’t wait to try. Especially the Cranberry Crumble (in about seven months)!


Cranberry Crumble(d)

This Cranberry Crumble is a sight to behold. It looks so pretty and yummy. This is not anything like what my cranberry crumble looked like last night. This crumble must have been made by someone who either (a) baked it earlier than 1 am on a Wednesday night without a whining dog jumping on them the entire time, or (b) is an elf (elves are responsible for many magical incidents in my life when I’m too lazy to fully understand them).

I don’t have a picture of my crumble to share today. I, er…my, uh, dog ate it? I left it at home? It’s too embarrassing to show publicly and, unfortunately, not quite good enough to feed my coworkers today for a little afternoon snack. No, my crumble is better left to the imagination.

I thought I had picked the easiest recipe in The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook (Hardcover, $22.95, ISBN-13: 978-1-55591-747-0). Wait. Yes. Yes, I did. There are only six ingredients, for gosh sakes! The entire prep and bake time can be done in less than 45 minutes! You can play fetch with your whining dog, talk on the phone to your best friend, wash the dishes, and sing aloud all while creating this yummy concoction. Or, wait. Maybe you can’t do all those things while creating it. Maybe that’s where I went wrong? My 1 am multitasking?

No, where I went wrong was trying to bake something when its main ingredient is out of season, or at least in the wrong holiday season. It’s more Easter-Bunny-and-chocolate-egg season around here, less turkey-gobble-gobble-and-pass-out-watching-football-on-TV season. Where do cranberries go in April? I ask you. Because I went to three grocery stores and this is what I found at the first two:

I found one bag of frozen cranberries at the third store (as if elves had put it there). The amount of cranberries called for in this recipe is more around the amount of two bags. No problem, I bought the bag anyway, mainly because I finally felt victorious in my search (and it’s hide-plastic-eggs-around-your-backyard-and-send-your-kids-looking-for-them season).

I was tired by the time I got home and started the simple tasks of adding and simmering cranberries, cornmeal, sugar, butter, maple syrup, and honey. Maybe I was too tired to notice that I should alter the amount of cranberry to sugar/maple syrup/honey ratio based upon the smaller amount of available cranberries in the state of Colorado during the month of April. Alas, I was not.

I was pretty thrilled with the smell, though. Simmering cranberries and maple syrup has to be one of the most divine aromas in the universe. And, I would like to think that even though my end result wasn’t so pretty, my cranberry soup smelled just as amazing as Chef Hetzler’s elves’ cranberry crumble (see above).

I wish you luck in your baking endeavors. This recipe is simple, fast, and really impressive when you follow the recipe. It’s a great recipe for the holiday season, should you be anything like me and will-not-be-cooking-a-turkey-because-you-prefer-Tofurkey-but-might-have-the-perfect-dessert-to-bring-to-dinner-now. Do me proud and stock up on cranberries now.

Trickster Gets a Nod from the Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards

Fulcrum received some very exciting news last week when we were notified that Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection, edited by Matt Dembicki, was nominated for a 2011 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award. Trickster was nominated in the “Best Anthology” category of this prestigious comics and graphic novel industry award. Everyone on the Fulcrum team and the Trickster team is buzzing over this wonderful honor. Named for acclaimed comics creator Will Eisner, the awards are in their 23rd year of highlighting the best publications and creators in comics and graphic novels. The Eisner Awards are presented under the auspices of Comic-Con International, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to creating awareness of and appreciation for comics and related popular art forms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contributions of comics to art and culture.

Trickster was chosen by a panel of veterans in the comic industry, but the final voting is done by you—comics writers and artists, publishers and editors, librarians, and retail store owners/managers. By voting in the Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards, you have a say in who is recognized and honored. Ballots with this year’s nominees have gone out in packets to Comic-Con’s mailing list. If you’re eligible to vote but don’t think a ballot is headed your way in the mail, a downloadable PDF of the ballot is available on the Eisner Awards website and a special website has been set up for online voting. The results in all categories will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 22 at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Ballots are due by June 13th, so vote now if you love Trickster as much as we do!

In the Bluff-A Blog from Wisconsin’s West Coast

(the opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only, and do not represent the opinions of the company or its employees)

“…and to the Republic for which it stands…”

I just read the newest post by former senator Gary Hart on his “Matters of Principle” blog. In it, he reminds us that our Founders (whose words and works are so often misinterpreted and misused these days, especially by those who seek to divide rather than unite us) created our United States as a republic and not a democracy, enumerating not only rights but also entailing responsibilities of its citizens. It is a must-read.

Senator Hart was very much on my mind this weekend, as a new report issued by the American Security Project, of which he is the chair, hit the news recently. Its report “Pay Now, Pay Later” (available at explores the impact of climate change on the economies of each of the fifty states, and is essential reading for all citizens. It brings the issue of climate change to a local level and underscores the importance of facing this issue in the twenty-first century. I for one was very surprised by what is projected for Wisconsin, and how our economic foundation of agriculture and tourism may be altered.

I have worked with Senator Hart on three books, the latest his political memoir The Thunder and the Sunshine: Four Seasons in a Burnished Life. He is one of the most thoughtful and intelligent people I have had the pleasure of knowing, and a great contributor to the national dialogue. Reading the senator is like taking an upper level class in civics and history from your favorite professor. While I would encourage you to read all three of his Fulcrum books (God and Caesar in America; Under the Eagle’s Wing; and The Thunder and the Sunshine), I would recommend Thunder for the first-time reader. In it, the senator takes the reader through a four-decade review of his public career, in the process telling the greater story of America during this critical period. He also touches on the principles of the Founders and how they continue to shape our nation.

Is Green Printing Possible?

A few years ago, green printing was the hot topic and pet project for production managers and print buyers throughout the publishing industry. This was fueled in large part by an announcement by Random House in May 2006 that they would go from 3 percent recycled content to 30 percent by 2010. Many publishers scoffed at this, because a lot of us had been printing with 30 percent recycled content or more for a few years, but we hadn’t been bragging about it. Now it appeared that we were going to have to start bragging or be left behind.

In 2006, I could bid almost every book with 30 percent recycled content (the minimum content required to use the sacred arrow triangle logo), and other printers even had sheets available with 50 or 100 percent PCW (post-consumer waste) content that were only a little bit more expensive than nonrecycled sheets. It was beautiful. And not only did many printers do right by us with the paper, they also worked with organizations like the Green Press Initiative, the Forest Stewardship Council, and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

These days, sustainability concerns have been pushed into the background by an economic downturn and the rise of digital content and e-books. But on Earth Day 2011, I would like to think that sustainable practices and green concerns haven’t been sent to the landfill or shelved in the archives. The publishing industry remains a greener place than it was less than 10 years ago. Green is still here; it’s just like the firstborn child who’s feeling left out after the new baby comes along. I still think green when I bid a book with a printer. If I can make the numbers work, or even get them close, the book is going to have recycled content. And if we can’t make a book with an environmental message work on a paper with recycled content, it doesn’t get printed.

There are those who say that the printed book should go by the wayside in the name of the environment, that the e-book eliminates the need for a physical product. More e-books means fewer printed books, to a certain extent, yes. But fewer printed books means less business for printers, which means they have to cut jobs and raise prices. I’d like instead to take the middle road. I believe print and digital should exist side-by-side, that certain content lends itself better to one format or the other, and that there will always be readers who prefer one over the other. From where I stand, the mills and printers who have done the work and raised the bar on environmental standards are the ones with the best business practices, the best quality, and the best service. So in this fantasy of mine, only the green will survive, and we’ll all get to keep making, buying, and reading books in whatever format we like.

To see proof that the sustainable publishing movement is still alive and kicking, visit the website of the Green Press Initiative. These guys know their stuff, and they come at every issue from every angle. I bet they’ve tracked the carbon footprint of several e-readers in comparison with the average hardcover or paperback (if they haven’t, they should). It’s also worth looking up Eco-Libris, a really cool green publishing incentive program that does more than sell a product.

Haley Berry is the editorial and production manager at Fulcrum Publishing.

Local Publishing House, Local Food

Here at Fulcrum, we’re toasting the release of Renee Wilkinson’s book, Modern Homestead: Grow, Raise, Create, by looking for food locally and sustainably in our own (figurative) backyard.

After the long winter, farmers’ markets are up and running again. Farmers’ markets are very special to me because they introduced me to the great love of my life: rhubarb. I spent the first 20 years of my life in denial, thinking that I hated rhubarb and that it was a terrible punishment to inflict on an innocent strawberry pie. But when I saw the bright pink and red stalks on sale at a farmers’ market, I bought them on impulse and fell in love with the tarty pleasures of the rhubarb: rhubarb tarts, rhubarb cobbler, rhubarb salsa, rhubarb-infused vodka (ok, that last one was a total failure). Ever since, I’ve always loaded up on rhubarb when it starts to appear on farmers’ market tables in early spring and summer.

I’m looking forward to checking out what Colorado has to offer this spring:

Boulder Farmers’ Market

Denver Famers’ Market

Fort Collins Farmers’ Market

There’s still time to buy a spring/summer share in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, another way to buy from and participate in the local, sustainable food movement. Many of Colorado’s CSA programs are listed through the Rocky Mountain Growers Directory. Some CSA programs have work shares as well, for those who want to support their local farm and eat delicious, locally sourced food, but who can’t afford the up-front cost.

I’ve done a work share before, at a farm in New England. I think my farmer relatives may have hurt themselves from laughing so hard at their tenderfooted, city slicker kin who paid for the privilege of working on a farm. As a matter of fact, I think they might still be laughing. But as a student, it was the perfect way to get farm-fresh produce at a lower cost than the usual share.

Whether you’re at a farmers’ market or buying from or working for a CSA, you never know which new ingredient you’ll find to inspire you, or which tasty local heirloom variety you’ll discover and fall head over heels for. If you put your dollar toward supporting and cultivating local food sources, you can help to grow, raise, and create a sustainable and thriving community food system.

Notable Western Women

This spring, Fulcrum released the second and third titles in a wonderful new series by Julie Danneberg called “Notable Western Women.” The two new titles, “Women Icons of the West” and “Women Artists of the West” feature a unique fictional first- and third-person narrative that allows young readers to get to know these women through their actions and thoughts, as well as the observations and opinions of those who knew them. Sidebars link the fictional narrative to documented historical events, and a bibliography offers resources for further research on each women. Black and white historic photos round out the package of these beautiful books. This series will engage and inspire young readers, and might even help them look at history in a new way.

978-1-55591-694-7 | $14.95

“I don’t care what the newspapers say about me just so they say something.” — Margaret “Molly” Brown

Women Icons of the West: Five Women Who Forged the American Frontier allows readers to step back in time and experience the spirit of the West through the eyes of five courageous women: Clara Brown, Sara Winnemucca, Nellie Cashman, Isabella Bird, and Margaret Brown. From a newly freed slave to a refined Englishwoman, from a Native American to a miner’s wife, these women, vastly different at first glance, have much to teach us about perseverance, surviving hardship, and living courageously.

978-1-55591-861-3 | $14.95

“The meaning of a word—to me—is not as exact as the meaning of a color. Colors and shapes make a more definite statement than words.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

In Women Artists of the West: Five Portraits in Creativity and Courage, meet five important women from different ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds whose love for the West and its people inspired their art: Maria Martinez, Georgia O’Keeffe, Laura Gilpin, Dorothea Lange, and Mary-Russel Colton. Whether potters, painters of photographers, these women steadfastly pursued their careers and often supported their families at a time when making a career as an artist was an unconventional and difficult life choice for a woman.

The author of the series, Julie Danneberg, is a third–generation Colorado native and elementary school teacher who lives in Denver with her husband and two children. Her other children’s books include Cowboy Slim, First Day Jitters, and Last Day Blues.

Photo by Sonya Sones

Stop by and check out these fun new titles, along with the first book in the series, Women Writers of the West!

In the Bluff

a blog from Wisconsin’s west coast

(the opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only, and do not represent the opinions of the company or its employees)
April 11, 2011

Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all!
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.

John Dickinson, “The Liberty Song” (1768)

Well, we managed to pull back from the brink of our national budget crisis the other day. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who feels we have once more simply delayed the inevitable, and that the reckoning will come soon enough, likely with the battle over the debt ceiling. The notion that we cannot find compromise in a budget as large as ours and that neither side is willing to give something for the greater good is disappointing.

Meanwhile, here in Wisconsin, the politics have gone from the ridiculous to the sublime, with upcoming recall elections and an overly politicized judicial election marked notably by the 13th hour discovery by a local official of missing votes. The Walker administration continues to forge ahead with its agenda to end collective bargaining and make severe budget cuts (but not seek to increase revenues) at a time when we should be investing in our schools and municipal infrastructure and addressing the dire situation faced by many of the have-nots in our society (for example, cuts in Badger Care, the state-run health program, will negatively impact many farmers in the state, who are already living hand-to-mouth).

I respect Governor Walker’s desire to face into our budget issue in the state; what I have a hard time swallowing is that this is being done in an uneven manner (why no taxes?), without inviting any collaboration with those who may not agree with his proposals. Not only are the state Democrats being shut out of the process, but those of us in western Wisconsin don’t even get the benefit of a public hearing on the budget in our region (there was one planned, but it was moved to another part of the state). Moreover, while municipalities across the state are facing reduced state contributions for their budgets, these cuts are very uneven. My community, for example, is facing close to a 50 percent cut, while other communities of similar demographics are seeing aid cut by 5–15 percent, without any justification for the difference. Given the state of dialogue on the budget, it appears that calls for clarification or collaborative efforts to work toward common goals will not be heard.

So what is a good old idealist like me to do? Well, for one, continue to read my history. Our nation has faced much bigger problems than those we face today, though you might not believe it if you tune in solely to the 24-hour news channels. During the forging of our great nation, differences of opinion as to the very nature of our government consumed our “best and brightest,” and yet compromise was struck. And 150 years ago this week, the first shots in the Civil War were fired and the very future of our country was at stake (reading hat-tip of the week—1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart is an excellent overview of the first year of the war). Though it took a bloody war, we as a nation persevered.

We have suffered through world wars and the Great Depression, through a cold war and battles over civil rights, and yet survived, all along continuing “to forge a more perfect union” (every time I reread the Constitution, I am struck not only by the genius of the Founders, but the literary merit of their work). We have done so because citizens of this country have ultimately put aside their individual differences to work toward our shared goals, that we have listened to others as much as spoken our opinions. It hasn’t been easy, and will not be in the future. But unless we are willing to try and find civil solutions to our problems, unless we stop the name-calling and try to truly engage the other side, and unless we recognize that, in a country that is pretty much divided evenly between Democrats and Republicans, neither side has a mandate and thus the solutions must be forged together, progress will be even harder to come by.

In Remembrance of Wilma Mankiller

President Obama said this shortly after the passing of the former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Wilma Mankiller, last April, “I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Wilma Mankiller today. As the Cherokee Nation’s first female chief, she transformed the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the Cherokee Nation and the Federal Government, and served as an inspiration to women in Indian Country and across America…Her legacy will continue to encourage and motivate all who carry on her work.”

This June, Fulcrum will release the memorial edition of Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women (978-155591-691-6, $18.95) by Wilma Mankiller, giving readers a rare and often intimate glimpse into the lives of Native women.

In this illuminating book, twenty indigenous female leaders—educators, healers, attorneys, artists, elders, and activists—come together to discuss issues facing modern Native communities. Every Day found its genesis with Mankiller, who over a period of several years, engaged indigenous women in conversation about spirituality, traditions and culture, tribal governance, female role models, love, and community. Their common life experiences and shared values gave them the freedom to be frank and open and a place of community from which to explore powerful influences on Native life.

Here are some of Mankiller’s words from this beautiful book. We hope they inspire you as they do us:

“I learned at a fairly early age that I cannot always control the things that are sent my way or the things that other people do, but I can most certainly control how I think about them and react to them. I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the negative. I believe that having a good, peaceful mind is the basic premise for a good life. My sense of faith, hope, and optimism stems in part from being a Cherokee woman.”

“My family taught me a lot about love… I now know what a rare gift it was to have parents who did not condition their love on our behavior or personality or even whether they agreed with or entirely understood us. Even when they thought what we were doing was dead wrong or they disagreed with us, they encouraged us to develop our own understanding of things… I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I had not always known that there were people who loved me.”

“Traditional indigenous knowledge systems and stories acknowledge that the rivers, rocks, trees, plant life, and celestial world are alive with spirit and meaning. When traditional indigenous people speak of their relatives, they are referring to every living thing, not just human kinship. The very identity of traditional tribal people is derived from the natural world, the land, and the community. They understand their own insignificance in the totality of things.”

“Modern Homestead” giveaway winner

Congratulations to Tina Lau, the winner of our book giveaway. Tina won a copy of Modern Homestead: Grow, Raise, Create by Renee Wilkinson.

Thanks to all who submitted their homesteading tips.