"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Homegrown "Tomaters"
Copyright © 2007 by Bill Scifres

Well, I have failed again (with tongue in cheek). I try to keep these weekly communiques pretty much about hunting and fishing, or at the least, the great Hoosier outdoors. But, you see, Kitchen Kapers, the big interloper, has crept into the column again.

Maybe you will accept my failure, if I point out that with summer--already here, and the homegrown “tomater” season arriving momentarily, we just gotta find something to do with all of that fruit? That’s right. tomaters is/are fruit. Webster’s is/are smarter than me.

Tomaters have been use as veggies in hundreds (maybe thousands) of mouth-watering recipes since “Hector was a pup,” one might say. But I came up with a new one, or maybe two. You’ll see if you read on.

Taking it from there, I must confess that I am as big a tomater bug as the next guy. Sixteen plants in my Boone County garden, I think. First thing you know those hundreds of green fellers are going to be red ripe. I can hardly wait.

But the other day I decided to try some canned tomaters with zuchinni from my garden, onion, dried shaggymane mushrooms, and a stip of bacon cut in-inch squares (for taste). I added just enough water to cover all this in a covered saucepan--with salt and pepper, of course. When this concoction was tender to the fork, I pinched in two slices of whole wheat bread to turn it into the old favorite dinner dish. It was good.

Very tasty, but that isn’t all. There were leftovers--about three cups--and while I was scarfing it down I got to thinking about other possibilities.

Why not, I thought, make some tomater-zuch-mushroom-bacon cakes just like you would make crab cakes, or any other kind of goodies? So the next day I put half a cup of the leftovers in a shallow cereal bowl, and slowly stirred in Bisquick until the mixture formed a rather thick paste. With olive oil lightly covering the bottom of an iron skillet (everyone should have a few iron skillets), I fried the cakes to a golden brown on both sides. Delightfully, I found it to be crisp on the outside surfaces and softer inside, not counting delicious.

 “So far, so good” I told myself, while I put another half a cup of the original mix in the same bowl, broke in an egg and mixed it with Bisquick (about two forefinger pinches) to make it like flapjack batter. I added a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, and browned the pancakes on both sides.

Hot out of the skillet, I buttered the flapjacks and poured on some maple syrup for some real pleasure. The bathroom scales blasted off.

Add a few days of sun and we will be in business. The homegrown tomater season is upon us and that should bring dozens of new recipes of delight.

CORN CONDITIONS--While a few prophets of doom ore decrying drought conditions we have faced, the agriculture statistics people at Purdue University say it is a bit early to tell.

Actually, they say, the corn (on the whole) has been looking pretty good, and they are eyeballing rains we may get this week.

The prognostication work of the ag statistics people is just getting started. They expect to know much more in a month. My travels (unscientific, as they are) leave me with mixed feelings on the matter. Obviously, some corn has drought damage. But we’ll have to wait and see.

Many species of wildlife depend heavily on corn gleanings for winter food. Nubbins, to the wild, spells smorgasbord.

COWBOY AMMO--The new discretionary order on deer-hunting use of pistol ammunition for some rifles is in the Indiana Hunting Guide to be distributed soon, so we will assume the governor and attorney general have approved it.


All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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