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Recipe Corner: Food to warm the soul

By Ginger Isham

This is weathered Vermonters weather. Just talk with an original Vermonter in his 80s and he will tell you he used to walk to and from a one-room school house in this weather and then go sliding or ice skating when school was let out. It built strength and character for hard work in later years. I bet his mom never cooked him a meal such as:

Southwestern Tamale Pie
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin (more or less)
pinch of salt and pepper
1 cup beef broth
1 cup tomato sauce
Brown beef and onions in skillet. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes. Pour into a 2 1/2 to 3-quart size casserole. Top with following corn bread crust:
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Mix dry ingredients in bowl. Stir together egg, milk and oil and add to the dry ingredients. Spoon over the top of beef mixture in casserole.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, black olives, and sour cream.

Shrimp and Fra Diavlo (Spicy Sauce)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 pounds uncooked shrimp
6 cloves garlic – chopped fine ( more or less)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes  ( or more if you like)
pinch of salt
2 pounds linguine
2 cans( 28 ounces each) Italian style peeled chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried basil
Heat oil in skillet, add shrimp and cook for 30 seconds. Add garlic, pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove shrimp to a bowl. Cook linguine.  Drain. Mix tomatoes, paste, basil and remaining salt in skillet. Cook for 8-10 minutes until sauce thickens. Add shrimp and heat gently and toss with pasta and serve.

Ginger Isham lives with her husband on a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Road.