This week’s cook is a relative newcomer to Humboldt, having lived here only five years. Samantha Eastman grew up in northern California where she lived in a beautiful valley surrounded by the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and the Sierra Nevada mountains. She chose to settle in Humboldt because she found it a beautiful area that reminds her of a little valley having to go up the hill to leave town. She and her 5-year old son, Trevor, enjoy the trails and the parks.
Samantha works at the Humboldt County Memorial Hospital and also runs her own massage therapy business. She is a member of the Humboldt Community Chorus and enjoys all Humboldt has to offer especially in the areas of art and music. Besides cooking and singing, Samantha loves kayaking and horseback riding.
Samantha has a long history of cooking, being able to fix a meal from the stove at the age of 7. Growing up surrounded by her great-grandma who had been a chuck wagon and pack way station cook, and her grandma who was a lodge cook; Samantha grew up hearing stories of people who came from all over just to eat a good meal prepared by one of these two women even if they weren’t staying at the way station or the lodge. There was always something good cooking in the Eastman or Carpenter households.
Samantha was a little hesitant to be cook of the week, because as with many cooks, she doesn’t necessarily follow a recipe. Like her great-grandma and grandma before her, she uses a little of this and a little of that. In fact she says that if she asked her grandmother how to make a dish, she was told a little of this and a little of that or was chided for not paying attention the last time it was made. Although she doesn’t consider herself a good cook (because she says she can never get her dishes to taste the way her mama or grandma’s did) others around her do. She has been chosen to cook when they have cooking contests at HCMH and shares that she won first place in a chili cook-off with her very first batch of chili that she made without using a recipe.
Samantha likes to use alcohol when she cooks because it “brings good flavor, tenderizes, and helps keep the meat from burning.” Most of the dishes with alcohol were created by Samantha or her mom.
Fish with Coconut Rum
Fish (use your favorite kind, I
Thaw the fish, if necessary. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a deep baking dish, pour in enough rum to cover the bottom. Place the fish in the dish. Squirt a line of lemon juice on all of the fish. Apply a small amount of soft (not melted) butter on each piece of fish. Sprinkle Mrs. Dash, garlic salt, onion powder, and black pepper to cover each piece evenly.
Place fish in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until it’s flaky.
I like to serve this with cooked spinach. This dish is fast, easy, and healthy.
Wild Rice Soup
This soup is very native in the valley back home.
1 pound chicken breasts, thighs
or a combination, skin
6 cups water
Salt and pepper
2 large carrots (chopped)
3 stalks celery (chopped)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup wild rice
Place chicken and water in large pot, add garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer all day. Remove chicken to cool down so it can be chopped into bite-sized pieces.
Add rice to broth and simmer for 30 minutes. Add carrots, celery and chopped chicken and cook until the veggies are tender. Stir in the can of cream of chicken soup and eat!
Mom’s Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Rice Concoction
Jumbo shrimp (half a bag, may
be precooked shrimp)
Lean bacon (1 strip per 4
White or brown rice
1/2 cup butter
Asian toasted sesame dressing
Cooking wine, pink or white
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare rice according to package directions (as many servings as desired for number of shrimp). Take lean bacon and cut it into quarters length-wise to make thin strips long enough so it will fully wrap around each shrimp. Place wrapped shrimp into baking dish and bake in oven for 5 minutes.
While shrimp is baking, place the 1/2 cup of butter in a microwaveable bowl with a pinch of minced garlic, sweet basil, salt and pepper on top. Add one tablespoon of the Asian toasted sesame dressing and one tablespoon of soy sauce. Microwave until butter is melted. This is your sauce.
After shrimp has baked for 5 minutes, drizzle the sauce over the shrimp, making sure they are all covered. Continue baking shrimp until bacon is browned the way you prefer. Pour remaining sauce into a larger bowl. Add a small amount of wine to sauce and mix. (Water can be used instead of wine.) Serve rice topped with shrimp and sauce. Add more soy sauce if desired.
Sammie’s Poor Girl Soup
This soup I made a few years ago, when I literally didn’t have a penny to my name. I had a baby to feed, but I had a small garden and with the help of the WIC program, I came up with this recipe. It is still one of my favorite things to make, especially when I have the supplies from the garden, or when the pantry needs to be cleaned out. I make enough that I can eat it for days and I can store some in the freezer.
4 potatoes (or dumplings,
noodles or turnips)
4 stalks of celery (I chop the rest
of stalks and put them in the
freezer so they don’t go to
4 large carrots, either fresh, store
bought, frozen or canned
Peas (optional, but can use fresh,
canned or frozen)
1 large or 2 small cans of tuna (DON’T drain the tuna)
1-2 cans of beer
Minced garlic or fresh
One quart of milk
Take a large pot and set to medium heat. Pour in the quart of milk, the beer; add your seasonings to taste, a small amount of butter and the tuna (juice and all). Sprinkle in a few of the bacon bits.
Wash and chop your potatoes (you can peel them if you want, but I keep the skins on.) By the time you are through chopping the potatoes, the broth should be steaming, so add the potatoes to it. Chop the celery, carrots and onions and add all the veggies to the broth. The soup is done when the potatoes are soft. You might need to add more seasoning. I usually just add more bacon bits.
I like to let this soup chill down or eat it the next day, because it just gets better and better! I also make homemade sourdough bread with it or eat it with wheat crackers.
My Cream Corn Meatloaf
I came up with this recipe because I was tired of hearing people saying they didn’t like meatloaf, because it’s too dry. I was trying to get my son to eat meat as well, and I knew that he loved corn!
2 pounds ground beef
1 can creamed corn
1 cup oatmeal
1 onion (chopped)
Pinch of ketchup
Pinch of A-1 sauce
V-8 juice or tomato soup
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Before I get my hands messy with meatloaf I make sure that everything is chopped, opened, measured and ready to go.
In a large bowl, break up thawed ground beef with a fork. Add dry seasoning and knead it together with your hands. Add the two eggs, onion, pinch of ketchup, A-1, and knead again. Add the creamed corn and oatmeal, and knead one more time. Put meat mixture into a loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make a sauce to go on top of the meatloaf mixing either the V-8 juice or tomato soup whatever you have on hand, together with some A-1, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and Mrs. Dash.
Bake for about 30 minutes or longer until it gets a nice brown color.
Grandma Gail’s Goulash
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 piece of garlic clove (chopped)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 can pitted black olives
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 can of corn (optional)
1 cup macaroni noodles
1 large can chopped tomatoes
1/2 small box Velveeta cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large frying pan, brown ground beef with onion, garlic, bell pepper, salt, olives, chili powder and corn for about 15 minutes. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. When meat is fully cooked add the can of chopped tomatoes. Add the meat mixture to the macaroni and mix well. Pour into a casserole dish and sprinkle the Velveeta cheese on top. Bake until the cheese is melted.
Cinnamon Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Great Grandma had them in her collection and had them marked as excellent!
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
12 ounce package chocolate
1 cup chopped walnut or
3/4 cup raisins
3 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
Heat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer, lightly cream butter with sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir flour with salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; blend into cream mixture. Fold in chocolate chips, nuts, raisins and oats. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 min. Makes 6 dozen.
Yummy Spanish Ice Cream
1 bundle of ripe bananas
1 quart of yogurt (flavored like
cinnamon apple or plain
1/2 cup sugar
Peel the bananas and slice them; stick them into a Ziploc bag and place them into the freezer. Wash your strawberries and slice them. Place them into a bowl that has a lid, lightly cover them with the sugar and place in the refrigerator while the bananas finish freezing.
When the bananas are frozen enough, put the quart of yogurt into a blender with the frozen bananas and try to mix the bananas with the yogurt by hand to help with the blending. Blend the two together until it looks like ice cream. (I like mine creamy but chunky too!) Add milk if you can’t get it to blend.
After blending, dish it into bowls, and top with the strawberries. This is such a fun thing to make, and it’s healthy.
Recipe For a Home
Lola Heaton, McArthur, CA
One-half cup of friendship
Add a cup of thoughtfulness
Cream together with a pinch of
Very lightly beat in a bowl of
A cup of faith, one of hope, and
one of charity
Be sure to add a spoonful of
each of gaiety that sings, and
add the ability to laugh at
Moisten with sudden tears of
Bake in good natured pan and serve repeatedly.
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