DeeAnn’s cooking is better since flaming goose incident
DeeAnn Surma’s most memorable cooking catastrophe was flaming wild goose.
“My husband Stuart loved to hunt and was a good shot,” she said, “so we often had wild game for supper when we were first married.”
Not having an adequate pan for the hefty goose proved to be only part of the problem; stuffing it in a tiny apartment-sized oven further complicated things.
“Soon the grease from the goose was lapping over the pan and dripping onto the electric elements in the oven; the goose went up in flames,” she said.
And although her “goose was cooked,” she put out the fire by simply turning off the oven and closing the oven door.
She still had to tell Stuart that his prized goose would not be served that evening-or at all.
“I’ve come a long way since then,” she said, “but admit I’m still learning.”
It’s been nearly two years since DeeAnn curtailed her custom coutures, traditional Star Quilts, and alternations business, rolled up her sleeves and participated in the renovation of the old Java Community Café, now D&D Delights. After polishing up the carpentry skills she learned at her daddy’s knee, and with culinary skills learned from her mom, grandmothers and favorite aunties, she threw open the doors with the reopening of the little café. A year after the café had been shuttered by the previous owners, the coffee pot was once again dripping its trademark brew in the little coffee town.
After learning that the building was up for sale through the Northeast Council of Governments (NECOG) DeeAnn had a dream to turn it into a sewing shop. She received a lot of input and support from members of her family and members of the community who urged her to consider opening it as a café and sewing shop. Town folk felt the town needed its café; it was part of its identity.
Never one to be intimidated, DeeAnn thought, “I can do this!”
There were only a few short weeks from signing on the dotted line to turning the key and there was much to be done. Walls came tumbling down, and the antiquated furnace and appliances were replaced. The color scheme of the interior replicates the amber sheaves of wheat growing just a stone’s throw from the café. And because the café has once again become a gathering place, it is also a place where cherished recipes are shared or suggestions given.
When her dumplings failed, several veteran cooks explained that they should be covered with a lid that isn’t vented. Daily specials command the agenda saving precious time, but patrons can order from the menu. Sunday is always the busiest, she said, with roast beef with all the trimmings being the favorite.
“My customers really love my chocolate chip cookies,” she said. More than five inches in diameter, these are not your crumpet-sized fare. The saucer-sized cookies fly off the counter!
She credits volunteers Joline Buechler, Yvonne Helm and Terri Dohman to occasionally keep things moving along.
Stuart, a semi professional photographer, displays many of his favorites at the cafe, some framed with a western motif of barbed wire or braided hemp. DeeAnn and her sisters chose a petunia pink exterior with Vikings purple trim.
The eldest of four daughters born to Alvina and Clarence Dearborn, DeeAnn was born in Faith and attended Isabel schools. She received her associate’s degree in human services.
She and Stuart moved to Java when he accepted a position with the WEB Water Development. DeeAnn had worked previously as a clerk in a department store in Mobridge and has been a post master relief (PMR) for the U.S. Post Office for the 14 years they have lived in Java. Once employed by Missouri Breaks Industries, renowned for making Star Quilts, DeeAnn began making her own with unique touches to the traditional patterns.
Up to this point sewing has been relegated to small sprints of time after the café is closed. Yet she has been encouraged to stick with her game plan and give quilting and sewing classes.
When things slow down, she and Stuart hope to visit the family. Cindy and her husband Michel (Surma-Richard) live in LeDuc, Alberta, Canada, where he is an electrical engineer for a petroleum company and she is a cake decorator for SafeWay Foods. Martha Louise and her husband John (Henris) and their daughter Matilda, 5, live in Salem, Ohio. He is a history professor at the University of Ohio at Akron, and she is employed at the Snapple corporate offices.
DeeAnn Surma’s recipes
(That Makes Its Own Crust)
2 large eggs
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Bisquick biscuit mix
1 large can (13 oz.) evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a blender at low speed for 3 minutes. Grease and flour a 9 inch glass pie plate or a 9 inch by 13 inch pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 50 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Put a dollop of Cool Whip on the top of each serving if you wish.
Quick Mix Brownies
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
Nuts or coconut (optional)
Put sugar, butter, cocoa, eggs and vanilla in a bowl and mix well. Add flour. Pour into a 9-inch by 13-inch pan or a standard cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Don’t leave cookie sheet in the oven as long as when using pan. If unsure, check with a toothpick until the toothpick comes out clean.
Never-Fail Pie Crust
3 cups flour
1 1/4 cups shortening
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vinegar
Cut flour into shortening with salt. Combine egg, vinegar and water into the flour mixture all at once. Blend ingredients until it looks like little peas. Makes 3 piecrusts.