Fresh ingredients make the dish

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By Sandy Bond

Della Dearborn

Della Dearborn

With a view of Lake Oahe before her, contrasted with fall foilage, there isn’t a prettier place to work than the new South Dakota Game Fish and Parks building in Mobridge, according to Della Dearborn.
Della commutes from north of Timber Lake. Ignoring her cell phone, she enjoys the solitude, watching the changing seasons, the mule deer, antelope, and migrating birds.
An avid hunter, angler (from shore, aboard boat, or perched on a minnow bucket on the ice), and self-described people person, Dellray Dawn a.k.a. Della is a natural at her new position as the receptionist at GF&P.
The youngest child born to Clarence and Alvina Dearborn, her brother-in-law Stuart Surma jokes that her real name should have been “Delay” because there is an 18-year span between Della and her nearest sister. She was born in Eagle Butte and raised on a sheep ranch west of Isabel.
“We all have ‘D’ names, she said: Deeann, Debbie and Dorrine; my sisters named me.”
With her sisters grown and gone, Della was pretty much an only child.  As a child she enjoyed riding horseback, playing circus, carnival, rodeo, pretending she was a child lost in the wilderness, she said.
She was inquisitive, investigating how things worked and had an active imagination, making up her own games, and always lost in a biography or historical novel. Naturally excelling in mathematics, she decided to major in accounting at Western Dakota Technical Institute and then later Northern State University.
Her mother, Alvina, was a phenomenal cook, as was her mom before her.
“It was simply genetics that we girls would be, too,” she said. “My mom loved to collect cookbooks and ultimately amassed over 100, from church cookbooks to centennial cookbooks.”
After she died, the four girls divvied up the well-worn cookbooks.
“I cherish her cookbooks,” she said, “but I also like to experiment.”
The aroma of freshly baked bread is one of her favorite memories from her childhood, as she used to help bake bread to keep her little hands busy and out of mischief, she said.  Her favorite meal her mom made was a dish with hamburger, rice, onions, and spices, all rolled up in a cabbage leaf and cooked in tomatoes and tomato juice, similar to holubtsi.
Della can make virtually any dish from what she has on hand. She likes cooking pasta dishes and can make food stretch a long ways.
“Cooking with fresh ingredients and herbs need not be expensive,” she said. “You just have to pay attention to seasonal produce when it’s on sale, watch the grocery circulars and plan your menu accordingly.”
Growing her own herbs in her garden and at her windowsill, including fresh chives and basil, allows her to experiment even further. “Dried herbs are simply not the same as when they are dehydrated they naturally lose that oil that gives such a rich flavor to any dish,” she said.  “Every food, no matter how meticulous you are, begins to lose that natural flavor when processed.  Everything is a bit better with fresh ingredients.”
Her favorite ingredient is garlic.
“I’ve always been concerned with nutrition, reading labels, etc.,” she said. “At one time, I used to be interested in body building and learned a lot about food and nutrition. I find it interesting. We should always know where our foods come from.”
Della has two children. Paige, 17, is a senior at Timber Lake High School. She is an accomplished artist and fledgling writer with a part-time job with the Timber Lake Topic. Chauncey, 16, is a sophomore at Timber Lake High School. He has an interest in sports and works with his grampa and dad ranching.
Della said she adores her new job because she feels at home with her co-workers, loves helping individuals and learning about the people she meets, she said.
“Some of the questions are fun,” she said. “One of the most memorable is someone heard a rumor that the GF&P had removed all the fish from one particular fishing hole.  It’s thought to have been started because someone must have had an unsuccessful day! You know ‘Fish Tales.’”

DELLA DEARBORN’S RECIPES

Herb Roasted Turkey
10 to12-lb. turkey
1 tsp. each thyme, rosemary, parsley
1 Tbsp. chives
½ tsp. sage
3 tsp. of minced garlic
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
3 Tbsp. oil (preferably grape-seed or olive oil)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 onion (preferably sweet), diced
3 c. water, plus
1 4-oz. stick of butter (optional)
Hint:  If it’s a wild turkey place 4 strips of bacon over the breast to make meat moist. For a different twist you can serve this with herb-roasted potatoes and carrots instead of the traditional stuffing.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 475 F. Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavities.  Save these. You can use these for making gravy or add to the stuffing. Rinse bird.  If the herbs are fresh make sure to chop finely. You could use an electric chopper. Mix herbs, salt, pepper, oil and lemon juice together. Spread 3/4 of the herb mixture inside of the turkey cavity. Add chopped onion. Rub the remaining mixture on the breast of the turkey. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Add 3 cups water. Roast the turkey until the skin is golden brown, 45 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven. If using a remote digital thermometer, insert it into the deepest part of the thigh, close to the joint. Cover the breast with a double layer of foil, cutting as necessary to conform to the breast. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F and continue roasting for 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours more. If the pan dries out, tilt the turkey to let juices run out of the cavity into the pan and add 1 cup water and add the butter, if you want to use it, and baste. The turkey is done when the thermometer (or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone) registers 165 F. Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and cover with foil. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. This ensures the moisture is left in the meat. Remove string and carve.

Batter for Fish
1 ½  cups flour
½ Tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 cup of beer up to whole can
1 egg
Hint: Add ½ Tbsp. of different spice to batter to change taste or sprinkle as it comes out of fryer (cayenne pepper, lemon pepper, dill). Also this recipe can be used for breading all sorts of food (onion rings, mushrooms and cauliflower). You can use NA beer.
Mix dry ingredients, then incorporate wet ingredients.  Start with 1 cup of beer; add the rest of beer until batter is the consistency of pancake batter. Dip fish and fry in oil or can also fry in pan. Keep in mind fish doesn’t take long to cook.

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