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1979 MHS grad shares his cooking tips and tricks

Kevin Vojta is a longtime Mobridge resident. He has lived here his whole life and the Vojtas have made quite a name for themselves. Kevin has his own carpet installation business. His wife, Dori, is a nurse practitioner/midwife at the Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinics. His daughter, Rachel, is a certified chef who cooks at Homespun. His son, Logan, has been an active member in the clubs in Mobridge-Pollock High, like robotics, and is currently studying at South Dakota School of Mines.
Kevin is a Mobridge High School alumni, graduating in 1979. He then attended South Dakota State University for two years.
He enjoys the outdoor activity opportunities that living in Mobridge has to offer.
“I’m a major outdoors man,” he said, “I like to hunt, fish, spend time at the river, waterski, and take the boat out on the river.”
He also is an impressive gardener. He enjoys gardening so he can always have fresh produce.
“I plant a lot of things,” he said. “We grow everything from horseradish, to asparagus, to peanuts.”
Kevin uses one method to ensure he has garden grown tomatoes for a long time.
“A really easy way to keep tomatoes is just to freeze them. Just throw them in a grocery sack and put them in the freezer,” he said, “Whenever you’re ready to use them, put them in some warm water to take the skin off and then you can make great spaghetti sauces and chili.”
He is not only skilled in the kitchen, but he is also skilled cooking on a grill, where he makes his family’s favorite cookout dishes.
“I grill steaks, pork chops, and fish,” He said, “It’s an easy way to make good meals in large amounts.”
Kevin learned to cook from his mother.
“I would spend a lot of time in the kitchen with my mom,” he said. “I wouldn’t necessarily cook, but I would walk around with her and watch her make dinner.”
He began to really cook in college where he learned how to make healthy, tasty dishes for himself and his friends.
Kitchen mishaps are one of the things that make us better cooks. Kevin had to keep on cooking until he got it right.
“One time, we tried to bake a goose breast inside a turkey,” he said. “We waited for hours for it to cook. When I finally pulled it out of the oven, I cut into it and blood shot out everywhere. It was not done at all, so we had to wait even longer before we could eat it.”
He gets his recipes from different places. Some of his older recipes have been passed down to him by his mother, and he finds new inspiration by getting recipes off the internet.
“I like to get recipes from the internet,” he said, “but I like to put my own spin on it. So I will get a recipe and then try out other ingredients so I can make it my own.”
Kevin makes sure that all his food is cooked to perfection. He likes to make his meals so everyone will enjoy them.
He leaves us with a tip.
“Don’t over season your food,” he said, “Lightly season at first and then add an appropriate amount of seasoning that gives the food the perfect amount of flavor.”

Venison or Beef Pepper Steak
2 lb red meat cubed or thinly sliced
2 large onions, coarsely sliced
4 large bell peppers (sliced in narrow strips)
1 tbsp. ground ginger, roasted
2 cups beef broth
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
In a small amount of oil brown meat. Add onions, ginger, garlic, black pepper and bell peppers. Slowly stir in sugar and soy sauce. Add beef broth and thicken with a little flour and water as needed. Serve over rice or chow mein noodles.

Red Velvet Cake:
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. butter flavoring
1 oz red food coloring
3 tbsp. Cocoa
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (or 2 1/4 cups flour mixed with 2 tbsp cornstarch)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. vinegar
Frosting:
3 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup crisco shortening
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. butter flavor
Combine shortening, sugar, eggs, butter flavor and vanilla. Make a paste of cocoa and food coloring. Add to shortening mix. Add flour, buttermilk, and salt. Mix baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl and blend into mix. Pour into three 9×10 inch round cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool before frosting.
For the frosting: Cook flour, salt, milk until thick. Stir constantly and let cool. Then, cream together sugar, shortening, vanilla, and butter flavor. Combine with previous mixture and beat well.

Dill Pickles
3 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown vinegar
1/4 tsp powdered alum
1/2 tsp pickling spice
1 piece garlic
Red pepper (opt.)
Place dill and other ingredients in bottom of quart jar. Pack with cucumbers. Fill jar with boiling water. Shake very well. Turn upside down overnight. These are ready to use when they become cloudy.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 1/2 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips
Nuts (opt.)
In a mixing bowl, mix shortening, brown sugar and white sugar till fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add baking soda, salt and vanilla. Add flour slowly, then add chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 min.

Chicken Enchiladas
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can chopped black olives
1 package Schilling Enchilada Mix
1 cup sour cream
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 package small flour tortillas (frozen)
Sauce:
Drain liquid from olives into saucepan. Add tomato sauce and enchilada mix with 1 cup water. Simmer.
Filling:
Mix onion, 1 cup cheese, chicken, olives and 1 cup sour cream. Pour small amount of sauce into a 9×13 pan. Dip tortillas, one at a time, into sauce and and fill with small amount of filling; roll up. Put filled tortillas into pan and pour remaining sauce over all. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with sour cream.