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Northwoods Cooks: Favorite recipes from Itasca State Park

The historic Douglas Lodge at Itasca State Park has been a vacation destination since 1905. Park Naturalist Connie Cox shared some of the recipes that have become favorites of park visitors over the years.

Anyone who has enjoyed a meal at the historic Douglas Lodge at Itasca State Park knows many of their menu items feature locally grown products, such as blueberries and wild rice. This sampling of recipes are from the collection printed in the 1994 Itasca State Park Cookbook and "A Taste of Itasca: A Collection of Recipes from Itasca State Park" from 2005.

"These books are out of print, so that makes these recipes even more special," park naturalist Connie Cox said.

Douglas Lodge opened in 1905 and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from Memorial Day weekend through the first weekend in October.

Minnesota Blueberry Wild Rice Muffins

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup wild rice flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 and 1/2 cups blueberries

1 and 1/2 cups flour

1 cup cooked wild rice

Blend softened butter with sugar. Add water, milk, flours, salt and baking powder. Stir until smooth. Fold into well-greased muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Yield: 24.

Douglas Wild Rice Hot Dish

1/2 cup finely diced celery

2 (10-oz.) cans cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup finely diced onion

1 (4-oz.) can sliced water chestnuts (optional)

1-1/2 cup wild rice

1 pound well-browned hamburger

1 (10-oz.) can cream of celery soup

salt, pepper and garlic to taste

Sauté the celery and onion in oil. Add the browned hamburger. Wash the rice well and cook in 6 to 8 cups water until done, at least 20 minutes. Mix all ingredients together and add the soups and water chestnuts. Season to taste. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. As used at the Douglas Lodge Dining Room.

Note: Cox that she tweaks the seasonings by adding thyme, marjoram, a hint of basil and oregano. "I usually cook the rice in homemade chicken stock for added flavor," she said.

Douglas Lodge Wild Rice Salad

12 cups wild rice, cooked

2 cups raisins

1-1/2 cups almonds

6 cups celery julienne

4 cups water chestnuts

1/2 cup sugar

4 cups grapes

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix and dress with honey Dijon dressing.

Headwaters Chili

2 (15-oz.) cans pinto beans

5 Tablespoons cooking oil

4 cups tomatoes, peeled and 1 cup boiling water

quartered 1/2 cup green pepper, diced

1 cup coarsely chopped onions

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 lbs. lean ground beef salt as desired

4 tablespoons chili powder

Heat oil in large skillet. Add onions, green pepper and garlic. Sauté until onion is soft. Add

ground beef and brown. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for at least 1 hour. After

that add 1 cup boiling water.

Douglas Lodge Pound Cake

1 teaspoon salt

5 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 1/4 cups flour

2 sticks butter

1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon flavoring

Cream salt, sugar and butter well.

Add to the creamed mix in 3 stages, eggs and flour. Add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup flour; cream well.

Add another 2 eggs and 1/2 cup flour; cream well. Add the last egg and remaining flour.

Use lemon or vanilla to flavor. Put in loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 275 degrees and bake an additional 30 minutes. Test for doneness. Top with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

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