Heartland Cuisine: Spirit of Dakota eyes change

COURTESY PHOTOS Above: At 2021 award banquet: The Spirit of Dakota Society Committee includes from left, Bette Poppen, Linda Schwartz, Marilyn Hoyt (chairman), Deannie LeRoux (member emeritus), Sarah Radke, and Shelley Noonan. Not pictured are committee members Carol Milbrandt and Margo Anderson. Below: A cherished tradition: A Tea in the Country is held at the home of Rodney and Beckie Freeman to welcome Spirit of Dakota nominees and guests. Tea committee members are, from left, Jenny Sorben, Erica McNeil, Sarah Rubish, Jane Meekins, Darcy Haber, and Beckie Freeman (chairman).

The Spirit of Dakota Society will begin a new chapter in 2024 in its long-standing history of recognizing outstanding women in South Dakota. A final award presentation will be held in 2023 followed by the start of a woman’s scholarship program.

The Society met in August and decided to postpone this year’s award presentation until Oct. 7, 2023. Nominations received will carry over to next year, along with the society seeking additional candidates.

All nominations will then be reviewed by the statewide Spirit of Dakota Selection Commission.

The 2023 award event will mark the final time for this prestigious honor dating back to 1987 with festivities taking place at the Huron Event Center, according to Marilyn Hoyt, Spirit of Dakota Society Chair.

Moving forward, the Spirit of Dakota Society will continue to honor women by sponsoring the Spirit of Dakota Scholarship, beginning in 2024. The scholarship program will assist the next generation of women as they pursue their educational goals as a lasting legacy.

For over three decades, the Spirit of Dakota Society has hosted the Spirit of Dakota Award with the support of sponsors and others in the Huron community rolling out the red carpet for the nominees and guests.

The award was inspired by the Spirit of Dakota sculpture created by recognized sculptor and artist, Dale Lamphere. The nine-foot sculpture stands at the entrance of the Crossroads Hotel and Huron Event Center and captures in bronze the character, strength, and courage of prairie women.

Held on the first Saturday in October, the Spirit of Dakota event has included an art show open to the public along with the award banquet and ceremony.

Award nominees are individually recognized for their contributions to their communities and state during the celebration.

As part of their recognition, nominees and guests are warmly welcomed to the host city by the Spirit of Dakota Tea Committee, chaired by Beckie Freeman.

The committee graciously shares some of their favorite recipes with Plainsman readers.

Cucumber Sandwiches
Submitted by Beckie Freeman
    8 ounces cream cheese, softened
    3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
    2 teaspoons fresh dill chopped
    1 teaspoon fresh chives chopped
    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 long English cucumber, thinly sliced
    1 loaf sliced bread, crusts removed
With a hand mixer, mix cream cheese and mayonnaise in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in herbs, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Spread bread slices with cream cheese mixture. Thinly slice cucumbers. Layer over half of the bread slices. Top with additional herbs if desired. Top with remaining bread slice, remove crusts if desired and cut each sandwich into 3-pieces to make 30 sandwiches. Serve immediately or cover and store up to 24 hours.

Mini Ham and Mushroom Quiche
Submitted by Sarah Rubish
    8 ounces diced ham
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
    ¼ cup scallions
    ¼  cup shredded Swiss cheese
    ¼ cupparmesan cheese
    1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    ½ teaspoon salt
    5 eggs
    3 egg whites
    1 cup whole milk (can substitute lower fat milk)
    2 packages mini phyllo shells
In a frying pan, saute ham, scallions, and mushrooms in olive oil. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and egg whites with the milk, salt, and pepper. Add ham mixture to the egg mixture. Stir in the Swiss cheese. Place mini phyllo shells on a rimmed baking sheet. Spoon the mixture into the shells. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for approximately 15-20 minutes. Watch carefully.

Cranberry Brie Bites
Submitted by Darcy Haber
    All purpose flour, for dusting the dough and cutting board
    1 eight ounce tube crescent dough
    1 eight ounce wheel of brie cheese
    1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
    Fresh rosemary sprigs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Spread a little flour out onto you counter. Roll out crescent dough and pinch seams together. Cut crescent dough into 24 squares. Place squares into mini muffin tin slots. Cut brie into small pieces and place inside the crescent dough squares. Top with a generous spoonful of cranberry sauce and a little sprig of rosemary. Bake until the crescent dough is a light golden brown (about 15 minutes). Serve warm.

Pumpkin Mousse Shooters
Submitted by Jane Meekins
    2 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened
    15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin
    3/4 cup fat-free milk
    1 package vanilla fat-free sugar-free instant pudding mix
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    3 cups thawed reduced-fat whipped topping, divided
    4 gingersnap cookies, crushed
Beat cream cheese in a medium bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add pumpkin, milk, pudding mix, cinnamon, ginger and cloves and beat about 1 minute or until smooth. Fold in 1 ½ cups whipped topping. Spoon one-fourth cup mousse into each of the eight 6-ounce dessert glasses. Spoon 2 Tablespoons whipped topping over mousse in each glass. Top with one-fourth cup mousse. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour. Just before serving, top each shooter with remaining whipped topping and gingersnap crushed cookie crumbs. Enjoy!

Curried Chicken Tea Sandwiches
Submitted by Erica McNeil
    ½ cup flaked coconut
    ½ cup chopped almonds
    8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
    2 Tablespoons orange marmalade
    1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon pepper
    12 (one-half inch thick) bread slices (any type)
    3 Tablespoons diced green onions
Bake coconut and almonds in shallow baking pan at 350 degrees F, stirring occasionally, 5-10 minutes, or until toasted.

Stir together cream cheese and next four ingredients; gently stir in chicken. Spread evenly on bread slices. Trim crusts and cut each slice into three strips. Sprinkle evenly with coconut, almond, and green onions. Makes 3 dozen sandwiches.

Strawberry Bruschetta
Submitted by Jenny Sorben
    1 cup strawberries, hulled and diced
    1 Tablespoon sugar
    1 French baguette, sliced on a bias
    4 ounces goat cheese
    1 Tablespoon olive oil
    2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    ¼  cup minced basil leaves
    Freshly ground black pepper
Combine the strawberries and sugar in a small bowl; toss to combine. Let the berries macerate for about 30 minutes so that they begin to release their juices. Spread a thin layer of goat cheese on top of each baguette slice. Top each slice with spoonfuls of the strawberry mixture. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top each slice with the basil leaves and cracked pepper, to taste.

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