June 28, 2011

Summertime and the Fooding is Easy (and delicious)

The new menu for Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe made it’s debut last week.   As always, this summer’s menu brings tastes from five distinct Native regions. Using traditional summer foods, the variety of dishes is truly inspired. 

SummerMenu 073(Fresno Chili, Coffee Rubbed Pork Loin, Coconut, Vanilla Bean Sauce)
(Photo by Brieahn DeMeo, NMAI)

From the Northern Woodlands, Crawfish Gumbo serves as an appetizer followed by Chilled Tomato Soup, Fried Okra and Cucumber Dust.  Choose a hot dish of Stewed Summer Squash and Zucchini, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Oven Roasted Crab Apples and New Potatoes or a cold dish of Wild Rice and Watercress Salad for the main course and finish with one of this summer’s berry tarts.  YUM! 

Journey to South America for Pheasant Croquette dressed in an Olive Oil Puree, with Pimientos Rojas, Smoked Chili Sauce and Cilantro Oil.  Cool off with Conch ceviche, fresh papaya and chives.  As a main course the Fresno Chili Coffee Rubbed Pork Loin in a Coconut and Vanilla Bean Sauce or the Annatto Spiced Yucca and Chayote Salad provide an adventure for the taste buds. 

SummerMenu 019 (Pheasant Croquette, Olive Oil Puree, Pimientos Rojas, Smoked Chili Sauce, Cilantro)
(Photo by Brieahn DeMeo, NMAI)

The Northwest Coast offers a delicious variety of seafood dishes starting with Baked Oysters with Yellow Potato and Corn Cream.  Feeling in the mood for the daily catch?  The Maple Juniper Glazed, Cedar Planked Fire-Roasted Salmon is the perfect choice.  Also on the summer menu is Hominy and Parched Corn Salad with grilled leeks and roasted garlic vinaigrette.  The Cornmeal Buck Skin Cake with Saskatoon berries  and whipped cream is a must. 

SummerMenu 007
(Baked Oysters, Yellow Potato, Corn Cream)
(Photo by Brieahn DeMeo, NMAI)

Mesoamerica adds a little spice to the menu featuring Roasted Calabasas Squash and Plantain Burrito with a Red Chili Sauce and Beef Tongue, Pork Pibil and Fish Tacos. This is not your grandmother’s salsa:  Fried Plantain Salsa, Tomatillo and Raspberry Salsa and Salsa Quenmada, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

  SummerMenu 050
(Roasted Calabasas Squash and Plantain Burrito with a Red Chili Sauce)
(Photo by Brieahn DeMeo, NMAI)

SummerMenu 031
(Fish Tacos)
(Photo by Brieahn DeMeo, NMAI)

Buffalo is the focus of many of the dishes from the Great Plains beginning with Buffalo Chili. Buffalo burgers served with Green Chilies, Duck burgers, pulled Buffalo Sandwiches and Buffalo chili cheese fries bring a new spin on classic dishes. Tepary Bean Salad with caramelized onions, roasted fennel and agave offer an alternative to the many buffalo dishes.  I’m having memory flashes of the first time I saw herds of buffalo across the plains of Oklahoma, AMAZING! And of course delicious.  

Chef Richard Hetzler has created a cornucopia of dishes that highlight each unique region through the very best foods the summer has to offer.  There is something for every palette this season

SummerMenu 098
(The ladies of the Choctaw Nation sample Chef's dishes- Chef is explaining the dishes from just outside the frame. Photo by Brieahn DeMeo, NMAI)


 - Brieahn DeMeo (Osage), Public Affairs Intern

Comments (5)

    » Post a Comment

What I find most impressive in this article is that the meals on the menu are quite varied, sound extremely appetizing, and are very healthy for the most part. I particularly like the fact that it tells the Native region that specializes and contributes each of the dishes.

nice food photos brie! can't wait to lunch with you at the nmai :)

The meals look delicious and amazing. It reminds of the risotto my mom used to cook. This is a subpar version of my mom's risotto but it brought back memories.

Sam, we wouldn't dream of doubting the wonderful quality of your mother's risotto. It may, however, be necessary for us to taste it, if you would post the recipe or, better still, invite us to dinner. . . .

Hello, thank you so much for the share recipes about vanilla bean. I am vanilla farmer from West Java, Indonesia

June 14, 2011

Choctaw Days! June 22 through 25 at NMAI in Washington

Join the people of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma as they celebrate Choctaw Days, Wednesday, June 22, through Saturday, 25, 2011, at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. Showcased during the four days will be Choctaw food, cultural performances, hands-on activities, stickball demonstrations, dancing, singing, and storytelling. Booths will be set up featuring pottery, beadwork, flutes, tribal cooking, and tribal language. One unique highlight of Choctaw Days will be a re-enactment of a traditional Choctaw wedding.

McKinney Dancers
The McKinney Dancers. Photo courtesy of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Each morning will begin with the Choctaw Youth Dancers accompanied by singer Ron McKinney at the museum’s east entrance. The youth dancers will perform the jump dance, fast war dance, stealing partners dance, and snake dance. Throughout each day, guests can view the work of the Choctaw Nation’s most celebrated artists, with opportunities to purchase contemporary and traditional pieces from flute maker Presley Byington, basket weaver Eveline Steele, modern and traditional bead workers Marcus and Roger Amerman, and pottery makers Ian and Amy Thompson. “I will be demonstrating step-by-step, how to make a six-hole flute, in the fashion that the Choctaw's make their medicine whistles out of cane and bamboo,” said Presley Byington.

Roger Amerman Beadwork
Beadwork by Roger Amerman (Choctaw). Photo courtesy of the artist.

Paul King, a painter and illustrator whose award-winning art is featured as the image of Choctaw Days 2011, will have several pieces on hand. Gwen Coleman Lester, another award-winning Choctaw artist, will have paintings, prints, and hand-painted gourd Christmas ornaments on display. Regina Green, director of the Choctaw Nation Museum in Tushka Homma, and traditionalist Les Williston will demonstrate the craftsmanship of tools, weaponry, clothing, basketry and pottery.

NMAI Executive Chef Richard Hetzler will collaborate with Vonna Shults and Shirley Barboan to feature ten Choctaw-styled dishes in the museum’s Mitsitam Native Foods Café. During Choctaw Days, the menu will include fried salt pork, pinto beans, tanchi labona (hominy corn and pork mixture), fried rabbit, rabbit gumbo, braised venison, banaha Indian bread, grape dumplings, wild onions and eggs, and pumpkin soup. Chef Richard will cook samples of the dishes at 11:30 AM Wednesday and Saturday.

For families, the Choctaw Nation Cultural Events Department will facilitate hands-on activities on the third floor of the museum where visitors are invited to create a basket, clay pot, or piece of beadwork to take home. Two daily sessions will be held: 10 AM to 12 PM and 2 to 4:30 PM.  “It is a great chance for the whole family to do something together,” said Cultural Events Executive Director Sue Folsom, “and they will have a small sample of Choctaw culture to take home with them.” Celebrated storytellers Tim Tingle and Greg Rodgers will share their unique Choctaw stories each afternoon. Both storytellers have been instrumental in sharing Choctaw culture in schools throughout the United States.

The films Choctaw Code Talkers and The Long Walk will be shown continuously in the Rasmuson Theater on the first floor of the museum. The Choctaw Code Talkers Program, created during World War I, was the first formal American Indian code program and is credited with saving thousands of American lives. Also taking place several times each day are performances by Brad Joe and the Johnson Family Singers, who will share Choctaw songs throughout the festival.

Language instructor Lillie Roberts will be available to share information and answer questions concerning different types of Choctaw language classes currently available. A computer will be set up to give visitors the opportunity to interact with a language instructor in Oklahoma, similar to One-Net classes held in schools throughout Southeastern Oklahoma. At 1:30 PM Saturday, a special, re-enactment of the centuries-old, traditional Choctaw wedding ceremony will take place in the Rasmuson Theater.

—Dennis Zotigh, NMAI

Click here for a printable pdf of the schedule of daily activities.

Here are the links to each day's online schedule of events, suitable for posting on the web, saving to your calendar, or emailing to friends:

Wednesday, June 22

Thursday, June 23

Friday, June 24

Saturday, June 25

Comments (5)

    » Post a Comment

Great blog. I love to read anything about culture. Reading kind of this blog help me to have imagination about the situation of this area. Thank you for posting this to everyone.

What a fantastic week of events! The colours and vibrancy of the costumes and bead work are amazing in themselves. Hope all goes well and a truly wonderful time is had by all!

this is very nice. I wish I was able to witness this event. Thanks for the share!

Great blog. I love to read anything about culture. Reading kind of this blog help me to have imagination about the situation of this area. Thank you for posting this to everyone.

Its a great thing that once in a while we can see people having their own traditional wedding. A nice thing to know that they always take their tradition with them. This photos are cool, very colorful from the dresses, to the wedding flowers. Everything are pleasant and very feastive.

March 08, 2010

Dinner & A Movie: The Gift of Pachamama, March 19th

Friday, March 19th, the NMAI will screen the feature film The Gift of Pachamama (El Regalo de Pachamama) (Bolivia/Japan, 2009, 102 min.), preceded by the short film Indigenous Plant Diva (Canada, 2008, 10 min.)  The screenings are free and open to the public, and begin at 7 p.m.  The director of Pachamama, Toshifumi Matsushita, will attend the screening and a Q&A session following the films.  These films are shown in partnership with the 2010 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital.

Pachamama (1)

The Gift of Pachamama is a spiritual docudrama set in Bolivia, where a 13-year-old boy lives a traditional life with his family near Uyuni, a salt lake. One spring, he goes with this father on his first caravan. With blocks of salt strapped to their herd of llamas, they travel the Salt Trail for several months, exchanging salt for other products of the Andes. The boy begins to learn who he is as a young man and a Quechua from their many experiences and encounters. As the trip comes to its close, he meets a beautiful girl at a festival in a sacred Quechuan place. The two young people feel a stirring in their hearts as they share a simple but profound dream: to ride a bicycle together across the salt lake. By the end, he discovers what his grandfather means by “the gift of Pachamama.”

Before Pachamama, we will screen the short film Indigenous Plant Diva profiles Cease Wyss, a Squamish woman from Vancouver, B.C., who shares her knowledge of the spiritual and medicinal uses of native plant species in her area.  Her Squamish name, T'Uy'Tanat, means "woman who travels by canoe to gather medicines for all people.”

We hope you can join us for these two fantastic, moving films.  Please visit our website to register for the film. The screening is free, but registration is strongly recommended. (You do not need to register for dinner.)  Tickets can be picked up as early as 5 p.m., and we will begin to let people into the theater at 6:30 p.m.  

For more information on the film festival, please visit http://www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org.

 Pachamama (5)

Comments (12)

    » Post a Comment

That restaurant sounds pretty sweet!

I love that last silhouette image. Great work.

Wow what a museum. I like it very much.

any new events? i also love the silhouette image.

Wow really is this true? Nice I am now in Bolivia and I will surely find this Movie. Great Movie the picture speaks itself. Great picture too the one in the sunset view.

Reymar Guia
freelance graphic designer

Fantastic Photography There. Im loving the style! i bet he had a pair of clean mitts afterwards!

Im going to subscribe to updates! thanks again.


Yeah, beautiful twilight...it must be so actually beautiful...

Thanks a lot, appreciate your dedication here. Outstanding website.

Nice post. Thanks. it looks really great and very informative.. Keep posting.

As a web designer I'm always on the look out for earthy, natural inspiration. This film looks great. Will it be coming to Australia?


It is a very lovely & informative museum. Very rich culture.

I saw "El Regalo de Pachamama", didn't think I'd like it, but it impressed me. Always loved the Bolivian free spirit and dressing.
Thanks for the post!