Firefighters' recipes

Hard to believe it is September already - some of us are still waiting for summer to come to our valley even though Labor Day has come and gone. Next week there is another special day. Thursday, Sept. 11, is called Patriot Day on my calendar - also Fly the Flag Day - but then I read some place else that it is Firefighters Day and I, living with a retired firefighter, like that best of all.

There's a special cookbook out there and I have written about it before - "The National Firefighters Cookbook" prepared by Candice M. DeBarr and retired firefighter Louis A. DePasquale. In addition to good recipes, it is full of humor. In firefighter terminology, "cook" is the last person who whined about the food and "wheel blocks" are the overcooked biscuits or cookies left in the oven when responding to an alarm.

A side benefit to the book is that 10 percent of the book's $16.95 (plus shipping and handling) cost goes to The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, Inc., a global nonprofit organization in East Grand Rapids, Mich. The organization also works with The American Red Cross to help in emergency and long-term recovery of burn survivors.

In a fire station there are rookie rules of the kitchen - one of which is, it doesn't matter what it tastes like as long as there is enough!

This one fits the rule - it is Chief Tom's Chili - that comes from chief Tom Arstead, retired from the Springfield Fire Department in Springfield, Ill.

2 pounds ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup celery, diced

1 pint V8 juice

1 (15-ounce) can tomatoes

1 (8-ounce can) tomato sauce

2 packages chili mix

1 clove garlic, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 teaspoon sugar

2 (15-ounce) cans chili beans

Brown meat with onion and celery. Add remaining ingredients except beans. Bring to a boil for one-half hour. Reduce heat, add beans, and simmer for approximately 1 hour before serving.

The recipe says it serves four to six firefighters - one-half of the recipe filled my crock pot - those must be very hungry firefighters! It is a good, juicy, spicy hot chili that only gets better the next day.

Another rookie rule - a well-fed captain is a docile beast.

Hall's Inferno Sandwiches - comes from firefighter David Hall from the Springfield Fire Department in Rogersville, Mo.

2 pounds sliced ham

12 ounces mozzarella slices

1 (16-ounce) can refried beans

2 cups jalapeño peppers

8 Kaiser rolls

Warm refried beans in a medium saucepan. Cut rolls to make into buns. Spread layer of warm beans onto buns. Add ham slices over beans. Add cheese slices over ham. Top with peppers. Warm in preheated 350-degree oven until cheese melts. Feeds 6-8 firefighters.

Guaranteed to put your tongue and tonsils on the red alert for the rest of the day. This is hot and for devoted fire-eaters only. Mild green peppers work just as well.

Another rookie rule - when in doubt, make it Mexican. And if picante sauce can't fix it, you're in trouble. And when all else fails, pizza parlors deliver.

Karen's Mexican Surprise - the surprise is how anything can be so easy and taste so good!

This comes from firefighter Joel A. Kendall from the Seattle Fire Department, Engine Company No. 25, Seattle.

6 pounds chicken

24 small flour tortillas

3 (10-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup

3 (10-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup

2 large yellow onions, chopped

3 cups green chilies, chopped

1 (14-ounce) can chopped black olives

3 pounds cheddar cheese, grated

Boil, debone and shred chicken. Cut tortillas in 1-inch-wide strips. Mix soups, chopped onion and chilies, chicken and olives. Layer ingredients in baking dish, starting with soup mixture, then tortilla strips, then cheese. You should have two layers of each ingredient. Bake 1 hour in preheated 350-

degree oven.

Recipe can be cut in half or thirds.

Firefighters do not mess around when it comes to breakfast. They take the old adage that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" very seriously.

Breakfast Burros from senior captain Dan Tucker, from the Eagle River Fire Station No. 1, Anchorage, Alaska.

3 eggs

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow pepper

1 white onion

diced green chilies to taste

1/2 cup diced ham or precooked sausage

1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterey or cojack)

tortillas (flour or corn)

salsa (Dan's Super Salsa recommended)

sour cream

Slice, dice and chop all ingredients except eggs, cheese, tortillas and salsa. Fry until they are almost ready. Add eggs and scramble the entire mess until cooked. At the same time, preferably using a cast iron pan that is quite hot, warm each tortilla for 15-30 seconds per side. Remove the tortilla from the pan and fill it with scrambled egg mixture. Dress it with salsa and sour cream.

Feeds two firefighters.

Here's Dan's Super Salsa - run 5 (28-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes through blender just long enough to break up the big chunks, about 2-4 seconds. Add 2 (7-ounce) cans diced green chilies, 1 (3-ounce can) diced jalapeños, 1 medium onion, finely diced, 2 stalks celery, diced, 2-3 tablespoons salt and pepper. Put in large glass bowl; cover and refrigerate to "nurture" for a few hours. The longer, the better.

Makes about 4 quarts.

And from my own firefighter, Barney Hall, retired for 35 years from Fire Station No. 32, West Seattle, comes a favorite salad - on a bed of salad greens layer cooked julienne beets and chunks of pineapple, then drizzle 1 tablespoon of the pineapple juice with 1 tablespoon of the beet liquid over all.

A nice contrast to some of the sizzling hot dishes.

Some of the most interesting afternoons have been spent listening to a group of these old buddies from Station No. 32 reminisce about past experiences. From what I hear, they loved Barney's Cream of Leek soup with liver - and a bean soup he used to make in the station, none of which I have ever tasted. Maybe I will have that to look forward to on Firefighters Day.

Check out the new Friends of the Fields Web site at Click on Local Gourmet to find two great recipes using fresh local ingredients by Magdalena Bassett. Local ingredients are healthier, fresher and make your meals taste better! Make sure you have the best local ingredients from our productive local farms by supporting Friends of the Fields in its efforts to preserve local farmland today.


Marian Platt's column appears the first and third week of each month in the Sequim Gazette. She can be reached at 683-4691 or via e-mail at


5-6 good-sized potatoes

1 stick butter

1 package onion soup mix

Peel and dice potatoes in 3/4 inch cubes. Place in a glass 2-quart baking dish. Melt butter and pour over potatoes. Add onion soup mix. Mix well. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 45 minutes.

Feeds five firefighters

- from firefighter Donald A. Moniz from the Kahului Station, Rescue No. 10, Kahului, Hawaii

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