Friday Photo 8/29

naylor boots burgers

Congrats to author Roger Naylor, whose new book, Boots and Burgers: An Arizona Handbook for Hungry Hikers, has gone to press! Look for it this fall. Photo by Rick Mortensen.

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Decadent French Toast

New Southwest CookbookThis baked French toast is served by the Big Yellow Inn Bed and Breakfast in Cedar City, Utah. Carolyn Niethammer chose it for her New Southwest Cookbook. The inn typically serves it with berries and sour cream on top; poached apple slices or other fruits are also delicious. Take your cream cheese out of the refrigerator in time for it to soften so you can spread it easily on the bread. For best results, use good quality bakery-style bread rather than the spongy kind.

Decadent French Toast

Serves 8

16 slices firm bread
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
Cinnamon and granulated sugar to taste
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup maple syrup
6 large eggs
1 3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups mixed berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries)
Sour cream for garnish

Spread 8 slices of bread with cream cheese and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Top each with another slice of bread. Cut “sandwiches” in half diagonally.

In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and maple syrup. Cook over low heat 5 minutes until dissolved. Transfer mixture to an 11  x 17–inch baking pan and spread to cover the bottom. Add sandwich halves to pan. In separate bowl, blend together eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour over bread. cover and let sit 45 minutes or overnight in fridge. If refrigerated, bring to room temperature while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Uncover and bake for 30–40 minutes, until the top layer has browned and the bottom sugar-syrup mixture has caramelized. Remove pieces to plates or platter, flipping so caramel side is up. Top each serving with berries and a dollop of sour cream.

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Turkey Chorizo

Santa CruzChorizo is Mexican spiced sausage usually served for breakfast. Making it with turkey adds the healthy benefit of lower fat but gets your family started off with a protein-filled meal. Serve for breakfast with eggs and tortillas. From Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Co. Cookbook, by Jean Neubauer.

Turkey Chorizo

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Santa Cruz Chili Powder
1 tablespoon Santa Cruz Green Salsa
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced onion

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and break up to an even consistency. Add the vinegar, spices, salt, chili powder, salsa, and water. Mix well and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently to blend flavors. Add the carrots, celery, and onion, and cook 15 minutes. Strain out any fat and serve hot.

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Ron Scott Pictures the Desert Then and Now

By Marilyn Noble

Ron Scott exploring ancient ruins.

Ron Scott exploring ancient ruins.

Ron Scott, the people’s choice award winner in our spring photo contest, used to race through life. He finished forty marathons, including the Pikes Peak run twice; ran ten fifty-mile races; and even did the Leadville 100, a brutal hundred mile run at elevations around ten thousand feet and higher. But then a worn out knee caused him to slow down and begin hiking. And that’s when he discovered the joy of photography.

Scott came to the desert from Southern California on an ASU wrestling scholarship. After graduation he stayed to teach in the Mesa School District where, over a thirty year career, he taught elementary and middle school physical education, fourth grade, and kindergarten. When he retired, he began spending time on the trails in Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa. “I fell in love with it,” he says, and soon became a park volunteer. He was especially taken with the cactus and expansive landscapes and decided he wanted to start taking pictures.

Spring contest week two winner.ScottScott.3Scott.1 Scott.10


His first camera was a Sony Cybershot, a 7MP point and shoot, which was good for taking flower photos. But then he left it on the bed of his truck, and it fell out, which, he says, was a blessing because he it allowed him to move up to a DSLR. His brother-in-law encouraged him toward Nikon, so he invested in a D-90. He was happy with it. “You can’t go wrong with Nikon or Canon,” he says. But then, in another tragic twist of fate, he dropped it on the floor. He replaced it with a D-7000, a 16MP rig that gives him great flexibility whether he’s shooting long distances or up close. Scott also owns a professional grade printer that creates images in sizes up to nine-by-thirteen inches, but he stresses he’s not a professional. “I’m not a pro,” he says. “Being professional would be too much like work, and I’m retired. I do this purely for my own enjoyment and that of my friends.”


Full moon over Pass Mountain

That’s not to say he doesn’t share his work. Scott has won three Photo of the Day contests on, and the Maricopa County Parks department chose his photo of a full moon over Pass Mountain in Usery Park for the art on their annual parks pass. He also entered dozens of his photographs in the Rio Nuevo contest, and won two of the weekly prizes. “It’s kind of fun to throw it out there,” he says with a laugh.

Petroglyph on Black Top Mesa, Superstition Wilderness

Petroglyph on Black Top Mesa, Superstition Wilderness

Scott gravitates toward wildlife and landscapes, but recently, he’s discovered a new love. He’s been hiking the back country with Brennan Basler, known around Usery Park as Ranger B. They’ve been visiting and documenting many of the lesser known ruins in the county park system and in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness in Central Arizona. “It makes the hiking more interesting because people don’t know the ruins are there,” he says. Some of them in the park system are just a few yards from the maintained trails, but they remain camouflaged by the desert landscape. And because they’re rarely visited by modern humans, the ruins and their contents remain intact.

Scott says they’ve seen seven-hundred-year-old corn cobs and other detritus in the ruins, and the handprints of the builders remain frozen in the mud plaster on the walls. The ruins in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness, because of their relative inaccessibility, are especially well-preserved remnants of the Salado civilization, and Scott wants them to remain that way. While he takes photographs, he doesn’t share the locations.Scott.5

In addition to hiking, Scott rides his bicycle and has started running a little, just because he misses it so much. But it’s the photography that brings so much pleasure to those fortunate enough to view his work. We’re looking forward to plenty more of Ron Scott’s views of the desert world around him, both modern fauna, flora, and landscapes, and ancient architecture.

Ron Scott Peoples Choice

The People’s Choice Award Winner

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Prickly Pear Lemonade

Prickly Pear CookbookThis refreshing twist on lemonade, from Carolyn Niethammer’s Prickly Pear Cookbook, will help you get through the last blast of summer heat. Steeping the lemons rather than squeezing them is not only easier, it produces a more complex flavor as the final juice includes lemon oil from the rind.

Prickly Pear Lemonade

Makes 4 servings

4 or 5 lemons
6 cups water
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (or equivalent sweetener)
1/4 cup prickly pear juice or syrup

Scrub lemons and slice 1/4-inch thick. Place in a large heat-proof bowl or pitcher. Bring water to a boil and pour over lemons. Stir in sugar. (Use less if you’ll be adding prickly pear syrup, more if you’ll use juice.) Let sit for 4 hours. Strain off juice and add prickly pear product. Taste and correct for sweetness. Refrigerate or serve immediately over ice.

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Uprising: Writing About the Only Successful Native American Revolution

Uprising front coverBy Jim Turner

“That day in August, the Pueblo people of the northern Rio Grande and points west exploded in fury, rising up to drive the Spanish military, colonists, and Franciscan missionaries all the way back into New Spain (today’s Mexico). Except, that is, for the four hundred or so colonists and Franciscans whom they slaughtered.”

Uprising, Jake Page

 The first two parts (here and here) of this bio-blog series described author/editor Jake Page’s education and writing career, which varied from science writing for the general reader to Southwest mystery novels. So how did he come to write Uprising: The Pueblo Indians and the First American War for Religious Freedom, a different subject and genre from his usual fare?

Some authors get an idea, start collecting material, completely revise it, let it sit for years, collect more data, get back to it, struggle with it, and finally find a time, method, and approach that is right. Few of these projects ever become finished books, but when they do, the years of planning and effort pay off. In this case, Jake took more than three decades to finish Uprising, and the time and care definitely show in the final outcome.

Jake said the idea for this book started in 1980, when he and his wife Susanne were making one of their many visits to the Hopi mesas. He said that Abbott Sekaquaptewa, then Tribal Chairman of the Hopis, “told us briefly the story of the Pueblo Revolt, which I thought would make a great historical novel. Later we drove to Santa Fe and in one of the hotel bookshops I came across a book called Taos, in fact a historical novel about the Pueblo rebellion. So I gave up on that. But over the next years I kept finding and buying books by historians about the rebellion and one day about four years ago I discovered I had a library on the topic of some seventy books.”

Uprising back cover blurbBorn in Boston, with his schooling and much of his career in the eastern United States, Jake had never heard of this rebellion before he and Susanne began writing about the Four Corners area. After years of research, he realized that this was an important event in American history, a topic that so far only academic historians and Southwest fiction writers had tackled. He noticed that Native Americans were reluctant to talk about this conflict. Not seeing the story he wanted to read in previous works, Jake thought it was time for an outsider like himself to write about the Pueblo Revolt for the general reader from anywhere in the world with no background in the region’s history.

After absorbing all the information, Jake realized that the Hopi and other tribes were involved as well. With help from his Native American friends, Jake figured he could add information that Pueblo leaders had not covered previously.

“In any event,” Jake said, “all these thoughts came together along with the notion that I, as a journalist, could get away with certain additions to the stories that academic historians and Pueblo spokesmen could not afford to make. So, for example, I described in some detail a modern Hopi katsina dance, pointing out that it was probably different in many details from a pueblo dance 300 years ago . . . but not that different. I was encouraged in this approach by Emory Sekaquaptewa, Abbott’s brother and a member of the anthropology department at the University of Arizona.” Jake received new insights into Hopi reactions to the rebellion from Emory, as well as lots of information from Hopi oral history transcripts.

Jake’s journalistic style turned out to be just what this subject needed. This is not your ordinary history book. It reads more like historic fiction, and yet every word has been thoroughly researched. Jake said, “I have tried to unlock the rebellion from a purely western and largely academic audience. It was, after all, the only war Indians fought on this continent that, even briefly, ran the Europeans off their land, and its ramifications stretched far and wide across much of the West.” He wanted to reach a wider general audience.  Reviewers from The Tucson Weekly and the Heard Museum magazine, Earth Song, and several others agree that he achieved his goal admirably.

New Mexico Magazine mastheadOne reviewer said, “I’ve tried to read other books about the Pueblo Revolt, but couldn’t get into them as they were too ponderous or dry. Jake Page’s prose is as good as non-fiction narrative can get, and it flows like a well-paced, humming river.” A New Mexico Magazine reviewer agreed, stating: “Page didn’t write this book for scholars. He seeks a wider popular audience, and the result is a fine work of interpretation and storytelling. It offers a nuanced and compelling perspective on a time and series of events that influenced—and continues to influence—the Southwestern experience.”

So there you have it—the complete but brief biography of Jake Page, author, editor, and lover of all things Southwest. As with many creative people, his life is a road filled with serendipitous detours, leading eventually to many successful labors of love. For those of you with drawers full of notes and shelves full of books to support that idea you had decades ago, take heart, get back to your idea, and write the book you’d want to read.

Jim Turner is an historian, editor, teacher, researcher, and author. He received his masters degree in U.S. history from the University of Arizona and is now an editor for Rio Nuevo Publishers. He writes history articles for various newspapers around the state, and his pictorial history book, “Arizona: Celebrating the Grand Canyon State,” was named  a “Top Pick” for Southwest Books of the Year by the Friends of the Pima County Library. You may reach him at

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Literary Havana

By Ross and Susan Humphreys

We’d like to point out a correction and addition to Walter Parks’s fascinating account of his travels in Cuba earlier this year, which was posted here in February.

Pedro Ángel Verá

Pedro Ángel Verá

An important name was inadvertently omitted, for which we apologize. When this year’s Literary Havana tour visited the Teatro Bertolt Brecht, the distinguished actor and director Pedro Ángel Verá also addressed the group. Trained in the former Soviet Union under a student of Constantin Stanislavski, Mr. Verá offered unforgettable insights into the Stanislavski method as well as the development of Cuban theater over the years.

Another important bulletin:  Our friend and tour leader Tom Miller has just announced the formation of another People to People tour, Literary Havana V.  The link has complete details, including this year’s itinerary and costs. This special opportunity to experience the culture and people of Cuba should not be missed.


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Friday photo 8/8


Coyote Buttes in Paria Canyon–Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona. Photo by Kerrick James,

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Get Your Kicks In Kingman at the International Route 66 Festival

ArizonaKicksrogernaylorThe city of Kingman, Ariz., is ready to celebrate Historic Route 66; The Mother Road; America’s Main Street; the legendary trail followed by seekers, adventurers, grifters, hippies, vacationers, and other assorted characters during the heyday of road tripping in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.

The Historic Route 66 International Festival, August 14-17, will feature classic cars, music and films, food, and the Route 66 Crossroads of the Past & Future Conference. Roger Naylor, author of the Rio Nuevo title Kicks on Route 66, will be speaking at the conference on Saturday at 2 pm.

Kingman is located approximately 150 miles west of Flagstaff on I-40 (or on Route 66).

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Mexican Lime Ginger Pudding Parfait

Green SouthwestI am making this delicious dessert from Janet Taylor’s The Green Southwest Cookbook for a dinner party tonight. Unlike your run-of-the mill sweet and bland pudding, this one will hit your taste buds with the tart zing of limes and spicy bite of ginger, with just enough honey to make it pleasingly sweet. This healthier version uses tofu instead of cream, butter, and eggs. If you don’t like a strong ginger flavor try using a little less.

Mexican Lime–Ginger Pudding Parfait

Serves 6

2 cups raspberries and/or blackberries
1 tablespoon evaporated cane juice
1 package (12.3 ounces) Mori Nu Silken Tofu (any firmness)
1/2–3/4 cup local raw mild honey
1/2 cup Key lime juice
1 teaspoon umeboshi plum paste (available in the Asian section of most grocery stores)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3 teaspoons powdered arrowroot or cornstarch
1 tablespoon lime zest, plus more zest for garnish
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Using a mesh strainer, rinse and drain the berries. Sprinkle them with evaporated cane juice, toss, and set aside. Place the tofu, honey, lime juice, plum paste, and ginger in a blender and blend until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the arrowroot or cornstarch and blend for about 1 more minute. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Place the mixture in the top of a double boiler. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to simmer. Frequently stir the pudding until somewhat thick, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the boiler. Stir in the tablespoon of lime zest and the vanilla. As it cools, the pudding will thicken. Using an 8-ounce wine glass or parfait glass, place a few berries in the bottom, cover with pudding, add a few more berries, and cover with pudding. Top it with lime zest, mint leaves, and more berries. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Note: A heavy saucepan may be used in lieu of a double boiler. Set the saucepan over medium heat, pour the pudding mixture in the pan, and bring to just under boiling, stirring continuously. Don’t boil! Turn heat to low; continue cooking and stirring until the pudding thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and tablespoon of lime zest.

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