Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

My Favorite Recipes:

Meet James Morasch, 19-years at Whitman County Library


January 9, 2020

James Morasch

James Morasch poses with his dog in the wilderness.

James Morasch has worked for the Whitman County Library for the past 19 years primarily doing computer work. Morasch works with the library's technology. This includes the 3D printer, Virtual Reality and Tech Tuesday.

On Tuesdays at the library, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Morasch and several other library staff are available to anyone who wants to call in or come into the library to get help with one of their devices; phones, computers, internet service or even discussing alternatives.

"There are a lot of people that get really frustrated with technology," said Morasch as he explained the importance of Tech Tuesdays. "People should take advantage of it because it's a good program."

Morasch signed the library up for the grant for the Virtual Reality equipment, and sometimes helps the various STEM programs at libraries throughout the county.

Morasch works on the network maintenance at all 14 branches of the library, as well as dealing with the different Internet Service Providers for the various locations.

Despite doing so much work with technology, Morasch doesn't have a computer in his own home.

"It doesn't fit my lifestyle at home," stated Morasch.

When the weather permits, Morasch likes to spend time outside with his dog and doing family things. In the summer he gardens and camps a lot, and during the winter, when the snow is adequate, he likes to go cross-country skiing.

"Last year we got that massive amount of snow in February and that was great," said Morasch, "I skied, I don't know how many days, it was great!"

Morasch received a Management Information Systems degree from the School of Business at the University of Idaho.

He is a fourth generation resident of the Palouse region, whose Volga German ancestors settled in the area.

Morasch has made all three of his recipes within the last couple weeks.



"My grandmother used to make these," said Morasch. For the dough, "My key to these, to save the time, is to use a bread maker to make the dough," Morasch James.

1 cup milk, warmed to


¼ cup white sugar

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast

(1 pkg)

4 cup unbleached all-

purpose flour

2 Tbsp salted butter,

melted and cooled

1 egg beaten

¾ tsp salt

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix milk and sugar to dissolve the sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the milk mixture and let stand for 5-10 minutes, until the yeast softens and starts to foam.

2. Whisk mixture to combine and whisk in 2 cups of flour.

3. Add melted butter, egg and salt. Whisk to incorporate.

4. Stir in remaining flour ¼ cup at a time until the dough comes together turn dough onto your counter and knead, 10-15 minutes, until a soft, smooth dough forms, adding flour as needed. (Your finished dough should be tacky, but not stick to your hand or your kneading surface).

5. Shape dough into a round; place in a greased bowl, turning to coat the dough. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

For the Filling

½ lb ground beef (85-90

percent lean)

½ onion, diced

3 cup shredded cab-

bage (about ¼ of a

medium head)

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground black


1. While dough rises, make your filling. In a large non-stick pan brown meat over medium high until mostly cooked, 5-7 minutes.

2. Drain as much of the grease from the pan as you can, while not losing the meat from the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add onions. Cook 2-3 minutes, until they begin to soften.

3. Add cabbage and cook 7-10 minutes, until cabbage is tender.

4. Remove filling from heat and season with salt and pepper.

Last but not least

1 Tbsp milk

Putting it together

1. Knock back the risen dough and turn onto your work surface.

2. Divide dough into eight balls (roughly 3 oz each). Flatten each ball to a circle 4-5" in diameter. (if the dough springs back, flatten as much as you can, cover, and let the dough rest for 3-5 minutes before attempting to flatten further).

3. Spoon two large tablespoons of filling onto the center of each circle, leaving the edges clear. Bring the edges together and pinch them to seal the dough completely. Continue until all the dough and filling has been used.

4. Place the shaped bierocks on a greased baking sheet and let rise, covered 30-45 min, until roughly 1.5 times the original size.

5. During the last 10 minutes of rising time, preheat you oven to 375F.

6. Brush the bierocks lightly with milk and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped.

7. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rick.

Beef barley soup with prime rib

"This one I did because I had leftover prime rib from Christmas, which is what I usually do every year with it," Morasch explained.

½ stick salted butter

1 cup celery, diced

2 cups carrots, diced

1 cup onion, diced

1 clove garlic, diced

2 quarts homemade

beef broth

4 cups chopped prime


½ cup dry red wine

½ tsp ground thyme

1 cup barley

1. Place the butter into a large Dutch oven over medium heat, and let melt.

2. Add in the celery, carrots and onion. Let cook for 5-6 minutes, until softened and starting to brown.

3. Add in the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.

4. Add in the beef broth, prime rib, red wine, ground thyme and barley.

5. Simmer over medium heat until the barley is tender. Serve with crusty bread and green salad.

Chinese smashed cucumbers with sesame oil

and garlic

About 2 pounds thin

skinned cucumbers

like English or Persian

(8-10 mini cucumbers,

4 medium-sized, or 2

large greenhouse)

1 tsp kosher salt, plus

more for cucumbers

2 tsp granulated sugar,

plus more for cucum-


1 ½ Tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp grapeseed or

extra-virgin olive oil

2 large garlic cloves,

minced or put through

a press

Red pepper flakes, to


Small handful whole

cilantro leaves, for gar-


2 tsp toasted white

sesame seeds, for gar-

nish (optional)

1. Rinse cucumbers and pat dry. Cut crosswise into pieces about 4 inches long. Cut each piece in half lengthwise.

2. On a work surface, place a piece of cucumber (or several) cut side down. Lay the blade of a large knife flat on top the cucumber and smash down lightly with your other hand. The skin will begin to crack, the flesh will break down and the seeds with separate. Repeat until the whole piece is smashed. Break or slice diagonally into bite-size pieces, leaving the seeds behind.

3. Place the cucumber pieces in a strainer and toss with a big pinch of salt and a big pinch of sugar. Place a plastic bag filled with ice on top of the cucumbers to serve as a weight and place the strainer over a bowl. Let drain 15-30 minutes on the counter, or in the refrigerator until ready to serve, up to 4 hours.

4. Make the dressing: in a small bowl; combine salt, sugar and rice vinegar. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Stir in sesame oil and soy sauce.

5. When ready to serve, shake the cucumbers well to drain off any remaining liquid and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with grapeseed or olive oil and toss. Add half the dressing, half the garlic and the red pepper flakes to taste, and toss. Keep adding dressing until cucumbers are well coated, but not drowned. Taste and add more pepper flakes and garlic if needed. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro and sesame seeds.


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