Smithy

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  1. Anova bluetooth version

    Suddenly, I'm very glad I have the Wi-Fi version.
  2. Food funnies

    I never purchased that book, but I looked through it many times in bookstores. First of all, I think "Manifold Destiny" is one of the all-time best American pun titles. Second, I loved that it gave cooking times in miles instead of hours and minutes.
  3. Toto, I've a feeling we're in Kansas. We've been in the state a few days, at a couple of different parks. We left New Mexico last Sunday and headed northeast, clipping the corners of the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, making it a 4-state drive day. We stayed one night at a fishing lake, and ate leftovers. The next day we drove northeast again and passed through Liberal: the self-proclaimed home of Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz. We found an Army Corps of Engineers campground between Wichita and Topeka, and pulled in. This campground isn't technically open yet, but they're getting it ready and the gates were open. We were welcome to stay at no charge, and since we're self-contained it was a welcome bargain. The woods are green and the flowers are budding. We've traded desert color for midwestern spring flowers, and as we go north the seasons will roll back even further. We ate leftovers from the freezer one night - chili, I think. Dinner last night was the leftover chili cheese fries and brussels sprouts; his was accompanied by toast. I also set some cranberry beans to cook. The finished product is unlovely, but aren't the raw beans beautiful? I haven't decided on tonight's dinner but it will be the last time we eat in our 'dining room' until we get home. Starting tomorrow we'll be driving each day, and it isn't worth unpacking the back room so we have a dining room. Our goal is to be home on Saturday, after the current snow(!)storm clears and before the next one hits. It isn't the weather we'd hoped for our homecoming, but our schedule is set.
  4. Photos here will be welcome if you can manage, Chris. It looks like a fun place for vicarious shopping.
  5. You've seen these pictures already, but I'll show a composite again as a refresher. We looked at that trailer tongue protruding from a concrete foundation, and the building apparently built around a trailer, and decided that we had to ask about the structure. Besides, we were jonesing for 'cue. We climbed the steps and went inside. Yep, it's a concession trailer with a building around it! When they opened for business on 2 September 2016, it was just the trailer. (It's still taxed as a concession trailer. I assume that's an advantage over being taxed as a restaurant.) The young man greeted us cheerily and invited us to look around and have a seat: there are three tables of varying sizes, and extra chairs for people to sit as they wait for their take-out orders. What would we like to eat? We learned about the brisket. It's cooked on the premises every day, mixed with his and his wife's own sauce of melted butter, herbs, salt and pepper (and vinegar?) and rewarmed upon demand. Barbecue sauce of their own devising is served with it. The meat is usually dipped in the sauce when served, but we could have the sauce on the side. We could buy brisket sandwiches, or buy brisket by the pound to take home. Take a close look at this menu. Build your own burrito! Pick your meat, pick your additions - what kind of cheese, chili, other fillers. Brisket in a burrito? I'd never had that. While we were looking over the menu the owner chatted on. He was a merry man, full of jokes and stories. He had been in the U.S. Navy, first on a destroyer and then on an aircraft carrier. While we were chatting another customer came in, and the talk came round to military service experience. Then it came back to food, sort of. "Do you know what a MOAB is?" he asked us. I thought quickly. I was fairly sure he was punning on, but not directly referring to, the military ordinance currently going by that nickname. "Mother Of All Burritos?" I guessed. He laughed. I had guessed correctly. This particular burrito involved 5 extra-large tortillas overlapping each other to make a long wrap, some of each meat, some of each filling, and so on. If I recall correctly, it had weighed 5 pounds. He's considered putting something like that up on the menu, but decided against it. How would he charge for that? How many people would be needed to order one? I'd expected us to order brisket sandwiches for lunch, but my darling surprised me. "Let's get brisket to go for dinner tonight, and some chili cheese fries to tide us over until then." I was quietly dismayed. I have never, ever liked chili cheese fries. The cognitive dissonance of putting something heavy and gooey over long, thin fried potatoes is just too great to sound appealing. Then again, I haven't had chili cheese fries since I was about 8 years old, at an age when I didn't like chili under any circumstance. Maybe I'd been missing something. The proprietor assured us that he and his wife make the fries fresh with each order, make the chili on the premises, and offer a choice of cheese. I considered ordering regular fries for myself, but decided to keep an open mind. We placed our order, and he began adding up the charges. "Is either of you a veteran?" My darling is. "Well, that's a 10% discount!" The young man and his wife believe strongly that Service personnel (including domestic service people like firefighters and peace officers), who have given to their country, deserve something in return. Then he handed my darling a permanent marker. "The only condition is that you sign our wall." My darling signed. More customers came in. One warned us that the food was plentiful. A burger from this place was a four-hour affair, and he was still full from yesterday's experience. "I'll be eating lightly today!" Our brisket came before the chili cheese fries. The conversation was fun while we waited. Eventually, our chili cheese fries arrived. We boggled and goggled. If you are grossed out by fats and carbs, look away. Now. This was a paean to glorious excess. In my mind, the only thing wrong with it was - well, everything about its dietary implications. The chili was tangy - a little sweet, with a little bite, but not too much of either. The cheeses (I had asked for both cheddar and jack) were melted just the right amount, and a nice counterbalance to the chili flavor. I decided that my cognitive dissonance could be overcome. Everything about this was delicious, if you aren't horrified by fat and carbs. While we gamely struggled with our "light lunch", the owner expounded on the fries. He said that he or his wife cuts the potato when an order comes, not a moment before. They only use Idaho Russet potatoes. No other potato has the right starch content. Judging by the size of this order, I'd say they must use "jumbo baker" sized Idaho Russets. When people ask for crispy fries, he said, he warns them that the fries will turn black. Apparently the owners don't rinse the surface starch off or mess around with double frying or other steps that have been discussed in these forums to produce crispy golden fries. On the other hand, this is honest potato - not the extruded stuff so common in fast food joints. Eventually, we gave up the struggle and saved the rest for later. About half the order of chili cheese fries remained. I was very glad I hadn't ordered plain fries for myself. We bundled it all up, thanked them, wished them well, and went home. Not shown: the almost-pint of barbecue sauce, and a separate container of pickles and onion slices. This is the sort of place I would expect to have featured on Jane and Michael Stern's Road Food series. The food was good and excessively plentiful, the people are friendly, and the place is conveniently located on U.S. Highway 54 - a highway with enough traffic to support business but not so heavily traveled as an Interstate Freeway with its frequent fast-food-chain joints. It's inexpensive. The entire bill, with our 10% discount, was $15. We hope they do well, but we fear that they undercharge. Clearly, they're enjoying themselves. We wish them the best of luck.
  6. In addition to Amazon, most kitchen stores I've seen now carry the silicone lids. I think Bed, Bath and Beyond carries them as well.
  7. Unless I expect to get seasonings more cheaply at my destination than at home, I load a few small packets of the herbs and spices I use most often into Ziplock bags, plastic bottles or the like. I don't know what the bulk spice scene is like in London. In Eqypt I'd plan to pick them up in the spice market, and have fun doing it, so I wouldn't use valuable luggage space on the way out. I might consider bringing small bottles or bags, empty, to bring some back. Among the difficult-to-find and expensive items I can imagine you needing would be some modernist ingredients. Are you likely to want, say, xanthan gum while there? A gelling agent? If so, you might also need a small kitchen scale. I'd bring an instant-read thermometer, and possibly a reliable baker's (oven) thermometer. A backpacker's camping pan with a folding handle (for compactness) can ensure that you have a reliable pan with a truly nonstick surface, if that's something you value. I'd consider bringing a silicone lid cover that is heat-resistant, like these Charles Viancin silicone lids. (There are many sizes and styles, and other brands available.) Those serve as lids on the stovetop, lids in the microwave, lids for leftovers in the refrigerator. I find them almost as massively useful as Ford Prefect's towel. Is parchment paper easy to find there? If not, a roll of parchment paper or a Silpat-style baking liner might be useful.
  8. Tritip - A Ren Faire Post

    What luck! I too love the Stater Bros. chain and wish we had more frequent access to it, for the reasons you cite. If you can, please show us photos later of the grilling process and the served meat.
  9. We probably passed that railroad siding, since US54 parallels the rail line for quite some distance. Tucumcari has more than one stop light now, but it still has that old Route 66 feel about it and a lot of the businesses celebrate the old road. A burger joint that we didn't eat at this time, but have eaten at on overnight stops, celebrates the old classic car culture. We were trying to remember what it has out front: an old Corvette, we think. From the highway we couldn't clearly see the car to refresh our memories.
  10. @ninagluck, your creativity never fails to amaze me. When you're finished with your freezer, would you come over and help me with mine?
  11. Maybe we should have stayed in Three Rivers another day. At the top, the sunset of our last evening there. At the bottom, what we saw all day at our next stop. It was windy, grey and cold when we arrived. We knew it would be. The wind was supposed to die overnight. It didn't. Some hardy fisher folk still went out on Ute Lake, where we're camped, but a lot of boats stayed on shore. I had used part of our last day in Three Rivers for what may be my last baking before we get home. A couple of those sourdough rolls became sandwiches for our traveling lunch. Celery, radishes, grapes and asparagus made up the rest of our road food. We watched the countryside change as we drove northeast through Corona, Santa Rosa, then Tucumcari, and finally to Logan, New Mexico. We knew we'd be driving into the north wind, and that it would be relatively cold. My darling groused about having to put on long pants after months of being able to wear shorts during the day. "I hate to be leaving our winter behind!" he quipped. Desert winter is a lot different than Minnesota's winter. The weather is supposed to warm considerably in the next day or two. We had thought we might spend them here in Logan before proceeding farther north. But the scenery, and to some extent the unpleasant weather, make Strike 1. We didn't know this place would be so stickery! That might sound odd, coming as it does from months spent near cactus and other thorny vegetation. Those plants are forthrightly prickly, however, and easily spotted. The grasses and low stickery weeds around here are sneaky and difficult to avoid. Here's a small sample of what's been tracked into the trailer and found later with someone's bare foot or paw. Strike 2! To top it all off - here comes a first-world complaint - our mobile data connection is painfully slow. Strike 3! We're out of here in the morning. We went into town to explore and see what Logan had to offer, and went into a grocery store. Despite having bought groceries a couple of days ago there were things we needed. (Talk about bad planning!) Besides that, it's fun to see what's available in different towns. This time I struck paydirt. I have only seen this particular mustard at a HEB in Texas. It's tart and bright, with a pleasant bite quite unlike, oh, horseradish mustard or some of the more bitter Dijon mustards I've tasted. When we ran out of our last purchase I checked Amazon. Nuh-uh, not going to pay that much, with prices all over the map for that item. (One vendor says $8.99, another says about the same for a pack of 2. Huh?) Here, it was $2.79/jar. Yippee! I know, it's more stuff to lug home in the trailer and unpack to the house, but we like this mustard. A lot. One downside to skipping Texas is that we haven't had a chance to get any barbecued brisket. We'd asked around at the park and been told that the local grill had stopped serving 'cue recently. During our driving around this place caught our eye. "Look!" I said, "the flag says BBQ!" We were famished. We pulled in. We spent time, bemused, pondering the side of the place opposite its entrance, before going in. Take a good look. See that trailer tongue? I'll tell about it...in another post. Mama T's must wait for a better internet connection.
  12. That is odd, isn't it? The cauliflower was packed in Holtville, California, not far from the southern border. Why the second language is French is beyond me. Today we were in yet another grocery store (!) in Logan, New Mexico. Their cauliflower was only $2.99. The heads were slightly smaller than in this photo, but certainly respectable in size and quality. Makes me think the $3.99 wasn't such a great deal after all.
  13. @FauxPas, thank you for that information - I think! Fortunately for my bank account we're away from Tucson for the season, so I'll have time to think about whether I really need how to justify buying one of those big bowls or platters. Or cute little plates. Or creamers, just to have some of the china. Or... well, anyway, how cool that you have those mugs!
  14. With regard to the language: in the USA we generally call those food containers 'cans' instead of 'tins'. When I was growing up we referred to the container as a 'tin can', although I doubt it was tin even then. When I read or hear an expression like 'tinned milk' or 'a tin of tuna' I assume the speaker/writer is not from the USA. Offhand I can't think what expression our Canadian friends use. It's odd that the boxed dinner would say to use the bean liquid, and it may have been for purposes of thickening. I generally rinse beans and discard the sauce in the can: the canning liquid seems a bit icky to me, and I'm not sure I need those extra preservatives. However, I have used it at times with no known ill effect. During one memorable kayak camping trip a fellow camper and I ran up against the "everybody knows" paradigm, from opposite perspectives, while making chili for the group. I thought everyone rinsed the beans and discarded the sauce; she thought nobody did! She came from a very large family. They had used every scrap of food available, and in the case of chili they relied on the thickening power of the sauce. We used the sauce. Nobody complained; in fact, everyone seemed to love the chili.
  15. Three Rivers, NM is a small historic site with a couple of campgrounds nearby that fit our bill: inexpensive, not too crowded, out of the way. The Three Rivers Petroglyph Site is a very small campground with maybe a dozen campsites; two of them are reserved for RV's. We lucked out and got one. We planned to stay only one night, but stayed for several because the place is so pleasant. Its big draw is a nearby series of low ridges with petroglyphs from around 900 - 1400 A.D. There are around 21,000 petroglyphs, all documented. One only has to walk to them, and look around. If you look out across the valley, you can see the White Sands of New Mexico. We needed fuel and diesel exhaust fluid for our truck, so we drove into the little town of Tularosa to do that without the trailer. Part of what we needed was on the old 'historic' street: two or three blocks of old buildings, some in good repair and in use as town businesses (like hardware); some repurposed as antique stores; some terribly rundown. I've read that Tularosa has particularly good trees and flowers because of an extensive irrigation system that was installed when the town was built. I don't know whether it's true, but we did enjoy seeing the flowers. Truck missions accomplished, we went for lunch. I was angling for chiles rellenos - see how the locals do it - but I didn't get my way this time; we stopped at a Subway instead. Subway hasn't been getting much love over on this topic lately, but in our experience it's a fairly reliable sandwich chain. Maybe it has to do with the places we travel. He picked a Spicy Italian sandwich; I chose to "Be An Italian Hero". These sandwiches are huge and, to us, delicious. We appreciate being able to customize them - spinach instead of lettuce, pickles or not, and so on. We each ate half there at the Subway. As we ate we admired the poster about their waste reduction and recycling efforts. The other halves went home with us: his was lunch for him the next day; mine was split again into lunch one day and breakfast the next. Not a bad deal for $14. We needed "a couple of things" (ha) at the grocery store. We walked into the Lowe's (a grocery chain, not the home improvement chain) there, having admired the chile roaster outside. It seems to be more than a mere decoration! Just inside the door was a hot deli case with the usual roasted chicken and other goodies, but also with containers of hot, freshly roasted and peeled, green chiles. I picked up a package and put it back two or three times. These were hot! Fresh! They were also from Mexico, and we have 15 pounds of frozen Hatch chiles in our freezer. I resolutely put them back, and left them. We needed fresh produce. In this topic, certain members are lamenting the sky-high cost of cauliflower whilst others are saying it isn't more expensive than usual. This data point suggests that there is no current shortage among the suppliers to little Tularosa, NM. We headed back toward camp with our groceries. At the turnoff to our campground this 'trading post' had caught my eye, so we stopped. The arts and crafts inside were a spectrum of sculptures, paintings, rope art, some very fine Navajo weaving, handmade jewelry, and so on. One set of dishes, not locally produced, was strikingly handsome to me. Railroad china! Replicas of the service used on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Line diner cars! No, I didn't need it. No, it isn't practical for the trailer and we have plenty of good dishware at home. But I loved the designs, so evocative of this area. I looked in vain for price tags. One can dream, can't one? Finally I asked. It turned out that the woman consults eBay to see the going price. This line of china (in burgundy color) is going out of production, and when it's gone, it's gone. A very small plate might be $18. I sighed, fantasized about a large platter or bowl, and checked on the stuff when we got home. For more information, check out Mimbreno China, made by Pipestone China using the original designs. I'll just have to admire it from afar.