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Marlene

Camping, Princess Style

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I'd say you got a nice deal on that cab, @Smithy, especially in a little out of the way shop!  

It's $7.97 in my local Total Wine, where the Barefoot Merlot sells for $4.97.

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3 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

It can be a good way to save money, but it's also a good test of how much togetherness you can stand. I'll be glad to discuss this more offline, if you wish: the ins and outs of RV life, as well as things to consider for the unit itself.

I work from home and she's been upgrading her schooling from home, so we already spend the vast majority of our time together. Admittedly, it's easier to carve out a quiet corner in a big ramshackle house than a (relatively) small RV.  I say relatively, because as I told my mom "some of those places were basically your apartment on wheels, except with a fireplace and better appliances."

 

If it starts to look like a serious option, I'll definitely seize on the opportunity to benefit from your experience.

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I made Dutch Crunch rolls today, using this recipe. They have a nice crunch, and they look pretty. I'll be interested to see whether they hold up over the next few days for sandwiches, since we didn't have any way to make burgers (my original plan) or ham sandwiches (his dream, when he saw the finished result) today. We thought they were pretty good with dinner tonight, even though it was simply as rolls with the short ribs that I forgot to photograph after they were cooked. They were good, but we were too hungry by then to remember pictures.

 

@Dave the Cook, the grocery store space devoted to gluten-free flour did the trick for me; Bob's Red Mill offers rice flour. Thanks for the tip!

 

@Shelby, come on in! The water's fine!

 

As @ElsieD proposed, this discussion should continue in the bread topic.

 

20190206_012604.jpg

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5 hours ago, Smithy said:

I made Dutch Crunch rolls today, using this recipe. They have a nice crunch, and they look pretty. I'll be interested to see whether they hold up over the next few days for sandwiches, since we didn't have any way to make burgers (my original plan) or ham sandwiches (his dream, when he saw the finished result) today. We thought they were pretty good with dinner tonight, even though it was simply as rolls with the short ribs that I forgot to photograph after they were cooked. They were good, but we were too hungry by then to remember pictures.

 

@Dave the Cook, the grocery store space devoted to gluten-free flour did the trick for me; Bob's Red Mill offers rice flour. Thanks for the tip!

 

@Shelby, come on in! The water's fine!

 

As @ElsieD proposed, this discussion should continue in the bread topic.

 

20190206_012604.jpg

I count 8 rolls.  Having read that this recipe makes 6 large ones, I too wondered about making a few more than that.  Are yours the right size for burgs?  I plan on trying my hand at them today, and will post about it on the bread topic.

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5 hours ago, Smithy said:

I made Dutch Crunch rolls today, using this recipe. They have a nice crunch, and they look pretty. I'll be interested to see whether they hold up over the next few days for sandwiches, since we didn't have any way to make burgers (my original plan) or ham sandwiches (his dream, when he saw the finished result) today. We thought they were pretty good with dinner tonight, even though it was simply as rolls with the short ribs that I forgot to photograph after they were cooked. They were good, but we were too hungry by then to remember pictures.

 

@Dave the Cook, the grocery store space devoted to gluten-free flour did the trick for me; Bob's Red Mill offers rice flour. Thanks for the tip!

 

@Shelby, come on in! The water's fine!

 

As @ElsieD proposed, this discussion should continue in the bread topic.

 

20190206_012604.jpg

You did good!!!!  I may have to get brave and try again.

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2 hours ago, ElsieD said:

I count 8 rolls.  Having read that this recipe makes 6 large ones, I too wondered about making a few more than that.  Are yours the right size for burgs?  I plan on trying my hand at them today, and will post about it on the bread topic.

 

Yes, I wanted them to be around 4 oz each, for burger size. As you see I wasn't very careful to get the sizes exactly the same, but they're good enough for our purposes.

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2 hours ago, Shelby said:

You did good!!!!  I may have to get brave and try again.

 

I'll bet that with your current knowledge of baking you'd find this to be easy. 

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On 2/6/2019 at 7:44 AM, ElsieD said:

I count 8 rolls.  Having read that this recipe makes 6 large ones, I too wondered about making a few more than that.  Are yours the right size for burgs?  I plan on trying my hand at them today, and will post about it on the bread topic.

 

@ElsieD, I have an update in the "YMMV" department. My darling is quite sure these buns won't be big enough for burgers, and is planning 2 burgers for each of us. :blink:  My notes from baking bread rolls in the past say that 3 oz is a good size for burger or hot dog buns, and 4 - 6 oz is "huge" - big enough for a sub. These puffed up so much that they may look smaller in diameter than they are.  Perhaps I should have flattened them more during the final formation.

 

We didn't have burgers last night, but plan to tonight, so I should be able to report back.

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Since I can see things I'll do differently next time - that are probably obvious to any competent bread baker - I'll keep the burger report in this topic. 3 days after making those rolls, we finally used them for burgers. My darling thought the buns would be too small for the burgers. He forgot about patty shrinkage. 

 

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Before we started cooking, the burger and the onion slice were the same diameter. By the time we ate, the burger and the bun were the same diameter, and there was a decided overhang of the onion slice.

 

Things I'll do differently next time - and there will be a next time for Dutch Crunch buns:

  1. Make them flatter. These were so thick that they were almost unmanageable.
  2. Make them the day I intend to use them. Of course, I usually do that with good intent, then something gets in the way. The crunch layer wasn't as crunchy by the time we used them. It still had a nice texture and flavor, but it wasn't optimal.
  3. Make the main bread layer softer so that it can squish down. In the Bread topic, @Ann_T noted that she always does the stretch-and-fold method regardless of instructions. I think it would have helped make the bun a bit softer. I also think that the crunch layer would be compatible with other enriched bread recipes. Next time I try this, I'll use Peter Reinhart's recipe for soft dinner rolls from a Craftsy class I took a while ago.

So...there's room for improvement, but the bread is worth pursuing.

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Death Valley is defined by the Panamint Range on the west and the Amargosa Range on the east. If you go directly over the Panamint Range, or (better still) use the paved road to drive over Towne Pass, you'll come to the Panamint Valley. It's a quiet place, almost entirely unoccupied because it's federal land. The northern and eastern edgesof the valley belong to the National Park System. Most of the rest is BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. You can camp just about anywhere on the BLM land, as long as you stay within a certain distance of a road. We like the area for the open expanses, freedom to make noise without bothering neighbors, and the free air show: the China Lake firing range is due south, so we get a great view of the jets lining up for their practice runs, or practicing some of their aerial combat maneuvers.

 

There is also, or was in the past (we aren't sure which) mining. Old quarries and mines abound, and you can get to some of them if you are a hardy enough traveler or have the right vehicle. We ran across this entertaining signs of life at a camping spot hidden behind some hills:

 

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At the north end of the Panamint Valley is the Panamint Springs Resort. Although it's within the boundaries of Death Valley National Park, it is privately owned and operated. Some fuel and a few groceries can be purchased there, although we didn't need the groceries. We had restocked (overstocked, in truth) the refrigerator and freezer before coming.

 

We drove to the resort for beer one day, and for lunch another. Their drink refrigerators are well stocked. Nothing's cheap - as with Death Valley, this place is remote and the prices reflect that - but they stock a lot of specialty brews from what passes for local microbreweries.

 

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The restaurant has a bar area as well as a separate dining room. You can eat or drink in either area.

 

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The bar counter is fascinating and deserves a closer look. It's highly polished, heavily varnished, and made from a tree root system. It's old. It was rescued from a previous building and kept in place when this building was rebuilt after some calamity that neither of us remembers.

 

A hole in the counter adds extra character, as well as a spill hazard for the unwary barkeep or customer. :)

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Here's a lower-view closeup of the root system.

 

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The menu isn't anything special, but they offered what we wanted: burgers, onions rings and fries. They were quite good. I don't remember what type of beer we had to go with them, but we enjoyed it all.

 

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We usually make dinner our main meal of the day, despite ideas that we might do better if dinner were light. That day, after such a heavy lunch, dinner was light.


Edited by Smithy Rearranged sentence about menu offerings, to avoid implying that they didn't offer other things! (log)
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Cooking when we're on our own, after several weeks of visiting family and friends, can lead to a lot of experimentation and fun. I finally got mac 'n' cheese 'n' ham right, using the remains of the ham I cooked us for New Year's. (I haven't shown you that ham yet. We're living backwards for now, like Merlin in The Once and Future King.) For once - and maybe for the future - I didn't overcook the pasta. The sauce was particularly rich, since I used the remains of heavy cream I'd purchased for a holiday baking product. 

 

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Since we had to run the generator periodically, I experimented with the rice cooker. The jury's still out on that gizmo, but we liked this curry:

 

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I finally got around to trying Food 52's Spinach Madeline. Let me tell you, this is good stuff. It was so good that even my darling, who normally does not like cooked spinach and is lukewarm even to raw spinach, liked this dish. He liked it so much that I was surprised. That in turn led to a surprising argument.  Togetherness can do strange things. When we calmed down, we agreed that the recipe is a keeper. We still agree, having done it again since then.

 

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The final noteworthy cookery from that location doesn't, unfortunately, have a photo but it has a great quote.  I had some assorted chiles and tomatillos that I'd purchased oh, sometime before the turn of the year in order to make a tomatillo salsa. I wanted to braise chunks of pork or chicken in it. That stuff had languished in the refrigerator as we went on our whirlwind of holiday socializing, and needs must that it be used. Some of it was already in rugged shape. I roasted, peeled and seeded the surviving poblano, jalapeno and fresno chiles, and chopped the roasted flesh finely. I roasted tomatillos and did the same thing. I added finely chopped scallions, then mixed the lot with chile vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, Mexican lime juice and salt until the flavor and consistency seemed about right. I was trying to duplicate a tomatillo salsa left over from a Schwan's frozen fish dinner that we had both liked back in the fall. I still have some of that salsa as a standard. My salsa was much too light on the tomatillos to come close to Schwan's, but it made a great braising liquid for those pork chunks. It all went over rice. It was very good.

 

My darling's comment, heretofore unuttered: "You know, we could lose a lot of weight if you cooked food that doesn't taste so good."

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2 hours ago, Smithy said:

My darling's comment, heretofore unuttered: "You know, we could lose a lot of weight if you cooked food that doesn't taste so good."

 

 

There's a historic echo there of an exchange that supposedly transpired between Careme and the Prince Regent of the UK, later King George IV. The future king told Careme something to the effect that "I'll get fat if you keep cooking like this."

Careme, who already felt underappreciated in England, snapped that "stimulating your highness' appetite is my job, controlling it is yours." He left shortly thereafter.


Edited by chromedome (log)
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Careme sounds like he had about as much diplomacy as I normally do. There's a reason I never made it into middle management....:rolleyes:

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A carne asada salad last night gave me a chance to find and use the last of the aforementioned tomatillo-chile salsa. Two previous grocery stops offered irresistable opportunities at marinated beef, and I couldn't resist either time. The first time I cooked some of it, we put it into tortillas along with the fixings. My darling thought that too much trouble. The next time, I put it into a salad. We both liked it that way, but that left us with tortillas still to be used. Last night, I wanted to finish the meat and get it out of the freezer. Here's the meat before chopping, starting to cook with onion, and finished to go over a salad. 

 

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Yes, that's a lot of juice. I like wilted-lettuce and wilted-spinach salads, so I made sure to heat the marinade and cooking juice after the beef and onion were cooked, then augment them with citrus juice, a touch of oil and some red wine vinegar. The whole shebang went over the salad and got a good mixing. We dug in. 

 

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He ate his as he would any salad; I ate mine in tortillas, with sour cream and the tomatillo salsa. The photos of the stuffed tortilla were not pretty, and I didn't keep them. But I will show what the salsa looked like. It was just as good as I'd remembered.

 

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I hope I'll be able to replicate it. I wrote notes on it, but even with notes too many of my impromptu successes survive only in the Journal of Irreproducible Results.

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@Smithy Those beer coolers at Panamint Springs Resort have a lot of craft brewery beers, including a couple of my favorites. New Belgium Fat Tire, and my "house beer" Karl Strauss Red Trolley. I personally don't consider Laganitas a craft brewery any more, but it doesn't matter. They are hops crazy and I'm not much for pronounced, in your face hops.

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