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Camping, Princess Style


Marlene
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30 minutes ago, Katie Meadow said:

Pineapple especially, but also other fruits like papaya, are commonly served with a generous squeeze of lime and a dusting of red chile powder.  I came home from my first visit to Mexico and started doing that for myself. Tajin mix is chile, lime and salt, I think. I'd rather control the elements myself and use only fresh lime juice and good quality pure New Mexican chile. Delicious! For those with a sweet tooth pineapple is great with lime and a sprinkle of brown sugar too. It looks like your fruit package includes fresh lime, so I might be inclined to toss the tajin or relegate it to the drawer where soy sauce packets go to die and just use my favorite chile powder.

Yes here all the street fruit carts offer the powder and some have the fresh lime. 

Edited by heidih (log)
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If you're expected a linear timeline in this blog, get ready for whiplash. I'm going back to Llano.

 

I mentioned that we thought we'd gotten away without forgetting much. Since then it's come clear that we forgot more than we'd realized, but in Llano I still thought it was only one or two things. A favorite cutting board I found last spring. A lemon juicer from the same shopping expedition. Most of those things I started missing once we opened out can be foregone. Not so for the dish draining pads that were laundered and stowed in the house...and are still there.

 

That's all right, though; it gave me an excuse to go to Charlie's. Charlie's is a terrific place in the middle of downtown, within easy walking distance of our parking / camping site. They have furniture (we bought a mattress there one year) and cooking gear and gifts. I usually end up buying things I didn't know I needed. This time, I had a purpose. I'll get to that in a moment. Here, take a look around first!

 

The window displays have some lovely furniture. I've given up taking umbrage at Christmas decorations out before Thanksgiving.

 

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The first sight through the main door is barware and tableware.

 

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I specifically needed those drain pads, so gravitated to the kitchen section.

 

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I was also looking for silicone cups to serve as "egg bite" cups for my 3-quart Instant Pot. I had to ask for those and the drain pads, but that gave me a good chance to admire the other wares. I particularly loved these tea towels, even though I didn't buy any.

 

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My haul was fairly modest, but we had a lot of fun visiting while they helped me find what I needed.

 

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During a different visit to town - that took advance planning - I was also able to participate in the Friends of the Llano Library fundraiser.

 

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It's this year's crop, just come out. I am SET for Thanksgiving! And Christmas! 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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3 hours ago, Smithy said:

I've never thought about putting lime, much less Tajin seasoning, on pineapple! What's that about? 

Is it similar to this

 

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This came in a RG box a while back.  Ingredients are dried chiles, crystalized lime, brown sugar, sea salt and Mexican oregano. GOOD stuff.  I'd never heard of dipping fruit etc. in something like this either.  I like to slice up Granny Smith apples and dip away.

 

Edited to say that I'd love to browse around in a store like that right now.  I really don't like shopping a lot, but I do like stores like this and it's been years--waaaaay before covid--since I've been out and about.  The internet is too easy.....but sometimes I do miss browsing and actually seeing displays.

Edited by Shelby (log)
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I first experienced fruit with chilli in northern Thailand. I was on a day trip with a group and an American Thai lady bought slices of green mango from a street vendor that came with a bag of chilli mix to dip. Was delicious.

 

Enjoying your travelogue @Smithy 

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Similar story here, I was introduced to ripe mango with Tajin by a colleague with links to Vietnam. I quickly purchased my own bottle of Tajin and have experimented with it on sandwiches, fruit, and avocados. 🙂

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5 hours ago, curls said:

Similar story here, I was introduced to ripe mango with Tajin by a colleague with links to Vietnam. I quickly purchased my own bottle of Tajin and have experimented with it on sandwiches, fruit, and avocados. 🙂

 

I really like it on corn.

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Thanks, everyone. I've had Tajin and tried it on a few things, but never thought to try it on fruit. Those little packets will come in handy! 

 

And maybe, when we're stationary long enough, I'll see about Rancho Gordo's version.

 

 

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"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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"Oh, no!" he just exclaimed, "they're slowing us down to 75!" We're back on an interstate freeway, and this particular stretch has had a speed limit of 80 mph. We generally stick to 60 mph on the freeways and 55 mph on other roads when pulling the Princessmobile, but at those speeds we amount to a rolling speed bump for the rest of the traffic.

 

Yep, we're traveling again. Sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. There's salami in this one but it's difficult to see.

 

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I still have stories to tell about Llano, and Mineral Wells, and even Osceola, Wisconsin, but right now I'm going to celebrate our last evening and afternoon at the reservoir.

 

I've been wanting to contribute to the Potato Salad Cook-off for quite some time, but not managed it until a couple of days ago. I posted about it here. The upshot of this particular potato salad recipe (Southern Style Potato Salad recipe is that it wasn't too sweet for me, and he could add Miracle Whip to suit himself. Success!

 

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(This is the same photo collage I posted in the other topic, sorry.) One minor disruption was that, with this recipe, I emptied my jar of Piknik Brand mayonnaise, brought from home.

 

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Piknik and Duke's are my favorites, but I remembered this jar, bought last spring and left in the Princessmobile over the summer.

 

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Hmm, not bad. I didn't do a side-by-side taste test with the Piknik, but when I get close to empty I'll try comparing it to Duke's.

 

Another cooking experiment I tried was to make a strata using some of the good ol' plain ol' white bread collected from Cooper's in Llano and another sausage purchased at Miiller's in Llano. I posted about it, and asked questions, here but didn't go into detail about the ingredients. 20211119_160951.jpg

 

Unlike the jalapeno cheddar cheese sausage from a couple of nights ago, this had only a mild spiciness and was delicious. Go figure! We have one more sausage of this, and will probably buy more when we have an opportunity.

 

I had brought duck eggs from home, and had bought milk some time ago with which to make the strata. The milk had curdled. No matter, I thought; that's why I have nonfat powdered milk in the cupboard! I don't remember when I bought it, but the can was unopened. It would have to be good still. Right?20211119_161141.jpg

 

Wrong. Who knew this stuff could go off? I'm happy to report that I discovered the - stale? - smell during the milk-mixing stage. No strata was harmed in the discovery. I sacrificed almost the last of my half-and-half, and counted on getting more the next day. The resulting dinner was a hit, although I learned that my darling is of the "eggs are a breakfast food" camp.

 

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Finally, while we were running the gen set in the evening, I made applesauce for the first time. I used the Instant Pot. I may never make it any other way.

 

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When dinner was over and my darling had gone to bed, I chatted with my sister on the telephone and admired Stage 1 of the kitchen wreckage. 

 

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By the time we'd finished visiting, it was dry. I put it away, washed Stage 2 (an equal quantity) and went to bed. My darling could put it away in the morning.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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10 minutes ago, Smithy said:

Wrong. Who knew this stuff could go off?

I will never forget the first time I discovered that flour does not have a never ending shelflife and nor does canned evaporated milk!  I am sure the canned milk was safe to  consume  but the colour was quite disgusting. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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10 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

Really?  Powdered milk goes bad?  I have a whack of it.  Can I tell if it's off by smell alone?

 

I doubt it was off to the point of being unsafe, but the odor from the mixture - water and that powdered milk - was such that I wasn't the least bit tempted to taste it. I don't remember an off odor from the powder alone, but the mixing action in the water released it with a vengeance. I have no better word than "stale" or "old" to describe it.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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3 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

I doubt it was off to the point of being unsafe, but the odor from the mixture - water and that powdered milk - was such that I wasn't the least bit tempted to taste it. I don't remember an off odor from the powder alone, but the mixing action in the water released it with a vengeance. I have no better word than "stale" or "old" to describe it.

 

Thank you.  I wondered because I smell it before I use it but that is when it is in powdered form.  I only use it for bread and haven't noticed anything off.  But, I'll mix some up with water and pitch it if it smells off.

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33 minutes ago, heidih said:

OMG 80 mph!  I  think it was  Nixon who slowed us to 55 during the Energy Crisis and it took years to allow 65 again. 80 sounds Euro Autobahn

 

Crazy, isn't it? And I-10 in that area has so many rubber skid marks and shards of broken tire that we half-think it could be ground up and paved for a significant portion of road. Way too much squeezing into tight spaces and then hitting the brakes, we suspect.

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I-10, going through El Paso. At least the traffic had slowed down from 80, but the lanes are quite narrow. Several years ago they decided to sacrifice some width in the name of making another lane. I could have reached out and touched that blue tractor-trailer for about half a mile. 

 

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When we were clear of the traffic but couldn't find a good place to stop and picnic, we worked on celery sticks, radishes and hummus. 

 

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I'll tell more about the hummus in another post. I've been putting the Instant Pot through a good workout this trip.

Edited by Smithy
Clarified a referent in 1st paragraph (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Those of you who've been following this blog know that we spend a lot of time boondocking. At those times we run the generator an hour or so in the morning, and again in the evening, but not often otherwise. As a result electrical appliances are used sparingly. It's a real luxury to be plugged into power, as we were in Osceola and Llano. In Llano I pulled out the stops on the Instant Pot, testing recipes and trying new techniques.

 

Hummus is dead easy. My word, how the pressure cooker speeds up the process!

 

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Frittatas, at least twice. I messed around with the proportions, and we decided that piling shredded cheese atop the frittata at the end of cooking was a Good Thing. It really wasn't quite the lurid orange that photos depict! That looks like Atomic Velveeta. it was really just sharp cheddar.

 

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I'm sure there was something else, but at the moment I can't think what it was. I showed you the applesauce before. I didn't show you the source apples, which came from a generous neighbor at home. I used half the stash to make a quart of applesauce. Some of the rest will be going into a pie in the next few days.

 

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Incidentally, all these recipes came from @JAZ's latest book, 5-Ingredient Instant Pot Cookbook: Simple Recipes to Get Meals on the Table Faster. (eG-friendly Amazon.com link) I had access to a review copy. I'm looking forward to my hard copy, and planning to get another copy for my husband's daughter. Maybe I can get her over her fear of the thing.

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
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Some days ago @ElsieD and I were discussing the makeup of various stuffed jalapenos, and I noted that a given name doesn't seem to have much meaning as to the composition. I give you Exhibit A, "Armadillo Eggs", as interpreted by the Mesquite Pit Bar and Grill in Mineral Wells, TX and by Miiller's Smokehouse in Llano, TX. On the left: Mesquite's version. Jalapenos stuffed with tender, juicy, delicious beef brisket. (There may have been a touch of cheese, but I don't remember it.) On the right: Miiller's version: a pork meatball wrapped around a small amount of pepper jack cheese, the entirety wrapped in bacon. Both were good, but I think Mesquite's version is far superior.

 

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This is a good time to bring up our dinner from the Mesquite Bar and Grill in Mineral Wells. We've stayed in the Mineral Wells Walmart parking lot overnight before. It turns out to be easy to disconnect the trailer, go fuel the pickup, order dinner and go pick it up at the Mesquite. Someday maybe we'll be up for eating inside, but we aren't there yet. They seemed to be doing good business.

 

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We ordered Armadillo Eggs and fried green tomatoes for me, and barbecued pork ribs for him. I ordered extra barbecue sauce for him, because he particularly likes their sauce and wanted some to have for future dinners. They were generous with the pickles, but only because I asked. I think it's a cost-saving measure, so maybe their business hasn't been as good as I'd thought. Still, they're surviving.

 

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His ribs were delightful: toothsome, tender, pulled easily off the bone, good flavor. My armadillo eggs were just as delightful. I've described them above. I think they set the gold standard for brisket-stuffed jalapenos.

 

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The fried green tomatoes were another story. I think I remember being disappointed in them last year. The tomato slices are so thin that the crunchy crust overwhelms them. I didn't get any of the juicy tart flavor of the tomatoes themselves. Maybe next time I'll remember, and not order them.

 

I also went to Walmart to pick up a couple things. Score! They had Duke's mayonnaise! I stocked up.

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Good fried green tomatoes are an elusive item. Besides the tomato being good to start with, the batter should be airy and crispy, like tempura, allowing the tomato to be the star. Every time I visit my daughter in Atlanta I order them and I'm always disappointed. The crust is typically too thick, heavy handed or however else it can miss the mark. I would make them myself but alas, finding a good green tomato in the Bay Area, even when they should be in season, even at the farmers' markets, is a rarity. No one seems into fried green tomatoes around here. One of the best versions I've had was stuffed into a fried green tomato BLT in a tiny town in the Blue Ridge foothills.. Delicious. Still, hope springs eternal and it's very hard for me not to order them if they are on the menu.

 

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14 minutes ago, Katie Meadow said:

Good fried green tomatoes are an elusive item. Besides the tomato being good to start with, the batter should be airy and crispy, like tempura, allowing the tomato to be the star. Every time I visit my daughter in Atlanta I order them and I'm always disappointed. The crust is typically too thick, heavy handed or however else it can miss the mark. I would make them myself but alas, finding a good green tomato in the Bay Area, even when they should be in season, even at the farmers' markets, is a rarity. No one seems into fried green tomatoes around here. One of the best versions I've had was stuffed into a fried green tomato BLT in a tiny town in the Blue Ridge foothills.. Delicious. Still, hope springs eternal and it's very hard for me not to order them if they are on the menu.

 

Agreed with the batter.

 

I picked some huge green tomatoes before the first freeze in the hopes that they would turn.  They are still green.  Ronnie is not a fan, but I love a good fried green 'mater.  I don't make them often because I would never sacrifice a KS tomato that could be a delicious red one , but if it's going to freeze then all bets are off lol.

 

I slice them pretty thick--maybe an inch and I like the light beer batter that I use for fish.

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I never had fried green tomatoes until I visited Mississippi. Even though my grandparents were originally Southerners and my mother was from Florida, that dish never made it into my (Caliefornia) family's repertoire. Those I had in Gautier, MS were an eye-opener! My husband was unimpressed even then, but I've been searching for more good ones ever since.

 

What's the ideal consistency of a green tomato for this dish? I'd guess rock-hard, but I really don't know.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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I'm curious.  I have never had a fried green tomato in my life and can't understand their appeal.  I realize that many people like them but I have never been attracted to the idea of eating unripe anything.  What's so great about them?

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26 minutes ago, Smithy said:

I never had fried green tomatoes until I visited Mississippi. Even though my grandparents were originally Southerners and my mother was from Florida, that dish never made it into my (Caliefornia) family's repertoire. Those I had in Gautier, MS were an eye-opener! My husband was unimpressed even then, but I've been searching for more good ones ever since.

 

What's the ideal consistency of a green tomato for this dish? I'd guess rock-hard, but I really don't know.

Mine have always been rock hard.  I've never tried, but I think if they had even a bit of ripeness that they would turn too mushy.  

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15 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

I'm curious.  I have never had a fried green tomato in my life and can't understand their appeal.  I realize that many people like them but I have never been attracted to the idea of eating unripe anything.  What's so great about them?

They have a tangy taste like a tomatillo if you've had that...If fried correctly they are crunchy on the outside with a light batter and then tangy.  Good dipped in ranch mixed with Sriracha or something spicy like that--or just something spicy imo.

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"Tangy like a tomatillo..." yes, I think that's pretty close. Not that you'd confuse the two, but I'd put the flavors in the same family. Much closer to each other than, say, to citrus or tamarind.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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