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Camping, Princess Style


Marlene
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I spotted this a few days ago and it tickled my funny bone: a Magnum Mini! (No, I didn't buy any.)

 

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Forgot to include the moonrise photo from a few nights ago. There won't be anything like that tonight; the dust is too thick!

 

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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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4 hours ago, Smithy said:

The wind is howling today, and we'll either hunker down in the trailer or go on a road trip. Whatever we cook will be inside tonight. Last night was calm, clear and beautiful, and I finally got my strata! I cooked the chorizo and onions on the camp stove outside, then assembled and baked everything inside in the oven.

 

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It seems I forgot to take a money shot. Trust me, it was good. The leftovers will be good too.

 

I make something similar to this (no meat) as a side dish to either brunch or a ham dinner and it is always the first thing gone on the table.

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We went to town yesterday to run errands while the wind was howling, and our errands took us into an Albertson's grocery store. Albertson's was our store of choice for some years, until we discovered Fry's with their good selection, much lower prices, and "loyalty program" fuel discount. We never looked back.

 

Until yesterday.

 

I had forgotten how spacious and luxurious that store chain is! The produce line is much more expansive and extensive than at Fry's; now, when I'm ready to start stir-frying I'll know where to find Japanese eggplant. i'm sorry I don't have interior photos, but I suspect I'll have more opportunities to take you on a better tour sometime. 

 

Their pork prices and selection were about the same as at Fry's.

 

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Some of their beef was surprisingly low, given the sticker shock we'd had last week.

 

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I'm still pricing chicken wings for the Wings Cook-Off, although I haven't used up the ones I had yet. This brand won't be helpful. (I just realized I cut off the price for the Flats and Drummettes in this collage. They were $4.49/lb, and that package was priced at $6.15.)

 

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They also had interesting "convenience foods" that I'd never seen before.

 

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None of this was what we came for, but we couldn't help looking - and of course, I needed photos. He wanted to look for other brands of breaded fish for oven baking. Sigh. We came home with a different brand. I'll show that to you later.

 

That and other errands took up most of the afternoon. We indulged in Burger King whoppers and fries for what turned out to be a very late lunch...hence early dinner. I cooked up brussels sprouts with oven-roasted tomatoes, topped it with balsamic vinegar (and emptied that bottle) and called it done. There are no photos of any of that. Now I have to see whether I have more "run of the mill" balsamic in the Princessmobile somewhere. I have some very good, very old balsamic from Zingerman's, but I'll be much more sparing of it than I am of the stuff I used up last night!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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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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There are things I miss about not making the loop up to the Pacific Coast, and then inland to where I used to live, before heading off to the hinterlands again. The first and most obvious is not being able to see friends and family face to face. Another is having to buy citrus like other mortals. The orange picking season is upon them now, and the minneolas will be getting ripe! The mandarin orange tree in our erstwhile back yard will have been producing like crazy, I think. 

 

How I wish that really good oranges, minneolas and mandarins - the orange-colored citrus - could make it through the packing house and into grocery stores with their good flavor intact! Once in a great while I run across a good Cutie (a patented hybrid of mandarin) but it's rare. The mandarins on my breakfast plate are a dry, sad version of what they once were; in fact, I wonder whether the crop froze before picking. I also bought "Heritage Navels" (those are probably the original strain of Washington Navels, of which our friends still have a grove or two) and Cara Caras, a Navel orange with more red than usual but not a Blood Orange. I bought them for my darling's breakfast fruit salad. He thinks they're fine. I think they've lost all the vibrancy and tang that proper oranges should carry. They're safe from me, now that I've tasted them.

 

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At least - and this is a good consolation - lemons and limes pack, ship and store well.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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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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Do look a tad "dry". You've inspired me to totter out to the tangelo tree this afternoon and see the progress. This year has been SLOOW - should have been bright orange already. Yes paying for citrus when you live in So Cal bites.

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I've never figured out the genetic difference between a Minneola Tangelo and a Honeybell, except that minneolas are grown in CA and Honeybells are from Florida. But I am convinced that when both are at peak, the Honeybells from Florida are way better; of course they are impossible to get here in CA. Some sites say that the the difference is in the kind of grapefruit that the tangerine is crossed with. Growing up in NY my mother just swooned over the Florida ones, which have a very short season. We also favored the Florida white grapefruits, which were more common. Here in CA and Texas most of the grapefruits are pink. I don't know why you can't grow a good white grapefruit in CA.

 

 It has been a very strange citrus season so far. Satsumas have  been scarce. Sevilles are behind schedule or non-existent, at least so far. I've had some good but not great super-sloppy minneolas and very good cara caras.  Both have made very tasty juice. And there have been some little Tangos, whatever they are, that have been nice and tart, if you like that (I do.) But @SmithyI hear you. The standard navels have been boring. Blood oranges have been puny and not juicy.

 

Where were you when you took that moonrise picture? Lovely.    

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15 minutes ago, Katie Meadow said:

I've never figured out the genetic difference between a Minneola Tangelo and a Honeybell, except that minneolas are grown in CA and Honeybells are from Florida. But I am convinced that when both are at peak, the Honeybells from Florida are way better; of course they are impossible to get here in CA. Some sites say that the the difference is in the kind of grapefruit that the tangerine is crossed with. Growing up in NY my mother just swooned over the Florida ones, which have a very short season. We also favored the Florida white grapefruits, which were more common. Here in CA and Texas most of the grapefruits are pink. I don't know why you can't grow a good white grapefruit in CA.

 

 It has been a very strange citrus season so far. Satsumas have  been scarce. Sevilles are behind schedule or non-existent, at least so far. I've had some good but not great super-sloppy minneolas and very good cara caras.  Both have made very tasty juice. And there have been some little Tangos, whatever they are, that have been nice and tart, if you like that (I do.) But @SmithyI hear you. The standard navels have been boring. Blood oranges have been puny and not juicy.

 

Where were you when you took that moonrise picture? Lovely.    

 

I'll be honest, I've never even heard of a Honeybell! That's probably because so much of my citrus knowledge came from our citrus-growing neighborhood in the San Joaquin Valley. We have relatives in Florida. If we get out that way to visit I'll see if I can find the Honeybells. Of course, there will still be the problem of finding them fresh.

 

Interesting that you should say that about white grapefruits. That's all we ever had (a backyard tree only) and the neighbors we visit have both a white and a pink grapefruit. I've always thought the pink grapefruits insipid, as did my parents and one half of the couple with the pink grapefruit. I'm surprised that the California grapefruit culture seems to have changed from white to pink.

 

Thank you for the compliment on the photo. I took that from our camping spot, about 40 miles outside Yuma, AZ. You can't see the Colorado River from here but it isn't too far away. We're far enough out in the boondocks that light pollution isn't much of a problem.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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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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Like @Smithy down here white is the backyard tree as it is in Palm Springs area where friends gift me from. This is a old shot of mine at my cottage..  Maybe commercially pink is seen as a customer preference.

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23 minutes ago, Smithy said:

Interesting that you should say that about white grapefruits. That's all we ever had (a backyard tree only) and the neighbors we visit have both a white and a pink grapefruit. I've always thought the pink grapefruits insipid, as did my parents and one half of the couple with the pink grapefruit. I'm surprised that the California grapefruit culture seems to have changed from white to pink.

 

White grapefruits are still the most common at the farmers markets in my area.  Oroblanco is a hybrid variety that I see most often. According to a David Karp article in the LA Times it is a cross between the Siamese Sweet pummelo, an acidless form of the parent species of the grapefruit and the Duncan grapefruit, which is the seedy, white-fleshed variety from which all other commercial grapefruit originated.  It's largely seedless and has good flavor although it inherited thick skin from the pomelo so it's good to pick big ones.

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2 hours ago, heidih said:

Like @Smithy down here white is the backyard tree as it is in Palm Springs area where friends gift me from. This is a old shot of mine at my cottage..  Maybe commercially pink is seen as a customer preference.

gfrt.jpg

Oh my - in my dreams.

 

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Just now, MaryIsobel said:

Oh my - in my dreams.

 

 

Yeah, makes me homesick!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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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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16 hours ago, heidih said:

Maybe commercially pink is seen as a customer preference.

 

 

Here in the Great White North, they were promoted heavily as being sweeter than white. Evidently this was successful, because white grapefruit seem to come and go (perhaps seasonal?) in relatively short order, while pink are always available.

This may just be the effect of growing regions and distribution patterns, though. I honestly don't know.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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The wind came up in the night and rocked the trailer most of the day, so it was a good day to mess around in the kitchen. I wrote about it here in the Wings Cook-Off topic. Note to self: do not mistake 4t of salt for 4T of salt! Aside from that, it was pretty good. I just had to put in the joke here.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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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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Last week I went to what's become my usual laundromat, and (as usual) found myself getting peckish. It was time to explore the eating establishments in that strip mall. The first thing I learned was that the taco place I'd been eyeing is no more. I don't know its story, but we can probably blame the pandemic, at least in part.

 

This place has also caught my eye, many times, so I decided to check it out.

 

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I've never been able to see inside because the windows are specially coated and have a perforated black screen to block out most of the sunlight. At this time of year it may not be necessary, but for much of the year it would be. I'm sure it's a good selling point.

 

The interior looked dark and inviting. Unfortunately for them - fortunately for those of us still trying to maintain some sort of distancing - there weren't many customers. One or two tables' worth came in while I was there.

 

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The place is clean and nicely decorated. The TV screens over the bar were playing sports shows but the sound was off. The TV screen in the dining area was playing the Country-Western version of MTV. I don't remember its actual name, but some of the pieces were hilarious ("I love my job with the Highway Patrol, you better not be speeding" with all kinds of driving shenanigans) and some were beautiful and touching. None was intrusive. I hate loud music in restaurants and bars. This was just loud enough to hear if I wanted to listen.

 

Oh, the choices!!

 

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I'm not sure how I managed to miss the Desserts, sorry. It was all academic to me anyway; I had no more than a half hour. I selected the Crab Cakes appetizer.

 

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Go back and look at the sign out front on the window. A-HOOAH! They weren't joking! The remoulade sauce had a sneaky-Pete element of horseradish that kicked in about 3 seconds after taking a bite. It was wonderful. :x The crab cakes were excellent, the sauces great, and even the greens under the crab cakes were nice. The horseradish bite was so delayed that I wondered whether it was the greens underneath: arugula, perhaps? But they said no, those were just baby greens. I think they enjoyed my reaction and questions.

 

I ate every bit of it, gave them a generous tip, and got back to the laundromat just as my wash loads were finishing. I'll be back, I hope.

 

For more information and better pictures, here's their web site: Zydeco Grill. (The web address says "Icons" rather than "Zydeco". I don't know whether that's history or a glimpse of the future.)

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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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We've been eating a lot of slaw, and occasionally sandwiches or leftovers from dinner, for our midday meal. Today I decided to switch back to lettuce salads for a while.  

 

Part of my motivation is to use items that have been trundling along in our refrigerator since we left home. Last August we had the opportunity to go shopping at a huge Middle-Eastern food store in Minneapolis. Holy Land Deli is a great place to visit, once you're there, but a pain in the neck to get to due to the traffic. I don't know that I'll want to go again. But I picked up a bunch of olives, some of their tahini, and some cheese that we can't get elsewhere until / unless we go through Tucson. Problem is, my darling isn't a big olive eater, so we've been carting these things around with me occasionally picking at them. Ditto the lebnah w/ chili. Actually, if we think of that we eat it, but it's been sitting forgotten in the back of the refrigerator. The chili gives that tart cheese quite a kick!

 

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At the bottom of the "family photo" above are two salad dressings I made: at left, a buttermilk ranch dressing from the cookbook Buttermilk & Bourbon (eG-friendly Amazon.com link); at right, a Meyer lemon vinaigrette I made from lemons I harvested last December.

 

The finished product:

 

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Now, here's the weird part: the buttermilk ranch dressing has an unpleasant bitter note (perhaps because I used dried dill?), the Meyer lemon vinaigrette has something not-quite-right (too sour because the lemons are old?), the Lebanese green olives with lemon have an unpleasant, rather bitter taste, and the lebnah is just a bit too hot to please me. I brought both salad dressings to the table, not sure which would be more compatible with those olives, and that's when I rediscovered the bitterness of the ranch dressing.

 

Wonder of wonders, the mixture of all those ingredients is a mutual redemption! Somehow, the tart lebnah and/or the Meyer vinaigrette cancel the bitterness of the ranch dressing; the chili heat from the lebnah brings something wonderful to the party, and the entire mix is delicious. I have left the components separate still, but may start experimenting: mix a lebnah ball into that ranch dressing? Mix the ranch and the vinaigrette?? Sounds horrible, but I've just had an enjoyable and surprising lunch!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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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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This morning's sunrise was lovely in both directions. We could see the sunlight crawling down the shrubbery, and I was able to catch them still halfway in shadow.

 

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Last night, he edged even closer to his Gold Standard of hash. The potatoes must be crisp and golden, but (please, say I) not charred. The sausage must be lightly browned. The onions must be crunchy, not soft. There must be enough oil to achieve all these things, but not enough to give an oily feel. I'd say he hit the mark last night. He was very proud!

 

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The final two keys to hitting his target seem to be:

(1) Dicing the potatoes, not slicing them as he did all those years. In order to dice them, he slices them into rounds and uses an alligator chopper. That was last year's revelation. (Incidentally, if he also has to dice onions he does that first, because the potatoes clean the grid nicely.)

(2) Measuring all the ingredients, INCLUDING THE OIL. It's taken me months to persuade him to try it. I think he's finally convinced!

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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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6 minutes ago, Shelby said:

I wish I had this in front of us right now.  It would really hit the spot.  Instead I'm pacing the kitchen trying to think of something for dinner.  

 

I'll be sure to share your praise with him. He'll be delighted!

 

Incidentally, you could whip this up in a heartbeat. Got onions, potatoes and some sort of sausage? Want the proportions?

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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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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Can't say I have ever had a good crispy hash well executed as you describe. I'd enjoy it. Maybe also with a poached egg to sauce it.  I always smile at the toast slice. Reminds me of grandpa who had to have the bread slice it even if other starches in meal. And not rustic artisan stuff. 

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11 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

I'll be sure to share your praise with him. He'll be delighted!

 

Incidentally, you could whip this up in a heartbeat. Got onions, potatoes and some sort of sausage? Want the proportions?

I would like the recipe for sure!  However, it wouldn't be done outside, it would be over my gas stove.  No rush, I'll figure something out for tonight, but yeah,  Ronnie would really like this and we got a bunch of different flavored brats (would that work) for Christmas from Ronnie's brother and his wife.

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Just now, heidih said:

Can't say I have ever had a good crispy hash well executed as you describe. I'd enjoy it. Maybe also with a poached egg to sauce it.  I always smile at the toast slice. Reminds me of grandpa who had to have the bread slice it even if other starches in meal. And not rustic artisan stuff. 

 

When there are leftovers, he'll cook an egg with them in the morning. The potatoes are never still crisp, though, so he's working to cut the batch size down and eliminate leftovers.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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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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1 minute ago, Shelby said:

I would like the recipe for sure!  However, it wouldn't be done outside, it would be over my gas stove.  No rush, I'll figure something out for tonight, but yeah,  Ronnie would really like this and we got a bunch of different flavored brats (would that work) for Christmas from Ronnie's brother and his wife.

 

Different flavored brats would absolutely work. Since you aren't in a hurry for tonight, I'll wait until he's around so we can make sure I have it all right.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"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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