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Camping, Princess Style


Marlene
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7 hours ago, Dave the Cook said:

 

The problem with a dedicated pot, whether it's the bottom of a pressure cooker or a deep fryer, is that it takes up space that can't be used for anything else. Princess-mobiles are notable for the paucity of their storage. 

 

6 hours ago, quiet1 said:


Yeah, even if you filtered it back into a jug it’d be annoying to have to store a whole extra bottle of oil. Storage is a constant issue in our RV.

 

This is my biggest issue - storage of that much oil, and coming up with yet more storage space for filtered oil. We bought a jug of peanut oil and it's been taking up space under the sink for at least a season, very slowly being used. When it came time for the Wings Cook-Off I used a lot of the bottle's contents for deep frying. Then I had to deal with it. It's a nuisance to filter, and I've nowhere to store it until next use except in the original bottle. Finally I mixed what was left of the unused oil with my darling's vegetable oil - it just filled his quart container, and he'll never notice - and put the filtered oil into the original gallon jug. The paper towels and other cleanup materials went into a campfire. If we had a bear or raccoon problem around here we'd have learned about it then, because the cleanup was in the morning and the fire that evening.

 

Thanks to all for the suggestions on the tots. I shall persevere, and try frying them in more than a tablespoon or two of oil as I did last time. That won't happen tonight, though: (a) we're out of 'em and (b) I have other plans for dinner. 

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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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Good morning! Last night's dinner was a success, but you'll have to wait. It's a beautiful day, and I think we'll be away touring. I can tell about yesterday (and the evening before) now, while the collages are fresh in my phone.

 

Yesterday was another dust storm day. It was bad here. It was much, much worse elsewhere. It follows naturally that we had committed to dumping the holding tanks and refilling the water yesterday. The entire process, from getting the Princessmobile ready to move, to driving to the dump station and water station, then returning and resettling the Princessmobile, takes about 4 hours. In this:

 

20220211_073827.jpg

 

It is not fun to stand outside in this.

 

Our consolation was sandwiches made from the previous night's dinner. (Are you following this timeline?) It was a boneless pork shoulder roast. You've seen how he cooks it. You know that there is only One. True. Way. To. Cook. Pork. Roast (in his opinion) so I won't belabor the process. Still, it was a fine dinner and he was justifiably proud of the way it came out.

 

20220211_074237.jpg

 

The reward was that yesterday morning, when we had to pack up enough to move, and go take care of chores, then return and set back up again in unpleasant conditions, we could have pork sandwiches. The slices you see at lower right above are already atop my sandwich half. He won't allow lettuce on his. 

 

Here they are, done just as we like them:

20220211_074348.jpg

 

 

His: whole wheat bread, Miracle Whip, horseradish mustard. Nothing else.

Mine: sourdough bread, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lotta lettuce. If pickles had been handy I might have added them.

Each of us declared the sandwiches to be perfection.

 

The sandwiches were large and rich enough that half served as breakfast and the other half was lunch. We had vegetables at dinner. 🙂 

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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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On 2/3/2022 at 11:16 AM, heidih said:

Too funny. My Ralphs has their produce in the same order - even the zukes - green on left, "white"  on right

Various corporate chains in different retail markets send out layout schematics for how things are supposed to be arranged.  I didn't know this until my wife was the manager of a dearly departed fabric store chain.

 

in my not-so-humble opinion Kroger destroyed Ralph's. We were die-hard Ralph's shoppers until the Kroger bought them out. Now I only go there for the loss-leader sale items. (Ralph's, Costco, Lowe's and a branch of our bank are very near each other)

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Porthos Potwatcher
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19 hours ago, Smithy said:

Yesterday was another dust storm day. It was bad here. It was much, much worse elsewhere.

 

We're west of @DesertTinker by maybe 60 miles, and I am SO VERY TIRED of the wind. We're trying valiantly to get our home of 37 years de-cluttered and ready to put on the market in late spring. Having wind, more wind, and then even more wind makes doing the outside stuff difficult to impossible.

 

Very Off Topic. Our younger daughter commutes from the San Bernardino area to Yucca Valley and the daily change in climate wreaks havoc with her sinuses.

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3 hours ago, Porthos said:

Various corporate chains in different retail markets send out layout schematics for how things are supposed to be arranged.  I didn't know this until my wife was the manager of a dearly departed fabric store chain.

 

It bit me in the rear the other day while my new mask was doing battle with my glasses. I grabbed 2 plump green zuchini only to find ut they were nice plump cucumbers. Not so horrid except I'd also bought a huge English cuke, Did not reaize till I had everything olaid out for my zuke dish the next day.

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3 hours ago, Porthos said:

Various corporate chains in different retail markets send out layout schematics for how things are supposed to be arranged.  I didn't know this until my wife was the manager of a dearly departed fabric store chain.

 

 

I have suspected something like this, but didn't know it until now. Thanks for that. 

 

Good to see you back, Porthos. I know you've been busy; thanks for dropping in!

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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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25 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

I have suspected something like this, but didn't know it until now. Thanks for that. 

 

Good to see you back, Porthos. I know you've been busy; thanks for dropping in!

It makes a lot of sense, when you think about it. If you're a chain, you want your loyal shoppers to walk into *any* of your stores and know where to find what they're looking for.

 

It gets more complicated for smaller stores which can have multiple layouts, of course. In my time with Radio Shack Canada, we had multiple "Plan-o-grams" to account for different store layouts, and still give a broad sense of consistency and familiarity.

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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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53 minutes ago, chromedome said:

It makes a lot of sense, when you think about it. If you're a chain, you want your loyal shoppers to walk into *any* of your stores and know where to find what they're looking for.

 

How right you are. We are reluctant, rather than loyal, Walmart shoppers but find them quite necessary for some items and in some places. Since I want to spend as little time in there as possible it really chafes for me to have to wander, looking for something. They seem to have multiple models, or else some places are slow to adopt the changes. There is at least 1 Walmart Superstore in Yuma that is an outlier from the others. I avoid it.

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 learned something yesterday on our tour. Well, we learned several things: for instance, the areas where citrus and dates are grown, and the locations of some fruit stands. This post is about an epiphany.

 

I've shown you rather haphazard pictures of the row crop process we see between the Princessmobile and Yuma: plowing, sprinkling, planting, rapid growth, harvest; lather, rinse, repeat. It goes fast, and each field seems to produce multiple harvests before the final planting of grass, if that's what it is, as cover crop. Around here we usually see broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and possibly some lettuce varieties.

 

But what was this we spotted yesterday?

 

20220211_150736.jpg

 

It looked like broccoli or cauliflower, but we'd never seen flowers and growth like that. Could a new crop have been planted and harvested so quickly without our noticing? If so, what was it? How could we have missed it?

 

We pulled over to look more closely.

 

20220211_150827.jpg

 

It STILL looked like broccoli, maybe cauliflower, but I've never seen growth like that. There were no discernible heads that I could see. When broccoli turns yellow in my refrigerator it's because the flowers in the crowns have started to open up ... very unappetizing sight ... the road to ruin. I try to cook it before that stage.

 

I parked and got out. Nobody drove by and said "Hey! What are you doing!?" so I took a closer look.

 

20220211_150900.jpg

 

It sure looked like broccoli. Then I began to see some unpicked heads, as well as cut marks on the main stalk where heads had been harvested. Who knew? I'm sure you gardeners knew that broccoli would keep sprouting. I thought it was one head and done. (It's okay to laugh at me.) In this picture, you can see the stumps where 3 heads had been cut from the stalk at its lower right.

 

20220211_150808.jpg

 

Here's an even better shot of a cut stump. You can also see an uncut head just above it, partially hidden by a leaf.

 

20220211_150753.jpg

 

Okayyy...this field of broccoli had not been summarily plowed back into the field, as we've seen earlier in the season. But why? A field or so later, we found out why:

 

20220211_205027.jpg

 

(You'll have to look carefully to see the bees. I wasn't about to open the window for a better shot.)

 

Pollination and seed collection. I don't know how seeds are collected on this industrial scale. Here's a link to an article I found last night for the home gardener: How to Save Broccoli Seeds at Home.

 

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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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Getting back briefly to the dust storms: yesterday, before we left, I made another batch of fruit salad. I had time to admire, and photograph to share, the beautiful contrast of colors between Cara Cara oranges and blood oranges.

 

20220211_083338.jpg

 

I also had 2 different varieties of dates: Khadrawy and Medjool. Medjool are large, relatively sturdy and great for stuffing. Khadrawy are softer, juicier, and better for baking. Not that I've been baking with them, but it's fun to compare types.

 

20220211_113906.jpg

 

Before I did all that, however, I had to clean some surfaces. This is a fairly constant activity, except that we're getting pretty casual about it everywhere except on food-contact surfaces. Behold the side-table:

 

20220211_114200.jpg

 

Last night I managed to knock a full glass of water onto the floor. As a result, half the floor has actually been mopped!

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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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Great shots of the broccholi. Happy bees koading up their boxes!  Yes the home gardener can also enjoy the small leaves and thinner stems from the new sproutings and even the flower parts - you just have to give it a nibble first to make sure not too chewy.  A wonderful look at farms doing the right thing. Thanks!

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Finally, I can go back to some dinner successes. Last night was a surprise. After our driving tour (and having gorged on roast pork sandwiches before leaving) neither of us was particularly hungry. We foraged for leftovers in the refrigerator. My plate may not look attractive, but it was excellent and the food went surprisingly well together: potatoes from the roast pork; the last of the green bean salad with feta; my version of cole slaw. His plate had the inevitable piece of toast, but no cole slaw. I was surprised at how well the tartness of the beans and slaw played off the rich depth of the potatoes.

 

20220211_201030.jpg

 

Two or three nights ago I had occasion to finally finish this pecan oil. I bought it in New Mexico some years back and kept forgetting to use it because we kept it in the outside refrigerator due to its size. I almost threw it away when we were packing for this trip, but decided to test it. Refrigerator storage had saved it: no hint of rancidity. I have a very good nose for rancid tastes and smells. We've been using it. Now I may have to get more!

 

20220210_213956-1.jpg

 

I used it to pan-fry salmon in a modified version of the halibut recipe that came out so unsatisfactorily. This time I cooked the fish in the skillet only, per @Dave the Cook's suggestion, rather than finish it in the oven. I still had some panko/lemon zest/parmesan breading mix from the previous attempt, so it was simply a matter of skinning the salmon, pulling out flour to dredge, and beating an egg for the in-between step. In the meantime, I used the steaming with butter / evaporating for a sauce method discussed here to treat some mixed vegetables. I need a name for that technique. "Borrowed with butter"? Nah. @weinoo, @gfweb, or someone else probably knows an actual name for it.

 

20220210_192031.jpg

 

Here's a money shot. The fish was much more properly cooked (possibly still needed less time), and he even liked it although he isn't a fan of salmon. Note the cook's treat: a scrap from skinning that I still dredged and fried. It was more breading than fish. Delicious!

 

20220211_121958.jpg

 

 

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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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Thanks for the agriculture interlude!  For over 15 years, I drove through many of the fields on the Oxnard plain on my way to and from work every day.  It certainly does give one an appreciation for the hard work done  to provide us with the food we eat.  

Broccoli's not one of Ventura county's bigger crops (only about $3M/year vs strawberries at $575M/year) but is grown in the area.  I've never seen them let it flower for seed.  Maybe because this area is too mild to provide the chill that some varieties seem to need for that.  Very interesting. 

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Or maybe so many other flowering crops available for the traveling beehives - no need to take up planting space for broccholi. Yes - a good reminder of what it take to get that produce to us. 

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On 2/11/2022 at 11:02 AM, Smithy said:

Good morning! Last night's dinner was a success, but you'll have to wait. It's a beautiful day, and I think we'll be away touring. I can tell about yesterday (and the evening before) now, while the collages are fresh in my phone.

 

Yesterday was another dust storm day. It was bad here. It was much, much worse elsewhere. It follows naturally that we had committed to dumping the holding tanks and refilling the water yesterday. The entire process, from getting the Princessmobile ready to move, to driving to the dump station and water station, then returning and resettling the Princessmobile, takes about 4 hours. In this:


Do you only stay at campgrounds and use their dump station and water? We’ve been dumping sometimes at truck stops and overnighting at Walmart/rest areas/etc. when on the way to somewhere, and finding potable water is proving to be quite frustrating.

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2 hours ago, quiet1 said:


Do you only stay at campgrounds and use their dump station and water? We’ve been dumping sometimes at truck stops and overnighting at Walmart/rest areas/etc. when on the way to somewhere, and finding potable water is proving to be quite frustrating.

 

We rarely stay at campgrounds. Right now we are boondocking, and have been doing so for much of the winter. There are commercial dump stations not far away (if you count 20 miles as "close") and the same goes for water. When we're traveling, we occasionally stay at commercial or Forest Service campgrounds along the way and take care of waste / fresh water as appropriate. In some states the modern Interstate Highway Rest Areas also offer those amenities. Feel free to PM me about some of the resources we use to find these places. The snag we're hitting, more frequently every year, is the trend toward demanding reservations for campgrounds. Online. In advance. Aargh. We don't like schedules!

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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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 At last, a chance at some street food yesterday. This food court was set up outside the arena at the annual Silver Spurs Rodeo. Check out the wild colors of the cotton candy! I used to love that stuff, back when I was barely tall enough to see it spun onto a stick on the spot. Haven't had it in years, and wasn't interested in an entire bag of it.

 

20220213_210819.jpg

 

There were a couple of barbecue places. These folks were delighted to have me take pictures of them. They were still setting up. It looked good, though I wasn't ready to eat.

 

20220213_210437.jpg

 

This gentleman was also pleased to pose. I thought the setup looked great, and I heard later that the drinks were worthy. Those who didn't want Jack Daniels could get beer. I don't know what else was available.

 

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This place surprised me. 

 

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Bemidji, Minnesota! About as far from home as i am!

 

I finally settled on street tacos and stuffed jalapenos from this place, which I photographed from front and back. The young woman tending the grill in the back had a very spangly, very starry, red-white-and-blue cowboy hat. I didn't get a better picture of her.

 

20220213_211029.jpg

 

The tacos and jalapenos were excellent. The jalapenos were stuffed with tender brisket, some greens and tomatoes, maybe some onion, then wrapped in bacon, grilled, with cheese atop and some sort of maple-bourbon sauce. One taco had pulled pork, another had brisket; both had sweetish chili beans and the usual accompaniments.

 

20220213_211530.jpg

 

 

I had ordered two of each intending to bring them home and share them with my darling. I hadn't expected their size or messiness. There was no way to transport these! I enjoyed them all by myself, with not one whit of guilt.

 

 

 

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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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Today's sunrise was the first clear one we've had in a few days. Blowing wind, blowing dust...we're enjoying a calmer day today!

 

20220218_062434.jpg

 

Someone, somewhere - @gfweb, here, maybe? - convinced me that I just had to try cavatappi, even as I've been deciding to cut back on the variety of pastas i store in the Princessmobile. Naturally that meant I bought both cavatappi and cellentani, because they look so similar and I found them in different grocery stores. Last night was the chance to try cellentani.

 

20220218_101554.jpg

 

I've been hoarding, and fending my darling away from, packages of New York Style (that's the brand name) Calabrese sausage. As far as I know I can only get it at Stater Bros grocery store, a very localized Southern California chain. I bought it last December while visiting friends in Claremont. I doubt I'll get another chance at it this trip. I broke out a pound of it for last night's dinner.

 

20220218_101802.jpg

 

Other ingredients included half a diced red onion, the last of my oven-roasted tomatoes stored in olive oil (and frozen), some of the delicious oil left over from the TJ's marinated artichokes, minced garlic, cherry tomatoes about to head south because we aren't eating enough salad, tomato paste when I realized the sauce wasn't tomatoey enough, pasta water to lengthen the sauce, and grated parmesan.

 

20220218_101926.jpg

 

It was good.

 

 20220217_190924.jpg

 

I'm glad it was good, because there are a lot of leftovers and there's also cooked but unsauced cellentani.

 

But.

 

Was this the best kind of sauce for the cellentani? Neither of us thinks so. The sauce barely infiltrated the hollow core of the pasta. I probably needed something runnier, maybe more saucy. 

 

What do you think? How should these helical tubes be used to best advantage? I've looked in the Pasta Shapes topic to no avail.

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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 had the leftovers from the pasta dish last night. They were delicious. As always with cooked pasta in a sauce, the cellentani were considerably larger than they had been on the first night of the dish. There ensued a long, rather nerdy discussion about whether the cross-section of the cellantani would be uniform when cooked, due to the length of the tube. If liquid flows into the tube during cooking, there would be swelling from inside AND outside the tube. With a relatively long tube like this one (a longer helix than gfweb's cavatappi), the middle portion of the length might not swell as much as the end portions. The same would apply to the sauce, which gets absorbed, if it's thin enough to run into the tube.

 

I have some cooked (drained, unsauced) cellantani in the refrigerator. Maybe I'll cut a few apart and make some measurements. Maybe somebody has already done this. What do you think? Would a short helix cook differently than a long helix? Would it matter for a particular dish?

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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:

We had the leftovers from the pasta dish last night. They were delicious. As always with cooked pasta in a sauce, the cellentani were considerably larger than they had been on the first night of the dish. There ensued a long, rather nerdy discussion about whether the cross-section of the cellantani would be uniform when cooked, due to the length of the tube. If liquid flows into the tube during cooking, there would be swelling from inside AND outside the tube. With a relatively long tube like this one (a longer helix than gfweb's cavatappi), the middle portion of the length might not swell as much as the end portions. The same would apply to the sauce, which gets absorbed, if it's thin enough to run into the tube.

 

I have some cooked (drained, unsauced) cellantani in the refrigerator. Maybe I'll cut a few apart and make some measurements. Maybe somebody has already done this. What do you think? Would a short helix cook differently than a long helix? Would it matter for a particular dish?

Only thing that matters with cooking is cross-section,I think

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Aaand, we're having another wind/dust storm.

 

20220221_201749.jpg

 

Is it this year's weather, or our aging, or a bit of both that lessens our enthusiasm for cooking outside? Whatever the reasons, we cooked inside last night and tonight.

 

Last night, the wind died in time for us to cook outside, but we'd already made other plans. It was tube steaks again. I'd bought some new varieties, and we had a taste-test comparison augmented by gently-steamed asparagus. In the process, I realized that I've been using the Princessmobile's 3-burner cookstove all wrong.

 

20220220_182614.jpg

 

When there are two large skillets in play, the favored front burner must be ignored so the two large utensils can be properly centered over their respective burners, in the back. I suppose it should have been obvious, but I only realized it last night. (Insert head-slap and "D'Oh!" here.)

 

Here were the tube steaks we tested:

 

20220221_202303.jpg

 

I thought both were good. I thought Aidells' Andouille was hands and fists above Zatarain's version of the stuff. Now I just have to keep reminding my darling of that!

 

Chores took a great deal of time and energy today. Meanwhile, the wind was building and dust was filtering into everything. This is a holiday weekend, but we noticed a lot of rigs clearing out in the morning rather than waiting until late in the day as usual. We're sure it was because of the weather.

 

I had intended a dinner stir-fry using the last of a batch of mixed prepped vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots) as well as some mushrooms languishing in the crisper drawer, accented by some pork. It turned out that the mixed vegetables had gone from mixing to decaying, too much to be salvageable. I was getting hangry. Never mind necessity, hunger is the mother of invention. I grabbed the last of the cooked pasta corkscrews from a couple nights ago, the last of some delightful pencil-thin asparagus we've been working on, and a dry salami that I unearthed from somewhere - how long ago, and where, did we get that? Pasta Alfredo, with chopped salami and asparagus. Too bad I wasn't thinking clearly enough to remember the mushrooms!

 

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If you look carefully, you'll see that the sauce broke. Don't look. It was delectable anyway.

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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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Well, hell / nertz / doggonit / take your pick I may have learned something I really didn't want to learn.

 

We wanted fish, and I didn't want to cook outside (it's still blowing, windy, and cold). We'd been saving a nice package of walleye filets his daughter gave us last fall. The seal on the freezer package had failed, and I didn't want to risk freezer burn. It's a sin to waste good walleye.

 

I also wanted to try @Dave the Cook's (and our late lamented Toliver's) guidance for cooking Tater Tots.

 

I've mentioned before that I hate frying inside closed spaces. The Princessmobile is one such space. I girded my loins and fried inside anyway, being careful to raise the oil temperature slowly and check its readiness as I went, to minimize spatter. The fish was battered in, of all things, Hungry Jack pancake batter per my darling's daughter's excellent results. The Tots went into a cast iron pan and were barely, rarely, ever so gently turned to allow even browning.

 

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I will admit without hesitation that the Tots were the crunchiest, most delicious Tots I've ever cooked.

 

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The fish was also delicious. 

 

There was minimal spattering. I had to filter a small amount of oil back into the used-oil bottle, but not much. Was it worth the extra trouble? I think so. My darling is not convinced regarding the Tots, but will go along with me any time I want to make the extra effort.

 

Thanks, folks. I've learned a thing or two!

 

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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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