Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Camping, Princess Style


Recommended Posts

Last night's pork roast dinner was a treat. We went the lazy route with frozen corn, but even that was good.

 

20200411_213348.jpg

  • Like 4

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

"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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Spiny though it is, this is a pretty good place to be sheltering for a while. We need to move toward home, but the weather there is still forbidding and at present we can't move much farther east without hitting bad storms. We'll be here a few more days, counting our blessings and pondering culinary mysteries.

 

20200413_075342.jpg

 

 

It's strange how some dishes, no matter how simple, refuse to be repeatable for me. I think the ability to refine, define and make repeatable a particular dish must be a skill that separates the pros from the hacks. I am no pro.

 

Years ago I came up with a simple shrimp/pasta meal that we dubbed "Shrimp Bolivar" for the location where I first tried it. It's based on pasta aglio e olio. The additions usually are shrimp and Parmesan cheese. How difficult could it be to reproduce? But it's never the same twice. Even when I faithfully follow the notes I made after a particularly successful iteration, it doesn't come out the same.

 

Last night's version had some admitted changes. Asparagus is not usually part of this, nor are pine nuts. But I wanted crunch and we needed to use that asparagus.

 

20200413_070514.jpg

 

It was good, but bland. We spent the entire dinner trying to work out what it needed to spice it up. Tabasco came closest for him, but wasn't quite right. (I thought it a horrid combination.) Tajin seasoning came closer for me, along with salt and pepper. Our best guess as to the blandness is that I cooked the garlic too long to keep any of its oomph. This garlic is powerful stuff, and getting more powerful as it ages, as my tzatziki attests. But I may have overdone the garlic-sweating last night.

 

Maybe the simple fact that I used linguini this time, rather than capellini as last time, changed the balance of flavors and textures drastically. Maybe this is the sort of dish that depends utterly on the quality of the ingredients.

 

What do you think?

 

 

  • Like 4

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

"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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Or maybe something as simple as undersalted pasta cooking water...linguini might need more salt vs capellini because of the thicker strands?

  • Like 1

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, BeeZee said:

Or maybe something as simple as undersalted pasta cooking water...linguini might need more salt vs capellini because of the thicker strands?

 

That could be. I'm going to scandalize you and some other readers by confessing that I never salt the pasta water (I know, I know :) ) but not doing so may be more of an issue with the thicker pasta strands.

  • Confused 1

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

"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

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

That could be. I'm going to scandalize you and some other readers by confessing that I never salt the pasta water (I know, I know :) ) but not doing so may be more of an issue with the thicker pasta strands.

 

Dad' wife does not either. I asked once and then decided I am not eating it so....

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, lemniscate said:

 

My guess is the olive oil might have not been a lively one for the dish.  Do you use the same brand/style consistently?

 

It's the same brand (California Olive Ranch, "Destination Series") but the brand itself doesn't always seem consistent. That's an interesting thought. I haven't liked the flavor of this olive oil as much as usual.

 

So far - and this may have to wait until I get home - I have a few controlled experiments to do, don't I? Keeping everything else constant except the olive oil; keeping everything constant except salting (or not) the water*; how long to sweat the garlic; whether to add other ingredients to give it a kick. Keeping everything the same except the pasta shape.

 

My darling ate the leftovers this afternoon for lunch, so there's none left for further analysis. I showed him! I found a piece of pita that did split properly, all the way, and had a couple of pork roast sandwiches. :)

 

20200413_180409.jpg

 

Seen on our afternoon walk:

 

20200413_181511.jpg

 

*I know this question generates strong opinions. This is the only topic devoted to the issue that I've been able to find, but I'm sure there was a heated debate - measurements and all - in another topic some years back. I'll try it for myself to see what we think.

Edited by Smithy
Added footnote and link (log)
  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1

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

"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

Link to post
Share on other sites

I salt my pasta water, but I vary how much depending on the pasta and what it's being paired with. I add the salt after the water has come to a boil. Scandal: I put in a splash of olive oil to help prevent boil over.

  • Like 1

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Porthos said:

Scandal: I put in a splash of olive oil to help prevent boil over.

 

My darling's former wife claimed the oil was to keep any leftover pasta from sticking together. I know that one's been discussed (and disputed) here. Somewhere. Your explanation makes more sense.

 

I use one of those spillstopper silicone lids to prevent boilover. Kuhn Rikon Kochblume works well, for example, although there are cheaper versions now. If a touch of oil prevents boilover, that's a lot cheaper and more sustainable than silicone! :) 

  • Like 1

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

"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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheaper - no lid once pasta added  = no boilover.. Sticking - drain and reserve water for add back to sauce. and rinse if holding for longer than immediate service. Starch is like glue ;)   or like mom's spray starch on ironing board to stiffen shirts

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just for a change of pace: breakfast this morning.

 

20200414_101611.jpg

 

I like yogurt. I really do. I like avocado. But even that combination gets old after a while. Today, as an experiment, I added tomatoes, olives and oat crumble. Pretty darned good, and more filling than the usual.

 

The "more filling" part is important because, believe it or not, we actually need to go to town today. The driving force is a vital prescription refill that's already waiting for us. (Thanks to our rambles, I have a dozen different pharmacy numbers in as many towns stored in my phone...oh, the signs of age!) But of course, since we're going to town we'll just "pick up a few more things" as well. Better to do so on a full stomach.

  • Like 3
  • Delicious 1

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

"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

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, heidih said:

How do you do your oat crumbles?

 

It was originally to be the base for the panna cotta I wrote about back here. The recipe came from a class I took last fall, what seems a lifetime ago now. 3/4c each A/P flour and brown sugar; 1/4 t each kosher salt and baking soda; 1/4 lb butter; 1/2 c oats. Mix the flour, sugar, salt and soda; cut in the butter until the mixture makes pea-sized clumps; mix in oats; spread in pan. Bake at 300F until golden brown. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container. 

 

The first time I tried it it didn't come out crisp enough, but it's been so long now that I don't remember where I went wrong. I probably didn't bake it long enough. This batch is delightfully crispy and not too sweet. It'll be a decent substitution for granola, until I use it up; then I'll make granola again.

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

"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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. I was thinking more savory but could adapt savory granola ideas. I'd like it for crunch on salads or thick soups, or wherever croutons seem good.. Playing with the one Melissa Clark swooned over years ago from Bklyn Larder. Her take. I would dial down the sweet bits

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1012630-olive-oil-granola-with-dried-apricots-and-pistachios

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, heidih said:

Thanks. I was thinking more savory but could adapt savory granola ideas. I'd like it for crunch on salads or thick soups, or wherever croutons seem good.. Playing with the one Melissa Clark swooned over years ago from Bklyn Larder. Her take. I would dial down the sweet bits

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1012630-olive-oil-granola-with-dried-apricots-and-pistachios

 

I'd dial down the sweet bits, too. (Her recipe lost me on the maple syrup and coconut flakes, but that's just me.) The oat crumble I made was originally for a dessert, so it's a bit sweeter than I'd make it for cereal. Still, it doesn't overwhelm the yogurt.

 

I disliked granola for years until learning that it didn't have to be as sweet as it usually is. I think muesli when I was traveling overseas was the first cold cereal I liked as an adult. Even so, when I got back to the USA I found I couldn't get its equivalent.

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

"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

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

. I think muesli when I was traveling overseas was the first cold cereal I liked as an adult. Even so, when I got back to the USA I found I couldn't get its equivalent.

 

As a teen we had teens from Austria here for a month and  they found the Bircher Muesli in the regular store. When I see the "new fad" of overnight oats I am reminded. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yesterday's shopping expedition was mostly a success. We got what we needed, and then some. We don't yet need more cleaning or hygienic supplies, but given the rising demand for them I'm on the lookout. Couldn't find any. No gloves or masks could be found. Very few were on the customers, either - and that makes us wonder: what's everyone doing with all this protective gear that goes flying off the shelves? We wore (homemade) masks and I wore gloves. We saw very few other people wearing either. Store personnel who would normally wear gloves - say, in the deli department - were doing so, as did checkout clerks. In 3 stores, I don't think we saw a single mask on store personnel. 

 

Since we had to be out and about, we went back to Babylon Market (I told you we probably would) to get more of the cheese. This sign was new since our last visit:

 

20200414_124701.jpg

 

I didn't see any gaps in their offerings, except a few spices. In addition to the cheese I found some other items that seemed worth exploring or replenishing.

 

20200414_165849.jpg

 

I think I've used the last of the "leg meat" (boneless, skinless) purchased in January in Calipatria. It's been frozen all this time, but had a strong smell - not rotten, but as though it had been sitting around a bit too long. Marinades and grilling are good for that sort of thing.

 

20200415_073135.jpg

 

We both like broccoli and cauliflower, but they are huge space-hogs in the refrigerator until cut into smaller chunks. When we got home I spent some time at that chore, then used some to make salad.

 

20200415_075732.jpg

 

Dinner: using the grill once more before we pack up to move again. Leftover pita. Tzatziki. Broccoli salad.

 

20200415_073419.jpg

 

 

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1

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

"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

Link to post
Share on other sites

New scenery, new vegetation and a new state. Well, it isn't new to us because we've been this way before, but we're one state closer to home. The New Mexico State Parks are all closed, so Columbus and Pancho Villa State Park were out of the question. The private campground where we've stayed before is still open, and with a full sewer hookup and 50A electricity it's a reasonably good place to shelter for a few days. It's nice to see different flowers.

 

20200417_143158.jpg

 

Yesterday's road food was a quite satisfactory, quite ordinary, and quite unphotographed mix of chopped asparagus and tomatoes, along with crackers, cheese and hard-boiled eggs. Some of the stopworthy sights along the way were the picnic spot near where Geronimo surrendered...

 

20200417_143316.jpg

 

...and the Historical Marker noting the earlier position of an intermediate airport. The sign says that building foundations are still visible, along with a red arrow pointing toward El Paso. This marker is within walking distance of our campground. We haven't found the airport remnants yet. 

 

20200417_143551.jpg

 

The little town of Rodeo appeared unchanged when we went through. Very little seemed to be open, just as last year. We expected restaurants to be closed because of the pandemic, but the Rodeo Tavern, about which much was written last year, seems never to have opened despite last year's promises to the contrary.

 

20200416_153036.jpg

 

The Rodeo Cafe and Grocery Store also seems unchanged since last year, right down to the signs. 

 

20190405_083448.thumb.jpg.ee664f2a42a313432d7eac6761ad0d41.jpg

 

We had found fresh sweet corn at our last grocery stop in Tucson. Corn on the cob is probably my darling's favorite vegetable, and I can tolerate it when it's good. To celebrate, we had superburgers. I even pulled out the stops and put mine on a burger bun, with mayo, mustard, pickles and lettuce (as all burgers should have, IMO). We were quite full after that dinner, and have agreed that future superburgers don't need to be so, well, supersized. 

 

20200416_210036.jpg

 

I just realized how immense that burger looks! That plate-covering burger is covering a salad plate, not a dinner plate!  Still, a 7-ounce burger is more than either of us needs, if we have good accompaniments.

  • Like 8
  • Thanks 1
  • Delicious 2

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

"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

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, robirdstx said:

FYI, our Texas Governor announced that our State Parks will reopen on Monday.


The announcement I heard was incomplete. The parks are only opening for day use, with reservations, masks and social distancing required.

 

https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/

Edited by robirdstx (log)
  • Thanks 1
  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, robirdstx said:


The announcement I heard was incomplete. The parks are only opening for day use, with reservations, masks and social distancing required.

 

https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/

 

 

Thanks for that (disappointing) news. We had only heard / read the incomplete statement. We were considering staying at one of those parks, at least for a night, on our way through Texas. If the distancing during registration can be accomplished - for instance, by doing everything online - then camping seems to us to be pretty safe. Everyone's feeling their way along on this, though. I don't envy the Parks and Recreation Departments, trying to work out what's right and safe.

 

Last night I managed to finish the phyllo dough, pancetta from home, a jar of Trader Joe's sundried tomatoes, and a jar of TJ's grilled artichoke hearts that have all been taking up freezer and fridge space. Shredded parmesan cheese and half an onion went into this too.

 

20200418_074430.jpg

 

The flavors were good. The crust was crisp, although slightly overdone in the middle because I had the rack too low. My darling said it was good, but admitted that a voice in the back of his mind kept shrieking "whERRE'S THE BEEF!?" I guess there wasn't enough pancetta for him to notice it. :D 

Edited by Smithy
Dropped unneeded 'too' (log)
  • Like 6
  • Haha 3

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

"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

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Smithy said:

My darling said it was good, but admitted that a voice in the back of his mind kept shrieking "whERRE'S THE BEEF!?" I guess there wasn't enough pancetta for him to notice it. :D 

Yeah, conditioning is a wonderful thing.

 

One night last week I made Ukrainian-style cheese-filled crepes for my GF, who'd acquired a taste for them while living in Alberta. As I was getting the meal ready she looked at the casserole dish, with its egg-rich crepes stuffed to bursting with cheese and smothered in a sauce of cream and even more cheese ('cause that's how she likes 'em), and asked - with utterly no self-consciousness or irony - "What are we having with it for a protein?"

  • Like 1
  • Haha 8

“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

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   1 member

×
×
  • Create New...