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Camping, Princess Style


Marlene
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2 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

Those smoked picnic hams are the best and they are the hams that we buy.  I have taken to cooking them sous vide and they are amazing.

 

Sous vide is out of the question for now, but for future reference: what time and temperature?

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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

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2 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

I really like this idea, but what bags do you use?  I don't think a ham would fit even my largest width ones.

 

I just use the original bag it comes in.  I don't know how they are wrapped where you are, but here they are vacuum sealed in plastic.

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Ham 'n' mac 'n' cheese last night for dinner. The ham will keep on giving for a while - there's a lot of it! - and bolstering it with pasta and cheese sauce just added to the congestion in the refrigerator. No cooking will be necessary for a while, except for vegetables.

 

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It's funny: the last time I made this dish I used penne rigate and we thought it perfect. This time, we thought the penne too long. Maybe I used a smaller gauge last time around. I finished this pasta, though. That made room to move another pasta from an outside cooler to an interior canister. I also finished the deli-sliced cheeses that I bought for sandwiches before we started our trip a month ago. They were getting a little long in the tooth, but they were perfect in this. Sharp cheddar and pepper jack are a nice cheese sauce combination, especially when it's augmented with paprika (sweet and smoked), white pepper, cumin and Dijon mustard.

 

Today the desert wind is blowing like stink. It would be great for sailing, if we had water and a sailboat, but it's not so great for being out walking. I'm glad I have a lot of inside work to do. I may have to close the lid of the camp stove to keep it from blowing over.

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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

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1 hour ago, Smithy said:

Ham 'n' mac 'n' cheese last night for dinner. The ham will keep on giving for a while - there's a lot of it! - and bolstering it with pasta and cheese sauce just added to the congestion in the refrigerator. No cooking will be necessary for a while, except for vegetables.

 

20201202_110458.jpg

 

It's funny: the last time I made this dish I used penne rigate and we thought it perfect. This time, we thought the penne too long. Maybe I used a smaller gauge last time around. I finished this pasta, though. That made room to move another pasta from an outside cooler to an interior canister. I also finished the deli-sliced cheeses that I bought for sandwiches before we started our trip a month ago. They were getting a little long in the tooth, but they were perfect in this. Sharp cheddar and pepper jack are a nice cheese sauce combination, especially when it's augmented with paprika (sweet and smoked), white pepper, cumin and Dijon mustard.

 

Today the desert wind is blowing like stink. It would be great for sailing, if we had water and a sailboat, but it's not so great for being out walking. I'm glad I have a lot of inside work to do. I may have to close the lid of the camp stove to keep it from blowing over.

Reminds me that it's said that a ham and two people is the definition eternity.

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1 hour ago, FauxPas said:

Where are you now, @Smithy? Still in AZ? 

 

 

No, we're just across the border in California. Still desert. Quite a bit less crowded than Tucson.

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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

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Should you make your way through Yucca Valley/Joshua Tree/29 Palms and want to shop at any of the Stater Bros., be sure to go early, no later than 9am. We have a fair share of folk who don’t understand the concept of masks and 6 feet. Live here and far too many think an under nose mask makes it ok to be within a few inches of your face. 🤬

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48 minutes ago, DesertTinker said:

Should you make your way through Yucca Valley/Joshua Tree/29 Palms and want to shop at any of the Stater Bros., be sure to go early, no later than 9am. We have a fair share of folk who don’t understand the concept of masks and 6 feet. Live here and far too many think an under nose mask makes it ok to be within a few inches of your face. 🤬

 I can't decide between giving a "Thanks" or a "Groan / Wow" response above. Do you know whether Stater Bros in 29 Palms does curbside pickup? If we go that way, early morning won't be an option. 😒

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

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7 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 I can't decide between giving a "Thanks" or a "Groan / Wow" response above. Do you know whether Stater Bros in 29 Palms does curbside pickup? If we go that way, early morning won't be an option. 😒

I don’t think they do curbside. I think their “delivery shopping” is via Instacart. The only curbside grocery available here would be Walmart.

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We went to Yuma yesterday to get some supplies, see the doctor (routine visit, nothing serious), pick up meds and mail. The Wal-Mart customers were generally good about masking up, although we saw a lot of noses. Fry's grocery store customers were even better, with people giving each other room and waiting patiently when someone was perusing the same shelf or bin area. Supplies were generally good, although the shortages on paper products and cleaning products continued. Fortunately for us there's no apparent shortage of bread, wine, beer or fresh produce! We saw some amazingly good prices.

 

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We have been extremely lucky so far with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic. Yes, there have been closures and restrictions (and more are beginning) but in the places we usually frequent the inconvenience and business impact have seemed far away. Not so for the Carl's Jr we visited for brunch yesterday. The place looked closed. I went to check while my darling sat in the pickup, and when it turned out they were open I went inside and ordered our food for takeout. I thought at first the place was just opening up and they hadn't finished cleaning. Then I realized I was looking at seating restrictions. One person sat in the restaurant, alone. I got our orders and left. The good news is that the drive-through line got busy while we were eating, so their business may be all right.

 

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That isn't so for the little place in Winterhaven where we used to get propane and cheap beer. It's closed. Whether it failed because of the pandemic or other business issues I don't know. Yesterday it looked as though the place was being remodeled under new ownership. We never thought it was well run during our previous visits, although it served our needs.


Today we tooled down to the little encampment where we get the occasional ice cream bar and where we take the trailer when the holding tanks need to be emptied. The campground is open, full nearly to capacity (everyone hiding out) but the store and museum are closed. We're in the middle of nowhere, but still in Southern California -- and in a county that's particularly hot. They're abiding by the rules. Yes to the trailer dump. No to ice cream, nor will I be able to look for charming plates in their shop.

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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

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On a different note: today was breakfast-fruit-salad making day. I was especially interested in how much time and effort it takes me to deal with dates the way I normally do, due to this discussion. I don't think I'll be changing my method.

 

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Edited by Smithy
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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

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On 11/25/2020 at 3:37 PM, kayb said:

One of my very favorite munchies is dates stuffed with an almond and wrapped in bacon and baked. Also good to put some sort of hard cheese; I've used manchego and aged gouda. It's good with blue, but that gets runny and leaks everywhere.

 

 

I favor dates stuffed with Mexican chorizo and bacon wrapped, but cheese needs to be tried

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59 minutes ago, gfweb said:

I favor dates stuffed with Mexican chorizo and bacon wrapped, but cheese needs to be tried

 

Now that we have a fireplace and grill, I'm figuring on a meal of stuffed-and-grilled stuff before long. Stay tuned. :)

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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

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This morning's breakfast was an indulgence. I finally broke into a small pot of smoked salmon pâté I brought from one of my favorite food places in Duluth: Northern Waters Smokehaus

 

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It was very difficult to stop so there will be another meal or two later on. I've never had this pâté of theirs before. Now I wish I'd gotten more, or could figure out how to make it! It's tart, not very smoky, and packs a bit of unexpected heat. I can make out horseradish, green onion, and something that looks like dill although I don't taste it, and probably lemon juice. 

 

Ah, I just looked at their description of this treat: 

Quote

For this hearty gourmet spread, we start with our smoked Atlantic salmon then blend it with horseradish, scallions, lemon juice, garlic, mayonnaise, dill, and just enough secret ingredients to keep the formula a mystery!

 

I'm sure I didn't pay as much as their listed price, but I think I got a smaller container. At any rate, it's delicious. I'm glad my darling isn't crazy about smoked salmon. xD

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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

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I finally got around to making a version of Armadillo Eggs. Some folks might think them indistiguinguishable from Jalapeno Poppers, when you come right down to it, but I was using guidelines from @Robb Walsh's Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook (eG-friendly Amazon.com link). He called 'em Armadillo Eggs.

 

Right away, that book was helpful. I realized when I was setting up ingredients that I only had thick-sliced bacon. It's too thick and stiff to wrap around things easily. Well, said Robb's book, in that case you pound the bacon thinner with a meat mallet. "DUH!" I thought, "why didn't I think of that?!" I stopped slapping my forehead and grabbed the mallet. I snapped a photo halfway through to show the difference.

 

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I had some pulled pork and Neufchatel cheese from home, and barbecue sauce from Mineral Wells. I experimented with different cutting methods (cut off the ends per Robb's book, cut a slit down the sides per other sites) and experimented with the balance of ingredients in the stuffing. Some chiles had barbecue sauce, some didn't. There may have been two without pulled pork. I've forgotten now.

 

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After they were all wrapped and skewered with toothpicks to hold together, they went into the refrigerator. As it turns out, they stayed a couple of days while we had popcorn that night (no real appetite) and chili from the freezer the next (nobody felt like cooking). Last night was the big test night. It was cold and windy, so I cooked them in the oven at around 425, turning occasionally, until the bacon was crisp.

 

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Delicious! Strangely, neither of us could tell a difference in the flavors; the bacon and cream cheese dominated everything. I'll have to do something else with that pulled pork. I think I preferred cutting a slit in the sides rather than the end, but there was only one leaker. Next time I may try breading and deep-frying these things, just to add to the calorie count.

 

A green salad was the other half of dinner. I'd intended to make Caesar dressing using a recipe from Schlesinger and Willoughby's Lettuce in Your Kitchen (eG-friendly Amazon.com link), but ran into a snag. I chose instead their Spicy Balsamic Vinaigrette (p. 74 in the book, if anyone else wants to try it). It's an excellent dressing, seasoned by celery seeds, coriander seeds, garlic and red pepper. I used about half the sugar they recommend, since I'm not a fan of sweet dressings, and it came out just right for my tastes.

 

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It was cold and windy here yesterday, but today isn't too bad. We may cook over the campfire. The sunrises and sunsets around here have been beautiful.

 

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Social distancing is easy around here.

 

 

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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

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More mac 'n' cheese 'n' ham last night. I've run us out of the large penne rigate, so chose farfalle this time. I know that shape got little love - with a few notable dissenters - over in the Pasta Shapes topic, but I have a bunch and like them for some things. I decided to see whether mac 'n' cheese was a good usage.

 

There was still a small bowl of the last batch, untouched, in the refrigerator. I reheated that at the same time I was baking the new casserole. We tried them side by side.

 

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(The color in these photos makes the stuff look like Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese with the suspicious powder. I promise I didn't use any of that!)

 

Observations: 

  • The last batch contained a mix of colby/jack, pepper jack and cheddar cheeses. The new batch contained only sharp cheddar (Crystal Farms orange, brought from home, and Tillamook white, recently purchased). We couldn't tell the difference in flavor!
  • The sauce was runny enough that it got into the penne. I rather preferred the texture of the hollow noodle and the way the sauce hid inside it, although we had no complaints about the butterflies.
  • The leftovers that we've been reheating from the last batch have had a grainy texture. Neither batch from last night seemed grainy. Is this a matter of reheating a starch-based sauce properly, that we haven't been doing?
  • By coincidence, this morning Hank Shaw's email from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook featured Green Chile Mac and Cheese with Pheasant. I don't have access to pheasant, but I love the idea of putting Hatch Green chiles into this stuff. Next time around, I'm going that way. 
  • I note, however, that Mr. Shaw uses considerably less sauce for his mac 'n' cheese than we do. I realize this is a personal preference. Still, I wonder how the rest of you prefer your version of this dish? Heavy on the sauce? Barely sauced? It's probably such a personal issue that we should take the discussion over to Homemade Macaroni and Cheese: the Topic ....
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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

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For breakfast this morning I used half of one the pomegranates we bought last week for a buck apiece. I need to do something with the rest of these before they dry out, and then maybe go back for more if they're still at such a good price. Juice them. Make pomegranate-flavored gelatin. They are huge, fat, juicy, and intensely flavorful if this one is typical.  

 

They are also messy, as good pomegranates often are. See the splashes on the side of the bowl? They're also on my tee-shirt. Note to self: don't wear a favorite yellow tee-shirt when dealing with pomegranates.

 

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In other news: last night we had what's called a 2-inch rain in the areas we frequent: rain drops (which we never heard or saw) 2" apart. Today, the side of our pickup is decorated with a perfect 3-D dust pattern. 

 

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Doesn't that look like beads of water illuminated from below? It isn't. It's dust collected by water droplets and concentrated at the bottom of the drip, and it's bone-dry.

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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

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Farfalle is my favorite shape for chicken pasta salad. Okay for mac'n'cheese in a pinch. Don't use it much otherwise.

 

15 minutes ago, Smithy said:
  • Still, I wonder how the rest of you prefer your version of this dish?

Whether when camping or at home the sauce needs to be the same, heavy enough to completely cover the sauce but not enough to call it gloppy.

 

I really enjoy your "Princessmobile Diaries" and even more so with no where to really go right now. I suspect I know where you're camping at right now. COVID-19 is serious stuff so the idea of trying for a visit this year is out of the question.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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12 minutes ago, Porthos said:

COVID-19 is serious stuff so the idea of trying for a visit this year is out of the question.

 

Yes, you probably do know, but you're right that the visit simply can't happen. Our usual trip through the L.A. Basin is also cancelled. We'll have to help our friend celebrate her Century Birthday remotely, with hopes of a visit this spring before we head back toward home. I'm pretty sure it will just be the two of us for Christmas...not sure even my sister should make the trip. It will be a strange Christmas for all of us.

 

 

 

15 minutes ago, Porthos said:

I really enjoy your "Princessmobile Diaries" and even more so with no where to really go right now.

 

This is important for me to hear. Thank you!

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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

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Well, this is an unusual morning.

 

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We saw fog over the sand dunes yesterday morning, but fog (as opposed to dust) here is very rare. The outdoor kitchen was downright wet when we got up.

 

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As the sun heats the air everything is starting to dry, but I enjoyed the cool damp air. It reminds me of home, growing up in the San Joaquin Valley, around Christmas time when fog was common. It also enhances the smells. I wish we had smell-o-rama over the internet, so I could share the desert aroma! Plants that are only beginning to turn green put out subtle spicy odors that we can't usually smell.

 

Last night's dinner was simple, but didn't come out as well as I'd have liked. I bought a couple of pounds of green beans at our last grocery store visit. I love green beans. I don't love trimming them, so cooking them is a production that had Better Be Worth The Effort. The treatment is a simple Lebanese recipe from @linda dalal's cookbook  Alice's Kitchen (eG-friendly Amazon.com link): steam them and toss with a dressing of oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt. (I prefer steaming to blanching because it uses less water. I love the fact that the author advocates saving the steaming water for other uses like broth.)  

 

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This recipe has been a big hit with us before.  Unfortunately, I didn't steam the beans long enough for them to be quite done, and they're tough. We'll try cooking the leftovers more today, but that will change the flavor of the dressing.

 

The rest of dinner was breaded and baked chicken thighs. It's one of those nearly effortless dishes that minds itself so we can watch the Friday night news on computer.

 

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This morning my darling wanted to plan breaded and baked pork steaks. We looked through the freezer. We found thin-cut pork steaks suitable for schnitzel. We looked harder. We unpacked the darned freezer. No thick-cut pork steaks, but at least I confirmed that we have a prime rib for Christmas. We settled on campfire cookery for tonight.

 

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Then, with effort, we put the genie back in the bottle.

 

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It's hard to tell anything has come out, isn't it? xD

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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

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The sunset was almost as unusual as the sunrise had been.

 

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Tonight's campfire was a great way to cook the bratwursts and hot dog buns we'd thawed earlier. As it turns out, I should have planned on one brat only for myself. 

 

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Not shown: I microwaved the bejeesus out of some of last night's green beans. They finally became tender, but as I'd feared the lemon dressing had lost its oomph. There's another container yet. Next time I'll try draining the dressing before cooking the beans, or - if there isn't enough dressing - just make another batch.

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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

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