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Camping, Princess Style


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Last Wednesday was once again Geezer Day at Fry's: the day people over 55 years old get a 10% discount on everything, even the already sale-priced items. We had reason to be at the eastern end of Yuma, so opted to do our stocking-up shopping at the Foothills Fry's rather than our usual. I wrote about that store in fair detail here and in another post shortly afterward, so I only bothered with one photo. This really was a good deal! 

 

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The surprising thing about this store is that despite its much larger size and outstanding seafood counter, its meat counter and selection weren't nearly as good as what we're used to. We didn't need any of the interesting rices or mustard I'd noted in a previous trip.

 

What we did need was a lot fewer people. We learned that the downside to shopping on Geezer Day at the end of town where the Geezers are concentrated is waaaay toooo many Very Slow People and waaaay tooo much ground to cover from aisle to aisle to accomplish our mission. We'll stick to the downtown Fry's after this!

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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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It isn't as though we needed meat anyway, except the kielbasas my darling insists on buying to keep us in hash supplies. He continues to kvetch about how much meat is in the freezer, yet can hardly stand to pass up a ham (he threatened this morning to buy another at the next opportunity) or his hash stash.

 

Meanwhile, I keep buying more vegetables than I can reasonably deal with. I have an especially complicated relationship with cauliflower. I keep seeing good-looking recipes for cauliflower, and want to cook them. I buy a cauliflower. Then I hide it where I won't have to face trimming and cutting it, and working out what to do with it! At the back my mind I still have the wretched memory of my mother's treatment of the vegetable. She was a good cook, in general, but I think the only thing she knew to do with cauliflower was to boil (or maybe steam) it, cover it with cheese sauce, and bake it. Cheesy mush. Yuck.

 

But I had a cauliflower, and I have several recipes I want to try, and some of them are in an Indian cookbook that I have littered with bookmarks. The other night I finally girded my loins, or whatever the woman's equivalent is, and dealt with the cauliflower. THEN I discovered that my darling loves the stuff! Raw! Cooked however! Thrown into salads! How did I not know this before now?

 

The Indian recipe is for Aloo gobhi: garlic and chile-flavored potatoes with cauliflower. What I didn't understand until I began cooking is that you're supposed to cook the cauliflower and potatoes separately, then fry them with the spices (mustard seeds, cumin seeds, garlic), then toss with turmeric and cilantro. Seems a bit of a time-waster to me to cook those veg ahead of time, and the chicken was already in the oven. The microwave helped speed things along. The meat was chicken thighs breaded and baked.

 

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It was very good, even better when I added butter to the vegetables. But how could I not have known how much he loves cauliflower?

 

Here's one of our better recent sunset views, looking both east and west from the trailer.

 

20210206_092103.jpg

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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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That is quite funny on your not realizing your guy really likes cauliflower. Pre Pandemic my go to place for beautiful cauliflower was the 99 cent store down the hill. Fat white tight heads for that price. Many South Asian customers with their carts piled high. I am a cruciferous vegetable fan in general. Roasted could eat the pan myself as we have discussed here. I mixes so beautifully with strong flavors. Happy cauliflower adventuring! 

 

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/31042-roasted-cauliflower/

 

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One more recent dinner bears description. I was disappointed to discover that the last frozen container of beans - a very large container - was not, after all, from Cooper's. 

 

20210206_071543.jpg

 

My darling, on the other hand, was delighted. These beans were left over from our grandson's wedding last July. The Groom's Dinner was a barbecue buffet expertly done by our grandson's mother and some of her friends. Of course there were leftovers. We got some. What he likes about them, and I don't, is that they're sweet: whether with molasses, brown sugar, or both, I don't know. I didn't work out that I could like beans until I discovered that they don't have to be sweetened!

 

That was one package out of the freezer. Another was this set of bratwursts brought from home. They've been serving as a freezer compartment divider all this time.

 

20210206_114044.jpg

 

We had originally planned to grill these over a campfire, but opted for the comfort and convenience of the Princessmobile's kitchen. I pan-fried the brats and microwaved the beans. We both added our favorite barbecue sauces to make the beans more to our liking. He'll enjoy the rest of the beans. As you can see, he wanted buns with his brats. I didn't, which is well because the last of the buns had also come out of the freezer.

 

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Last night as I was prepping dinner I spotted a pair of headlights come up the nearest north-south dirt road, shining a spotlight. The vehicle turned off the road and toward our campsite. "Company!" I yelled. It wasn't - which was a relief, since we weren't expecting anyone. It was quite dark, but we could tell from the side lights as it passed that it was a pickup towing a trailer. How big the trailer was we couldn't tell. The pickup continued on. "No problem," I said, "they're going to the other end of the clearing." There's plenty of room down there. That's where we stayed over Thanksgiving, when our present and preferred spot was occupied.

 

The lights stopped. People walked around with flashlights. It was an incredibly late setup...but then all the lights disappeared! That must have been the quickest setup known to humankind. This morning, when we could see, we could see...nothing except the usual vegetation.

 

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There is a very narrow track off this area going the way they went. We tracked them for a mile this morning, expecting to find them stuck, or camped. The tracks continued on, along flats and across washes, to who-knows-where. Why they went that way, where they finally went, and why they couldn't have done the trip in the daylight will remain a mystery.

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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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20 minutes ago, Smithy said:

One more recent dinner bears description. I was disappointed to discover that the last frozen container of beans - a very large container - was not, after all, from Cooper's. 

 

20210206_071543.jpg

 

My darling, on the other hand, was delighted. These beans were left over from our grandson's wedding last July. The Groom's Dinner was a barbecue buffet expertly done by our grandson's mother and some of her friends. Of course there were leftovers. We got some. What he likes about them, and I don't, is that they're sweet: whether with molasses, brown sugar, or both, I don't know. I didn't work out that I could like beans until I discovered that they don't have to be sweetened!

 

That was one package out of the freezer. Another was this set of bratwursts brought from home. They've been serving as a freezer compartment divider all this time.

 

20210206_114044.jpg

 

We had originally planned to grill these over a campfire, but opted for the comfort and convenience of the Princessmobile's kitchen. I pan-fried the brats and microwaved the beans. We both added our favorite barbecue sauces to make the beans more to our liking. He'll enjoy the rest of the beans. As you can see, he wanted buns with his brats. I didn't, which is well because the last of the buns had also come out of the freezer.

 

 

 

2 people confined in a small space - differences of opinion occur and are magnified. Probably an amusing story were they to tell it.

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3 hours ago, heidih said:

 

2 people confined in a small space - differences of opinion occur and are magnified. Probably an amusing story were they to tell it.

 

Oh baby, sing it! I realized long ago, thanks to these winter excursions, that I'd have made a terrible astronaut. At least here I can get outside by myself!

Edited by Smithy
Spelling: corrected "realize" to "realized" (log)
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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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And, you both ave a

 

Gravity Potty.

 

shovel perhaps from time to time

 

""  Its a Long Long Long way to Mars

 

and back , w/o Gravity "

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1 hour ago, Smithy said:

At least here I can get outside by myself!

Wait a minute. Have you not heard of spacewalks?

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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@Smithy,  my favorite treatment for cauliflower is similar to what you made, in a curry, with potatoes or just by itself, served with a refreshing raita and a mango pickle. But I do have an emergency recipe for when I literally have nothing in the fridge but a lonely cauliflower. The only other ingredients are spaghetti or some other pasta shape, and a couple of cups of marinara sauce. I make mine and freeze it by the pint, but emergency implies alternatives, so your preferred store bought would work. Mine is meatless, so this qualifies as a vegetarian meal, or a side. Works for two as a main, four as a side.

 

All I do is this: bring ample water to a boil for the pasta. I like thin spaghetti or linguini fini. Trim the cauliflower and cut it into bite-size pieces. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Saute the cauliflower, adding salt and pepper. Cook until lightly golden or you can pierce it with a knife, al dente, so it has a bite to it. Add a few cloves of garlic, minced, cook a minute or two more and remove the cauliflower to a bowl. Without cleaning the skillet, dump in a pint of your favorite tomato sauce. I like to add a shake of red pepper flakes if the sauce is mild, and taste for salt. Heat on low until simmering and add a little of the pasta water. Add back in the cauliflower to heat through. When the pasta is done to your liking, drain it quickly in a colander and then put it back in the pasta pot. Pour in the skillet's worth of sauce w cauliflower and mix. Serve with grated hard cheese. Very good for a three-ingredient quick dish.

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On 2/6/2021 at 12:14 PM, Smithy said:

20210206_114044.jpg

 

We had originally planned to grill these over a campfire, but opted for the comfort and convenience of the Princessmobile's kitchen. I pan-fried the brats and microwaved the beans. We both added our favorite barbecue sauces to make the beans more to our liking. He'll enjoy the rest of the beans. As you can see, he wanted buns with his brats. I didn't, which is well because the last of the buns had also come out of the freezer.

When we have brats at home we never use buns.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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Another cauliflower option you may consider is Alon Shaya's Whole Roasted Cauliflower and Whipped Goat Cheese .  The initial poaching step in a flavorful broth seasons it through and through and makes it much better than any other whole roasted versions I've tried.  Takes a little while but pretty much all hands-off. For 2, you can use just half a head if you like (ETA: adjust the poaching time downwards to avoid over cooking if you do that.) The whipped goat/feta is excellent with it but if you've got another sauce you prefer, just sub that in.  The broth can be saved for another round, poaching other vegetables or fish or making risotto. 

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In the "you win some, you lose some" department: I've had the tab open on my browser for months lest I lose this recipe for Maple Mustard Oat-Crusted Salmon. I've mentioned before that I'm not crazy about maple flavor, but it has its places. The occasional maple-planked salmon can be a good thing. I know my darling prefers things slightly sweeter than I do, so this recipe looked like a possibility. 

 

I pulled out a treasure brought from home and stored safely in the freezer.

 

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The salmon is caught by a Duluth fisherman who spends his summers in Alaska and brings/sends home fine salmon and halibut. By buying this I was supporting a favorite local restaurant making do during the pandemic AND a local (so to speak) fisherman.

 

The recipe isn't difficult: make a paste of maple syrup and mustard; coat the salmon flesh with that; dip in quick-cooking oats. Briefly sear the skin in a skillet, then put under the broiler, then serve. 

 

It's entirely possible that rolled oats weren't a good substitute for quick-cooking oats. I know I overcooked the salmon under the broiler. Nonetheless, neither of us liked the flavors. The basic technique of coating the salmon with something (butter, oil, seasonings) and coating with chopped pecans, then doing that pan treatment, would work. I won't try this particular recipe again. I can close that tab now.

 

The asparagus, on the other hand, was excellent: a brief blanch in boiling water, then a toss with good butter. What more could anyone want?

 

20210209_064530.jpg

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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 wouldn't have used rolled oats.

I haven't done that with fish, though food writer James Barber advocated oat-crusted herring in one of his books. I *have* done it with pork and chicken, but I buzzed the oats briefly in my food processor or spice grinder to reduce them to more of a breadcrumb consistency. Also when I've done that it's been with the purpose of frying, so the oats could brown and toast in the oil. If I was to do 'em in the oven, I would very definitely spray or mist the top with oil to promote browning.

 

Because fish cooks so quickly I really think you need that direct heat of the skillet to get the necessary browning before it's overcooked.

 

To judge by the photo those are thinner tail pieces, which wouldn't have helped. A thick cross-cut piece from the thickest portion of the fillet probably would have worked better, in that a) you'd have a smaller surface area, and therefore a ratio of fish:oats that would be more favorable; and b) the thickness would buy you an extra minute or two for browning.

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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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2 hours ago, chromedome said:

. If I was to do 'em in the oven, I would very definitely spray or mist the top with oil to promote browning.

 

In fairness to the recipe I should have mentioned that step. The recipe did say to spritz the oats with oil, and I did do that. The rest of your comments also make sense, and if I try the technique with different flavors and coating I'll stick with a bigger cut.

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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8 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

In fairness to the recipe I should have mentioned that step. The recipe did say to spritz the oats with oil, and I did do that. The rest of your comments also make sense, and if I try the technique with different flavors and coating I'll stick with a bigger cut.

 

If the recipe calls for quick cooking oats, it won't work so well with regular rolled oats.  For cookies that specify quick cooking oats I flock my groats and then pulse them in the food processor.

 

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A recipe that we enjoy is salmon steaks marinated for 4-6 hours in a mixture of brown sugar and bourbon. I just mix up a loose slurry and make sure to keep turning the salmon so the marinade permeates a little before cooking. Melt butter in a skillet and brown the steaks on each side. Add a little of the marinade if you like, to finish cooking. You can also broil the salmon and cook down the marinade for a sauce with some butter. For me, medium to medium rare is the best, but that's a personal choice.

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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11 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

If the recipe calls for quick cooking oats, it won't work so well with regular rolled oats.  For cookies that specify quick cooking oats I flock my groats and then pulse them in the food processor.

 

 

I had to go back and find "flock" again in this context. Curiously, Google was of no help...it kept sending me to grain flakers and chicken flocks! But of course, WE have a topic in which flockers are discussed, starting about here.

 

Since I was already starting with rolled oats, I take it I should have simply pulsed them in a food processor? I'm still not planning to combine oats with salmon again, but I may need to think about substituting rolled oats for quick-cooking oats in some other application.

 

Edited to add: I think this is also what @chromedome was suggesting above. Am I correct?

Edited by Smithy (log)

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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50 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

I had to go back and find "flock" again in this context. Curiously, Google was of no help...it kept sending me to grain flakers and chicken flocks! But of course, WE have a topic in which flockers are discussed, starting about here.

 

Since I was already starting with rolled oats, I take it I should have simply pulsed them in a food processor? I'm still not planning to combine oats with salmon again, but I may need to think about substituting rolled oats for quick-cooking oats in some other application.

 

Edited to add: I think this is also what @chromedome was suggesting above. Am I correct?

Yeah, the quick-cooking oats are much thinner and finer (and I would still pulse them anyway to make them smaller yet).

By way of analogy, imagine you'd decided to try tempura vegetables for the first time but used boxed pancake mix for the batter because that's what was on hand. You'd definitely still end up with battered, fried vegetables, but it would be a decidedly different experience.

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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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Good morning!

 

20210210_063245.jpeg

 

Yesterday there was a taco stand at the Farmers' Market, so I tried some of their fare: a grilled pasilla chile stuffed with carne asada and cheese, and topped with guacamole; and a taco - I've already forgotten, but I think it also contained carne asada as well as onions and cole slaw.  It was pretty good, but messy.  I'm not sure how I was supposed to eat that chile, but I tried a spoon and fork, and after a bite or two of the chile itself abandoned the effort. The stuffing was good. I'm not sure why I didn't get a picture of the stand itself. Maybe next week. The fare isn't as good as I've gotten at the other taqueria I've written about, but I like the idea of supporting the farmers' market, too.

 

20210210_071609.jpg

 

Last night we indulged in an old favorite for the first time this trip. He has a strong preference for Prego's Spaghetti Sauce with Italian Sausage and Garlic. When he makes it, he just boils the noodles and microwaves the entire jar of sauce. I can't leave things that simple, of course. I cooked a pound of hot Italian sausage with some chopped onion, then added the jarred sauce and a bit of wine that I used to rinse the sauce jar. We don't have spaghetti noodles, as such, so I used linguini rather than capellini.

 

20210210_071816.jpg

 

Grated parmesan went on it at the table. The bread is sliced from my latest loaf.

 

20210210_071904.jpg

 

The sun continues to put on a good morning and evening show.

 

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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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Ha I think with those messy things you just lean over, well supplied with napkins. On the full taco I usually pull the bottom tortilla out and fill it with the goodies leaving enough for the inner tortilla to be perfect as well.

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20210214_083756.jpg

 

There's been a lot happening here, and it's going to take a few posts to catch up, with the order all out of kilter. At least it will be the order of the story, rather than our lives in general, out of kilter!

 

Since we're on the topic of messy street food, I'll begin with last night's dinner: tacos, to use up some onion, (past) ripe bell pepper, cilantro-about-to-go-off, green onion (ditto), jalapeno, tortillas bought specially for this purpose, and a lovely shoulder clod of beef. I'll tell the story about getting that beef later.

 

20210214_083044.jpg

 

The espresso and ancho rub was a gift from my sister. She often gives me interesting spice blends from salty-savory-sweet Spice and Tea Shoppe for Christmas or my birthday. Many are great, and this one is particularly good. It has a hint of sweetness in addition to heat, and it did great things for the beef.

 

The tortillas were another matter. I Do Not Have the knack of cooking them enough to get them warm and (in the case of flour tortillas) eliminate the raw flour taste without overcooking and getting them crunchy. Messy street food, indeed! At least we had plates and flatware. We added shredded lettuce, salsa (made at home last summer) and sour cream at will, at the table.

 

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It was delicious, but messy. Interestingly, he really couldn't tell the taste difference between the corn tortillas and the flour tortillas. He preferred flour tortillas for the larger size. I preferred corn for the taste. This is something that's changed for me over the last couple of years.

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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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@Smithy Assuming you are talking about purchased tortillas - I have 3 methods I use as the mood strikes.  Directly on the grate of the gas stove top. Similarly on stove in a small cast iron skillet that lives there. Pre heat.  No oil please unless crunch desired. Stay at stove. flip and done.  3rd- MW wrapped in damp paper towel. Just a few second, leave wrapped so steam themselves. Flour tortillas shouldn't have a raw flour taste in my experience as they are "pre-cooked". 

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