Friday, February 26, 2010

Tom's bbq Salmon

We've skied three days at Timberline (in bluebird sunshine yesterday) and plan to ski Mt. Hood Meadows the next one or two-snow expected tomorrow and sunshine Sunday, which may lure us there on the way home.

We had friends join us here yesterday; Tom, Lynda, and Ryker:

Last night we had Tom's barbequed Chinook Salmon. He catches these on his boat trips near Port Alberni, Canada. He says if he tells me exactly where, he'd have to kill me. He spreads the fish with pesto, encloses it in aluminum foil and barbeques it on the grill. Again, if he gave me the exact recipe, he'd have to kill me, but I've never had better fish and we're privileged to share the bounty of his fishing trips.

Know what this is? It's the second greatest ski convenience item invented; neck gaiters are the first...Tom tunes my skis, and after the latest time, this strap, that holds my skies together disappeared. This makes carrying them to and from the slopes more difficult and annoying, because they "scissor". He went out and dug through their car last night and found the strap, so I was a happier skier today. The mistake, he explained, was that he had a red one, too, and thought this was one of theirs.

Next day: A photo of our group from Mt. Hood Meadows with 4 inches of new on a beautiful sunshiny day-life is good and after four straight days skiing, I'm pretty tired:)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pork Chops, Pasta and Condo Campinig at Mt. Hood OR

When Ron and I met, we both owned condos, and Ron loves to travel and plan trips, weekend junkets, week long excursions (we drove-I'm not kidding-2300 miles in a car through seven southern states back east and visited eight civil war battlefields in fall 2008), in the US, outside the US-2 trips to Mexico last year and next year-Japan, where he grew up, a military brat.

I love to travel also but don't love planning so much, possibly the consequence of raising three sons and a step-son (from a now-defunct marriage, but I had him for 10 years) all of whom we kept active in sports, scouts, band, karate. You can imagine what a hectic schedule that was to orchestrate, let alone planning vacations for six of us, which was assuredly hellish. Plus feeding them, teenagers are, as you might know, eating and sleeping machines. We had a white board on the kitchen wall with a monthly menu, shopped at Costco, took out left-befores for lunches because they left no leftovers-they didn't eat until they were full, they ate until the food was gone. Actually, they still do that...

So back to Ron and his trip-planning propensity; when we met, we discovered we both have the travel bug in its acute form, so he started planning trips until I had to give him the time-out signal and explain that unlike him, I haven't worked at the same place for over 20 years and have adequate, but not unlimited leave available. I had planned a trip to Seaside Oregon, to sulk, if you will, from yet another failed few-week relationship. Ron invited himself along, half-kidding but also serious, before I had even met him in person. We did meet the week before, on my birthday 2007 and then met up in Seaside.

That was the last trip I planned. He plans 'em now, gives me directions when we're driving, or hands me my boarding pass as we get ready to board a plane. Man, is this the life! Now we're at Welches,Oregon (where??), at Whispering Woods, going to ski Mt. Hood the next few days and have ski-buds joining us Thursday. That brings me to condo camping. I don't camp outdoors, I like that shower in the morning and sleeping indoors, no bugs or dirt  in my food. It helps if we're sleeping indoors in really great places! My ex liked to golf, so my timeshare exchanges were all in beautiful locations on - you got it - golf courses. Tonight we're using Ron's timeshare exchange, which is also always wonderful and ironically, on a golf course.

Ron likes pork; I don't particularly, but I like the price-usually it's the cheapest, so I brought some pork loin chops along and gave him the choice between pork chops or lamb chops. This was dinner tonight:

Pork Chops

Pork Chops or Pork Loin Boneless Chops

1 egg and 1/2 cup milk whisked together
Corn Flake Crumbs-I used the boxed stuff, lazy I know, but easy to transport
Seasoning-make your own-remember we're in travel status-this might have been Montreal seasoning, parsley flakes, garlic powder, I'm not sure. I packed it for Grand Lake, Oklahoma trip this summer, didn't use it, nor for a couple of other trips until now. See the next post on what I pack to travel.
About 1/4 cup grated parmesan.

Dip the pork chops in egg mixture, then corn flake crumb mixture, brown on each side, then cover and simmer until done to your preference. Ron did ask me how I made these and I told him, but I doubt he has most of the stuff at his house!

Pasta Salad-I put roughly 8 things in this-my signature pasta salad, limited only by your imagination:

Pasta-your choice-I used 3/4 lb. cooked multi-gran fettucini tonight
Olive oil
1/4 cup sliced green onion
4 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed (capers are pickled juniper berries, that plus the olives are little salt bombs)
Chopped parsley (I used dried-packaged tonight because I'm traveling, but usually use fresh Italina
Grated parmesan cheese 

Boil the pasta, drain add other ingredients, chill and add grated parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Flintstone Ribs and Baked Potatoes

I love Tony Roma's barbeque sauce, we discovered the restaurant years ago in Spokane, WA (that restaurant is now, unfortunately closed although there still is one in Kennewick, which is much closer to me, but I seldom get down there) during my last disastrous marriage when we were hungry, driving around bitching at each other because neither of us was "hungry for" what the other wanted to eat. Spokane's Division Street is a miles long succession of restaurants on either side of the street, where we spotted Tony Roma's. It was the first we'd ever been to, but I really fell in love with their bbq sauce. I think I'll make it a goal, maybe this year, to invent a copycat recipe for it-although I can find it at Safeway, because I feel it's cheating to post a food blog with a commercial product in it and call the recipe mine.

So Flintstone Ribs? Anyone remember the Flintstones? Are they still on-I don't watch much television? But there is a scene in the closing where they wheel up to a drive in and order Brontosaurus Ribs. The waitress carries them out to the car, heaves them up to the side of the car and the car tips over...

I get beef back ribs, usually on sale for way cheap, boil them for at least an hour, until they're nearly falling off the bone, then brush the bbq sauce all over them and bake them until the sauce is thick and sticky. They're messy, gooey, sticky things, that taste just terrific. I serve them with baked potatoes, because-you may not know this-baked potatoes are great with bbq sauce on them.

We've been watching the Olympics all week. Watched Lindsey Vonn cross the finish line the other night, with bad form, nearly on one foot due to the pain, and win gold. I'm a skier and had a broken foot in 2006 (not from skiing, just from stepping off my back steps onto uneven concrete), and can tell you that you skiing with an injury isn't a whole bunch of fun. Lindsey, you rock! Apparently Korea hates Apolo Ohno because he's an aggressive skater and he keeps winning their golds. Somewhere in the definition of competition must be the word aggressive. You don't tap someone politely on the shoulder and ask to pass them while skating in the Olympics...they evidently invented toilet paper with his picture on it that is selling well in Korea.

She's so old...I have a 20 year old cat who has always been blind. She's amazing, really. I don't think she hears or smells so well anymore either. She's a lilac point Siamese, always been just so beautiful, but she doesn't take such great care of her coat anymore, so every week or so we have to hold her down, brush her, and cut the hairballs off, a process she strenuously and vocally resists, and I dislike doing it, but if we don't she develops golf ball sized snarls that we eventually have to shave off anyway.

Taking her photo is pretty challenging, because you just get her in the frame and she moves, plus I have a years old camera that waits a few seconds before the photo "takes", seconds in which she moves. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rice and Beans with Buffalo Chicken

Or Some Pseudo Mardi Gras food!

We've had a laid-back holiday weekend, as I mentioned, pretty much rained out for skiing, but watching the Olympics. Their weather isn't exceptional, either, and they've had to helicopter snow in to hold the alpine events. We didn't get to the store, so had to rely on the cupboards and freezer for dinner tonight, which can be very fun seeing what we have that we forgot we had and what we can come up with. Lunch was leftovers.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered, heaven only knows why it took me this long, the bulk food section of Fred Meyer. It isn't as if the store is new, nor is their bulk food section. They have a better than decent selection, compared to most other supermarkets, and seems fresher, at least the trail mix I bought was. So for dinner I had rice and black eyed peas, with buffalo chicken wings. The rice is a wild rice blend I found in bulk foods, the black eyed peas were packaged dried beans, and the buffalo wings frozen from the meat department at Safeway.


1 cup water
1 cup tomato juice
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 cup long grain and wild rice blend

Boil the liquids and add the crushed pepper and rice. This takes about 1 hour to cook. I used the 2 to 1 ratio I'm used to when making rice, but it was dry after about 20 minutes, so I added 1 more cup of water and 1 more cup of tomato juice. It turned out very tasty.

Black Eyed Peas

Rinse 1 cup black eyed peas well and drain
4 cups water
About 1 tablespoon salt, to taste
About 1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules (you wouldn't believe how many tries I took at spelling bouillon correctly so the little red squiggly line disappeared.)

Boil for 1 hour or more until tender. Yes, the package says to pre-soak overnight, or quick soak by boiling 1/2 hour then letting it sit in the hot water for 1 hour. This isn't necessary, they cook just as quickly without doing all that. Mix the cooked rice and beans together, if preferred.

So this is our lazy day, sort of spicy Mardi Gras food. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Olympics, Steak & Shrimp Scampi

I bought a lot of seafood on sale this weekend, so we had steamer clams and store-made shrimp scampi Friday night. The clams, I boiled, drained, added some garlic, white wine, and lemon juice. I could eat those by the gallon! Tonight, though, to celebrate the Olympics-so far we've seen two couples skate-not being able to ski (rain rain rain-but I don't feel so bad, I watched the nordic combined today, and those guys were out cross-country skiing and shooting in sleet-blech), so I had some cooked, deveined shrimp (hey, I'm lazy, but I'd gladly take a lesson on deveining if someone has some advice to make it easy). The store-made scampi was pretty salty, so I left salt out and mine turned out less salty and, perhaps, healthier.

Olive Oil in skillet, about 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 sliced green onions
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 lbs. cooked deveined shrimp (but not those little bitty canned things that have the consistency of pencil erasers and are suitable for a last-minute salad for a 4th of July picnic!) 
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup white wine
Italian seasoning

Multi-grain thin spaghetti

Saute garlic and green onion in olive oil. Add crushed red pepper flakes and shrimp and cook until warmed through. Add butter and Italian seasoning, then white wine when the butter has melted. Add to cooked, drained pasta and serve. I plan to submit this to Presto Pasta Nights, the hosted this week by Mrs. Ergul Passion of Food and Life and courtesy of Ruth of Once Upon a Feast.
My son Brian cooked the steaks, a talent he has perfected over the last several years. When he started, he cooked them all the way he likes them - nearly raw and coated with cayenne pepper. Once I explained that the rest of us like them cooked, and edible, he does a great job, and did so tonight.

Years ago, when he was a novice, it was my parental pleasure to listen to him clicking the starter repeatedly on the barbeque, lean outside and suggest he open the lid, as fire needs air. He did, then clicked the starter again immediately and then disappeared, albeit briefly, in a fire ball. Mercifully the only damage to his person was singed hair and eyebrows, and to me, wide open mouth and rapid heartbeat.

It's still hard for me to watch Olympic skating. My mother loved it and followed it avidly. She died of heart disease in 2001 and were she still alive, I would know who was skating for what country, their standings, and would have watched some of the competition leading up to the Olympics. So, I watched the young American couple skate tonight, often overcome with tears. I always miss my Mom, but at times like these, I miss her more. Even if I didn't, there are so many poignant stories on the paths the competitors take to get there, I would probably be weepy anyway. Many of the athletes and their families sacrifice all to compete.

I have found limitless creative ways to waste time on the web. I spent quite a lot of the day on Facebook, not only creating a comic avatar for myself (this actually looks quite a lot like me, except I might look slightly older), but also chronicling where I've traveled on "Where I've Been" both of which are excellent examples to tick away your time on - well - the inconsequential.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentine's Day Basket

My Scuba Club meets once a month (at a Mexican Restaurant whose food I abhor-huge portions of greasy, salty food. I usually eat beforehand and just have wine at the meeting :) Each month we auction off a basket, the proceeds of which go to the club. I won it last month. In the 6 or so years I've been diving, I don't remember ever having won it before, I guess because it used to be 50/50 and the winner generally donated their 50 percent back to the club. I may have won that once or twice, the winnings amounting to all of $11.,in that neighborhood. I don't remember when or how the basket raffle started.

Well, I won it last month. The guy who got it in December must have taken issue to the "girl" theme, because he donated a "Man Basket", Hot Rod Mag, Beef Jerky, Chips and Salsa, an oversized bottle of Fat Tire Beer, Beer Glass and a Butterfinger he said was to disguise  your breath so your wife doesn't know you were drinking...Do guys really do that? Do they really think it works?? But, he pointed out, there was not a single scented candle in the basket. As I drink mostly wine, I donated the beer to the superbowl party yesterday. Now, wasn't that quite a game?? Even a non-football lover like me got a little thrill, particularly when the Who, geezers that they have become, performed at half-time. Yeah, they still got it!!

Now it's my turn to fill this basket to raffle off for tomorrow night's meeting. What a dilemma-on the one hand, it's a perfect opportunity to "re-gift" those things you got for Christmas that you'd never buy yourself and will never use. Scented candles probably being pretty high on the list. I didn't want to try to invent another man basket, even though most of the dive club members are guys. I've pondered this all month. Hey, it's Valentine's Day this weekend, yeah, I know, guys are all over that holiday, only because we make them.

This month I decided to make "Food-in-a-Jar" with a Valentine's slant. Cowgirl cookies from Bakerella with pink M & M's, you gotta love it, Chocolate Cherry Cookies I found at, and last but not least, Cupid Soup! Ok, it's actually called Country Soup in a Jar on, but I'm going for a Valentine's theme here. At least if a guy wins it-and chances are one will, most of the dive club is male-they do eat cookies and soup.
And just so it doesn't look too manly, I added pink heart tissue and frilly Valentine ribbon. Please overlook the crummy labels, I'm not particularly artistic and the ones Bakerella had I could download didn't print clearly. I probably have a crummy printer, too.
I thought I'd save money and buy the jars at Value Village for .49 each. None had lids. How much could those little lids and rings possibly cost anyway? I don't can, so I've never priced this stuff. The first challenge was finding them. None at Safeway, which is on my way home from work. Ok, Michaels is just up the street. That's a hobby store, surely they'll have them. Zilch. Bi-Mart, a discount membership sort that sells food, clothes, sporting goods, and kitchen supplies. They had them.

In my infinite wisdom, though, I had chosen large mouth jars thinking they'd be easy to fill. First, Bi-Mart had only regular-size lids and second, even the large one are not so easy to fill. I found the damned things at Fred Meyer, four stores and an hour and a half later. What a bargain! I also haven't made any of these, so I can only hope that they're good.
I made a list of all the ingredients and tucked it in, just in case someone is allergic.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Superbowl Fest-Spiced Walnuts, Sweet Pecans (and Bleu Cheese Crisps from last post)

For Superbowl, the ski buds are making BBQ Pork Rolls and Caesar Salad, so we're providing "extras". I made the Bleu Cheese Pecan Crisps last night (which Ron "taste tested" until there are nearly not enough left to take) and I'm making Spiced Walnuts and Candied Pecans tonight.

Spiced Walnuts

-based on a recipe from Luna Cafe

2 cups walnut halves
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blanch walnuts about 3 minutes in boiling water, drain, then toss with sugar, cayenne, salt mixture. Bake on  parchment lined baking sheet in oven at 350 degrees for 20 or more minutes. Watch to make sure they are crisp but don't burn the last few minutes.

Candied Pecans

-based on a recipe from Epicurious

2 cups pecan halves
1 egg white, whisked
1/ 2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk egg white until foam, add sugar, spices, and salt. Add pecans; stir until coated. Spread on parchment paper on baking sheet. Bake until deep golden brown, about 35 minutes. Transfer to container; cover, and store at room temperature.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bleu Cheese Pecan Crisps (& skiing today)

Rain was in the forecast pretty much all weekend, which really raises the suck factor for skiing, so I didn't sprint out of bed to head up skiing this morning. I kind of oozed out, puttered around the house for a couple of hours before checking the ski report. Did that look like sunshine?? I was definitely sprinting then! I didn't get there until after 1:00 pm but got in a good three hours skiing.

We've had an odd season this year-they got snow early and opened a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, then didn't get any more appreciable snow until January. That early of a season, we are doing other things, so this is only my third time up. As most season pass holders know, you have to show up a certain number of times to make a pass worth the bucks.

Working 4 10's is great, in winter I can ski on Fridays when there are no crowds or lift lines, but has its downside; unless you run into someone you know, you pretty much ride the lifts alone and ski alone. I did ride the lift and ski with ski instructor friends once today. I taught at White Pass for five years before deciding I'd get much more skiing in if I didn't teach, and quit. I've discovered that much of the reason I ski is it's social aspect which I will encounter tomorrow, along with crowds and lift lines.

This recipe comes from a cookbook called "Soup to Nuts" that I believe I bought years back when my kids were in school doing a fundraiser. Everybody I feed them to say they're addicting. Probably helps if you like bleu cheese. I had to take them away from Ron tonight-I made them for Superbowl this Sunday and want some left to take to the party. Might try to post whatever else I decide to take. The Ski-babes and buds have a huge Superbowl party. On the other hand, it's a great time to ski, because if everybody isn't home watching the Superbowl and partying, they're in the lodge watching it and partying, so the slopes are deserted.

Bleu Cheese Pecan Crisps

8 oz. Bleu Cheese
4 oz. unsalted butter
1 egg
1 tsp. finely ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 3/4 cup flour
Cream bleu cheese and butter in bowl. Add egg, pepper, pecans and flour; mix well. Shape into 1 1/2 inch diameter roll; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 4 hours to overnight-I'll be honest, I throw these puppies in the freezer for an hour, then pull them out and slice them. Slice 1/4 inch thick, place on ungreased sheet. Bake 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 4 dozen.

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