Infinite Child 2

Infinite Child 2
Our Beautiful Dolphin motorhome

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wow!  Has it been this long again.  I started the following post back in September.  Funny, it's too good not to share.  

It has been an eventful week.  Sunday started it off - I got off early so I could watch the Seahawks and Niners play.  Mother Nature had another idea - how about a serious thunderstorm with sudden winds at 55mph, hail, rain, blowing dirt, blowing gravel, and lightening.  It took 3 of us to hold the RV awning down so it wouldn't blow away - in the meantime the TV we were sitting outside watching the game on got soaked.  

Bob, our friend Jeff, and I got soaked to the skin trying to get everything taken care of outside.  After we all got dry clothes we decided to get dinner ready and watch the game inside.  Of course our fun wasn't over the power went out and when it came back on we remembered . . . you can't run the oven and the front AC unit at the same time.  Whoops.  Breaker flipped and the back AC on, oven back on, and sub sandwiches in the oven. Game time.  


Of course you had to know that food would be involved!  Jeff brought dinner - Italian sub sandwiches from a local store.  I opened them up and tossed the soggy lettuce and tomato, then spread them with this wonderful spread. 




To make the "Jeffwiches" I opened a 1/2 pint jar of the peppers I pickled last month (oh these babies aren't going to last long!) drained them, and added them to the food processor along with 1/2 cup of Gertie's artichoke pesto.  Simple way to really make a store bought sandwich shine. If I'd been thinking I would have added some feta cheese to the spread.

I wrapped the sandwiches in foil and put them in a 350 oven for about 25 minutes.  They were so good!  I was too tired to take a picture of them . . . sigh.


This week I'll start canning tomatoes and pickling some habanero peppers from our little bush.  I know it seems crazy to "can" all this stuff in heavy glass jars when we are planning on hitting the road - but having a supply of wonderful goodies is going to be worth the weight.  We have pickled beets, raspberry jam, pepper jam, pickled peppers & pickled jalapenos so far.  It'll be nice this winter to open a jar of summer.


We've also got several pounds of home made bacon in the freezer.  It'll go fast, but we're taking the smoker on the road with us so we'll be able to make more.  There's also the chance that we'll make new friends to share some of our treasures with. 

Habaneros - fresh from the garden just waiting for the pickling
solution.  Bob will enjoy these over the winter.













It looks like we got really busy with the canning, packing, and getting things ready to go while working . . . It was hard work, sorting what would stay at the Golf Course to wait for our return and what we'd take on this new adventure with us.  We knew that we were coming to California, we wanted to be close to my oldest daughter so that we could give her a hand when she needs it.  We wanted to be closer to my youngest daughter, our Grand Children, and old friends.  

More to come on our new adventure in CA.





Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dereliction of Duty . . . Again

It occurred to me today that it has been so long since I've posted anything that I wound up spending half the day trying to log in to Blogspot.  A computer crash lost all my logins so it was a challenge - until I suddenly remembered.  Then I discovered it's been almost 2 years! Of course, this was going to be a blog about our travels . . . and so far we haven't done much of that.  It was also going to be about the food . . . and there has been a lot of that!  

Living in an RV offers it's own set of challenges to people who LOVE food and love to grow their own food.  This year we expanded our "garden" area and the results are wonderful.
 Our jalapeno plant went nuts on us and produced enough peppers (so far) for some pickled jalapenos and some pepper jam. We also had enough to add some to some wax peppers our lovely Niece Kim gave us for some more pickled peppers.  If you can imagine canning anything in an RV "kitchen" you will understand how precious each of these jars of home made goodies are.  I've got raspberry rhubarb jam, and pickled beets all done. 




Beautiful Porchetta!  Seasoned with fresh sage pesto.
Our expanded garden area also has, at last count, 6 or 7  beautiful butternut squashes growing.  Bob and I love butternuts so we are pretty happy about that.  There are so many wonderful recipes that can be made with them   I can't wait for the first roasted butternut - just cubed, tossed with some olive oil, salt & pepper, and some herbs from the garden (thyme and sage), the roasted at 375 until tender and the edges are caramelized.  It just screams fall to me & It would be perfect with Porchetta, hot and crispy out of the smoker!   Bob makes a perfect Porchetta - lightly smoked and crispy skinned with juicy pork rubbed with a sage pesto straight from our garden.  

As summer winds down my mind begins to think of all the wonderful fall foods while we're still feasting on the summer bounty. Our tomatoes are still loaded, the herbs are still lush.  
The golf course is beautiful in the afternoon sun!






Sage Hills Golf & RV Resort has to be one of the most beautiful places we've ever lived.  It's like an oasis in the middle of high desert farms, surrounded by sage brush and tumbleweeds.  I just thought I should share the view out of the kitchen window of the motor home.  I love the changing view - the sunsets and summer skies reflected in the pond are beautiful.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Birthday to an Angel

Today is Billy J Cotton's birthday.  I wish he could be with us to celebrate - it would be so much fun.  But, on September 30, 2009 I posted this on a cooking forum that we both loved:
 
Billy & Jesse - his last visit to California.
""My wind chimes just chimed!
     Once in a rare moment God creates a beautiful Angel that he sends to earth to enrich the lives of all that he might touch. That Angel blesses everyone he touches, no matter how light the touch might be, with humor, love, and the kind of friendship that fables are written about.  No one that meets that Angel will ever forget his kindness, his generosity, the vastness of his spirit, and the strength of his love. Those few that have been held in one of his amazing hugs will never be the same, his spirit will always be indelibly bonded to theirs.
     Today I learned that God called that Angel back to heaven. The world is a sadder place, there is less generosity, less kindness, less love. Billy Cotton is now sitting with God discussing the dinner menu, sharing his boundless enthusiasm with all the other angels – throwing sticks for his beloved Buddy, and wishing that we would all stop mourning his loss and instead rejoicing in having known him.
     I talked to Billy yesterday morning – his meds were working better, he was feeling better, we told each other how much we loved each other; but we always make sure that we let each other know. He was so tickled by his veggie soups! He’d gotten Jesse a wonderful new home, and he was looking forward to doing some shopping for some new slacks – and coming to visit us on the farm.
     I am saying prayers for his family, knowing that their loss is so overwhelming - wishing that there was something I could do or say that would ease the pain and loss that they must be feeling. I know how we feel – and just cannot imagine . . . . we love you Billy – and our lives are a little emptier without you, but so much fuller for having known you!'"

     
     I'm going to fix a special dinner for him, Chicken with Paprika Cream; a recipe that he so generously shared with us all.  I'm also going to bake a Birthday cake for him. Billy shared this recipe with us and we had so much fun playing with this cake when he came to visit.  Originally it was made with lemon juice, but I had limes and we went with it!  I'm so glad we did!

White Pepper and Ginger Lime Cake

Recipe Adapted from Maida Heatter
Serving Size : 8
2 large limes -- zest finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 by-1/2 inch piece fresh ginger (see note)
3 cups all-purpose flour -- plus more for dustin
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
1 cup unsalted butter -- at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
 
Billy glazing the beautiful cake  
Lime  glaze
1/3 cup lime juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar

This cake has an intriguing, albeit unexpected, combination of sweet and hot flavors. That has made it an often-requested alternative to the common lemon pound cake. The cake is similar in concept to a pound cake but is as dense, rich and moist as an English pudding.

Cake: Adjust the oven rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan. Dust with flour and shake out any excess.

In a small cup, combine the zest and juice. Grate (do not mince) the ginger and add it to the lemon juice mixture. Set aside. Sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for about 1 minute. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the lemon and ginger mixture and blend just until combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top by briskly rotating the pan first in one direction, then the other (the batter should be rather heavy).

Bake for 70 to 80 minutes, until a cake tester inserted gently in the middle comes out clean and dry. (If you have used a 12-cup pan, the cake will not rise to the top of the pan, but that is all right.) Make glaze as soon as the cake is put in the oven to allow the flavors time to meld.

Let the cake stand in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Cover with a rack, turn the pan and rack over, remove the pan and place the cake on the rack over a large piece of aluminum foil to catch drippings of the glaze. Glaze the cake while it is still warm. After the cake is removed from the pan but while it is still warm, stir the glaze to recombine. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the warm cake, allowing some to drip into the hole. The cake will easily absorb all of the glaze. If some of the glaze drips onto the foil, pour the glaze back over the cake. Set aside until cool. 
     Using 2 wide metal spatulas, or using a flat-sided baking sheet as a spatula, transfer the cake to a serving plate. The cake is even better if it ages for a day or two covered with plastic wrap -- the spicy hotness cools a bit as it ages.
     Glaze: In a bowl, combine the juice and sugar. Makes about 1/2 cup.


Billy's visits were always so much fun, we even had fun when he came all the way from Oregon to help us move!  We'd spend most of our time creating wonderful food in the kitchen.  He made his first souffle and his first "Fattie" at our house . . . it was so much fun to spend time cooking and shopping for food with him.  

Shrimp Sushi Parfait
This was a fun dinner that he loved.  We made it the same visit as the cake.  This was probably about as close to "sushi" as Billy would ever get - fish was about the only thing he wouldn't eat. 


Shrimp Sushi Parfait

Serving Size : 6
1 cup sushi rice
1 1/2 cups water 
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large ripe avocado
2 tablespoons sour cream 
2 large limes, juiced -- divided
salt to taste
2 cups cooked baby shrimp
1 teaspoon grated ginger root 
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup red pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup yellow pepper, finely diced
1 tablespoon chopped coriander 
1 teaspoon sesame oil
 
GARNISH
 8 large cooked shrimp (we sautéed them in garlic, butter, and lime juice)

Place rice in strainer and rinse rice until the water comes clean. Place rice and water in a medium pot and place on high heat. Place a lid on the pot and when liquid comes to a boil turn down to a simmer. Simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from the heat and let stand 10 minutes, covered. Place rice in a bowl and add the rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Peal avocado and remove pit. Either mash or purée with a food processor. Stir in the sour cream and squeeze in some lime juice. Season with salt.

Roughly chop the shrimp (the small baby shrimp). In a small bowl combine shrimp, ginger, red onion, red pepper, yellow pepper, coriander, lime juice, and sesame oil. Mix to combine.

Into 6 clear glasses (large martini glasses), place 1 Tbs. (15 ml) of the shrimp mixture, followed by a layer of the avocado mousse followed by a layer of the sushi rice. Continue until all the ingredients are used up, preferably with the shrimp as a last layer. Top each with 3 large shrimp.



I was looking through our pictures of Billy today.  Funny - they almost all have food involved!  We are fortunate - we have so many wonderful memories of Billy to keep him close to us, and so many friends who also knew and loved him!  We'll be thinking about those friends, and Billy's family today, hoping that they feel, as we do, that Billy is close to us all the time.  So we'll celebrate him today, and . . . . we'll be listening for the bells! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Finding the Joy in Simple Things

     I last posted on August 18 - now it's the first of December!  Where did the time go??
   We are still here at Sage Hills Golf & RV Resort.  This has been an incredibly busy time for us and we're truly enjoying our time here in Washington State.  I was raised in this state, although it was on the other side of the mountains, but it's nice to be "home".  We had hoped to have more time to explore, to visit with family, and to check out the food and wine here.  Alas, we just didn't get as much time as we would have liked - but we did manage to find some treasures.

Bob has had "Eat Kuamoto Oysters" on his bucket list for years.  Thanks to my Nephew Jeff and his lovely wife Kim we got to cross that one off the list - on one of their trips from the West Side to Moses Lake they dropped off fresh, beautiful Kuamoto and Miyagi oysters.  
What a treat - and it's easy to see why Kuamoto oysters are so highly regarded!   They were sweet, briny, and absolute "oyster perfection", a tiny bit of mignonette sauce made with Pinot Grigio vinegar was all that was needed besides a squeeze of lemon and a glass of sparkling wine to make a perfect light dinner.  We felt so spoiled.
     We enjoyed the lovely July evening and our luxurious dinner - looking out at the golf course as the sun was setting - such a pretty view!
The Sage Hills Golf Course at Sunset.  Beautiful!


Plank grilled parmesan cheese and grilled grapes - a delightful starter.
A few days later we took some time away from Sage Hills to visit with dear friends Jean & Roy at their home on the Peninsula.  It was their annual "after the 4th of July" party - and, as usual at Roy & Jean's, the food, wine, and company were outstanding.  Jean is an accomplished Chef who has been my inspiration for many years.  Every time we get together there's amazing food and great fun playing in her beautiful kitchen.  This visit was no exception; smoked prime rib, 3 different kinds of rolls, and more appetizers, salads, & goodies than you could shake a stick at - and that was just on day one! 
       That weekend was so much fun.  We stopped by Trader Joe's on our way home (full of inspiration) and picked up some great Brie and remembering an appetizer Jean had fixed for us on a previous visit  I got busy.   Cedar plank grilled Brie with mangoes, raspberries and a bit of sea salt.  Again, incredibly simple and yet luxurious food.


We enjoyed lots of  Saturday mornings at the Moses Lake Farmers' Market, then coming home and preparing the wonderful treasures from our day at the market.   Sweet corn, sweet red onions, and fresh fava beans made a perfect take off on a traditional Maque Choux,  an amazing side with Cajun seasoned grilled chicken!   
    Another day we found some beautiful organic beets - they were so sweet and fresh that a simple preparation was all that was needed.  Thanks go to Chef David Nelson (of Naughty Nelly's Fiery Foods and  Chefs4Students.org) for the recipe for his perfectly delicious Beet Ravioli.  

We were so excited to find such a wealth of fresh, organic produce from which to choose from.  A fruit stand in Othello became a huge favorite with the grass fed beef they had for sale along with lots of great fruit and veggies.  For a foodie the Columbia Basin area was absolutely heaven!  
     Well next time - more of our foodie adventures, fun on the golf course, and great food!  


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It Has Been Too Long

Sage Hills Road - Beautiful!

WOW!  It was brought to my attention the other day that I hadn’t done anything with this blog in ages!   There is no excuse – it just didn’t seem like much was going on in my life – but I was reminded that a lot has happened since I last posted here and that there are a few people who used this blog to keep up to date on us.  

I’ll start with where we are and what we are doing now.  We’re in Warden, WA “work-camping” at Sage Hills Golf & RV Resort.   It is really a wonderful place, a bright green spot on the high desert of the Columbia Basin area of Washington.  

Club house, deck, & cart barn.
Sage Hills Golf & RV Resort (www.sagehills.com) has a  great crew of “work-campers” to  perform a wide variety of “jobs”, from mowing on the golf course to working in the Pro Shop or helping in the Sage (the on site restaurant & bar).  Bob and I really lucked out, he’s getting to work outside mowing and gets to work in the bar now and  then.  I’m in the Pro Shop and have the bonus of working in the restaurant – both front and back of house as I'm needed.  It's a great experience for someone who's wanted to cook in a restaurant for ages!  Working with the fantastic people is the best part of all!   We’ve both gotten our “food handlers” cards and our bartender’s cards. 

The trees were beautiful this spring.
Work-camping is a wonderful idea.  We put in “X” number of hours a week to cover our RV site and; hook-ups.  The real bonus here is golf!  All the golf you can play in your off time.  Bob is enjoying that – and I guess I’ll have to give it a try.  I’m learning a lot about golf just being around it.  Of course it doesn't hurt that Sage Hills is absolutely beautiful, it's a real joy to work in such a gorgeous place.  

We've really had fun meeting all the new people here; both the other people who work here and the customers.  People who are coming to the place where you work to "play", relax, and enjoy a good meal are what really can make a job a joy. 
Sunset over the Golf Course


Now you know where we are and what we're doing right now (well I'm writing this and Bob's out playing golf) I will promise to be more diligent about keeping this up and recounting how we got from North Dakota to Washington.  I'll also share the food we've found, cooked and shared with friends, and the foods we loved.   I hope you'll all enjoy   sharing this with us.  Please let me know.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It’s Getting Close Now & We’re Getting Ready to Miss North Dakota


Yesterday we sat in the motor home listening to the pounding rain. It's hard to accomplish a damn thing when it 's like this. We couldn't load the trailer, couldn't load the truck so we can haul the last of our storage stuff off. We wanted to drag the small freezer outside so we could defrost and wash it out – we couldn't get that done. We couldn't get the smoker fired up and workable in that "gully washer".  When we checked the rain gauge it had a hair over 2" of rain from yesterday alone.

If we are going to stick to our schedule we've got today and Wednesday to get it done – but it's looking like we'll be a day late getting out of here – which means we'll get to our first real "destination" Saturday night rather than Friday. Everything is just going to slide a day later. It's not a huge deal but just throws everything off.  Of course this could be said to be our fault. We took Sunday afternoon off! We knew we shouldn't have, but our reasons were good.

When we got here we were introduced to our 'friend's' family. They immediately welcomed us to the family and have included us in events, visited us for dinner's, invited us to their homes, brought us a deer for the freezer, helped us with this move, and informed us Sunday that they have adopted us as Cousins. If I haven't mentioned them before I have been horribly derelict. We have been so amazed by the people here, and the "family" stands head and shoulders above them all in so many ways.

A Saturday invitation to lunch at a Cousin's house was so amazing. It was a lovely day for an al fresco lunch in their yard. That morning, in the shower I was considering our planned trip to a local farmers' market and hoping for lovely tomatoes for a Panzanella salad. Sadly I resigned myself to the fact that there is NO wonderful crusty bread here and I wouldn't have time to bake any. When we got to their farm the luncheon was laid out along with incredible Rhubarb Slushies (alcoholic ND summer nirvana), fresh fruit, cucumbers, burgers with homemade buns (and all the trimmings), and a beautiful huge Panzanella salad!!!!! Oh, oh, oh, it was so amazing – the flavors, the texture; I was in heaven. She used beautiful fresh tomatoes, herbs from her garden, and . . . for the bread – leftover pepperoni pizza and cheesy breadsticks!!! OMG – the innovation, the imagination, WOW!!! Who'd a thunk it???   I'll have to remember that trick!

Thanksgiving at another Cousin's with the family was wonderful, such a traditional Mid-West dinner with the deviled eggs, roast turkey & ham, and all the sides and desserts. There were two tables to seat all the family and they both were groaning! It also introduced us to the most incredible beverage – Apple Pie; a perfect warming adult beverage to bottle and stuff in snow banks for winter drinking pleasure I have to admit that the greatest part is finding a  gallon jug that got "lost:" in a snow bank in the Spring.

Sunday the family invited us  to spend the afternoon with them.  We accepted, knowing we couldn't spare the time, but, because we wanted to have a chance to visit with them and say our "byes" off we went to the 39th Annual Tappen (ND) Demolition Derby. Neither one of us had ever been to a demolition derby, really weren't sure that we'd stay more than an hour or so – but we were there to the end, and enjoyed the hell out of it. We even tried some North Dakota "booster event food" – a strange but oddly wonderful chili dog; a steamed bun with a brilliantly pink hot dog, a kind of sweetish chili, and some not too spicy cheese sauce. Hmmmmmmm. 

Sadly at the end, after the guys had totally wrecked the cars, the 'girls' got to drive those wrecked cars  in the "powder puff" round. The throttle stuck on one  car and it flew through the exit area and crashed into a Fire Dept. pickup truck and injured a spectator. It was the first accident in the 39 year history of the event. It put a somber end to the event but the injured man waved to the crowd as they were loading him into the ambulance. 

We said our "byes" and drove back to the farm to get on with our packing.  We're missing them all already but we're looking forward to a Spring return home to North Dakota.


 


 


 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Getting ready to go

I've been negligent.  There's just been so much to do since we got back home with the motor home.  We made the difficult decision to put all of our stuff  (that won't fit in the motor home or in our 5 x 9 trailer) in storage and hit the road for a while.  It wasn't an easy decision, but circumstances just made it the right decision.  There's been so much to do to get ready, on top of general day to day stuff.  And now we're down to it.
 
We have two weeks left!  Two weeks to empty the mobile home into storage, empty and consolidate freezers, refrigerators, and the pantry.  Two weeks to figure out what clothes to take, what we're going to have room for either in the motor home or the 5 x 9 trailer we're going to tow.   Two weeks - good grief, I'm not sure we'll get it all done.  It's a daunting task. 

This is the door we have to get all of our furniture out through - it will require a few extra bodies including one to run the tractor with the "bucket" to lower everything to the ground. 

Of course this would all be easier if the weather would cooperate - it's hard to bust your butt when it's 90+ with 30mph winds and humidity that soaks you.  Packing the truck and trailer and hauling the load 30 miles to the storage unit and unloading it in the heat and wind is not much fun.   Storms are forecast for the weekend which will mean we'll be boxing more stuff and loading the trailer between storms.


We are taking a little freezer in the  trailer.  I'm used to having my 25 cf freezer, the one on my side by side, and the little freezer.  It's going to take a lot of consolidation to make this work.  This week that has entailed making 20 lbs of venison sausage and stuffing it, corning a 5 lb. venison roast, and getting a bunch of pork ready for the  smoker.  This will mean that we can cook and slice the roast, slice the bacon, and then vacuum seal them and the sausages in flat packages that will take less room.  Of course this is consuming time - time that we don't have.  Did I mention that we're making this sausage in the motor home???  I think my motto is "I'll try anything once" or maybe it should be "where there's a will - there's a way"?

Considering that over the winter we made sure to keep all the freezers and the pantry well stocked "just in case" this is going to be a huge project.  We also have been living  30 miles from town - so we got in the habit of making sure that we had ingredients for almost anything we could imagine.  I'm guessing that the trailer will be packed with pantry, kitchen toys, cookbooks, and clothes.  Oh, and no doubt at least one cooler I'm betting.

This has been an interesting process - we've learned a lot about what you can and can't do, what's important in our lives, and how to cram 75 lbs of  "stuff" into a 5 lb sack.  Of course, when we lived on the houseboat we had a whole lot less room and we still managed to be comfortable.  The biggest lesson we learned from living on the houseboat was that we absolutely love being able to "stay home and go somewhere"!  So, off we go again on another adventure.