Infinite Child 2

Infinite Child 2
Our Beautiful Dolphin motorhome

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
 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 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 ( 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.