Tag Archives: Just Plain Food Stuff

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #14 ~ Onward!

It’s eight o’clock in the morning and we’re already headed down the the road before us. We wanted to get a good head start to the day as we made our way towards the Badlands National Park.

A~MAZ~ING!

I found it fascinating all the different colors of the rock formations. We stopped at one of the overlooks, walked up to the rail and here’s these two Big Horn Sheep, MAN! And the Prairie Dogs here, I’ve never seen so many in one place, and fat !   We had a picnic lunch at the Visitor’s Center and then motored on to…

Wall South Dakota

What, you’ve never heard of Wall Drug and the free ice water? It was a blast, I didn’t know that it was so big. We decided on a snack after walking and shopping.

Their doughnuts were outstanding, so were the pies, we tried our slice ala mode along with some free ice water, that’s what they’re known for.

our hotel in Wall South Dakota

We found our hotel, not that difficult, Wall South Dakota is not very big. We only stayed one night, so we made supper just a simple salad in our room and it was to bed early, so that we would be fresh for our next stop.

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #13 ~ Next Up Is Keystone South Dakota

On our way out of Sundance Wyoming we went through Deadwood South Dakota, interesting place for a morning visit.

On to the main event: Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

I know that I’ve said WOW! quite a few times already in sharing our Great Western Adventure with everyone, but WOW!

As we walked towards the granite faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln, I stopped in my tracks, tears welling up and rolling down my cheeks.

I spotted Hawaii’s State flag in the breeze, which reminded me what a lucky little girl from Kaneohe Oahu I am. My husband was so excited, he plowed ahead, getting as close as he could to this National Treasure. This was a place we both had been waiting all of our lives to see…

So let’s not waste any more time dilly-dallying around.

We didn’t bother with our hotel until later that afternoon. We stayed at the park for the majority of the day, got a quick bite in the cafeteria and then found a good spot to watch the Evening Lighting Ceremony.  I don’t have one of those fancy cameras that can take a good night-time photo, but was really awesome to see!

The next day we had breakfast in our hotel, which was once again the usual “continental-plus” fare and then back to the park for the day. Surprisingly, there is a lot to see and do. We had decided that we would end our day early and have dinner at the Powder House Restaurant. You wouldn’t know that this is a restaurant, it looks like a log cabin, but man, what great food. In my research prior to leaving on this trek, I found that the Powder House specializes in local grass fed beef, bison and game.

My husband and I shared an appetizer of game kebabs-venison, bison and elk, wonderful. My supper was the special game of the day, pheasant with a fresh apple relish if you will and steamed veggies. My DH ordered the Prime Rib and the steamed veg as well. It seems that we had just enough room leftover to share a chocolate mousse.

We found a small grocery store in the next town over and replenished our supplies the next day and spent one more day at Mount Rushmore. We both just sat, in silence, looking up at the four faces that helped to forge America.

WOW, just WOW!

Hope You Had A Happy Thanksgiving

Some years back, I would watch FoodNetwork every holiday season to get ideas for our family’s table.  I saw Ted Allen make a De-constructed Turkey and wow, the bells and whistles went off in my head.  I’ve struggled with whole birds for many, many years.  Dry white meat, under cooked dark meat, crummey gravy… Do I really need to go on?  You know!  This is how I make a whole turkey.deconstructed turkey

Deconstructed Turkey and Gravy

• 10-12 lbs. Whole, fresh, natural Turkey (read the labeling, make sure it does NOT say enhanced with sodium soultion)

Butcher the bird yourself (or purchase it in parts), leaving breast whole and reserve the carcass for homemade stock, much better!

Brine: (I do this part the day before I’m going to serve the turkey)

• ½ C Kosher Salt

• 1/3 C Brown Sugar

• 1 Onion, sliced

• 1 Carrot, sliced

• Peel (no white pith) from 2 Oranges

• Whole head of garlic, cut in half horizontally

• 1 tsp each, dried Thyme, Rosemary, Rubbed Sage

• 3-4 large Bay leaves

In my 12qt. stock pot, I add the salt and sugar, dissolve in 2 cups of hot tap water; add remaining ingredients, along with 3 quarts of Ice Water, stir well. Add the turkey parts (make sure that the water covers all parts of the bird), cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Pour off all of the brine, leaving turkey parts in stock pot. Cover and put back into the `fridge until ready to roast.

Roast:

Pat turkey parts dry with paper towels, arrange on the half sheet pan, fitted with a cooling rack. Try to give as much space between pieces. Schmear with soft butter; sprinkle with S&P. Pour about 1 cup of turkey broth or stock in the bottom of the pan.

Roast at 425⁰ for 30 minutes, until just starting to brown; lower the temp to 400⁰ and cook for another 30-45 minutes, until the breast reaches 165⁰ and the thighs are 175⁰.

Tent with tin foil until ready to serve.

Make the gravy by pouring all of the juices left on the bottom of the pan into a cup.

In a saucepan melt 4 tbsp of butter; add 4 tbsp of flour whisking for a few minutes. Slowly stream in 2 cups of the broth/juices and bring to a boil to thicken. For richer gravy, use some dry white wine and milk with the broth/juices.

Happy Thanksgiving

Let’s Try This Again

I’ve tried to replicate the cake pop that I had a few months back in Scottsdale, but…

This time I had a Rum Cake in the freezer, why not give it another shot. I had a package of vanilla flavored Candy Melts and more sprinkles.

DH loved these, me, not so much. WAY  too sweet for me.

Oh well.

Man, That Was Some Trip!

this is going to take all day!

I’d say I had some laundry to do! No really, we did laundry along the way on our month long adventure, this is just what we had when we finally rolled back home.

Mostly, I’m just itchin’ to get in the kitchen and cook something tasty. On the bottom of the deep freeze I found this huge steak and I remembered a dish that my SIL made for us once and it was so good.

steak pizzaiola

Steak Pizzaiola

I don’t have a written recipe for this, it’s a simple steak in a beautiful tomato, garlic and anchovy, yes I said anchovy, sauce. I am not a fan of little fish on my pizza, but in a sauce, YUM!

I used a 28 ounce can of San Marzano whole tomatoes that I crushed by hand in a bowl. Next, in a large skillet, heat olive oil til it smokes; brown the steak and set that aside. Sauté a small onion and as much sliced garlic as you like (we like a lot, I think I used 5 or 6 cloves). Add 4 or 5 anchovy fillets to the pan, adding more oil if needed, and the fish will MELT, really! Add the crushed tomatoes, along with about a teaspoon of dried oregano; give a good stir and add back the steak. Bring to a simmer and cover; cook for about 30 minutes (this was a pretty thick cut of meat), or until the steak is cooked to your tables preference.

I’ve seen other recipes that add wine, peppers and mushrooms. If that’s something that you think that your family would enjoy, by all means make this dish your own.

steak pizzaiola and pasta

 ENJOY!  We did

BACON, BACON, BACON, BACON!

Love it! Can’t get enough of it! GIMME!

Not so long ago, our two nephews came to visit during their Spring Break. Jack, the younger of the boys, asked me when we picked them up at the airport, “so Aunt Doni, I hear you’re a good cook. Is that true?” Well, Jack, this one’s for you.

The first morning’s menu was BACON! I made two trays of that glorious meat and it was gone in a flash. I had been thinking that we’d make sandwiches with the leftovers, yeah right!

A few days ago, I was on the phone with the boys Mom and she said that she got a great compliment on her bacon from Jack, “Mom that was Aunt-Doni-worthy bacon.”

 

 

Cotton Candy WHAT?

I was in the green grocers again the other day, and this familiar scent went past me, what the heck was that? So I followed my nose to a small display off to one side of grapes, GRAPES? Yup, Cotton Candy Grapes, I KNOW RIGHT?

Cotton Candy Grapes

If you smell, I mean see this varietal of grapes, BUY THEM!  They even taste like that sweet, sticky, yummy stuff you had as a kid, well, maybe as an adult too.

SURPRISE! Brownies

We have been so good that I felt that DH and I needed a treat. I try harder than is humanly possible to keep temptation out of the house. Sometimes though, it’s okay to give in to your desires. Sugar is the downfall for both of us.

With Monsoon season in full swing, sometimes we get trapped in the house because of flash floods; yesterday was one of those days and I was getting bored.

brownies

SURPRISE!

I can not resist a good, fudgy, chew, chocolate-y, brownie.

Since moving here to the continental United States, I make brownies using Hershey’s Best Brownie recipe. My sister had given me a Hershey’s Cookbook a long time ago; I only just started to use it, but with my own twist. I add a packette of Starbuck’s® Via Ready Brew Italian Roast coffee into the batter. This intensifies the chocolate flavor, such a difference.

My husband likes his plain with icing on top; I like all different kinds of goodies in or on mine.

brownies with peanut butter cups in the middle, suprise!

What I did this time was took mini dark chocolate peanut butter cups and pushed them into the four corners of the pan to bake into the bar.  SUPRISE!

one brownie has chocolate chips and the other nuts

Then down the middle of the pan, I made one row of dark chocolate chips and another of crushed nuts, leaving two rows just plain. So we wound up with 4 different flavored brownies in one batch.  SUPRISE!

DH looks at the pan when it came out of the oven and was cooling on the counter and says “is that’s all you made?”  (Try the recipe for the Creamy Brownie Frosting, it is good)

THEY’RE GONE ALREADY!!

ALOHA!

Do You Have To Drink Wine From A Fancy Pants Glass?

Something Different To Take Home

I say NO, my friends and neighbors.

For many years, well, as long as we lived in Hawaii anyways, we did not  have an automatic dishwasher, I washed everything by hand. One time I was washing a stemmed wine glass and it broke in my hand and gave me a nasty gash, three stitches worth. My dearest husband went out and bought me what he said his family always drank wine from, little juice glasses if you will. You know the ones that you get your chianti in when you go to those cute American-Italian restaurants with the red and white checkers plastic table clothes. I love it!

my last wine glass of a set DH gave me years ago

I still have one of them left after all of these years.

Wine Glasses don't always have to have stems

Recently I added a new one. I found this at Crate & Barrel. It was a bit rich for my blood, but really adorable.

There’s a set in a catalogue that we get that I hope Santa brings me.

ALOHA!

WHAT? ANOTHER POT?

Yup! My Mother always asks all of us ‘kids’ to make up wish lists for Christmas and our birthdays. This year for my birthday I said that I wanted this particular pot. “WHY?” was the response I got, and my sister didn’t think that I needed … “ANOTHER POT? Doesn’t she have enough pots by now?” And my answer to both questions are: because you need the right tools for each job and a good cook never has enough good equipment.

My New Pot!

This is the Rachel Ray Hard Anodized 8 quart Pasta Pot. I’ve wanted this pot ever since she first introduced it. It’s the oval shape that I love, you can just plop your lasagna or spaghetti noodles into the boiling water, no trying to get it to fit, it does! Then DH looks at the pot and says, “ooohhhh, you could make a nice big pot roast in there too, couldn’t you?”

Well, actually it worked great on its inaugural run of Kalua Pig and Cabbage, yum!

We’ve talked about this dish before, but this was made easier with a nice wide pot. I have the roast pork in the deep freeze already made up. In order to put the dish together, we simply heat the pork in a touch of vegetable oil and then in goes some onions and cabbage along with a couple of tablespoons of water or broth; cover and steam the veg to your liking (we like a crisp-tender, not boiled to death).

leftover rice can be re-heated in a freezer bag

Serve over steamed white rice (I keep leftover rice in the freezer a freezer-zip-top bag and just pop it into the micro to reheat, tastes just like fresh rice).

yum-o-licious!  Kalua Pig and Cabbage

And it’s dinner time, let’s eat…

ALOHA!