Thursday, July 28, 2011

Roadtrip with Man v. Food, Part Deux

The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things...
(one of my favorite childhood poems--although it always made my skin crawl a little bit)

I've put off writing this for long enough and thought I'd better force myself to sit down and finish.
I hate sealing myself off in the basement to write these posts when the weather is so warm top-side.
Complain, complain, complain.

After our short week-long stay back home...
 (These are the sights I grew up seeing everyday.  You don't realize how lucky you are sometimes.)

Amid things familiar and missed...

(It's funny, the everyday things you thought you'd NEVER do miss...)

We laughed, loved and finally...left (sniff), passing sights filled with memories...
Rocky Butte, Portland, OR
Riverspitter Factoid #3:  My father proposed to my mother at the top of Rocky Butte.
(Sorry for the blur.  It was raining and my camera wouldn't focus past the rain on the windshield!)

Crown Point, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon side.
Riverspitter Factoid #4:  My grandfather used to work up at Vista House decades ago.

Maryhill Castle, Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.
Riverspitter Factoid #5:  Maryhill Castle was one of my favorite 'Sunday Drive" destinations as a kid.

Man v. Food Road Trip (thought I'd never get here, didn't you?)
For Part One--->Click Here<---

Day One:
After a long day's drive we hit Rockies Diner in Boise, Idaho

 Home of the Johnny B. Good challenge and servers on roller skates!
We ordered a stock hamburger off the menu, but my favorite was the french fries and fry sauce.

Growing up, there was a burger chain called
Arctic Circle that had a wonderful fry sauce.
The sauce was a  big hit, which everyone was out to
copy.  What you find now, is every family
in the Northwest (exaggeration) has
developed their own version of AC's sauce.
I know my parents had their own, my
in-laws did, and hubby
and I do, too! 
Love it!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           Look what we found on the wall --->

From there we pushed on and into Utah...

Day Two:
Arriving in Denver...
 We found the Jack-n-Grill which serves authentic New Mexican food.

We lived in New Mexico for 8 years and became quite fond of the cuisine.  It's not like any other 'mexican-style' foods, it has a very unique flavor.

You'll have to forgive me, as I had been having horrible bouts with vertigo and started getting a little loopy with fatigue.  So I can't, for the life of me, remember what I ordered, though I believe this is all that remains of the Carne Adovada Plate.  Very tasty. 

 From Denver, we pushed on into Kansas (and an electrical storm) for the night.

Day Three:
This day brought us to Kansas City, Missouri and into the gas station restaurant of Oklahoma Joe's...
Where we ordered the Slab Dinner which came with two sides and Texas toast.
It was excellent.  We waited in a very long line, so we weren't the only folks who were of that opinion!!

Day Four:
Early afternoon we rolled into St. Louis, Missouri, planning on going up into the arch, but the recent flooding prevented us from finding a parking place that would accommodate our van/U-Haul tow!
We'll come back another time for that...

I thought we'd never find The Iron Barley, it's close to the freeway, but we seemed to have taken every back street in town.

Once we arrived, there was no parking! and we parked across the street at a convenience store.

We didn't leave the car parked there, I took my girls and went in for sodas while hubby went into the Iron Barley for Monte Christo Double Dogs to go.  We ended up going a couple miles down the road to park in a McDonald's to eat.  Something's not right about that...
These were surprisingly good, but way too much for one sitting.  I ended up finishing it off at home the next day. dogs, thick buns, jam and cheese.....recommended.

Almost home...we were pretty tired, but hubby had one more stop up his sleeve.
Edward's Drive-In located in Indianapolis.
Here we found the Grilled Tenderloin.  It was good, but nothing to write home about.
I would elaborate more, but by this point we were comatose and everything was running together.  I'm sure Edward's deserves a much better review than I can supply here.
It was kinda nice to get Root Beer in a glass mug though...
That pretty much wound up the Great Man v. Food Road Trip.  Hubby had one more foodie stop on his list, but we had all succumbed to fatigue and decided to push home, arriving at 11:30 pm.

Overall, my two favorite Man v. Food stops were...envelope please....
Muzz and Stan's and Oklahoma Joe's. 
Muzz and Stan's was simple, easy to eat and satisfying...good road food.
Oklahoma Joe's was full of flavor, tender and worth the crazy-long wait.
Now....there is one more stop I need to throw in.
While up at my SIL's wedding...

we stopped in Seattle to visit friends, buy some Salmon at the Pike Place Market,

and make a stop at The Crab Pot, which was on the show, too!  If you visit their website, you can watch the actual show segment.
Hubby and I shared one of their Sea Feasts.  There is a two person minimum, so be prepared to eat!!  Feast is not an exaggeration.
If hubby wants to do this again.  I would be agreeable...but diet 3 weeks before!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's Canning Season!

Canning season has begun!

One of the things we brought back from Oregon was Grandpa's huge ol' rototiller!
The first action it saw was 'tilling up our strawberry patch.  It was 4-5 years old and was starting to show it's age.
He kinda looks out of place there doesn't here?  I mean...where's the farm???  Maybe I should have Photo Shopped one in for may be all he gets until the economy turns around!

Things are trickling in from the garden, but it's been such a weird weather year that nearly everything is stressed or being attacked by one plague or another.
My canning season is going to be sporadic and feeble, I fear.  A lot of small batch, which I don't like, because I feel I use unnecessary ingredients (leftover brines and such).
Here is where I started...

With pickled beets and rhubarb sauce...

Last night I made some Bread and Butter pickles with some cucumbers a friend brought over.  They were really too large (old) and seedy for anything else,  so I thought if I seeded them and used them in the B&B recipe they might be salvaged.  I hated to just toss them on the compost pile.  We'll find out if they were worth the effort down the road.
(Click here for printable version of Bread & Butter Pickles recipe)

Poor hubby brought in all of 4 green beans last night...I feel for him.  He's going to have a rough summer.
I guess I'll head up to the local farm market and see what they have to offer...

 Good for them, bad for me.....

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rhubarb Cobbler

That summer feeling happened today! It took until July, but it's here, I just know it!  As I look at the weather gadget on my computer's sidebar, the reading is 88° at 7:30 pm.  Not too shabby.  A little overkill maybe, but I'll take it!

Looking out over the yard today, I realized that I'd better get on the ball and pull some of my rhubarb before it gets away from me!  Sometimes I forget that it's a functional plant and not a decorative.  I have two, one is going like gangbusters, the other...not so much.  We planted them in different parts of the yard to see which area would be the ideal and the results are in...the plant that is on the east side of our shed is the happiest.
Our yard is functional, not ornamental.  The plants to the right of the rhubarb are horseradish.  If the photo had captured more to the right, you would have found tomatoes, kiwi and asparagus!  I love looking at all my friend's beautiful yard photos on other sites, but the farm girl in me insists on getting something back for my investment.  Too practical, I guess.

Today, I'm going to refer back to my grandmother's recipe for Easy Fruit Cobbler.  After looking at a dozen or more recipes online, I've tinkered and found a good way to make a rhubarb filling and just use her batter.

Rhubarb Cobbler
2 c. chopped rhubarb
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 of a 3 oz. package of Strawberry Jello
1/8 t. cinnamon
about 4-6 T. Bisquick Baking Mix
1/3 c. Sugar (adjust to your liking)
1/8-1/4 c. Canola Oil (or any light oil, I've even used light olive oil!)
Pam Spray

Mix first 4 ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Grease or Pam Spray a 1 quart bowl fit for the oven and add the rhubarb mixture.
Mix together the batter ingredients and pour evenly over the rhubarb. 
Bake at 400° for 30 minutes, reduce to 350° and bake an addition 30
Makes: 1 quart casserole/4 med. servings

I decided that I didn't want to make a full size cobbler, it's just too much temptation around the house.   So I pulled one of my favorite 1 quart cobbler bowls out for the task.

Chopping the rhubarb was a quick chore and then the sugar and jello were added...

Batter was made and poured...

 It came out of the oven looking just gorgeous...

 As always, my husband is the taste tester...he said it was a keeper!  I agree.

The rhubarb filling wasn't too sweet or too tart.  The jello melted in perfectly and gave it just the right touch of 'strawberry'.  A perfect marriage.  
**Hubby always douses his cobblers with Half and Half, but ice cream would be wonderful, too!
**The filling may be doubled, the batter doesn't really need it, but you may increase as desired       
(I probably would!)

I hope everyone in the US enjoys a wonderful time with family and friends this July 4th.  Please...remember what that date means...really means.  Many, many people in the nation's history have given much.
July 4th, 1776
— And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.