Simple Secret Snack, (3-M)

AN UNUSUALLY DELICIOUS COMBINATION

marias.JPGIt’s the little things that are sooo good. A fish caught on a fly I tied myself. A 100/10x with loads I developed myself. Running an extra mile and feeling good about it. The combination of tastes and textures selected for dinner that comes out perfect. And my favorite . . . 3-M.

3-m.JPGI don’t quite remember when I stumbled on it, but I know that it was about ten years ago. I’ve never seen any mention of a similar combination of tastes and textures.

I offer it here for your enjoyment. A roll of Marias Cookies, a jar of Smucker’s Sweet Orange Marmalade, and a sip of V. Sattui Madeira. (MariasMarmaladeMadeira)

You can serve this as an elegant dessert, if presented individually at table – or – just pile on the marmalade and sit in front of the fire – or – put a plate next to the computer and substitute fresh, cold, whole milk for the Madeira, (still 3-M.)

Do please try this – you’ll love it!

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The Contemplative Angler is at it again. Bringing forth sensible and cogent concerns about the state of our sport. I enjoyed the wet flies immensely and now the thought of Catch & Retain is explored – nice.

“Without going into the origins of “Catch and Release”, its debatable ethos, its harm to the fish, its advancement of the fringe element of the Animal Rights movement, and the unnecessary suffering it inflicts upon the quarry, let’s examine its usefulness.”

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Sara Anderson over at f-words has just posted a scrumptious sounding recipe using smoked blue cheese. It’s her husband’s, via “Vegetarian: The best-ever recipe collection edited by Linda Fraser.” Now all I need is some smoked blue cheese.

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A Non-Traditional Halloween Feast

TIME TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

nontradjack.jpgI’m having a small party of sorts, (mucky-muck’s and the neighbors,) and will try to awaken our pallets with some interesting tastes. The menu is simple enough and fairly reeks of fall, but is anything but traditional.

There will be Fish & Pumpkin Soup, followed by Lucy’s Fish Pie, followed by Grilled Marlin Tail Steaks, a Cold French Green Bean Salad, and Squash Pudding Souffle.

Beverages will include: Original Sin Hard Cider, Champagne – (well a fine sparkling wine from Gloria Ferrer .. 1997 Royal Cuvee,) a Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais, and some Galliano over the pudding.

The recipes are a hodge podge of net browsing and remembered tastes that I’ve carried in my mental pallet for years. They are listed primarily as a reference since I always improvise, (it’s usually OK.)

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fishnpunkin-soup.jpgFish & Pumpkin Soup

os-post.gifThis Khmer Krom country soup is very simple and very delicious. It is much more delicate than most oriental soups, and is a delightful beginning to any meal.
Ingredients:
* 1 lb. Bass or Catfish fillets, cut into chunks, (I use Any firm white fleshed fish – up here it’s frozen rock fish – which could be any thing!)
*2 Tablespoons fish sauce
* 1 Tablespoon sugar
* ¼ Teaspoon black pepper
* 3 Stalks green onion, chopped
* 4 Cups water
* 1-2 lbs Pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut small chunks
* 1 Cup chopped cilantro
Method:
In a large bowl, marinated fish with fish sauce, sugar, black pepper and green onion , set aside. Bring water to a boil, add pumpkin and marinated fish to boiling water, stir and cook till pumpkin is tender. Top with cilantro. Serve hot with rice, (I pour the soup over hot rice, and use it as a sauce for the rice.) This is very rich and a little goes a long way.

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fishpie.jpgLUCY’S FISH PIE

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You know it’s fish, but oh so much more. The mushrooms and dill send you to the country, and the cheese will pull it all together. Select the cheese wisely.
Ingredients:
*2 leeks, (or three or four)
*oil – (or butter)
*mushrooms 150g
*tarragon and dill
*salt
*pepper
*grated cheese 200g (Munster or white Cheddar works well)
*breadcrumbs (couple of handfuls)
*creme fraiche
*puff pastry – ready made pack
*salmon 4 fillets
*egg (beaten)
Method:
Filling: Chop 2 leeks & mushrooms finely and fry in oil, when the leeks have started to soften, add tarragon and dill, salt and pepper to taste. When mushrooms and leeks are soft take off the heat.Add grated cheese, breadcrumbs and enough creme fraiche to bind everything together – not too much that it goes sloppy

Roll out puff pastry – I use a ready made pack and split 2/3 for base and 1/3 for top.
Grease dish, (with ample butter,) and lay pastry inside, add half of the filling then the salmon fillets, cover the salmon with the rest of filling and cover with the rest of the pastry. Brush with beaten egg and pierce pastry. At this point you could make an attractive pattern on top – let’s say a fish shape if you fancy that.

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marlin-steak.jpgGRILLED MARLIN TAIL STEAKS (With Salsa)

beaujolais-village-a-standard.jpg

Be sure that you appreciate a palate-awakening experience before you try this one. Use a very hot grill, and be sure to have it well lubricated. Singed and blackened grill marks are more than just decoration – their taste with the wine is startling and delicious, (a little bit burned is ok.) The sweetish salsa sets the wine to an interesting counterpoint.
Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup drained Mandarin Oranges
• 1/4 cup Pineapple pieces (drained)
• 1/4 cup of another fruit (Raisins, Sliced Red Seedless Grapes, peeled & diced Mango)
• 1/4 cup of Coconut Milk
• 2 tbs. Lime Juice
• Corn Starch to thicken, (be careful here!)
• 1/4 cup Orange Juice
• Marlin steaks cut from the narrow part of the tail, (I like them about 1″ thick.)
Before cooking the marlin make a tropical fruit salsa to accompany the grilled marlin-serve the salsa warm.

Combine liquids together in pan, heat and thicken with corn starch. When this thickens add fruit and warm all ingredients until hot. Keep warm and serve with the grilled marlin. Brush the marlin steaks with olive oil. Grill the marlin for about 4 minutes per side, (test it for flaking.) If the marlin is thicker than 3/4 inches cook a bit longer on each side.

This recipe has been generously contributed by www.fishingworks.com.

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french-beans.JPGCOLD FRENCH GREEN BEAN SALAD

os-post.gif This is just standard beans, (and that’s not bad!) They are always good and sometimes I put some crumbled bacon with them. Be careful with the sugar – it can make the dish too sweet.

Ingredients:
• Enough Green Beans for guests
• A couple of large sweet Red Onions
• 1 cup, or so, finely minced Parsley;
• 1 (4 1/2-oz.) jar Chopped Black Olives; 1- 3 clove Garlic;
• 2-3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar;
• Salt;
• Pepper;
• Olive Oil;
• Red Wine Vinegar.
Method:
Clean and blanch beans, (tender but slightly crunchy,) – cool. Press garlic and combine with rest of ingredients to form vinaigrette marinade. Toss beans in marinade; place in galiano.jpgrefrigerator for 24 hours. When ready to serve; drain and cover with thin sliced red onion rings.

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squash-souffle.jpeg Squash (Butternut) Pudding Souffle

This is a rather detailed recipe and you can find the procedure HERE. Yummie!

Just before serving pour a couple of tablespoons full of Galliano over the top, (more if you like – just no too much.)

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There is a recent blog, (hope it lasts,) about Brett Emerson in San Francisco. After pounding the iron piano for ten years he will be opening his new restaurant, Olallie (1320 Castro, near 24th Street.) His blog, In Praise Of Sardines, is a combination of good recipes, daily chores, the trials of opening a restaurant, and life in the city. The restaurant isn’t even open and it’s made the San Francisco Chronicle. Good luck Brett, and beware the Dragon’s Eye.

Yellowstone Fishing Picnic

THE DAY WAS BEAUTIFUL & WE DIDN’T ARGUE

Mom and I got up early to avoid the senile idiots at the west entrance station to Yellowstone. There are some old fossils that they hire for the summer that can’t even give you the time of day. They can’t even count the change for the entrance fees. My NPS needs help.

The car was packed the night before and we hit the gate before the sun. Driving in Yellowstone without the crowds is heavenly. We stopped in Madison Meadows and listened for some elk – they were singing. Then up the road to Mammoth. There were coyotes all along the road from Norris to Swan Lake Flats.

Joffee LakeWe stopped at headquarters and then had breakfast with J___, a Ranger who had invited us to visit for a bit. We played with the cats and at about 10:00 got in the car for the short drive to Joffee Lake. Mammoth is lower than West Yellowstone and there is still some green grass. There was no one at the lake when we got there and the wind was not blowing yet.

We parked and walked to the picnic spot just a bit away from the yellow aspens. Mom got out her knitting and I put together my fishing stuff. This little lake is full of Brook Trout and I spent the next three hours walking round and round the lake. a-aus-wulfffff.jpgThe water was soooo still that I could see some schools of fish, and there were some big ones. I’ve mastered the delicate presentation necessary for intercepting these little submarines.

I used a Wulff dry fly and caught a bunch of the fish. The fly didn’t get waterlogged and I’m sure glad that I used Frog Hair on it. I tied about a half dozen and lost only two: both in fish at the end of the lake with the boulders – oh well.

Mom made the picnic preparations about 2:00 o’clock and by then the sun had warmed the air to about 75 degrees. We took off our outer wraps and sat in the chairs that we brought and visited about nothing – just like it ought to be. The wine and the brie and the bread was wonderful, (see previous post,) mom brought some salami from the store and we ate some pieces as we talked.

a-moose-elk.jpgI fished for a couple of more hours and then we drove back to West Yellowstone. The park is beginning to feel empty. We stopped at the big moose meadow, (official name = Willow Park,) and watched the head of a moose wandering in the willow thickets. There are many moose here but you have to stop and look for them. We saw three in about an hour. There was even an elk eating grass with the moose. We got home in time for dinner, and the end of a perfect day.

The sun was in our eyes at Madison Junction but it didn’t stop us from seeing the enormous numbers of fishermen that were along the river. There were easily fifty between the junction and 7-mile bridge. I wish them well.

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I found a wonderful blog this morning while surfing. It’s called mountainear and it’s written by a woman in Wales. Real honest and earthy. Late last night I added some more pages to the Yellowstone section: geography, geology, the current geo-dynamics, and stuff like that. I’m doing some research on the effects of super volcanoes on the climate and will post that soon.

Today is full of weekend chores, (yeah, I know it’s Monday,) but I just didn’t get to them. Fishing should be good this evening. The clouds are high and thin. I’ve got to run a few miles, and go to the range too – better get with it!

All This For Just One Day ?

Too Much Trouble

Since I moved up here I’ve become kinda minimalist in my activities and life style. Now I’m finding out why. Mom and I are going on a picnic tomorrow. She wants the kitchen sink, I want some wine and cheese, (and the fishing stuff.)

We have compromised a bit. But it’s funny that we have to spend part of today for a brief sojourn tomorrow – PACKING! a-pt_yukon.jpgThe blankets, the books, the chairs (!), the cards, the ice chest, the camera and batteries and memory, and — oh hell, way too much!

a-pt_avanti1.jpgSo I retreated here to escape, (fishing would be a cop-out,) and see if there would not be an easier way. There is. I found this lovely site on the web called Red’s Web Buys. It has a page called picnic essentials. That’s all we need – essentials. They have these nifty back packs that carry what you need, and some of them are insulated – save the wine from too much environment. I’m ordering one; sadly it won’t get here yesterday.

a-pt_javaex.jpga-san.JPGWe’re going to take some of the game hens we BBQ’d, (always do lots when you fire up the damn thing,) and a really nice wine that mom brought from California. It’s a Sauvignon Blanc, St. Clement, California 2000. It’s a very fruity Sauvignon, with flavors of tropical fruits and grapefruit. A bit of Viognier wine has been added to the blend, yielding a softer style.

a-brie_smoked8.jpgThis will go good with the hens and a couple of small wheels of smoked Brie Cheese from Blue Heron. Add an apple and some Boudin Sourdough from San Francisco, and the picnic is complete. Where would I be without her – maybe she can have the kitchen sink.a-sour-loaf.jpg

The recipe, (for a picnic?) is simple. Arrive at the picnic site and park the vehicle facing the sun. Put the cheese, (un-cut & still in the original container wrapped in foil,) on the front seat or the dashboard – in the sun. Leave the bread in the shade of the car in the rear seat floor. Drain the water from the cooler, (not the ice,) put the apples on the ice along with the wine. Go fishing and enjoy the sunshine.

When it’s lunch time; take the hens out of the cooler first and put them in the sun. Make picnic arrangements. Then; the apples will be crisp and cold, the wine chilled to perfection, the bread at ‘room’ temperature, and the smoked brie perfectly warm and creamy! Eat!

a-glory.jpegThen you can fish some more, get in the car and have some chocolate on the way home. Did I mention to wrap the chocolate in foil and put in the ice chest? Nope! Dope! Do it!

We’re having artichokes and liver tonight, some Fat Tire Beer, and ice cream with mom’s home made chocolate sauce. Maybe some of the good coffee from Morning Glory, our local roaster . . . . . not too much – gotta get up early. Don’t forget camera!

WINE FOR ALL OF US

REMOVE THE SNOB FACTOR a-animglas.gif IT’S STILL GOOD

a-wine-cellar-use.jpg

 

Yes, I enjoy my wine. Red’s especially, but in the right context most good wines are fine. There is an excellent site on the web called VineSugar that gives us entry to the ‘wine scene’ with very little pain. It’s one of the best sites on the web – of any kind.

They also have a page that indexes all the wine blogs so that there is no need to set up tabs in your Firefox browser – nor do you need a news reader – great idea. They are the folks that turned me on to the Gurdies Winery. This little Australian winery has some good to very good wines and a nice service – personalized wine bottles, (good for the ego.)

The premier wine blog is Vinography. It’s current, active, commercial, and full of good news. Try them out for a taste of main stream snobbery. They have an enormous and valuable list of links – it makes me dizzy, (not ditzy!)

a-johs-rack.JPGI also like reading the “BUDGET WINE BABE” blog. She and I are very much the same – too damn practical for our own good. I wish she would write something every day – then, so too, do I wish that I would too. She has a good post about what climate change is going to do to wines and wine growing. It’s happening now and it’s a little frightening. She tries hard to be green – so do I.

I’m fixing a grape crust for the rack of lamb this evening – better trot over to the wine sites to see what might go with it as a change of pace. I like to call the servings “Lamb Lolly-pops.” a-racko.jpgHere’s a picture of the beast from my new camera. It’s getting warm and ready to marinate. I’m getting this software down – but boy am I slow.

It’s cold and crisp outside and the clouds are letting in some sunshine. I’ll have time to pack the lamb. get groceries, fish for a couple of hours and be back in time for dinner – if I hurry.

HERE’S THE BASIC RECIPE

Yield: 2 to 4 Servings
Fresh herb rub: Basil, fresh, chopped 1 tsp. Thyme, fresh or dried, chopped 1/2 tsp. Oregano, fresh or dried, chopped 1/2 tsp. Rosemary, fresh, chopped 1 tsp. Fennel seed, crushed 1 tsp. Salt 1 tsp. Pepper, freshly ground 2 tsp. (I’m going to use about a pound of fresh green grapes ground up in a sieve with the stems and seeds included & about 1/4 cup of dried mustard as well.) Two lamb racks, (7-8 bones per rack.) Olive oil 2 Tbsp. Garlic and Red Wine Sauce: Red wine 1/2 cup, Chicken stock 1/2 cup, Red wine vinegar 1 Tbsp. 12 – 14 garlic cloves, medium, whole, peeled, salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat gas oven to 475°F. In small bowl, combine basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, fennel, salt and pepper – (and the mashed grapes and mustard); generously coat racks all over with rub. In large heavy skillet over high flame, preheat oil; brown racks 3-5 minutes per side. Drain fat from pan, reserving any juices in pan for sauce. Place racks fat side up in a roasting pan; roast on center rack of gas oven 13 to 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 130°F to 135°F for medium rare. Transfer racks to warm plate – cover to keep heat; let rest 10 minutes while making sauce. Return skillet to medium-high flame; add wine, chicken stock and garlic; bring to boil, scraping up any browned pieces. Cover pan; reduce flame to very low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid, return to boil; reduce sauce until syrupy. Cut racks into individual lolly-pops. Spoon sauce over lamb and serve.

I like carrots and parsnips on the side. Batter-fried yellow Bell Pepper rings are also very good. A heavy Madeira with lightly-salted French Vanilla ice cream & coffee is a good dessert. The wine for tonight is probably going to be a 2001 “Kronos Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon, (unless something else turns up at the local cellar.)

This wine was snob rated at 9.5 by Vinography: “Medium garnet in the glass this wine has a gorgeous nose of cherry, violets, and uncharacteristically (for Napa) the pungent bouquet of mixed herbs that the French refer to as garrigue. In the mouth the wine has excellent balance and an acidity that makes for extremely juicy flavors of bing cherry and notes of plum. The tannic structure is smooth and subdued and carries the red fruit aromas through a substantial finish. Score: 9/9.5.LINK.

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