New Recipes from On The Road – A Rainy Day in Minnesota

Kind of rainy here in Minnesota, so stayed indoors playing with food. Came up with a couple of ideas we really enjoyed and I hope you’ll enjoy also.
PIG’S EARS

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These are so tasty and makes few enough you can eat them in just a couple of days. a Chef’s Journey recipe adapted from a Pillsbury recipe – makes 8-10 ‘ears’ depending on how thin the rolls are sliced

1 can Pillsbury Crescent rolls, 8 count
1/4 cup sugar
1 to 1 1/2 tsps. cinnamon
2 Tbs butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Unroll roll dough being careful to keep intact.

Divide in half so you have 2 squares. Pinch together all the perforated sections for each square. Roll one square out to 1/4 inch thickness. Brush with half the butter; sprinkle with half the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
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Roll out 2nd square to match the size of the first. Carefully lay over, matching edges. Brush with the butter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture.
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Roll up and cut roll into 1-inch slices, roll individually between sheets of waxed paper to 1/4-inch thickness, replacing paper as needed.

Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Cool on rack.

Later the same day – had some farmers market Sugar Snap Peas that needed to be used up.I really did not have high hopes for the flavor combination, but son-of-a-gun, it works. This quick-to-cook recipe will complement most any spring entrée be it ham, lamb, chicken or fish.

SUGAR SNAP PEA STIR-FRY
??????????????????????????????? And, the stir-fry went so well with stuffed bells using up our wood-fired Buffalo chicken wings. Will post the recipe for them soon.

1 pound fresh sugar snap peas
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup thinly sliced onion
2 T. herb mixture: I used mint, cilantro & basil
3 slices pickled jalapeno
1 1/2 T. toasted pine nuts

In a large nonstick skillet or wok, sauté the onions 4 minutes; add the garlic and continue sautéing 1 minute. Add peas and jalapeno slices and stir fry 4 minutes until peas are crisp tender. Sprinkle with the herbs and pine nuts to combine. 4 servings

That’s it for this cooking day in Minnesota.

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PACIFIC NORTHWEST RAZOR CLAMS

No, we’re not back in Washington, but I’m trying to make room in the freezer by using the goodies I brought from our freezers before we had to sell them. So today, it was Razor Clams – Three Ways.
Here’s a little info on Razor clams if you are not familiar with them. Seeing a picture of them as dug, it’s easy to see how they came to have their name.
clam pix 1I grew up coming to the coast, Copalis Beach, with my family for clam digging, which has to be done at low tide which can be 3 to 4 or 5 a.m. I remember many times as obnoxious children we would begin whining when the tide came in and we would be surrounded with water and sure we were all going to drown.

Razor clams are deceptively fast ‘burrowers’ and you have to get that shovel in and down fast; remove the shovel and stick your arm down the ‘blow’ hole to hopefully grab your clam as he/she nose dives for safety.
razor clams cleaned 3 (2)

We’d come back to the cabin and my mother would work her magic with our bounty – clam cocktails, clam chowder, fried clams and of course clam fritters. These are some of my best childhood memories, even if we might have been swept out to sea by 3 inches of tide coming in.
razor clams cleaned 3 (1)

This is the meat of a razor clam ready to be transformed into dishes to make a person cry, they are so briny, tender (if cooked correctly), and luscious.
Now, to cooking those luscious creatures.

Not an auspicious way to begin, but the first recipe it tried, I chose only because it was so off the wall, that I could not not try it.

“Smoked” Razor Clams
Found this searching on the internet for ideas and thank God I didn’t use a whole batch of clams on this recipe. It was just nasty!! Nothing to even rework to make something of it. Clams and recipe straight to the garbage!!!
Aug 22 Smoked Razor clams 1
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The second dish was Razor Clam Fritters and this choice was delicious. Easy to put together if you have ‘pancake mix’ which I did not. But thanks to Alton Brown and Food Network, he had a recipe for a quick mix so I was good to go.
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Razor Clam Fritters
1 cup chopped razor clams (reserve the liquid)
1 bottle flat beer
1 1/2 cups pancake mix*(see recipe below)
6 green onions cut very thin and use green also
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped

Mix onions, celery, green pepper and pancake mix together. Add clams and juice to other ingredients, then add beer till you have a very thick mixture that can be dropped from spoon into hot oil at 375°F. You may not need all the beer because of the clam juice. Drop by spoonful in oil – cook 2 min. per side – test, if not cooked- drop by smaller spoonfuls.

Alton’s ‘Instant’ Pancake Mix:
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda (check expiration date first)
3 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs kosher salt
2 Tbs sugar

The third dish was an old family favorite – Fried Razor Clams. I’ve always loved the amount of heat and spiciness of this coating
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Fried Alaskan Razor Clams*****
Alaskan razor clams are huge in size and full of sweet, briny flavor.  After our recent razor clam digging trip on the Kenai Peninsula we tested a bunch of recipes and tried new ways of cooking our clams.  Here’s a pan fried recipe that adds a little kick that you’re sure to love as much as we do. ~Patti & Audrey

Vegetable or canola oil for frying
1/2 package of saltines (about 20 crackers) finely crushed1 teaspoon coarse ground salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 eggs, plus 1 tablespoon water, beaten
4 large razor clams (about 1 pound) cleaned and dried

Gather your ingredients.  These go quick, so once your oil is hot, the clams need to be breaded and ready to fry. Mix crushed crackers with all seasonings.
Dip clams into beaten egg and then dredge with the cracker mixture to coat evenly.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. When ready, add clams and fry until golden brown.  Be careful not to overcook or else they will get tough. These only take about 1 minute per side.

Let drain on paper towel for a few minutes, and then serve with a wedge of lemon, some spicy cocktail sauce and a nice cold Alaskan Amber beer!

One favorite time I made these was earlier this year when our friend’s, Bill & Jane Miller, daughter visited us for a few days. She is such an adventurous food lover, plus being a professional cheese monger – what’s not to love about her????

All in all what a great day of cooking and eating – frosting on the cake?? I still have some smoked ketchup in the freezer that I added a few jalapenos to jazz up things a little.

I hope if you’re ever in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll try our Razor Clams – they are outstanding.

Baking and Roasting on the Grill

One of the problems for me on the road is not having access to my big 4-burner grill. On this grill I can do anything my little heart desires. But, alas, in the trailer set-up, I only have as large a grill as my hunky husband can cart around from move to move.
For a long time I was very limited.  I have tried probably 5 or 6 different configurations of burners – number of and the placement of. This last one we purchased has done the best job so far for heating hot enough to be able to grill pizzas, one of my favorites!
???????????????????????????????Weber 1-Burner Q1000 Gas Grill

So, problem solved for grilling, but with 1 continuous burner, and no way to do indirect  barbecuing, I was still complaining. Now, I have overcome this hurdle, also! I picked up two fire bricks to put on the grill and lay a cake rack or sheet pan between them. Now, I can have my dishes/veggies/meat cooking in an indirect method. And, best of all, I can be outside and not heat up the trailer/RV using the inside oven on summer days.
???????????????????????????????The lid closes and I have an oven. To help regulate the temperature, I prop the lid open a little and I am good to go. Some of the dishes I’ve been able to do and how easy it is –

Garlic roasted lobster and prawns – toss seafood with minced garlic and olive oil on a foil lined baking sheet (a 1/4 sheet pan – ~8”X12”); place the sheet pan on the cooking rack on resting on the bricks.  Turn the seafood over half way thru cooking time and you have roasted seafood which you can add to any dish, or just grab bread rounds and forks and have a fast appetizer. The ‘goop’ from the seafood is wonderful to dunk bread in.
???????????????????????????????Temperatures and times I use for the shrimp: keep the grill about 400°F and roast for 3-4 minutes (depending on size); turn over and continue roasting another 3 minutes. Please trust me, this time will cook the shrimp/prawns beautifully.
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Roasted Asparagus and cod portions-
July 18 Prepping Cod AsparagusJuly 18 Rstd. Cod asparagusToss asparagus spears and portioned pieces of cod (or other fish) with olive oil and seasonings; lay the asparagus on a 1/4 sheet pan lined with foil and top with the portioned fish. Lay the sheet pan on the cake rack over the bricks. Roast until fish is 140°F. and the asparagus us just fork tender.
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Twice baked sweet potatoes. Notice these were baked in a glass casserole. I wrap the outside with foil before setting it on the cake rack over the bricks and it works fine.
June 20 Twice Baked Swt. Tatoes 2Prepare the potatoes early in the day and bake them outside about 30-45 minutes before dinner.
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Tortilla Pizza – oil both sides of a tortilla (I like to use the large wrap size to serve the 2 of us), lay on a sheet pan; top with goodies of your choice and place the sheet pan on the baking rack on the bricks.
Spinach, Ricotta and Salchichon Tortilla Pizza Feb. 23And, of course regular pizzas –
July 23 Buffalo Chix Pzza grilling Surprise, Surprise!! Today I found out I can bake cookies on my grill, too!! How great is that! I made a batch of Pumpkin Chip Cookies and gave it a try. The first ones were a little dark, and I’ll have to watch them a little closer than when using the oven.
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I’ll end this post with the recipe for the cookies – they are easy and fast to put together and so nice to have around to munch on.

Pumpkin Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup conned pumpkin
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts

1. Cream butter & sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
2. Add pumpkin
3. Add dry ingredients.
4. Add nuts and chips and stir well.
5. Drop by tsp. o cookie sheet.
6. Bake 350° 15 minutes.
Source: Cookie Indulgence: 150 Easy Cookie Recipes – ebook

I’ll add ideas for roasting and  baking on the grill as I go along and test a few things. Maybe next – bread. I’ve done it on my big grill, but not using this method with a small one burner…we shall see.

To be continued…………………….

A Rainy Day on the Road………….

Well, he!! – it’s raining so the farmers market is out for today and will have to find one at the next stop – Jamestown, N.D. – Can’t sit outside and read either, so guess I’ll just add a few recipes I’ve been making lately.

Staying in one place a week at a time gives me the time and opportunity to play with foods along the way. Here are a few recipes that may appeal to some of you.

On the road or at home, having the option to pickle your own jalapenos whenever you need them is what I consider a wonderful bonus recipe. Below are two versions, both equally good.
Pickled Jalapenos – option 1
Adapted from Plate Magazine, the Spicy issue, June 2014
Mar 4 R trying Pickled Jalapenos4 each jalapenos, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/2 T. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for several hours or up to 2 days.

Pickled Jalapenos – option 2
This is the version I have been using for a number of years. This is the note I wrote on the recipe the first time I made them. “Don’t want to unhook the truck from the trailer and I need pickled jalapenos for my pizza.” And, I’ve been making them ever since.

Equal amounts of water and cider vinegar with 1 tsp. salt per ½ cup of water/vinegar mixture. Heat just to dissolve (this can be done for a few seconds in a Microwave) the salt.
I’m afraid I don’t know how long these will last in the refrigerator, we use them too quickly.

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Corn Chowder  with Lobster and Prawns
From “a Chef’s Journey…Home” cookbook
???????????????????????????????Corn Chowder is a go to quick dinner at the last minute. So easy, fast and delicious. Add a grilled cheese sandwich or a green salad and your dinner is ready
Corn Chowder
12 soda cracker squares
1 cup milk
3 slices bacon or salt pork
1 large onion, diced
1 large potato cut in half lengthwise, and thinly sliced
2 cups water
2 cups whole kernel corn
1 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. paprika

Crush the soda crackers and mix with the milk, set aside.
Cut bacon or salt pork in cubes and brown in a large saucepan.
Add onions and cook until starting to brown, then add the potatoes and water; cook until potatoes are soft.
Stir in the cracker and milk mixture, corn, salt, pepper and paprika. Simmer until heated through. Serves 4

Variations:

  • Add a can of chopped clams and/or a spicy sausage thinly sliced.
  • Roast a poblano chili and add.
  • Add cooked lobster and/or prawns.

Wine suggestion – a Viognier matches well with the Lobster & Prawn option.
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Montana’s Huckleberry BBQ Sauced Sausage Pizza

The BBQ sauce has a fruity, smoked flavor with just a hint of heat – with jalapenos on the pizza, the heat is just perfect! Serves 4 or 2 really hungry folks.
Aug 6 Sausage Pizza donePrepared pizza round, 9 to 12 oz. of dough, spread to about 10 inches in diameter.
Top with:
Thin layer of marinara sauce
Huckleberry BBQ sauce
My cheese choice – 2 oz. of each: mozzarella, provolone and cheddar
Bison sausage, cooked, 1 sausage or about 4 oz.
Red onion slices
Pickled Jalapeno slices
Bake and garnish with chopped green onions for serving.
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We liked this wrap so well, I made it two days in a row.
???????????????????????????????Turkey (Chicken) Cobb Salad Roll Up with Carrot Slaw*****
4 servings – adapted from Fresh Food Fast – ebook on my ipad

Combine and fill tortilla:
2 cups lettuce
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup green onions
3 Tbs blue cheese dressing
Pepper
8 oz chicken/turkey
1 avocado
4  flatbreads or tortilla wraps
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Top with carrot slaw:
2 1/2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs honey
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper
3 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups diced apple

1. Combine the wrap ingredients and top a flatbread or tortilla wrap.
2. Combine the slaw ingredients and serve with the wrap.
Tips: My notes: didn’t read the recipe well enough when writing it down – the slaw was to be served separately, not part of the wrap, but we liked it in the wrap.

Also, I had 2 slices of bacon in the fridge that needed using – fried those up and added to wrap ingred. Plus I added 1/2 tsp. Dijon to help the dressing combine better and for the added flavor.
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Well, it’s still raining, so what shall I cook/bake now………………….. 🙂

North Dakota Cooking and EATING!

Ultimate Poutine – What an experience!!

Mixing Canada into my kitchen cooking – I’ve heard about Poutine for years and my friend, Lorraine Zentgraf, has encouraged me to try it, so when we got to Canada, I knew this was the time. I found a recipe on The Canadian Living website and after finding cheese curds in Creston, B.C., I was ready. This is a dish that health-wise you should enjoy maybe once a year – but, do try it, it is wonderful. The gravy from the recipe can be used for all sorts of dishes. In the back of my mind, I’m thinking a pheasant dish when we get to N. Dakota making use of this gravy!! (and…mashed potatoes) While the recipe may look a little daunting, it’s a very easy dish to put together, especially if you cheat (as I did) and use leftover fries.

Canadian Living note: The best part about this classic poutine? The gravy is made using store-bought broth, so you don’t have to make your own. With a few added aromatics, it has all the intense, meaty flavour of homemade. If you’re really pressed for time, use frozen fries and be done in about 30 minutes. By Jennifer Bartoli and The Canadian Living Test Kitchen
Aug 7 Poutine, Canadian Living Pixvegetable oil, for deep-frying
1.8 kg baking potatoes, (such as russet)
Gravy:
1/3 cup (75 mL) warm water
2 dried morel mushrooms
4 tsp (18 mL) vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cups (750 mL) sodium-reduced beef broth
2 cups (500 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth
1 tbsp (15 mL) mixed whole peppercorns
2 tsp(10 mL) cider vinegar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp  (2 mL) Worcestershire sauce
Pinch dried sage leafs
Pinch salt
1/3 cup (75 mL) (75 mL) butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) (125 mL) all-purpose flour
375g cheese curds

Gravy: In small bowl, pour warm water over mushrooms; let stand until softened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, shallots, garlic, tomato paste and thyme until onions and shallots are softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in beef broth, chicken broth, peppercorns, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, sage, salt, mushrooms and mushroom soaking liquid; bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Strain through fine-mesh sieve into large glass measure. Discard onion mixture. In same Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat; add flour, whisking constantly, until mixture forms smooth paste and is pale butterscotch colour, about 4 minutes. Whisk in reserved broth mixture; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. In deep fryer or deep pot, pour enough oil to come no more than halfway up side; heat until deep-fryer thermometer reads 375 F (190 C) or 1-inch (2.5 cm) cube of white bread turns golden in 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, scrub potatoes; cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch (5 mm) thick slices. Stacking 2 or 3 at a time, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch (5 mm) wide sticks. Pat dry. Working in small batches, blanch potatoes in oil until barely golden, 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer to paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Working in batches, return potatoes to oil and fry until tender and golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Divide half of the cheese curds among 8 bowls; top each with some of the fries and the remaining cheese curds. Top with gravy.

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Aug 10 Glasgow Walleye Sandwich w Sidewinder Fries Walleye Sandwich with Sidewinder Fries– I  like walleye very much, but must say catfish is still the favorite! Loved the fries – would love to see the machine that cuts these.

We took a drive to Fort Stevenson in Garrison, N.D. to Garrison Bay and it was so pretty. Being from the west coast, it’s hard for me to think of a ‘bay’ In N. Dakota!
???????????????????????????????Got ice cream at the marina. Another first for me – Chokecherry ice cream cone – oh my, I love this berry. Farmers market this weekend, so maybe I can pick up fresh from what I read this is the time for them. fingers crossed
???????????????????????????????The folks next door to us here in the park are from Canada and when I told them about my first experience with chokecherries, they laughed and said they have bushes in their yard. And, they said they also like them as is, tart, but very tasty they think. (I had read they need to be cooked because of the tartness) So, I’m still going to look for them tomorrow at the market. Fingers crossed!! Also, hope I can find a source there for frozen pheasant. I so want to cook one while we’re here!!

And, yesterday, the whole reason for going to Garrison (where I had the Chokecherry ice cream) was to visit Myers’ Meats Specialties – hoping to get some local fare. They really didn’t have much for me to play with – as far as unique meats. But, I did pick up 2 lbs. of local Buffalo burger. So we’ll have Buffalo Burgers.
???????????????????????????????Locally grown buffalo, from Meyers’ Meat Specialties, Garrison, N.D. Made sure I cooked it medium-rare to save the juiciness. Our wine was a blend of 65% Grenache/35% Syrah – So good.

And, because Roy needed a special dinner, a Pastrami, Sauerkraut & Havarti Pizza. and, of course a bottle of bubbly!!
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Haloumi/Bread Cheese – they really are the same thing. I picked up Bread Cheese in Kalispell, MT and had for lunch today with Cornichons, crackers and watermelon.
haloumiThis is Haloumi Cheese I served as an hors d’oeurve a few years ago and, this is Bread Cheese
???????????????????????????????What a nice lunch. And, surprise, surprise – had a tad of Kiona Ice wine left and it was wonderful with the cheese and cornichons! The other wine we had open was our 2nd bottle (and last ) of San Lucas Malbec 2011, Mendoza Reserva (Argentina, I think) – what a wonderful deep red wine – it went very well with the cheese, not so much the pickles. Fun afternoon.

A little cooking and a lot of eating this week!! And a good time was had, that’s for sure.

Roasting Chicken on a Grill – Hot Weather Cooking

August is hot in N. Dakota and I sure don’t want to turn the oven on. I’m loving trying new roasting/baking techniques on my little (I mean little) grill – one continuous burner, which makes grilling and barbecuing very difficult. With no way to have indirect heat, I had to be inventive.
Before we left Port Angeles I bought fire bricks to use on the grill to raise whatever I’m cooking. I wanted roasted chicken to use for a number of dishes in the next few days, so here’s an easy way to do this on a grill – on the road or at home.
Cut the backbone from the chicken; turn over and smash the breastbone so it will lay flat. Turn breast side down again and rub with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning of your choice (I have a house seasoning I use for almost everything – 2 parts Kosher salt to 1 part each: white pepper & granulated garlic.)Turn chicken back over breast up and repeat seasoning under the skin and the outside.

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Place the chicken on a roasting pan that will fit inside your grill with the lid closed, on top of the fire bricks.

Aug 13 Chix on grill
Close lid and roast until desired temperature is reached (165°F for white meat/175°F for thigh meat) My grill was a constant 400°F and the chicken, which weighed 5 lbs. was done after 1 hour 25 minutes.
I keep all the chicken jus goodness to flavor rice, couscous, or any grains I’m cooking.

And, let me tell you, the skin was as lusciously crisp as it is roasted in the oven. And our RV is cool!
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COOKING ON THE ROAD

The past 3 weeks have turned into a blur for Roy and me. The house sold so fast, we had little time to get treasures stored and decide what we needed to take on the road for a year. Whew, now that we are into our adventure things are slowly calming down and we are both not sleeping 10 hours a night to catch up.

Part of the purpose of my traveling blog was to share recipes I develop/make/find/steal/whatever it takes for dishes using indigenous products to the states as we visit each. Things were so hectic I’m afraid I was not very organized, but now I’m getting my act together and will begin this daunting but oh so fun task of sharing with you all the great food we are finding.

This first food porn entry will go backwards and I’ll play with how far back to go and then in the future my entrees will be chronicle order, I hope.

Here goes – I’m starting this out with one of the best pizzas I’ve ever made (I know I say this quite often, but each of them have been!) Wanting to use the Bison Sausage I picked up in Creston, B.C., this is the end result. And, to add to the enjoyment of making this one, is that my friend Maryann Heininger led me to dough that I have never made before – made with white wine!

Deborah Mele’s blog – www.Itliancookingforever.com

Bison Sausage & Pepper Pizza

a Chef’s Journey recipe

Aug 2 The Crumb of the Focaccia (2)

We picked up Bison sausage during a visit to Creston, B.C. to Famous Fritz Meats & Deli – http://famousfritz.ca/. Feel free to use any game sausage or commercial will do also. I had roasted red bell and poblano peppers on hand so that’s what I used – about 1/2 pepper each. Added just enough heat for us to enjoy.

10 to 12 oz. prepared Pizza dough
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil for rubbing on the dough round
1/2 to 3/4 cup marinara sauce – depending on how ‘saucy’ you like your pie
Your choice of cheese: for a 10” pizza, plan on using 6 oz. total of whatever you choose. – On this pizza: 2 oz. each-Mozzarella, Provolone and Cheddar, shredded
4 oz. (approx. 1 cup) sausage, diced*
1/2 roasted poblano pepper, diced
1/2 roasted red bell, diced|
1 1/2 oz. (approx. 1/2 cup) minced red onion
Garnish: toasted pine nuts

Roll, push or stretch pizza dough to desired size and thickness. Brush with olive oil to the edge.
With the back of a spoon, spread marinara sauce over dough followed by 2/3 of the cheese (mix together whatever combination you decide on).
Scatter the diced sausage, then the poblano and red bell peppers and minced onion. Top with the remaining cheese. If desired, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and top everything with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. Bake or grill you favorite way.

Notes: *Dicing sausage to put on pizza ensures every bite will have some – when sausage is added in large rounds, it is hard to slice so all the sausage doesn’t end up on just a few slices.

Wine: stay away from Cab, Syrah, Zin
Try – Sangivese, barbera, dolcetto, pinto noir

8/2/14 – we had an Italian Casa Taurini 2012 Barbera d’Asti that was heaven with the pizza!!! For this wine, you’ll probably have to go to Zagat wines – it’s a little pricey, $28.00-$30.00, but you have to splurge once in a while.

The white we chose was a Viiognier from Harbinger Winery in Port Angeles, WA. http://www.harbingerwinery.com/   I also used Sara’s wine in the pizza dough – a first for me to use wine for part of the liquid. Very nice and a repeat for sure. The wine matched the pizza very well, also.
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A delightful salad making use of farmers market zucchini was this cold salad – I used dark balsamic when I made it, but because of the muddled color it gave the salad (which did not interfere with the flavor one bit!), next time I will use white balsamic.

 Zucchini “Noodle” & Cannellini Bean Salad

a Chef’s Journey Recipe
For a hot weather no-cook salad, this is such a vibrant and scrumptious side dish or, it could be a complete light dinner, also. Adapted from a Whole Foods recipe. You don’t have to ‘shave’ the zucchini into noodles, you can roughly chop and add to the salad, but the noodles give the salad a uniqueness that is pretty and interesting. Serves 4 to 6

Basic Salad:
1 medium-size (about 1 lb.) zucchini and/or yellow summer squash
1 1/2 cups corn (frozen, canned or fresh off the cob)
1/2 cup minced red onion
1 jalapeno, minced (seeded and membranes removed, if desired)
15 1/2  oz. can Cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Additional options:
1/2 cup chopped pea pods or frozen peas
1-2 hard-cooked eggs, roughly chopped
Other veggies that need to be used found in your fridge
Basic Dressing:
3 T. balsamic vinegar
3 tsps. Dijon mustard
3 tsps. Extra-virgin olive oil

Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, cut squash lengthwise into long thin ‘noodles’ rotating the squash as you peel. Discard seedy core.
In a large bowl, combine the ‘noodles’ and rest of the salad ingredients adding whatever options you choose. Salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour about half the dressing over the salad and gently combine. Add more dressing as desired, but you don’t want it soupy. Keep any remaining dressing to add to a green salad.

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These are a family favorite pancake – my Uncle Wallace made them for us ‘little ones’ every time we saw him as we were growing up. Everyone loves them to this day.
???????????????????????????????Uncle Wallace’s Buttermilk Pancakes

My Great-Uncle Wallace Thatcher made these pancakes for my sister and me every summer when we visited him and Aunt Lolly. Even today, they are the best I have every tasted! While they are delicious with warm maple syrup, homemade Blackberry syrup is just made for these pancakes.  Recipe from a Chef’s Journey Cookbook

6 rounded T. flour (see tip)
3 1/2 cups buttermilk (may need a little more to make a thin batter)
1 1/2 rounded tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder|
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 T. bacon grease (see tip)
3 T. sugar

Mix all the ingredients together; the batter should be rather thin, a little thicker than a crepe batter. Heat a pancake griddle to medium-high and regulate heat so the bottom of the pancake is nicely browned when the bubbles appear on top.

Pour 1/3-cup size pancake batter on a hot griddle rubbed with more bacon grease or vegetable oil. Turn as soon as the top of pancake has bubbles; cook other side until browned. Makes 14 – 18 pancakes.

Tips:  (1)After years of making these pancakes, I finally measured “6 dinnerware tablespoons” of flour and found it is equal to approximately 1 1/2 cups.

(2)While bacon grease makes these the delicious pancakes they are, you can use vegetable oil in its place.

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 Leek and Orzo Gratin

a Chef’s Journey recipe adapted from Weight Watchers
???????????????????????????????Not a spectacular dish, but very tasty, healthy and to the table quickly and I thought of it immediately when I saw leeks at the farmers market. This is an old Weight Watcher’s recipe. I had some pea pods that needed to be used, so added while sautéing the leeks. Just about any vegetable would work for an additional flavor.

1 cup orzo
2 tsp olive oil
3 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced, white and light green parts only
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
Salt & black pepper
1/4 cup (1 oz.) shredded Fontina cheese (or what you have on hand)
Optional: a handful of veggies you might have in the fridge, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 2-qt. baking dish with cooking spray.
Cook orzo according to pkg. directions.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leeks  (plus any veggies you find) and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the orzo, thyme, salt and pepper.
Transfer the orzo mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.
Suggested wine: very good with a 7 Deadly Zinfandel and served with Garlic marinated flank steak.
Note to self: try adding a few pine nuts, cashews or pecans?
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 Ramen Noodle Chicken Pad Tha
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One of the fastest to put together and flavorful dishes I’ve made in a long time. Two best things about this dish is you can add any veggies you might have in the fridge and/or sauté a few and add; AND you can discard that high-sodium seasoning packet that comes with the ramen noodle pkg. – not needed.

1 package chicken flavor ramen noodles, 3 ounce
1 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs peanut butter
1/2 Tbs garlic chili paste
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 to 1 cup cooked chicken, or whatever leftover meat/fish you have
Unsalted chopped peanuts, garnish

Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Add noodles, reserve flavor packet, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Drain noodles.
Add soy sauce, peanut butter and garlic chili paste to pan and stir to combine. If needed, add cooking liquid to smooth out sauce.
Add cooked noodles and stir to coat noodles. Add cooked chicken and stir to combine. Top with chopped peanuts. Serves 2.

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 This is where I’ll stop for now…I have so many more goodies to amuse myself with for foods that are popular in Idaho (potatoes, Elk, Huckleberries) and Canada (Peameal Bacon, Bannock, Butter Tarts, Poutine). Not that I can use everything….I’d be as big as a house – a happy house, but a house no less!

August 4, 2014 – Glacier Nat’l Park

I don’t have the vocabulary to express the beauty and grandeur of this park – from the creeks and lakes to the scariest drive of my life on the ‘Going to the Sun Hiway’ and seeing the world from 6,650 ft elevation at the top of a Glacier. My pictures  don’t do it justice, but this day will always be in my mind’s eye. If you’ve not been here, I suggest you move it up your bucket list, it is so worth it.

Starting at the west entrance to the park and starting on the ‘Going to the Sun Hiway,’ we came upon Lake McDonald as our first breathtaking view with the Glacier’s in the background. This is our very first selfie.
Aug 4 Lake McDonaldAug 4 Lake McDonald looking at GlaciersAug 4 Selfie at Lake McDonaldUp the road just a short way began Logan Creek in all it’s beauty and ferocity. Here is a link to the film I took of the creek (which does not do it justice, but the water against the rocks is beautiful) .
Aug 4 Logan Creek

http://vid3.photobucket.com/albums/y72/cjdacook/COOKING%20PICTURES%202014/Aug4LoganCreekFilm_zpsbc4b60e2.mp4

After being lulled by the tranquility of the waterways, we began the climb that gave this highway its name…Going to the Sun Hiway. By the time the day was over I did feel we had conquered that quest. I have never been so afraid on a road in my life – I was literally leaning towards the inside of the mountain to help keep the truck from going over the cliff.

I’m embarrassed to say I couldn’t even get out of the truck for pictures. We did stop and Roy got out admiring and I managed to take a picture at the summit (6,650 ft.) from the truck. Never thought I was so frightened about heights. I’m so glad we did this drive, but I never want to be on that road again!! In the picture below, you can see the road going along the top of the mountain – the very TOP of the picture of the mountain…that’s the road I’m talking about! Heart in the throat scary.
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Aug 4 6560 ft on Glaciers
We hit a pub the minute we reached St. Marys outside the park for a drink to sooth my nerves and a bit of sausage.
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Branningan’s in Kalispell offers the Reuben sandwich which is ranked No. 1 in town, so of course, that’s where we headed. Being an Irish pub, they also offered pasties, and I’ve never tasted one. Pastry stuffed with ground beef, potatoes, onions & carrots and Guinness gravy. I wasn’t impressed; the pastry itself was very flaky, but with the potatoes added, it gave me the sense of doughiness (a word?). My normal pub fare of fried calamari was perfectly cooked, tho, so I was a happy camper along with Roy.
Aug. 4 Roy's Reuben BranningansAug 4 Beef PastieAug 4 Calamri Branningans
Came home and just collapsed – believe me it is exhausting to be tense for so long; but oh so worth it.

A Visit to Creston, B.C.

First time I’ve been in Canada except for ferry rides over to Victoria while we lived in Port Angeles, WA. What a beautiful country (I know ours is pretty spectacular also, but I’m just beginning to enjoy it!!) Canada is and have not met a rude ‘Cannuck’ (is that a slur – so hope not!) yet.
These pictures are as we were leaving Bonners Ferry crossing the Kootenai River
Aug 1 Kootenay River???????????????????????????????

Creston is a growing small town of approximately 5,600 to 6,000 residents at the base of the Kootenay River and joins the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. The sightseeing covers all the bases and interests of visitors, from museums, wildlife preservation farms, fruit stands every 1/2 block, Delis, but….only 3 wineries. That was a disappointment for us – but, we made the most of it.
http://www.crestonvalleybc.com/activities/wineries
Wynnwood Cellars, we didn’t even find – but Skimmerhorn Winery makes predominately white wines, as does  Baillie-Grohman winery because the weather is much more conducive to growing whites than reds. They both had Cab and Merlot, but that was it.

I brought a bottle of Skimmerhorn’s 2012 Devil’s Chair a Red wine/Vin Rouge (Gewurztraminer)  and from Baillie-Grohman, a bottle of 2013 Blanc de Noirs Rose which I’m hoping to match with some of the indigenous bounty here and develop some fun dishes.

Had lunch at Jimmy’s Pub and Grill, a dive on ‘Main St’ – and what was I thinking to order a Grilled Salmon Salad…I even asked the server if the salmon was grilled ‘properly’ and she assured me he knew what he was doing. The salad itself wasn’t too bad with a piquant vinaigrette, feta crumbles and more toasted pecans and walnuts (same salad) than I’ve seen in an 8 serving salad!!  Not thinking this place is a repeat.

The highlight of the day was stopping in at Famous Fritz Meats & Deli –
http://famousfritz.ca/
They had an European Sausage which because its casing is lamb, it can’t be taken into the U.S. So, we had to buy one to try – a very long, maybe 8” long and just 3/4″ in diameter and very pale looking. The flavor was bologna and if you like bologna (which we do) was very tasty. Also, picked up at Fritz’s, Beef Bacon, Bison Smokies (pizza?????), an envelope of Knorr’s `Jager sauce, which I’ve never seen in the states. Also, a loaf of the best rye bread I think I’ve ever tasted – and, yes, we are having trouble staying out of it. Wow, it’s tasty!
???????????????????????????????That’s it for our excursion into Canada at this point, maybe we’ll swing up again further along the route. Now, it’s time to return to the beach and Trinity at City Beach for an evening of live music, chowder and probably a dish or three of Huckleberry ice cream!!!
July 26 Sandpoint Sailboat