Missouri – Too Short of a Stay!!

Warning – this blog is a little chatty, so much to add about Missouri, but I hope you’ll enjoy our adventure.

We’ve moved on from Missouri, but must say we both fell in love with this state. It seems each state we visit outdoes the previous! The people, the country side, everything just came together for our visit. We didn’t do as many ‘touristy’ things as I had made notes to do, got side-tracked having a good time in other ways.

Show Boat Branson Belle
Quite an afternoon – couldn’t have asked for a better weather! Overall, the excursion was underwhelming, but I’m glad we got to be on the boat. The whole afternoon was spent IN the boat with just a 1/2 hour we could spend outside on deck and take in all the beautiful landscape. The entertainment was really a little hokey, but fun.
Oct 22 Branson BelleThe Branson Belle
???????????????????????????????As we boarded

The show area is huge; we were assigned the Captain’s table on the balcony, center stage and could look down on everything. The dining area below filled up in no time and dinner service began before we were out of ‘port.’
Oct 22 Filled up fast
Oct 22 The Capt.'s table, oursThe Capt’s table
I had Mahi-Mahi with Rice Pilaf – fish cooked very nicely and a Turtle cake for dessert – a real sugar high.
??????????????????????????????? Oct 22 Turtle cake - mine

Roy opted for the Prime Rib ‘steak’ – way over cooked and a Pecan pie for dessert.
??????????????????????????????? Oct 22 Roy's Pecan pie

Chef Larry Ferguson came out and talked to us for a while – very nice young man. Even offered to send us home with a steak to replace Roy’s!

Staying put for 3 weeks allowed me time to collect my thoughts and ingredients and do some serious cooking. Since I’m working on transferring my cookbooks to ebooks, I’m trying to add as many pictures of the dishes as I can (my early books had no pictures – which I’ve never heard the end of).
For a week, I worked on dishes from various books –

Beef (Pork or Chicken) Salad with Ramen Noodles
“A one-dish entrée salad using basic ingredients which can be leftovers or easily found in your pantry. Roasting the bell pepper gives the salad a smoky flavor in addition to a texture which compliments the dish over using raw pepper.”
Oct 23 Beef Salad L.O book

Another I needed pictures of – Dried Cherry Relish. I so agonized over how to plate for best presentation showcasing all the ingredients but, hopefully, not overpowering any of them. Tried a number of ways:
Oct 25 Dried Cherry Relish w Duck and Cream cheeseDuck Confit Bruschetta with Dried Cherry Relish
???????????????????????????????A creamy Quinoa topped with relish and duck confit
Cherry RelishRelish with a round of cheese
Bleu Cheese Salad with Dried Cherry Relish apr 6, 2012 And lastly, a salad topped with cherry relish
And, the winner is – well, I’m not sure – between the bruschetta and with the round of cheese. That is the process of adding pictures of recipes to books and it can be maddening, but very tasty!

Another baking project I wanted to sneak in was some peanut butter cookies for my great-grandson. I have to mail them very quickly because they are one of Great-Grandpa’s favorites!!

Neighbors in the RV park, Joe & Lori, brought over a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey one afternoon and Wow! Is this stuff ever tasty. I’m not a good ‘sipper’ – I tend to just drink, but I sure had to be careful with this liqueur. What a smooth, mellow flavor. And so, the afternoon flew by.

The RV park we were staying in, www.bransonstagecoachcampground.com  Is a wonderful, friendly park and the owners, Ruth & Dennis Groff, are delightful folks we were lucky enough to spend a couple of hours visiting with.
Ruth runs a little café which serves breakfast and lunch 5 days a week. We had been told how good the burgers were, so we of course had to stop in one afternoon to test them out.

The burger was great! And, what an afternoon our outing for the burger turned out to be. The park owner had been working with Roy on a problem with the propane and stopped to see if all was well. He sat down and started chatting and when he found out I was a retired cook he told us his story of the park and the little café. Seems when they bought the park a year ago, the financial person told them if they wanted to open the café they would have to run it, not hire people. So, Ruth, the other half of the owners who is a Registered nurse by trade turned in her nurses uniform and took over the kitchen with a couple months help from the previous owner. Ruth had never had any experience in a professional kitchen, but was a wonderful cook by all accounts. He left and came back a couple hours later with Ruth in tow and we all chatted for couple of hours and introduced her to Tobin James wine (which she loves- and in addition to all the new cooking she is doing, is teaching herself to make wine!!) I can’t tell you how impressed I am with what this gal has done with her café.

She is now baking all her breads (not the burger buns yet, but that will come), does all the pastry/cookies/muffins, makes all homemade soups, yadda, yadda, yadda!! She has a core group who eat at the café almost daily and they are her testers. She is constantly trying new dishes to add to the menu and these folks judge them for her. What wonderful people she and her husband are. If I were 20 years younger, I think I’d stay here and cook with her for a while! And, she bought a whole set of my books!! She devours cookbooks like we all do. But, she really puts them to good use now.

Thus ends our too short visit to Branson, Independence and Kansas City, Missouri – but you can be sure we will be back through.

Exploring Branson, Missouri

Had a great day yesterday scoping out the places and venues we want to revisit while we are here in town. Picked up our free Branson Guest card with all kinds of savings at various places and saved $5.00 on our first stop, White River Fish House. What a gorgeous old ‘barge’ building it is.
Oct 15 White River Fish House restaurant

The atmosphere and wait staff was outstanding, but the food alas was really mediocre except for one item and this one made the whole meal worthwhile. I had a plate of alligator tails with a dipping sauce that was simplicity itself and went perfectly with the alligator (and, I’m guessing any fried fish) – cream cheese with jalapeno jelly – that’s it! The kitchen said they added a little green food coloring for looks. This is one of those ideas that you want to slap your forehead and whine, “Why didn’t I think of this?” Sweet, but lots of heat. I wasn’t planning on make jelly on the road, but I’m thinking I’d better get busy….
???????????????????????????????  ???????????????????????????????

Roy chose Venison Stuffed Mushrooms with pan roasted potatoes and onions
Oct 15 Venisaon Stuffed Mushrooms

Since I’m collecting ideas for what we will do with a house once we’re back in Washington, I was so pleased to find a couple of ideas at the restaurant – Most of the window seating was made up of classic tables and we both want to replicate this one –
White River Fish HOuse table

Along with keeping this table in mind, also the windows and their latches in the restaurant are made such that they could easily be transformed into sliding glass doors for a home – another idea we will certainly use
Oct 15 White River Fish House windows for sliding doors  Oct 15 White River Fish House Door Latch 2

When we do settle down, we are going to have the most fun house with all the ideas we are collecting across the country!!
That was our first excursion around the area, now to decide just what all we can do in the time allotted. Fun decisions.

Meanwhile, cooking on the home front, I’m doing some comfort food during these rainy days – Apple Fritter Bread, a recipe my friend, Maryann Heininger, brought to my attention and what a breakfast treat it is –
??????????????????????????????? The only change I would make is to add a few chopped nuts next time. For breakfast with a pat of butter melted over, it’s delicious. The recipe halves nicely.

Apple Fritter Bread
Source: http://thecookinchicks.com/2014/10/apple-fritter-bread/

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 apples, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan (or you can use a muffin tray).
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Set aside. In a different bowl, mix the sugar and butter together using an electric mixer. Once creamy, add in the eggs and vanilla extract.
Slowly add in the flour and baking powder. Add in the milk. Set aside.

n a small bowl, add the chopped apples with the 2 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Pour half the batter into the loaf pan. Add half the apple mixture on top of the batter, followed by half the sugar/cinnamon mixture (from step #2). Pour remaining batter into loaf pan, followed by remaining apples, then sugar cinnamon mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for about 55-60 minutes, or less if using muffin tray. Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool for about 25 minutes.

Combine the powdered sugar and milk together to create a glaze. Drizzle glaze over bread and slice into desired size pieces.

One other item I made this week is an old chocolate sauce that we’re using two ways. The RV office carries these cute little Dixie cups of vanilla ice cream, about 4-5 oz. each. We alternate between using this sauce as a topping or mixing it up  in the ice cream for a wonderful chocolate ice cream treat.

Chocolate Sauce
1/2          cup  milk
1/4           cup  sugar
5            squares  semisweet chocolate
1         tablespoon  butter
1           teaspoon  vanilla extract
1         tablespoon  rum kirsch or any other liqueur (optional)

Combine milk and sugar in heavy-bottom saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Add small pieces of chocolate, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and add butter, stir until melted, add vanilla extract. Liqueur may be added if desired. Serve warm over bread pudding.
(Personal note: Kahlua is so good added to this sauce – homemade Kahlua!! )
Kahlua in the Phallic  Symbol

One last note on today’s happenings – it’s my Matthew’s birthday today and I wish we could be with him to celebrate – if he still celebrates them as he is getting up in years now. 🙂
Mattie 4  What a handsome lad he is!!!
Happy birthday, Mattie!

Missouri’s Frozen Custard

As with  a previous recipe for playing with Dairy Queen ice cream, these two following recipes call for a blog entry of their own.

Driving south from Kansas City to Lake of the Ozarks, MO we passed sign after sign advertising ‘Frozen Custard’ and when I googled what this treat might be, I found it is my Grandmother’s ice cream recipe!!! She was originally from Missouri,  traveling to the Northwest as a young bride, so like a light bulb switched on, it made sense this is the origin of her wonderful ice cream.

Custards are traditionally cooked, as her chocolate ice cream recipe is, but for some reason, her vanilla ice cream is not – how I wish I’d been old enough to ask her the whys.

If you love ice cream, I’m sure you will be very happy making either or both of her recipes.This recipe can also be found in my book, “a Chef’s Journey…Home.”
Smoked Honey Ice Cream

My Grandma Fry’s (another of those Nelson girls~Gert) Ice Cream is the best ice cream you will ever taste! There is an ongoing debate whether to leave the paddle in the ice cream maker while it ripens or remove it and let the kids fight over who gets the paddle. If you love your kids, you’ll remove the paddle. For some reason my sister and I called our maternal grandparents MoreMommy and MoreDaddy…who knows why?

MoreMommy’s Vanilla Ice Cream

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
Dash of salt
1 qt. milk
1 qt. heavy cream
3 T. vanilla

With a whisk or an electric mixer, beat the eggs and add the sugar and salt and combine well, making sure the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in the milk, cream and vanilla. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Make the ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. When done, take the paddle out and let the kids enjoy themselves while the ice cream sets up.

CJ’s tip: Make sure there are children around when you make ice cream – IF you have the old fashioned ice cream maker. We have such wonderful memories of my Dad making ice cream when all eight cousins were together in the summer. Starting the youngest (and the lightest) they worked up in age and weight, so that when the cranking got difficult the biggest grandchild would be sitting on the machine to help steady it. Then Grandpa made a show of getting  away, with the paddle, from Susie, Sherri, Leslie, Lynnie, Tracie, Scottie, Laurie and Mattie chasing after him.

And, here’s her Chocolate Ice Cream and what a wonderful treat it is.

MoreMommy’s Chocolate Ice Cream

2 1/3 cups milk
4 eggs
1 1/3 tsps. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
3 squares of chocolate (bittersweet or semi-sweet, 1-oz. squares)
1 tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg
2 1/3 cups heavy cream
2 1/3 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Scald the 2 1/3 cups milk in a large saucepan and set aside. In a bowl, beat the eggs then mix in the flour, salt and sugar; add this to the scalded milk.  Melt the chocolate over hot water and add this to the milk and egg mixture along with the cinnamon or nutmeg. Cook until smooth and well-blended.

Cool, then add the heavy cream, the other 2 1/3 cups milk and vanilla. Refrigerate overnight before making the ice cream according to mfg. instructions.

CJ’s tip: Scalding milk means bringing it nearly to a boil. Scalding serves to kill potentially harmful bacteria in the milk and destroys enzymes that keep the milk from thickening in recipes. Pasteurization has made scalding milk unnecessary, but for some reason, I still do this step in the old recipes.