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.
The 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.’
The Capt’s table
I had Mahi-Mahi with Rice Pilaf – fish cooked very nicely and a Turtle cake for dessert – a real sugar high.
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.”
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:
Duck Confit Bruschetta with Dried Cherry Relish
A creamy Quinoa topped with relish and duck confit
Relish with a round of cheese
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!
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.