March 19, 2015 – Leftover Cod Tacos, Part II

Couldn’t stand it, we so enjoyed the cod tacos from the leftovers yesterday, that we went back to Filly’s again last night for another round of the Cod. Only this time I ordered the cod AND a take-home box and put the cod in the box and split a BLT with Roy.

Made a variation on the taco today –
Leftover Cod & Pepper Tacos with Lemon-Jalapeno Tartar Sauce
This is a take-off from a recipe in 300 Best Tacos cookbook.  Yield: 4 tacos
3/4 cup roasted peppers – green/red/yellow bells or Poblano type
(I used 1/2 a roasted red bell plus 1 roasted Poblano)
4 – 6 oz. leftover cooked cod, flounder or other delicate white fish
4 6-inch flour tortillas
Lemon-Jalapeno tartar sauce (*see below)
Fresh cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Lemon wedges
Assemble the tacos –
Layer on each tortilla:
1/4 of the roasted peppers
1/4 of the cod pieces
A dollop of Tartar sauce
1/4 of the green onion slices
Drizzle lemon juice over all.

Heat the peppers and set aside. (I added 1/2 cup cooked rice I had in the refrigerator to the sautéing peppers)

Slice the fish into ‘sticks’ about 3/8” thick; wrap in foil and set aside.

Wrap the tortillas in foil and set aside.

 Heat the tortillas in a 350° oven for 6 minutes; add the pkg. of fish and continue for 5 more minutes. Remove both from oven and assemble taco.

Variations –3/19/15 – I added 1/2 cup rice to the peppers (1/2 bell + 1 Poblano) while I sautéed them. Great addition to the tacos.

* Lemon-Jalapeno tartar:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T. sweet pickle relish
1/2 T. capers, coarsely chopped
1 Jalapeno pepper, as much of the membrane and seed removed as preferred (If you can find Candied Jalapeno, use them and delete the sweet pickle relish)
1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Whisk all the tartar sauce ingredients together and set aside to add to the tacos.
 still have 4 oz. of cod left and now the quandary is….how to play with the it. Decisions, Decisions.



March 18 Leftover Cod Filet Tacos

Leftover Cod Tacos

4 oz. of Cod leftover from my lunch at Filly’s Roadhouse, Apache Junction, AZ.

$13.99 and I got my lunch plus 4 fish tacos the next day = $4.66 (or $2.33 for 4 each tacos – not a bad deal)

Fun place with a hitching post for the horses of customers – and they do come in on their horses! The cod was lightly battered and cooked to my perfection. Wanted to eat it all, but also wanted to bring home for tacos. The tacos won out! In addition to the cod I brought home a sample of their Spicy BBQ sauce which they offer with their wings. Note: while you read the menu in a restauran, if you see sauces offered with different entrees that look tasty to you, don’t hesitate to ask for a sample. I love to bring them home and make use of them in so many ways.

Leftover Cod Tacos
Serves 2 – 2 tacos each

Preparing the filling for tacos:

Tartar sauce: bring home from the restaurant or make your own, which I prefer:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T. sweet pickle relish
1/2 T. capers, coarsely chopped
1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. lemon zest (optional)

Whisk all the tartar sauce ingredients together and set aside to add to the tacos.


Sautéed Corn:
Give a quick sauté to 1 1/2 cups corn (fresh, frozen or canned) and 1/4 tsp. chili powder in 1 T. butter over medium-high heat to just start browning the corn. Remove from heat and set aside to add to the tacos.


It’s easier to slice the cod when it is cold – I sliced into crosswise “sticks” about 3/8” thick; wrap in foil and set aside.


Flour Tortillas:
Wrap 4 7-inch flour tortillas in foil and heat in 350° oven for 8 minutes; add the foil wrapped fish to the oven and continue heating for 5 minutes. Remove both from oven and assemble the tacos.

For the tacos –
Layer on each tortilla:
1/4 of the sautéed corn
1/4 of the warm cod pieces
Drizzle of Spicy Wing sauce (or spicy BBQ Sauce)
Tartar sauce
Fresh cilantro
4 green onions, thinly slice and divided between the 4 tacos.

These tacos are so tasty and easy to put together.

Arkansas – Cooking and Tasting and Sitting on the Banks of the Mississippi River

Finally, catfish filets, coated perfectly and fried flawlessly!! So very good; even Roy ordered this along with a baked sweet potato, which he loved. I tried the fried okra and it was also very good – another first for Roy, he like them also. Complimentary hushpuppies were heavy and dense as was the slice of Key Lime pie we shared. But, I would return just for the catfish!
Oct 28 Colton's Catfish


Oct. 29th arrived at West Memphis RV park – right on the Mississippi and what a great view of the barges going back and forth. Those little guys work their hearts out pushing the loaded multiple barges.
Restaurant leftovers were wonderful – catfish, fries and okra.

The slaw dressing was perfect and everything we usually have in the pantry:
2 T. Mayonnaise
1 T.  Cider vinegar
1 T. granulated sugar
1 tsp. horseradish
Salt & pepper
Combine all and toss with your favorite slaw ingredients.

Barbecue Spaghetti a Tennessee favorite
I’m cooking a Memphis, TN dish, BBQ Spaghetti. This dish was created by Brady Vincent who ran a BBQ joint in the 50s and wanted something different to offer his customers to make his place stand out. He developed the Spaghetti to compete with the normal beans that were offered with BBQ. It worked. The dish didn’t really take off until the 80s and now it is a classic Memphis offering. And, it is now a classic in our house! I had a little portion of fried alligator and catfish in the freezer, so added them to the dish – yes, so good!!

Kind of a fusion dinner – made a green salad with bleu cheese dressing and the coolness of the salad went so well with the heat and spiciness of the spaghetti – think heat of buffalo wings + bleu cheese dipping sauce. A great match.
This Memphis-style side dish is a perfect way of utilizing leftover pulled pork. This recipe is adapted from one which first appeared in the June/July 2011 BBQ issue. Saveur, 3/25/13.

3 cups canned tomato sauce (please don’t be turned off by this ingredient – I was but decided to go with it and it really works)
1/2 cup cane syrup
1 1/2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
pinch ground cloves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup chopped pulled pork
12 to 16 oz. dried spaghetti

In a 4-qt. saucepan, bring tomato sauce, syrup, vinegar, allspice, cinnamon, cayenne, cloves, and salt and pepper to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add pulled pork; cook until heated through.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add spaghetti; cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain and toss with the sauce. (I had leftover fried catfish and alligator which went perfectly with the spaghetti)

“Trailer Trash Dining”… Spareribs with Blues Hog BBQ sauce, grilled potatoes AND we found a bottle of Opolo wine in a local wine shop!! (in Tennessee). Dessert, I’ve been combining ~6 oz. of frozen yogurt with different jams/jellies/sauces and last night was peach jam – so good. And we can have a different flavor everyday.
The bane of my existence – this picture has been catawampus every time I’ve tried to rotate it but you get the idea. 🙂

And today, Nov. 4th – we had an old family favorite, albeit adapted to what I had on hand. Stuffed Acorn Squash – slight take-off of my Black Bean & Corn cookbook recipe – using Andouille Sausage, Kidney beans, and  jalapeno for the ground beef, black beans, and Tabasco. If you happen to have a Cab on hand, the dish was very good with it.

Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 medium acorn squash
1/2 lb. ground beef (1/2 Andouille sausage, diced)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
15 oz. can black beans, drain & rinse (had kidney beans)
8 oz. can tomato sauce or marinara sauce (see The Pantry)
1 cup corn kernels, fresh, canned (drain and rinse) or frozen
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. Tabasco (minced jalapeno pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
2 to 4 oz. (1/2 cup to 1 cup) shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a 13×10-inch baking pan with foil; lightly grease the foil or spray with cooking spray.

Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and cut a thin slice off the bottom of each half so they sit flat. Place squash, cut side down, on the foil. Bake for 30 minutes; remove from oven and turn the squash over and continue baking for approximately 20 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife.

While the squash bake, cook the beef, onion and garlic until beef is no longer pink; add bell pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes longer. Stir in all remaining ingredients except cheese and set aside or refrigerate until it’s time to stuff the squash. Divide the mixture between the halves of the squash and put back on baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until hot. Add cheese and continue baking for a few minutes longer, or until cheese is melted. 4 servings.

Our time is just about up for enjoying the barge traffic on the Mississippi River – tomorrow we leave for Vicksburg, Mississippi and we going to try (weather permitting) to follow the Mississippi south as long as possible.

And one last recipe to try in Arkansas – a packaged creation. Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Cuisine…Red Beans & Rice Dinner mix. Don’t know how many years it has been since I’ve purchased something like this, but I dearly love Tony’s Creole seasoning (which I still can’t find! in local shops),  so I’m going for it. If it works, I will share with you all.

I’ll close with a few of our favorite pictures –
Oct 30 Mississippi Boats 1
Oct 30 Mississippi Boats 2
Oct 29 Sunrise on the Mississippi
What a gorgeous area – and, I’m sure we’ll be back.


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

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.



Victory (Spam) Buns

After a visit to the Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota and purchasing 2 cans of Spam to play with, this is the first offering I made. I was prepared to probably like it because all the ingredients I do like; I was not prepared to like it as well and Roy and I did. Silly dish – straight out of the 50s or 60s! But, we’ll do it again – it’s a perfect on-the-road food, especially on a travel day.

7 oz. Spam, cube
1/2 cup cubed processed cheese
2 hard-cooked eggs, shelled and cubed
1/4 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
4 to 6 hot dog buns

Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the Spam, cheese, eggs and mayonnaise.
Split and butter buns, and place on lightly greased baking sheet.
Fill buns with the Spam mixture and place in oven until cheese melts and the edges of buns start to brown. Serve at once. 4 to 6 servings.

This was a recipe suggested by the Spam Museum. I have 1 1/2 cans of Spam left….don’t know where to go with the rest; maybe some of my old family dishes making use of this relic:

Spam Breakfast Burritos , or
Spam burritos 2

Spam Primavera, or
Mar 1 Spam Primavera

Spam Reuben
They were all good – give Spam a try, if you haven’t.


Here are a few random recipes (in no particular order – I’m feeling scattered lately) to share with everyone; nothing fancy, just good tasting comfort dishes mostly. And, uses for leftovers whether from your cooking or what is brought home from a restaurant meal.

Serendipity played a part in bringing the three sets of travelers together in the RV park in Independence, Missouri yesterday. Lori & Jerry Hansen of San Tan Valley, Arizona on one side of us and Donna & Jim Downey of Auburn, Kentucky on the other and we came together to chat after we were all settled in and that chat lasted until late into the night. We learned so much from their travels (which we have not experienced yet) and I hope we gave them a few insights into ours.
Sept 22 Lori and Jerry Hansen, Donna Lori & Jerry Hansen and Donna Downey
Sept 22 Donna and Jim DowneyDonna & Jim Downey

To find 6 folks together with so many common interests – cooking, yakking, drinking, eating – how can we not talk non-stop? It will take me a month to try all the ideas I got from Jim, who grills and smokes and loves to try new dishes he hears about on food shows. Sound like someone you all know?? Surprisingly, both the men had been U.S. Rangers, so it was really interesting listening to their ‘tales’ of Ranger days. In addition, Jim and Roy were able to reminisce about M113 tanks!

This morning Jim brought over some seasonings for me to try: a spicy dry rub for ribs, which I will use and make a Kentucky/Southern type vinegar sauce keeping true to his roots. He also gave me a sample of Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning to use on burgers. I should be able to find it in this neck of the woods to buy, but I’ve never seen it on the west coast. Besides flavoring a burger, he also told me how to make a grilled onion that he and Donna love –
Sept 23 grilling onion halves 1???????????????????????????????

Cut an onion in half (between stem ends) without peeling. Rub the onion with a little olive oil and grill over medium heat cut side down for about 18-20 minutes until you have a nice char; carefully turn over and position so the cut side of the onion is level on the grill. Top each half with a dollop of butter and sprinkle liberally with Tony’s Chachere’s seasoning (I was a little shy with it and will certainly use more next time).

Grill for another 12-15 minutes. Because I can’t get away from the heat source on my camping grill, I jerry-rigged with my fire bricks and an oven rack and finished the onion after the 12-15 minutes on the rack for an indirect cooking.   All in all, the onion was perfectly cooked after a total of 50 minutes.  Have to say this was the best grilled onion I (and Roy) had ever tasted. This will be the go to method.

Jim’s idea for a burger has to be mentioned also – sprinkle with the Chachere’s

Seasoning (again, I was a little too stingy with it the first time using, again) and topped with Pepper Jack cheese…a little mustard and tomato and we were in heaven again!! But, the onion really was the star of the day! Thanks Jim, I’ll certainly be looking for this seasoning. (P.S. Just finding out from west coast friends – this seasoning is readily available all over our area!)

I had leftover steak and we’re in Kansas City/Independence, MO, so what better sauce to combine and work with than K.C. Masterpiece BBQ sauce. What a match made in heaven.

This recipe is really off the wall!!! In addition to steak and BBQ sauce, I had a tube of  Pillsbury rolls and the end result is just plain comfort food! Chicken or Pork would work very well in the dish, also. Serves 4 4 to 6 oz. (about 1 cup) cooked steak, roughly chopped 1/2 cup diced onion 1/2 T. minced Jalapeno (seeds/membrane left in/on) 1/2 to 3/4 cup BBQ sauce (I had Masterpiece – original) 3 Pillsbury Grand’s Home-style refrigerated original or buttermilk buicuit (I just baked the other five off for sandwiches later) 3-4 oz. cheese (I had mozzarella, jack, and cheddar)
Garnish: tomato slices shredded lettuce Sauté onions and jalapeno (and leftover potatoes if you have) until onion is soft. Transfer to a large bowl; add the steak and toss with BBQ sauce. (If you have raw steak, coarsely chop and cook with onions and jalapenos. Remove 3 biscuits from container (save others for baking) and cut each into 8 pieces. Gently toss the biscuit pieces with the beef/BBQ sauce mixture. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and dump the beef/biscuit mix into the dish. Top with the shredded cheese and bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes, making sure the biscuits are cooked thru.

Options:  Doubling the recipe allows you to use all 8 of the biscuits – use a 9”X13” baking dish for this amount.

I’ve had a craving for ham lately and with little freezer space available, I opted for a ham slice to play with. First up – Hot Ham Dips, adapted from a recipe I found on

For a fuller flavor dip, make a demi-glace for dipping the sandwiches – Knorr’s makes a great powdered mix to work with. To use in place of canned broth or consommé: 1/4 cup demi-glace to 1 cup hot water. Allow to simmer 6 minutes, then add ham slices and warm through.

1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 tsp garlic powder
4 sandwich rolls/buns of your choice, split
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb thinly sliced ham
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef consommé or beef broth (see note above)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 thin slices red onions

In a small bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Add 1 tsp garlic powder and combine.

Place rolls on a baking sheet; brush cut sides with garlic butter. Sprinkle with cheese. Broil 3-4 in. from the heat for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

In a large saucepan, combine broth consommé and 1/2 tsp garlic powder; bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Place ham into beef consommé and garlic. Heat ham for 30-60 seconds, until slightly warm. Using tongs, place ham on rolls and top with a slice of onion. Serve sandwiches with remaining broth for dipping.

While we were with our friends, the Behrendt’s in Minnesota, Laura offered us a drink she found using her home-grown rhubarb – Sparkling Rhubarb Lemonade. What a delightful refreshing drink it is. We had it both days we stopped in and she graciously shared the recipe with me. For a summer drink, you can’t go wrong offering your guests this thirst quencher adapted from Food52 newsletter from TheRunawaySpoon.  Serves 6

3 1/2 cups water
5 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen (20 oz.)
3/4 cups sugar
2 3 – inch strips lemon zest
3 sprigs fresh mint
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups lemon-lime soda or sparkling water

In a saucepan, stir together the water, the rhubarb pieces, the sugar, the lemon zest and the mint. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Let the rhubarb mixture cool, the strain it through a wire-mesh strainer set over a large pitcher. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Stir in the lemon juice and soda. Serve over ice, garnished with a sprig of mint.

Or, for Laura’s drink: Makes 1
1 shot Vodka
1 shot 7 up
1 shot rhubarb lemonade
Fill with ice and enjoy.

Guess I’d better stop for now – I’m getting hungry!

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.


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.
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.

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.

??????????????????????????????? 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.


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

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.

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

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…………………….