Busy Day on the Farm

I’m trying my darndest to stay within the confines of one upright freezer, but let me tell you it is so difficult. Yesterday, I used the last of my frozen roasted poblanos – my roasted red bell peppers I ran out of a number of days ago. So today –

I got busy and HAPPINESS IS – 3 trays of goodies in the freezer.
May 20 Roasted Poblanos
May 20 Roasted Red Peppers

And since I was going to be in the kitchen most of the morning anyway, I made bread from a recipe I recently found as I continue my ongoing project of downsizing the amount of recipes I have which I’m going to ‘MAKE ONE DAY.’ This recipe is from an old Fleischmann’s Yeast advertisement and I first made it Apr. 4, 1981 and again in 1995. It’s been buried since then. I remember loving it and especially toasted.
May 20 English Muffin Bread
It’s not the prettiest bread I’ve ever made, but oh so tasty! And one of the easiest to put together.
English Muffin Loaf

2 pkgs. Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast (4 1/2 tsps.)
6 cups all purpose flour
1 T. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups milk
1/2 cup water

Combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and soda. Heat liquids until very warm (120°-130°F.) Add to dry mixture; beat well. Stir in rest of flour to make a stiff batter. Spoon into two 8 1/2 X 4 1/2-inch pans that have been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle tops with cornmeal. Cover, let rise in warm place for 45 minutes. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool.

How easy can a bread recipe be?? You’ll notice the ‘oops’ in the picture of one of the loaves. It overran its pan, but this turned out to be a very good ooops – I cut off the long piece (seen in picture) and we had it as a ‘cracker’ with soup later. I love it when screw-ups turn out well.

Time to put the feet up on the deck railing and take advantage of the spurt of sunshine we’re having, with a glass of wine. I raise my glass to you all and happy cooking.


It’s Been A While…..

We’ve been off the road and in our little farmhouse a year now and what a year it has been. Lots of repairs and redoing and it is slowly become our little piece of heaven in the country with beautiful view of the Olympic mountains. We’re finding we don’t even miss our once favorite view of the water (the Straits of Juan de Fuca) – the ever changing view of the mountains is outstanding.

In between the remodeling, which Roy is doing 90% of, I’ve been having fun learning to cook and operate in the smallest kitchen I’ve ever had! Challenging, but I’m beating it! And, it’s time to get back to recording some of the dishes we’ve enjoyed.

Today, I’ll start with 3 recipes which we will be repeating quite often.

Asian Pork Tenderloin and Pea & Corn Coleslaw
a Chef’s Journey recipe, Dec. 5, 2012
May 19 Asian Pork Tenderloin, Potato, Zucc Patties

1 pork tenderloin (1 1/2 lb.)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T. packed dark brown sugar
2 T. purchased barbecue sauce
1 T. sesame oil
1 T. minced fresh ginger
1 T. mirin
1/2 T. chili garlic sauce

Trim the tenderloin of any silver skin, but leave any fat for flavor; there won’t be much. Cut the tenderloin in half a put in a sturdy (if using Sous Vide) plastic bag.

Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour over the pork. Seal baggie and refrigerate for 1 to 1 1/2 hours turning them after 1/2 hour.

When ready to cook the tenderloin:
Option 1: Heat grill over medium heat and lay the pieces of tenderloin on the grill. Grill and turn every 4 to 5 minutes until pork reaches 140°F internal temperature.
Option 2: Sous Vide the pork – Put one of the pieces in a 2nd baggie. Sous Vide at a temperature of 140° for 2 hours. 15 min.

After 2 hours, heat a grill and when hot, drain the marinade from the pork, reserving the marinade. Grill the pork pieces over a hot grill just to give color.

After pork is done, allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. In a small saucepan, heat the marinade to a boil, then let simmer for 2 minutes. Serve with the pork.
Suggested wine: dry White Riesling
Leftovers: Make a sandwich on a toasted roll, drizzled with some of the sauce and top with the Corn & Pea Slaw (recipe follows)

Slaw dressing:
1 T. lime juice
1 T. mirin
1 T. oil
1/2 tsp. soy sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

Whisk together the slaw dressing ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a medium size bowl toss together:
Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To finish dinner: While the tenderloin is grilling, toss the slaw with the dressing and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Slice the pork and serve.

I had Potato & Zucchini cakes in the freezer and added a couple to our dinner – turned out to be a great combination with the pork and slaw and the marinade drizzled over all. These are a handy side dish to have at the ready in your freezer.

Potato & Zucchini Cakes
Inspired by a Cuisine @ Home recipe, Issue #59, page 21
Makes 12 cakes

3 cups zucchini, grated
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 cups grated potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs. – russet or new potatoes)
1/2 cup grated onion
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne

Combine zucchini and 1/2 tsp. salt in a colander. Let drain 5 minutes, then wring dry in a kitchen towel. Transfer to a bowl and add remaining ingredients together, except the oil.
Heat oven to 375° F. Pour 2 T. oil onto a sheet pan.
Drop potato mixture onto the oiled baking sheet by 1/4-cup measures and flatten to 1/2 “ thick. Oven-fry the cakes for 10-15 minutes; turn over and continue baking until nicely browned.
May 19 Pork, Potato pattie, slaw plated

Hope you’ll enjoy these dishes as much as we did. Next will be playing with the leftovers, but they just may be the Hoagie I mentioned above.



Best Salmon Patty – So Far!

We’ve been kept busy remodeling/updating our new (to us)  little farmhouse. It is little, but painting the outside makes it seem very large! So, haven’t been doing too much in-depth cooking. But, it’s been a bit rainy around here lately, so I’ve been able to play a little.

I hope you’ll stay with me on this creation – it is so worth it. It took two dinners to end up with the flavors. First dinner was the sheet pan chicken & potatoes –

BBQ Roasted Chicken with Parmesan Potatoes *****
Essentially, you toss chunked potatoes with Italian dressing which has a little chili powder added on a sheet pan and roast for about 20 minutes at 400°. Remove from oven and push to sides of sheet pan.

Place chicken in single layer in center of pan (I used thighs); sprinkle with chili powder. Drizzle chicken with barbecue sauce. Bake 20 min. or until chicken is done and potatoes are tender. Transfer chicken to platter. Stir potatoes to evenly coat with pan drippings. Spoon around chicken on platter; top with Parmesan.

My potatoes were crispy done earlier than the chicken, so I removed them from the oven until the chicken was done. Remove chicken to a plate and add the potatoes back to the sheet pan and toss them in all that chicken/BBQ goodness, then add to the plate with the chicken.
Sept 15 BBQ Chix, potatoes

Second dish – Dijon Maple Glazed Salmon*****
1.5 lbs Fresh Salmon Filet
¼ cup stone ground Dijon mustard
¼ cup maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.
Pat salmon dry using a paper towel.Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil.Place salmon on covered baking sheet.
In a small bowl mix mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
Brush the mustard maple mixture on salmon, reserved a small amount for glazing later. Bake salmon for 9 minutes.Remove from oven, brush remaining mixture on salmon. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes until salmon flakes with a fork.

Remove and serve!
Recipe Source: http://www.joyfulhealthyeats.com/dijon-maple-glazed-salmon/

So now I had all I needed to make the best salmon patties – I had 2 portions of salmon and 8-10 chunks (~1 1/2″ size) of potatoes leftover.

Smash the potatoes and scrape all the ‘goop’ from the chicken pan plus any of the mustard/maple glaze into the potatoes.
1 egg
Chopped onion
Salt & pepper
And gently add flaked leftover salmon.
Add panko to make a consistency to form patties.

I cooked on a cast iron griddle one side until browned, then turn patties over and topped with 4 or 5 candied jalapeno slices and optionally (which I did), split one slice of American cheese and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Loosely cover with a piece of foil and continue cooking until the cheese melts.
Sept 17 Salmon Patty Sandwich
I didn’t add anything to the toasted English muffin except a slight smear of deli mustard. I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed this sandwich!

Now, back to the painting!!




Wine recommendation(s): We happened to have 3 bottles of wine opened to try with the sandwiches and each one was a great match –

Beringer Pinot Grigio

Apothic Red

Harbinger’s Zin



A Hodgepodge of Summer Eating

With everyone’s gardens in full production this month, I’m constantly on the lookout for new and different dressings to add to the bounty of vegetables I’m harvesting. Here are a couple we’re enjoying this summer.

Mustard Dressing
Jul 2 Mustard Dress O.T.R. book
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Fresh lemon juice to taste

In a bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, paprika, mustard, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Note: No sour cream? No problem – just up the amount of mayonnaise by 2 T.

Out of necessity often comes success – it happened yesterday when gathering what was ripe from the garden for a salad to go with a pasta dish I had planned. Once a week I try to pick 2 or 3 items in my pantry and use them up rather than hoarding forever as I have been known to do; and this week’s picking was a can of clams and a jar of caviar. Hmmmm, what kind of salad dressing to add to this seafood mix? Not one dressing came to mind. As I began collecting ingredients my mind went to the flavors used in a seafood boil or broth. And, this dressing/dip is the happy, happy result.

Seafood Salad Dressing.
I’m so pleased with the flavors and how well everything went together – the tangy citrusy flavor of the caper brine and lime juice combined with the briny flavor of the clam juice cut through the richness of the shrimp. The dressing can be used for salad or as a dip for seafood.
Aug 2 Seafood Salad Dressing
1/2 avocado, rough chopped
1/3 cup clam juice (from a small can of chopped clams)*
1 T. lime juice
1 T. caper brine
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 T. Mayonnaise
Salt & pepper to taste

Add the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt & pepper.

*add the clams to the salad along with other seafood.
Wine suggestion: a Colombard/Sauvignon Blanc blend was a great match.

Sitting here contemplating the dishes I’ve made recently and which should be on my list to share, my mind is going a many directions – jumping from salad dressings to dessert! My sweet tooth was calling out to me one morning and this Lemon Tea Bread satisfied my craving completely. The recipe is from Irene Klaeger’s, “Fix-It and Enjoy-It: All-Purpose, Welcome-Home Recipes”. It takes you just to the edge of lemony overload but brings you back with just the right amount of sweetness in the glaze. It didn’t last long in the freezer, we kept going back for just one more slice.

Lemon Tea Bread
July 12 Lemon Tea Bread
3 Tbs butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, divided
2 Tbs lemon zest, grated, divided
1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

Pour butter into mixing bowl and stir in sugar. When well blended, beat in eggs. In separate mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Mix well. Add ½ cup lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. lemon zest. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9 x 5 loaf pan. Bake at 350 ° for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes.

While bread is baking, mix confectioners sugar with remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. lemon zest in a small bowl. Cool bread for 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan, place on a serving dish, and pour glaze over top. Makes 6 servings

One of our favorite things to order when we are eating out is a Charcuterie Platter – these offerings can be as simple as 2 or 3 cheeses and cured meats accompanied by crackers or rustic bread or an elaborate platter filled with salumis, cheese, olives, cornichons, mustards and/or relishes. Now, here’s the fun part – hold back on devouring the entire offering and take a little of everything home and top a homemade pizza or add to a Twice-baked potato It’s expensive to buy small amounts of these deli specialties, but taking advantage of restaurant leftovers, you can “have your cake and eat it, too”

Charcuterie Pizza
Jul 13 Salumi Pizza
8 oz. pizza dough
Pizza or marinara sauce
4 to 6 oz. Cheese (from restaurant or a combination of Provolone, Jack &
2 to 3 oz. Meats/sausage from restaurant
Optional: Slivered red onions, crushed red pepper flakes, freshly ground black pepper
Drizzle with olive oil and bake.

Charcuterie Twice-Baked Potato
Jul 13 Stuffed Baked Potato

Bake 2 potatoes in a 375°F. oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. When cool enough to handle, cut slice from the top and scoop out the ‘meat’ of the potato into a bowl and coarsely mash with a fork. Roughly chop leftovers (cheese, meat and condiments) from Charcuterie platter and combine with the potato. Spoon back into the potato skin and return to oven until heated through.

Well, today’s ideas are all over the food board!! With the abundance of everything fresh right now, I guess it is understandable. Next up will probably be grilling – weather is perfect and I’ve neglected the grill for a week or so.


Completely O.T. – After the War: Mud, Floods, and Modernization

I have been so busy moving in to our new place, I have badly neglected keeping up with new recipes! And, my cooking/eating is showing it. Will be getting back to normal (or what passes for it 🙂 ) in a few days. But, since this being the weekend it is, I want to share a part of my state’s history with everyone.

I read this article in a waiting room the other day and I was just fascinated with it and thought I’d share it with everyone – especially this weekend when we’re celebrating our great county. It’s about returning G.I.s and their families in Pullman, WA

After the War: Mud, Floods, and Modernization, by Larry Clark

It starts out….. “After World War II, Bill Fitch left the Army, packed his duffel in Seattle and, with the U.S. government’s guarantee of free college tuition, headed to Pullman. When he and Al Smith, a fellow veteran and high school classmate, arrived at Washington State College, they found themselves on a campus crowded with thousands of GIs.”

It’s a fascinating account of this little slice of history in our state and was probably experienced around the country in other college towns.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading this little piece of history and stick around for some fun hot-weather, easy-when-moving-in recipes!!

May 7, 2015 – Summer Eating and Grilling (Part 1) Plus Mother’s Day Ideas

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.
Apr 5 Zucc 'Noodle' Cannellini Salat
Zucchini “Noodle” & Cannellini Bean Salad

Basic Salad:
1 medium-size (about 1 lb.) zucchini and/or yellow summer squash
3/4 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 chees
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 Tbs balsamic vinegar
3 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tsp 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.

a Chef’s Journey Tip: Wne: 2-Vine Shiraz, Pinot Grigio and 14 Hands Hot to Trot have all been very good with this salad.
Lots of fast and easy cooking and eating for the next few months while we remodel our new (to us) little farmhouse. Today was a combination of an old recipe used in a different way. I’ve had MasterCook program on my computer for years and years and Thai Pork Burritos is a recipe I’ve made many times. I made a large batch a few days ago to package up in small, fast and easy to use sizes and while they are wonderful used in burritos, today I mixed with cooked rice and cheddar cheese to fill bell peppers. Topped with a little hot sauce, we were happy and contented eaters.
Feb. 1 Thai Pork  Burritos Burritos – wonderful
May 7 Thai Pork Stuffed PeppersStuffed Bell Peppers, also wonderful
Thai Pork Burritos

1 lb lean ground pork
2 Tbs grated fresh ginger root
1 garlic clove — peeled and crushed
2 cups cole slaw mix with carrots
1 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs honey
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
4 large (10-inch) flour tortillas — warmed
Fresh cilantro — chopped (garnish)

Heat large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pork, cook, crumble and stir until pork is no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, onion and cole slaw mix and stir-fry with pork for 2 minutes, until vegetables are wilted.

Combine all remaining ingredients except tortillas and cilantro in small bowl and add to skillet. Stir constantly to blend all ingredients well, about one minute. Spoon equal portions of mixture onto warm flour tortillas, garnish with cilantro, roll up to encase filling and serve.

Source: From MasterCook – “National Pork Producers Council”    http://www.nppc.org
Mother’s Day is Sunday  and here is my favorite brunch drink ever! Ramos Fizzes is a luscious, frothy drink my old friend Susan Mitchell Ayers brought into my life in the 70s and I have loved since. You’ll want to plan a light brunch because these drinks are very filling. In fact, these are the only drinks I’ve ever planned food around – except wine, of course.
Ramos Fizzes

6 oz gin
2 oz white crème de cocoa
2 oz triple sec
4 oz sweet & sour
2 egg whites
6 oz half & half

Add all ingredients in a blender; add ice to the thickness you prefer – Swirl them up good!.

Here’s the brunch I love with the Fizzes – not to mention making me a very happy mother indeed.
Open face crab sandwich
Open Faced Crab Melts

BECHAMEL SAUCE (Makes about 2 cups)
2 cup hot milk
4 T.(1/4 cup) butter
6 T. flour
White pepper
For the Crab melt:
8 oz. crab meat, pick out and discard any cartilage  or shell
2 English muffins
Cheddar cheese for garnish

In a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over moderate heat, and stir in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Do not let this roux brown. This step will cook out the floury taste.

Remove the pan from the heat and blend in the hot milk; return to high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce comes to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer, still stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon heavily. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Add the crab, breaking it up and combine. Over low heat cook just until the crab is heated through.

Toast muffins halves and put one or two on each plate; spoon the crab mixture over the muffins and top with cheddar cheese. Put under the broiler to just melt the cheese and enjoy immediately after refilling your glass with another Fizz!!

Happy Mother’s Day to us all!





April 13, 2015 Half A Pie – Apricot & Pineapple Goodness

A couple of years ago I bought a pie pan that has become the number 1 used in my kitchen. Because there is just the two of us, I rarely baked pies because we found ourselves pigging out every time! This clever half-pie pan solved the problem for us. They are readily available online. I ordered mine through Amazon.
half pie plate

Add a scoop of ice cream – and, in my case with apricot pie, I want chocolate – and I have a perfect dessert. Be easy on yourself, Pillsbury makes wonderful, easy pie crusts.

For the Crust:
1 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust
Make your own crust
For the Filling:
2 1/2 cups fresh apricots, pitted and quartered
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, juice squeezed out as much as possible (optional)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
2 T. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sugar for sprinkling, or as desired

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Carefully open the crust pkg. and fit one half the crust in the pie plate allowing the other half of the crust to drape over straight edge. Set aside in refrigerator to keep cold.

In a medium bowl, combine the apricots, pineapple and lemon juice.

In another small bowl, mix the 1/2 cup sugar, flour and cinnamon; sprinkle over the fruit and gently combine. Spoon the apricot filling over the pie crust in the pan, and fold the draped half of crust over. Crimp the edges of the crust together with a fork, and cut slits into the pie to allow steam to escape. Cover the edges of the pie crust with strips of foil to prevent burning the crust.

Bake on center rack of the preheated oven until the pie is browned and the filling is bubbling and thickened, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool and sprinkle top with the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
Apr 29 Apricot Pie ready to bake  Apr 29 Apricot  pie 2

Won’t you feel virtuous not eating an entire pie??

March 26 – March 28 – A Visit with Wonderful Forever Friends

The Young’uns were our neighbors when we lived in the ’barn on the hill’ and the mature couple – Coleenie has been one of my closest friends since the early 70s, such a large part of my life and her husband, Roger. While new friends over the years are treasures, old friends who have walked your life path with you are so precious you never want to lose touch with them. Thanks for a wonderful visit!! (even if you did send me to bed for 10 straight hours!!)
???????????????????????????????  Our Kelly multi-tasking….
Mar 26 Roy Brent Discussing 2   Roy & Brent ‘discussing’

Mar 26 Roy Brent discussing 1 ….and, still discussing before Brent turned to me and picked on the ‘bleeding heart liberal’ in his life. 🙂

Next leg of our journey took us to Healdsburg, where we lived for six of our greatest family years – ever!!

Coleenie took a break from K.P. duty and we visited some interesting food stops in the Healdsburg/Windsor area. First stop was Kin and lots of dishes to share and taste.
???????????????????????????????  Pea Puree with Mint Bruschetta ( pea, mint, goat cheese and radish)Could  have made a meal on this one.
???????????????????????????????  My Charcuterie plate – soon to be a Pizza topping

???????????????????????????????  Roger & Coleenie and we all shared Blueberry Crisps.
???????????????????????????????  Coleenie infusing our coffee with Kahlua!! To get us started the next morning. Then on to an Omelet place to have brunch – 3 of us had the Red Flannel Hash and it was excellent with an egg topping.

As I said, we were able to catch up on our beauty rest with 10 straight hours of sleep and we’re ready to go again… I think. A few more days here to catch up with son Matt and our wonderful d-I-l, Wendy and hopefully more of the kids…


March 15, 2015 – Dinner with Chef Dave & Pam Nelson

Chef Dave Nelson and his wife, Pam, treated us to one of the best and certainly most fun dinners on the road. But, I must say every time we meet up with old cooking forum friends from Chef2Chef, it is always an Event!!

So, sit down with a glass of wine and put your feet up – because I took notes and pictures of almost every step of our dinner.
Here’s our menu:

1st course –
Hazelnut-Crusted Foie Gras with Plums and Sunflower Honey – from the book, “Foie Gras: A Passion” by Michael A. Ginor – can you imagine an entire ‘thick’ book of ideas for using Foie Gras??
???????????????????????????????  2 oz. pkg. makes for a trouble-free portioned start to working with the Foie Gras. Chef Dave is a Rep for Harvest Specialty Foods (exotic meats) and this is one of his products.
???????????????????????????????  Foie Gras – quickly browned on each side and slipped in a ‘screaming hot’ oven for another 30 seconds and ready to go.
???????????????????????????????  ???????????????????????????????  Micro Greens topped with honey sautéed plums, foie gras and toasted hazelnuts and served with Raisin Toast points – everything just worked together.
It tasted as good as the plated dish looked.

2nd course –
Seared Duck with sautéed vegetables (bell peppers, mushrooms, onions) – drizzled with Duck demi-glace/5 pepper jelly sauce (a jelly made by Pam). This was my favorite of the night! P.S. almost forgot to mention – the duck was a dry-aged product his company is testing and working with – it’s great!
???????????????????????????????   Can’t get much better cook on a duck breast.
???????????????????????????????   Must admit I did a little licking of the plate on the way to the kitchen….. Pam’s 5 pepper jelly with the Duck demi-glace was outstanding.

3rd course –
Elote – a chip topper of caramelized grilled con tossed with a mayo-chicken stock sauce and served with Mexican chips. From the restaurant’s, Elote Café, cookbook, by Chef Jeff Smedstad, of Sedona, AZ

4th course –
Austrailian Wagyu Street Taco with homemade tortillas

Loved the combination of these flavors. Dave rubbed the ‘Tomahawk’ with a little of his Naughty Nelly’s spice rub then smoked to a beautiful medium rare piece of goodness! Pam made tortillas to hold all the goodies of the taco and also the refried black beans served along with Mexican rice. I could have eaten a dozen of these if I had not gorged myself on the previous 3 courses….. have to include every picture I took of tise beautiful hunk of meat which I’d never met in person before!!

And, we couldn’t quit here…

5th course –
Pam made the most luscious creamy Lemon Crème topped with a Blackberry sauce which I could not even finish I was so darn full – but Roy Richard had no  problem finishing it off for me. That man always has my back when it comes to food, bless his heart!

Our Cooks and hosts for a most fantastic dinner and evening – Chef Dave & Pam Nelson – thank you so much.
and of course I needed to record our visit for my album –

I wish we could go back and relive the entire evening….


Our Gastronomic Visit to Old Friends, Jane & Bill Miller, Navasota, Texas

Jan. 23, 2015

Arrived here safe and sound and Allison & Eric (two of the 4 children) got here a couple hours later followed by Bert (#3 child) and we all had a great time catching up. Have taken some pictures of the wonderful food and also, a few people pictures – everyone is fine here.
??????????????????????????????? Bill, Allison & Roy
Jan 24 Eric and JaneEric and Miss Jane
Jan 23 Bert, Roy, EricBert, Roy & Eric – doing what we did ALL weekend.

Food started being put out almost immediately – baked Chicken Wings, Mexican style with Blue Cheese and Guacamole; followed by Charro Bean Soup with a dollop of Bill’s Guacamole. Next course: King Ranch Casserole and finishing with a slice of Sour Cherry Pie with Blue Bell ice cream. Burp!
Jan 23 Charro Bean w cilantro

Saturday, we started the feasting with –
Jan 24 Grits, Sausage Bluegerry BreakfastGrits, Sage Sausage, Cheddar Thyme biscuits and a Blueberry ‘coffee’ cake. Of course, everything with very tasty.

Managed to walk around Navasota to work a little of the food off (but, Navasota is not a large town!) – Stopped in an Antigue shop and found a project for Roy when we get off the road. “You Are My Sunshine” was the first song I learned to sing as a 5 year old and this is what I found on the wall of the shop –
???????????????????????????????a project for Roy!

I don’t think we were home long before Jane & Bill did more magic in their kitchen – today in addition to their skills, daughter Allison performed her magic with a Tasting board. She is working on tastes for a show coming up featuring products carried in her store (H.E.B.), where she is the Deli Mgr. and our Cheese Monger extraordinaire. She made a beautiful presentation and wouldn’t you know when I tried to look at the pictures I took, the camera card was still in the laptop – no pictures of what she had worked so cleverly on.

Dinner was Braised Short Ribs with Carrots and Olives, Crème Fraiche mashed potatoes, rib jus drizzled over. A butter lettuce salad with blue cheese, walnuts and a Champagne vinaigrette.

Rogue Valley Salad*****
Jane made this salad Jan. 24, 2015 while we visited – served with Braised Short Ribs and Crème Fraiche mashed potatoes.

1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
1 T. Dijon
1 T. honey
1/2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup walnut oil
Whisk together the first 5 ingred. Gradually whisk in the walnut oil.

1 head butter lettuce
2 Pears, peeled, cored and sliced
2/3 cup blue cheese
2/3 cup candied nuts or toasted nuts
4 servings
Jan 24 Short Rib Dinner

And then, there was Allison’s (Bill & Jane’s ‘girl child’) plate which was larger than she!
???????????????????????????????She finished the entire plate of food! (and, she is a little thing)

By this time we were ready to crawl from the table, but Jane had a different idea for us… Pots de Crème with White Chocolate Whipped Cream.

It is now Sunday morning and after 2 nights of late night debauchery, we are all moving quite slowly…but, Miss Jane is in the kitchen again putting together a brunch which will probably outdo previous offerings.  (While she is whipping up the brunch, here I sit with a cup of coffee and enjoying the leftovers of my Pots de Crème from Sat. night!)

Sunday Brunch with Bloody Bulls and Champagne:
???????????????????????????????Bacon, Ambrosia Salad and Butterscotch Sticky Buns (with a splash of Scotch!)

Here’s the recipe from Food & Wine, Jan. 2010 –

To walk all this off in anticipation of the next culinary extravaganza, we headed to the fairgrounds where their son, Bert, was judging a Brisket Cook Off – Bloody Marys and Chili cook offs had been held that morning and the day before. I have never in my life seen so many “good ole boys” in one place in my life. I would have loved to have taken all of their pictures, but I was afraid they might think I was making fun. The whiskers, bow legs and cowboy gear – clean and sparkling plus the grubbiest ever (the folks who had been cooking all weekend) – everything was just a hoot! Wish we could have tasted some of the brisket.

Home to more food –
???????????????????????????????1st course – homemade potato chips, Feta & Dill dip and Three Onion Dip (this one I couldn’t stop eating).

Here’s the recipe from Bon Appetitt, Sept. 2014
Note: Jane passed along her modifications: 2 tsps. Worcestershire sauce plus she uses 3 anchovies.
???????????????????????????????Stuffed Mushrooms – so tasty.

And then, the entrée – a robust, rustic Sausage Ziti Casserole which was also so good with just the right amount of heat and seasoning to entice a body to overeat again.
???????????????????????????????Adding to the goodness was Jane’s garlic bread topped with my contribution – Guimi’s Butter Rouille. Guimi is a friend from Port Angeles, WA and here is her recipe

Guimi’s Butter Rouille*****

New friends treated us to a wonderful Paella dinner last evening – Gary & Guimi entertained us royally with a Shellfish/Chicken/Sausage/kitchen sink dish cooked in their gazebo while the rest of us relaxed with good wine and ‘hearty’ Bloody Marys.  Finished the evening with a rum cake and port. Happy campers all! Our thanks to them for a wonderful evening – the first of many get togethers, I’m sure.

It should not surprise anyone that I came away with a recipe! Guimi makes the tastiest Butter Rouille which we all were ‘slathering with abandonment’ (like that? J ) on our bread rounds. A perfect match for the Paella!

3 cloves garlic
1/3 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup mayo
Ground pepper
1/3 tsp saffron which has been soaked in 1 T. hot water


That ended the gluttony of the weekend and Monday morning saw us all groaning when Miss Jan listed off what she’d like to make for us for Breakfast. We ended up with a slice of Sour Cherry pie with our coffee and then headed to our ‘temporary’ home in Sulphur, Louisiana.

Monday’s dinner was a quick one as Jane sent us on our way with leftover Ziti casserole.

She also sent home a couple of leftover short ribs which will top a Cracker pizza Tuesday. And then it is diet food time for a while. If you are ever near Navasota, Texas – drop in on the Miller’s, I’m sure they will feed you just as well as they do us every time we visit!!

Thanks for another wonderful visit, Bill & Jane.