Hanging out at the Dairy

Hanging out at the Dairy
Darci(far left) & the Wrights at the Creamery

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Camping & cuisine at Dosewallips State Park

Welcome to Dosewallips indeed! This was our first camping trip as a family and were were REALLY thrilled to join in on a weekend with friend, friends of friends and their kids! Dosewallips State Park is just outside of Brinnon, WA on the Hood Canal, about an hour's drive from our home in Sequim.

We borrowed my brother-law's "camp" trailer, or condo on wheels as our friends said. It was perfect as my husband and I aren't the tent type of campers.
The Hood Canal area gets a fair amount of rainfall and it was quite lush. I went on several walks and this time it was with several of the tween and teen girls along the Dosewallips River.

Okay, let's head back for a late breakfast. These walks proved to be a nice break in between meals:)

I brought a TON of food, SHOCKER! Those that know me will be laughing at the image of the mamouth cooler stuffed, the fridge packed full and plenty of dried goods as well.  My worst fear is that we run out of food...it didn't happen this weekend...it's never happened. And yet, I continue to plan to feed unfathomable numbers. Everyone has there achilles heal and this is one of mine.

We each had signed up for parts of different meals and I was bringing muffins/pastries for breakfast.

For my pastries, I brought Bisquick, milk, eggs, frozen blackberries, oatmeal, cornmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, vanilla and butter. I pretty much followed the pancake recipe on the box but didn't add as much milk and added more eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon to the batter.

The semi-frozen berries were spooned into the center of the muffin batter and the "crumble" topping was added; cornmeal, oatmeal, nutmeg, brown sugar and melted butter.

The trailer smelled heavenly! My friends and family were pleased. The propane kitchen stove proved to be a single rack use only oven for baking as the second rack had a tendancy to burn the bottoms of the muffins. No one cared, the bar was really low as we were "camping" after all!!

Lots of dishes this weekend but we had water and sewer hook ups, so no worries! I did mention that we don't really want to rough it too much...

Another hike took us to the lower Dosewallips Falls. It was a short car/truck ride from the camp site and another short hike to the falls.

I was asked by the girls to go in with them, so I did! I took this picture after I had already dried off and could feel my toes again...this was glacier melt and MIGHTY chilly water!

The combination of hiking across the rocks and swimming in the frigid water left us ready for dinner! I signed up to bring hamburgers and condiments.

I brought our natural, grass fed beef hamburger from our family farm and embellished it with Dijon, Worcestershire, BBQ sauce, sauteed leeks, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, dried cumin, dried garlic and fresh chopped cilantro.  Think meatloaf without the egg and bread crumbs...not everyone likes grass fed beef but everyone who tried these "doctored" burgers raved!

My friend Boetina brought her cast iron, propane grill...AWESOME!! This piece of equipment saw some significant use this weekend!

All the "fixings" for our burger and some various veggies, fruit and junk food.

Friend Dale and I took turns grilling up the burgers and dogs. The cilantro scared some of the kids off, which left more burgers for the rest of us:)

WOW!!! The outdoor air and exercise made these burgers taste even better than when we make them at home.

Now that dinner is done, it's off to walk the dogs and watch the boys ride through a colossal mud puddle. They got so wet they took their shirts off. Oh, the simple pleasures of a 8-10 year old boy...

The boys were SOAKED when the daylight finally ran out (thank goodness) and we headed back to our trailers to clean up, get dry clothes on, apply copious amounts of bug spray on. The mosquitoes were ferocious!

Time to get out the cocktails for adults and the s'mores for kids of all ages. How much do I love s'mores...mmmmm.!

This was a fantastic camping experience for my family. I loved my borrowed trailer and visiting with friends. It has taken me a whole day to catch up on laundry, clean the inside of the trailer and unpack but I can't wait until we do this again!

Happy trails my friends!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My pilgrimege to CB's Nuts

I felt like there should have been a large gong rung or a queue for the choir to sing as I FINALLY visited CB's Nuts store and roasting plant in Kingston, WA last weekend! The desire to stop was always there but never great timing...always rushing to catch a ferry to Edmonds. This trip, with no husband with me and son was asleep (and couldn't protest beforehand), I stopped at CB's Nuts...

The store is charmingly personal, petite and well stocked! I've only purchased their organic Peanut Butter before (that I can grind myself at my local Sequim grocer Sunny Farms) and was THRILLED to find so many other of their products that were new to me! They had roasted almond, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, locally made peanut butter cookies featuring their peanut butter and MUCH more.

 Immediately, I selected a pint of fresh roasted cashews for husband Brad, it was Father's Day the next day after all and would be a thinly veiled guise as to my visit and purchases.

For another Father's Day present, the friendly store clerk Tara ground a pint of organic Peanut Butter for my Dad. He's always been a PB lover but CB's puts his favorite Crunchy Jiff to shame! I hate to even use the two companies in the same sentence but there is room at the PB table for many options. I just happen to think that CB's is the purerest, freshest and highest quality product that this palate has been lucky enough to savor.
Darci proudly poses with her Father's Day souvenir for her Dad

Alan shot these photos of their various gift bag selections available online http://cbsnuts.com/
and at their store.

My only regret for this blog is that "smell-o-vision" hasn't been created for the Internet yet...if it was, you would be enraptured by the nutty perfume of their store and adjoining roasting plant! It was NIRVANA for this nut lover as they were actually roasting while I was there...Tara let us have a peek from the steps of the roasting plant, use your imagination here...if peanut's had a heaven...this is where it is!

How much do I love CB's Nuts? (previous blog) featured these cookies I make using their peanut butter. For this foodie and blogger, it is an immense pleasure to have fine local ingredients to cook/bake with and even more fun to visit their source(s) and those who create them.

I hope you enjoyed my visit to CB's Nuts store also. Bravo to their team for creating such quality products! Thanks to Tara for the blog chat, her knowledge and the quick tour. I look forward to buying more of their fine products in the future.

My parting advice is to "GO NUTS" people!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A fisherman & his family for dinner

What do you serve a fisherman and his clan for dinner? He's not a commercial fisherman, but they eat a ton of salmon and often shares it with us. Last night, I was compelled to serve something COMPLETELY opposite of light, fresh, briny seafood, the "off the hook" roasted pork sandwich. I know, again with the pork...but I love it and it's so versatile!  Did I mention that my amazing butcher has naturally raised pork and it's delicious and not expensive? This bone-in pork roast was about $4/lb! This is important as my fisherman friend and my family can EAT!

First, I sear the pork roast on all sides in my heavy bottomed, large saute pan. The searing takes about 5 minutes each side to get a substantial sear. This application is also excellent used with beef as well.

Second, place the roast into a stockpot containing 1 large can of enchilada sauce (I use mild), 1 Tablespoon each; dried cumin, dried garlic, dried oregano. I also included several stocks of fresh cilantro and 1 dried bay leaf. This simmering brew is on medium heat, lid on, for about 1/2 to 1 hour depending on your level of sear, the size of your roast and ultimately, the internal temperature should read 155 degrees in the thickest part of the roast. You could turn the pot down lower and simmer even longer if you wanted some pulled pork sandwiches, maybe 2 hours on medium-low. Any way you slice it (ha, ha!) take your roast out of the stockpot and let it rest for 15 minutes to redistribute the internal juices.

The sandwich building process is a series of personal choices, whims and what's in the fridge. I had just purchased some outstanding spicy pepper jack and aged cheddar cheeses at Costco, had tomatoes, avocados and sweet California onions from Sunny Farms.

I chose to grill the onions for this sandwich-shocking, I know:)   The pealed onions were sliced into almost inch thick rounds and grilled until tender on medium high heat for about 10 minutes or until soft and somewhat translucent. This grilling brings out even more of the natural sugars and carmelized them for another flavor component, The slightly smokiness of grilling is also pleasing to my palate.

I sliced the huge rustic loafs of french bread in half, put slices of cheddar on one half and spicy pepper jack on the other and broiled until melted. The sliced tomato, avocado, pork roast and grilled onions were piled on and fresh ground sea salt and pepper to top off the sandwich seasoning.

The buxom beauties were served with oven roasted yam fries. They're also uber-simple and the application easily to potatoes, turnips, sweet potatoes and various other tubers. Peal, slice into wedges, cubes or spears, toss in large bowl with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and roast on cookie sheet of choice for about 15 minutes on 400 degree oven set on bake, or less than 15 minutes if on convection bake. The amount of crispiness and thickness of fries will effect your cooking time as well. Be your own captain of this ship...garlic, pepper flakes, cumin, chipotle powder, fresh herbs are also interesting flavor embellishments.

Really?! I'm just sayin' "now THAT is a sandwich my friends"! My fisherman, his family and mine gobbled them up with gusto! I think you and your peoples will too.

Enjoy your day my friends.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

This little piggy went to market...

I love pork! I'll admit it freely and with abandon. I am an omnivore and a happy one at that.

 In order to have such a contented existence though, you MUST have at least one good source for your meats, fish and poultry. Lucky me, I have several friends who fish (mentioned in earlier blog postings), a family who raises grass fed, natural beef and an outstanding butcher dept at Sunny Farms in Sequim. They are a constant source of information and I ask lots of questions on which cuts to use, given what I'd like to accomplish for my meal plan.

Tonight it was thick, bone in pork chops. The plan was to create a rich sauce to blanket my moist pork chops. Brining the meat prior to cooking for 2-24 hours is ideal for moisture retention while cooking. The brined chops were placed a heavy bottomed saute pan with 4 tablespoons of olive oil, on medium high heat. Thinly sliced sweet onions, fresh chopped garlic and several generous grinds of fresh pepper and sea salt were added to the hot pan.
The chops seared on each side for about 5 minutes. The internal temp should be taken and reach 155 degrees to minimize any anxiety of fully cooking your pork. I use my dial meat thermometer and select the thickest part of the chop to make sure to get the most accurate temperature reading.

After the chops are reach the proper temp, I remove them from the pan to "rest" and finish the sauce. A glug or two of dry white wine was added to the hot pan to deglaze it, releasing all the carmelization from the bottom of the pan into the sauce. Two tablespoons each of Dijon mustard and unsalted farm butter were whisked into the sauce for both depth of flavor and additional silkiness. One tablespoon or so of fresh thyme from my garden were taken off the stems and sprinkled over the reducing sauce. Taste for any salt and/or pepper corrections needed depending on your taste preferences.

My sauce was just what I had wanted! The caramelized onions offset the sweet pork. The thyme added a light, bright contrast to the sharp Dijon and the wine and butter rounded the sauce off perfectly for this foodie's palate. 

Let me know what you think my friends, my fellow omnivores of this pork rendition. I love my pork but I love my butcher dept almost as much!

Here's to good eats!