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Showing posts with the label food

Not For Naught...

Took a drive out to the river the other day.  It's high water time, so I hadn't planned on fishing.
Still, it's good to get out of the house for a few hours.  Walk around, shoot a few photos, breathe the sweet spring air.
Everything is green.  Finally.  There's no annoying bugs yet either.  Don't worry, they're coming.  Do you know where your bug dope is?
Best of all, I came home with a prize. A massive haul of three morels.  Not quite enough for a meal.   Luckily I'd accumulated a stash of dried ones over the years. They've been stored in glass jars waiting for a date with the frying pan.  The fresh ones are more flavorful, less rubbery.  But, the dried ones do in a pinch.
So, tortellini with morels and asparagus.  Today was the day.
It's a simple dish.  Along with the tortellini, asparagus and mushrooms, butter and bacon round out the flavors.
And, there's a little garlic for vampire abatement.  A little parmesan.  A splash of milk.  Done.

The Process

Hunting.  The natives call it making meat. For me it's a process.  The kill has always been secondary.  For some that's all it is.  Pity.
Years ago, I'd take weeks of vacation to pursue elk.  I often hoped that I wouldn't be successful, just so I could continue the hunt. Hiking, climbing, sitting, waiting.  Alternating between sweating and freezing.  All, part of the process.  Most days I returned to the car with clean fingernails and a light pack.  But I was happy.  I could go out again.
Then I burned out.  I quit hunting.  My rifle was replaced with a fly rod and camera.
I uncased my rifle a couple of weeks ago.  Just out of curiosity.  Was a flame rekindled?  I wondered how I'd react when I saw game?  Better, how would my back respond if I completed the task?  I saw a few elk, some deer.  A buck.  Interesting.  When I got home, I left my gear in the car. A sign.
Two days later I went again.  I saw no game. Got soaked.  Again, the gear stayed in the car.  Well …


I'm going through a phase of Alaska withdrawal. It's been a few years since I've cast a fly in one of her waters.  I need to go back.

The above fish photo is of a pink salmon caught while on a float trip down the Talachulitna River (remember this one Larry?).  No, it's not an ad for Simms or Loop, although they do make good stuff.

Pink salmon are another underrated fish.  Where else but in Alaska could you catch a bunch of four to six pound fish and be disappointed.  Heck, guides floating the Madison would wet their pants if they could get their clients into a boatload of four to six pounders.
Pinks have the shortest life cycle of Pacific salmon, completing it in two years.  Interestingly, unlike other anadromous salmonids which may spend up to a year or two in fresh water before smolting, pink salmon fry make a run for the ocean soon after hatching.  Also, even numbered years tend to see huge runs of returning fish, while odd numbered years will show few returnees.  …

Seafood Gumbo

They should call this "yum bo".  As in really good.  I usually put together a pot of seafood gumbo each Christmas Eve.  It's not hard to make, but it does take a little time as several steps are involved.  The only part that requires care is the making of the roux.
Basically, there are four steps in making this stuff.  They are:
Making the stock Making the roux Cooking the gumbo Adding the seafood


Shrimp (one pound) Scallops (half pound) Crabmeat (half pound) Lobster Tail (optional - it was Christmas so I threw one in) Onion - 1 & 1/2 cup chopped plus…one whole for the stock Celery - 1 cup chopped plus….a couple stalks for the stock Green Pepper - 1 & 1/2 cup chopped Garlic - a couple of cloves Polish Sausage (one pound) Thyme - half teaspoon Bay Leaf (one-half) Cajun Seasoning Mix (see below) Tabasco Green onions (for garnish)

How it's done……
Making the Stock.
Get a nice big pot.  Add around six cups of cold water.  Add shells of shrimp, lobste…


Got leftover turkey?  Ok, who doesn't?  Or rather, who won't?  What to do?  There's a limit to the number of turkey sandwiches that one can eat.
I usually make a pot of gumbo.  For a change of pace I decided on some jambalaya (we celebrated Thanksgiving early due to work considerations).
The range of recipes and variations is endless.  Here's how I did it.  A little more, or a little less of any ingredient is ok.  This isn't rocket science, but it sure tastes good.  Main thing to remember, once the rice is added, don't screw with it!  Just simmer (slowly) until the liquid is absorbed.  You'll end up with a nice non-sticky rice dish where all of the grains are recognizable.  As opposed to an amorphous blob of yuck.

Cooked turkey (meat from two legs) - works good with leftover game birds too
Polish sausage (Hillshire Farm or similar) 1/2 cup chopped
Smoked ham (optional - but I used meat from a couple of ham hocks)
Green pepper -  1 & 1/2 cu…

Dumpling Day

It's a big job. Spread over a couple of days. Boil potatoes. Peel 'em. Rice 'em. Let them dry out. Next day make the dough. Pit a bunch of plums.  Roll out the dough, put a plum or half in each, with or without a sugar cube.  This is where a second person comes in handy.  Jo did the rolling, I did the cooking. Drop into a pot of boiling water.  When they float to the top, cook 'em for a while longer. Remove and put into a skillet with some bread crumbs that have been browned in a little butter.  Coat 'em real good.
Now the fun part.  Eating!!
Put a few on a plate (as if that's enough).  Sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar.  Poke 'em with a fork.  They make this indescribable sound as plum juice squirts out.  Oh yeah! 
Eat.   Savor.  Let your eyes roll back in your head. Man is that good.
This is a Hungarian delicacy.  Mom would slave away in the kitchen, one girl crew that she was, making a huge batch of dumplings. Dad would hock them down like there wa…

A Bird Hunter's Table

I hold in my hands a new cookbook that may be of interest to bird hunters.  Other than to say that it's nicely done, I'll not provide a review.  Why?  Well, I'm biased, the author is a family friend.  Sarah Davies, my wife Jo, and their pack of Brittanys have been hunting buddies for a long time. I've occasionally tagged along on their hunting forays as a cheerleader and photographer.

This summary is from Sarah's Facebook page……...
I have recently published a new cookbook, A Bird Hunter’s Table. A Bird Hunter’s Table is about cooking, eating, and sharing friendship. It is also about gundogs, gamebirds, and getting outside to enjoy the land. A Bird Hunter’s Table includes over 130 recipes, stories from the field, and smattering of natural history. To learn more, see a sample of the book, or to purchase…..
The web link provides a good feel for the layout of the book.  Did I say it's nicely done?

A Dinner Postponed

What would you do if you had planned an elaborate dinner and the guest of honor failed to show up? It happened just the other day.  I got up early, real early, o.k. ridiculously early, say before 3 a.m., just to make a special trip to pick up said guest of honor.   I drove a couple of hours in the dark, first on pavement, then on several miles of bumpy, pothole infested "road".  Then, it was boot sole time. Down one hill and up another, to our appointed meeting place.  Did I mention that it was steep? Along the way, I slipped, fell, and bruised my…."ego". Square edged rocks leave peculiar, persistent marks on ones butt.  My "ego" is still sore.

I had even offered to make it easy.   I offered to carry said guest all the way back to the vehicle. On my back. But he failed to show.  Bastard.

Maybe he didn't like wild turkey picatta.  Or a nice white sauce that included morels and fresh chives.  Perhaps it was the wild rice?  Surely it couldn't have be…


This falls under the category of "Blast from the past".  Not fishing or outdoors related.

We drove out to Willow Creek last evening for dinner at the Willow Creek Cafe and Saloon.  It was the belated celebration of a life (Pop passed away before Christmas).  We polished off orders of what we concluded were the best baby back ribs that we've had, followed by a decadent dessert that we didn't need. We discussed roots, family, health and healthy habits, among other topics.  This, while eating ourselves into a stupor.  I think that we ensured the financial security of the local cardiology group.

The discussion eventually turned to the topic of music.  Bands, favorites.  Our limited consensus for greatest album of all time….Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.

Favorite group?  For my brother Andy…. The Moody Blues.  For Jo, the Eagles.  Me, no clue, I'm still thinking about it.  Aerosmith, Queen, Creedence.

I remarked that the first rock concert that I attended was a …