Monthly Archives: March 2012

A Fish Tale

Only a few days ago I was moaning about my first official fishing trip. Today Husband bought me my own rod. I put my 2 piece rod together, tied my own hook on (Husband tied on the weights) but let him put on the worm bow tie while I held Baby back.

Must have done the trick:

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About 12 inches, male, stock from the hatchery (docked fin). We were laughing and joking about how we probably should check the lines, I laughed and said wouldn’t it be funny if there is a fish just hanging on there, waiting? You got it. Husband actually went in and grabbed the hook, bowtie and all, right out of his gullet, for me to use again. I liked that.

Yeah, we were still laughing when I said…. um, maybe we should check his. Big Boy caught himself a sucker fish. No good for eating (they are bottom dwelling, trash eating, vacuums). We can use it for bait though! Big Boy was pretty upset about “my friend” for awhile.

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And even Husband caught something…

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Baby cooed at that crawdad for at least a good half hour, if longer, calling it her “‘dad” and carrying it around like a kitten or a doll. Only pinched her once, but he was still hers, yelling “MINE, MINE, MINE. No touch. MINE! Poked at its eyes a lot, petted him, soothed his feelers, and after I told her I’d cook him up for her she perked right up. To eat him. Stuck the poor thing butt first in her mouth.

“Love it. I’d say this day was right up there with one of the best in my life,” declared Wyomingstorygirl

Oh, yeah. Big Boy locked the keys in the car and luckily I had my cell phone. Called our neighbor who kindly drove 45 minutes out to us with a spare set. There is a special place in heaven for good friends like her! Thank YOU.

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What Would Anyone Want to Be On A “Pinterest Waiting List”

I have no interest in Pinterest. Okay so some of my photos have been pinned and I decided to go ahead and join so I can tell the people who have pinned a certain thing, thanks. I tried to login using BOTH my Facebook and Twitter and got nowhere. I decided to google Pinterest and found that after requesting an invite that I would be put on a “waiting list.”

Um, sorry? Did you say “WAITING LIST” for a WEBSITE? What decade is PINTEREST think they live in?

So I’m waiting, I guess. That’s some poor technology. I guess it’s like when MySpace first came out, I joined. No one was on there, lots of tech bugs, glitches, etc. and then when people actually joined I used it to gather alumni from my high school when I was on the reunion committee.

Throw in the Skillet Quiche

IMAG0545I’m not a fan of quiche so me making such a dish is unusual in its self. It was a lot harder than I expected and I started cooking when I was tired. There was a lot of timing issues I’m still not sure how I’d handle: fry bacon, make pie crust/bake pie crust, boil water, cook veggies, and mix the flour into the eggs. Whew! I’m tired all over again talking about it.

I’ve adapted the recipe from the “Classic Quiche Lorraine” and “Individual Quiche Casseroles” recipes in Section 10, page 203 in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 1981 and added a bunch of things. I used the pie crust recipe as-is from Section 13, page 288.

Single-Crust Pie

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shortening or lard

3 to 4 Tablespoons COLD water

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In a mixing bowl stir together flour and salt. Cut in shortening/lard till pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push to side of bowl. Repeat till all is moistened. Form dough into ball. On a lightly floured surface flatten dough with hands. Roll dough from center to edge, forming a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Wrap pastry around rolling pin. Unroll onto a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate; fold under extra pastry. Make a fluted, rope-shaped, or scalloped edge. Do not prick pastry.

To keep crust in shape, line the un-pricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake in a 450 F degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove foil. (I had a bubble but poked it and it went away.) Bake 5 to 7 minutes more or till pastry is nearly done. Remove from oven; reduce oven to 375 F. (The original recipe called for 325 F but it was too juicy so we turned it up and it worked like a charm).

Throw It In The Skillet Quiche

Preheat oven to 325 F. (I had my my oven on to cook the pie crust so I had to let it cool down)

4 slices bacon

1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup spinach

1 cup of shrimp (I had about 4 handfuls of frozen, breaded shrimp)

4 eggs

1-1/2 cups milk

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup shredded cheese (I used Mozzarella but the original recipe called for Swiss)

Ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon Rosemary

1/8 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1/4 teaspoon Marjoram

1/4 teaspoon Parsley

1/8 teaspoon salt

Mostly I stuck with the directions in preparing the recipe. If you buy a prepared crust from the store, great. It will save you some messy hands. If you would like to make mini quiches, have at it – just ensure to use boiling water around the little crocks/pans and they should be done in about a little less than half the time.

“Cook bacon till crisp; drain, reserving 2 Tablespoons drippings. Crumble bacon, set aside.”

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“Cook mushrooms, celery, and onion in reserved drippings till tender; drain.” (I set the water to boil and totally forgot to chop the veggies.)

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“Beat eggs, milk, flour, and salt.”

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“Stir in cooked vegetables, bacon, and cheese. Drop in shrimp. Stir.”

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“Turn into pie crust. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.”

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Pour cheese mixture into HOT pastry shell. If necessary, cover edge of crust with foil to prevent overbrowning. I’m not sure if placing boiling water in the oven made a difference or not? Probably unnecessary, huh? I was getting a little harried in the kitchen and just did it anyway.

Bake at 375 F for 35 minutes or till a knife inserted near center comes out clean and doesn’t appear juicy. Quiche is firm. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

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We had some of the cornbread I made the other day with the quiche. For my first time making it, and screwing around, it filled the house with the best scents of savory pie crust, eggs and herbs & spices. I dislike both mushrooms and onions but found them to be savory and the foil that made the recipe so good. Remember I didn’t chop any of the veggies? It didn’t make a difference, so if you are a kind of throw it in cook like me, you know how to adjust the amounts given in this recipe.

I think Amarah’s looks the most like my quiche, what do you think?

General Tso’s Chinese dish with antelope with updated photo

Wyomingstorygirl.wordpress.com

 

Made General Tso’s Chinese dish with antelope last night. It was awesome (as always!).

Husband’s phone camera takes such better pictures than mine. Argh.

 

Back of the Box Recipe: Cornbread

Photo1252I had grand plans Sunday for some recipes but the computer was cleaned and cleaned of my blog cookies so only pieces of the website are showing up, making posting impossible. But I’ve managed to figure out some cookies so that I can post again.

Reviewing the ingredients for Cornbread, reminded me I needed to mix up a batch of baking powder (1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cream of tarter, and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch [for stability, eliminate if you are only making enough to use immediately].

CORNBREAD (adapted from Aunt Jemina Corn Meal recipe)

1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 egg whites or 1 egg, beaten

1 cup corn kernels, canned is easiest but yes, you can use frozen or fresh (THIS IS MY ONLY ADDITION TO THE RECIPE)

Heat oven to 400 F. Grease 8 or 9-inch pan. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Photo1249

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Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (If you find the mixture too wet, add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup more flour until it’s a bit thicker). I used the same pan I use for cream corn souffle and it puffs up like a popover in this picture below, huh?

I didn’t have any canned corn to use and as I often use frozen corn, I adjust the temperature and cooking time. Lowering the temperature to 375 degrees for UP TO 1 HOUR, it cooks to this:

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I haven’t frozen this recipe but I’m sure you could with varying results on when you use it. I’d say freeze and eat within a month. Um..better yet, make this recipe as muffins and that’ll do the trick.

You can also add herbs and spices to make it more savory even spice it up using yummy items like black beans, onions and Jalepeños! What’s your take on what to include in your cornbread?

Check out these fabulous link parties for delicious entrees and desserts to go with!

Can I Too Be A “Fisherwoman”?

Recently I got my first-ever annual fishing license. I’ve fished before, without a license, as a kid in a pond with no fish. I’ve also bought “day licenses” and spent the day yakking, but bored with fishing as an “experience”.

Big Boy getting tips on what the fish are nibbling...

Making the effort. Some say part of a good relationship requires a certain level of understanding or appreciation of your partners hobbies. It can be as little as knowing terminology to “listen” or finding a great deal on equipment he really wants. I’ve made the effort of the years in our marriage to attempt these things but a lot of timing problems have caused them to be few and far between. Snowmobiling, hunting, and fishing are my husband’s main hobbies. Although he enjoys doing other things I’d say those are his “Big 3”.

Having no role models (male or female) in my life to teach me any of these things let alone see them done, I was left watching men on tv do these kinds of activities. So attempting to ride, hit the broad side of a barn, or reel one in without being soaking wet, are enigmas to me. The biggest obstacle isn’t that my husband isn’t willing to take me with him or teach me, it’s that he is less than forthcoming on things I need to know, “tips”, because of his experience or skill.

“Take fishing – I should have boned up on some skills beforehand by looking on the internet.” Says Wyomingstorygirl, “I don’t even know how to use his fishing pole.”

I didn’t, but we did go fishing yesterday afternoon, meeting up with one of his coworkers and their extended family. Let’s just say my husband and I were on 2 different fishing trips! Husband got his stuff done, left me the fishing rod and walked too far away for even a shouting conversation. *sigh*

Find out the Basics

I know the basics – you need to bait your hook. So I impaled a worm on the barbed hook for my 3.5 years old son and got his set up. Then I did the same for mine. 5 minutes into it, Big Boy has lost 2 worms and is off running around the rocks playing. 3 hours into it, I’d lost 3 worms myself, lost one hook in the rocks, “caught” one 18 foot tree and snarled my line into several pom poms. At least the pom poms allowed me to be able to see where I’ve “cast”.

Looking interested, Husband comes back to see how I’m doing. I must say my Husband has a really bad understanding for “timing”- he’d come back for my “fishing lesson”. Husband tells me what I’ve done wrong: tied my new hook improperly, made a mess of the weights, showed me what to do when my line “spins” and advised I needed to cast overhead (tennis anyone?). I watched from shore as he walked out in his waders to cast. “Why are you casting with my fishing pole?” “To give you the experience of reeling in a fish.” “Um, I think I need to practice my casting first. Can I have my pole back.” After tellig these tidbits Husband was prepared to go back out for another couple hours but as Baby was at camp with friends of the family I was wondering how she was getting on. We turned back before sundown to go home.

Husband was pleased I hadn’t complained or gotten mad. Um, apparently he really was too far away to hear me swear like a sailor. No, you missed that, I vowed to go online to learn what I needed and I’ll take the kids fishing by myself.

View of the North Platte River from Trappers Route, Casper, Wyoming

Maybe some tips in these related articles could give you the edge the next time you attempt to lure a tree or you know, a trout…

Poached Fish in Court Bouillon

IMAG0521I am watching some old BBC shows including The Duchess of Duke Street (circa 1976). In one of the episodes I saw the main character making poached fish and as I had defrosted a fish for tonight’s dinner I needed a recipe! I found an easy to make Court Bouillon and it only takes a short time to poach the fish. I’ll make some rice pilaf to finish her off. Here’s where I started…

The court bouillon…Good Lord, I wish I could provide smell-o-vision for this amazing smell… similar to stuffing seasoning cooking…with a touch of wine (I used Sake, by the way!)

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Straining the aromatics, and then deboning the fish….

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and the presentation…quite tasty.

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Ways to Use White Sauce

Tonight I was at a loss of what to make for dinner. IMAG0510We are doing pantry eating for a few days, which isn’t difficult, as I have the choice of fish, pork chops or game meat. I find repetition a bother week after week so finding new ways to prepare the same main ingredient is a must. As we are also not “leftover” eaters it’s not usually a problem as I can adjust recipes to fit our appetites.

**AHA** How about a seasoned white sauce with spaghetti? I can throw in some shrimp, peas, carrots, and spinach into the white sauce. Top with grated parm, voila! Gourmet dinner for 4 under $5.00. (I am taking in consideration the “unit price” since I use these ingredients frequently.)

Here’s the recipe I use for white sauce which was typed up on an index card back in the late 1940s Home Ec class my mom was taking. It’s quite versatile because you can make it thin for soup, medium thick for spaghetti, or thick for a baking consistency. You can also add a lemon for fish dishes!

It takes maybe 20 minutes total.

WHITE SAUCE

THIN (cream soups)

1 Tablespoon Butter (or other fat)

1 Tablespoon Flour

1 Cup Liquid (you can use water, any kind of milk product, including cream)

1/2 teaspoon Salt

MEDIUM (creamed vegetables, sauce for meats and fish)

2 Tablespoons Butter (or other fat)

2 Tablespoons Flour

1 Cup Liquid (you can use water, any kind of milk product, including cream)

1/2 teaspoon Salt

THICK (this is best to hold together ingredients for croquettes and soufflés)

4 Tablespoons Butter (or other fat)

4 Tablespoons Flour

1 Cup Liquid (you can use water, any kind of milk product, including cream)

1/2 teaspoon Salt

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The ingredients are simple as all you need are butter, flour, salt, and milk…

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Melt the butter on heat just enough to melt – do not burn the butter!

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Next, throw in the salt and add the flour. I turn the heat off when I add the flour so that it doesn’t burn.

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Add your liquid.

Stir, stir, stir. And stir some more. It’s like gravy and you’ll end up with a lot of flour clumps so constant stirring is necessary to break the clumps down.

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As soon as it is boiling, remove from the fire.

The consistency should be what you desire – if not quite thick enough continue to cook on low heat, simmering and stirring.

Adding veggies, herbs or spices…what is your solution to keeping white sauce “fresh” in your dishes?

Take a look at these other ideas when making a white sauce:

Related articles

Back of the Bag Recipe: Banana Bread

Do you ever notice on the back of packaging there are “suggested” ways to use the product? Every so often you get a real winner, while others you wonder why they bothered because they were so bad.

I was wondering what I could make that would be sweet, easy to make, and quick to bake. I was wanting muffins and my eyes lighted on the banana nut bread recipe on the back of the flour bag. Why not? A new recipe is always welcome, right?

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Banana Nut Bread (from ConAgra Mills, Bakers & Chefs division “enriched &  bleached All-Purpose H&R Flour)

1 3/4 Cups flour

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 Cup sugar

2 eggs

2/3 cup vegetable oil

3 Tbsp. milk

1 Cup (2 large) mashed bananas

1/2 Cup chopped nuts

Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, sugar. Blend in eggs, oil, and milk. Stir in banana and nuts. Pour batter into greased 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 2 1/2 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.

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While I had 2 bananas on their way out I didn’t have any nuts except slivered almonds, which is what I used as a garnishment only on top. It didn’t taste too bad, it was still moist despite leaving it in the oven too long because I forgot to set the timer.

Cranberry-Orange-Almond Shortbread Wedges

This is such a great recipe! It’s a recipe I’ve adapted from the Ginger-Cranberry Shortbread Wedges the No. 33 Issue of the Gold Medal (as in flour) Holiday Cookies & Candy issue (looks to be 2001?). To be honest I’ve never made the recipe as printed – I don’t keep crystallized ginger on hand, so I substituted orange flavoring and orange zest.

This is how I make Orange-Cranberry Shortbread Wedges:

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Photo Credit: Ginger-Cranberry Shortbread Wedges, No. 33 Issue of the Gold Medal Holiday Cookies & Candy issue

2/3 Cup butter, softened (it’s almost 11 tablespoons, by the way)

1/3 Cup powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons orange zest

1 Tablespoon orange flavor

1 1/3 Cups all purpose flour

1/2 Cup dried cranberries, rehydrated

1/4 Cup almond slivers

Topping:

2 teaspoon sugar (this is to sprinkle on top)

1 Tablespoon orange zest

Photo11691. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Make sure you have enough ingredients.

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This is how I soften butter in winter…

Mix butter, powdered sugar, orange zest and the orange flavor in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Try to remove as much liquid from the cranberries and coat them with some of the flour so they don’t bleed as much into the dough. Stir in flour, almond slivers and cranberries. It should be like cookie dough, not too sticky. Flour your hands for the next step to make it easier to shape.

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2. Shape and pat dough into 9-inch circle on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with the sugar and zest. It should remind you of a small wheel of cheese Smile If you don’t feel that talented, just make shape into a square or rectangle.

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3. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes on cookie sheet on wire rack. Cut into wedges as thick as you like.

Notes from Wyoming: I really love a versatile recipe that doesn’t flop with additions or substitutions. I share those the most because they are flexible enough not to frustrate a once-in-a-while baker who tends to have oops moments and can challenge an experienced baker who likes to use exotic or amazing quality ingredients.

If you’d like to try the original recipe which calls for 3 T finely chopped crystallized ginger, leave out the orange flavoring and zest. It also uses dried cranberries as opposed to the juicy cranberries I used.

Another substitution I’d like to make in a future recipe is to swap the cranberries for lychee (lee-chee) a popular Chinese fruit. If you can believe it I saw it as a “snack” on Ni Hao, Kai-lan at Lulu’s sky house but has been offered in the buffet at my favorite Chinese food place. It is spelled many different ways but it looks like a white cherry with a texture/meat like a pear, and tastes like a blending of several different fruit’s flavors (banana, cherry, pear, maybe mango?). You would not use dried (quite bitter tasting), but fresh as the substitution since the canned version are very juicy from being packed in liquid.

Mid-baking I realized that I’d forgotten the almonds, they did taste good sprinkled! Oh well, here’s the photo:

Photo credit: wyomingstorygirl

If you “Try It Out” let me know if you went with the “Original”, “Wyoming’s” or “My Own” (let’s hear your changes.)

I’m linking at 

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