Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Montana, We Have Arrived

Pintler Mountain Range, Montana


We left Florida on June 1.  After visiting my brother, two daughters, The Trout's brother and sister, a fishing friend in Big Sky, we arrived in Montana on June 23.  We drove 3500 safe miles and were so glad to finally unpack and set up our trailer.  

There is more snow on the mountain range than in many years in the past at this time of year, and the sight is beautiful.  I have loved the mountains since the first time I saw them as a 16 year old girl.  We are adjusting to the climate change and the altitude also.  Slowly, but surely.  

A couple of years ago, we had help from our friend, Jim, and had a mattress built for our 26 foot trailer queen bed.  What a blessing that has been.  This is the best we have slept since we left home.  I think the 6 inches of bedding helps also.  Sheets, a blanket, a down comforter and a bedspread.  With the mornings dropping down into the lower 40's, it is difficult finding the gumption to get out of bed.  Soon though, the sun starts warming up and all is well with the world. There is also a lot of daylight by 5 a.m. around here. 

We had a winter visitor in the trailer.  So, we went into town and bought some mouse sticky pads.  It seemed he was liking to hide in the stove.  The label on the mouse traps said scented with chamomile, a mild sedative.  "What, said the Trout?  We don't want to put him to sleep, we want to get rid of him permanently."  And so we did last night.  Have not had to trap a mouse since the early 70's when we built a chalet style home in Michigan on a lake and surrounded my cornfields.  We can still get the job done......

Hold on one second.  I just heard a trap snap under the stove.  We just caught 3 babies in 2 traps.  Oh no...there may be more.  This might drag on a while.  I guess it beats mosquitoes?.......maybe.....

On an opposite note, we finalized the purchase of our new home in Arizona this last week.  The paperwork was long and drawn out and tested our patience a lot.  But, it is done!  The plan is not to move in until after we leave Montana in early October, but we are already anxious to get down there and do some painting and getting settled.  It is only a 16 hour drive from here, so that is nothing compared to driving from Florida.  New areas of this beautiful country of ours to see.  Looking forward to it.  

The Wi-Fi we are using from our friends works great.  In fact, we have not even attempted setting up the Dish TV yet.  Just enjoying the fresh air and the quiet.  It looks like it will be a good summer.  The Trout is tying flies and getting ready to hit the streams. 


Friday, May 9, 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Salad

Surprisingly, I am back again, so soon.  We had another salad last evening that was so fresh and tasty and different, I wanted to share it before it became a memory.  But, this one is also going into the serve again file because it was that good.

Grilled Chicken-Asparagus Salad is courtesy of the May 2014 issue of Southern Living.  The Trout grilled the chicken breasts and asparagus while I made the dressing.  The asparagus were so fresh and so crisp and tasty....I love asparagus.



Grilled Chicken-Asparagus Salad
  courtesy of Southern Living magazine

1 1/2 lbs. skinned and boned chicken breasts
6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed
4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. buttermilk
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
2 tsp. chopped fresh dill

Sprinkle chicken breasts with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Grill chicken until done.  Let stand 10 minutes and then cube or chop into pieces.

Toss asparagus with oil and grill until slightly cooked and still crispy.  Cut asparagus into 2 inch pieces.

Toss together, chicken, asparagus, goat cheese, shallots, salt and pepper.

Whisk together mayonnaise and next 3 ingredients.  Add 2 Tbsp. oil and salt.  Drizzle over chicken mixture.  Top with the herbs.

I sort of jumped into this salad when The Trout realized I had forgotten to add the goat cheese.  What a difference that made!!  The goat cheese made the asparagus so much creamier and mellowed the whole salad in a very nice way.  Do not eliminate the goat cheese.  I know of one particular blogger friend that will not touch goat cheese.  Debby, I was that way once also.  But, it was the greatest discovery I have made on the cheese selection front.  Enjoy this salad.  I know we did.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Salad Time

Almost year round, we can be very content with a large salad for dinner.  The more ingredients, the merrier.  This time, for our Cico de Mayo addition to our meal, we enjoyed a Mixed Salad with Jicama and Mango.  The Mexican lady at our farmer's market asked us if we had ever tried the smaller, yellow mangoes.  We had not.  She said she liked them better because they are sweeter than the larger green with red cheeks.  And, WOW, what a difference.  I will look for the honey mangoes from now on.  They really do have a more intense flavor. 

This salad was easy to put together.  It serves 12, but we cut it in half and it was just right. 



Mixed Salad with Jicama and Mango
  Source:  The Mexican Gourmet

Serves 12

2 heads each of red oak leaf and boston lettuce, washed and torn (I just used one head of boston bibb for half of the recipe)
1 red onion, halved and finely sliced (I would use a Vadalia next time as it is not as strong)
2 firm mangoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 jicama, peeled and cut into 1/4 x 2 inch strips
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced

For the vinaigrette:

1/3 cup cider vinegar (or you can substitute lime juice)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
1 cup flat-leafed parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch ground cloves (I eliminated this)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup olive oil

Put the lettuce leaves, onions, mangoes and jicama in a salad bowl.

Place all the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth.  Pour over the salad and toss.  Garnish with the avocado slices and serve immediately.

This is one more recipe that we will keep in our popular file.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A wonderful coming home dinner

The time has been flying by and we have been very busy.  Not only at home, but traveling and making some big decisions.

First of all, tonight we had a very delicious dinner.  Along with our marinated, grilled lamb chops, we had two side dishes that we promise will be repeated again and again.  They were delicious.  I want to share these two recipes with you, because we enjoyed them so very much.  In the May, 2014 issue of Bon Appetit, "Crispy Salt and Vinegar Potatoes."  




They were easy and delicious.  When I was young, my German mother always had a huge gallon or two of vinegar in the house.  Never the strong tasting vinegar made by HEINZ, but the cheaper, generic brands.  Everything possibly was pickled, and as I have been reading lately, fermented food is very, very good for you.  Rarely do we buy potato chips, but I have submitted to the vinegar and salt chips.  Very addictive.  So, when I saw that these potatoes had vinegar included in the boiling and then the final garnish, I knew we had to try it.  Of course, The Trout was pushing this also.

The vinegar firmed up the potatoes and they truly were quite addictive and delicious.  We will make these again and again.

Crispy Salt and Vinegar Potatoes
   compliments of Bon Appetit

2 lbs. baby Yukon Gold or red potatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives

Combine potatoes, 1 cup vinegar and 1 Tbsp. kosher salt in a medium saucepan.  Add water to cover by 1 inch.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender about 20-25 minutes.  Drain and pat dry.

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add potatoes, season with salt and pepper.  Cook, tossing occasionally until golden brown and crisp, 8-10 minutes.  Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp. vinegar.  Serve topped with chives and sea salt.    4 servings

The other side comes from Lidia Bastianich.  It is her recipe for Tasty Cauliflower.  It was simple to put together and was very, very good.  I will also make this again and again.

Tasty Cauliflower
  authored by Lidia Bastianich

1 large head cauliflower, broken into small florets

10 large basil leaves
8 anchovies (we used a fair amount of anchovy paste)
8 cornichons
2 Tbs. drained capers
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil

Bring large pot of water to boil add cauliflower and cook 15 minutes, until tender.

In mini-processor, combine basil, anchovies, cornichons, capers, parsley, vinegar and mustard.  Slowly drizzle in oil oil.  Leave the dressing chunky.

Drain cauliflower and toss with dressing.  Serve warm or room temperature.  Serves 6





Truth by told, I added double the parsley and it only enhanced the flavor.

I am going to write a posting to tell you what else has been going on in our busy lives.  I do want to add that our granddaughter, Rachel, is doing very, very well with her weekly injections for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.  She was nearing remission as of her last doctor visit and has another one coming up the end of the month.  We are hoping that some change in medications will be possible.  She is feeling so much better though.  In fact, a little too much.  She managed to break her foot in a little rough housing with her brother.  We are so happy she is getting her spunk back.