Monday, August 30, 2010

Osso Buco and a bit of humor

We found some beautiful veal shanks at our local Montana grocer, Safeway, and put them into the freezer until a chilly day. Well, it was chilly enough today to make a fire in the fireplace, so we put together an Osso Buco from combined recipes from Bobby Flay, Giada, and Schnitzel and the Trout.

Osso Buco

2 tablespoons oil, and 3 pounds of veal shanks. Brown veal shanks in oil and remove from Dutch oven.

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, 5 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 sprigs parsley. Tie together in a bouquet garni.

Dice 4 small carrots, 2 stalks celery, 1 medium onion, 2 medium shallots and 2 cloves garlic. Brown in the same pot you browned the veal shanks. Soften 10 minutes.

Mix 1 tablespoon flour and 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Stir into the sauteed vegetables. Add 2 cups of red wine and reduce by half.

Add 3 1/2 cups beef stock and herbs and return browned veal shanks to casserole. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 2 hours on stove top.

We topped it with cooked penne pasta and shaved parmesan and the additional of a gremolata of lemon zest, parsley and garlic.

We thoroughly enjoyed this and Kippy moaned through the whole dinner. The smell was rather good. So......

What could be better than Eukanuba, carrots, bone marrow with parsley, broth, and a few drops of the fantastic Chateau Michelle, Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot. The wine was great and Kippy has always favored drops of red wine. After 15 years, she knows us well.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Three good things

Three good things happened yesterday. The Trout was outside early in the morning talking to the neighbors when two large, mature bald eagles swept by overhead. The wingspan of the two of them together was unbelievable. It was the closest I have ever been to an eagle. One flew away immediately, and the other one, below, sat for a while. While the photo is definitely of so-so quality, it was very exciting.

I have tried to convince the Trout for the last year or two to get away from the trout stream long enough so that we could enjoy a round of Montana golf. Yesterday was a perfect day. The view from the course was beautiful. Below you see the Anaconda smelter stack and the Pintler's in the background.
Oh yes, I had a lot of fun. We discussed hearing that a golf ball travels further at a higher altitude. I can't say that I proved that to be right, (ha ha), but we did enjoy the day.

And then, the last excitement of the day was when we stopped in Anaconda and it was market day. The Hutterite colony nearby comes into town to sell their goods on Thursday. We bought this loaf of bread below. It was so tall I had to take a picture. Great for sandwiches, toast and I am even imagining French toast and bread pudding as we near the end of it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Big visitors

We had some excitement this weekend when a cow moose and her calf wandered into the backyard. Usually, if you are lucky enough to see moose out west, you are in a car and photo opportunities are rare. This was different, way different.

The Trout took the camera and quietly escaped the house and started walking toward the pair. Mama moose can be very aggressive when she has her baby near her. This time though, they both were more interested in eating the grasses and daisies in the yard. They kept their eyes on the Trout and he did manage to get within 30 feet, but that was close enough for all of us.
Mama was huge! Actually, not such a pretty face. Massively strong body; much larger than a horse.

I wonder where Daddy was. A bull moose is a real trophy to photograph. I doubt he would have been so calm about it all.

We enjoyed seeing you two. I hope you come visit again soon.

And as Kippy sits inside, looking out the window, we hear her saying "Why can't I go out to see the meeses?"

Friday, August 20, 2010

The best potato dish

My photo is not the best, but I just had to share this wonderful potato dish. I found it on blogger friend, Cathy's blog, Wives with Knives. Cathy got the recipe from another blog I read, Moveable Feasts. I used a borrowed cast iron skillet from my neighbor since there wasn't one in the cabin. It was square, but I made it work. By the way, the second time I made it, the onions were browned a little more and it looked a lot better. Unfortunately, it disappeared before a photo opportunity.

This is so much easier than any scalloped potato dish, and I think it tastes so much better. Surprisingly, all the cheese that is used just kind of disappears into the potatoes to flavor them way over the top!!

Potato, Walla Walla Onion and Gruyere Galette

2 1/2 tablespoons butter
12 sprigs thyme
1 large sweet onion, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
3/4 to 1 pound waxy potatoes, peeled and sliced (I used Yukon Gold)
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup Gruyere, grated
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
sea salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a 9-10 inch frying pan over medium heat. (Cast iron works great). Add the thyme and onion and cook for 5 minutes. I did not turn over the slices of onions. Just browned them on one side. Place the potato, oil and Gruyere and mozzarella and salt and pepper into a bowl and toss to combine.

Top the onion mixture with the potato mixture and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Turn upside down on a large plate. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Those cherries are so good!!

Our neighbor brought us a great bunch of Flathead black cherries from northern Montana. They are very ripe now and very delicious. After eating quite a few just as they are, I remembered a wonderful dessert we have eaten in France; Clafoutis.

I made Clafoutis many years ago, but it has been forgotten in my recipe file. Then, last May, blogger friend, Barbara at Moveable Feasts made this recipe and I knew I had to put these beautiful cherries into this magical cake batter. It was so worth it. It is almost like a pie, almost like a cake and almost like a pudding consistency. The best of all worlds, right?

The recipe is simple and easy and put together quickly and the result is wonderful.

If you are fortunate to live near the black cherries, like in the NW part of the USA, give this a try. It should be served warm, and I even had some reheated in the microwave for breakfast!!!
Cherry Clafoutis
2 cups black cherries
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup flour
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter glass pan and scatter cherries over the bottom. Leaving the pits in gives an almond flavor, but since I am far from my dentist, I pitted those little babies.
Beat eggs and sugar. Add melted butter. Add flour all at once. Beat together and slowly add the milk and vanilla.
Pour over the cherries and bake 30 to 40 minutes. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Small town in Montana

The small town of Philipsburg, Montana, is steeped in mining and ranching history. It was a busy mining town in the late 1800's and today the buildings are all beautifully restored in the downtown area.

Philipsburg lies in the Pintler scenic loop and is located at 5280 foot altitude. It is a lovely town to visit, shop, and dine in. Our friends, Jim and Laurie, came to visit and this is where we took them. Jim is an expert photographer and he has agreed to let me show the photos he took that day. I give him all the credit for showing us all the gorgeous restoration that has taken place in this quaint town.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A favorite creek and friends

While our friends were traveling out West, they made a turn and decided to spend a couple of days with us. This thrilled us as we have been friends for almost 30 years. The Trout took Jim to his favorite creek while Laurie and I went shopping. Sounds like a fair deal, right?

Jim was very happy with his catch of the day. Though the weather provided showers off and on, the fish were still biting.

The beauty of this stream, with only the sound of the babbling water flowing over the rocks, makes this a very favorite of the Trout.

Here he is showing off one of the beautiful trout that was quickly released back into the waters. This is a "catch and release" stream only. It is a beautiful way to save the fish for future generations.

But, while the Trout was lake fishing the other day, he did catch a good sized Rainbow which he smoked with good results. Years ago, we had a terrific recipe for a marinade, but through our moves, it was lost. It is now put together with memory and turns out pretty good. Perhaps a little more brown sugar or maple syrup next time will perfect it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


And is he HAPPY! Love my Montana and the challenge of trout fishing!! The streams have been a bit slow yet with little bug hatches but it great shape with plenty of water I think to carry us through the summer. This lovely Brown slammed a hopper attractor on Flint Creek yesterday to make it a good day.
The Lake has been doing pretty well though to fill in my time with a very good Damsel fly hatch around mid day to get the rainbows in a feeding frenzy. This is my attempt to imitate the real thing that has worked pretty well so far as long as the wind stays down. I usually just walk the shore line or use docks to cast to the cruisers looking for a morsel.

Once in awhile, my friend Bruce will offer me a ride in his McKenzie drift boat to reach more further out fish. I met Bruce many years ago when I stopped to check out this guy fishing from the shore line with his trusty Black Lab buddy. He thanked me for stopping for he hadn't talked to a human for a couple of days so he enjoyed my inquistive company.

And of course, there is Louie, our good neighbor still going strong at 87 or 88 years of age. I think he is in better shape this year!! He is our caretaker for the rental house and a good buddy as well.
Below is the decent result from the lake - a decent rainbow that fought well.

Tomorrow will be our 44th anniversary - SCHNITZEL HAS BEEN MY BEST CATCH OF ALL!!! A great wife, my navigator on our many adventures, my nurse and a great Mom and Grandma to our daughters and grandchildren. She truly is a trophy!!! Lets hope we can celebrate many more my dear!!! A GRATEFUL TROUT!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chicken grilled under a brick

A friend recently reminded us of a recipe where you cook a whole chicken under a brick. In the September 2009 issue of Bon Appetit, Chef Rob Suhanosky of Sfoglia restaurant in New York describes perfectly how this is done.
Of course we were in "town" (this requires a 45 mile round trip) and the local grocer had beautiful, plump, whole chickens for $.79 a pound. We bought one over 4 pounds but did not have the recipe with us. So we improvised and we were pleased with the results. You can marinade this chicken any way you wish. The technique is what makes this so good and so much fun.
Cut on either side of the backbone and remove it. Flatten the chicken with the palms of your hands. Marinade overnight. We used what we had on hand....olive oil, lime juice, (could be lemon), oregano, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and a couple of cloves of garlic.
We decided to grill over charcoal and indirectly for fear of flare-ups. You can do this directly over charcoal or gas grill. In fact, the Chef cook his at 400 degrees in the oven.

We layed two aluminium wrapped bricks on top of the back of the chicken to first give the breast a nice browning. Left it for about 15 minutes. Then turned the chicken over and again put the bricks on top for about 30-40 minutes.

The chicken was very juicy and tender. It almost cooked itself.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

If the tree falls..

When a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? WELL....this tree did this morning!!! The tree fell across power lines putting everyone in the dark, so to speak.
It is 2 p.m. and I am enjoying my first cup of coffee. I am always an early riser, but this morning, I was much too slow. Rather suddenly at 6:55 a.m., the electricity went off. Being in the mountains, we are used to these "often" interruptions. But, this one went on for over 6 1/2 hours. We drove to the other side of the lake to the restaurant and they were in the same boat. No electricity!! The Trout went fishing. Does not need electricity for that. I started a new novel. But, the time got a little long.
Then we started discussing dinner. We have a flattened chicken marinating in the refrigerator that we were going to charcoal grill tonight. We have an electric starter for the grill and refuse to use that smelly lighter stuff. Well, we could grill it on the gas grill. Such decisions! Relax!! All is taken care of now. The chicken will be grilled under bricks (supplied by our bricklayer son-in-law) on the charcoal grill, indirectly, and all is well with the world. I hope the chicken will look well enough for a posting.
Appreciate your electricity, and if it should go off, appreciate the quiet. There is a lot of quiet!!!