Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Oh yes, they smell as good as they look!!  My blogger friend, Chris, at Café Sucré Farine seems to pull the most amazing recipes out of the air.  This muffin recipe is no exception.  With grandsons coming this next week, I put these into the freezer immediately, because when it comes to cinnamon, I have no self-control.  But, I can almost guarantee you, they are delicious.  I hope you will check Chris' blog, stay there a while and find a recipe or two to try.

Snickerdoodle Muffins with Doodlesnicker Butter
  from the recipe file of Café Sucré Farine

Cinnamon/Sugar mixture
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Muffin Batter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 stick butter, softened for the Doodlesnicker Butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the first 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.  Mix well to combine and set aside.

Spray 12 muffin pan cups liberally with cooking spray.  Using your index finger wrapped with a paper towel, rub inner surfaces of muffin cups to ensure complete coverage.  Sprinkle approximately 1 teaspoon of the sugar/cinnamon mixture into each muffin cup.  Holding the pan over the sink, tilt the pan in all directions to coat each sup with the sugar cinnamon mixture.  When cups are coated, discard any loose sugar into the sink.

Beat butter and sugar.  Add egg and beat well.  Combine milk and sour cream.  Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with milk mixture, beating just until combined.

Spoon by rounded teaspoons into greased muffin cups, sprinkling 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture over each teaspoon full.  For me, it took about 4 teaspoons of dough to fill each cup and use up all the dough.  Continue until each muffin cup is 2/3 full.  Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the sugar mixture over the top of each muffin.  Reserve the rest of the sugar for the Doodlesnicker Butter.  (You should have approx. 1/4 cup left.)

Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue to bake another 10-15 minutes until springy when gently touched on top.  (This initial burst of heat helps the muffins rise tall and round.)

Remove from oven.  Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove and place on a cooling rack.

Doodlesnicker Butter

Place remaining sugar in a microwave-safe bowl.

Add 2 teaspoons of the butter and microwave on high for 10-20 seconds or until butter is melted.  Remove from microwave and stir to combine.  Mixture should be like a thick paste.

Allow to cool then add to softened butter, swirling through butter just a bit.  Serve at room temperature with the muffins.

I was happy to see that this recipe called for nutmeg.  Nutmeg was my mother's favorite spice.  She used it in dumpling soups and whenever she had an excuse to try it in something new.  This is her nutmeg grater which is probably close to 50 years old, if not older.  I can almost guarantee, you have not smelled nutmeg the way it should smell until you grate it yourself.  The whole nutmegs can be ordered because I find them harder to find in the spice aisle of your local grocer.  That little lid on top holds the one nutmeg that you are currently grating.  It even has a place to hang on the wall.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

We found some beautiful, reasonable fresh tuna at Whole Foods in Orlando, so we had to make this recipe again.  Every time we eat this, we remark how fantastic it tastes.  This sauce is so very, very good.  It would taste good on pork or chicken.  On anything.  I hope if you have to chance to try this, you will.  You will not be disappointed.  This has been a favorite for over 10 years and it never fails to amaze me as to how good it is.  Here is a repeat worth repeating. 


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tuna with a Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce

This is another favorite recipe of ours that I have not blogged about yet.  We have been making this cream sauce for tuna since 2002.  It is that good!!  It was found on Epicurious  at that time.  In the past, we have even used this sauce on salmon.  Today, we vary it somewhat, because a trip to the big city was just not in the cards.  So, instead of fresh shiitake mushrooms which I saw last week at Whole Foods....darn...we are using Portobellos which are really, just as tasty.

The recipe is for 6, but we are cutting it down for the two of us.  Other than changing the mushrooms, we follow it exactly and it is always a winner!!

Pan-Seared Tuna with Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce

6 6-ounce tuna steaks, each about 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons peanut oil

3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, chopped
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Preheat over to 200 degrees F.  Sprinkle one side of tuna steaks with pepper.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy, large skillet over high heat.  Place tuna steaks, pepper side down in hot oil and sear 2 minutes.  Turn tuna over and continue cooking to desired doneness, about 2 minutes for rare.  Transfer tuna to rimmed baking sheet to keep warm in oven.

Add butter, sliced green onions, cilantro, ginger and chopped garlic to same skillet and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Mix in mushrooms and soy sauce and simmer 30 seconds.  Add whipping cream and simmer until sauce lightly coats back of spoon, about 3 minutes.  Stir in lime juice.  Spoon sauce onto plates; arrange tuna atop sauce.  Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro springs, if desired.

The Trout says this sauce would taste great on anything.  I know some of you do not like cilantro.  I truly believe there is no substitute for this herb.  As you can see by the photo, we did throw in a few shrimp because we just love them!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cookies using the best vanilla ever

It's like I have been lost somewhere, but I am back today!!  A lot of knitting and planning have been going on.  Daughter number 2 and family will be here for Christmas for a couple of days, so have been planning some meals for that occasion.  I also have had a deep desire to bake some cookies.  Not many for the two of us, but since family is coming, I do want to have some on hand.

I have been intrigued by the cookie "Melting Moments."  It has got to be one of the easiest cookies I have ever attempted.  It also might rank right up there at the top of the BEST list.  I noticed the recipe on The View From Great Island during some searching and then I found that many, many people have the same recipe, only different.  It also seemed to be a recipe that is quite popular in UK posts.  Many people have added their special "calling card" to the recipe and I can see how that is entirely possible. 

I added my own twist to this recipe, adding an addition of Singing Dog Vanilla  paste which was given to me by the gracious owner of Singing Dog Vanilla this summer.  I have been looking for a good recipe for using the vanilla paste, and this frosting does take it over the top.  Yes, Singing Dog Vanilla, I am planning on vanilla ice cream with your luscious liquid paste very soon.

I want to show you the plate I have my cookies on.  It was designed and made by my friend Stephen Nathan of Casa Indianola Creations in Goodyear, Arizona.  I love bringing it out at Christmas and serving the best of the best cookies on it.  Thank you Steve, for your talent.

Melting Moments
Inspired by The View from Great Island

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Blend together the soft butter, salt, sugar, cornstarch and flour until everything is well combined.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  It is a soft dough and chilling makes it easier to handle.

Turn oven to 350 degrees.

Using a small spoon or scoop, roll balls of dough in your hand and set them on ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the bottoms are just turning light brown.  The tops will not brown.  Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes and then carefully remove to a cooling rack.  Let them cool completely before frosting.


At this point, you can either sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Singing Vanilla Bean Paste or 1 teaspoon very good vanilla extract
Cream or milk to thin
grated semi-sweet chocolate to garnish

Make the frosting by mixing the butter, sugar, vanilla paste and enough cream to make a spreadable frosting.  Do not let it get too thin.  Top with grated chocolate.

The use of cornstarch in the cookie makes for a light, meltaway cookie.  We enjoyed it last evening with a glass of Irish Creme after dinner.  The taste combination was just about perfect.  

This would be a perfect cookie for afternoon coffee or with a night glass or brandy after dinner.  I see no reason to limit this cookie to Christmas as it is so simple and quick to prepare.  Enjoy.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Japchae (Chap Chae) once again Korean

I have had a love for Korean food since living next to Lee, a Korean war bride, in the 70's.  She taught me a lot about Korean food and we have loved it ever since.

I went to my Korean grocer, GiGi, again this week.  The previous week I had purchased a sweet potato noodle salad that she had made and I wanted to buy the noodles so that I could make this myself.  She told me exactly how to prepare the noodles, etc., but I needed something on paper to read to accomplish this feat.  After all, I have a whole lot of German in me.

I found a recipe for Japchae and it was exactly what I bought from GiGi.  I was missing a few ingredients in my kitchen and not wanting to make another trip to the grocer, I improvised and I am completely satisfied with the results.

The noodles, made from sweet potatoes, have been the most fun food for me to work with in a long time.  They are glassy, dare I say worm-like, and completely simple to prepare.

Japchae (Chap Chae)
Adapted from The Steamy Kitchen and The Korean Table

8 oz. sweet potato noodles
4 oz. spinach (No spinach in the house so substituted fresh cilantro)
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, sliced
3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water and then stem removed and sliced
1 small carrot, cut into thin strips
1 stalk scallion, cut into 1 inch slices
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
Salt to taste ( I used some fish sauce)
1 heaping teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds (Omitted because still have not replenished my pantry)
Sriracha to taste

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Cook sweet potato noodles in a large pot of boiling water for about 5-6 minutes.  Drain the water and rinse the noodles under cold running water.  Cute the noodles using a pair of scissors into about 6 inch lengths.  Set aside.

Heat up a pot of water and bring it to a boil  Blanch the spinach until wilted, about 1 minute.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Cut into small pieces.  (I did not have spinach so added fresh cilantro from the garden at the end for greens.  Spinach would have been extra nice)

Heat up the oil in a skillet or wok and add the garlic, onion, mushroom, and carrot and cook for about two minutes.  Add the scallion and stir-fry for another minute.  Turn the heat to low and add the noodles and spinach into the skillet, followed by the sesame oil, the sauce and salt to taste.  Stir to combine well.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve at room temperature.  Add a few drops of Sriracha, just because we love it.

These sweet potato noodles can probably only be found in Asian markets. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Very Easy Sandwich Buns

The Trout and and I were very fortunate to meet Cathy from Wives with Knives this summer, and have lunch in her home.  As I have been thinking about that delightful day this week, I have also been looking at Cathy's blog and finding all sorts of inspiration to cook and bake.

I have been getting into a "funk" about baking lately.  It is always the same.  I do not need the extra calories, etc., but I do enjoy baking, a lot.  So, this is my second "Cathy" recipe in the last week and I have one more just off stage waiting for some ingredients to arrive.  The first one will be posted very soon.  It also was a winner. 

For quite a few years now, we will grill a ground beef patty and eat it like a steak..without a bun.  But when I saw how Cathy and several other bloggers were raving about these 1 hour buns, I just had to try.  It is burgers for us tonight AND with a very beautiful bun!!

I love baking bread, but have not had such good luck with rolls, etc.  It is just my stubbornness as I figured out today.  I have always been guessing the temperature of the liquid I add to the yeast.  Not a good idea.  Today I used a thermometer and it worked beautifully.

I did not have any sesame seed or poppy seed, but experimented with freshly cracked black pepper, coarse salt, and caraway seed.

Homemade Sandwich Buns
  Shared from Cathy at Wives with Knives

1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, room temperature
4 1/2 cups flour
1 package instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg yolk
Sesame and poppy seeds for sprinkling on top before baking


Heat the milk, water, honey and butter until butter is melted.  Check temperature and let it cool to 120F.  Carefully beat in one egg.

Mix 2 cups of the flour, yeast,  and salt.  Mix into the milk mixture.  Stir in the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time.  Beat well after each addition.

When the dough pulls together, it will form a soft ball, turn it onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.  This should take about 5 minutes.  I used a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment then switched to the dough hook to knead.  Add a little more flour while mixing with the dough hook, a little at a time until dough is no longer sticky.

Divide the dough into 12-16 equal parts.  Use a kitchen scale to weigh the dough to make them come out even.  Small buns are about 2 3/4 ounces and a larger bun would be about 4 ounces.  Shape dough into smooth balls.  Flatten slightly and place on a silicone mat covered baking sheet.

Cover loosely with plastic film and allow to rise 30-40 minutes.  When buns are almost doubled bake at 400F for 10-12 minutes.

If desired, after buns have risen, brush tops with beaten egg yolk for a shiny glaze.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds or coarse salt before baking.  

Cranberry Tangerine Chutney That is Just Perfect

It seems I am always a little late to the dance.  With Thanksgiving around the corner and me still having a bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer from last year, I decided to try something new.  I searched and found a recipe that was posted back in 2009.  This recipe, once again, comes from Wives with Knives, my friend Cathy's blog.  She said it was a recipe from her mother and is one of Cathy's most treasured recipes.

A chutney!  I have loved chutney since my first taste of Major Grey's Chutney, back in the 70's.  When our daughters were young, I used to bake fruit with curry for a Thanksgiving side dish.  They never liked it, where the Trout and I loved it!

Cranberry Tangerine Chutney
  Shared with permission from Cathy at Wives with Knives 

3 cups fresh cranberries
1 large tart apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3 Tbsp. candied ginger, chopped
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp curry powder (don't skimp...this is what makes it a chutney)
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 cans mandarin orange slices, drained

Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  This keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator and will easily form a seal if poured, very hot, into small decorative jelly jars.  This filled about 4 jelly jars for me.

We have eaten on pork, chicken, mixed with cream cheese on a bagel or toast and also by the spoonful out of the jar.  Yes, it is that good!  What a beautiful hostess gift this would be during the holidays.  Thank you, Cathy, for sharing such a treasured recipe.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thai Beef with Basil

As our windows are open in Florida and we are enjoying lovely, breezy weather, our thoughts do go back to Montana where, today, they are having snow flurries and freezing temps.  We really are spoiled, only spending the perfect time of the year in that beautiful state.

However, today has been pretty special here at the home place.  We have replanted some of our herb garden and we do use it.  This morning there were omelets with fresh tarragon (have you tried it?), bagels and home-cured gravlax with fresh dill and for our Sunday dinner, we added fresh thyme to sauteed baby bella mushrooms to go along with a pre-salted steak and sauteed sweet onions.

I noticed how great the sage was looking, so we are planning our Thanksgiving dinner with that herb in mind also.  What would that be?

And we have basil growing in several different places.  We find it a tricky herb to keep flourishing in our garden, so by placing it in different locals, we seem to be more successful.

The November issue of Bon Appétit had a recipe that would take care of a lot of our basil.  We made a few changes, but still liked the outcome very much.  This is a simple dish that we will probably make often.

Thai Beef with Basil

Serves 4 from Bon Appétit

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 red chilies, thinly sliced
1 lb. ground beef  (we substituted ground lamb which we enjoyed)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
3 cups fresh basil leaves, divided
2 medium carrots, julienned or coarsely grated
2 scallions, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, divided
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. fish sauce such as nam pla or nuoc nam
1 tsp. sugar
Steamed rice and lime wedges

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Add garlic and chile and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon and pressing down firmly to help brown until cooked through and nicely crisped in spots, 8-10 minutes.

Toss carrots, scallions, 1 Tbsp. lime juice and remaining chile, 1 cup basil leaves and 1 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl.

Mix soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and remaining 3 Tbsp. lime juice in another small bowl until sugar dissolves.

Top rice with beef and slaw and drizzle with soy dressing.  Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.  

This was a very flavorful dish.  I actually liked the ground meat instead of sliced meat for a change.  It is a quick meal and only 240 calories per serving.   We really did enjoy the ground lamb, but do want to try the ground beef the next time.  We love Thai food and this was an easy recipe to follow for a quick meal. 

We served it over Jasmine rice which absorbed all the juices.  We were a little disappointed that the basil taste was not stronger.  Perhaps, next time, more basil and leaving the leaves whole will do the trick.  Of course, a great red wine was served with this meal. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Portabella Mushroom Soup and Settling back in

Good grief, Susan.  Are you really thinking of writing a post for your long neglected blog?  This is the conversation that has been going on in my head for the last week.  I am back home after being gone since mid June.  I am once again in comfortable, familiar surroundings, so it is easier to write.

We had a wonderful summer.  We visited with both daughters and their families while going north and then on the trip back home in September.  It is always good to see how our children and grandchildren are changing and growing.  Our oldest daughter has moved into a new home with her family.  It is always comforting to see a goal reached, an accomplishment achieved.  On the return trip south, visiting our other daughter and family, we were able to attend the baptism of our oldest grandchildren, Noah 16 and Josiah 14.  That was a blessing as these boys have grown into young men and have made this commitment on their own.

We also stopped in Iowa to see family and friends and I attended my 50th class reunion.  It was the best reunion ever.  We are finally old enough to enjoy each other, much the same when the majority of us started kindergarten together back in 1950.

We had our own "Field of Dreams," right here in the heartland of Iowa.

We also had a stop in Des Moines to see The Trout's sister.  That visit was a long time coming, but we are so glad we got to see Vera, niece Julia and her husband, and cousin Jenny.

We reached our travel trailer in Montana, unpacked, set up and then we headed further west.  To Oregon.  How I love that state.  We have not been there for quite a few years, but this time we had some real goals in mind.

So now, it is time to get into the kitchen again---not the tiny travel trailer kitchen, but a kitchen where I have all I need within reach and lots of room.  First on the menu--Portabella Mushroom Soup.

This soup has been a favorite of ours for a long time.  The problem is that I do not make it often enough.  I do not even remember where the recipe came from, but I am guessing Bon Appetit because that was always the bible for cooking in years past.

Portabella Mushroom Soup

1/4 cup unsalted butter
5 leeks, chopped (about 3 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped
10 oz. Portabella mushrooms (4 cups)
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken stock
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 tablespoons dry sherry
2 cups half and half
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Ground white or black pepper
Salt to taste

Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add leeks, onions and sauté 10 minutes.  Add mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes.  Reduce to low.  Add flour and cook until thick.  Gradually stir in stock and 2 tablespoons sherry.  Add thyme.  Reduce and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Stir in half and half.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in pepper and remaining sherry.  Bring to a simmer and serve.  Serves 6-8

This soup is absolutely delicious.  I have an immersion blender, but we decided to not blend it, but enjoy the leeks, onions and mushrooms as they are.  I also used nice sized baby bellas that I picked up at Costco.  They seem to work better since they do not have so much of the black gills as the larger portabellas do.   Add some crusty bread and it is absolutely lovely.  Wish you were here. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Montana 2013 - Part 3 - Beautiful Creations

I love to take pictures of my fish trophies (at least trophies to me!).  One fish is never the same as another in color, at least  it seems.  Kind of a remarkable feature of wild life.  These are examples of a rainbow, brown trout of various colors, a gorgeous brook trout and a nice cutthroat.
A nice purple sided rainbow

An almost black Brown

A dandy gold toned Brown

A light hued Brown
Colorful dark Brookie

Note the red slash on the Cutthroat

Thanks, my trout friends, for letting me win this battle for a photo opportunity at least.

And then a chance picture of other animals so cute.

The neighbor's dog, Bailey, has been a pal for 3 years now.  She loves to come around with a ball or pine cone to go fetch for as long as we can last.  She is a very smart dog and we will miss her plenty.

Bailey the Catcher

Bun was usually in our yard early in the morning for a nosh.

"Tons of Fun Bun" in our yard
I came across Mama Mulie having a bite of tender shrub leaves before heading to the creek for a drink.

Mama Mulie having a nosh

There are many forms of beauty in our world thanks to God's hand.  For me, His wildlife creations are some of the most beautiful to me.  Thanks for watching, The Trout

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Montana 2013 - Part 2 - Fun Times - Trout

Garry Mentzer and Trout

Old friend Garry Mentzer first invited us out to the Flint Creek Valley to enjoy the fishing, hunting and scenery over 30 years ago.  So great to see him again.  I wish him a good retirement.

Yes, there were sad events during our stay this year in Montana, as I described in Part 1, previously posted.
But, there were plenty of happy times as well to make it a typically nice summer.  Our weather was really perfect with plenty of big sky sunshine although more rain would have been welcome.  We really didn't need our furnace till this week as fall approaches.

Before we settled in for the summer in Montana, we took a very nice week trip to the Willamette Valley in Oregon to see Susan's nephew Micheal and his wonderful wife Susan who hosted us for the day and night doing wine tasting and shopping for treats.

We then stopped by to see blog friend, Cathy, who prepared us a lovely lunch and we enjoyed a very nice visit with her.
Lovely fellow blogger Cathy

Then on to Diana and husband Pete's wonderful home and gardens.  We had a laugh a minute I think and very much enjoyed wine touring and some fine cuisine thanks to Diana's garden and talents.  Super people!!

Diana and Pete and us enjoying a  wine tasting

Then back to settle in Montana for the rest of the summer.  Surprisingly, we are quite comfortable in our 26 foot tin can all outfitted with water, DISH TV, electricity and "indoor" plumbing although I prefer the "one holer" for more privacy and good telephone reception most days.   We grill and eat most meals outside in the clear air.

Our summer home - 26' of comfort

Most afternoons we wander over to our host family's picnic table for 3 o'clock cocktails and treats over looking one of the best trout holes in the creek.

Great trout hole

We love our little neighboring town. Philipsburg, for two new additions to the local scene.

P-Burg Brewery has been going for a full year now and produces 6-7 brews on tap of excellent quality.
After a hard day of fishing, my car just seems to head to the Brewery for a Porter to wet the whistle.

P - Burg Brewery
I even will sometimes order the sampler to take down the street to another favorite spot.

The Trout with the beer Sampler - I like them all!!!

These samples should be enough to help down a delicious platter of ribs or pulled pork from another welcome addition to the P-burg scene.  Up n smokin does a great job on preparing BBQ treats to enjoy with the local brew.  A great combination.

Up n smokin BBQ
So much of our comfort is provided by our host couple, daughter of Harold and Alvina Lundgren, Sherry Armstrong and her husband Tom.  Anything we need, they will help out on which is plenty with my lack of mechanical skills.    Tom and I enjoy a fishing outing or two and we both enjoy a good brew or glass of wine together.  Thank you guys, so much, for looking after us.

Sherry, Tom and granddaughter Kenzie.
May we return to this beautiful setting for many more summers.  Thank you all, dear friends.  Schnitzel and the Trout!!
Boulder Creek valley

Friday, September 13, 2013

Montana 2013 - Part 1 - Sadness!

 We lost our Montana sister, Alvina Lundgren who died July 2nd before we arrived.  She was much loved by her husband, Harold  of 60+years and family and many friends.  It was Harold and her invitation to fish their property many years ago that later developed to our parking our trailer on the family land and spending many great days and meals with them. She loved the great outdoors with Harold and was proud of Harold getting his biggest Elk ever last fall after 60 years of hunting. She will be missed by all including her little Misty who seems to be praying for her return.

Click  photos to enlarge!
Susan, Alvina and Harold 

Harold's 6x6 elk

Little Misty - "Where's Mom?"

Unfortunately, Montana had a poor snow pack this winter and less than needed rain fall this spring and summer.  This led to very poor stream flows and needed closures and restrictions to help save the trout.
I always carry extra suntan lotion to coat the trout's back while they rested in too shallow water.  This sign is known as  "Hoot Owl" restrictions when a stream is closed from 2pm to midnight when the water is warmest from the hot afternoon sun.

Probably the worst blow fishing wise for me, was the addition of that dreaded "Posted" and "No Trespassing" signs that popped up on two of my favorite streams that I fished every year since coming out here.    In 30 years of fishing in SW Montana, I have only been turned down two times by landowners  to fish their streams.  I can somewhat understand the closures as a farm land owner myself way back, but I am hoping the streams would remain open for every one's enjoyment.

Some rich stroke bought 9,000 acres on Rock Creek that was previously open to all fisherman.  I guess if I spent the rumored $9.2 million,  I might be  a little defensive myself but come on, a few fisherman a year would not have caused any harm. He is not the most liked man in Montana these days by many of us!!
Buddy B "Fishhog" Cyr on the Rock
 The worst blow was to see Big Sheep Creek by Dell, Montana, locked up by the California owners ,after the former owner-caretaker left the property.  This was my favorite stream of all that I have fished from Austria to Alaska over the years, with great water, eager fish and a butt high stream bank just right for taking a sit down break.  We will try to reach the owners to see if we can get in again.  The only good thing of losing this stream is that I will shed less tears when leaving Montana.

Trout in the Big Sheep valley

Big Sheep was named for the nice herd of Big Horn Sheep that live in the valley.  They come down to the stream to drink each day. Hard to see but this is Dad, Mom and baby heading back up the valley.

A family of sheep crossing road
 To avoid sheep-car crashes, crossing signs have been placed for signalling when the sheep are crossing. They are so smart to push a button before crossing to activate the blinking light to warn oncoming drivers!!

Crossing light to warn drivers!
 Fortunately, I have been welcomed by other landowners to fish their streams for which I am most grateful.  I just hope we get a good snow pack and plenty of spring rain for next year. 

Thanks, Pat,for allowing me to fish your Flint Creek

The Trout

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Blizzard in August!

One of my favorite Montana trout streams is the BIG HOLE RIVER that runs for miles south of our Maxville location - I like the area west of Wise River that was shown to me a few years ago by my now 91 year old fishing buddy, Louie.  It is a mostly placid stream with runs and riffles throughout  its length with a lot of scenic rock formations like the one above.  This stream is home to multiple mayfly, stonefly and caddis bug hatches from May to October as well as elk, moose, deer, antelope, bears, eagles and more.

Starting in July into October, the tiny but mighty "TRICO" hatches by the millions most days.  What looks like fog is actually swarms of the tiny critters who have just hatched and are awaiting to mate and fall into the stream to lay their eggs and provide lunch for the awaiting trout and whitefish.

This a close up of the hovering Tricos awaiting to fall to the water to lay their eggs and die.  Looks like snow flakes doesn't it?  This is the "blizzard" us trout fishermen refer to when a big hatch is on!

This is smallest mayfly we fish during the season.  Fishing during this time calls for patience till the bugs hatch, molt and fall into the stream.  Then we need to find the pods of rising and feeding trout to present our imitations to.

I usually use one of the flies above to try to imitate and entice the trout to rise and take my offering over the natural bug.  These are tied in size 18 although the natural is more like a size 20 or 22.  But sometimes, we can get away with a larger model with bright wings, so we can see the fly floating on the surface into the feeding lane of the trout and see the take in time to set the hook and experience one of the real thrills of fly fishing.  On the left is an "ADAMS" style in gray colors.  In the middle is a down wing spinner and on the right is the famous "PURPLE HAZE."  I have never seen a real purple colored mayfly, but it works none the less!!!

This is a 17" dandy rainbow that I fooled into taking my imitation.  He gave me a good tussle with some head shaking long runs that made my reel sing.  No horsing these fish, caught on small flies and light tippets.  I consider it a good day of fly fishing when I can fool a few of these beauties.  This fish was released, unharmed, to fight again.

Love the sport and the settings in which we find beautiful trout fishing!!  The Trout

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Straight from Provence, a great recipe

When my blogger friend, Barbara, posted her Clafoutis Provencal, I knew we would love it.  I also knew that if I were to make this while in our travel trailer, I would have to make some adjustments.  Our little kitchen is small and so is the oven.  In fact, this was only the second time we attempted to bake in it.  It works just fine.

Also missing was my mandolin for slicing the zucchini, but with a careful attempt, we actually got them sliced thin enough.  The overwhelming surprise of this recipe was the smell coming out of the oven.  It was so breathtakingly delicious, I could hardly wait for dinner.

This is definitely a recipe that I will make often in the future.  It is a perfect vegetable dish to serve with any type of entree.  Barbara, thank you so much for sharing this fantastic recipe from your kitchen.  I wish we could have enjoyed it together.

Please visit Barbara and her blog, Cuisine de Provence and copy this recipe.