Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Yet another wild combo-nation

Now that we're here in the midst of lake perch country, what do we eat but ocean perch. That's the fish that conveniently happened to be in the freezer, and with the weather being blustery and winterish, I knew that this was an oven night -- yet again.

Because the range of my spices is quite limited, I had to think hard about how to season the fish. Lemon juice and butter made a good start, but for more flavour, I dug around and found something called a 'chicken rub'. Not a feathery massage, but a combo of ginger and basil. A sprinkling of this and the fish were ready for baking.

My little casserole dish filled with packaged scalloped potatoes fit right alongside the pan with the fish. For colour and fun, I tossed a few of those little carrots in with the potatoes. Because they're so small, they kept perfect time, cooking right along with the taters.

My extravagance? A spinach 'souffle', one that -- by the time we ate -- had absolutely no puff to it at all. But still, it was rich and delicious.

And the salad's single concession to all this weirdness was the last of the pickled beets chopped into it.

Hard to classify such a strange meal as this. Still, it kept the cold out, and left us hoping the change of calendar page tomorrow will bring some warmer days.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Soup's on!

We've spent the last few days at a condo with (still more) family, so there hasn't been any 'RV cooking' since Thursday.

Tonight, after putting in a fair share of miles (about 2/3 of the way across Minnesota), I knew it was a night for bowls of soup.

We had terrific leftovers from our weekend at the condo (too many chips and treats, of course, but this is holiday time), including most of the breast of a barbecued chicken.

The Rattler's had a little problem needing some attention, so as soon as we pulled into our site, the Dear Man got out and started conferring with the locals over how best to rectify the trouble.

While all that male bonding was going on outside, I used the chicken to start a pot of soup. I chopped a lot of carrots (maybe it just seemed like a lot, because they're those mini-snack ones) and threw those into the broth, then rustled up a salad as accompaniment.

To fortify what probably would have been a pretty boring soup, I added a packet of one of our assorted Asian soup mixes -- this one had tiny bits of tofu and threads of mushrooms, as well as just the right amount of spiciness. A pack of lasagna worked just fine as a kind of 'noodle' addition, though really, what a combination of cultures in the pot.

Still, nicely warming for a night that promises to be rainy, cold and stormy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Emptying the freezer

(Okay, almost. I suppose there's still a bit on reserve in there.)

Last night was supper out at a restaurant, quiet conversation with a family member I hadn't seen in years. Food for the soul as the main course.

But today saw us drive the breadth of Upper Michigan and the top of Wisconsin, so by the time we stopped, I knew that supper had to be something easy.

When we'd visited my sister, she'd given us a big container of delicious beans she'd made as taco filling. They rode in the sink during the day, and were thawed to just the right degree for spreading in a pan so they could heat through in the oven.

The last two beef burritos (from where, Oregon? Washington?) curled up next to each other in my casserole dish and I poured about half of a little tin of V-8 juice over top of them. The rest of the juice went into the rice pan on top of the stove, along with a whack of chili powder and beef-bouillon (from packets).

Yesterday's lucky tomato convinced me of the value it could add to any meal, so when I saw a beauty near the checkout in a filling station, I had the sense to buy it. With a bit of onion and olive oil, it made for a just-right salad for the meal.

Oh yes, how could I forget? The magical ingredient that makes just about everything better: cheese. What would we ever do without it?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lucky detour

As so often seems to happen, our reliable trailblazer, Simon, led us to something we hadn't expected to find -- morels.

Although we've been keeping our eyes open as we hike around, we haven't yet spotted a single edible mushroom out in the bush. But because Simon took us on a roundabout route when a road was blocked, we passed through a neighbourhood where a woman had a roadside stand, selling morels in little containers. Naturally, we were sold and took 'em along.

I was also in a nostalgic mood, as tomorrow we'll be going to Sault Ste Marie, the place where I learned to make "Betty's Mac 'n Cheese." The night seemed to demand I make a stab at re-creating her famous casserole. Since onions and tomatoes are components of her version, in the morning, I'd compromised in my mind and decided I'd have to forgo the tomatoes. Only when we stopped at a gas station for sub-style sandwiches, the server asked if I'd prefer the tomatoes in a container, so the sandwiches wouldn't get soggy before we ate them. When I asked her to please do the same with the lettuce, she agreed and made an even bigger container of same. Perfect. One batch of tomato (and pre-cut at that) ready in the fridge for the final touch to the pre-packaged mac 'n cheese. And even the base for a tiny green salad.

I rounded out the salad with plenty of purple onion and the ever-reliable green peas from the freezer. Really, for living out of the larder, I'd say we're doing pretty darn well!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Back on the road

After a week of visiting family -- parked outside two different homes -- we're back on our way again, and having a supper that was cooked up in the Rattler.

We crossed into the U.S. again earlier today, so to keep the border folks happy, we had to be free of produce. And then, because we're going to go back into Canada in two days, we haven't stopped for new groceries, especially fruits or veg. That means that tonight' meal is one of those 'creative' ones.

We had a chunk of leftover pork from our barbecue at Leo's last night, and that provided the protein base for a noodley conconction.

I started by opening two packs of 'individual servings' of Pad Thai Noodles, giving their ingredients a good sniff, and deciding what I could do to perk them up.

After the usual bits of onion and garlic, I tossed in strips of pork, then spiced up the mix with additions of sesame oil and three different sauces: chili, hoisin and soy.

There wasn't anything for salad, but the addition of frozen peas at least gave us something green to look at. But really, when you get to eat outside by the fire, it's really just a matter of having something warm.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Using up the last of almost everything

Because tomorrow's the day we should make it to Niagara and the border, we're pulling out the crisper and shaking out every last drop of vegetation.

Supper started out early in the day, riding in the sink as it thawed and we drove. And no, it isn't olives, the container just worked for some tomato sauce that went into the freezer, probably as long ago as Utah.

The salad was crazy -- and yes, it did contain olives. Also feta cheese, onions and the last scraps of anything green I could scrounge up.

Biscuits are hardly the traditional garlic bread accompaniment to pasta, but as they baked, they warmed the unit nicely and besides, there were enough for tomorrow morning's breakfast.

P.S. Because we'll be staying at our auntie's, who is one of the world's champion cooks, there probably won't be another posting for a week or so. And who knows, with the food she makes, we might just decide to stay!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday night, what else?

Yep, it's pizza night.

This time, it's one that's been doctored up some. Mainly because the D.M. looked after the the supper tonight. He perked it up with a tin of smoked oysters and nice big chunks of fresh garlic. And he did miraculous job of scraping together a salad to go with it.

There was just enough room afterwards for one of our nifty desserts. Besides, we didn't want to get into trouble at the border for having any leftover ice cream in the freezer.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A place for remembering

Tonight's camping site was an incredible spot -- smack in the midst of a Civil War battlefield. It almost felt sacrilegious to be parked where we were. Still, that was where the man on the golf cart led us.

I'd thawed some pounded steak meat (minute steaks, I think they call them here), and the Dear Man cooked them perfectly on the barbie, even melting cheese over top. He also steamed two ears of corn in their husks there as well. (How I hadn't seen them in the crisper is one of those mysteries of life, but somehow they took me by surprise.) And then there happened to be one lonely tomato lying in the little fruit hammock, so once again, we had ourselves a lovely, complete supper.

When we sat down to eat, we paused and thought for a moment about all those boys and men who'd died, probably on the very spot where we were relaxing with our meal. Food for eating and food for thought.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Barbecue pork and vegies

Because we're making our way towards the border (heading back to Canada in a few days), we're doing our best to use up our fresh food, especially anything that might be construed as meat or fruit or veg.

The other night when we had the Chinese takeaway, I ordered a side of barbecue pork (okay, I guess it should be 'barbecued' -- for some reason I call it 'barbecue' pork). Tonight, I cooked it up with lots of garlic and onions, and at the last, added a whack of green beans. The greens are getting down to the bottom of the crisper drawer, but that's exactly what I'm aiming for.

The flowers? They're from the golf course at Nags Head, where we made our farewells to Carolina's Outer Banks.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Southern fish fry

Wandering around Ocracoke was the source of a couple of food adventures. At the recommendation of friends on the mainland, we sought out a lunch of shrimps and grits. A bowl of grits is not all that much different than a bowl of hot cereal, except that it is different. Especially when spicy shrimp are served over top.

Lunch was enough to get us into the spirit of things, so we sought out a fish shack and bought some local goodies, including a couple of soft-shell crabs. My only regret of the day? That I didn't run out to where we were parked to grab my camera for a quick little video. It didn't take many seconds at all for our guy to clean the little crabs we bought from him. Snip, snip, and the heads were gone; a twist of the thumb and the innards were out.

He convinced us they had to be fried, so that's what I attempted. Only without flour or fine breadcrumbs on board, it was tricky. Best I could come up with was a packet of cornbread mix (an item I couldn't resist, I think it was 39 cents). I beat up an egg with some milk, then dipped the crabs into the mix to wet them. After that, they went into the cornmeal, then into the hot oil while I hoped for the best. Thankfully, the Dear Man also cooked up some grouper on the barbie. Green pepper and avocado with lemon juice made an odd but tasty (and surprisingly complementary) salad.

I don't think I would have convinced any Southerner with my results, but hey -- we were in the mode -- and camped right next to the dunes with the surf pounding hard, we weren't about to complain.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Getting readjusted

After a few days of healthy (and yummy) food at my sister's, we were off to Carolina's Outer Banks, specifically Ocracoke Island. The ferry ride from Cedar Island was smooth as silk, with the water ruffled only by the occasional family of dolphins.

We found a crowded but friendly RV park and pulled out the barbie. We'd bought some pre-cooked chicken, but it was all the better getting reheated on the grill of the little Weber unit.

For our side dish, we had the leftovers from the previous evening's Chinese takeaway (rice and Szechuan chicken, plenty of vegies), along with the usual green salad.

As for the photo, that was appies -- source of a couple of treats, stolen fresh from the sea.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dry camp special

It isn't all that often that we end up at a site where there isn't electricity or water, but this was one of those nights. We ate while it was still light out, so this photo at the top doesn't yet show our special little lantern.

We'd splurged and had lunch at a wonderful little restaurant in the heart of Kentucky's Shaker country. After the starter basket of cornbread, I wasn't able to finish what I'd ordered, a vegetable and 'potato dumpling' dish. The 'dumplings' turned out to be gnocchi, but I didn't mind, still there was too much to finish, so I asked the waitress to pack it up and we took it home to the Rattler.

Tossed with some olive oil and basil, the leftover gnocchi dish turned into a very nice salad -- one that went very well with the chili I'd pulled from the freezer (last of the food from our 'real home'). And yep, those two little pieces of pizza are leftovers from last night. Gosh, but I love the way we manage to use things!

And I do love the glow of our little folding lantern!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Not even Friday

We're staying away from grocery stores, as we're planning to visit my sister soon. She's a great cook and we're looking forward to eating at hers. In the meantime, we're using things up around here. And even though it isn't Friday, the traditional night for this supper, it's pizza.

Tonight's a bit of an experiment, as we're trying an unknown brand, two little pizzas which I bought because their boxes were just the right size for our RV-sized freezer. Because the oven's tiny as well, we have to bake them one at a time.

There are even RV-sized bits of pepperoni on this starter, pizza number one.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Double-protein exotica

There's something about the cool weather that makes for hearty appetites. Even though it was too cold to eat outside, it was dry enough for the D.M. to operate the barbie. Yet another item from our little freezer: elk burgers!

The side dish was a tin of peeled fava beans, an item we picked up in a Muslim store in (of all places) Dodge City, Kansas.

The burgers are topped with the last of our Romanian sheep cheese. The bowl of salad isn't visible, but as just-about-always, it's there. I felt I had to pop a bit on top of the burger along with that nicely grilled onion.

Probably not your average RV cooking. Still, we're staying happy and definitely not going hungry.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cozy comfort

This post is a bit of a cheat, as there's been a big interruption in postings. Disasters of the technological variety. Still, thanks to the date stamp on photos and crazy notes I often keep, it should work. And thanks to being able to fiddle with post dates, well, it's sort of a "Back to the Future" feeling...

I'm not sure what we did in our past lives, but cold weather continues to travel with us. Still, we know how to stay warm.

Our main was a surprisingly good mac-and-cheese (one of those upgraded versions of the classic KD). I often add tomatoes, but since I didn't have any, frozen peas went in with chopped onion. A salad on the side and -- I'll admit I am puzzled -- some sort of mystery dish on the side.

Feels good to be back on the blogging trail. Normal and even kind of cozy.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Supper in a bun

Back from a few exciting days in Montreal. Here again near Louisville, in 'my old Kentucky home', The Rattler.

My plane arrived late enough in the afternoon that the quick little barbie the D.M. had planned sounded just right. But then the weather decided not to cooperate, and the heavens opened yet again. Oh sigh.

So out came the cast iron skillet for sausages and onions and peppers cooked on the stove. Swiss cheese melted into the sausages too!

Besides the cut-up vegies, there was a miraculous spicy bean dip (instant -- just add boiling water, voila! Oops the Montreal influence lingers...). You might notice the less-than-elegant measuring cup used to serve up the last of the salsa. Oh well, it's supper, not dinner, so pardonnez-moi.