Thursday, June 30, 2011

The end, for now

That's what the message at the bottom of my cup says.

But I said I'd tell about how I made the rhubarb crisp, so I won't go back on my word.

Because I didn't bring sugar along, I had to come up with a sweetener of some kind,
especially where the fruit in question was rhubarb. I used a packet of pre-sweetened apple cider mix, a drink that's supposed to be mixed with boiling water. It even had some cinnamony flavouring in it, so it worked well.

For the crisp part, I used two packets of easy morning porridge and added
some dollops of butter (no margarine tagline will ever convince me not to use butter).

It turned out to still be a pretty tart dessert, so we topped it with vanilla yogourt and then really zipped it up with a swirl of huckleberry syrup we'd bought at a touristical spot along the way.

And because last time I said that this blog was ending it turned out that I was lying, well, all I can say is that it's ending for now.

There's still a drop of morning coffee in my favourite cup, so who knows?

In the meanwhile, the big limb will still carry on.

And rememember, don't be stumped when somebody asks, "What's fer supper?" Use what you have on hand and don't be afraid to mix things up and substitute -- even if the ingredients may initially seem strange. In truth, now and then, the meal might not be so great. Supper happens. But sometimes you'll find you've come up with something remarkable.

Happy suppers!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ultimate, as in end

Yesterday I was tempted to use the word 'penultimate' to indicate almost the end. But it seemed too fussy a word for something as simple as supper. Still, I'm using 'ultimate' to describe this, the last of the evening meals on this journey in The Rattler.

After the feast we had last night, a trip to the same fish shop seemed like a good idea. The shopping list was short -- a chunk of fish (which turned out to be ling cod) and four oysters.

Because it's still too cold for anything resembling a beachside picnic, supper was yet another oven affair.

We piled the fish and oysters onto the same pan, laying them over a bed of
fresh seaweed. I'd begged a bit of cilantro from the fishmonger, so the whole thing even looked good going into the oven.

The weird little tabouli I'd made with the leftover couscous (and yes, I used more of that packet of mint tea for seasoning) went into the microwave and turned out to be not half-bad as a casserole.

The round of accompaniments was seaweed salad, green salad, and hunks of avocado. Really, hard not to call it 'ultimate'.

After the treats of these last few days, it's hard to imagine what we'll be eating once we're back home.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

West Coast Feast

We managed today to close the loop -- and we're back in Port Townsend, the U.S. town where this adventure really began.

We were last here for three days in March, and managed to get almost the same campground spot we stayed in back then. The ocean outside the bedroom window (what a headboard!) is every bit as beautiful as I remember it.

Tonight's seafood feast was a lot more grandiose than the one we had the last night we were here (at spring equinox), as we stopped by a dockside seafood shop when we pulled into town and bought some fresh-off-the-boat treats.

I'll admit, it proved to be quite the menu. Prawns with a Thai green curry (though I cheated -- no coconut milk, used one of my special white Ovaltines instead) and a bunch of fresh vegies. Clams steamed with garlic and freshly-picked seaweed. Melted butter with garlic, a bagel instead of bread. Seaweed salad with sesame oil (bought at the fish shop). Then, because all the pots and pans were occupied, instead of rice, it was couscous in the casserole dish.

Happiest of all, I didn't have to do the dishes!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Late night barbecue

After a day with plenty of traipsing around – visiting the ‘Bavarian Village’ at Leavenworth, then a round of golf for the D.M., and pokey museum stroll for me – supper was stylishly late.

Steak and corn on the barbie, along with a crispy green salad. Just right!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Back to improvisational cooking

After two days of not cooking (a wonderful meal at a Mexican restaurant one night, the next night a supper of burgers and corn dogs on the midway), we’re back in The Rattler again.

The Dear Man used the barbecue to put the finishing touches on some thick-sliced smoked pork hocks. I doctored up a packet of scalloped potatoes by adding little bunches of broccoli and then cooked it in the microwave, as tonight was definitely not an oven night.

The salad was a mix of Greek and Italian –- tomatoes and cucumbers and onions tossed in with a few spikes of romaine. The dressing was the last of some Greek roe spread (Taramosalata) mixed with olive oil and lemon. I sprinkled some garlicky crumbs and plenty of Parmesan over top. Maybe I'll have to call this Greco-Romano salad.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fiesta Cubana

Well, maybe not terrifically festive, but the supper was built around a packet of supposedly ‘Cuban’ rice and beans.

I’d taken some chicken breast cutlets from the freezer and we doctored those up with the basil/ginger chicken rub then sautéed them in the big iron skillet.

With green salad alongside, the supper was bueno.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sloppy Josés and Noodley Canoes

Chili powder, cumin and basil are the only spices I have on board, but all three of them made an appearance in tonight’s concoction. Not exactly chili, but not exactly Sloppy Joes either.

Because I wanted to use up the rest of the beans from last night, I thought a kind of ‘fake chili’ might work. And because the burger buns are still fresh…well, maybe you get my line of thinking. Since the campfire was so cooperative, the cast iron skillet got a workout over the fire -- it might have even made the meat taste better.

There was still a bit of the macaroni salad left too. To change it up a bit, I added mayonnaise to the last of it. With some crispy lettuce leaves as the ‘canoes’, it was fun to pile on the noodles and eat like a couple of kids.

Messy food is always best outside at the picnic table. And it was a true bonus that the bears didn’t decide to join us.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Burgers a la Wild

June 21 #457
First official day of summer, and for once, the weather went along with the plan. Tonight was supper on the barbie, served up outside on the picnic table.

After hiking up to Avalanche Lake, we were both plenty hungry, so this was going to be a big meal.

When I’d cooked up all those noodles last night (they blew up and made waaay too many), I’d kept some aside and made a macaroni salad. With 24 hours for the flavours to blend, it was a nice accompaniment for the burgers. And cooking along with the burgers on the barbie were some freshly-picked oyster mushrooms we’d found.

For the sake of tradition, and to round out the meal, we heated up a tin of pork ‘n beans.

And even if I am the only ones who eats them, dessert was marshmallows roasted on a stick. My kind of camping!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cheesy macs with railway tracks

The plan had been for a barbecue, maybe even a campfire so we could cook hot dogs on sticks. But once again, it was too darn cold – yet another night for making supper in the oven.
The dogs were a given, a pack of New Orleans smokeys. The mac part was another story, as we’re down to mostly exotic sorts of cheeses.

There was a bag of big fat ‘cut ziti’ so noodles weren’t a problem. But all there was in the way of cheesy sauce was a jar of mushroom Alfredo.

I grated down some nubs of Parmesan for sprinkling over top, then stirred the chunks that were too small for grating into the noodles and sauce.
The smokeys? Split in half and laid side-by-side they made a cozy topping. And leaving the oven door open while we ate meant that all that leftover heat could make The Rattler cozy too.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

North meets South

When we were travelling through more southern parts of the U.S., we had occasion to try biscuits and gravy. What they call gravy there is different than what I'm used to. Their 'gravy' is more what I'd call a white sauce, only it generally has bits of sausage in it. At least, that's my northern perspective on understanding it.

Because I thought we might sometime want to try this 'white gravy' (maybe even with grits), I cheated and bought a tin in North Carolina, I suppose for just such a day as this.

I made a chicken meatloaf (ground chicken, onion, egg, crumbs from some seasoned pita chips) and when it was almost ready, I arranged packaged biscuits around it. I heated the 'gravy' on the stove, along with a tin of corn.

I suppose if this were really a Southern meal, the greens in the salad bowl would have been fried -- and maybe even the meatloaf would've been. Still, it's a fun reminder of some of the places we've been.

Adventure in a bowl

The real adventure has been our drives and hikes yesterday and today. Lots of rough roads and curving mountain routes -- even a sighting of a mama Grizzly with her cub.

The adventurous part of this supper was trying to figure out what to put into that bowl.

The Dear Man requested noodles, but stir-fry was what I had in mind, and I was thinking rice. Easily enough, a compromise appeared -- two packs of Asian soup noodles, made with much less water than specified by the recipe.

Base for the stir-fry was the usual -- plenty of chopped-up fresh garlic and onions sauteed in olive oil.

I'd saved about a quarter of last night's tenderloin, so slices of pork were the next ingredient into the pan. For flavouring, I tossed in the bit of juice I'd gleaned from the pork pan and the last drops of our homemade jalapeno hot sauce. Fresh green beans, followed by yellow pepper and the last of the broth looked as though they might do it, but somehow the dish was tasting flat.

Nearly hidden in the flavourings basket was a packet of spice for making satay chicken wraps -- and who knows when I might have bought it. I tore it open and sprinkled a bit over top of the mix. It seemed to work as the final ingredient. Or, maybe we were just hungry from all that tromping through the bush.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A supper for keeping us warm

We're camped on the east side of Glacier National Park at St Mary Campground. Despite the fact that it's nearly summer solstice, there's plenty of snow on the ground and the wind is mighty cold. That meant that supper had to be an oven affair.

Happily, I'd taken a seasoned pork tenderloin out of the freezer in the morning, so all I had to do was pop it into the oven and make accompaniments.

A packet of sour-cream-and-chive scalloped potatoes looked interesting. Nonetheless, I decided to doctor them up. Besides adding chopped-up onion (pretty much routine to spice up these boxed side dishes), I sliced a soft tomato and arranged it over top.

Fresh greens for salad rounded out the main courses, though we actually had a 'real' dessert as follow-up.

During the afternoon, I'd used a lot of strange ingredients to make a rhubarb crisp (with fresh stalks from the friends in Red Deer). The recipe was weird enough, it will likely get its very own post one of these days.

In the meantime, all this baking went a long way towards making The Rattler cozy tonight, as it's pretty darn gusty and cold beside all those mountains looming above us.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

South of the border

The only border we're south of is the U.S. one -- and silly me, I forgot to make us eat nothing but oranges for lunch, so the border guard tossed our little bag of them into the bin. We hadn't planned to come south so soon, but the weather in Alberta (not Alberta's fault) made it pointless to stay.

After two nights of fabulous food with friends in Red Deer (Alberta steaks on the barbie, a fat and juicy Hutterite chicken the next) followed by one night of pub fare (during the dismal game), we're back to RV cooking, relying on our own resources.

Because this jog in the trail came unexpectedly (thus the fiasco with the oranges), supper was pre-determined by ingredients on hand. Some perfect avocadoes made me think of guacamole. The rest of the meal fell into place around it.

I assembled some enchiladas that used up the last of the cheese and chicken as well as some broth I'd made. But because that didn't seem like enough, I pulled out a tin of beef tamales -- a discovery I'd made in a grocery store somewhere along the trail. Inside the tin, the tamales were individually wrapped in what seemed like parchment paper. In truth, they looked a little scary, but they turned out to be surprisingly good.

With only two more weeks' worth of suppers before we get home, and lots of odd pantry items left in the cupboards, I expect some of our meals are going to get pretty interesting.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


After an afternoon spent wandering through the Royal Tyrrell Museum, I've still got dinosaurs on the brain -- all those herbivores and carnivores...

The leftover baguette looked promising towards a couple of sandwiches, but the question was -- what to use as filling?

I opened an odd container of emergency rations, a packet of camper's food, pulled pork. Because I thought it looked and smelled a little dull, I started it off with a skillet full of onions. I then added the meat, along with chili sauce and -- because it seemed kind of dry, some tomato juice. After all that, it wasn't half bad.

But the star of the show was the corn on the cob -- amazingly sweet for June. Slathered in butter, it tasted like a true Prairie treat.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cool/hot and easy

After three days with friends in Saskatoon, the road beckoned, and so did the need for a grocery store.

Because we're on the way to see other friends, we only needed to grab a few things, and were able to be in and out of the store in a flash.

Among our grabs was one of those reliable convenience foods, supermarket-cooked chicken. This one was supposed to be a 'Stampede Smoked' variety, though it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. It seems they'd slathered it with some sort of 'smokehouse' barbecue flavouring, but only at the last second, so the sauce hadn't even been absorbed into the meat -- just floated on the skin like thickly applied too-red make-up.

Whatever. Thick slices of the chicken worked just fine as part of big individual salads, one of the nicest one-dish meals around, especially in warm weather.

As for the hot part of this cool supper was the improvised salad dressing. I thinned out the last of the wasabi mayonnaise with olive oil until it was a good consistency for pouring. Cool and hot at the same time!

With homemade homous (made by Robert, our host in Saskatoon) and a baguette, this was a wonderfully easy Saturday supper -- perfect for while we watched the hockey game.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Not quite according to plan

Although I've been trying to use things before we reach the border, I hadn't planned on needing to cook everything from the freezer. Unfortunately, our little fridge has had a hiccup of a glitch (at least, I'm hoping that's all it is). It's decided to go on holiday and stop being cool.

This has meant a meal that's much too big for two, starting with appies of crab cakes from Carolina. With slices of cuke and wasabi mayo for dipping, this dish was probably enough -- only, uh-oh, there was still all that other stuff, thawing and getting soggy!

The main course was spicy Italian sausages with fries (not recommended for heart patients), with a not-quite-Greek salad of onions, peppers and feta cheese.

For 'dessert', there were still three Angus beef burgers staring at us, but we decided to set them aside for tomorrow's lunch.

After this crazy cookout, all I had to toss from the freezer was the too-soft-to-take-a-chance-on peas. I reckon the border guards should be impressed.

PS Luckily enough, we can let the fridge rest, as the next few days we'll be staying with friends, so there won't be any need for RV cooking.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A pair of broccolis, elks wild

Once again, we're nearing the border, so I'm doing my best to clear out those items they might not like us bringing across. Because we'll be entering Canada at Saskatchewan, I know they're sometimes fussy about meat. So I thawed two elk steaks from the little freezer, and then made up a salad with most of our produce, including last night's steamed broccoli.

Just about everything went on to the barbie -- Vidalia onions, little red potatoes, the last of the broccoli -- and, of course, the elk.

As for the Poker analogy, I'm still sifting through the lessons I got last weekend. A gambler, I don't think I'll ever be.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Easy Sattahday Night Supper

Because I hate to throw away good food, tonight’s supper was a casserole that only had to be heated up.

Last night, I’d combined the leftover pasta salad with the previous night’s ‘green pasta’ dish. I’d also sliced up the two leftover sausages and added them into the mix. When we didn’t finish all the vegies I’d sliced to top the burgers (tomato and green pepper), those made a nice topper for the casserole.

While the pasta dish heated in the microwave, a little pot of broccoli steamed on the stove. With a bowl of green salad, we were set.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Burgers on the barbie

For all these months, even when we've cooked on the barbie, we've mostly ended up eating inside. It's great to finally be able to eat outdoors. Maybe it's just because it's June.

Along with cheeseburgers on the barbie, there's that pasta salad I dreamed up last night. For vegies, there's cooked-up onions and shrooms. For salad, there's a plate of sliced tomato and pepper and lettuce -- tonight's 'salad' goes on the burger.

While the meat patties were something I pulled out of the freezer, the buns were a matter of female co-operation. The little town we're in has just one tiny store, and the only burger buns there came in packs of eight -- way more than we could use, with too many left over to even fit in the freezer.

But the store also sells sausages on hoagie buns, so the women there figured they could find a way to sell me two of those -- just the buns, no sausage, thanks. We laughed together over how we'd found such a happy and easy solution.

The buns are a little big for the burgers, but we just chopped off a part of each. No doubt the remaining bit will find some purpose tomorrow.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pretty traditional

After last night's order-in pizza in a hotel room (hey, the only reason we were there was for the Canucks), tonight's supper feels pretty traditional. At home, we have this so often, it's almost a standby.

I call it green pasta -- the mooshed-up avocado sauce has to be nice and garlicky to be good. The accompaniment, made on the barbie, isn't the usual Italian sausage, but a juicy 'beer bratwurst'.

Because the pasta cooked up to way more noodles than I'd expected, I put a bunch aside and made a pasta salad that should be nice for tomorrow.