Friday, June 26, 2009

breakfast for dinner

Starkweather Lake

TGIF! It seems like this week just started. Time flies when your having fun and eating well.

Capping off this week of camping food is a meal that I often make at home- breakfast for dinner! I know, a bit repetitive being that yesterday I couldn't so much as think of anything besides bacon, but you can't have too much breakfast food. Breakfast for dinner is wonderful because there aren't as many ingredients to lug around with you and you definitely don't need a recipe to whip together something tasty.

You have nothing but options: french toast, bacon, sausage, hash browns, pancakes, scrambled eggs, breakfast burritos... the possibilities are endless. We had french toast, scrambled eggs and turkey sausage (Jennie O is my favorite, and I've tried them all!).

Your fellow campers won't be disappointed, I promise you. And for sticking with me all week long (and for tolerating my weaseling out of posting pics and recipes for this meal), here are some pictures of Mammoth Lakes, Ca and my trip.


My renaissance man

Mom and Sis fishing

Jack and me playing fetch

The stream right next to camp

I love camping ♥

Thursday, June 25, 2009

need i say more?

For today, suffice it to say:





Wednesday, June 24, 2009

chicken strips and fries

This one is too pretty, too easy, too tasty to not cook while camping. Sure, you have to stand over the stove and fry, but it is so worth it. I know what you're thinking - "it's only chicken and french fries!" Seriously, I know, but there is something about this recipe that is just ridiculously good!

The best part of this meal just may be the chef - my pops. You see, growing up, if my dad had the day off, you pretty much knew you were getting the one thing that he knew how to cook: scrambled eggs, toast, OJ. It is literally the only time I can remember my dad making a meal. So imagine my shock when my family came back from camping last year (I was unable to make the trip) and everyone went on and on about Dad's chicken and french fries meal. I said exactly what you're saying right now - "it's only chicken and french fries!" - but everyone assured me that they would live up to the hype.

He made me laugh. This is my dad. My mom is fishing in the stream in the background. He wanted to make absolutely sure I got documentation that he was prepping dinner.

So when it came time for the meal, my expectations were high. My dad sat down on the old picnic bench, picked up his knife and went about his potato slicing. He was in the zone. If there is one thing my dad is, it's thorough. He is a masterful woodworker, mechanic, painter, handyman. You name it - if my dad does it - he does it well. The same is true for slicing potatoes. He slices those puppies up like a champ! No thick cut steak fries for his diners, these were pomme frites!

*chicken strips and fries*
1 cup Bisquick
1 cup flour
2 tbsp seasoned salt
chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 cup milk
3 eggs

potatoes, slice thinly into fries
onions, sliced into rings
lots of veg oil

pot for frying fries
pot for frying chicken
2 large plastic baggies

Put the milk and eggs into the plastic baggy. Mix it together and put in your chicken. Let it sit while you prep everything else.

Bread your chicken in the flour/salt/Bisquick combo. Fry to deep golden brown on each side. Fry your fries and onions at the same time.

Serve immediately.

Yes, *that* good.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

nectarines, glazed and grilled - it's a picnic!

We grilled this one on the George, which is why it's lacking those purty grill marks. Still tasted delish!

I'm taking a break today from my camping posts to participate in a virtual picnic! Louise from Months of Edible Celebrations has organized this fun little get together to scarf down great recipes from some mega talented and interesting ladies and gents in the blogging community. What a treat!

I'm going to a picnic and bringing nectarines!

My favorite kinds of picnic foods are fresh tasting and quick to prepare. There is basically no prep work involved in this dish besides cutting and pitting the nectarines. Just pop them on the grill (there may even be a BBQ at the picnic location, so you can do it there!), baste them with a little spiced honey, and top with whipped cream, ice cream, or creme fraiche. There isn't even a recipe! Simple, simple, simple!

*Nectarines - Glazed and Grilled*
A Bit of Butter
Whipped Cream, Ice Cream, or Creme Fraiche

Halve you nectarines. Brush them with butter and put them flesh side down on the grill. Once they get a bit of a char, turn them over and brush them with some honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon. When they are warmed through, they're done!

Top with the cream of your choice. I like mine plain.

Dig in! It won't fill you up too much to enjoy ultimate frisbee and a three legged race afterward. :)

Now that I think about it, this would be a perfect camping dessert! I'll remember this for my next trip in September. I can't wait to see what everyone else brings!

More camping dinners tomorrow morning :)

japanese curry

It's risky cooking for my dad. He's yin, always choosing meat and potatoes over all other conceivable option. He'd rather eat in and watch the game on TV.

Me: "Dad, what do you want for your father's day dinner?"
Him: "Hamburgers."

Me: "Aw, I want to make you something special! If you could pick anything in the world, what would it be?"

Him: "Pizza."

I'm yang, preferring fresh tasting Cal Med fare or other interesting flavors. I adore eating out and consider myself a budding foodie (probably not apparent by these simplified meals, but I'll get to the good stuff soon!).

Him: "What's on your agenda tonight?"
Me: "Bran and I are going out to dinner at a place called Simon. The chef is Kerry Simon, Iron Chef America champion! He's creating a 4 course tuna tasting menu with wine pairing. I'm so excited!"

Him: "You had me until 'out to dinner.'"

My Funky Potato (would be an awesome band name, right?)

So you can see why he might be a bit apprehensive about this Japanese Curry business. Brandon did vouch for it- we have made it on other camping trips and he quite loves this meal- but it was very out of my dad's comfort zone. It didn't help that it's not the most visually appetizing meal in the world, though it smells divine! Dad, the trooper that he is, gave it a shot...

... and he liked it!

In fact, everyone liked it! It's quite a feat to successfully feed 14 hungry campers with a meal that only one had ever even tried before. Even the kids were fans. You'll like this. It's easy, warm, soul soothing. Perfect for camping. It will be an instant comfort food. I promise.

*Japanese Curry*
equal parts:
yukon gold potatoes, diced
carrots, diced
onions, diced
chicken, diced

oil for sauteing
water for boiling

1 (or more) box prepackaged Japanese curry*

white rice

*available in the Asian foods section of most big markets

1 high sided pot (such as a dutch oven)
something to make rice in
serving spoons

Saute your meat and onions in a big pot in a few tbsp of oil or butter. When the onions are soft and meat slightly browned, add in the rest of your diced veggies and add just enough water to cover the ingredients in the pot (about 3 cups). Cover and bring to a boil.

When the potatoes and carrots are just tender, add the broken up curry to the pot. Stir to mix. Let cook 5 more minutes.

Serve over rice.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Camping in Devils Postpile (Mammoth Lakes, CA) was great fun and the food was simple yet fabulous! The weather was cold and cloudy for the most part, but the fishing was decent and the scenery is some of the most beautiful you can find anywhere in the world. There is something incredibly special about cooking while set amongst towering pine trees and a rushing river. Everything just tastes better.You can't beat this view.

Cooking successfully while in nature takes lots of forethought, especially if it's in a secluded location (like DP) and you have to pack in your ingredients AND your equipments. This means that planning is key! With just a little bit of work - and a very good checklist of items to take with you - you can be prepped to make meals simply and deliciously. I suggest making a list of meals that you'll make for each night, then thinking about every ingredient you'll need in making it. It's important to remember to pack simple things like salt, pepper, tongs, etc. or you'll regret it (says the chick who forgot oil a few years back).

So, to help you out, I'll be making a very detailed list of the items needed to pull off each of the next 5 meals. Each meal for my camping trip was planned for about 10 adults, and since it is camping, I'll just write an ingredient list rather than exact measurements. These meals are so simple that you will want to estimate how much you'll need for the number of campers in your party. Also, I'll jot down the equipment that you'll need.

These meals are not meant to be gourmet. It's just good, wholesome food that can be thrown together relatively quickly and with little prep time. And it tastes good.
*Simple Camping Tacos*
ground meat (turkey or beef)
garlic salt
vegetable oil

grated cheddar cheese
jarred salsa

corn tortillas

cast iron skillet
large non stick pan

For the meat: Brown the meat up in a couple tbsps of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet. Season and set aside.

For the shells: Heat up 1/4 cup of oil in the non stick pant. To fry them, quickly put them in the oil on side A and leave in for just a sec. Quickly turn it over to side B and fold it in 1/2 until lightly browned. Flip it over to the other side of side B and brown on that side. As soon as they're cooked, put them on a paper towel lined plate and salt them! Seriously, this makes them great!
Assemble your tacos with whatever accoutrements you like. I like cilantro, salsa, cheese and a super quick squirt of lime, but feel free to bring anything else you like.

It will fill you up and satisfy you. Until s'mores, that is.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

i'm ba-ack!

That's right campers! I had a WONDERFUL trip to Devils Postpile National Monument, but I can safely say I'm stoked that my hair no longer smells like smoke from the campfire! And I've finally showered (and so has Bran, thank GOD!)! And I no longer need fret that a bear is going to creep in and raid my ice chest! And I no longer have to hover while I pee (TMI?)! Camping is one of my favorite vacations in the world, but there really is nothing like coming home and cuddling with my kitties in my own bed.

Since I'm home, I'm getting my posties together and starting Monday of this week, I'll feature 5 ridiculously easy camping dinners, along with ingredient and equipment lists so that you're not left stranded without tongs or salt or something equally annoying. These meals were all made on a propane powered stove (you can see it in the pic) and with all the food and goodies that we could carry up in our cars. You forgot your coffee filters for the percolator? Tough tootles! No roasters for the marshmallows? Well, you better whittle yourself one or better luck next time!

Question of the day: What is it about food at high elevations tasting so damn good?

Hope to see you Monday!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


The bags are packed, the hiking boots are laced up, the cooler is stuffed full with lots of goodies. It's time for a break. Time for CAMPING! But you know what that means. No Internet access! Or phones! Or TV! You might as well take away food and water. I can't remember a time without these things around me at at all times! It will be a welcome vacation not only from my day job, but from all the other technological distractions that are hard to separate yourself from on a daily basis. But that also means, no blogging :*(

In a very short amount of time, I have come to love this silly little blog. I so enjoy it - posting pictures, telling stories, meeting other people with interesting blogs, and having an outlet where I can create and then say "Hey, I did that." With this new-found love, I have big plans for when I get back.

First things first. I'm going to do a week-long ode to camping food. S'mores should not be the only food you eat while camping. These will be field-tested, Brandon-approved meals that are easy and satisfying to eat whilst in the wild. Also on the docket, I'll be teaming up with Natty from Life is a Feast to chronicle our happy hour findings and escapades in an 8 week long look into happy hours in Southern California. We both like good drinks, cheap eats and great conversation. I look forward to it!

So, with that, I'm going to rest up, take some pictures, and enjoy my week off with mother nature (and my wonderful husband, and parents, and 2 sisters, and their husbands, and their 6 kids, and the Jack!). It will be an adventure! See you soon!
Jack will miss you!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

recession mondays at mo's

I am a sucker for all things discounted. I'm one of those people who is tricked into thinking I'm getting a good deal, even if (the proverbial) "they" jack up the prices so that they can discount them back down to basically regular price. I admit it. It makes me feel better to see the red marks on garments. 25% off! That's like making money!

Bran and I always look for deals when it comes to food (remember my Katsu-ya post?). I think it may have even been one day on our way to Katsuya that we saw the sign out in front of Mo's advertising their recession Mondays! So, being the deal-luvr that I am, I googled it when I got home to make sure it was legit and not some marketing scheme to get you in the door.

I couldn't find much about it online. I found it referenced in their Yelp reviews, but that was it, so we made the decision to give it a shot.

We have been to Mo's before and it's decent. It's not gourmet, it's not trying to be something it's not, it's just ok burgers at ok prices with decent ambiance and service. When it's cheap, as it is on Mondays, it's a nice place to grab a beer and a burger. I got the turkey burger with mozzarella and marinara and it was good. The onion rings and french fries are also pretty decent! I would definitely go back, but probably only on a Monday to take advantage of the discounts.

Here, have a fuzzy beer!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

peanut butter bars

It's a great feeling to be inspired. Sometimes that inspiration comes from the darndest of places.

I was lazing around early Friday morning because I had the day off, flipping through movies on a gloomy May day. I stumbled across that Catherine Zeta-Jones movie No Reservations. It had just started and I hadn't seen it, it was about food, Aaron Eckhart is easy on the eyes- 3 reasons that made it good enough for me.

If you've seen the movie (and probably even if you haven't), you know that while it's not exactly Oscar-worthy, it's a cute chick flick that satiates the sweet/sappy craving that some people feel at one time or another. But if you're a cook at heart, it also kind of gets your burners fired up. Since I had the whole day to myself, cooking is what I did.

I got out all of my mom's old cookbooks from throughout the years and spread them around my living room floor. They were stacked high but not at all intimidatingly so. I carefully looks through each one, separating them into piles of good, no good, and downright hilarious. It was so fun reading through them, coming across some of my big grandma's (which we lovingly called her because she had a big house) newspaper clippings that were neatly folded and tucked away inside the books. My big grandma was a great cook. I wish that she had been around longer so I could have learned some of her recipes and cooked with her. I loved, so much, finding these hidden little gems so many years later (and I can't wait to make her newfound beloved recipes).

I can't explain it well, but it felt like I was going back in time when I read these recipes. The recipes were so different from what you'd find in current mainstream cookbooks, food TV and the foodie blogosphere that I frequent. One of the New Orleans Donut recipes called for the little pillows of dough to be deep fried in fat. What does that even mean? Most recipes today hold your hand through the entire process. Is it lard? Canola Oil? Crisco? Halp?!

I have many-a-recipe now dogeared, awaiting my attention, but the first one I went for came out of this book:And the recipe that I based mine off of (I only altered the frosting):

*Old Fashioned PB Bars*
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2/3 cup butter or margrine
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz good quality semi sweet chocolate
2/3 cup cream

Combine peanut butter, butter or margarine and vanilla in a large bowl: beat with electric beater until well-blended; beat in sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, one at a time.

Stir in flour and salt just until well-blended;spread batter in a greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan.

Bake in moderate oven (350) for 35 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched with fingertip. Remove pan from oven to wire rack; cool.

Heat your cream in a heavy saucepan just until you almost see a boil, but don't let it boil. Take the cream off the heat and stir in your chocolate until smooth.

Slather the top of the cool cake with the frosting.

The recipe was very good! The was a dense cookie/cake texture, but the edges were my least favorite part, so I just cut them off. Here is the books version:
It is a good find!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


BEE-BIM-BOP! This is the most awesome word to say. I'm really lucky that Audrey did not smack me across the face when we were shopping for the ingredients and then while we were making it. I can be annoying at times. C'mon, say it with me!


That's not even how you say it! It's buh-BEEM-bop, but BEE-BIM-BOP has a much better ring to it, if I do say so myself.

Bibimbap is a traditional Korean dish that means "mixed rice." That's because you throw everything over rice and mix it all together. Audrey's family makes it (though they're not Korean), so she was kind enough to show me the ropes this weekend.
*Audrey's Bibimbap*
1 pound ground turkey
1/3 cup red miso
2 bunches green onions
1 bag bean sprouts
2 big bunches spinach, rinsed well
white rice
4 eggs
soy sauce
sesame oil
sesame seeds

First things first, make your rice.

Boil a big pot of water. Blanch the bean sprouts for less than a minute. Fish them out of the water and set them aside. Now, blanch your spinach. Strain through a colander and set aside in a separate bowl. Flavor both the spinach and sprouts with about a tbsp each of soy sauce and sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and let marinate.

Meanwhile, cook the meat through in a large saucepan with 3/4 of the green onions. Once the meat has been cooked through, add in the red miso and soy sauce to taste.

Keep the meat covered and warm. Fry the eggs in a separate non stick pan, but keep them runny in the middle.

Assemble the bowls by layering the bottom with rice and each the spinach, bean sprouts and meat into 1/3s over it. Top with the egg.

Mix it all up. Eat.

Monday, June 01, 2009


I remember the day like it was a few weeks ago (because, well, it was a few weeks ago). I got a suspicious email from someone named the POMblogger. Since I get at least 50 pieces of SPAM a day, I was thisclose to just hitting the delete button, but then I read the title.... Hello from POM wonderful! I thought to myself "I like POM.!" Then I was like, "hmmm, blogger?" I have a blog. I wonder if the two could be related.

When I opened the email, I was very surprised to see that Janny, blog searcher-outer extraordinare, had stumbled across my blog. The email stated that she wanted to send me a free sample of their juice! I thought to myself for a split second that she must have mistaken my blog for someone else's, but then she commented on some of my content and I knew it was my blog she had been reading. Do you have any idea how cool that made me feel?

The awesome thing is that I already knew that I liked POM. I'm a huge fan of cranberries and cranberry juice, which is what is most closely resembles, though a bit thicker and more flavorful. My mind went kind of wild when thinking about the possibilities of what I could make with it.

I have some great cocktails in my arsenal that feature pomegranate juice, though the alcohol may negate the many health benefits, but c'est la vie! You can be healthy and tipsy at the same time, right?
*Pomegranate Grenadine*
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sugar

Combine the two ingredients in a saucepan and let boil for about 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Let cool.

Use this in any way that you might use regular grenadine. For instance, in a...

*Laverne and Shirley*
...because she is a bit saucier than good old Shirley Temple
2 oz good vodka
1/2-1 oz pomegranate grenadine
pomegranate seeds

Shake the vodka and grenadine with some ice. Pour over a glass full of ice and top with 7-up. Garnish with a spoonful of pomegranate seeds.