Hiking Matt Davis-Steep Ravine Loop

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dipsea Trail

We joined a university social group on their monthly hike, this time to Stinson Beach, California for the Matt Davis-Steep Ravine Loop. And it had everything. A two hour long, 1600 ft ascent. Open grasslands. Ocean views. Mountain-scapes. Forest waterfalls. Redwoods. And of course, the beach. It took about four hours total, and the first half was absolutely brutal (I am completely out of hiking shape), but the second half was pleasant with a bit of added sun.

Overall, a very lovely hike.

Mount Tamalpais State Park!
Matt Davis-Steep Raving Hiking Loop
Matt Davis-Steep Raving Hiking Loop
Field Orchids?
Steep Ravine Trail
Redwoods! Steep Ravine Trail
California Poppy
Pretty Trees
Stinson Beach
Stinson Beach

Blue Apron: Week 36

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Seared Pork Chops & Fig Compote with Sautéed Kale & Farro Salad
The Seared Pork Chops & Fig Compote with Sautéed Kale & Farro Salad was fantastic. I didn't know farro salad could be so delicious. Made 2.5 Iris-meals.

Huevos Rancheros Quesadillas with Tomatillo Salsa & Sunny Side-Up Eggs
The Huevos Rancheros Quesadillas with Tomatillo Salsa & Sunny Side-Up Eggs were standardly good. Made two Iris-meals.

I left town for a month before I could get to the Spicy Miso-Glazed Chicken Wings
with Purple Rice & Zucchini Salad
. Jim handled this meal and says they were bland and not very spicy.

Success: White Nectarine Jam with Rose Essence

Friday, August 19, 2016

White Nectarine Jam with Rose Essence
Uhhhh...Food in Jar's White Nectarine with Rose Water (substituted 1/3 the amount of Rose Essence at the suggestion of Cardamom Addict). Amazing.

From 7lbs of white nectarines to 8 half pints of this chunky pink jam with a rose aftertaste. My only issue is that I think my nectarines weren't quite ripe enough, so after the 35 minutes of boiling off the water was up, I pureed a large proportion of the mixture in the blender. The drippings were heavenly, I wonder how it will set?

7 lbs of white nectarines chopped up
Waiting for nectarine jam to not be liquid
White Nectarine Jam Reduced
Rose Essence (use 1/3 the rosewater amount)
Hot Water Canning the Jam
White Nectarine Jam Cool Down
And look at that, something to use the French oven for! I have noticed the heat needs to be a notch higher than for the stainless steel...

I think I'm in love...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Le Creuset French Oven

...with a 7.25qt French Oven from Le Creuset in Caribbean blue. It's useful for all sorts of things that need to maintain even heating. Like a Crock Pot, except this one is large enough to fit the cabbages and potatoes in with the corned beef. So many plans for this beauty!

Le Creuset French Oven
Le Creuset French Oven
Le Creuset French Oven
Red Lentil Soup in a French Oven
Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder - Partway through cooking
Pureed in the Blender

Baked Beans! Beans! Beans! Beans!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bean Salad!

I'm in a bean phase right now.

Living in California has given me access to Rancho Gordo heirloom dried beans which are fresher and plentiful in varieties. It's really upped my bean game. Whether it be TheKitchn's Cooking Beans in the Oven plain, with rando spices thrown in, or with a bit of caramelized onions and bacon from the TheKitchn Recipe thrown on top. I always add epazote to the oven-baking portion of the festivities. But for the yellow-eyed peas I added some taco seasoning, smushed garlic cloves, and dried shallots. For the midnight black beans I added some dried basil grown in Pittsburgh. Topping with bacon, caramelized onions, or shredded cheese is nice when you have it. As is cooking with a bit of bacon fat.

You don't need a fancy pot for bean-making, although TheKitchn recommends a fancy clay La Chamba pot. I've been using this 1.5 qt terra cotta Napa pot from Crate & Barrel. This sweet little clearance number perfectly manages a half pound of dried beans, which is good for about 3-4 servings. The Napa pot has a glazed interior and it's oven- and microwave- safe, but a no go on the stove top. If I soak the beans overnight, it only uses one pot, but if I have to boil on the stove for quick rinsing, then I'm at 2. Could be worse!

Beans three ways.
Plain Beans
Start with good quality dried beans.
Soak beans overnight or try the one hour quick soak method.
Follow TheKitchn's Cooking Beans in the Oven.

Spiced Beans
Give those suckers a bit of flavor!
Follow the above 'Plain Beans' instructions.
Throw in some spices before you put the beans+water in the oven. Epazote. Taco seasoning. Smushed garlic. Basil. Molasses. Mustard. Worcestershire Sauce. Whatever random spices and flavorings you have on hand that might taste good. Salt. Definitely some salt. Wing it. Experiment.

Topped Beans
Follow the instructions for plain or spiced beans above, then top with something delicious. Like cheese or bacon or caramelized onions.

Cranberry Beans with Caramelized Onions and Bacon
Rancho Gordo Dried Heirloom Beans: Midnight, Yellow Eyed Pea, Pinquito, and Cranberry
Quick Soaking Cranberry Beans
Midnight Beans with Epazote, Basil, and Raw Cheddar
Midnight Beans with Epazote, Basil, and Raw Cheddar
Yellow Eyed Peas - Overnight Soak
Yellow Eyed Peas - Bacon fat, taco seasoning, dried shallots, crushed garlic cloves
Yellow Eyed Peas - with thick cut bacon

New Jersey: Grounds for Sculpture

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Four Dancing Women
So. If you happen to be near the Hamilton, NJ train station and enjoy sculpture gardens...you're probably already aware of the Grounds for Sculpture. It is a ton of goofy, artsy fun. Lots of unique pieces, lots of recreations of famous paintings. Very silly at times, and a great way to spend an afternoon walking about. They also have two fantastic eating options: Rat's Restaurant with a lovely view of a sculpture garden pond, and the museum's Peacock Cafe for some quick eats.

Grounds for Sculpture
Grounds for Sculpture
Grounds for Sculpture Grounds for Sculpture
Sometimes this is weird
Grounds for Sculpture
The Awakening #2
Grounds for Sculpture

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