Archive for Food & Dining

Happy 4th of July!

Town Flags

Happy Independence Day from the little flag-waving town of Wickenburg, AZ!

Our local American Legion Post religiously plants flags all over town on every holiday as seen in the background image above. That image was taken (credit Damsel) along the main part of Wickenburg Way (a.k.a. US 60) in the old historical part of town. I added the greeting with a graphics utility I use from time to time.

To celebrate the holiday, Damsel prepared Star Spangled Chili for dinner yesterday. The dish included a medium-hot chili base with lean ground beef, sliced Hebrew National kosher franks and chopped beef tenderloin chunks garnished with avocado, sour cream and an olive. It was pretty awesome.

The beef tenderloin chunks were leftover meat from a whole tenderloin I butchered myself. Once you separate the “chain” and the “wing” from the main tenderloin, I set those aside to be chopped into the aforementioned chunks.

I cut the rest of the main tenderloin into steaks, a couple of small roasts (Chateaubriand) and tenderloin medallions or small steaks. There is a bit of fat and silver skin that goes to waste, but most of the meat gets used in some form or another. Considering that butcher shop tenderloin steaks (Filet Mignon) are upwards of $20 per pound, butchering our own saves us a considerable amount of cash.

There are a couple of pretty good videos on You Tube (here and here) that guide you through the process of butchering a whole beef tenderloin.

In the meantime, despite all the COVID-19 and BLM/ANTIFA chaos, we’re having a nice holiday weekend here in our little piece of the good old USA and hope that everyone else will be able to enjoy it like we are doing. Happy Birthday America - may she keep on going strong!

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St. Patrick’s Day 2020

St. Patrick’s Day 2020

We don’t have much in the way of shamrocks or clover in these parts, so I posted a photo of something green that might be seen in Arizona.

I still have a lot of Ancestry/Genealogy work to do to establish our roots, but I now know with reasonable confidence that I had an ancestor born in County Mayo, Ireland in 1717. It is unknown if Irish ancestor “John” came to America, bit the line of descendants from him in my lineage all were born in Monongalia (now Marion) County, West Virginia.

After John (1717), came William (1751), then Francis (1776), then “Squire Billy” (1796), then Enos (1833), then James (1866) and finally My Dad’s Mom, Mary (1891). My Dad broke the West Virginia chain by being born in Los Angeles, CA in 1914.

I’m sure there are more Irish ancestors in other branches of the tree, but having the one confirmed Irish Great(6) Grandfather ancestor entitles me to the festivities and celebrations and traditional eating/drinking (but not TOO much) on this day as a descendant son of the Emerald Isles.

Damsel’s lineage is replete with Irish ancestors, so no need to go into whether she comes by her Irishness honestly. Besides, one of Damsel’s sisters is an expert at the genealogy stuff and has on numerous occasions rattled off a substantial listing of their Irish ancestors. They definitely qualify as celebrants of St. Patrick’s Day festivities and food.

Here in our little desert conclave, our festivities will be mild compared to what other celebrants are doing on this day. We will be having traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage with Boiled Fauxtatoes (turnips make a good low-carb potato substitute) served with horseradish sauce (for the meat) and vinegar (for the cabbage). Dessert will be a small Irish cocktail.

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PI Day

pi.pngNot exactly a holiday, but March 14 has become the penultimate math nerd’s recognition of the (approximate) ratio of the circumference of a perfect circle to it’s radius. I posted last year about approximating the value of PI in the old days using ratios resulting in not exactly PI, but close enough.

Going back even further than the hand-held electronic calculators, we did not need to figure out PI using ratios for programs, because the value of PI was engraved (along with other important math constants) right on most slide rules. You could crank out solutions to equations for radial velocity or any other esoteric calculations using PI by just using your handy-dandy “slip stick.” In those days, one could get answers calculated to three or four significant digits with just the slide rule. For more accuracy, some of us had the option of punching a deck of cards, submitting it to the Computer Lab and wait a couple of days to find out that we had an error in the program. Thank goodness there are now much better ways of dealing with numerical calculations.

In honor of PI day, the Damsel and I will be preparing today’s dinner from a low-carb recipe for “Spaghetti Pie.” The dish consists of a rich marinara sauce and some smoked chicken served in a casserole with noodles from spaghetti squash rather than pasta.

Yesterday, I loaded a couple of chicken breasts in the smoker and cooked them to their desired 165°F internal temperature. When they cooled, i shredded the meat and put it in reserve for today’s meal preparation. I may put up more about Spaghetti Pie later on by updating this post.

UPDATE: PIE ARE SQUARE! Damsel served a square of this with a green salad for dinner this afternoon. Click on the image to enlarge.

PIE ARE SQUARE

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Sometimes, Life Gives You Lemons

Dwarf Lemon Tree Harvested Lemons

Late last week, the Damsel and I picked most of the lemons from our dwarf lemon tree west of the house by the RV Drive. For a “dwarf” tree, I’d say, it has reliably produced a large number of lemons each year since we had it planted seven or eight years ago.

We normally give some of the lemons to neighbors and a couple of senior centers here in town, and use the rest of them to produce Limoncello, an Italian “digestivo” after dinner liquor. Damsel uses a recipe form an on-line website modified to use diabetic sweetener rather than sugar. We can’t tell the difference in the end.

This year, however, we have a surplus of both lemons and Limoncello, so we’re going to give most of the crop away and juice some for another couple of uses. We don’t have any trouble finding friends, neighbors and food banks locally to dispose of them for good uses.

Just for a lark, I put together the little graphic below to leverage on an old adage about life giving you lemons . . .

Make Limoncello

Click on any image above to enlarge.

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Reunion - Ham Radio Style

Eating Meeting

Over the holiday weekend, we had house guests in the form of a couple that I have known since 1960 or so. I met Dick and Taffy on 2 meters AM in California when I was still in high school. We became good friends in those days. We also had a lot of mutual ham radio friends on the air and in person back then.

We got back in touch with them after a lot of years via email a couple of months ago when they found me and invited me to a reunion out in California of a bunch of other hams we knew. We weren’t able to go for a variety of reasons, but kept in touch hoping for a meet and greet opportunity. It so happened that Dick and Taffy were in Arizona to attend a grandson’s graduation from technical school in the Phoenix area on Saturday. We had previously offered to host them here at our place for an extended visit after the grandson’s grad event. They arrived here on Sunday afternoon.

The third party in the reunion was Jim, one of those mutual friends back then, who has recently relocated to the Prescott, AZ, area. Since we planned a Labor Day grilled steaks dinner, we invited Jim and his wife, Shirley, to attend which they graciously accepted. We all had a great visit, dinner and more visit before the confab broke up just before dark. Jim and Shirley headed back north, Dick and Taffy stayed one more night here and the latter departed this morning, returning to California.

We really enjoyed all the story swapping, getting caught up on other friend’s activities and learning about ancestry and genealogy tactics (we may soon use some of those). By the way, everyone present on Labor Day would be considered right-wing lunatics by the anti-constitutional left. Of course, normal people would consider us Patriotic Americans. It was a good and enjoyable reunion and encounter and we hope to be able to have a redux soon.

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We’re Back in Arizona Tonight

Red Cliffs Along I-40

Our route was along I-40 all day with stops in Grants (Walmart - provisions) and Gallup (Diesel), NM with our evening destination here in Holbrook, AZ. Even along a major interstate, the scenery can be breathtaking as evidenced by the red cliffs near the AZ/NM border in the photo above (courtesy Damsel). There were many other worthy sightseeing photos Damsel took today, but we have neither the data space nor the bandwidth for the seven hundred plus images I downloaded from her camera today.

This is our last overnight stop and we will be home in Wickenburg tomorrow afternoon. Damsel and I both enjoyed this “vacation from retirement” excursion and will be anxious to travel again real soon as soon as practical. Meantime, we have some important things to do at home. Below is the campsite for tonight with dinner already being prepared in part within the grill on the picnic table (Chicken Jalapeño Casserole).

Holbrook Campsite

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Relaxing in Colorado City, CO

Weather

Damsel took this photo today while we were taking a walk around the RV park. We have seen this kind of weather for the past couple of days, but it hasn’t cramped our style much unless you consider grilling in the rain a cramp. The linked photo is of me preparing country-style pork ribs on the grill, in the rain.

There is always something to do when traveling in a motorhome, so today, I washed the giant front windshield, dispatching bug carcasses and other road crud. I also hooked up the sewer line which I left until today to do. So there isn’t 100% relaxing, but we still feel relaxed.

We grilled again today, this time it was dry outside and we got the job done in the usual fashion. Today’s food faire was Grilled Filet Mignon Steaks and Damsel fixed a wonderful cucumber, lettuce and cherry tomato salad. We could eat like this all the time.

Steak Dinner

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