Monthly Archives: June 2016

Plastic Bag Omelets

An inconvenient thing about camping is messy pans and no running water. A breakfast with almost no clean up? Plastic bag omelets. You will need one heavy-duty ziploc quart-sized freezer bag for each person.

Bring a pot of water to boil on your camp stove.

You can prepare these before you leave home and pop them in your cooler. Or prepare them on-site.

For each omelet, scramble eggs (2 or 3) in a bowl with a fork. Add some salt and pepper if you like. Pour them into the plastic bag. Add your favorite omelet ingredients. I am partial to a combination of chopped spinach or kale, feta cheese and olives. My husband likes some grated cheddar, chopped onion and bell pepper.

Once all the ingredients are in the bag, press out as much air as you can and then seal it up.

Put the bags into the pot of boiling water and lower to a reasonable boil.  Cook about 13 minutes. To test for doneness, remove a bag and kind of squish it — put it back in if the eggs are still runny (or take it out if you like runny eggs).

Omelets being cooked

Omelets being cooked

When done, open bag and slide omelet onto your plate. Use the hot water in your pan for your dish washing.

Caution: make sure plastic bag does not get holes melted into it by the camp stove! This can lead to water leaking into your eggs, a sad, but still edible, outcome.

Served with a little salsa and tater tots leftover from prior day's lunch at Takoda's.

Served with a little salsa and tater tots leftover from prior day’s lunch at Takoda’s.

So gorgeous

So gorgeous

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First camping trip in … a long time

We took off on Wednesday to spend a few nights in the woods. The weather prediction was iffy, but we had cleared our calendars and decided to go anyway. We drove east on Highway 126, stopping at Takoda’s for lunch to fortify ourselves. Our original plan was thwarted when we learned that Highway 242 is still closed for the winter (evidently scheduled to open on June 20).

Instead, we ended up at Coldwater Camp on Clear Lake. After setting up our tent and tarp and pulling the pizza dough out of the cooler to rise, we started a walk along the lake. The lake lives up to its name as it is incredibly clear. So many shades of deep and bright blue, really lovely. We kept walking and ended up going all the way around, which turned out to be 5 miles.

Setting up camp

Setting up camp

Clear, clean, cold water

Clear, clean, cold water

First night’s dinner was dutch oven pizza and kale cooked in a little butter. Dessert? Need you ask? S’mores! I think it is the only time we ever eat marshamallows.

Dutch oven deep dish pizza

Dutch oven deep dish pizza

The rain held off until we were snug in our tent and we heard it off and on throughout the night. The next morning was rain-free, however. We made our plastic bag omelets with a side of re-heated tater tots (leftovers from Takoda’s). We packed up our lunch and headed out along the McKenzie River trail. A little chilly, but rain-free. Due to our lack of map and a disagreement about which way to go at one point, out hike ended up being very long. In fact, it was the longest I had ever hiked — 15.5 miles. We were dang tired when we got back to camp just as it started to drizzle. Our box of garnacha tasted perfect (highly recommend the 3-liter box of Vina Borgia!).

Wine is very important when camping

Wine is very important when camping

McKenzie River

McKenzie River

The drizzle let up and we did an easy dinner of bean and cheese burritos, salad, and more s’mores. We had rain again overnight. Unfortunately, it didn’t let up in the morning. We ate our oatmeal under the tarp and and we packed up all of our items in the rain.

An excellent first trip and we were super lucky with the weather. Can’t wait to go again!

Nightfall

Nightfall

Recent kitchen happenings

Cherry season is happening.  When it does, we drop everything and go pick them.  We picked about 15 pounds yesterday and hopefully will get more as more fruit matures.

The world's best cherry pitter (on loan from great friends)

The world’s best cherry pitter (on loan from great friends)

Our hens have been laying well lately and I thought chocolate mousse would be just the ticket to use up some eggs.  And it was.  And was much easier than I thought it would be — melted some dark chocolate, whisked in egg yolks and a little vanilla and salt, then folded in the whipped egg whites.  Firmed up nicely in the fridge.

Our hens have been busy lately

Our hens have been busy lately

Chocolate melting on an improvised double boiler

Chocolate melting on an improvised double boiler

Folding egg whites  into melted chocolate/egg yolk mixture

Folding egg whites into melted chocolate/egg yolk mixture

Eggs were also used in some fresh pasta lately.  I started with sauteeing some onions, garlic, garlic scapes.  Then added a bunch of spinach from the garden and some diced tomatoes I had in the fridge.  Then, some cream cheese.  (The heck with making a roux!). Loosened it up with some pasta water and added my noodles.  Easy and delish.

Homemade noodles, rolled by hand, quite thick

Homemade noodles, rolled by hand, quite thick

Noodles added to an easy creamy spinach sauce

Noodles added to an easy creamy spinach sauce

Do you know dolmas?

If you have grapes growing in your yard (or VINEyard), you should declare it “dolma season!” To heck with the mushy and expensive jarred grape leaves, you’ve got them fresh on the vine right now. If all you’ve got is jarred, no problem. Your dolmas will still be fabulous.

The finished product.  Recipe makes 40+ dolmas.

The finished product. Recipe makes 40+ dolmas.

I have been making these a long time and they are always popular at potlucks, office parties, etc. I must give recipe credit to a fellow on the outskirts of Philomath named “Mad Ed,” a jack-of-all trades who grows most of his own food and weaves baskets. Ed knows his dolmas.

Here’s the recipe.  (Typed at the end in case you can’t read it.)

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These are a little time-consuming to make. The mixture doesn’t take too long — chopping the onions and juicing the lemons are the hardest part (hint: zest the lemons before juicing them and use the zest for a creamy lemon pasta sauce, a pound cake, or other fabulous creation). The time consuming part comes in rolling them up. Crank up some music and do it. You won’t be sorry.

With fresh grape leaves, blanch them in boiling salted water for about 2-3 minutes and then plunge into cold. Drain and use. For jarred, blanch about 30 seconds (no salt needed in the water), plunge into cold, drain and use.

And, people, fresh lemon juice is a must. Don’t even think about that bottled stuff. It will just taste nasty and ruin all the time you spent making these.

Chopping onion

Chopping onion

Lots of lemon juice

Lots of lemon juice

Cooking the mixture

Cooking the mixture

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Dolmas

Saute in a large pot, over low heat:

1/2 cup olive oil,

3 small onions, chopped fine

5 cloves chopped or crushed garlic

When onions are soft, add:

2 cups water

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 cups Homai (sushi) rice

1 T salt

1 T dill seed

1 T finely chopped fresh parsley

1/2 c pine nuts

Bring to a boil then reduce heat, stir, cover and cook until rice is done (will be a little al dente; may need to add a few more tablespoons of water).

(See notes above regarding preparing fresh or jarred grape leaves.)

Using about 2 T mixture per leaf, roll.  Drizzle dolmas with olive oil to make them shiny.  Serve.