Friday, December 31, 2010

Au Revoir 2010

Happy New Year!

Wow, a whole other year has passed and what changes we've seen.

Most of the year in New Mexico, a quick trip to the Grand Canyon, touring Utah (where we will definitely return, ditto New Mexico).

And now, here we are right where we started five years ago.

If this journey has taught us anything at all, it's that we are done with California. A nice place to visit, but we don't want to live here.

Our hearts are truly in the south west.
Wide open spaces,
red rocks,
puffy pillow clouds
turquoise skies.

We continue to make slow progress. We have found an auction house in the area, and when they reopen after the first of the year, we will be taking some of the nicer pieces to them. If we can just make a bit of room in the house, we can start to really get down to business.

I hate to say anything for fear of counting my chickens before they hatch, but we seem to have found someone who is seriously interested in buying the house. If this works out, there may be a real light at the end of the tunnel.

Keep your positive thoughts beaming towards us in the weeks ahead.

And finally, a sincere thank you to all of you who expressed concern for Terry's health. I'm happy to say that he is feeling much better.

And lets hope that in the year ahead, we get back on the road so I can start some serious photography and writing about some new adventures.

a Happy New Year to You All.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the Perfect Prime Rib

It's been a few days since Christmas, and for all that time, Terry has been sick with a cold and a really bad cough. I've been with him playing nursemaid, and taking care of regular business (food, meds, cleaning).

Consequently, I haven't been posting, but I wanted to talk a bit about our Christmas dinner.

As I mentioned before, we planned on having a prime rib (a beautiful choice cut of meat we got at Costco). I haven't cooked a prime rib for probably fifteen years. The last time, I packed it in rock salt and cooked it in the oven. While that came out beautifully, it was really messy, resulting in a lot of hardened rock salt. And I lost all the juicy run off, because it was all too salty.

Knowing I was really unclear as to how to cook a very expensive prime rib, like always, I went to the internet. There, I found about a million different recipes for marinades, rubs, and sauces, not to mention different ways and times to cook this piece of meat.

After spending hours looking through all of them, I finally decided on the one that looked the easiest, and am I ever glad I did!

This method says you can use whatever rub or marinade you like (I like kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, some dry mustard, a bit of oregano, garlic and onion powder). The day before you'll be cooking, you rub the meat with olive oil (or butter, your choice) and then push the rub well into all parts of the meat. Then wrap the meat in saran wrap or a tight plastic bag (we use a vacuum sealer) and let it sit overnight so the rub has a chance to do it's job.

This next part is really important . . .

On the day you'll be cooking, take the meat out of the fridge at least two hours before you intend to cook. Longer would be all right, as you want the meat to be at room temperature before putting it in the oven.

Next you want to set your oven for 500 degrees, It's really important that the oven has a chance to preheat up to this temperature. Now you want to multiply the weight of your meat by 5. My meat was four and one quarter pounds, so my time was twenty one minutes and fifteen seconds.

Now place the meat in a pan that is at least as high as the roast, and has no more than two inches around the edges. Otherwise your drippings will spread out and probably burn, leaving you with no ingredients for your au jus.

When the oven is up to heat, you put the meat in for the prescribed amount of time. When the timer goes off, turn your oven off and leave the meat in the oven for two hours. DO NOT open the door during that two hours.

When the two hours is up, you'll open your oven to a perfect prime rib, brown and crunchy on the outside and a exactly medium rare on the inside.

Could this be an easier? A note for all you RVers, we cooked this in the motorhome, it worked perfectly in the oven, so you can do this no matter where you're camping.

Obviously, this was too much for us to eat at one sitting, so we vacuum sealed it up for a later meal.

Which was today. But then we couldn't decide how to reheat it without turning it into a hard mass of gray shoe leather. Again, the internet to the rescue.

For a perfect reheat, we kept the meat in it's sealed bag (or you could use a regular plastic bag, just squeeze all the air out and seal it really well). Then you let your tap water run hot (about 140 degrees, NOT boiling). Then you simply put the bagged meat in a large bowl and cover it with the hot water (you may need to put a weight on it to keep the meat stays submerged). Check the water temperature after fifteen minutes, and add more hot water if needed. You'll want to leave the meat submerged for about thirty minutes. Then, when you open up you bag, your meat will be warm through (not hot, but a little au jus will help with that).

And surprise! Your leftover prime rib will be just as soft and tender as when you originally served it, and the meat will taste as fresh as it did the first day.

Hope you're all enjoying the holidays.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Some Christmas Cheer

Henry and Lulu

wish to share
their new favorite Christmas video
with all of you

(a special Thank You
to my good friend Sandy
for pointing this out to me)

We just put the prime rib in the oven and now we're going to watch our very favorite Christmas move, the Bishop's Wife. The perfect Christmas film, it stars the luminous Loretta Young, a heavenly Cary Grant, a wickedly dry David Niven, the always wonderful Monty Woolley, the under rated James Gleason, and the always spot on Elsa Lanchester. It seems to be one of the less well known films for this season, but it embodies everything Christmas should be. If you've never seen it, or even if you have, please watch it again, you'll see what I mean.

I'm so thankful today
for my life,
my health,
for my Terry
and all my wonderful friends.

I'm also thankful that we have
a warm, safe place to live
and enough to eat.

May everyone,
one day,
share these same blessings.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

It's almost 11pm on Christmas eve.

My prime rib is all rubbed down
and ready for tomorrow.
The cheesecake came out perfectly
(and even tastes good, we snuck a piece).
Our small tree is decorated
and we're snug in Cholula Red.

I have no photos from today,
so I thought I'd repost a few
from Christmas's past .

Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Ghost Ranch in the snow.

My wish for all of you
is peace and happiness.

And have a warm
and wonderful
Christmas day.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Looking for Christmas

I've finally decided that we're on a Christmas break.

Hopefully, by telling ourselves that it's all right, we won't feel bad because we keep going out every day instead of working in the house.

So Christmas break it is!

Today we went out looking for some Christmas. I have to admit, it seems pretty lacking. We can't seem to find a neighborhood that is decorated, and all the stores we've been in will sell you Christmas items, but very few of them have decorated.

We don't do a lot of Christmas, but we do like to look at the decorations, but this year we seem to be out of luck.

We did see
some lovely old redwoods
that sort of resemble Christmas trees.
But you'd have to have a really high ceiling.

If I sent out Christmas cards,
I might use this picture.

After driving through the redwoods, we found ourselves down on the Pacific Garden Mall. As usual, there were lots of musicians playing on the street. One of them was even playing Christmas carols on his violin. He got a few extra dollars in appreciation of his holiday spirit.

I took a lot of pictures, but most of them weren't pertinent to Christmas.

Still, for some reason,
I liked this shot
and decided to include it here.

There's a beautiful old Hotel on the mall
called the Palomar.
They also didn't do much decorating.
Kind of Grinchy if you ask me.

I found myself reduced to photographing
Christmas balls.

Then we happened on
an Indonesian import store.

They had the most gorgeous
array of light covers.

Or maybe you could call them lanterns.

And in their shape

and light

and color

I suddenly got that rush

of Christmas cheer.

They were just so vibrant,
It was like they were put up
just to remind everyone
that this is a joyful happy season.

At least that's what they said to me.

Then I came out and saw this guy.

I don't know if he was hand made or what, but after all those boring, banal, blow up things that I see everywhere, he was a welcome sight indeed.

Tomorrow, I'll be seasoning the prime rib we bought for Christmas, and maybe sharing some recipes.

I hope you all have a lovely holiday season
and a happy Christmas.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Day in the Life (Bandwidth Warning)

It seems like it hasn't stopped raining since we got here.

I hate working in the house when it's raining, it just seems so depressing, so today we decided to go out and see if we couldn't rustle up a bit of Christmas spirit. It's been in pretty short supply around here lately.

It seems like not many people are decorating for Christmas this year, are those of you in other parts of the country finding that? Since we've been home, we haven't visited the small community of Capitola. Today we decided to go and see if all the Christmas decorations were hiding in that tiny village.

As we were leaving the rig, cameras in hand, I caught this shot. How hard up am I for things to photograph when I'm reduced to shooting this?

Still, I like the textures and the color.

Capitola has always been
a favorite of ours.
It's just that kind of place.

Just the right size,
wonderful architecture.

It's built on many levels,
creating a beautiful skyline.

Also, lots of palm trees.

It also has more than its' share
of great shops.

We were both quite taken
with these hand blown lamps.

Maybe it's because we like jellyfish.

This was the only thing I almost bought.
Instead, I just took this picture.
It's the phrase I love.

Capitola is a great place to stroll,
lots to look at.

It's also the location
of the greatest shoe store in the world.
It's called Hot Feet.
I've never bought any shoes there,
but it's a fun place to look.
Now if they had these
puffer fish shoes in my size . . .

This was about as Christmasy
as the decorations got.
I really hate these blow up monstrosities,
but this one is the
least objectionable I've seen so far.

For some reason, I liked this sign.
The shapes, the color, the texture.

And this guy walking right across the street.
Just perfect.

Another cool thing about Capitola,
it's right on the ocean.
If you look closely across the bay,
you can see Moss Landing.
Monterey is off to the right.

More of the architecture of Capitola.

There's also a long pier.

As you can see,
it's a perfect place to spend an afternoon.

Window shopping,
Watching the birds.

and just enjoying the scenery.

If any of you RVers find yourself in this area,
this is one of the places
you want to put on your to-do list.

Here's the only Christmas lights we saw,
but I liked this one a lot.

We're still trying to decide
what exactly to do on Christmas day.
Maybe we'll just go out
and have a lovely day like today.