Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Green Chile, Tomatoes and Blah Blah Blah

Yeah, I know, I've been bad.

I have a million excuses, but none really matter. I still have hula pictures to post, plus we took a day trip to Big Sur which also means a whole other set of pictures.

But sometimes I just can't blog. I would really like to do it every day, but it just isn't possible. Really, I feel like I don't have a lot to write about, so I'll just mention a few things I've been doing.

Like cooking.

I always go back to cooking, you know? It just fills a place in my soul like nothing else.

We had some good friends from New Mexico send us some fresh roasted green chiles. This years crop has just come in and we couldn't resist. Cost be damned! They arrived yesterday so this morning we had green chile with eggs, yum yum. There is absolutely nothing like New Mexico green chile, they really are unique.

Having had a taste of them, we decided we needed them for dinner also. I haven't made chile sauce since we left New Mexico and have I ever missed it!

First I sauteed a good bit of fresh garlic, then I added the chiles and a bit of chicken broth. I let it simmer a bit (you add more broth as needed, we like a good amount of "sauce") then right before serving I add a bit of arrowroot to thicken it a bit. Traditionally, you would start with a roux, but we're off flour, so we use arrowroot, added at the end. It thickens perfectly and adds no flavor of its own.

Next, keeping the sauce bubbly on a back burner, we made loose hamburger patties from fresh (not frozen) grass fed beef. Keeping the patties nice and loose gives you lots of those crunchy bits we like so much. For this dish, we like the burgers pan fried over a high heat (it's those crunchy bits again). When the burgers are done, put them on a plate, cover them with lots of grated cheese (or queso if you have it available) then slather a big old bunch of the chile sauce over the top.

Boy have I ever missed this . . .

We paired it with a green salad topped with dry farmed tomatoes. Have you tried dry farmed tomatoes? Another fine discovery, these are grown with very little water, forcing the roots deep into the soil and concentrating the flavor into the fruit of the tomato. I'm not describing this process very well, but if you taste one, you'll know it immediately.

Having almost given up on ever purchasing a good tomato again, these are a real revelation. Smaller than most, they are firm and sweet and exactly what a tomato should be.

We paid $3.69 a pound for these, but it was worth every cent. We will be buying more. If you can find them, try one, no matter the cost. Try just one and I think, like us, you'll be sold.

Eventually, I'll get the pictures up and maybe even share my recipe for low carb sugar free peanut butter cups. These are really fantastic . . .

But for today, that's it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pelicans (and a Seal)

Slowly, I'm working my way through the Aloha Festival pictures. I have so many of the hula troop that they're going to have to wait for another day.

But they will be posted, as I promised several people at the festival.

While most of the pictures in this post are pelicans, I got this one shot of a sleeping seal. The seals are getting harder to shoot, since whoever is in charge of the wharf has made a new place for them to hang out. It's almost entirely under the wharf. Nice for the seals and sea lions, not so nice for us that like to take pictures.

I had to literally hang over
the side of the wharf to get this shot.

If you look really close
(or click to enlarge)
you can see a pelican flying
through the center of this shot.
Mostly I wanted to show
the old casino at the Boardwalk.

I'm just so fascinated by the pelicans,
I can't seem to get enough shots.

Sometimes I think they're posing
just for me.

I took eight quick shots of this guy diving for food.
This one was the clearest,
but I still can't tell what he's after.
Can anyone make out the fish under the water?

This one's easy.
Kids on the dock were feeding this guy
some kind of bait.

He's a real primadonna.

Larry, Curly and Moe
or maybe
Manny, Moe and Jack.

I got a little artistic urge with this one.

I played with it a bit more.
It reminds me of those old bird anatomy books.

More posing.
Are these the most graceful birds or what?

This would have been such a great shot,
but the guy in the back kind of ruined it for me.
I tried taking him out,
but it was too much like work.
Plus, I would lose all the edge detail of the bird.
Just squint your eyes and pretend he's not there.

That's it for today.
In the next day or two,
there will be lots of hula pictures.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In a Day or Two

My apologies. . . .

I've been meaning to work on the Aloha Festival pictures, but life seems to be getting in the way.

Today it's exactly six years since we first picked up Cholula Red, our 2005 30 Foot Lazy Daze. What a great ride its been, and still is.

Since it's been six years, we kind of forgot that it's time to get a smog test so we can re-register the rig. That, of course, meant we had to pack her up for moving, not such an easy task when we've moving so much stuff in, out, around and whatever.

Anyhow, we got it done, she passed her test, she's re-registered and back at the house and we're once again snug as bugs in a rug.

But I still haven't worked on the pictures.

But I will, soon . . .

Sunday, August 21, 2011


We had a stupendous time today at the Aloha Festival.

I took over seven hundred pictures. I have pictures of singers, dancers (LOTS of dancers), flowers, birds, seals, food, drink and whatever. But I'm just way too tired to work on them tonight, so check back in a day or two.

And just so you know, there will, once again, be pelicans.

I just can't help myself!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kind of Late to the Party

Regular readers know I love music, especially traditional Broadway numbers. You also know we both love watching movies and television series.

To be clear here, we do not have television in the rig. Well, we have a television, but where we're parked right now, we don't even get over the air reception, much less cable.

But not to worry. We have lots of DVDs, and I have to tell you the Santa Cruz Library is a treasure trove of digital media. It's been so wonderful to have such a large selection of movies, plays and television at our beck and call. The local library is where we found Lark Rise to Candleford, and it's also where we found Glee.

Are we the last people in the country to discover this program? I really feel like we're coming very late to this series, but it's brand new to us.

And we love it.

It seems that in current "entertainment" there's very little chance for traditional vocalists to shine; but when I found this show, I was just blown away. For someone who loves music, it's a treasure trove. I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of current music, I really like things like melody and being able to understand the words. I often talk to young people who have never been exposed to traditional Broadway songs, and short of telling them how wonderful this music is, I really don't know how they will ever be exposed to the whole genre that I love so much.

But Glee changes all that. I love that it offers young actors (who can all sing, dance and act, no mean feat) an opportunity for national exposure. Then, by using a mix of rock, funk, hip hop and Broadway show tunes, it supplies a veritable smorgasbord of American music to an audience that might otherwise never be exposed to it.

Really, when was the last time you heard young people singing standards? And while there are a few "belters" on the show, most of these actors actually sing rather than wail. Somewhere along the way, it seems that vocalists lost the ability to begin a song, then build in emotion and volume, as the song directs. Now, often, it seems that they start out at full volume and it never decreases in intensity or volume. Maybe I'm just getting old.

Whatever, I love the music from Glee. And I love all the actors. It makes me so happy to see (and hear) this fine mix of music. Truthfully, not counting older musicals, when was the last time you found yourself smiling, tapping your feet and seriously thinking about singing out loud with any current entertainment?

One final note. If you're a fan of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, you absolutely must see the Glee take on this (now) classic film.

I'm sure Glee is available all over the place, so if you've never seen an episode and you love music, give it a chance.

Tomorrow we're heading down to the wharf for the Aloha Outrigger Races and Polynesian Festival. With any luck at all, pictures may follow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Up the Coast

After visiting the Festival this weekend, I couldn't get those deep fried artichoke hearts out of my head (I had passed them up the first time). I talked with my friend Misty and we decided we just had to go get some. We spent an hour or so at the fair, then decided the day was so beautiful, we needed to take a drive up the coast.
So off we went.

We decided our destination
would be Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

Built in 1871,
the lighthouse is now
a State Historic Park.
It also houses a Hostel.
Terry and I keep saying
we're going to stay there for a few days,
but we still haven't gotten around to it

The grounds feature lots of walks
with picket fences.

It's tied with the Point Arena Lighthouse
as the tallest lighthouse
on the west coast.
115 feet high.

There's also a small museum.

And a hot tub
facing the ocean
for Hostel visitors!
We really need to stay there.

After the lighthouse,
we decided to head on up the coast
just a bit more.

Like I say
it was a glorious day.

The seals were also enjoying the weather.

As were the seagulls.

Finally, we turned around and headed back home,
giving us a completely different view.
Heading south, the ocean is on your right,
with rich green valleys on your left.
I guess we had been so taken with the sea
on our journey north
that we never looked to the other side.

Misty was just as accommodating as Terry,
stopping whenever I wanted to take a photo.
Thanks Misty!

Here's a pumpkin farm
that sets up a giant maze every fall.
If you enlarge it,
you can see the maze in the distance.
There's also a huge redwood gorilla.

Heading down the coast,
we saw lots of windsurfers.
At least I think that's what they call this.
It's fascinating to watch.

And finally,
the sun beginning to set,
we headed home.

I don't want you to get the idea that we're just playing, ignoring the house. We continue to pack and sort and make progress.

Some day, we'll be able to post pictures of our travels again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Day at The Festival

What a fine day we had.

As I mentioned yesterday,
there was a local Art and Wine Festival today.
The weather was perfect
and the price was right (free)
so off we went.

This was a typical small town affair,
not too big and not too small.

There were artisans aplenty.
I've never seen a spinning wheel
you operate with your feet.

I love this fused glass.

We spent quite a while
talking with this lovely lady.
She is the most incredible artist.
She carves fruit and vegetables
in the most intricate patterns,
turning every day food into something sublime.
I wanted to take more pictures,
but since she also sells photographs of her work,
I didn't feel it was appropriate.
She agreed to me taking this shot,
but if you'd like to see her work in detail,
I suggest you go to her website here.
In case you can't tell,
that's a watermelon in front of her
(click to enlarge).
Beautiful work!

This next artist creates
the best polymer clay work I've ever seen.
If you're not familiar with this art form,
you can read about it here.
This kind of control takes years to master.
I may have to go back and get this doggy pin
for my pin wall in Cholula Red.

Here are some of her earrings.
These I would also like!
They remind me of fuchsias,
but she calls them Fairy Wings.

If you paid any attention
to the recent Royal Wedding,
you must be aware of the newest hat craze.
They're called fascinators,
and I think they're the bees knees.
Not on me, you understand,
but look at this lovely young lady
who was nice enough to model this for me.

She was kind enough to model one more.
I think she looks adorable.

Here's another artist
whose work impressed both of us.

He recreates vintage signs.
You can see more of his work here.

He uses local vintage artwork,
transfers it to metal,
ages it,
and look at the results.
I'd love to have him do a logo
for Cholula Red.

In addition to all these fine artists,
there was also food.
The artichoke capitol of the world
is nearby in Castroville.
They're often represented at local events.
If you've never had a deep fried artichoke heart,
you really haven't lived.

The local dog population was also in attendance.
This little guy was willing to challenge
anyone in his path.
Fortunately, there weren't any takers.
This big guy seemed completely flummoxed.

Remember I said there would be circus performers?
There were only these two that I saw,
but they were pretty entertaining.
I LOVE that I got a shot of their pins in the air.
Thank You Canon.

As we left,
I liked the way these balloons
were moving in the breeze.

Just down the street
from the Festival venue
is a Skateboard Park.
I personally think these folks are crazy,

but it makes for good photography.

On the way home, out of the car window,
I took this shot of the local covered bridge.
I keep meaning to get over there for pictures,
but for now this will have to do.

That's it for today.