Creole shrimps at teh Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Café near Zion NP, Utah
Enchilada and Taco
Huge Oysters from Bodega Bay in CA, size of a ladies hand, had
one – tasty too.
Fava beans, something different in the organic market, Napa Valley,
CA. Beans have to be removed from fuzzy pods and skin on each bean.
They are enjoyed with a little drizzled oil and shaved Parmigiana
or topped with herbs, spring onions and lemon juice or served in
a veg risotto with cheese.
Me in the markets in the Napa Valley
In cooking class, Culinary Institute, see recipe below, click to
get a larger recipe image
Had to try theworld famous Korbel Sparkling wine, methode champenoise,
just for our good friend Joyce, back home.
FOCUS ON FOOD
Land of fast food
We have so far avoided the numerous chains of Fast Foods with the
exception of the latest Seafood chain, the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co,
a take off from the movie Forest Gump. Dave and Linda, local HOG
members, treated us to a very tasty meal of Shrimps and Lobster
–mmmm – I had the Creole shrimps (prawns) a unique taste,
onions, bell pepper (capsicum), garlic, celery, tomatoes, Burgundy
wine, seafood stock, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, lemon juice and ground
black pepper/salt. I'll have to look at the cajun and creole flavors
of Louisiana when we get to eastern USA.
Across California there is a huge Mexican influence on the food,
including the fast food industry. This is of course predictable
when you realize that over 47% of the population in this state is
Hispanic. We feasted on some authentic Mexican cuisine, at very
reasonable prices through CA and across into Arizona. These meals
can be healthy with generous salads but also fatty with lots of
added cheese, it is best to check the choice of fillings and know
some basics. Tortillas, the basis to most meals are a flat bread
that can be made with corn or flour masa (dough). Chimichanggas
are a speciality of Southern Arizona, the crisp paper thin corn
tortillas are deep fried, come with a choice of fillings and topped
with salsa, guacamole and sour cream. Tostadas are also crisp fried
corn tortilla stacked with beans, meat and garnishes. Flour tortillas
are eaten like bread and used to make burritos and quesadillas.
Burritos are a wrapped filling eaten like a sandwich. Quesadillas
are a folded flour tortilla or turnover, fried in oil. Enchiladas
are a soft corn tortilla rolled around the cooked filling, baked
in a sauce to melt the topping of cheese, served with a variety
of garnishes. Tacos can be made by wrapping filling in a steamed
tortilla or a crisp fried tortilla. The choice is yours, how much
fat do you want to consume? But more on mexican food when we get
Its not all Mexican though, we've also been packing in the salads.
Prepacked salads from the supermarkets are good for a meal for two
when you are on the move. At the other extreme we've spoilt ourselves
with the odd steak, using the excuse that we needed building up!
Priced about the same as back home, steaks are beautifully tender
and always cooked to perfection if you are eating out. Entreé
(main meal not starter!) is served with mashed or baked potatoes
and battered onions. Salads are often served as an appertiser, a
blue cheese dressing is a popular choice.
Eating out highlights unexpected little differences in our cultures.
We separate sweet from savory, Americans often do not differentiate
the two, eating bacon and eggs with pancakes and syrup. Everything
has lashings of butter and cream or is too sweet or too salty for
our taste. Tax and tipping tends to take the cost of a meal higher
than we originally calculate.
We rode through Navajo Indian country, N Arizona, and found no
influences on local food, although we did have some freshly baked
corn bread at a diner.
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup all-purpose flour (plain)
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbspn baking powder
1 tspn salt
1⁄3 cup veg oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium
bowl and milk, oil, and egg in a small bowl.
Add milk to flour mixture; stir until just blended. pour into greased
8 inch square pan.
Bake in a preheated oven 400ºF(200ºC) 20 – 25 mins.
Serve warm with butter and honey.
The wild west theme through canyon lands of N Arizona and S Utah
gives locals an opportunity to drag tourists off the road for a
hearty meal. Grilled (BBQ) smoked spareribs with sauerkraut, Dutch
Oven country cooking and charbroiled (grilled) chicken. Beef gerky
is a popular snack today, pioneers dried and spiced beef and venison
so that it did not spoil.
Well I have finally caught up with my impressions of the food so
far, don't forget we are on a tight budget and on the move. I am
writing this in the Napa Valley, CA, renowned for excellent cuisine
and fine wine. We've enjoyed wine tasting at some really special
wineries, thanks to our expert tour guides/friends Dody and Jim.
Found some new grape varieties here such as Zinfandel," it
can come in many different styles. the Hess Collection style is
big, based on ripe fruit and full extraction. The beauty of this
wine is the fruit, so enjoy this wine young, within five years."
Hess Wines, CA. We just had a look see into restaurants such as
the celebrated French Laundry run by one of the top chefs in the
USA, Thomas Keller, and discovered local organic food markets and
chocolate factories in San Francisco. We also tried clam chowder
on Fisherman's wharf and attended a cooking demo at the Culinary
Institute of America, have included some recipes you will hopefully
beable to read from the image (too lazy to type!).
FISH CHOWDER (or CLAMS if you can get hold of them!)
4 – 6 servings
1⁄4 cup butter/marg
1 large onion, finely chopped
Bell pepper, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely sliced
1⁄2 tspn dried thyme
3 med. sized potatoes, peeled and diced
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of fish stock
11⁄2 lb (750g) snapper fillets, cut crosswise in 1 inch (2cms)
4 slices Bacon cut in 1⁄2 inch pieces
2 cups milk
Melt butter and add onion, celery, pepper until onion is soft. Mix
Add potatoes, season and bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat ,
simmer for 15 mins.
Add fish and continue to boil gently until fish flakes and potatoes
Lightly brown bacon.
Stir in milk until steaming hot, do not boil.
Serve with bacon pieces in each bowl.