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July Fourth Festivities

What’s for Dinner?

Despite the 109° patio temperature this afternoon, we ventured outdoors to grill up some beef tenderloin steaks and roasted/grilled corn on the cob. The Better Half prepared “crashed” potatoes (microwave baked Yukon taters smashed with butter, sour cream and shredded cheese) to go with the meal.

We are about five miles away from the park where fireworks are scheduled to be launched at around 9PM, but we can see some of the higher rockets from the courtyard out front. This will be under a waxing Gibbous moon and the summer triangle with the Milky Way beyond. The night sky is usually spectacular to see out here, fireworks or not.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

 

Smokin’ Sunday

Electric SmokerWhen the summer weather here gets above 110° as it has for the last ten days or so, The Better Half would rather not prepare food in the oven and heat up the kitchen. Alternates for oven cooking, in our case, include Crock Pot, Steamer (out in the patio), Electric Smoker and the BBQ Grill, none of which result in heating the kitchen up.

The latter item above, the BBQ grill, is also somewhat undesirable in this weather since one has to tend to it while being out in the heat, although we have been known to “tough it out.”

(Clickable) Image: Our Masterbuilt Electric Smoker

Yesterday, we opted for the crock pot with TBH preparing a tasty Tex-Mex Casserole dish. Today (starting last night, actually), we employed the electric smoker. Late last night, I put a pork loin into the smoker and cooked it on low with smoke overnight. This morning, I put a 2 pound beef brisket in the smoker and cooked it along with the pork with smoke all day at 250°.

This is actually the first time I have used the smoker for preparation of two different meals simultaneously. Today, we enjoyed smoked brisket with baked beans and potato salad. During the coming week, we will be having pulled pork sandwiches using shredded smoked pork loin.

What’s for Dinner?

Jägerschnitzel

Deutsches Küche ist zum Abendessen (German cuisine is what’s for dinner).

One of our favorite entrees is breaded pork loin cutlets (Jägerschnitzel) served with sides typical of German cooking. Today’s meal consisted of the cutlets served with braised Brussels sprouts (Rosenkohl, or “rose cabbage” in German) and an excellent hot German potato salad (Heißer Kartoffelsalat) recipe that The Better Half found. She also put some tomato and avocado garnish on the plate for color.

Lately, we have been dipping into our ancestry in hopes of locating some of the graves of our forebearers as we tour parts of the country in coming months and years. Despite our love of German, Italian and some French cooking, my family lines mostly seem to have come from England, whose cooking we can do without (Spotted Dick?? Really??).

The ancestry quest has gone pretty well, having located two cemeteries in Colorado, a couple in Massachusetts and one more in South Carolina which contain the remains of ancestors going from grand parents to a couple of generations back from that.

During our excursion to witness the Great American Solar Eclipse, we are planning to visit my great grandmother on my Mom’s Dad’s side in Montrose, Colorado and to visit numerous relatives’ graves in Pueblo, Colorado, including my paternal grandmother and grandfather as well as that grandfather’s folks, another set of great grandparents.

What’s For Dinner?

Smoked Brisket Dinner

I fired up a 2 pound beef brisket in the smoker this morning. I used a recipe I found on line for preparing the meat and the dry rub. Six hours later we had this wonderful dinner consisting of smoked brisket slices, The Better Half’s awesome potato salad and some baked beans. Clickable image.

This is the first attempt at smoking a brisket. I am pleased at the way it turned out, especially the smoky bark and the moist, tender meat.

I originally bought a four pound brisket and cut it in half so we could freeze half of it for another time. The half portion was more than enough for the two of us.

What’s for Lunch?

Meatball Sandwich

When you’re retired and budget your time to try and enjoy life, sometimes working in the kitchen can be a chore to The Better Half. Now, don’t get me wrong; she enjoys preparing meals, particularly during the weekends when we have a main afternoon dinner on both Saturday and Sunday. On the weekdays, however, a quick salad or sandwich, or some weekend leftovers fill the eating requirement.

Today she prepared Meatball Sandwiches. Since Thursday is our regular grocery shopping day, she put a couple of hoagie sandwich rolls in the cart while we were shopping. When at home later, she broke out some previously frozen meatballs that were extras made at the same time for a weekend dish featuring meatballs and pasta (or something). Add a little cheese, some homemade (also previously leftover) marinara sauce and - voilá - meatball sandwiches! These were tasty. Clickable image.

What’s for Dinner (On the Road Again)?

Meatball Sandwiches

When we head out on an excursion, one of the important concepts is what to eat and when. The Better Half will generally prepare something that is quick and easy to just heat up and eat when we get to the terminus of a day trip. Today, that item happened to be her meatball sandwiches which were popped in the microwave and devoured even before setting up camp. A cold beverage helped to wind down from an hours long desert crossing.

If we’re going to stay for several days in a place, then the routine gets modified to a full-on dinner preparation. For example, tomorrow, we will be having Corned Beef and Cabbage with boiled vegetables a day late in recognition of Saint Patrick’s Day. And on Sunday, Grilled T-Bone Steaks with Asparagus Tips in Rice on the side.

It’s a good life on the road under these circumstances. ;)

Breaking in the New Portable Grill

Pit Boss Grill On Site Grillin

When we traded in our Georgetown Motorhome for the new rig, we left the grill that was part of the outdoor kitchen module in the old RV. That left us short of a very important component for camping - an outdoor grill. So, to rectify that shortcoming, we bought a replacement grill, the Pit Boss.

We burned the new grill in at home (per recommended user manual instructions) when it arrived a couple of weeks ago. A few days later, we grilled a two-inch thick T-bone steak on it in order to get a feel for how the Pit Boss would perform. That went well and The Better Half and I enjoyed the steak. The (clickable) image above left is new grill being burned in.

This past weekend in California, we initiated the first road trip usage for the grill. In the (clickable) image above right, you can see the setup in the campground with the attachment to a propane bottle with the grill on a folding table alongside the RV and yours truly in the act of grilling a pork loin inside of the stainless enclosure.

We had a lesson learned while grilling this time in that this two burner grill gets a LOT hotter than our grill at home and requires a lower flame setting in order to keep from scorching the meat. Regardless, the dinner was great.

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